Saturday, February 13, 2010

Video: Gaza fishermen arrested by Egyptian navy

Reflections on Cairo

It is simply difficult to describe and put in words what I saw and
felt in Cairo. First as a city it is massive in size and in
population, second aesthetically speaking it is simply put an ugly city
(quite possibly the ugliest city I ever visited and without a doubt
the ugliest capital I ever visited even worse than San Salvador and
Sana'a). Considering how beautiful the city was back in the 60s this is something !!

The city is depressed and depressing for a number of reasons:

1) the extreme poverty that surrounds you from the moment
you leave the airport , a poverty that is so immense you can not even
conceive it.

2) The city is filthy and polluted, the sky line is dingy
gray colorless and lifeless. Watching the city during the day is like
looking at a black and white film from the 1940s, the city lacks
color, the only vivid color you see is the color of dirt that
surrounds the buildings and the air you breathe. At night it is
actually tolerable ( darkness to Cairo is like beer goggles)

3) The traffic is so bad that driving is the second worst thing you can do ,
the worst is trying to cross the streets and avoid getting hit by the
manic drivers. The sound of car horns is on 24 hours a day it is so
horrid that noise pollution is as bad as air pollution. The sound of car
horns I heard in one day is equivalent to all the car horns I heard in
my life.

4) The city is full of hustlers , con artists and pretty much
it is rare that you run into a native at the tourist areas that is not
trying to rip you off in one way or another.

5) The religiousness of people, you would know what Marx meant when he coined "religion is the
opiate of the masses" when you walk the streets of Cairo. The people
are so hopeless and their despair is so high that God becomes their
only answer and the after life is the only thing they look forward
too. 95% of Muslim women wear hijab ( some wear provocative clothes
tight jeans and a hijab !!!) And you find people praying on the sidewalks during the call to
Prayers. This religiousness does seem to contradict their unethical behavior !! a person
can rip you off and at the same time tell you that he just came from the mosque so there is no way he actually
is capable of ripping you off although you know and he knows that he just did.
The invocation of Allah and praying is like the card Blanche they use to justify their unethical behavior. One of the strangest paradoxes I saw was a window filled with belly dancing clothes across from the Azhar mosque!!

Politically and socially the country is bankrupt.
Corruption is at the core of every thing . The only way to make money
is to be corrupt ( take bribes , cheat. , steal) people who are honest
and try to make an honest living are poor and gave nothing. 10% of the
population is filthy rich , maybe Another 10 are middle class and 80%
are poor (over 50% of those are extremely poor)
At the core of this disparity is corruption and the common man
recognizes that the rich are rich because they are unprincipled,
unethical and steal. This has created a climate of unease and disgruntleness
among the silent majority where you feel that at any given moment the country will turn upside
down. Strangely enough people in general seem to love anwar saddat and
camp David accord. They thing it's the best thing Egypt has done. Some
see nothing wrong with normalization with "Israel" and others blame Nasser
and Palestine for all of their ills. Mubarak is unpopular but people
are afraid of the Alternative so the status quo is better than the
unknown despite of the grim state they are in.
It's hard to predict what is going to happen but the sentiment I felt
is that a straw will break the camels back and the fate of Egypt could
become like that of Iran during the shah years. The current state is
unsustainable that is a fact. Any change will be dire and unpredictable , but change
is coming , it is only a matter of time.

Civis Romanus Sum

by Philip Giraldi, February 13, 2010

"“I am a Roman citizen” was a proud boast in the first century A.D. It implied the obligations of citizenship but also guaranteed privileges and rights that would be observed and protected by the Roman government. Among those rights was the ability to demand one’s day in court to produce evidence if accused of a crime. No citizen could be tortured and the death penalty was reserved for cases of treason. Some might recall that the Roman citizen Apostle Paul of Tarsus, placed under arrest in Jerusalem, successfully claimed his right to appeal to the Emperor and ask for trial in Rome. He was duly transported to the capital city to be tried.

It was not so long ago that “I am an American citizen” might have had a similar resonance......

The role of the Washington as the Lord High Executioner for the world is tough to reconcile with the high idealism of the Founders as expressed in the Bill of Rights. It also begs the question of where it might go from here. Now that the government is not being challenged in its belief that it can assassinate American citizens anywhere overseas it is perhaps not too much to suggest that killing Americans at home will also become more acceptable to a public that has been properly prepped through fear of terrorism......"

In the Land of the Stoner Cops

On the front lines of Obama's campaign in Afghanistan.

By Nir Rosen
Mother Jones

".....Counterinsurgency theorists obsessively study "small wars," such as the British war in Malaya, the French war in Algeria, and the wars in Vietnam. The emphasis is on using the least amount of violence against the enemy, familiarity with the local culture, and painstakingly removing popular support for the insurgents. This involves using proxy forces to kill those who cannot be "reconciled," and searching for political solutions that tempt the civilian population away from the insurgents.

In some ways, COIN and the related "stability operations" doctrine are a rejection of the neoconservative focus on military might as the key tool of foreign policy. Just as the neocons ruled the Pentagon under George W. Bush, so it seems that the proponents of "population-centric" fighting now have a preponderance of influence in the Obama administration.

To liberals, these COINdinistas, as they are dubbed, might seem kindred spirits. They emphasize nonlethal means, humanitarian aid, development work, and protecting the civilian population. They recognize that military force alone cannot solve conflicts, and that in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US military did not know how to operate in a war where "the terrain is the people." But the end result is still a foreign military occupation—which is not America's stated goal in Afghanistan......."

Al-Jazeera Video: Israel's newly routed barrier returns land to Palestinians

"Israel has agreed to move part of its contentious separation barrier in the West Bank.

The re-routing comes almost three years after the country's supreme court ruled that the fence must be moved to ease the hardship of people living in the village of Bil'in.

The anticipated new route will move a 1.7km section of the barrier closer to the Israeli settlement of Modi'in Illit.

Bil'in should retrieve at least 700,000 square metres, an equivalent amount of 65 football pitches.

Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros reports. "

Arieli is a man with a plan. The trouble is, it's a map of Israel

How do you make sense of this place, with its weird Areas A, B and C?

Read at Your Own Risk!

By Robert Fisk

"....I dare not ask about the Gaza Strip. Yossi Alpher has already been reminding readers of the Jerusalem Post that under the Oslo Accords, Israel promised to treat the West Bank and Gaza as a "single territorial unit' but never promised to link the two across 40km of Israel's sovereign territory. If the Palestinians won't accept a "swap", they'll have to think what they are going to give in return for a corridor joining Gaza and the West Bank. The fact that this corridor would divide up Israel just as it would join up Palestinian land is ignored. And what of Israeli Arab villages – are they going to be brought into the swapping game? But Arieli is resilient. Even the Wall – or the "barrier" as he keeps on referring to it – can be dealt with, section by section, "because in each section of the barrier, we can find a balance between Israeli security and the daily lives of the people who live there".

