Saturday, September 19, 2009

What Arab Armies Do Best: Slaughter Their Own People and Protect the Dictator.

N Yemen 'humanitarian disaster'

Al-Jazeera Exclusive

By May Ying Welsh in North Yemen

"....."Whenever we hear a sound we run into our tents. We remember what happened back home. The sound of bombing never leaves your mind. When you hear a plane you just freeze and can't move - you think it's about to fire on you."

Families here could be forgiven for feeling unsafe. On September 16, over 80 people were killed during an air raid on a settlement for displaced civilians in Amran province a few hundred kilometres away.

Scorched earth policy

Askar says she and her family fled the fighting and sought refuge at the al-Mazraq IDP camp
The army launched the "Operation Scorched Earth" offensive against Shia rebels fighting for greater autonomy in Yemen's northernmost Saada province.

But it has proven to be a conflict impoverished Yemen can ill afford, and it has hit the people of this agricultural region hard......

No food or water

Izzedeen says the situation is even more critical in Baqim, 20km from the Saudi border, where up to 30,000 civilians, the vast majority of them women and children, are stranded in the open without food or water and caught in the crossfire........"

Afghanistan: Where Empires Go to Die

Genghis Khan could not hold onto Afghanistan. Neither will the United States

by Dahr Jamail
Global Research, September 18, 2009

"On September 7 the Swedish aid agency Swedish Committee for Afghanistan reported that the previous week US soldiers raided one of its hospitals. According to the director of the aid agency, Anders Fange, troops stormed through both the men's and women's wards, where they frantically searched for wounded Taliban fighters.

Soldiers demanded that hospital administrators inform the military of any incoming patients who might be insurgents, after which the military would then decide if said patients would be admitted or not. Fange called the incident "not only a clear violation of globally recognized humanitarian principles about the sanctity of health facilities and staff in areas of conflict, but also a clear breach of the civil-military agreement" between nongovernmental organizations and international forces.

Fange said that US troops broke down doors and tied up visitors and hospital staff.

Impeding operations at medical facilities in Afghanistan directly violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, which strictly forbids attacks on emergency vehicles and the obstruction of medical operations during wartime........

Let us recall November 8, 2004, when the US military launched its siege of Fallujah. The first thing done by the US military was to invade and occupy Fallujah General Hospital. Then, too, like this recent incident in Afghanistan, doctors, patients and visitors alike had their hands tied and they were laid on the ground, oftentimes face down, and held at gunpoint.

During my first four trips to Iraq, I commonly encountered hospital staff who reported US military raids on their facilities. US soldiers regularly entered hospitals to search for wounded resistance fighters.

Doctors from Fallujah General Hospital, as well as others who worked in clinics throughout the city during both US sieges of Fallujah in 2004, reported that US Marines obstructed their services and that US snipers intentionally targeted their clinics and ambulances.........."

Uri Anery on the Goldstone report

By Uri Avnery

"IS THERE no limit to the wiles of those dastardly anti-Semites?

Now they have decided to slander the Jews with another blood libel. Not the old accusation of slaughtering Christian children to use their blood for baking Passover matzoth, as in the past, but of the mass slaughter of women and children in Gaza.

And who did they put at the head of the commission which was charged with this task? Neither a British Holocaust-denier nor a German neo-Nazi, nor even an Iranian fanatic, but of all people a Jewish judge who bears the very Jewish name of Goldstone (originally Goldstein, of course). And not just a Jew with a Jewish name, but a Zionist, whose daughter, Nicole, is an enthusiastic Zionist who once “made Aliyah” and speaks fluent Hebrew. And not just a Jewish Zionist, but a South African who opposed apartheid and was appointed to the country’s Constitutional Court when that system was abolished.

All this in order to defame the most moral army in the world, fresh from waging the most just war in history!......"

A criminal state that must be isolated, boycotted

By Khalid Amayreh

".....Benyamin Netanyahu, the extremist Prime Minister of the Zionist regime has even asked US Special Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell to assist Israel , especially at the American arena, in order to curb the fallout from the report.....

Second, nearly all credible human rights commissions, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and even Israel’s own B’tselem had more or less reached the same conclusions about the December-January blitz, namely that Israel knowingly and deliberately targeted innocent civilians.

More to the point, numerous Israeli soldiers who participated in the virtually genocidal onslaught on the nearly completely unprotected enclave have testified that they had been instructed to shoot and kill innocent civilians, including people carrying white flags.........

Two more points I would like to make in this regard. First, it is extremely imperative to hold Israel accountable for these crimes. Because otherwise, if the world allows Israel to get away with impunity, the December-January blitz would look very much an innocuous child play compared with the next genocidal war......

The second point is the totally inadequate manner in which the Palestinian Authority has treated this issue. Indeed, as an entity that claims to represent the Palestinian people, the PA should have spearheaded efforts to expose, incriminate and criminalize Israel .

However, the fact that the PA has only contented itself with a few laconic statements about Israeli responsibility for the war crimes in Gaza underscores the moral and political bankruptcy of the PA regime......"

Video: Lebanon commemorates Sabra & Shatila massacre

Everyone seems to be agreeing with Bin Laden these days

Only Obama, it seems, fails to get the message that we’re losing Afghanistan

By Robert Fisk

(Cartoon by Carlos Latuff)
"......In any event, Muslim fighters wold wear down the US-led coalition in Afghanistan "like we exhausted the Soviet Union for 10 years until it collapsed". Funny, that. It's exactly what bin Laden told me personally in Afghanistan – four years before 9/11 and the start of America's 2001 adventure south of the Amu Darya river.

Almost on cue this week came those in North America who agree with Obama – albeit they would never associate themselves with the Evil One, let alone dare question Israel's cheerleading for the Iraqi war. "I do not believe we can build a democratic state in Afghanistan," announces Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who chairs the senate intelligence committee. "I believe it will remain a tribal entity." And Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, does not believe "there is a great deal of support for sending more troops to Afghanistan".

Colin Kenny, chair of Canada's senate committee on national security and defence, said this week that "what we hoped to accomplish in Afghanistan has proved to be impossible. We are hurtling towards a Vietnam ending".

Close your eyes and pretend those last words came from the al-Qa'ida cave. Not difficult to believe, is it? Only Obama, it seems, fails to get the message.......

And what do America's Republican hawks – the subject of bin Laden's latest sermon – now say about the Afghan catastrophe? "More troops will not guarantee success in Afghanistan," failed Republican contender and ex-Vietnam vet John McCain told us this week. "But a failure to send them will be a guarantee of failure." How Osama must have chuckled as this preposterous announcement echoed around al-Qa'ida's dark cave."

We must stop the 'vulture funds' that feed on the world's poor

The energy that drove Jubilee 2000 needs to be summoned again

By Johann Hari
The Independent

"......Here's how it works. In the mid-1990s, a Republican businessman called Paul Singer invented a new type of hedge fund, quickly dubbed a "vulture fund." They buy debts racked up years ago by the poorest countries on earth, almost always when they were run by kleptocratic dictators, before most of the current population was born. They buy it for small sums – as little as 10 per cent of its paper value – from the original holder and then take the poor country to court in Britain or the US to demand 100 per cent of the debt is repaid immediately, plus interest built up over years, and court costs......

Is this who we want to be? Do we want to be a society that allows billionaires to sue the starving, the sick, and the stunted for pennies borrowed by somebody else, long ago? If not, we have to shut these funds – now."

Fatwa fads

From fashion tips to adult breastfeeding – rulings by some clerics range from the eccentric to the downright bizarre

Khaled Diab, Saturday 19 September 2009

COMMENT: I usually do not like nor post Mr. Diab's comments; but I found this comment relevant.

"Baggy trousers are definitely "in" this season. I have it on no lesser authority than Egypt's grand mufti, Ali Goma'a, that icon of clerical cool.

