Saturday, September 5, 2009

Al-Jazeera Video: Victims of Lebanon's 'Ponzi scheme' speak out - 04 Sept 09

"Salah Ezzedine, a Shia from southern Lebanon who has been dubbed the "Bernard Madoff" of his country, was arrested earlier this week when he filed for bankruptcy.

The Lebanese businessman accused of defrauding investors in a Madoff-style Ponzi scheme is under investigation after turning himself in to authorities.

Reports surfaced that he had squandered more than $1.5 billion of his clients' money, offerring interest rates as high as 55 per cent and that part of his clientele was from the oil-rich Gulf region.

Al Jazeera's Amal Hamdan reports on the story of Mohammad Shour, one of Ezzedine's clients who decided to invest his family's savings but lost everything. "

A Related Article (in Arabic) From the Lebanese Paper Al-Akhbar:

قضيّة صلاح عز الدين: إنذار مبكر لبيئة المقاومة
ابراهيم الأمين

"لن يكون بمقدور أحد تبرير ما حصل في قضية صلاح عز الدين، لكن حكايته يجب أن تمثل جرس الإنذار الأكبر للوسط الاجتماعي الذي يمثله الرجل في عاداته وحساباته، وهو الوسيط اللصيق بحزب الله، وليس القريب منه فقط، باعتبار أن غالبية المودعين عند الرجل، هم من عائلات الحزب وأنصاره ومؤيديه، حتى إن كثيرين تعاملوا معه بثقة كبيرة مع نتيجة أشياء عدة، أبرزها ما أشيع عن أنه «شريك الحزب».

Real News Video: Prosecuting Israel for war crimes

Deputy Prosecutor of Int'l Criminal Court discusses the Palestinian Authority appeal to join the court.

More at The Real News

"Lia Tarachansky speaks to Fatou Bensouda, the Deputy Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) about the Palestinian Authority's appeal to join the group of nations over which the court has jurisdiction. Bensouda says that before the ICC can investigate the perpetration of war crimes during Israel's recent attack on Gaza, the court would have to rule on whether it has jurisdiction in the Palestinian Territories. For that, there would have to be clear borders identified, a task the UN would have to take on. Once the court rules on jurisdiction it would be able to prosecute anyone who committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide within the territory, even if (such as in the case of Israel) the perpetrator is not part of the International Court."

Al-Jazeera Cartoon

Obama is holding a poster marked, "Iran"!

Why I resigned from the Gaza Freedom March coalition:

By Norman Finkelstein

"The original consensus of the International Coalition to End the Illegal Siege of Gaza was that we would limit our statement to a pair of uncontroversial, basic and complementary principles that would have the broadest possible appeal: the march to break the siege would be nonviolent and anchored in international law. I agreed with this approach and consequent statement and decided to remove myself from the steering committee in order to invest my full energies in mobilizing for the march. During the week beginning August 30, 2009 and in a matter of days an entirely new sectarian agenda dubbed "the political context" was foisted on those who originally signed on and worked tirelessly for three months. Because it drags in contentious issues that--however precious to different constituencies--are wholly extraneous to the narrow but critical goal of breaking the siege this new agenda is gratuitously divisive and it is almost certain that it will drastically reduce the potential reach of our original appeal. It should perhaps be stressed that the point of dispute was not whether one personally supported a particular Palestinian right or strategy to end the occupation. It was whether inclusion in the coalition's statement of a particular right or strategy was necessary if it was both unrelated to the immediate objective of breaking the siege and dimmed the prospect of a truly mass demonstration......."

"Sense of duty": interview with Bilin journalist

Jody McIntyre, The Electronic Intifada, 4 September 2009

"Haitham al-Katib is a journalist living in the occupied West Bank village of Bilin. During the last few months, village residents have been the victims of constant night invasions by the Israeli military. The goal of these raids is to crush the village's campaign of nonviolent resistance to the confiscation of their land. Al-Katib films the night raids, as well as the weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the wall, and has become a well-known figure for his brave attempts to document the struggle. The Electronic Intifada contributor Jody McIntyre, currently based in Bilin, interviewed him about his work........."

How Thomas Friedman Gets Palestine Entirely Wrong

By Toufic Haddad

For years Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman has traipsed around the Middle East with a golf bag on his shoulder and a moustache full of witty catechisms about the region’s problems and their solutions. Two recent op-eds continue this trend, inspired by a recent trip to the West Bank that apparently impressed Friedman greatly.

“Green Shoots in Palestine” parts one and two, (attempt to) shed light on transformations in the West Bank that apparently buck the miserable trends that characterize Palestine and the Arab world at large - from poverty and underdevelopment, to illiteracy and authoritarianism.

Instead Friedman sees some “good cheer” coming from the West Bank - security, fiscal transparency, and solid economic growth - trends he encourages the U.S. to “nurture”, presumably to allow these “shoots” to mature and bear more fruit.

In order to expose Friedman’s arguments, it’s necessary to first provide an overview of them. Taken at face value, they may appear to some as perfectly sound. But, it is the context that Freidman fails to provide, which is so damaging and deceptive.

Saudi women fight for autonomy

In Saudi Arabia, women aren't allowed to travel without the say-so of a male relative. Will they put up with it for much longer?

Nesrine Malik, Saturday 5 September 2009

COMMENT: This is becoming increasingly the case in Gaza under Hamas.

"When living in Saudi Arabia, every time I wanted to travel outside the kingdom I had to produce a piece of paper from my male guardian authorising my movements in order to be granted an exit visa. This process became more difficult when my father passed away, after which my sisters and I were left scrambling for the closest male relative to sanction our travel......

The wali, or guardian, is the practical underwriter of a woman's existence in Saudi Arabia. These mahrams (male relatives whom it is haram – forbidden – to wed) sit in a pyramid of patronage with the father and husband at the pinnacle, descending through uncles (paternal uncles higher up the scale, naturally) and bottoming out with brothers......

To counter this liberal activism, a conservative campaign – under the slogan "My Guardian Knows the Best for Me" – was recently launched to oppose dismantling of the guardianship system. The movement, launched by Rawdah el-Yousif (although ironically, she is in dispute with a man over who can claim the credit for the campaign) is a vehicle for, in Rawdah's words, expressing "dismay at the efforts of some who have liberal demands that do not comply with Islamic law or with the kingdom's traditions and customs".

In an overwhelmingly patriarchal and segregated society, where there is little accommodation of women in official circles, it is not surprising that men should be able to conduct affairs on behalf of their female relatives. For a female without a mahram, carrying out even the most basic transactions in places staffed entirely by ogling, dismissive, men is excruciating. But to legally hand the reins entirely to men signs over the fate of half the population to those who are potentially capricious, overbearing and misogynistic in a deeply traditional society.......

Nobody is stopping women from deferring to their guardians' authority in their private lives, but insisting that this authority applies across the board shows a shocking disregard for other women not privileged enough to have guardians who "know what's best for them"."