I have my doubts. Long may the Arielis of this world survive. But I fear that Palestine has gone."

The new McCarthyism sweeping Israel

To disagree with the state is to 'delegitimise' the state: that is the increasingly strident response of the country's political and military establishment to those who dare to criticise its conduct

By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
Saturday, 13 February 2010

"It's hard, sitting on the other side of the office table from which Naomi Chazan is picking at her modest hummus and salad snack lunch, to believe that the amiable 63-year-old university professor with a self-deprecating sense of humour has suddenly become the most discussed, not to say demonised, woman in Israel.

Ms Chazan is president of a long-established agency with large numbers of Jewish donors in the US and Britain, which is committed to fighting for "social justice and equality for all Israelis". The New Israel Fund has over the last 30 years disbursed some $200m to around 800 charitable, social and human rights groups, and justly claims much of the credit for building modern Israel's still vibrant civil society.

But in the last fortnight the former Knesset member who by her own account loves her native Israel "without reservation" has been sacked as a columnist on the Jerusalem Post after 14 years, had rowdy demonstrators outside her house brandishing a chilling caricature of her with a horn obtruding from her forehead, and most far-fetched of all, been accused, in a newspaper article circulated to foreign journalists by the Government Press Office, of "serving the agenda of Iran and Hamas"......"

Video Cartoon: Zorba the Gr€€k, by Patrick Blower

Aide to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas embroiled in sex scandal

Footage of naked Rafiq Husseini broadcast on Israeli TV

Associated Press in Ramallah, Friday 12 February 2010

(Rafiq Husseini, second right, who is facing calls to resign, with US assistant secretary of state David Welch, right. Photograph: Muhammed Muheisen/AP)

"Palestinian officials yesterday rallied around a top aide to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas amid other calls for him to step down after a video surfaced showing him in the nude in an alleged attempt to trade his influence for sex.

The footage of Rafiq Husseini, shot by a former Palestinian intelligence officer, has raised an uproar in conservative Palestinian society. In the video, broadcast by Israeli TV earlier this week, Husseini is shown undressing in a bedroom and calling out to an unseen woman, heard speaking off camera, to join him. "Do I turn off the light or do you? What is the procedure?" Husseini is heard asking the woman....."

Talking up war

By Marwan Bishara in Imperium on February 13th, 2010

"....Repetitive Israeli, Arab and American bellicose statements are banalising war and paving the way towards violent self-fulfilled prophecies.

Paradoxically, ominous statements aimed at deterring perceived threats are instead creating a dangerous environment of conflict.

In the process, the fault lines of war are being drawn and redrawn by political expediency as a vicious cycle of menacing statements and counter statements take a life of their own in the media and public sphere.

And wars that are in no way imminent are being made inevitable because of populist, inflammatory and irresponsible escalation of threats over the last few weeks......

Meanwhile, certain American and Western officials and pundits continue to threaten Iran with imminent Israeli attack if it does not comply with their conditions.

However, Tehran has made it clear that any attack by Israel will be seen as having American complicity and that it will respond accordingly......

While US officials have used the Israeli menace to nudge members of the UN Security Council to take action and impose more sanctions against Iran, in reality, the Obama administration has been restraining Israel from taking any military action.

Two of the leading security officials in the Obama administration, Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General James Jones, the national security advisor, have discouraged Israel's use of force and discounted any military attack against Iran as "very, very destabilising"........"

Friday, February 12, 2010

PACBI: All Israeli academic institutions complicit in apartheid

Press release, Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, 12 February 2010

The following statement was issued by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) on 10 February 2010:

"In response to the recent decision by the Israeli government to upgrade the status of the so-called Ariel University Center of Samaria (AUCS) to a full university, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) reiterates its call for a boycott of AUCS and all other Israeli academic institutions due to their complicity in maintaining Israel's occupation, colonization and apartheid against the Palestinian people. While PACBI welcomes the recent protests against the decision to recognize AUCS -- located in the fourth-largest Jewish colony in the occupied Palestinian territories -- as a university, it cautions against attempts to divert the boycott movement away from its basis in the comprehensive, UN-sanctioned rights embodied in the Palestinian call for boycotting Israel to a selective focus on a subset of these rights.

Academics, journalists and others on the Zionist "left" who have opposed the academic boycott for years are now enthusiastically advocating a boycott that solely targets Ariel College because it is illegally built on occupied Palestinian territory. This, however, reduces the scope of the academic boycott to one against settlement institutions, while exonerating the Israeli academy at large, which is just as complicit, if not more, than Ariel in maintaining and justifying the Israeli colonial and apartheid apparatus......."

Why is the PA so reticent about Shabaneh's revelations?

By Khalid Amayreh in Ramallah

"Sexual and financial corruption is "rampant" throughout the Palestinian Authority (PA), according to Fahmi Shabaneh. The former PA intelligence official has made these grave allegations in an interview in the Jerusalem Post, and again on Israeli TV Channel 10. The leadership, claims Shabaneh, knows about this but is doing nothing about it.

Such revelations appear to contain more than a grain of truth and must be investigated openly and thoroughly as a priority by the Palestinian justice system. That may not be as easy as it sounds, however, because the PA justice system itself is basically dysfunctional due to political manipulation and interference....

Until recently Fahmi Shabaneh was in charge of the PA's anti-corruption unit in the General Intelligence Service; he was answerable directly to former intelligence chief Tawfiq Tirawi, so he is no outsider, nor is he a political or ideological foe of the PA regime. That is what makes his allegations so serious.

Shabaneh claimed that, as head of the anti-corruption unit, he and his men succeeded in exposing dozens of cases involving "senior officials" who had stolen public funds but were never held accountable.....

A number of sources confirm that Shabaneh's allegations can easily be corroborated. In the Hebron district, for example, thousands of acres of land were purchased by prominent Fatah officials for millions of dollars. The same is true of large swathes of land in the Jericho, Tulkarem, Nablus and Ramallah areas.....

According to Shabaneh, he was only doing his job and he was authorized to fight corruption by Mahmoud Abbas himself..... "

Real News Video: The Goldstone Report returns

Israel, Palestinians conduct "disappointing" investigations of Gaza war crimes allegations, UN responds

More at The Real News

"The three month deadline the United Nations General Assembly gave Israel and the Palestinians to begin investigations into allegations of war crimes in last year's attack expired last week. Now, the Secretary General was expected to issue his conclusions regarding sending the Goldstone's recommendations for implementation by the UN Security Council. Because the five member organization has indicated it will not pursue it further and the investigations the Israelis and Palestinians conducted were "inadequate," and "disappointing" The Real News' Lia Tarachansky asks what alternatives exist."

US Store discontinues Ahava dead sea products after boycott call

"The ‘Stolen Beauty’ campaign has declared a small victory, after Costco stores agreed to stop carrying Dead Sea Salt from the Ahava corporation.