The esteemed Azharite's informal fashion fatwa – you could call it a fadwa – just happened to be all the rage this summer in the form of "harem pants", as Rachel Shabi assures me.

But I doubt Goma'a is interested in developing a career as a style guru or a modish mufti or getting his mug on the cover of Elle magazine. Known as woman-friendly by the standards of the clergy, Goma'a was making it clear that he disapproved of what happened in neighbouring Sudan, where falling foul of the regime's "fashion police" can have serious consequences, as the courageous Lubna Hussein and other unfortunate Sudanese women have discovered.

Luckily, in Egypt, Goma'a and the religious establishment's views are non-binding, although there are some worrying signs that the country is slowly developing its very own de facto "morality police". Nevertheless, in principle, Egyptians are free to dress pretty much as they please – even if hijabless women are an increasingly marginalised minority, as Gihan Abou Zeid points out in this article.......

This has led to some bizarre interpretations, especially with the ratings wars between "satellite muftis" on TV. As a result, a whole line in "have you heard the latest fatwa" jokes has emerged. Egyptians, when they dismiss nonsensical, uninformed talk, say: "Batal tefti" ("Stop making fatwas").........

Nevertheless, sensible or not, the trouble with fatwas is that they discourage individuals from thinking for themselves, undermine the notion of individual choice, and deprive people of the moral responsibility for their own actions.
As everyone's doing it, my fatwa for today is: enough with fatwas!"

US Calls UN Gaza Report “Unfair” to Israel


(Cartoon by Carlos Latuff)

"19/09/2009 The Obama administration on Friday sharply criticized a United Nations report saying that Israel committed multiple war crimes in its Gaza war earlier this year. The U.S. State Department statement ended nearly a week of reactions to findings already rejected by Israel.

The State Department said the conclusions of a UN commission headed by South African Justice Richard Goldstone were “unfair” to Israel and did not fully deal with the role in the conflict of the Palestinian resistance group Hamas. It said the United States objected to a recommendation that Israeli actions be referred to the International Criminal Court.

"Although the report addresses all sides of the conflict, its overwhelming focus is on the actions of Israel," spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters. “While the report makes overly sweeping conclusions of fact and law with respect to Israel, its conclusions regarding Hamas' deplorable conduct and its failure to comply with international humanitarian law during the conflict are more general and tentative”, he said.

The UN report, released Tuesday, faulted Israel for civilian deaths in Gaza, saying it used disproportionate force in the offensive.........."