Libya: Middle class are all smiles as retail therapy entices Gaddafi's people

Leader's revolution anniversary celebrations pull the crowds - but so do the bargains offered at Marks & Spencer and BHS

Ian Black in Tripoli, Friday 4 September 2009

"...... Marks & Spencer, on Girgash Road in the opulent west of the Libyan capital, heaves until four in the morning with women – in chadors or western dress – inspecting lingerie and swimwear watched by irritable husbands and children expecting presents for the Eid........

"Shops are just the beginning,"[COMMENT: This is how you keep the "Umma" busy. Jerusalem....What Jerusalem? Al-Aqsa Mosque....What Al-Aqsa? Palestine.....What Palestine?......Attention Marks & Spencer shoppers......Our Sale Ends......] said engineer Bashir Gelidy, leaving BHS with his social worker wife Hanna, and their daughter Lujian, eight and pouting in pink sparkly T-shirt and matching pedal-pushers. "This is about opening Libya up to the world. It's about investment and creating jobs and developing this country. You can see the change happening here.".........

No one can object to more consumer choice for Libyans. But British business in Muammar Gaddafi's Jamahiriya ("state of the masses") is in the news because of suspicions that the controversial release of the Lockerbie bomber was linked to trade and oil deals with a country that has been transformed from terrorist-sponsoring pariah to a mecca for western investors. With spending on infrastructure projects scheduled to reach $50bn (£30.5bn) over the next three years, Libya is encouraging bids from UK firms. "Investing at home, investing abroad" was the title of a conference that brought senior Libyan and British officials and businesspeople together at a country retreat in Sussex just as Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish justice secretary, was considering Abdel-baset al-Megrahi's release........."

Read About Marks and Spencer's support for Israel and Zionism Here

A big thank you

By Ilan Pappe, The Electronic Intifada, 4 September 2009

"......Tomorrow we all will go back to the dismal reality in which Palestinian students are imprisoned daily without trial in Nablus, Palestinian children are killed near Ramallah, as also happened today. We will return to the reality of house demolitions as occurred two weeks ago in Jerusalem, of the continued strangulation of the Gaza Strip and the overall dispossession of Palestinians, wherever they are. But today of all days, those of us who happened to be here on the ground saw a light, a very powerful light, illuminating for a very short moment, the horizon of a different reality of peace and reconciliation.

And it was all due to the decision of the Norwegian government to withdraw its investments in the Israeli hi-tech company Elbit (due to the latter's involvement in the construction and maintenance of the apartheid wall). We have to keep a proportional view on this: only one section of Elbit, Elbit Systems, was affected. But the significance is not about who was targeted, but rather who took the decision: the Norwegian ministry of finance through its ethical council. No less important was the manner in which it was taken: the minister herself announced the move in a press conference. This is what transformed for a short while the media scene in the Zionist state.........

This is a clear message for all the good people in the West looking for ways of helping the Palestinians in their moment of nadir. They want to march and sail peacefully to Gaza, they wish to facilitate more meetings between Israelis and Palestinians and are adamant despite all the hurdles to volunteer in the occupied territories. These are all noble actions but changing the public opinion in the West, is what people in the West can do best. And if one government has already shifted significantly the name and the rules of the game -- be it in a very minor decision that may still be revised under the tidal Zionist reaction, others will surely follow. For the time being all we can say is a huge thank you to a brave politician that will enter the pages of history as someone who paved the way to a better future for everyone in Israel and Palestine."

Flash!.......Flash!.......Exciting News......Dialog About the Dialog......Read All About it.....

Mashaal Arrives in Cairo for Talks on Shalit, Palestinian Unity


"05/09/2009 Hamas politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal arrived in Cairo Saturday to discuss a prisoner exchange deal with the Israeli government, according to Hamas spokesperson Ayman Taha. Mashaal was set to meet Egyptian intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman.

Taha added that Mashaal will also discuss restarting Palestinian reconciliation talks during his time in Egypt. [Celebrate now, or else!]

On Thursday, Taha said that there was nothing new regarding the case of captured Israeli occupation soldier Gilad Shalit. "The only new development is the intervention of the Germans in the mediation efforts," he said. "Other than that, I can't say that there's anything new regarding this case."......"

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Autopsy Surgeon Aftonbladet Forgot

The Missing Link in Israeli Organ Theft?




".....I have no idea whether the story is true. Like most journalists working in Israel and Palestine, I have heard such rumours before. Until Bostrom wrote his piece, no Western journalist, as far as I know, had investigated them. After so many years, the assumption by journalists was that there was little hope of finding evidence -- apart from literally by digging up the corpses. Doubtless, the inevitable charge of anti-semitism such reports attract acted as a powerful deterrent too......

They muddied the waters by trying to make a tenuous connection between the Palestinian families’ allegations about organ theft during unauthorized autopsies and the entirely separate revelations this month that a group of US Jews had been arrested for money-laundering and trading in body parts. [3]

In making that connection, Bostrom and Aftonbladet suggested that the problem of organ theft is a current one when they have produced only examples of such concern from the early 1990s......The Swedish reporter should instead have concentrated on the valid question raised by the families about why the Israeli army, by its own admission, took away the bodies of dozens of Palestinians killed by its soldiers, allowed autopsies to be performed on them without the families’ permission and then returned the bodies for burial in ceremonies held under tight security......

A justifiable question from the families relayed by Bostrom is: why did the army want the autopsies carried out? Unless it can be shown that the army intended to conduct investigations into the deaths -- and there is apparently no suggestion that it did -- the autopsies were unnecessary......

Of even greater concern for the Palestinian families is the fact that at around the time the bodies of their loved ones were whisked off by the army for autopsy, the only institute in Israel that conducts such autopsies, Abu Kabir, near Tel Aviv, was almost certainly at the centre of a trade in organs that later became a scandal inside Israel.

Equally disturbing, the doctor behind the plunder of body parts, Prof Yehuda Hiss, appointed director of the Abu Kabir institute in the late 1980s, has never been jailed despite admitting to the organ theft and he continues to be the state’s chief pathologist at the institute.

Hiss was in charge of the autopsies of Palestinians when Bostrom was listening to the families’ claims in 1992. Hiss was subsequently investigated twice, in 2002 and 2005, over the theft of body parts on a large scale......

Hiss did not deny the plunder of organs, admitting that the body parts belonged to soldiers killed in action and had been passed to medical institutes and hospitals in the interests of advancing research. Understandably, however, the Palestinian families are unlikely to be satisfied with Hiss’ explanation. If the wishes of a soldier’s familiy were disregarded by Hiss, why not Palestinian families’ wishes too?......

Given the facts that are known, there must be at least a very strong suspicion that Hiss removed organs without authorisation from some Palestinians he autopsied. Both this issue, and the army’s possible role in supplying him with corpses, needs investigation.......