AHAVA Dead Sea Laboratories is an Israeli cosmetics company whose manufacturing plant is in an illegal settlement on Palestinian land. The settlement, Mitzpe Shalem, was built near the shores of the Dead Sea in 1970.

Activists with the Stolen Beauty campaign argue that Ahava’s use of Palestinian natural resources from the Dead Sea is patently illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention. They have called for a boycott of Ahava Dead Sea products.

After a letter-writing campaign beginning in December led by Costco members, the store now says that it no longer carries Ahave products. The management of Costco did not comment on whether the decision to stop carrying Ahava products was due to the boycott campaign."

How the Taliban pressed bin Laden

By Gareth Porter
Asia Times

"The Taliban drew a tight ring around Osama bin Laden's operations during the late 1990s in a bid to squeeze the al-Qaeda leader out of Afghanistan, recently declassified US State Department documents and other sources confirm. The evidence stands against claims by top American officials that they cannot talk peace with the Taliban because its leader, Mullah Omar, "has blood on his hands" over the 9/11 attack on the United States...."

Program of PA-backed conference aimed at creating pro-Abbas "Clubs" among diaspora Palestinians

By Ali Abunimah

"Figures working for the Palestinian Authority (PA) have recently been approaching Palestinian activists in several countries to invite them to something called the "Palestine Network Founding Conference" in Israeli-occupied Bethlehem in late February. The conference has the aim of creating "Clubs" loyal to the Ramallah Palestinian Authority and its leaders. This initiative is organized and funded directly out of Mahmoud Abbas' office and is directed by Abbas adviser Ramzi Khouri and chief of staff Rafiq al-Husseini (who has recently been embroiled in a controversy over corruption and a scandalous video tape which allegedly shows him). The document posted here is the program for the conference; it includes meetings with Abbas, US-backed appointed prime minister Salam Fayyad the Ramallah "Council of Ministers" and other PA officials. The program also includes a guided tour of Tel Aviv and a "gala dinner" at the luxury Interncontinental Hotel in occupied Bethlehem.

The US Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), an independent community-based network in the United States, last November asserted that the Palestine Network is "part and parcel of the Fayyad –Dayton “state-building” initiative, run directly out of the highest offices of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah." It warned that the PA's effort to establish the Palestine Network was intended to "co-opt our communities in exile and undermine the Palestinian national movement for self-determination, return and liberation" and called on Palestinians not to participate in it.

Army Used to Deport Activists against the Wall

By Jonathan Cook - Jerusalem
Palestine Chronicle

"The Israeli courts ordered the release this week of two foreign women arrested by the army in the West Bank in what human-rights lawyers warn has become a wide-ranging clampdown by Israel on non-violent protest from international, Israeli and Palestinian activists.

The arrest of the two women during a nighttime raid on the Palestinian city of Ramallah has highlighted a new tactic by Israeli officials: using immigration police to try to deport foreign supporters of the Palestinian cause.

A Czech woman was deported last month after she was seized from Ramallah by a special unit known as Oz, originally established to arrest migrant labourers working illegally inside Israel.......
The ISM has been working closely with a number of local Palestinian popular committees in organising weekly demonstrations against Israel’s theft of Palestinian land under cover of the building of the wall.

The protests have made headlines only intermittently, usually when international or Israeli activists have been hurt or killed by Israeli soldiers. Palestinian injuries have mostly gone unnoticed.

In one incident that threatened to embarrass Israel, Tristan Anderson, 38, an American ISM member, was left brain-damaged last March after a soldier fired a tear-gas cannister at his head during a demonstration against the wall in the Palestinian village of Nilin......

The Israeli police also have been harshly criticised by the courts for beating and jailing dozens of Israeli and Palestinian activists protesting against the takeover of homes by settlers in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

Last month, Hagai Elad, the head of Israel’s largest human rights law centre, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, was among 17 freed by a judge after demonstrators were detained for two days by police, who accused them of being “dangerous”."

Obama's secret prisons in Afghanistan endanger us all

He was elected in part to drag us out of this trap. Instead, he's dragging us further in

By Johann Hari
The Independent

".....The revelations this week about how the CIA and British authorities handed over a suspected jihadi to torturers in Pakistan may sound at first glance like a hangover from the Bush years. Barack Obama was elected, in part, to drag us out of this trap – but in practice he is dragging us further in. He is escalating the war in Afghanistan, and has taken the war to another Muslim country. The CIA and hired mercenaries are now operating on Obama's orders inside Pakistan, where they are sending unarmed drones to drop bombs and sending secret agents to snatch suspects. The casualties are overwhelmingly civilians. We may not have noticed, but the Muslim world has: check out Al Jazeera any night.....

The Obama administration is appealing against US court rulings insisting the detainees have the right to make a legal case against their arbitrary imprisonment. And the White House is insisting they can forcibly snatch anyone they suspect from anywhere in the world – with no legal process – and take them there. Yes: Obama is fighting for the principles behind Guantanamo Bay. The frenzied debate about whether the actual camp in Cuba is closed is a distraction, since he is proposing to simply relocate it to less sunny climes.....
President Obama has been tossing aside the calm jihad-draining insights of candidate Obama for a year now. Whenever Obama acts like Bush, listen carefully – you will hear the distant, delighted chuckle of Osama bin Laden, and the needless stomp of fresh recruits heading his way."

Listen Up! The Windbag Speaks, Again!


"12/02/2010 Hamas politburo chief Khalad Mashaal warned that should another war with Israel erupt, the fighting will not be limited to the Gaza Strip.

"If war breaks out, it will not only damage Gaza, but the entire region. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the entire Arab nation[What Arab nation is he talking about? Does he mean the governments who are in bed with the Zionists? He wants those to help him? Sure, just as they are helping Gaza! The bastards have not even attempted to visit Gaza.] . We in Hamas don't want war; we've had enough of the heinous crimes that have befallen Gaza, as documented in the Goldstone Report, but if (war) is forced on us, we will resist the Zionist aggression as we did in the past," Mashaal told the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat.

In the interview, published Friday, the Mashaal said, "Israel is not a source of peace and calm in the region [what a revelation!]. It sends war signals to Gaza and Lebanon, and is even turning Syria against Iran. All of this is caused by (Israel's) extremist leadership [so, a "moderate" Israeli leadership would suit Mr. politburo chief just fine.], led by (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu, (Defense Minister Ehud) Barak and (Foreign Minister Avigdor) Lieberman.

"I hope that the Arab and Palestinian message to Israel will clearly state that war, such as the one that erupted in Gaza, is unacceptable [what does that mean?]," he said.

Mashaal, who lives in Damascus, reiterated the call for Palestinian reconciliation and a "cohesive Arab strategy" [what an idiot!], saying "Palestinian divisiveness and Arab weakness nurture extremism and obstinacy in Israel."......"

Ex-UN inspector: Iran truth overcomes US mendacity

Press TV

"Former Chief UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter says the truth about Iran's nuclear program is prevailing over the hype the western media is creating against the country.