"60 years of shame" by Palestinian poet Tamim Al-barghouthi

Friday, September 18, 2009

هل يغفر لنا الله؟

A Very Good Comment (in Arabic) by Egyptian Journalist and Opposition Leader

Abdul-Halim Qandil

هل يغفر لنا الله؟
عبد الحليم قنديل

"لا نريد أن نصدم أحدا، ولا أن نسيء إلى المشاعر الدينية للمسلمين، ونحن منهم، بل نرنو إلى لحظة عظة وتدبر.
ولا يخالجنا أدنى شك في أن أغلب هذه الأمة صامت وصلت وقامت وأفطرت على ظن طاعة الله ورسوله، وأدت زكاة عيد الفطر قبل أن تشرق شمسه.
وربما لا يخالجنا شك ـ في المقابل ـ في أنه لن تقبل لها صلاة ولا صيام ولا زكاة، وأنها أمة منكوبة روحيا، لا يغتفر الله لعصاتها، ولا يستجيب لتقاتها، والسبب في اعتقادنا المتشائم بسيط، وشرحه في هذا الفصام النكد بين فرائض المسلمين التي تؤدي آليا، وواقع المسلمين الذي يتدهور ذاتيا.
إذهب إلى أي بلد عربي أو إسلامي، ولن تجد لسنة الخلق تبديلا، المساجد ممتلئة عن آخرها، والساحات مفتوحة على مدد الشوف لأداء صلاة العيد، والزينات والأنوار معلقة وبالألوان، وبقايا موائد الرحمن على الأرصفة وفي الفنادق الكبرى والصغرى، وصيحات المآذن متلاطمة، وكأنك أمام جماعة من التقاة أخلصت لوجه لله، بينما لا دليل واحدا يصدق القول بالعمل، فصيحة 'الله أكبر' تملأ الدنيا من حولك، بينما الذين يطلقونها في حال آخر، وأقرب إلى قطيع من الأغنام، يدعون الخوف من الله وحده، بينما قلوبهم غلف، ويخافون ـ حقا ـ من سلاطين وحكام جرى فرضهم على الرقاب، يموتون في جلودهم خيفة أن يقولوا 'لا'، بينما الظلم يحكم ويعظ ، وبينما وجود الحكام في ذاته ذروة الظلم، فلا يوجد حاكم في بلد عربي واحد ـ ربما باستثناء موريتانيا ـ جرى انتخابه بطريقة ديمقراطية مقبولة، وقد تتعدد أوصاف الحكام، فهنا ملك وهنا أمير وهنا رئيس في وضع الملك، كلهم يحكمون بالحق العائلي، وكأننا خلقنا لهم ميراثا ومتاعا، فوجودهم في ذاته مخالف لشرع الله وشريعة الناس، بينما الناس الصائمون القانتون المصلون كأنهم أصيبوا بالخرس، يسكنهم الرعب، ويخشون المعارضة، إذا قامت مظاهرة عدوها جنونا، وإذا سمعوا عن إضراب حسبوه بطرا وكفرانا بنعمة السيد الحاكم، وإذا دعوتهم إلى نفرة تثاقلوا إلى الأرض، وإذا قال لهم كاتب : مالكم كيف تقعدون ؟، قالوا : هذا ماوجدنا عليه آباءنا، وإنا لأحذية السلاطين عابدون، وإذهب أنت وصحبك فقاتلا، إنا هاهنا نائمون (!)، فهل تكون هذه حالنا، ونزعم أننا مسلمون ؟!، نعبد الواحد القهار، ولا نخشى من دونه، وهم في غيهم سادرون، يعبدون الحاكم القهار، وإن لهجت ألسنتهم بذكر الله، يقولون بألسنتهم ما ليس في قلوبهم، يخادعون أنفسهم، ويكذبون على الله، هكذا يسلك العوام ويسلك المشايخ أيضا، يحدثونك عن سيرة النبي محمد عليه أفضل الصلاة والسلام، وعن ظلم قومه من ذوي القربى، وعن هجرته إلى الحق، بينـــما هم يوالون الباطل، ويختمون الأدعيــــة والفتاوى بطلب طول العمر للسلطان، ويصدمون عينيك وأذنيـــك في كل اتجاه، فهم على منابر المساجد، وفي صلوات الجمعة والأعياد، وفي الفضائيات التي ينفق عليها سلاطين البتــــرول، ويملأون ساعات الإرسال والاستقبال بكلام معاد ومكرور، يحــــدثونك عن الصـــدر الأول للإسلام، وينسون البطن الأخــــير، ويدعون أنهم يقاومون الكــفر، وليست مصادفة أن هؤلاء الذين يمولون فضائيات المشايخ، ويضيفون فضائيات الفتـــنة الدينية، وينشرون الفرقة بين مسلمين شيعة ومسلمين سنة، وبين المسلمين وأهل الكتاب من المسيحيين العرب بالذات، ليست مصادفة أن هؤلاء الذين ينفقون المال لخدمة دين الطاعة والتسليم للحكام، هم أنفسهم الذين يمولون فضائيات الفيديو كليب وهز البطن وتأوهات الليل وآخره، ورغم تناقض الذقون الكثيفة في جانب، ومسابقات التعري على الجانب الآخر، فالعملية واحدة، والهدف هو ذاته، والنتيجة هي الإلهاء عن واجب الوقت بدين الوقت أو بفتنة الوقت.
ثم ماذا تفيد ـ والحال كالحال ـ صلاتنا وصيامنا وقيامنا وإفطارنا؟، ماذا يعني انخلاع الطقس عن النفس ؟ في المأثور الإسلامي عبارة فريدة، وهي إعمل لآخرتك كأنك تموت غدا، واعمل لدنياك كأنك تعيش أبدا، فالآخرة في الإسلام ليست على هذا الانفصال والفصام النكد مع الحياة الدنيا، والدنيا في الإسلام هي مزرعة الآخرة، والقيم الإسلامية الكبرى كالتوحيد والعدالة والمساواة وأولوية المصلحة والجماعة، كلها ليست كلمات نتغنى بها والسلام، بل عمارة نقيم بها الحياة الدنيا على الصورة التي يريدها الله، والأمر بالمعروف هو سنة الله، وليس الصلاة والصيام مع موالاة المنكر، فلا صلاة ولا صياما يقبل ممن يوالي أو يسكت عن السرقات العامة، ونظم دنيانا السياسية والاقتصادية ـ أنى نظرت ـ تسرقنا جهارا نهارا، كلها نظم سرقة بالإكراه، تضع يدها في جيبك، وتشهر في وجهك مطواة قرن غزال، تماما كقطاع الطرق، وقد تلحظ أن هذه النظم في حال الانتفاخ ذاته، وأيا ما كان اسمها ورسمها، انتفاخ بالمال وانتفاخ بالسلاح، انتفاخ بالنهب العام، وانتفاخ بالكبت العام، تريليونات الدولارات في جيب الحاكم وأهله وحاشيته ومحاسيبه ومحازبيه، وخازوق أمني متضخم متورم يجلس الحاكم على قمته، تريدون مثالا ؟، لا أحدثكم بما تعرفون عن حكام البترول وتريليوناتهم المتسكعة في مصارف أوروبا وأمريكا، وعن القصور والجواري وخصيان العصر من مشايخ الإسلام وأزلام الإعلام، وتلك ظاهرة فاشية في البلدان الافقر بعد البلدان الأغنى بمصادفات البترول، خذوا عندكم ـ مثلا ـ بلدا كمصر، وهي أكبر دولة عربية، وحاضرة العالم الإسلامي بامتياز، وهي بلد محدود الموارد، ولا نهاية للسرقات العامة فيه، والنتيجة : أن تحولت مصر إلى سكن لأفقر شعب، وإلى محط لأغنى طبقة في المنطقة، فطبقة أمراء مصر الجدد أغنى من طبقة أمراء الخليج، طبقة أمراء الخليج هبة البترول، وطبقة أمراء مصر الجدد هي هبة الأرض، وبفوائض المال الحرام تشتري الصحف والفضائيات والمشايخ أيضا، وفي مصر المسروقة ـ أيضا ـ أزهر وشيخه ومفتي وطبقة رجال دين أثقل من الهم على القلب، ومساجد لاتفرغ من روادها، وبصورة قد لاتصادفك في بلد إسلامي آخر، المشكلة : أن التدين الظاهر قد تحول إلى بضاعة مضافة لخزائن السرقات العامة، فالمشايخ إما يسكتون أو يمالئون، والناس يصلون ويرتشون بالسلاسة نفسها، يذهبون إلى صلاة الفجر 'حاضر'، ويفتحون الأدراج والجيوب لتلقى الرشاوى عند صلاة الظهر، وينهضون إلى صلاة العيد كأنهم ذاهبون للقاء الله، والله برئ منهم ومما يفعلون، وقس على ما يجري في مصر ما يجري في غيرها.
نعم، هذه أمة لا يغـــتفر الله لمذنبــــيها، وهم غالب أهلها الآن، فالله الرحمن الرحيم يغفر كل ذنــــب إلا أن يشــــرك به، وقد أشرك هؤلاء حكامهم الظالمين السارقين في الطاعــــة والعـــبودية، واتخذوا من أمريكا وإسرائيل أربابا مع الله أو من دونــــه، فهل يقبــــل الله صــلاة أو صياما ممن يحالفون إسرائيل ويتبعون هوى أمريكا ؟، هل يقــبل الله عبادة ممن سلوا صيامهم بلقاء قادة إسرائيل؟، ويقيــمون معهم علاقات المودة، ويتبادلون السفراء، ويوقعون الاتفــــاقات، ويدفعون جزية البترول والغاز، ويحاصرون أهلنا في فلسطين، ويسكتون عن تهويد القدس، وهل يقبل الله صلاة أو صــــياما ممن يسكــتون عن خيانات الحكام ؟، وهل يكفي الدعاء ؟ وماذا نقول لله يوم نلاقيه ؟ هل نقول أننا وجدنا حكامنا على أمة، وإنا على آثارهم لمقتدون؟ !، لو كنا نعبد الله حقا، ولو كانت صلاتنا له تحررنا حقا من قعودنا وهواننا، لو كنا كذلك، لتحولنا من قطيع قرود إلى أمة من الناس الأحرار، وتحولت صلواتنا إلى تظاهرات براءة من ظلم وسرقة وخيانات الحكام، وتحولت مساجدنا إلى ملاذات إعتصام بكلمة الله إلى يوم يرحلون، وحمتنا خشية الله من خشية الحكام.
ولأننا لانفعل، فقد حق علينا غضب الله، وانقطع عنا رجاء المغفرة، وذهب ثواب صلاتنا وصيامنا، وتقطعت أنفاسنا في سباق إلى عذاب جهنم لا إلى نعيم الجنة.

السيد حسن نصر الله - 18/09/2009 - يوم القدسSayyed Nasrallah's Speech, 9-18-09

السيد حسن نصر الله - 18/09/2009 - يوم القدس

Click Here to Watch Sayyed Nasrallah's Speech
(1hr., 12min.)

Sayyed Nasrallah: We'll Never Recognize Israel's Right to Exist


NOTE: I will post a link to Sayyed Nasrallah's speech, as soon as it is available.

"18/09/2009 Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah reiterated on Friday that Palestine belongs to the Palestinian people and not to the Zionist entity, stressing that recognizing Israel's existence is forbidden and calling on all Arab and Islamic governments and people to adopt the choice of stead fasting in the face of the Israeli enemy.

Sayyed Nasrallah was speaking through a large TV screen during a festival organized by Hezbollah at Beirut's southern suburb to commemorate Al-Quds day......

"As part of this nation and I swear in this Holy month of Ramadan that we will not recognize Israel's right to exist. We will never make peace with it even if the international community demands it," Hezbollah Secretary General then pledged. "We will not recognize Israel, neither succumb to it, and we will not normalize or make peace with this malignant cell that should be terminated, even if the whole world recognizes its existence," his eminence went on to say. "We are not obliged neither to recognize Israel nor to normalize relations."

"It's not true that we have two choices of either fighting or surrendering. There is a third option of remaining steadfast and resisting,"......

Sayyed Nasrallah rejected the idea of opening all fronts. "If we wait for all Arabs to open fronts, then we'll have to wait for hundreds for years," his eminence said. "We do not need to open a war front with Israel. The strategy that should be adopted in Lebanon is to preserve the resistance,"......

Turning into the Palestinian Resistance, Sayyed Nasrallah called on all Arabs to preserve it. "As I demanded from the Arabs during 2006 war, if you do not intend to help, leave Lebanon in Peace. Today I say, if it is not to lend a hand to Palestine then do not bother," his eminence said. "The Arab regimes are confiscating the resistance's arms while facilitating the smuggling of weapons used in internal strife among the Palestinian factions," his eminence regretted, calling on the Arab and Islamic countries to lift the siege against the Palestinians in Gaza......

In another topic, Hezbollah Secretary General warned that harming Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem will lead to an unexpected and unprecedented response regardless of any regional and international considerations......."