Similarly, when Israeli politicians are able to cry “blood libel” or “anti-semitism” when they are criticised, damaging the reputations of those they accuse, what incentive do they have to initiate inquiries that may harm them or the institutions they oversee? What reason do they have to be honest when they can bludgeon a critic into silence, at no cost to themselves?

This is the meaning of the phrase “Power corrupts”, and Israeli politicians and soldiers, as well as at least one pathologist, demonstrably have far too much power -- most especially over Palestinians under occupation."

BBC Video: Airborne rabbis fight off swine flu

Click Here to Watch This Bizarre Video

"A group of rabbis and Jewish mystics have taken to the skies over Israel, praying and blowing ceremonial trumpets to ward off swine flu.

About 50 religious leaders circled over the country on Monday, chanting prayers and blowing the horns called "shofars".

The flight's aim was "to stop the pandemic so people will stop dying from it," Rabbi Yitzhak Batzri was quoted as saying in Yedioth Aharanot newspaper.

The flu is often referred to as H1N1 in Israel, where pigs are seen as unclean."

Norway divests from an Israeli security company

"The Norwegian Government decided on Thursday to divest from the Elbit Israeli security and military industry company as it supplies security and surveillance equipment for the illegal Annexation Wall in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The decision was officially made public on Thursday by the Norwegian Finance Minister, Kristin Halvorsen.

Elbit Systems, an optics and electronics manufacturer was dropped from the Norwegian pension fund, which invests in 40 other Israeli companies. The fund, managed by the Central Bank in Norway, is worth $333 million.

The International Court of Justice at the Hague had officially declared the Wall as illegal in its advisory ruling of 2004.

Halvorsen stated that the Norwegian government is not willing to fund companies that directly or indirectly contribute to violation of the international humanitarian law......"

The Middle East Firestorm Ahead

by Immanuel Wallerstein

"There is a firestorm ahead in the Middle East for which neither the US government nor the US public is prepared. They seem scarcely aware how close it is on the horizon or how ferocious it will be. The US government (and therefore almost inevitably the US public) is deluding itself massively about its capacity to handle the situation in terms of its stated objectives. The storm will go from Iraq to Afghanistan to Pakistan to Israel/Palestine, and in the classic expression "it will spread like wildfire.".....

So then comes stage four of the firestorm -- Israel/Palestine. The Arab world will observe the collapse of US projects in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The US project in Israel/Palestine is a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The Israelis are not going to budge an inch. But neither now, and especially after the rest of the firestorm, are the Palestinians. The one consequence will be the enormous pressure that other Arab states will put upon Fatah and Hamas to join forces. This will be over Mahmoud Abbas's dead body -- which might literally be the case.

The whole Obama program will have gone up in flames. And the Republicans will make hay with it. They will call US defeat in the Middle East "betrayal" and it is obvious now that there is a large group inside the United States very receptive to such a theme.

One either anticipates firestorms and does something useful, or one gets swept up in them. "

Al-Jazeera Video: Israeli soldiers fire on Al Jazeera correspondent - 04 Sep 09

"Israeli soldiers have fired tear gas on Palestinians protesting against the Israeli separation barrier which cuts through their West Bank village.

The soldiers also fired tear gas at Jacky Rowland, Al Jazeera's correspondent who was covering the event live from near the village of Bilin. "

Al-Jazeera Video: Palestinian villagers protest land seizure - 04 Sep 09

"Hundreds of Palestinian villagers have made a short but symbolic march to the separation wall that Israel has built on their land, a non-violent protests that they regularly undertake.

Equally, the protesters, marching from the village of Bilin, are regularly met with a violent response from the Israeli army.

"The village of Bilin is literally on the frontline of Israel's confiscation of Palestinian land and the construction of its separation barrier," Jacky Rowland, Al Jazeera's correspondent reporting from the village, said.

"Later today the villagers of Bilin will protest the fact that not only they, but also five neighbouring villages, have lost their land which has been seized to build an Israeli settlement.

"This huge settlement will result in 40,000 Jewish settlers living on occupied land here in the West Bank and as Prime Minister [Binyamin] Netanyahu is planning to give the go ahead for even more of these settlement homes to be built," she said.

Netanyahu is set to approve plans to build hundreds of new homes on Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, before considering US demands for a construction freeze."

CIA used Blackwater-linked mercenaries as journalists

By Wayne Madsen
Online Journal Contributing Writer

"(WMR) -- The CIA used credentialed journalists to engage in counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism operations from 2003 to 2005......."

Taliban's bombs came from US, not Iran

By Gareth Porter
Asia Times

"The roadside bombs killing and maiming Western soldiers in Afghanistan are not Iranian, as a top United States intelligence agency has claimed. The devices are crude but devastating re-adaptations of Italian anti-tank mines given to the anti-Soviet mujahideen in the 1980s by the US Central Intelligence Agency....."

Good Old Days!

By Mike Luckovich

Nazis of Our Time: Israelis Target Medical Teams

By Mel Frykberg

"JELAZON, West Bank, Sep 3 (IPS) - Fourteen-year-old Muhammad Nayif's mother broke down as she spoke to IPS. Nayif died after being shot three times in the chest by Israeli soldiers Monday night.

Palestinian medical personnel who tried to reach the critically injured boy near the Jelazon refugee camp north of Ramallah were threatened at gunpoint by Israeli soldiers and shot at.

"We were sure that the boy was seriously wounded and needed urgent medical attention," said Sameh Barghouti a medic in the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) ambulance which tried to evacuate the youngster.

"But the soldiers pointed their guns at us and told us to go back. When we asked to speak to their captain they shot rubber coated metal bullets and teargas canisters at the ambulance, but fortunately missed," Barghouti told IPS........."

Taking Desperate Measures to Educate Gaza's Youth

By Najwa Sheikh - Gaza
Palestine Chronicle

The month of Ramadan has come this year to the people of Gaza along with the new school year reminding them of the hard living conditions they have endured with the crushing blockade that Israel imposed on Gaza for the third year; A blockade that does not allow even for the basic needs such as medications, flour, building materials, papers, books and stationary for the new school year.......

Due to the continuous Israeli policy of not allowing any of the basic needs including building materials in to Gaza, UNRWA faced a great challenge with the increasing number of students on its schools. With no other alternative, the agency opened a school of cargo containers in Nuseirat Camp, called Nuseirat elementary boys School, on a piece if land of 3.800sq.m donated by the local community. This school includes 19 classrooms of the fourth, fifth and sixth grades only.

The classrooms are containers with a capacity of 36 students only; the wall surrounding the school is a blue plastic pavilion, and with the current regular power cut, the situation is unbearable for both the students and the teachers on this hot weather.......

Despite this difficult situation in the boys school, the students and the teacher’s resilience continues. This is a spark of hope that the blockade will never put out."