The former UN official took aim at the existing western media hype against the Iranian nuclear program and some personalities who are very good at marring the image of Iran, including David Albright, whose “commentary and analysis is more colored by the opinions of his US and Israeli contacts and connections than it is by his first hand experience.”

“I see the truth about Iran's nuclear program prevailing over the fictions David Albright and others are putting out there,” Ritter told Press TV. Ritter made the remarks after Albright, who is the head of a nuclear think-tank close to the White House, claimed that Iran is on course to produce enough highly-enriched uranium to make nuclear weapons......"

Modernity, by Emad Hajjaj

Al-Jazeera Video: Israel's illegal wall traps Palestinians

"The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has called on Israel to comply with an international court ruling and dismantle its separation barrier through occupied Palestinian land.

Five years ago, the International Court of Justice ruled that the barrier was illegal and should be taken down, but Israel continues to ignore international demands.

Al Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin reports on Palestinians trapped by the wall."

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Forgiveness for Haiti? We should be begging theirs

The very idea of Haiti as debtor needs to be abandoned. We in the west should pay arrears for years of violations

Naomi Klein, Thursday 11 February 2010

"....Haiti's vulnerability to climate change is not only – or even mostly – because of geography. It is Haiti's weak infrastructure that turns challenges into disasters, and disasters into catastrophes. The earthquake, though not linked to climate change, is a prime example. And this is where all those debt payments may yet extract their most devastating cost. Each payment to a foreign creditor was money not spent on a road, a school, an electrical line. And that same illegitimate debt empowered the IMF and World Bank to attach onerous conditions to each new loan, requiring Haiti to deregulate its economy and slash its public sector still further. Failure to comply was met with a punishing aid embargo from 2001 to 2004, the death knell to Haiti's public sphere.

This history needs to be confronted now, because it threatens to repeat itself. Haiti's creditors are already using the desperate need for earthquake aid to push for a fivefold increase in garment-sector production, some of the most exploitative jobs in the country. Haitians have no status in these talks, because they are regarded as passive recipients of aid, not full and dignified participants in a process of redress and restitution.

A reckoning with the debts the world owes to Haiti would radically change this poisonous dynamic. This is where the road to repair begins – by recognising the right of Haitians to reparations."

Surprise surprise! Jewish militias have used Synagogues to hide weapons and arms!!

"This is all a bit ironic, in view of Israel's insistence that Hamas doesn't play fair because it hides weapons in mosques, forcing Israel to bomb them.

Two Israeli curators on Thursday stumled (sic) upon an arms cache dating back to the British Mandate at a Synagogue in Hod Hasharon.

The weapons, which included grenades and bullet casings, were apparently stored in the building by the Hagannah Jewish militia...

Simcha Klein and Aviva Even-Hen, curators of the museum dedicated to the history of Hod Hasharon, found the arms while they were tidying rooms in the synagogue... Klein said that during the British Mandate, the synagogue used to serve as a shelter from Arab rioters, and therefore has long and narrow windows, and slits for firing. These slits apparently made the synagogue an ideal location for stashing the weapons.

-- British Mandate-era arms cache found in Hod Hasharon synagogue; Ha'aretz, 5 Feb 2009.

Not all Zionists are liars.There are exceptions. This fellow knows the truth and speaks it..

"Because we took the land this gives us the image of being bad, of being aggressive. The Jews always considered that the land belonged to them, but in fact it belonged to the Arabs. I would go further: I would say the original source of this conflict lies with Israel, with the Jews – and you can quote me."
– Yehoshofat Harkabi, former Israeli Chief of Military Intelligence, in “Peace Won't be a Plane Ticket to Cairo"; International Armed Forces Journal, October 1973, p.30.

(via Noam Chomsky, Peace in the Middle East?: Reflections on justice and nationhood [1974], pp xv-xvi).

Just a reminder of whom we're dealing with right now!

Not as awful as the "kill the Jews" some inarticulate nitwit shouts every now and then, but still not nice!

PA issues arrest warrant for Shabaneh. Is This A Clash Among Collaborators? Off With His Head;The Mafia Rules Were Ignored!

Comes after former anti-corruption official's ultimatum to clean up ranks.

The Jerusalem Post

"The Palestinian Authority on Wednesday accused former intelligence official Fahmi Shabaneh of “collaboration” [Only Abbas, Dahlan and Fayyad can legally collaborate?]with Israel and issued a warrant for his arrest.

Shabaneh, who was in charge of the anti-corruption unit in the Palestinian General Intelligence Service, was forced to quit his job after revealing dozens of cases of financial, administrative and sexual corruption among PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s inner circle.

In an exclusive interview with The Jerusalem Post two weeks ago, Shabaneh, 49, who lives in Jerusalem, accused Abbas of failing to act against senior PA and Fatah officials allegedly involved in the theft of public funds and in sex scandals.....

In an attempt to silence Shabaneh, the PA on Wednesday issued the arrest warrant against him, for “spreading lies and fabrications” about the PA leadership, selling lands to Jews, attempted murder and “harming Palestine’s prestige and national sentiments.” [For those crimes Abbas should face a firing squad, if tried and convicted!]

The warrant was signed by PA Prosecutor-General Ahmed Mughni, who also accused Shabaneh of attempted “blackmail.”

The arrest warrant is only effective in PA-controlled territories and does not apply to Jerusalem, where Shabaneh, who holds an Israeli ID card, lives with his wife and five children."

Uranium Enrichment, by Emad Hajjaj

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Video: فهمي شبانة يكشف ملفات خطيرة

Contributed by Abdul

فضحية جنسية ل رفيق الحسيني القيادي في حركة فتح

Contributed by "Guest"

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Real News Video (with Transcript): Yemen, the real conflict

Poverty, dictatorship & suppression of socialist movement till soil for extremist forces

More at The Real News

Increased Hostility Towards Reporters In West Bank

"Palestinian reporters, either working for local or international agencies, were repeatedly subjected to attacks by the Israeli army, but recently such attacks witnessed a sharp increase leading to injuries, damage to equipment, and to preventing them from performing their duty.

Two of the reporters, Ata Oweisat and Mahmoud Oleyyan, work for the al Quds newspaper. Another wounded journalist, Ahmad Gharabely, works for the French Press Agency.....

The Palestinian Journalists Forum called upon the International Journalists Forum, human rights and legal groups to intervene and stop the violations and attacks against reporters."

Video: Goldstone Facts-The Real Story Behind Israel's Invasion of Gaza-Part 1

"In this video, we distill out the findings of the Chapter 11("Deliberate Attacks against the Civilian Population") of the Goldstone Report to make it accessible to the lay public. The factual and legal findings are narrated by Noam Chomsky. The video also contains live testimonies of Khalid, Kawthar and Samar Abd Rabbo before the UN Fact Finding Mission headed by Justice Richard Goldstone. For more information on this video, please go to"

The end of sectarianism?