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The poll asks:

Do you support taking Arab journalists who normalize relations with Israel to task?

With about 1,200 responding so far, 87% said yes.

Boycott Derails Jerusalem Rail Line

Rail Firm Pays Price for Link to Settlements


in Nazareth.

"An ill-fated light railway under construction in Jerusalem was originally heralded by Israeli officials as a way to cement the city’s “unification” four decades after the city’s Palestinian half was illegally annexed to Israel.

But the only unity generated among Jewish and Palestinian residents after four years of disruptions to the city’s traffic and businesses is general agreement that the project is rapidly becoming a white elephant......."

Al-Jazeera Video: Praying for Al-Aqsa access- 18 Sept 09

"Al-Aqsa mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem is considered the third holiest site in Islam.

During the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, thousands of worshippers make their way there to pray in the space where Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.

But for many Palestinians living in the occupied territories, visiting the seventh century mosque is impossible due to Israeli-imposed travel restrictions.

Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland reports on how others arrive at the site after taking considerable risks to make the journey - defying Israeli restrictions and sneaking under the separation barrier."

Real News Video: Coup inciting revolution in Honduras?

Oscar Estrada: Oligarchy's attempt to save their neo-liberal project may initiate fall of entire regime

More at The Real News

"On Independence Day in Honduras, the National Coalition Against the Coup declared that they are seeking a path toward "real independence, both economic and social." They believe that the best way to achieve this is through a national assembly to rewrite their constitution. This runs contrary to most media reports which depict the crisis as a battle over the Presidency. On the contrary, Honduran Filmmaker Óscar Estrada tells the Real News that after years of elections and no gains, the people of Honduras are out to fundamentally change the state."

Dangerous Crossroads: Missile Defense and Washington’s Foolish Eurasia Strategy

The Obama Biden Policy of Denigration and Confrontation

by F. William Engdahl
Global Research

Far from being an irrelevant player, as Biden and Obama were earlier prepared to declare, Russia is a decisive strategic factor in what is a growing move across the world to lessen dependence on the United States as “sole superpower.” The evident decision by Washington now to rethink its missile defense provocation of Russia indicates some in the Administration realize the US military bluff has been called. Now it remains to be seen if Washington is also willing to roll back its demand that Ukraine and Georgia join NATO. Were that to happen, it could signal a major US shift in strategic policy."

Iran rattled by Washington's resolve

By Kaveh L Afrasiabi
Asia Times

"The sudden decision by Washington to ditch its long-held dream of a missile defense shield has generated unexpected momentum for a united diplomatic front against Iran at next month's nuclear talks in Istanbul. Tehran has hardly missed this point - President Barack Obama's gambit poses a tough test for Iran's strategic acumen.....

And what will China do if it perceives an undue chumminess in Moscow-Washington relations at a time when Beijing is incensed by signs of the US's meddling in its affairs? It is possible that stronger Iran-China ties may develop in response to these new developments.......

Tehran must adjust to the fact that improving US-Russia ties will proceed in direct proportion to reductions in Russia-Iran relations."

76 Palestine

Contributed by

Congress Voices

"Congress condemns the Government of Israel’s January offensive in Gaza resulting in 1,450 Palestinians deaths and 5,000 injured and the massive destruction of infrastructure.

Congress further condemns the ongoing blockade that is in contravention of International Law.

Congress calls on the General Council to:

i) use its influence with the British Government to make appropriate representations to the international community to secure support for a negotiated settlement based on justice for the Palestinians

ii) build solidarity with the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions.

Congress condemns the Histadrut statement of 13 January 2009 in which it backed the attacks on Gaza and calls on the General Council to carry out a review of the TUC’s relationship with Histadrut.

Congress calls on the General Council to pressure the Government to:

a) condemn the Israeli military aggression and end the blockade on Gaza

b) end all arms trading with Israel

c) impose a ban on the importing of goods produced in the illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories

d) support moves to suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement.

Congress further calls on the General Council to encourage affiliation to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and to develop an effective Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions campaign by working closely with the PSC to:

1) raise greater awareness on the issues

2) promote a targeted consumer-led boycott

3) encourage trade unionists to boycott Israeli goods, especially agricultural products that have been produced in the illegal settlements

4) encourage campaigns of disinvestment from companies associated with the occupation...."

UK trade unions overwhelmingly pass boycott vote

Press release, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, 17 September 2009

"In a landmark decision, Britain's trade unions have voted overwhelmingly to commit to build a mass boycott movement, disinvestment and sanctions on Israel for a negotiated settlement based on justice for Palestinians.

The motion was passed at the 2009 TUC Annual Congress in Liverpool today (17 September), by unions representing 6.5 million workers across the UK......

Britain's trade unions join those of South Africa and Ireland in voting to use a mass boycott campaign as a tool to bring Israel into line with international law, and pressure it to comply with UN resolutions that encourage justice and equality for the Palestinian people."

UK Minister: We Do not Support Boycotts against Israel


"18/09/2009 "The UK does not support boycotts against Israel as they are unhelpful and polarize the debate," British Secretary of State for Business Peter Mandelson told Ynet Thursday evening in response to a decision by British labor unions to support a ban on importing Israeli goods that are produced in illegal settlements.

The boycott, approved at the annual conference of the Trades Union Congress, also calls for an end to arms trading with Israel and disinvestment from some companies. It was reportedly initiated in response to Israel's military offensive in Gaza........"

Textbooks Become a Dream

By Mel Frykberg

"GAZA CITY, Sep 17 (IPS) - A chronic shortage of school supplies, and severely overcrowded classrooms are crippling Gaza's educational system as tens of thousands of children begin a new school year.

Israel's hermetic sealing of the strip, as part of its blockade against Hamas, has prevented most supplies of paper, textbooks, notebooks, ink cartridges, stationery, school uniforms, school bags, and computers and their spare parts.

"Through our education system the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is spreading the message of universal respect for human rights, peaceful coexistence and tolerance in an atmosphere that since the blockade has become increasingly desperate and radicalised," says UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness.

"The best way for Israel to prevent us spreading that message to the 200,000 Gazan children at our schools is to block us sending in educational supplies," Gunness told IPS........"

Is America Hooked on War?

by Tom Engelhardt, September 18, 2009

""War is peace" was one of the memorable slogans on the facade of the Ministry of Truth, Minitrue in "Newspeak," the language invented by George Orwell in 1948 for his dystopian novel 1984. Some 60 years later, a quarter-century after Orwell’s imagined future bit the dust, the phrase is, in a number of ways, eerily applicable to the United States.....

And peace itself? Simply put, there’s no money in it. Of the nearly trillion dollars the U.S. invests in war and war-related activities, nothing goes to peace. No money, no effort, no thought. The very idea that there might be peaceful alternatives to endless war is so discredited that it’s left to utopians, bleeding hearts, and feathered doves. As in Orwell’s Newspeak, while "peace" remains with us, it’s largely been shorn of its possibilities. No longer the opposite of war, it’s just a rhetorical flourish embedded, like one of our reporters, in Warspeak.

What a world might be like in which we began not just to withdraw our troops from one war to fight another, but to seriously scale down the American global mission, close those hundreds of bases — recently, there were almost 300 of them, macro to micro, in Iraq alone — and bring our military home is beyond imagining. To discuss such obviously absurd possibilities makes you an apostate to America’s true religion and addiction, which is force. However much it might seem that most of us are peaceably watching our TV sets or computer screens or iPhones, we Americans are also — always — marching as to war. We may not all bother to attend the church of our new religion, but we all tithe. We all partake. In this sense, we live peaceably in a state of war. "

For Britons, the Party Game Is Over

By John Pilger

"On the day Prime Minister Gordon Brown made his "major policy speech" on Afghanistan, repeating his surreal claim that if the British army did not fight Pashtun tribesmen over there, they would be over here, the stench of burnt flesh hung over the banks of the Kunduz River. NATO fighter planes had blown the poorest of the poor to bits. They were Afghan villagers who had rushed to siphon off fuel from two stalled tankers. Many were children with water buckets and cooking pots. "At least" 90 were killed, although NATO prefers not to count its civilian enemy. "It was a scene from hell," said Mohammed Daud, a witness. "Hands, legs and body parts were scattered everywhere." No parade for them along a Wiltshire high street.......