Lockerbie: Megrahi Was Framed

by John Pilger, September 04, 2009

"The hysteria over the release of the so-called Lockerbie bomber reveals much about the political and media class on both sides of the Atlantic, especially Britain. From Gordon Brown’s "repulsion" to Barack Obama’s "outrage," the theater of lies and hypocrisy is dutifully attended by those who call themselves journalists. "But what if Megrahi lives longer than three months?" whined a BBC reporter to the Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond. "What will you say to your constituents, then?"........

The American satirist Larry David once addressed a voluble crony as "a babbling brook of bullsh*t." Such eloquence summarizes the circus of Megrahi’s release.......

In 2007, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission referred Megrahi’s case for appeal. "The commission is of the view," said its chairman, Dr. Graham Forbes, "that based upon our lengthy investigations, the new evidence we have found and other evidence which was not before the trial court, that the applicant may have suffered a miscarriage of justice."

The words "miscarriage of justice" are missing entirely from the current furor, with Kenny MacAskill reassuring the baying mob that the scapegoat will soon face justice from that "higher power." What a disgrace."

Israelis Destroy Boats, and Lives

by Eva Bartlett, September 04, 2009

"GAZA CITY – Until Monday, Omar and Khaled Al-Habil were the owners of a 20m fishing trawler staffed by five or six fishermen at a time, but employing around 18 in cycles. But that morning the vessel came under heavy Israeli navy machine-gun fire, and then shelling. The trawler caught fire.

"It’s destroyed, completely destroyed," says Al-Habil......

Khaled Al-Habil is just one among many Palestinian fishers whose livelihoods have been wrecked. The father of 13 children lives with his family in a cramped 40 square meter apartment. His only source of income has been destroyed.

"I want a good lawyer," he says, "and I want to take this to court." [COMMENT: This is "liberation" through the courts; Palestinian style!]"

The colonel's labyrinth

Muammar Gaddafi's revolution, voiding Libya of western powers, has been compromised by his recent appeasement of the west

Raza Naeem, Thursday 3 September 2009

"........Libya under Gaddafi is well on its way to becoming a family-owned dictatorship, with his playboy son Seif al-Islam as the heir apparent – and itching to privatise everything his father had nationalised on coming to power in 1969.

It need not have been like this had Gaddafi listened more keenly to his hero, Nasser, who once declared: "I rather like Gaddafi. He reminds me of myself when I was that age."

He could still have been a hero to Libyans as well as thousands of Arabs. But not Muammar Gaddafi. As he relishes 40 years as the Great Leader, he must know that he is now Washington's favorite dictator in the Arab world after Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Zine el Abidine ben Ali in Tunisia. He is certainly the last of the generation of Arab nationalists who believed in Arab nationalism as a genuinely progressive ideology and a realistic project, giving hope to millions and freedom from the oppression of pashas, emirs and colonels like himself......."

When I think of my trial, I pray my fight won't be in vain

For wearing trousers, I face 40 lashes. This is the brutal reality of Sudan: we live in fear of those who should protect us

Lubna Hussein
The Guardian, Friday 4 September 2009

"Next week I will stand trial in a Sudanese court, charged along with 12 other women with committing an "indecent act" – wearing trousers in a public place. I will face up to 40 lashes and an unlimited fine if I am convicted of breaching Article 152 of Sudanese law, which prohibits dressing indecently in public. As an employee of the UN I was offered immunity, and the chance to escape trial, but I chose to resign from the UN so that I could face the Sudanese authorities and make them show to the world what they consider justice to be.........

When I think of my trial, I pray that my daughters will never live in fear of these "police of security of society". We will only be secure once the police protect us and these laws are repealed. I also pray that the next generation will see we had the courage to fight for their future before it was too late. We need Arab, African, American and European leaders to stand with us and help us make sure that the next chapter of our history is less bloody and brutal than the last. This will require conviction and boldness from their side. I hope they will display the qualities of those Sudanese men and women I most admire."

Chavez Blasts Israel while in Syria


"04/09/2009 Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez attacked Israel Thursday during his visit to Syria, calling it an imperialist nation that annihilates other people.

Chavez comments came during a news conference with his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad after a one-hour meeting at the hilltop presidential palace.

"Israel has become a country that annihilates people and is hostile to peace," he said, according to the Arabic translation of his remarks to reporters.

In comments carried by Venezuelan state television, he also accused Israel of being part of imperialist efforts to divide the Middle East.

"The entire world knows it. Why was the state of Israel created? ... To divide. To impede the unity of the Arab world. To assure the presence of the North American empire in all these lands," he said.

Chavez is on an 11-day trip to Libya, Algeria, Syria, Iran, Belarus and Russia in his bid to build a multi-polar world and decrease US influence in the region.

"I believe it is a fateful battle. It's either now or never in order to liberate the world from imperialism and change the world from a uni-polar into a multi-polar world," Chavez told reporters in Damascus......."

Denied Dignity

Systematic Discrimination and Hostility toward Saudi Shia Citizens

Human Rights Watch

September 3, 2009

"This 32-page report documents the sharpest sectarian tensions in the kingdom in years, set off by clashes between Shia pilgrims and religious police in Medina in February 2009, followed by arbitrary arrests of Shia protesters in the Eastern Province in March. The closing of private Shia halls for communal prayer in Khobar, which began in July 2008 and the arrests of Shia religious and community leaders in Ahsa' in 2009 also have contributed to the tensions......."

Download report (PDF, 180.86 KB)