Sami Halabi, Electronic Lebanon, 11 February 2010

"Every society has its embarrassing moments. Lebanon seems to be based on them. Take for instance a recent study debunking the myth about the consequences of Lebanese women married to foreign men being allowed to pass on their nationality to their husbands and children. The popular argument is expounded as such: If these women were allowed to pass on their nationality, the sectarian make up of Lebanon would drastically change because of the sheer amount of Palestinians that would be naturalized, thus upsetting the delicate sectarian "balance" of the country.

In typical Lebanese fashion, the issue does not stand alone in the context of wider regional conflicts. If all of these stateless Palestinians were naturalized, then they would lose their right of return as they did in Jordan.

So how many Lebanese women are married to Palestinians? Two percent. And, to make matters worse the largest group of foreigners married to Lebanese women is actually Syrians, not Palestinians......"

Where war goes, propaganda follows

Manipulation of news by government is easy when insurgents start targeting journalists

By Patrick Cockburn

"American and Afghan forces are poised to attack the town of Marjah, the largest Taliban stronghold in Afghanistan, in the first major US military offensive since the President Barack Obama announced that he was sending 30,000 reinforcments.

The US strategy is to expel, kill or capture the Taliban, prevent their return, and then provide aid and services to a grateful populace. Described as a sophisticated attempt "to win the hearts and minds of Afghans", its covert and more realistic aim is to win the hearts and minds of the American media, particularly those back in the US who direct the efforts of reporters on the ground. The message the US military wants to send is that in Afghanistan it is fighting a winnable war and not blundering deeper into a quagmire......

The largely mythical US success in Iraq is now to be replicated in Afghan towns like Marjah and skirmishes there will be heavily reported. A Nato spokesman says the people of the town will soon "feel the benefits of better governance, of economic opportunities and of operating under the legitimate authorities of Afghanistan". But according to a leaked cable from the US ambassador in Kabul, Karl Eikenberry, to President Obama three months ago, no such Afghan authority exists at any level. Instead he warned that US troop reinforcements, which are now going into action, will only ensure "an indefinite, large-scale US military role in Afghanistan". "

قاسم: ما نشر عن فساد السلطة غيضٌ من فيضٍ

"موظفو السلطة يُورَّطون في الفساد كي لا يُعارضوا"

"رام الله - المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام

أكد الكاتب والأكاديمي الفلسطيني الدكتور عبد الستار قاسم أستاذ العلوم السياسية في "جامعة النجاح"؛ أن ما نشرته القناة العاشرة العبرية ليس جديدًا، وأن الفساد في سلطة رام الله برئاسة محمود عباس المنتهية ولايته سلوكٌ اعتياديٌّ، وما نشرته القناة ليس إلا غيضًا من فيضٍ، وإقرارًا لواقعٍ يعرفه الفلسطينيون منذ زمن طويل.

وقال قاسم، في تصريحاتٍ صحفيةٍ اليوم الخميس (11-2): "إن ما جاء به تقرير القناة التلفزيونية العبرية العاشرة عن تورُّط شخصياتٍ في مكتب الرئيس محمود عباس ونافذةٍ في "السلطة الفلسطينية" في قضايا فساد ليس جديدًا بالنسبة إلينا؛ فهذه أمورٌ نعرفها منذ زمن طويل، ولكن العرب لا ينشرونها، والفساد في السلطة ظاهرةٌ وسلوكٌ اعتياديٌّ، ونحن نملك قصصًا كثيرة لكننا لا نملك الوثائق؛ لذلك عندما تأتي أخبار موثقة كالتي أذاعتها القناة "الإسرائيلية" العاشرة لا يستطيع أحد إنكارها؛ فهي تتكلم بالصوت والصورة".

ونفى قاسم التآمر في نشر التقرير، وقال "ليس صحيحًا أن نشر التقرير مؤامرة "إسرائيلية" لإضعاف السلطة؛ ذلك لأن من نشر التقرير ليس المخابرات "الإسرائيلية"، وإنما هي وسيلة إعلام، وأنا أعتقد أنه ليس من مصلحة المخابرات "الإسرائيلية" أن تنشر مثل هذه الفضائح الآن؛ لأن مصلحتها مع هؤلاء، ولو أنها أرادت أن تضعفهم لنشرت لهم كل يوم فضائحهم التي تملكها، لكنها لا تريد ذلك، أما الحديث عن أنها تريد الضغط على الفلسطينيين من أجل المجيء إلى التفاوض فهذا أيضًا تفسيرٌ غير مقنعٍ؛ لأن المفاوضات لم تنقطع، وجارية "تحت الطاولة"، ودليلها استمرار التنسيق الأمني، ولو أن المفاوضات متوقفة لكان التنسيق الأمني توقف".

وأشار قاسم إلى أن ظاهرة الفساد لدى قيادات السلطة ثمرةٌ لسياساتٍ تمَّ اعتمادها منذ وقتٍ مبكرٍ في "منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية" وقال: "تاريخيًّا تمَّ ضبط أناسٍ وهم عراة لدى مومسات عاهرات، وتم نقلهم من أماكن عملهم إلى مراكز أعلى؛ ولذلك لا يتوقع أحد أن يتم التحقيق في المعلومات المنشورة؛ لأن الأمر يتصل بسياسة طويلة تم ترسيخها عبر السنوات تقوم على توريط المعاونين في "منظمة التحرير" في الفساد حتى لا يعارضوا".

State of denial: Robert Fisk searches for peace in Israel

Can peace in the Middle East be achieved while both Israelis and Palestinians refuse to give ground? Robert Fisk takes a road trip through a divided land, from Ben-Gurion's Tel Aviv villa to Jerusalem, Bethlehem and the besieged Gaza Strip.

Read at Your Own Risk

"....And of course, it all boils down to this. The Israeli-Arab conflict is about land. It is about colonies and walls and about bi-national states and two states and – in the end – about who has power. The Israelis with their eternal American supporters? Or the Palestinians, hopelessly divided and soaked – in Gaza, at least – in corruption and nepotism. The tunnels that feed Gaza are skimmed for profits by Hamas.

But what of the hatred of the soul? I went to Hebron and saw, on the walls, for the foreign tourists, the words of the Jewish settlers: "The Torah, kindness and happiness." Then, just up the road, where the Palestinians are being driven out and tourists do not venture, another graffiti. "This is for the Arabs," it said in Hebrew. And beneath was drawn a dagger. Strength and rectitude, moral image and human values. What would Ben-Gurion have made of this? "

Row over plan to build Jewish museum of tolerance on site of Muslim cemetery

• Islamic groups say site contains thousands of graves
• Petition challenges court's decision to back project

Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem, Wednesday 10 February 2010

"A group of Palestinians descended from 15 of Jerusalem's oldest Arab families lodged a protest with the UN today in a fresh effort to prevent the construction of a "Museum of Tolerance" on the site of an ancient Muslim cemetery.