......this represents the most sought after achievement of all: the positioning of Labour to the right of the Tories, though it is probably correct to say the two main parties have converged, now competing feverishly with each other to threaten cuts in public services in order to pay for the bailing out of the banks and for the druglords of Kabul. There is no mention of cutting the billions to be spent on replacing Trident nuclear submarines designed for the defunct cold war.

The game is over. Corporatism and a reinvigorated militarism have finally appropriated parliamentary democracy, a historic shift. For those Afghan villagers blown to pieces in our name, one craven motion at Labour’s conference is too late. At the very least, the party’s "grass roots" might ask themselves why."

The Worms in the Apple

Who's really behind that "bipartisan" call to attack Iran?

A Good Comment
by Justin Raimondo, September 18, 2009

I have long held that the invasion of Iraq, and subsequent military occupation, was engineered by a group of neoconservatives whose primary loyalty is not to the US, but to Israel. I said that at the very outset of the debate over whether to launch a military strike, and, although my view was far from popular at that time, as events progressed it became less controversial: the evidence for it was too overwhelming to be summarily dismissed. This time, as we enter the first stages of a debate over going to war with Iran, I make the same accusation against the War Party – and the background and arguments of Makovsky-Rubin make my point very well indeed.

No, it isn’t because they’re Jewish: there are plenty of Jews (no doubt the vast majority of American Jews) who oppose the madness of going to war with Iran. Their past record, however, of pro-Israeli extremism, as well as their organizational affiliations and published writings, are what raise the question of dual loyalty. In advocating that we start what would, in effect, be a world war, in order to eliminate the alleged "existential threat" to Israel posed by a nuclear Iran, whose interests would they be serving? Surely not America’s.

If the Israelis have launched a covert operation in this country designed to push us into warnot the first time such an effort has been made by a foreign power, and no doubt not the last – one can hardly blame them. They, after all, are simply doing what all nation-states everywhere do: pursuing their own national interests. One could certainly argue that Israel’s interests would not be served by such a war, but, really, that’s not my shtick, as they say: I’m concerned with what’s in America’s interests – which is what really puts me on the other side of the barricades from Makovsky and Rubin........"

Revolving doors

Another round of shuttle diplomacy from US Middle East Envoy George Mitchell fails to convince the Israelis to freeze settlement building.

In Ramallah Khaled Amayreh wonders how many doors are left for Mitchell to knock on
Al-Ahram Weekly

This week, Hamas warned the PA against "continuing to deceive itself and the Palestinian people with this 'game of make believe', otherwise known as the peace process". Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said Mitchell's visits to the region were "futile" and a "waste of time".

"He is demonstrating to the whole world that the US lacks the will to pressure Israel into ending the occupation."

Hamas official Ahmed Youssef believes that whatever credibility Obama acquired following his landmark speech in Cairo in June is quickly evaporating as his administration looks set to reproduce the failures of its predecessor. Youssef also lashed out at the Ramallah leadership, saying that it would eventually cave in to American and Arab pressures and agree to enter into a new round of fruitless talks with Israel.

"They are not in a position to say no. We are talking about an entity whose very survival depends on Western aid and Israeli acceptance.""