ليبرمان يطوق مصر أفريقياً

ليبرمان يطوق مصر أفريقياً
عبد الباري عطوان

"لم يكن من قبيل الصدفة ان يبدأ افيغدور ليبرمان وزير الخارجية الاسرائيلي جولته الافريقية بزيارة اديس ابابا، العاصمة الاثيوبية، ولم تكن صدفة ايضا ان تشمل هذه الجولة دولتين أخريين تشكلان مع اثيوبيا المصدر الاساسي لمياه نهر النيل، وهما اوغندا وكينيا.
اسرائيل بدأت تدرك جيدا ان هناك حالة من التذمر في اوساط دول المنبع الافريقي لهيمنة دولتين عربيتين على الغالبية الساحقة من مياه النيل، هما مصر (55.5 مليار متر مكعب) والسودان (18.5 مليار متر مكعب)، اما ما تبقى، اي عشرة مليارات متر مكعب، فسيذهب الى ست دول افريقية على الاقل. وشهدت الاعوام الاخيرة مطالبات علنية بتعديل اتفاقيتي 1929 و1959 لتوزيع مياه النيل، خاصة الشق المتعلق منهما باعطاء مصر (دولة المصب) حق الفيتو على اي مشاريع سدود في اي من دول المنبع.
التركيز الاسرائيلي على اثيوبيا مهم لانها تقود التمرد على الاتفاقيتين المذكورتين اولا، ولان 86' من مياه النيل تأتي من مرتفعاتها، والاهم من كل ذلك الوجود العسكري الاسرائيلي المتعاظم في هذه الدولة التي باتت 'مخلب القط' الامريكي في القرن الافريقي، وتجلى ذلك واضحا في الفترة الاخيرة بارسالها قوات الى الصومال واحتلاله فعليا.
مياه النيل مسألة تشكل 'حياة او موتاً' بالنسبة الى مصر على مدى العصور، حتى ان حكومة محمد علي باشا (القرن التاسع عشر) وضعت خطة طوارئ للتدخل عسكريا ضد اي دولة يمكن ان تشكل اي خطر على تدفق مياه النيل، بينما دعا الرئيس الراحل محمد انور السادات خبراءه العسكريين لوضع خطة طوارئ عام 1979 عندما اعلنت اثيوبيا عن نواياها باقامة سد لري 90 الف هكتار في حوض النيل الازرق، وهدد بتدمير هذا السد، وعقد بالفعل اجتماعا طارئا لقيادة هيئة اركان جيشه لبحث هذه المسألة.
الاحصاءات الرسمية تقول انه في عام 2017 لن يكون لدى مصر الماء الكافي لمواجهة احتياجات مواطنيها المتفاقمة، حيث ستبلغ هذه الاحتياجات 86 مليار متر مكعب سنويا، بينما لن تتعدى جميع مصادرها 71 مليار متر مكعب، اي انها ستواجه عجزا مقداره 15 مليار متر مكعب.
الصورة ربما تبدو مأساوية بشكل اكبر اذا مضت اثيوبيا قدما في نواياها في اقامة سد على النيل الازرق، مصدر معظم مياه النيل، ويبدو انها مصممة على ذلك، واعلن وزير الري فيها انه لا توجد قوة في العالم تحول دون اقدامها على ذلك، فالمياه مياهها، ولا حق لأحد بان يملك 'الفيتو' ضد مشاريعها، وهدد بالانسحاب من معاهدة 1929 المذكورة.
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انها 'حرب المياه' الزاحفة علينا كعرب، بينما نحن نغط في نعيم المسلسلات الرمضانية وننشغل بتغطية موائد الرحمن، وتشكيل الحكومة اللبنانية، وجولات السناتور ميتشل، والخلافات بين حركتي 'فتح' و'حماس'، وكيفية ترتيب انتقال سهل لـ'التوريث' في مصر بمباركة امريكية ـ اسرائيلية مشتركة.
ليبرمان الذي هدد بقصف السد العالي واغراق الشعب المصري، يذهب الى القارة الافريقية على رأس وفد اسرائيلي كبير يضم ممثلين عن اكبر عشر شركات اسلحة اسرائيلية، علاوة على خبراء آخرين في شؤون المياه والاقتصاد وحرب العصابات.
بمعنى آخر يريد ان يعرض ليبرلمان على هذه الدول خدمات بلاده العسكرية لتعزيز قواتها المسلحة للتصدي لاي حرب يمكن ان تشنها مصر في المستقبل في حال اقدام هذه البلدان وخاصة اثيوبيا، على مشاريع لتحويل مياه النيل.
الدكتور بطرس غالي وزير الدولة المصري للشؤون الخارجية والمسؤول المباشر عن انحسار نفوذ بلاده في القارة الافريقية، تنبأ عام 1985 بأن الحرب القادمة في المنطقة ستكون حول مياه النيل، ولكن نبوءته هذه لم تصدق في حينها، لان ثلاث حروب اندلعت في المنطقة اولاها حرب الخليج الثانية (الكويت)، ثم الحرب في افغانستان، واخيرا حرب احتلال العراق، وكانت الحروب الثلاث تصب في خدمة اسرائيل، واضعاف العرب في المقابل، ربما تمهيدا لحرب المياه. وعلى اي حال كوفئ الدكتور غالي على نبوءاته هذه، وتخريبه للعلاقات العربية ـ الافريقية، جزئيا او كليا، بتولي الامانة العامة للامم المتحدة لاحقا.
السؤال الذي يطرح نفسه بقوة هو عن رد الفعل العربي على هذا التغلغل الاستراتيجي الاسرائيلي في قارة كانت حتى نصف قرن مضى تعتبر بحيرة نفوذ عربية، ومصرية على وجه التحديد، تعتمد اعتمادا مباشرا على المنح الدراسية والخبراء الزراعيين والدعاة المصريين؟
الاجابة على هذا السؤال مخيبة للآمال، فتاريخ العرب الحديث في القارة الافريقية يتلخص في سلسلة من الكوارث الاستراتيجية، ابتداء من ازمة حلايب المفتعلة مع السودان (لماذا لم نسمع عنها بالمناسبة؟)، ومرورا بترك الصومال لمصيره الدموي، وانتهاء بالانشغال بدارفور عن اكبر مؤامرة تستهدف تفكيك السودان وطمس عروبته بل وهويته الاسلامية.
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الزعيم الليبي معمر القذافي الذي استثمر المليارات في افريقيا على امل ان يصبح زعيما لها انتابته حالة من الصحوة اخيرا، واعلن اثناء احتفالاته بالذكرى الاربعين لوصوله الى سدة الحكم ان اسرائيل تقف خلف جميع الصراعات في افريقيا، وطالب بقطع العلاقات الدبلوماسية معها.
ومن المفارقة ان دعوة الزعيم الليبي الغريبة هذه تأتي في وقت تستعد فيه دول عربية عديدة لاستئناف العلاقات الدبلوماسية والتجارية مع اسرائيل بطلب امريكي مكافأة لها، اي لاسرائيل، على تجميدها الجزئي والمؤقت للاستيطان في الضفة الغربية.
التغلغل الاسرائيلي في افريقيا يستهدف مصر ومستقبل اجيالها، وضربها في خاصرتها الموجعة، اي مياه نيلها، ولكن المحيّر ان الحكومة المصرية منشغلة بمعبر رفح، وخلية حزب الله، والخطر الايراني المزعوم.
الرئيس حسني مبارك، الذي من المفترض ان يقود تحركا معاكسا لتطويق هذا المخطط الاسرائيلي، تغيّب عن القمة الافريقية الطارئة التي انعقدت في طرابلس لبحث النزاعات الافريقية، ولم يشارك ليبيا احتفالاتها بالتالي لاسباب ما زالت مجهولة، فهناك من يقول انها اسباب مرضية، وهناك من يذهب الى ما هو ابعد من ذلك، ويؤكد انه قاطع القمة والاحتفالات التي تلتها حتى لا يصافح امير دولة قطر. فأين قطر الصغرى من مصر العظمى، وماذا لو صافح اميرها او حتى لم يصافحه، فمصالح مصر الاستراتيجية من المفترض ان تتقدم على كل الصغائر.
المحللون الافارقة يقولون ان اسرائيل تعرض عليهم خبرات زراعية، ووعوداً بمساعدتهم للحصول على منح مالية امريكية واوروبية لما لها من نفوذ كبير هناك، وفوق هذا وذاك اسلحة حديثة ومتطورة وخبراء يتولون تدريب جيوشهم على حروب العصابات، فماذا عند العرب لكي يقدموه غير الفساد والتخلف والهزائم؟
الرد على ذلك بسيط، وهو ان الخبرات الزراعية والعسكرية يمكن الحصول عليها من مصادر اخرى غير اسرائيل، ولكن الشق الثاني صحيح، وهو اننا كعرب لم يعد لدينا ما نقدمه غير الخبرات العريقة في اهدار الثروات النفطية الهائلة، والخنوع للأعداء، والتآمر على بعضنا البعض.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Praise the "Umma!" Standing in Lines for Food Products with the Name "Jerusalem!"