The project, run by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Los Angeles, has been dogged by controversy since its launch in 2004. Islamic groups and individual Palestinians complained that the site, in west Jerusalem, was the ancient cemetery of Ma'man Allah, also known as Mamilla, which housed thousands of graves dating back hundreds of years and where even today there are still many gravestones and tombs......

The petition contains maps, photographs and other documents to make the case that the museum site is on the grounds of the cemetery, as is the car park. When the car park was built in the early 1960s there were protests, the petition says, but Palestinians in Israel were under military law, which severely curtailed their civil rights, including their ability to challenge the work."

"I'd rather die of hunger than entertain the possibility of coaching Israel,"

"I can understand Israel's jealousy of the Egyptian team and its successes," Shehata was quoted as saying. "But it would be impossible from my perspective to visit Israel or train its team, even if Israel were the only country in the world that wanted to hire me."

He continued: "How can these Zionists think that I would take on the task of coaching a side that includes murderers of children and pensioners? How could I work to help a team that represents a nation of occupiers?"

Break the silence on Iran


By Lamis Andoni

"Three decades ago, the Iranian revolution inspired generations of Arabs and infused in them a spirit of resistance to foreign intervention. It came at a time when many Arabs had been disheartened by the 1979 Camp David agreement between Israel and Egypt, and sparked hope in a regional power that could stand up to Israel.

Egypt's exit from the equation of the Israeli-Arab conflict was a blow to the Palestinian and Arab struggle to end Israeli occupation and achieve self-determination for the dispossessed Palestinian people.

But 'the Islamic Revolution' transformed Iran from a gendarme for US interests in the region into an ally of Arab causes, thereby dramatically altering the Middle East landscape.....

Three decades later, Iran is still viewed as the only serious deterrent to Israeli power, but its image as an expression of people power has been marred by its backing of sectarian Iraqi Shia political parties and ruthless repression of Iranian opposition.

Its silence and inaction during the 2003 invasion of Iraq was tantamount to complicity that facilitated the US-led occupation of the country. It was a position dictated more by its regional interests - asserting influence in Iraq - and vengeance for an eight-year war that was started by Baghdad in 1980.

But its backing of Hezbollah during its liberation of South Lebanon from Israeli occupation and during the 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon reinstated its status as a real and effective supporter of Arab resistance.

A majority of Arabs also admire Iran's refusal to compromise or negotiate on its right to develop nuclear power - in sharp contrast with weak and impotent Arab governments......

The dilemma of many Arab intellectuals, and political activists, is that while many, especially secular writers, may be critical or even resent Iran's increasing theocracy, they are wary of being used - wittingly or unwittingly - to justify Israeli and American agendas against Iran.

This dilemma is not new. Most writers refrained from taking the government of Saddam Hussein, the late Iraqi president, to task over repression of the Iraqi people in the years leading up to the 1991 and 2003 wars......

But the fact remains that the opposition has legitimate grievances and that some of the best sons and daughters of the Iranian revolution - that inspired millions of Arabs - are being persecuted......

With few exceptions, most Arab and leftist columnists in the West have been exclusively focused on debunking Western and Israeli arguments for war against Iran - ignoring reports of the arrests, torture and execution of dissidents or critics in the Islamic Republic.

This has left the reporting and commentary wide open for pro-Western government columnists and news outlets to control the spin and expropriate the agenda of the reformists in the service of the gathering campaign for war against Iran.

On the anniversary of the Iranian revolution it is time for Arab and progressive writers as they rightly oppose the calls for war on Iran to break the silence on the state's abuse of human rights and harassment and repression of the opposition.

Just as the Western governments cannot cynically exploit the opposition to justify their aggressive measures against Iran we cannot allow our commitment to Palestine, and what we view as just causes to silence us against abuse of the Iranian people."

"It is no longer my country!'

(A settler tosses wine over a Palestinian woman on Shuhada Street in Hebron)

"For me, this business called the state of Israel is finished. I am too old to continue waiting. (...) I can't bear to see it anymore, the injustice that is done to the Arabs, to the Bedouins. All kinds of scum coming from America and as soon as they get off the plane taking over lands in the territories and claiming them for their own. And they do it in full daylight, with the backing of the government. The army and police do nothing to stop them. Stop them? The army and police are helping them in every way. I can't do anything to change it. I can only go away and let the the whole lot go to hell without me.'
Actress (and household name) Elisheva Michaeli

American Jews launch campaign to ‘break the law of return' (for the Jews)

"A new campaign has been announced on Facebook by American Jews rejecting the "Law of Return," which allows me to move to Israel tomorrow, while a Palestinian who was born in the ‘48 territories/Israel can’t go near his or her ancestral village. Writes one of the organizers, Amy Kaplan, an English prof at U of Pennsylvania: "Given that Israel sees itself as the Jewish homeland, which it claims to defend on the part of Jewish people everywhere, I feel personally implicated in the violence it perpetrates in our name."

An article suggestion for Ethan Bronner (or his successor)

Here’s an idea for a good article in the New York Times — a profile of Uri Davis, the Israeli Jew who is an elected member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council. Davis calls himself "a Hebrew Palestinian." Why can we only read about such interesting people in the alternative press, like the distinguished In These Times?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Eli Wiesel scored $500,000 for speech to congregation of Hagee, a Holocaust revisionist

For delivering a single speech to Hagee’s congregation, Wiesel received a check for $500,000 toward his foundation, according to Marita Styrsky, the wife of Christians United for Israel Eastern Regional Director Victor Styrsky (Christians United is Hagee’s lobbying arm). So Wiesel got his money and Hagee got a photo with a Nobel Prize-winning Holocaust survivor. Everybody went home happy....

...Since praising Hagee, Wiesel has gone on to condemn the Goldstone Report as "a crime against the Jewish people." Wiesel’s remarkable statement prompted Richard Silverstein to ask, "What was the last event in world history you can recall being a “crime against the Jewish people?” The answer is pretty obvious.
Max Blumenthal

السلطة تدين مقتل جندي إسرائيلي


"أدانت السلطة الفلسطينية الأربعاء مقتل جندي إسرائيلي طعنا بسكين شاب فلسطيني قرب نابلس بالضفة الغربية، معتبرة أن الحادث يتعارض مع المصالح الوطنية الفلسطينية.

وتعهد رئيس حكومة تصريف الأعمال الفلسطينية سلام فياض بأن تتخذ السلطة جميع الإجراءات اللازمة لمنع تكرار مثل ذلك الحادث.

وقال بيان أصدره مكتب فياض "هذا الحادث مدان من قبلنا، وهو يتعارض مع المصالح الوطنية الفلسطينية ومع الجهود التي تبذلها السلطة الوطنية وكذلك مع الالتزامات التي أخذتها على عاتقها".

وحذر فياض "من مخاطر الانجرار إلى أعمال العنف التي ثبت بالملموس مدى الضرر الذي تلحقه بالمصالح العليا لشعبنا"، ودعا الفلسطينيين إلى "اليقظة من عواقب هذه الأعمال".