Thursday, September 17, 2009

تقرير مجازر غزة قد يُدفن

A VERY GOOD COMMENT (in Arabic) by Abdel Bari Atwan

عبد الباري عطوان

"بدأت الحكومة الاسرائيلية حملة دبلوماسية مسعورة في اوروبا والولايات المتحدة الامريكية ضد تقرير لجنة غولدستون الاممية، حول جرائم الحرب الاسرائيلية في قطاع غزة، تركز على كيفية منع وصوله الى مجلس الامن الدولي ومحكمة جرائم الحرب الدولية في لاهاي، وبما يحول دون ملاحقة قادتها السياسيين والعسكريين قانونيا.
الحكومات العربية لم تخيب ظننا، واثبتت انها فعلا في حال موات سياسي ودبلوماسي كامل، فلم نسمع او نقرأ عن اي تحرك دبلوماسي، او تشكيل لجنة قانونية، او وضع خطة محكمة لايصال التقرير الى مجلس الامن ومحكمة العدل الدولية.
حتى السلطة الفلسطينية في رام الله صامتة، ورئيسها السيد محمود عباس صامت كليا ايضا ، ولم يصدر اي موقف من جانبه او من جانبها تجاه هذا التقرير الخطير، الفريد من نوعه، الذي يقدم هدية ثمينة طالما انتظرناها على مدى الستين عاما الماضية. فهل هذا 'الصوم عن الكلام' عائد الى خوف السلطة من اغضاب نتنياهو وليبرمان؟ ام لان الضحايا هم من ابناء قطاع غزة سقطوا في عدوان اسرائيلي تواطأت هي فيه بشكل مباشر، او غير مباشر، وما زالت؟
بحثت في كل نشرات الاخبار، وبرقيات وكالات الانباء العالمية، لعلني اجد تعقيبا من السفير الفلسطيني في الامم المتحدة على هذا التقرير، ولكن محاولاتي باءت بالفشل، ولم استغرب ذلك من رجل تقدم بمشروع قرار الى مجلس الامن الدولي يعتبر حركات المقاومة في قطاع غزة جماعات مارقة خارجة على القانون.
هذه فرصة ذهبية لكل المدافعين عن قيم ومبادئ حقوق الانسان في العالم بأسره للتحرك من اجل وضع حد للمجازر الاسرائيلية، واخضاع اسرائيل وحكومتها للشرعية الدولية، إنصافا لضحايا مجازر قطاع غزة، وقانا ومخيمي صبرا وشاتيلا، ولمنع تكرار هذه المجازر في المستقبل.
اسرائيل رفضت التعاون مع لجنة التحقيق الدولية هذه، واغلقت ابوابها في وجهها، لأنها تعرف جيدا حجم الجرائم التي ارتكبتها في حق اناس عزل، حاصرتهم حتى الموت جوعا لعدة اشهر، قبل ان تقصفهم بالقنابل الفوسفورية المحرمة دوليا، وتطلق عليهم حمم صواريخها من البر والبحر والجو، لاكثر من ثلاثة اسابيع.
' ' '
التقرير اغضب اسرائيل وحكومتها وحلفاءها في الغرب لانه فضح الوجه البشع للمؤسستين العسكرية والسياسية الاسرائيليتين، وتعطشهما لسفك دماء الابرياء من ابناء قطاع غزة، مثلما فضح الشعب الاسرائيلي الذي ايد في غالبيته العظمى هذا العدوان، وآلة القتل والدمار التي استخدمت ضد الاطفال والنساء دون رحمة او شفقة.
لا تستطيع الحكومة الاسرائيلية ان تتهم القاضي ريتشارد غولدستون رئيس لجنة التحقيق بالانحياز وعدم الموضوعية، او تشهر في وجهه سيف المعاداة للسامية الذي برعت في استخدامه لارهاب كل من ينتقد عنصريتها ودمويتها، وممارستها النازية. فالرجل يهودي صهيوني، وصديق حميم لاسرائيل، وقالت ابنته التي عاشت في تل ابيب انه خفف كثيرا من حدة تقريره بسبب هذه الصداقة.
لن نتحدث عن فحوى التقرير، فالجميع يعرف فداحة المجازر الاسرائيلية، وشاهدنا عبر شاشات التلفزة الاطفال المتفحمين، والأسر الكاملة التي أبيدت من جراء صواريخ الدبابات والطائرات الاسرائيلية، ولكننا نريد ان نعرف ماذا سيفعل الغرب المتحضر ازاءه، وهل سيتعامل المستر اوكامبو مدعي عام محكمة جرائم الحرب الدولية مع ايهود اولمرت وايهود باراك وتسيبي ليفني وشمعون بيريس والجنرال اشكنازي بالطريقة نفسها التي تعامل بها مع الرئيس السوداني عمر البشير ومجرمي حرب البوسنة، مثل سلوبودان ميلوسوفيتش ورادوفان كراديتش؟
والسؤال الاهم هو مـــاذا سيفعل العرب وحـــكوماتهم في مواجهة هجمة التضليل الدبلوماسية الاسرائيلية القادمة، والتواطؤ الغربي المتوقع معها، سواء على صعيد الاعلام او في اروقة المنظمة الدولية ومحاكم جرائم الحرب في لاهاي؟
' ' '
نشعر بالأسف ونحن نرى هذا البرود الامريكي الرسمي تجاه التقرير، ونشعر بأسف اكبر عندما نسمع تعليق المتحدث الفرنسي الذي قال ان بلاده ستدرس بتمعن التقرير، وسنأخذ علما بالموقف البريطاني الصامت المخجل.
ان أكثر ما نخشاه هو ان يلقى هذا التقرير مصير تقرير لجنة شكلها الامين العام للامم المتحدة للتحقيق في قصف اسرائيل لمقر المنظمة الدولية في غزة، او تقرير لجنة الاب ديزموند توتو في مجزرة بيت حانون التي ارتكبتها القوات الاسرائيلية وأبادت فيها أسرة كاملة وبعض جيرانها قبل عامين.
فطالما ان الحكومات العربية صامتة، والسلطة الفلسطينية اختزلت قضية شعبها بتجميد الاستيطان، ولا تبدي أي حراك تجاه مليون ونصف مليون من أبناء شعبها ما زالوا محاصرين في قطاع غزة، فلماذا لا تحقق اسرائيل اهدافها، وتهيل التراب على هذا التقرير، مثلما فعلت في كل التقارير والقرارات الدولية السابقة؟
العالم بأسره يقاطع مهرجانا سينمائيا في تورنتو جرى تخصيصه للدعاية لاسرائيل ومدينة تل أبيب، ونقابات العمال في بريطانيا تتبنى قرارا بمقاطعة اسرائيل وبضائعها، واساتذة الجامعات البريطانية يرفضون التعامل مع نظرائهم الاسرائيليين لمساندتهم حكومة عنصرية مجرمة، وبنيامين نتنياهو يحظى باستقبال الابطال في قاهرة المعز، وسفيره في القاهرة يلقى حفاوة بالغة في قلعة 'الاهرام' الثقافية والاعلامية.
' ' '
الرئيس الباكستاني برويز مشرف تعرض لضغوط عربية وأمريكية مكثفة للتطبيع مع اسرائيل، وتبادل السفارات معها، ولكنه قاوم هذه الضغوط بشدة، ليس لأنه ضد التطبيع، ولكن لأنه كان يخشى من شعبه، وقال لزعيم عربي شجعه على التطبيع إنه يخشى لو فعل ذلك ان يقتله الشعب الباكستاني.
لا نريد ان نقول إن الشعب الباكستاني اكثر وطنية من الشعوب العربية، ولكننا نقول دون تردد انه شعب حي ما زال يتمسك بالحد الادنى من القيم والثوابت الاسلامية والاخلاقية، ويرفض ان يرى سفيرا او علما اسرائيليا يمثل دولة تقتل اشقاء له في العقيدة، وتحتل مقدساته.
هذا هو الشعب الافغاني يقاوم الاحتلال الامريكي ويحوّل بلاده الى فيتنام اخرى، رغم فقره وجوعه وأميته، والشيء نفسه يفعله الشعب العراقي، بينما تتحول سلطتنا في رام الله الى حارس مخلص للاحتلال الاسرائيلي، ودون اي مقابل غير الاهانات والاذلال.
الحملة الاسرائيلية لقتل تقرير غولدستــون امامــــها فرص كبــــيرة للنجاح، ليس لأنها تستند الى أدلة قوية تفنده، وانما لان الحكــومات العربية متواطئة معها، ولا تعبأ بغزة وشهدائها. فهل سمعنا زعيما عربيا واحدا يقول ما قاله الرئيس الامريكي جيمي كارتر اثناء زيارته الاخيرة للقطاع بأن اهالي غزة يعاملون تحت الحصار معاملة اسوأ من معاملة الحيوانات؟ عندما نسمع زعيما عربيا واحدا يقول هذا الكلام دون تردد او تلعثم، سنكون واثقين من فشل هذه الحملة الاسرائيلية.

New Attire for the Eid, by Emad Hajjaj

The Latest in Liberation....
...Sorry, I Meant in Fashion!

Che T-Shirt...
Lubna (Sudanese journalist jailed for wearing trousers) Pants....
Zaidi (Iraqi journalist who threw shoes at Bush) Shoes!

غياب الدراما عن خطة أوباما

A Good Comment (in Arabic) by Professor Abdul-Sattar Qassem

"ماذا بذهن أميركا؟مبادرة أوباماهل سينجح أوباما؟

تتداول وسائل الإعلام بعض بنود مفترضة من خطة تصيغها إدارة الرئيس الأميركي أوباما لإنهاء الصراع العربي الإسرائيلي، أو لإنهاء القضية الفلسطينية. الخطة لم تُعلن بعد، لكن مسودتها، كما يبدو قد وصلت وسائل الإعلام، والتكهنات حولها تتسارع.
لقد اطلعت على المسودة بخاصة تلك التي نشرها الدكتور حسن خريشة، عضو المجلس الوطني الفلسطيني، ولم أجد فيها بندا واحدا مستغربا لم يسبق أن تم طرحه ضمن خطط أخرى أو أفكار نحو حل القضية الفلسطينية. وإذا كانت الصيغة النهائية ستختلف عما نشر، فيما إذا نُشرت، فإن اختلافها سيكون هامشيا لا يمس الجوهر
في كل مبادرة، أميركا لا تريد انسحابا كاملا من الأرض المحتلة/67، وتبحث عن توطين للفلسطينيين، وتريد من العرب العمل وكلاء للاحتلال، وتطرح ترتيبات من شأنها الإبقاء الفعلي لإسرائيل في الأرض المحتلة، ولا تسمح بإقامة دولة فلسطينية حقيقية
مسألة أمن إسرائيل تأخذ تركيزا خاصا من قبل الإدارات الأميركية ذلك لأن إسرائيل تعطي تفسيرات أمنية ثقيلة لكل خطوة سياسية تخطوها، وكل فكرة تُطرح عليها
لن يأتي أوباما على ذكر الحقوق الوطنية للفلسطينيين، وإنما سيذكر حقوقا إنسانية لا بد من تلبيتها, أوباما يؤمن بحق الأفراد في التنقل والتعليم وتلقي العلاج، لكن إيمانه لن يتجاوز المعطيات الأمنية الإسرائيلية
القيادات العربية لا تصلح لإقامة سلام، ولا تستطيع أن تصنعه, إن الذين يجيدون التسول والاعتماد على غيرهم لا يجيدون سوى الانبطاح، ولن يقووا على الاستمرار، والذين لا يستطيعون صناعة الحرب لا يستطيعون صناعة السلام

Palestinian Camps Are Ready to Erupt

27 Years After the Sabra / Shatila Massacre


Martyr’s Square, Shatila Camp

"Meandering the alleys and ground vapors of the wet fetid stench in Beirut’s Shatila Palestinian Refugee Camp, 27 years after the 1982 Sabra Shatila Massacre, one witnesses a dystopia. This shanty ground, is the most squalid of the World’s 59 Palestinian Refugee Camps, including the eight in Gaza.