While Jerusalem is Judaized, Palestinians Expelled and Al-Aqsa Threatened with Demolition........
Praise Be to the Valiant "Umma!"..........
Enduring the Long Food Lines!

By Emad Hajjaj.

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

This timely poll asks:

Which should be the priority to end the internal Palestinian crisis; to end the division first then have elections or to have elections first?

With about 500 responding so far, 85% said end the division first, then hold elections.

The violence outside the statistics

By Amira Hass.

[Comment : This is why Mr. Avenery a Boycott of ALL of "Israel" is imperative because the entire society is an active participant in the oppression of Palestinians.]

The most amazing thing about the wave of murders in recent weeks has been the collective Israeli stupefaction at the discovery of violence in our midst. Once again we have displayed our talent for excluding from the discourse the daily violence inherent in our continued domination over the Palestinians and their land.

Even when there are no Palestinian casualties and fatalities at the hands of the Israel Defense Forces, there is no letup in the everyday bullying by the occupation regime. Many Israelis are complicit in every travel restriction and expropriation order, from the cabinet ministers responsible, to the jurists who legitimize and codify, to the officers who implement and the typists and translators.
Every soldier who guards a Jewish settlement, every rabbi who serves it and every kindergarten teacher there is partner to the primal act of the established violence that built it on Palestinian land (public or private, that makes no difference). This is violence that replicates and reproduces at every moment, because the initial theft is still doing damage. The military judiciary system, which tries only Palestinian inhabitants of the West Bank, has an important role in the reproduction of violence.

The occupier produces laws whose entire aim is to punish and deter the occupied who dares to resist.

From the most senior military judge down to the lowest private at a checkpoint, hundreds of thousands of perfectly normal Israelis who are not violent at home are partners in the mission of administering, demarcating, restricting and taming the other society while cumulatively damaging its rights, welfare and well-being. This is the norm that is not taken into account here in the statistics on violence and the violent

Zionist Pogroms

JERUSALEM — Axe-wielding ultra-Orthodox Jews went on a rampage in a Jerusalem neighbourhood, wounding a Palestinian taxi driver, destroying his vehicle and setting dumpsters on fire, police and witnesses said on Wednesday.

The violence took place overnight in Mea Sharim, a bastion of ultra-Orthodox Jews, known as Haredis. [Nazi Jews should be their appropriate name]

Police "pulled out from the neighbourhood following violent riots in recent days," said spokesman Shmulik Ben Rubi.

Israeli media said several dozen young Haredis attacked a Palestinian driver and destroyed his vehicle with axes. Police said the man was lightly wounded.

"It was a lynching attempt," a witness who identified himself as a Haredi told radio, expressing outrage over the violence which he said he saw from his Mea Sharim apartment.

"The taxi driver could have been killed if he hadn't fled as an ambulance arrived."

Rubi said police opened an investigation even though the driver had not filed a claim so far.

He said police could not intervene in time as access roads to Mea Sharim were barricaded by Haredis following earlier rioting.

On Sunday night, eight police officers were injured during a Haredi riot in which hundreds of people took part.

Protests first erupted 10 weeks ago after a decision by secular Mayor Nir Barkat to open a car park on the Jewish sabbath, the Jew's holy day of rest that runs from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset.

State Department Asks Embattled Blackwater to Continue in Iraq

The US State Department has announced today that it has asked Blackwater, which was banned by the Iraqi government earlier this year, to continue its operations in Iraq because the contractors for its replacement Dyncorp weren’t ready to take over.
Despite the ban, the group has been operating without a license in Iraq on behalf of the State Department since then, though the Iraqi government has been impatient with the delay, it has ruled out a long term presence amid reports that the State Department had made arrangements for a replacement. [So much for the "sovreignty" of the sectarian Iraqi "government"]

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story - 'Palestinian Authority only' - 2 Sept 09

"Israeli immigration has introduced a new visa stamp limiting entrance of foreign nationals to the Palestinian Authority controlled areas only. Is Israel pre-empting a final settlement with the Palestinians, drawing the lines of the Palestinian state and imposing the status quo?"

Al-Jazeera Video: Israel faces visa curb claim - 02 Sept 09

"Israel is being accused of unfairly discriminating against foreign nationals wanting to visit both Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Some visitors wanting to enter the West Bank are finding they're being issued with a new 'Palestinian Authority only' visa which does not allow them entry into Israel.

Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros reports."

Audio: Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions

by Gordon, Neve

".....In a recent op-ed in the LA Times, Neve Gordon explained why he has come to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. We talk with Neve about his decision and about the fire-storm of protest his op-ed has evoked. (To read Gideon Levy's response in Haaretz to these protests, click here. And for a website that tracks Israeli and international companies that profit from the Occupation, click here.)

Threat to Peace: "Foreign military bases in our region": Bariloche -- Good Strike!

The imperial strategy has always been

by Hugo Chávez Frías
Global Research, September 2, 2009
Latin American Herald Tribune

"CARACAS -- The imperial strategy has always been notable for the weakening and dissolution of any attempt the peoples have made to determine their own destiny.

The ancient and recent history confirms it. There is no possible domination if the processes of sovereignty and independence are not undermined. This is the reason why the empire fears the South American progress towards unity. In this sense, more than a project of simple circumstantial alliances, Unasur is a supreme urgency imposed to the peoples that share a history, a memory and a hope.

Aware of this situation, Venezuela attended the Extraordinary Summit of Bariloche, held last Friday August 28.......

"We are not willing to bequeath the evil patrimony of a new colonial period, but the luminous patrimony of the definite independence.

*Homeland, Socialism or Death! We will achieve victory!*"

US faces a tough choice on Iran

By Kaveh L Afrasiabi
Asia Times

"........Amid all of this, the Israeli government is leading a global campaign against Iran by marshalling its forces, particularly in the US, to paint as gloomy a picture as possible of both the nature of Iran's nuclear progress, or rather threat, as well as Iran's regime, described by a Wall Street Journal editorial as "fascist". While blaming US President Barack Obama's inaction on Iran, the editorial fully endorses an Israeli strike on Iran in the event the US and its allies fail to impose "crippling sanctions" on Iran. [1]

The Obama administration has placed its hope in constructive dialogue with Tehran, something now favored by the Iranian government. The entire weight of the Jewish lobby is now trying to convince the White House that it must face the unpredictable, and dangerous, consequences of a unilateral Israeli war on Iran if it fails to put some real teeth in Iran sanctions.