وكان مراسل الجزيرة نت في الضفة الغربية ذكر في وقت سابق أن جنديا إسرائيليا قتل طعنا بسكين شاب فلسطيني قرب حاجز زعترة جنوب مدينة نابلس.

وقال شهود عيان للجزيرة نت إن شابا اقترب من الجندي الذي كان يجلس في سيارة جيب عسكرية قرب الحاجز وطعنه في رقبته عدة طعنات.

وأضاف الشهود أنه عندما حاول الجندي الهروب بسيارته انقلبت السيارة به ما أدى لإصابته بجروح خطيرة، وقد اعتقل الشاب الفلسطيني عقب إطلاق النار عليه من الجنود الإسرائيليين الذين كانوا يوجدون على الحاجز، حيث أصيب بقدميه.

وأعلن الجيش الإسرائيلي في بيان أن القتيل ضابط في الجيش الإسرائيلي فيما منفذ العملية هو من عناصر الأمن الفلسطيني.

The Netanyahu-Fayyad "economic peace" one year on

Ziyaad Lunat, The Electronic Intifada, 10 February 2010

"......Hamas' election in 2006 showed how vital is the Palestinian Authority's dependence on foreign donors. It also showed how easily donors can turn off the money tap and cause the near destruction of the Palestinian social fabric as in Gaza. The plan that is being forged in the West Bank is fostering such dependence even more, raising the costs for sustaining the Palestinian struggle for liberation. Should the masses awaken from the current delusion, many of the rich elites would not hesitate to turn against their brethren to protect their status and power. Adding to the current political and territorial separation affecting Palestinians, the emerging economic stratification is yet another challenge in the way of Palestinian unity and liberation."

The false sacredness of the 1967 border

Hasan Abu Nimah, The Electronic Intifada, 10 February 2010

"...Setting the border first, it was hoped, would automatically "resolve" the issue of the settlements, and this is now the focus of the "indirect talks" that US envoy for the Middle East peace process George Mitchell is trying to broker.

Of course the settlements, built on occupied West Bank land in flagrant violation of international law, would not be removed. Rather, the border would simply be redrawn to annex the vast majority of settlers and their homes to Israel, and as if by magic, the whole issue of the settlements would disappear just like that. This charade would be covered up with a so-called "land swap" of which Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority often speak as a way to soften up the Palestinian public for a great surrender to Israeli diktat.

All this is based on the common, but false notion that the 4 June 1967 demarcation line separating Israel from the West Bank (then administered as part of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan), is the legitimate border of Israel and should therefore be the one along which the conflict is settled.

This assumption is wrong; the 1967 border has no legitimacy and should not be taken for granted......

The Palestinian submission to the common demand that the large settlement blocs be annexed to Israel against a fictitious land swap is another vindication of the Israeli belief that facts created are facts accepted.

If and only if Israel adheres to all aspects of UN Security Council resolution 242 and others, could the 1967 line have any legitimacy. Until then, if Israel tells the Arabs that the West Bank settlements of Ariel and Maale Adumim are part of Israel, then the Arab position can be that Haifa, Jaffa and Acre are still part of Palestine."

A Eurocentric Problem

Cartographic Violence


"On no other major civilization do self-regard, self-congratulation and denigration of the ‘Other’ run as deep, nor have these tendencies infected as many aspects of their thinking, laws, and policy, as they have in Western Europe and its overseas extensions.[2] These tendencies reached their apogee during the nineteenth century, retreated briefly after World War II, but have been staging a come back since the end of the Cold War.......

In order to ‘explain’ the history of European superiority, the Eurocentrics first had to manufacture the history of this superiority. They endowed ‘Europe’ with historical depth by appropriating Greece and Rome; this was accomplished by defining Europe as a geographical, racial and cultural unity. In addition, they denied the eastern origins of Greek civilization, and, for the same reason, they passed over the connections of early Christianity to Syria and North Africa. In order to obscure Western Europe’s extensive debt to the Islamicate, they devalued the birth of new cultural formations in western Europe in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, flowing from contacts with the Arabs in Spain, Sicily and the Levant.[4] Instead, this history was moved forward several centuries to place it in northern Italy, whose cultural flowering – defined as a rebirth – was connected to the ‘direct’ recovery of Greek philosophy, sciences and literature.

The Eurocentrics construct a European history that begins in Greece, migrates westward to Rome, and again to points in Western Europe. In tracing the origins of the Renaissance to Greece, the Eurocentrics show little embarrassment about the fifteen centuries during which the Greek sciences and philosophy – mostly forgotten in ‘Europe’ – were being cultivated in the Middle East......"

Palestinian Families Appeal to UN Over Israeli Construction of “Museum of Tolerance” on Jerusalem’s Historic Mamilla Cemetery

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"Palestinian families have filed a petition with the United Nations over the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s plans to build a “Museum of Tolerance” over the historic Muslim cemetery Jerusalem. Opponents of the project have long questioned how a monument to tolerance can be built on the remains of the graves of generations of Palestinian Muslims. We speak to Columbia University professor and author Rashid Khalidi, a petitioner whose ancestors were buried at the Mamilla cemetery; and Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which is representing the families in their petition......"

Al-Jazeera Video: Israel denies NGOs work permits

"The Israeli interior ministry has stopped issuing work permits to foreigners working for international non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

In the last few weeks, NGO staff have been given tourist visas instead, making it virtually impossible for them to carry out their work.

The new Israeli policy affects 120 International NGOs, of which many which provide vital developmental and humanitarian aid to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

Many NGO members have said that Israel's actions are illegal because the country is obligated under Geneva and humanitarian law to issue them visas and let them work freely there.

Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros reports from Jerusalem."

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story - What future for aid organisations in the Occupied Territories?

"The Israeli interior ministry has stopped granting work permits to foreigners working for most of the international NGOs operating in the Occupied Territories. Inside Story asks: Why this change in Israeli policy and what will it mean for foreign aid organisations working in the Occupied Territories? "

Jack Abramoff’s old friend now South African envoy to Argentina

By Wayne Madsen
Online Journal Contributing Writer

"(WMR) -- WMR’s South African intelligence sources report that last year’s posting of former opposition Democratic Party/Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon as South African ambassador to Buenos Aires is part of an effort to coordinate the Zionist and right-wing campaign to destabilize populist and progressive governments in Latin America......

This year’s Brazilian presidential election of a successor to left progressive President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is also a top priority for manipulation. Sao Paulo State Governor Jose Serra of the right-wing opposition party is the preferred candidate for the neocons and international banking elites. The nightmare candidate for the neocons and Zionists is Dilma Rousseff, Lula’s current chief of staff, who would be Brazil’s first female president. Rousseff’s father was an active member of the Bulgarian Communist Party and she has stated that she would continue Lula’s foreign policies, including his support for Chavez and Iran.