The Camp is an island society of misery characterized by poverty, oppression, tension, nearly 40 per cent unemployment, depression, rising domestic violence, rising student dropout rates, deep frustration among youth eager to enroll in university for fall semester but there is neither tuition money nor places for most Palestinians. The camp families are experiencing rising numbers of respiratory disease cases, nonexistent health care for the majority, pollution and the near total abridgement of civil rights. Many see an explosion on the horizon......"

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story-the issue of Israeli settlement - 16 Sep 09

".....So, where does that leave President Obama's peace initiative? And is the US willing to force its ally to compromise?

Inside Story, with presenter Shiulie Gosh, discusses with guests Raanan Gissen, the former senior advisor to Ariel Sharon, Michael Hudson, a professor of International Relations at Georgetown University and, Azzam Tamimi, the director of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought. "

Al-Jazeera Video: Israel's war leaves thousands displaced in Gaza - 16 Sep 09

"The United Nations investigation into the war on Gaza has accused Israel of committing war crimes and called on both Israel and the Palestinian factions to conduct their own inquiries or face the International Criminal Court.

Israel has been quick to reject the UN request.

Now it remains to be seen if the report will bring justice to the thousands affected by the war, including those who remain displaced.

Sherine Tadros reports from Gaza."

Video: War on Democracy - US backed 1973 coup in Chile

By John Pilger

"An excerpt from John Pilger's documentary The War on Democracy, which recounts the involvement of the United States government in the brutal 1973 military coup that overthrew the democratic socialist government of President Salvador Allende -- paradoxically on September 11. It ushered in a regime of torture and tyranny. Watch the whole video."

Iran bullish ahead of nuclear talks

By Kaveh L Afrasiabi
Asia Times

"Iran's negotiators heading to Istanbul to meet representatives of the "Iran Six" have a renewed sense of confidence. Not only is there no evidence to corroborate claims of Tehran's nuclear weapons drive, but there's fresh cynicism in the international community regarding Iran's past alleged "weaponization studies"......."

More questions on 9/11

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"Last week, on the eighth anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks on New York and Washington, Asia Times Online posed 50 unanswered questions about the immense, mysterious 9/11 riddle. Due to overwhelming reader response, here's a follow-up with 20 more questions - with a hat-tip to all readers who joined the debate....."

Blue Red Black White, by Mr. Fish

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Veolia still intertwined with Israel's occupation

Adri Nieuwhof, The Electronic Intifada, 16 September 2009

"After years of campaigning by Palestine solidarity activists to end the French transportation giant Veolia's complicity with Israeli violations of Palestinian rights, it was reported in early June that the company planned to end its involvement in an Israeli light rail project being built on occupied Palestinian land. The light rail will connect Jerusalem with several illegal West Bank settlements; Israeli settlements and the annexation of East Jerusalem are illegal under international law.

Veolia steadfastly refuses to provide information on the company's intention to pull out of the 30-year contract to operate the train and to sell its five percent stake in the City Pass Consortium......

Contrary to Veolia's reported intention to abandon the light rail project, the company seems to be conducting business as usual with Israel. Veolia justified its work on the light rail project at length at the seventh Global Compact Annual Local Networks Forum held from 8-11 June 2009........

In spite of Veolia's intransigence, the company is no doubt concerned by the recent actions of the Norwegian government. Last week Norway's Government Global Pension Fund announced its divestment from the Israeli firm Elbit Systems, because the firm provides surveillance equipment for the wall in the occupied West Bank. Norwegian Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen said, "We do not wish to fund companies that so directly contribute to violations of international humanitarian law."......."

Gaza's Water Supply Near Collapse

By Mel Frykberg

"RAMALLAH, Sep 16 (IPS) - The International Committee of the Red Cross has warned that Gaza's access to safe supply of drinking water could cease at any time. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says outbreaks of disease could be triggered as a consequence.

The warnings follow a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report Monday that "Gaza's underground water system is in danger of collapse after recent conflict compounded by years of overuse and contamination."

"An outbreak of Hepatitis A and parasitic infections could occur at any time," Mahmoed Daher from WHO in Gaza told IPS. "Already the number of people, especially children, suffering from diarrhoea has risen dramatically."......"

War Without End

by Philip Giraldi, September 17, 2009

"......Congressman Howard L. Berman of California, who is unfortunately the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is also on board the Bash the Mullahs bandwagon. He celebrated September 10th by addressing the National Jewish Leadership Advocacy Day on Iran. Berman called for "…stopping Iran from achieving its nuclear ambition. The Iranian nuclear issue is at the forefront of my policy agenda." He favors a draconian sanctions regime, "I intend to do my best to make sure that those consequences are serious and have a real impact. I will urge the Administration to pursue the strongest and the most effective sanctions measures possible… I intend to take action on my bill — HR 2194, the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act — expeditiously and at the most opportune time to accomplish our shared goal, if Iran does not reverse course. Absent some compelling evidence as to why I should do otherwise, I will mark up my bill next month and begin the process of tightening the screws on Tehran."

"Tightening the screws," indeed. Most would consider a military blockade prohibiting imports of a vital commodity an act of war, which is precisely what Berman and his Florida Republican alter ego Ileana Ros-Lehtinen intend. Presumably voters in California and Florida understand what they are getting when they vote for Berman and Ros-Lehtinen, but do they know that they are opening the door to yet another war? Consider for a moment what the two congressmen and the many others of a like in the House and Senate are saying. They believe that Iran, a developing country with a military budget amounting to only one per cent of what is being spent by Washington, threatens the United States. How exactly?......."

Race row erupts over Carter claim

Former President questions motives of high-profile opposition to Barack Obama

(Cartoon by Khalil Bendib)

The Independent

"After lurking near the surface of political discourse in America for months, awkward questions about race and bigotry burst into the open yesterday after Jimmy Carter forthrightly suggested that "an overwhelming portion" of the more violent opposition to President Barack Obama and his policies has to do with the colour of his skin.

Barely had the words been uttered by the former President than the political firmament was alight. Some were simply shocked that he had dared to tread so heavily on such delicate ground. Some were in enthusiastic agreement. And his critics, including a few Democrats, were furious......."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Palestinian Leadership!"

"Watch out! You Are Going the Wrong Way!
......No! YOU Are Going the Wrong Way!"

SOME PEOPLE CALL THIS, "The Palestinian Leadership."

Barak: Israel's security improving thanks to Abbas's forces

"RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- Israeli war minister Ehud Barak has said that Israel's security had greatly improved over the past year thanks to the efforts of Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas's security forces in the West Bank.

Radio Israel quoted Barak as saying during a meeting with the governor of Jenin Mousa Qaddoura and the chairman of the Gilboa regional council Danny Attar on Tuesday that his forces along with those of Abbas had contributed to such improvement.

For his part, Dr. Abdul Sattar Qassem, a political science professor at Al-Najah University and a former presidential candidate, said in a press statement on Tuesday that certain Palestinians recognize the Israeli "occupation's security needs".

Qassem said that agreements between the Palestinians and Israel entail joint combat of resistance fighters."

Remembering What Happened in Sabra and Shatila, 27 Years Ago: Never Forget; Never Forgive!

Courtesy of Angry Arab

UN Inquiry Finds Israel “Punished and Terrorized” Palestinian Civilians, Committed War Crimes During Gaza Assault

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"A United Nations fact-finding mission has found Israel “punished and terrorized” civilians in its three-week assault on Gaza earlier this year and cited strong evidence that Israeli forces committed “grave breaches” of the Geneva Conventions. More than 1,400 Palestinians—about a third of them women and children—were killed in the assault. We get analysis from author and Israel-Palestine scholar Norman Finkelstein......"