Pro-Israel pundits in the US are in full stride in the the opinion columns of newspapers and on television news programs. There is much talk of "mad mullahs" and their bombs in the making, set to wipe out the Jewish state.

Relying on a caricature of Iran and Shi'ite Islam, these pundits depict an irrational Iranian regime that is under the spell of religious apocalypticism, whereby sacrificing the lives of millions of Iranians is considered a legitimate price for a noble cause. This is reductionist to the core and is based on a perverse interpretation of the Mahdist belief in Twelver Shi'ism......."

Why Israel is after my son

By Fouad Sultani, The Electronic Intifada, 3 September 2009
(Attorney Fouad Sultani is the father of Rawi Sultani and a leading figure in the National Democratic Assembly and a board member of Adalah -- The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.)

"The persecution of Palestinian citizens inside Israel is not a new phenomenon. Yet, for me, this time it hit home. The Israeli intelligence agency Shabak, also known as the Shin Bet, accuses my son Rawi Sultani of "contact with a foreign agent" and "delivering information to the enemy." Both are grave security offenses in Israeli law. These and similar offenses were used against many Palestinian leaders and activists such as Azmi Bishara of the National Democratic Assembly (NDA), Raed Salah of the Islamic Movement and Muhammad Kanaaneh of Sons of the Land. At times, even Jewish political activists sympathetic to Palestinians like Tali Fahima are similarly accused......

Rawi's case reveals the predicament of the Palestinian citizens of Israel. Rawi's trial is the trial of the NDA and the Arab minority as a whole.

We need all possible help from our friends in our struggle towards freedom and equality."

A UN Special Focus on Gaza Under Siege

By Stephen Lendman
Palestine Chronicle

"In August 2009, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) published a special report titled: "Locked In: The Humanitarian Impact of Two Years of Blockade on the Gaza Strip." It focuses on import and export restrictions, the travel ban on "livelihoods, food security, education, health, shelter, energy and water, and sanitation." It explains how violence and human rights abuses increase the suffering of 1.5 million people......

In Summary

For over two years under siege, including months post-conflict, Gaza has endured "a protracted (humanitarian) crisis that is reflected in almost every aspect of daily life:" their livelihoods, income, enough food, too little of the nutritious kinds, medical care for the seriously ill, enough electricity and fuel, no homes for many thousands, the ability to rebuild, and other collective punishments.

Pre-siege, over 4,000 products, commodities, medicines, materials, and other items entered freely. Now it's around three to four dozen in limited quantities, gradually being increased to include small amounts of others. Yet most basics are denied - most food items, medicines called "dual use," light bulbs, fabrics, needles, candles, matches, mattresses, blankets and sheets, cutlery, books, coffee and tea, cigarettes, clothing and shoes, and much more, things posing no threat to Israel or planned for "dual use."

As a result, most Gazans "report a growing sense of being trapped: physically, intellectually and emotionally." Their ability to cope and survive is severely challenged. Efforts by humanitarian organizations are no match for Israel's malicious intransigency. The UN's most senior humanitarian official, John Holmes, expressed frustration saying:

"Protection, food, water, healthcare, and shelter are basic human needs, not bargaining chips. This fact must be recognized by all parties responsible for the immense suffering in Gaza."

Many others express similar sentiments to marshal support for global action, hold Israel accountable under international law, free Gazans now entrapped, and end an illegal occupation so Palestinians can live freely on their own land without fear."

The Best Congress AIPAC Can Buy

by Philip Giraldi, September 03, 2009

"Many Americans who thought that the health care debate was important must have wondered where their congressmen were in early August during the first two weeks of the House of Representatives recess. It turns out they were not hosting town hall meetings or listening to constituents because many of them were in Israel together with their spouses on a trip paid for by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Fully 13% of the entire US House of Representatives, 56 members, traveled to Israel in the largest AIPAC-sponsored fact-finding visit by American politicians ever conducted......

President George Washington counseled explicitly against getting involved in the quarrels of foreign nations. What would he think of Hoyer and Cantor and the drones that followed them to Israel on a "fact finding" trip paid for by the Israel Lobby? Words like "disloyalty" come to mind immediately, but the AIPAC trips targeting congress are signs of a deeper problem. Many congressmen undoubtedly display knee-jerk support for Israel either because it is career enhancing or because they are afraid not to. Those who truly believe that Israel’s interests are of paramount importance and that the United States ought to go to war on its behalf should perhaps find another line of work. If they retain even a shred of decency and love of country, it is time for Cantor, Hoyer and others like them to go away. They should leave quietly but do so quickly. The well-being of the United States and its citizens demands it."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Arab governments forced to rely on AIPAC and AIPAC-linked lobbyists and influence peddlers

An Important Report

Wayne Madsen Report (in full)

"WMR has learned from two knowledgeable individuals that various Arab governments have been forced to use lobbyists affiliated with the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) because Arabs have no chance of advancing their interests in Washington without the approval of lobbyists connected to Israeli interests.

Although the close ties between AIPAC and the American Turkish Council (ATC) are well-documented, especially after the disclosures of former FBI Turkish translator Sibel Edmonds, the links between AIPAC and lobbyists charging Arab governments exorbitant fees to advance their causes, is not as well known. A former State Department official told WMR that although most of the Israeli-connected lobbyists are close to the Israeli government, some, who are Jewish, are more independent of Israel. However, all are cashing in on opening doors for Arabs, including Palestinians, in Washington.

WMR was told by one Arab media source that CNN's Wolf Blitzer, a former official of AIPAC and a correspondent for the Jerusalem Post, has vetted a number of Palestinian officials and Palestinian-Americans for relatively favorable exposure on CNN who are "pre-approved" by the Israeli government. The practice seriously calls into question CNN's journalistic integrity in its coverage of Middle East issues.

The former State Department official pointed to Morocco as one country that has entered into a strategic partnership with the Israeli Lobby in Washington to advance Moroccan interests. The post of U.S. ambassador to Morocco has been held two American Jews with close ties to AIPAC since the Clinton administration. Clinton's ambassador to Rabat was Marc Ginsberg. He was followed Edward Gabriel who served until the end of the Clinton administration. President Obama's ambassador to Morocco is Samuel Kaplan, a Minneapolis lawyer and Democratic Party activist and fundraiser.

The former State Department official said that when a former Algerian ambassador to Washington discovered that he had to deal with AIPAC-affiliated lobbyists to advance Algeria's interests in Congress and the White House, he was appalled. The State Department official told him to take a page from the Moroccans on lobbying as an Arab envoy in Washington.

One person cited as a key in the Israeli Lobby shakedown of Arab governments is said to be Representative Jane Harman (D-CA), who was the subject of a brief FBI investigation for engaging in questionable activities with Israeli embassy officials and a major AIPAC funder over interceding with the Justice Department to stop an investigation of AIPAC espionage in Washington on behalf of Israeli intelligence.