Israel has used Argentina’s and Brazil’s sizable Jewish constituencies to marshal opposition to the Middle East foreign policies of the Kirchners and Lula. With Leon now in charge of the South African embassy in Buenos Aires, Israel’s propaganda activities have received a huge diplomatic boost."

Why the Oscars are a Con

by John Pilger
Global Research, February 10, 2010

"Why are so many films so bad? This year’s Oscar nominations are a parade of propaganda, stereotypes and downright dishonesty. The dominant theme is as old as Hollywood: America’s divine right to invade other societies, steal their history and occupy our memory. When will directors and writers behave like artists and not pimps for a world view devoted to control and destruction?...... "

Yemen, the new Waziristan

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"The United States fighting machine is still hostage to the outdated notion of "territory". So it's automatic to have the Pentagon dispatch its might to fight "al-Qaeda" in Yemen and in the Waziristan tribal areas in Pakistan. All that is there, though, beyond some individualistic neo-jihadis, are ghosts....

Tens of thousands of foreign troops are bogged down in Afghanistan because the North Atlantic Treaty Organization invoked its Article 5 collective defense provision in 2001 to fight "al-Qaeda". Sooner rather than later, NATO will also hit Yemen.

As much as oil is power, the good ol' "war on terror" - rebranded or not by the US - is alive and kicking. Iraq, Afghanistan (then AfPak), Yemen, Somalia, these are all cogs in the relentless full spectrum dominance machine, the real deal behind the "war on terror" cover story, intimately linked to Washington's scramble to control and/or monitor as many global sources of oil and gas as possible......"

Wall Street Wants a Refund

By Robert Scheer

"“Buyer’s remorse” is the way Sen. John Cornyn, the Senate Republicans’ fundraiser, gleefully refers to Wall Street moguls’ current disenchantment with the U.S. president they thought they had bought....

While his base was distracted with a never very bold health care proposal, designed to mollify the insurance companies while providing at least the appearance of universal health care, Obama ceded the genuinely populist cause in the midst of a banking meltdown by coddling Wall Street. It was only a year into his administration, at a point when the banks had obviously failed to deliver on a promise to aid distressed homeowners and increase lending, that Obama in direct response to adverse poll results once again sounded the populist notes of the early months of his primary campaign.

And for that too-little-too-late response to the catastrophic economic crisis they caused, Wall Street titans will now take Obama to the woodshed to teach him and the Democrats a lesson about who’s really in control. "

Ethan Bronner's bias, conflict of interest confirmed by own shocking statements

By Ali Abunimah

"Controversial New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner spoke at Brandeis University last week. According to a report in the student newspaper, The Justice, he said some pretty shocking stuff. If there was any doubt about his lack of objectivity that should now be set aside.

Apparently, he blames Palestinians in Gaza for their own deaths:

Once allowed to enter Gaza, he [Bronner] said he gained the impression that Israel had had a mistaken assumption that once it instructed residents to leave their houses, only Palestinian fighters would remain. He stated that it turned out that many Gazans did not want to leave and did not expect the Israelis to be very violent, since many had lived with Israelis or worked in Israel, a miscalculation he suggested led to destruction of property and inadvertent injuries and deaths among civilians.

At Brandeis, here is how Bronner reportedly described the history of Palestine/Israel:

"You have [the Jewish people] ... nearly decimated by the worst genocide in human history; they emerge from the ashes of it and going back to this land that they say they're from. ... They go and build this incredibly successful society in a very short time. That's what we call a good story," he stated. "Then in the process of building their very successful society, it gets a little harsh," he went on to say. "And there's an occupation, ... and the people who all those years were seen as victims are now victimizing others. That's what we call a good story."

So for Bronner the Nakba -- the wholesale ethnic cleansing and near destruction of the existing Palestinian society is not worth a mention. It is, at best a footnote a little "harshness" in what is primarily an Israeli "success" story....."

Gaza Energy Crisis Averted - For Now

By Mel Frykberg

"RAMALLAH, Feb 9, 2010 (IPS) - Pressure exerted on the Palestinian Authority (PA) by international and regional officials has given Gazans a last minute reprieve, albeit temporary, from plunging into darkness and plummeting temperatures.

"The emergency has been temporarily halted after the PA released urgent funds to finance two fuel tankers entering Gaza on Sunday," says Osama Dabou from Gaza’s Power Plant (GPP) authority.

"We are expecting several other fuel tankers to enter Gaza shortly. But this is only an interim stop-gap and will only last a short while after which the situation will again reach a critical point," Dabou told IPS......

Due to the fuel shortages Gazans have been forced to rely on lower quality fuel smuggled through underground tunnels from Egypt.

However, the power produced by home generators is too weak to be used for heating and can only generally be used for limited periods of cooking and recharging mobile phones.

Gaza’s energy crisis reached a peak this January after the European Union (EU) stopped paying for fuel shipments to the Palestinian territory......"

U.S. Non-Profit Targeted Rights Group over Goldstone

U.S. Non-Profit Targeted Rights Group over Goldstone

By Eli Clifton

WASHINGTON, Feb 9, 2010 (IPS) - A campaign of attacks against the New Israel Fund (NIF), a U.S.-based progressive organisation that supports human rights groups in Israel, has gained attention in both the Israeli and U.S. media, raising questions about the role played by foreign non-profits and non-governmental organisations in influencing Israeli government policy.

But an IPS investigation into publicly available tax records has shed light on where funding for the attacks may have originated......

"It's baseless. It's vicious. It's ideologically motivated and it capitalises on the Israeli public's anger over the Goldstone report. We see it as part of a larger pattern to shut down Israel's human rights community," Naomi Paiss, director of communications of NIF, told IPS.

Israeli Knesset member Otniel Schneller proposed a parliamentary commission to examine the NIF and its grantees' role in "transferring false, exaggerated, and non-credible information to Justice Goldstone, thus harming the national interest of the State of Israel."......"

How to Beat the War Party

And keep beating them

by Justin Raimondo, February 10, 2010

"......That’s the key to understanding a lot of war propaganda, which is often barely credible – like the Niger uranium forgeries [.pdf], which were such crudely transparent fakes that it took IAEA scientists using Google an hour or so to expose them as fraudulent. By that time, however, the forgers had already accomplished their purpose, which was to shift popular opinion in a pro-war direction – which, using George W. Bush as their willing sock-puppet, they did.

In framing the Iranians for supposedly harboring "weapons of mass destruction," the War Party’s job is to keep up a relentless assault in the hope something will stick. Get ready for a barrage of "leaks" by pro-war factions inside the administration, and yet more "intelligence" reports planted by one or another foreign country with an interest in fomenting war, all of it backed up and "verified" by reliably biased experts. What makes the War Party’s job easier, in this case, is that it’s not hard to confuse the public with a lot of "scientific" terminology and wrangling over technical details: people eventually throw up their hands, and reason that where there’s so much smoke there’s bound to be fire......"