Al-Jazeera Video: UN inquiry finds Israel guilty of Gaza war crimes - 15 Sept 09

"A United Nations report on Israel's war on Gaza says war crimes were committed by both sides in the conflict.

But most of the criticism was directed at Israel's conduct. Richard Goldstone, the judge leading the investigation, said Israel had used excessive force and deliberately targeted Palestinian civilians.

On behalf of the UN's Human Rights Council, the investigators collected evidence, testimonies and even satellite imagery to get an idea of whether Israel or Palestinian factions were in breach of international humanitarian law.

Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros reports from Gaza City. "

Al-Jazeera Video: Judge Richard Goldstone speaks to Al Jazeera - 15 Sept 09

"South African judge Richard Goldstone speaks to Al Jazeera after presenting UN report implicating Israel in Gaza war crimes...."

Al-Jazeera Video: Al-Zeidi addresses the media - 15 Sep 09

"Muntadhar al-Zeidi, the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at George Bush, the former US president, has been released from jail.

Citing revenge for the suffering of Iraqis during the US invasion as his motivation, and pledging to use his new-found status to promote humanitarian causes, al-Zeidi on Tuesday gave a news conference in Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, to give his side of the story.

Watch the news conference here. "

Video: 'Major crisis still ahead, past one was minor'

By Immanuel Wallerstein

"Senior Research Scholar at Yale University Immanuel Wallerstein believes that the real economic crisis is still up ahead. According to Wallerstein, last years collapse was its minor version. "

Obama Lectures Wall Street, by Mike Keefe, The Denver Post

Obama’s Presidency Isn’t Too Big to Fail

By Robert Scheer

"president has only so much capital to expend, both in tax dollars and public tolerance, and Barack Obama is dangerously overdrawn. He has tried to have it all on three fronts, and his administration is in serious danger of going bankrupt....[COMMENT: It was bankrupt from the get-go!]

Evil Speaks – Are We Listening?

Of course not

by Justin Raimondo, September 16, 2009

Given the direction our leaders are taking us – more wars, and bigger ones, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and now Somalia – bin Laden is not wrong to count on our exhaustion and coming defeat. He simply has to wait us out – and time is on his side.

We have, it seems to me, never taken bin Laden and al-Qaeda all that seriously, and that, ultimately, will be our undoing. In him we face an unrelenting and devilishly intelligent enemy, one who knows our weaknesses and leverages them to his advantage.

The only way to defeat bin Laden is to change our foreign policy – not by putting lipstick on a pig and murmuring sweet nothings in the ear of the Muslim world, as Obama did in Cairo, but by doing a complete about-face and abandoning our dreams of empire. Short of that, bin Laden’s satanic self-confidence, I’m sad to say, is fully justified."

An act born from the burning hatred of foreign occupation

By Patrick Cockburn
The Independent
(Cartoon by Carlos Latuff)
It is hatred of the occupation, which shines through Mr Zaidi's intelligent and revealing speech made yesterday after his release from jail. It is the voice of outraged Iraqi nationalism. He said: "I travelled through my burning land and saw with my own eyes the pains of the victims, and heard with my own ears the scream of the bereaved and the orphans."

Not surprisingly Mr Zaidi's action and his cry – "this is a gift from the Iraqis; this is the farewell kiss, you dog" – turned him into an instant hero across the Muslim world and beyond.......

The freed journalist spoke bitterly yesterday of having been tortured while in custody. He said he was beaten with cables and metal tubes in a room not far from the press conference where he mounted his assault on Mr Bush. He was also given electric shocks, he said.

Unfortunately, his allegations are all too likely to be true, since torturing suspects is once again the norm in Baghdad."

UN says Israel should face war-crimes trial over Gaza

By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
The Independent

"Israel targeted "the people of Gaza as a whole" in the three-week military operation which is estimated to have killed more than 1,300 Palestinians at the beginning of this year, according to a UN-commissioned report published yesterday.

A UN fact-finding mission led by the South African judge Richard Goldstone said Israel should face prosecution by the International Criminal Court unless it opened independent investigations of what the report said were repeated violations of international law, "possible war crimes and crimes against humanity" during the operation.......

Amid a detailed examination of most of the major incidents of the war – albeit one carried out five months after it took place – it says that:

* The first bombing attack on Day One of the operation, when children were going home from school, "appears to have been calculated to cause the greatest disruption and widespread panic".

* The firing of white phosphorus shells at the UN Relief and Works Agency compound was "compounded by reckless regard of the consequences", and the use of high explosive artillery at the al-Quds hospitals were violations of Articles 18 and 19 of the Geneva Convention. It says that warnings issued by Israel to the civilian population "cannot be considered as sufficiently effective" under the convention.

* On the attack in the vicinity of the al-Fakhoura school where at least 35 Palestinians were killed, Israeli forces launched an attack where a "reasonable commander" would have considered military advantage was outweighed by the risk to civilian life. Under Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the civilians had their right to life forfeited. And while some of the 99 policemen killed in incidents surveyed by the team may have been members of armed groups, others who were not also had their right to life violated.

* The inquiry team also says that a number of Palestinians were used as human shields – itself a violation of the ICCPR – including Majdi Abed Rabbo, whose complaints about being so used were first aired in The Independent. The report asserts that the use of human shields constitutes a "war crime under the Rome statute of the International Criminal Court"."

A captive Palestinian market

The business picture in the Palestinian territories is not so much of resurgence as of an economy thwarted at every turn

Rachel Shabi, Tuesday 15 September 2009

".......Piece these together and the picture is not so much of resurgence as of an economy that gets thwarted at every turn. That's one reason why many Palestinians aren't buying the fanfare declarations over finances. "You can't separate economic peace from political peace," says Aweidah, one of countless voices articulating the same thing.

It's not just the aspiration for independence and statehood that informs this statement. It's the obvious fact that people can't grow their own economy while an external force is pulling the strings. Until Palestinians are free to make their own decisions, cheery economic signals, while appreciated, tend to be viewed wearily as a case of Israel rewarding the West Bank populace with a few extra rations, for good behaviour."

Israel threatened with international law

Israel's commanders should be careful about booking holidays – the Goldstone report suggests they could be prosecuted abroad

Ian Black, Tuesday 15 September 2009

"Controversy surrounded Richard Goldstone's investigation for the UN Human Rights Council into the Gaza war from the very start, with Israel flatly refusing to co-operate because it regarded it as irredeemably biased. But Palestinians and their supporters will see it as an authoritative if long overdue indictment.

Many of the allegations in Goldstone's 575 pages, though highly detailed, have been made before: his key contribution is to emphasise the importance of international law and accountability – Israel should launch "genuine, impartial and independent" investigations into possible war crimes or face possible action by the International Criminal Court, he urges.......

In a key passage, the report quotes Palestinian interviewees as saying they hoped that this would be the last investigative mission of its kind because action for justice would follow from it. "Every time a report is published and no action follows, this emboldens Israel and her conviction of being untouchable. To deny modes of accountability reinforces impunity and impacts negatively on the credibility of the United Nations, and of the international community.""

UN Gaza report accuses Israel and Hamas of war crimes

Inquiry into Gaza conflict singles out Israeli policy towards Palestinians for most serious condemnation

Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem, Tuesday 15 September 2009

"Israel's offensive against Gaza last January was "a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorise a civilian population", for which some Israelis should face "individual criminal responsibility", a UN investigation has found.

The inquiry, led by the former South African judge Richard Goldstone, concluded that both the Israeli military and Hamas committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during the three-week conflict, but singled out Israel and its policy towards the Palestinians of Gaza for the most serious condemnation. The inquiry rejected Israel's argument that the war was a response to Palestinian rocket fire and therefore an act of self-defence......."