Another country that plays the AIPAC lobbyist card is Egypt, which receives billions of dollars in U.S. military assistance, all vetted beforehand by Israeli lobbyist interests in Washington. Daniel Kurtzer served as George W. Bush's ambassador to Israel from 2001 to 2005. Prior to that posting, Kurtzer, the former dean of Yeshiva University, served as Bill Clinton's ambassador to Egypt. Kurtzer is now the commissioner of the Israel Baseball League."

Iraqi Journalist Detained for a Year Without Charge by US Forces Despite Iraqi Court Order to Release Him

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"A year ago today, US and Iraqi forces raided the home of Iraqi journalist Ibrahim Jassam, a freelance photographer working for Reuters. Soldiers seized his computer hard drive and cameras. He was led away, handcuffed and blindfolded. For the past year the US military has held Jassam without charge. Ten months ago, the Iraqi Central Criminal Court ordered his release for lack of evidence, but the US military refused to release him, claiming he was a “high security threat.”......

Guest: Mohamed Abdel Dayem, Committee to Protect Journalists program coordinator for the Middle East & North Africa......"

Afghanistan for Dummies

by Ray McGovern

"As in an early scene from the Vietnam version, U.S. military officials are surprised to discover that the insurgents in Afghanistan are stronger than previously realized.

And our protagonist, Gen. Westmoreland - sorry, I mean McChrystal - sees the situation as serious but salvageable. As Westmoreland did with President Lyndon Johnson, McChrystal is preparing to tell President Barack Obama that thousands of more troops are needed to achieve the U.S. objective - whatever that happens to be......"

Real News Video: So much for 'the good war'?

White House stalls as US public opinion swings against Pentagon's plans to escalate war in Afghanistan

"The three most recent national opinion polls show majorities of Americans opposing the war in Afghanistan as well as the Pentagon's plans to commit additional US troops there. This marks the first time since the war began eight years ago that US opposition has ecclipsed 50%. This mirrors even starker drops in support in other NATO countries that have led to a series of troop withdrawals in those militaries. McClatchy Pentagon Correspondent Nancy Youssef tells The Real News that while General McChrystal's new strategy for Afghanistan will clearly require additional troops, the Pentagon and White House agreed not to release a troop figure request. This goes against the White House's original demand that the report include this detail, and, according to Youssef, represents a response to the war's growing unpopularity."

Video: Obama & Empire: Power, Illusion & America's Last Taboo. (32 min)

By John Pilger

"Author, journalist, film maker John Pilger speaks at Socialism 2009; Filmed by Paul Hubbard at the Womens Building in San Francisco 7-4-09. "

US's 'arc of instability' just gets bigger

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"The New Great Game is not only focused on the face-off between the United States and strategic competitors Russia and China - with Pipelineistan as a defining element.

The full spectrum dominance doctrine requires the control of the Pentagon-coined "arc of instability" from the Horn of Africa to western China. The cover story is the former "global war on terror", now "overseas contingency operations" under the management of President Barack Obama's administration.

Most of all, the underlying logic remains divide and rule. As for the divide, Beijing would call it, without a trace of irony, "splittist". Split up Iraq - blocking China's access to Iraqi oil. Split up Pakistan - with an independent Balochistan preventing China from accessing the strategic port of Gwadar there. Split up Afghanistan - with an independent Pashtunistan allowing the building of the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline bypassing Russia. Split up Iran - by financing subversion in Khuzestan and Sistan-Balochistan. And why not split up Bolivia (as was attempted last year) to the benefit of US energy giants. Call it the (splitting) Kosovo model........."

Washington's Afghan clock ticking

By Daniel Luban
Asia Times

"WASHINGTON - A prominent right-wing political pundit has called for the United States to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, the latest sign of a growing disenchantment in the US with the war.

Hawkish commentators have already assailed Washington Post columnist George F Will for his Tuesday column, entitled "Time to Get Out of Afghanistan"......

Top US officials have called on skeptics to give McChrystal 12 to 18 months to implement his new strategy and demonstrate progress.

But as the controversy over Will's column indicates, there appears to be little patience in the US for a costly and extended war effort. In Washington, the political clock is ticking."

Obama’s Meaningless War

By Robert Scheer

"True, he doesn’t seem a bit like Lyndon Johnson, but the way he’s headed on Afghanistan, Barack Obama is threatened with a quagmire that could bog down his presidency. LBJ also had a progressive agenda in mind, but it was soon overwhelmed by the cost and divisiveness engendered by a meaningless, and seemingly endless, war in Vietnam......"

Threat to National Security, by Mr. Fish

Liberation, not a fictitious Palestinian "state"

A Very Good Piece

By Hasan Abu Nimah and Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 2 September 2009

"Late last month, Salam Fayyad, the appointed Palestinian Authority (PA) prime minister in Ramallah, made a surprise announcement: he declared his intention to establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip before the end of 2011 regardless of the outcome of negotiations with Israel........

....Fayyad aims to project an image of a competent Palestinian administration already mastering the craft of running a state. He boasts, for instance, that the PA he heads has worked to "develop effective institutions of government based on the principles of good governance, accountability and transparency."

But what is really taking shape in the West Bank today is a police state, where all sources of opposition or resistance -- real or suspected -- to either the PA regime, or the Israeli occupation are being systematically repressed by US-funded and trained Palestinian "security forces" in full coordination with Israel. Gaza remains under tight siege because of its refusal to submit to this regime.......

There are two linked explanations for why Fayyad's plan was launched now. US Middle East envoy George Mitchell has repeatedly defined his goal as a "prompt resumption and early conclusion" of negotiations. If the kinds of recycled ideas coming from the alleged Obama plan, the Scowcroft-Brzezinski document, or Netanyahu, are to have any chance, they need to look as if there is a Palestinian constituency for them. It is Fayyad's role to provide this.

The second explanation relates to the ongoing struggle over who will succeed Mahmoud Abbas as president of the PA. It has become clear that Fayyad, a former World Bank official unknown to Palestinians before he was boosted by the George W. Bush Administration, appears to be the current favorite of the US and other PA sponsors. Channeling more aid through Fayyad may be these donors' way of strengthening Fayyad against challengers from Abbas' Fatah faction (Fayyad is not a member of Fatah) who have no intention of relinquishing their chokehold on the PA patronage machine.

Many in the region and beyond hoped the Obama Administration would be a real honest broker, at last bringing American pressure to bear on Israel, so that Palestinians might be liberated. But instead, the new administration is acting as an efficient laundry service for Israeli ideas; first they become American ones, and then a Palestinian puppet is brought in to wear them.

This is not the first scheme aimed at extinguishing Palestinian rights under the guise of a "peace process," though it is most disappointing that the Obama Administration seems to have learned nothing from the failures of its predecessors. But just as before, the Palestinian people in their country and in the Diaspora will stand stubbornly in the way of these efforts. They know that real justice, not symbolic and fictitious statehood, remains the only pillar on which peace can be built."