Saturday, April 10, 2010
A new military order aimed at preventing infiltration will come into force this week, enabling the deportation of tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank, or their indictment on charges carrying prison terms of up to seven years.
When the order comes into effect, tens of thousands of Palestinians will automatically become criminal offenders liable to be severely punished.
Given the security authorities' actions over the past decade, the first Palestinians likely to be targeted under the new rules will be those whose ID cards bear home addresses in the Gaza Strip - people born in Gaza and their West Bank-born children - or those born in the West Bank or abroad who for various reasons lost their residency status. Also likely to be targeted are foreign-born spouses of Palestinians.
"Red shirt protesters in Thailand have warned they will launch a serious retaliation against the government after an opposition television channel was banned.
On Friday, the demonstrators managed to break through security forces to reach the headquarters for the People TV Channel.
Al Jazeera's Wayne Hay reports from the Thai town of Pathum thani, on how the protesters are fighting to have their voice broadcasted once again."
NOTE TO EGYPTIANS AND OTHER ARABS:
This is how you challenge dictators and "emergency laws" and Win. Watch and perhaps you can learn something, assuming you have the spine!
"NAZARETH // A leading Arab human-rights lawyer in Israel has suggested a novel and provocative approach to dealing with routine discrimination practised by Jews against Israel’s Arab minority: Arabs should start discriminating against Jews.
In an essay published by the Adalah legal centre, its director, Hassan Jabareen, proposes that Arab citizens and their municipalities challenge the endemic discrimination in Israeli society, and the courts’ frequent backing of it, by treating Jews in a similiar manner.
He proposes several examples of reverse discrimination that the Arab minority might easily adopt: restaurants could deny Jews admission, Arab communities could refuse to put up roadsigns in Hebrew or bar Jews from buying homes, and Arab libraries could refuse to stock books on Jewish history.
“Let us stop crying out about racism and instead let the Jewish majority feel for themselves the power of discrimination inside the Jewish state,” he said.....
However, one business owner, who wished not to be identified, said Mr Jabareen’s idea had some merit. “It might make the Jewish population understand how it feels to suffer discrimination. But who would dare do it? People would be too frightened of the repercussions. You’d be denounced in the media, and there would be the threat of costly legal action.”
Last week’s survey, conducted by the Geocartography Institute, found there had been a sharp rise in racism among Israeli Jews compared to a similar poll two years ago. Some 40 per cent of respondents said Arabs should not be allowed to vote and 55 per cent said there should be segregation at entertainment sites.
The Mossawa report found that 21 bills that could be called discriminatory or racist were proposed in the Israeli parliament last year."
"Our four boats are purchased or refurbished, flagged and registered. The cargo ship is now named the MV Rachel Corrie with the blessing of the Corrie family. Children in Gaza and the occupied West Bank will name the other two boats, and we will let you know what they chose.
So we ask one last time for a $25.00-$100.00 donation from each of you, a donation that will be used for our operating costs. It is not enough to buy, register and insure the boats. We need fuel for all vessles, crew expenses, supplies for all four boats, a crane to add to the cargo ship to offload the cargo, and miscellaneous expenses that always appear at the last minute.
هذه هي المرة الثانية في غضون خمسة اعوام يثور فيها الشعب القرغيزي، ويهرب الرئيس للنجاة بحياته، ويتعرض فيها القصر الجمهوري للنهب ومن ثم الحرق على ايدي المحتجين من عامة الشعب، وتتولى المعارضة الحكم، وتعد باجراء انتخابات برلمانية ورئاسية نزيهة في غضون ستة اشهر.
حكم الرئيس باكييف، مثل حكم نظرائه في مختلف الدول العربية والاسلامية، يعتبر مثلا في الفساد والمحسوبية، ونهب المال العام، واستخدام قوات الامن في قمع حركات المعارضة، ومصادرة الحريات، والاهم من ذلك كله ان هذا الرئيس الذي وصل الى الحكم قبل خمس سنوات بعد انتفاضة شعبية اطلق عليها الامريكان اسم 'ثورة التوليب'، زوّر الانتخابات، وعيّن افراد اسرته في المناصب الهامة والحساسة، وهيأ ابنه الاكبر لوراثته تماما مثل حكامنا العرب.
المفجّر للثورة الحالية التي اطاحت به جاء من خلال رفع حكومته اسعار الوقود، ولكن عوامل الانفجار كانت تتضخم بعد وصول الجوع في البلاد الى درجات لا يمكن تحملها، حيث وصلت معدلات البطالة الى اكثر من اربعين في المئة.
الرئيس باكييف ضرب مثلا في الانتهازية السياسية والتلاعب بسيادة بلاده، ورهنها للايجار لمن يدفع اكثر، وحوّل عاصمة بلاده الى 'ماخور' للقوات الامريكية حيث يزورها اكثر من 35 الف جندي كل شهر، قادمين من افغانستان المجاورة لقضاء عطلة مريحة او للانطلاق منها الى محطات اخرى في العالم.
' ' '
غازل موسكو، ولوّح باستعداده لاغلاق القاعدة الجوية الامريكية (ماناس) القريبة من العاصمة اثناء زيارته الاخيرة لها الروس تجاوبوا مع هذا الغزل فورا وعرضوا مساعدة قدرها ملياران وربع المليار دولار، فحمل العرض الى الامريكيين فدفعوا له اكثر، اي زيادة اجرة قاعدتهم السنوية (180 مليون دولار) ثلاث مرات، يذهب معظمها الى جيب عائلته.
وليته اكتفى بذلك، فقد حصلت شركة يملكها احد افراد عائلته على عقد سخي بتزويد الطائرات الامريكية بالوقود، علاوة على الاحتياجات الغذائية الاخرى. ومن المفارقة ان الامريكيين، حماة الديمقراطية والشفافية وسادة مكافحة الفساد، كانوا الاكثر سعادة بهذه الصفقة.
ادارة اوباما، مثل ادارة الرئيس بوش، كانت تعلم بكل صفقات الفساد هذه، ولكن عندما يكون الخيار بين الاستقرار والديمقراطية بكل افرازاتها، فإنها تختار الاولى خدمة لمصالحها وبقاء قاعدتها. هذا ما يفسر دعمها لاكثر الديكتاتوريات فسادا في المنطقة العربية.
قرغيزستان دولة تقع على حدود اكبر مشروع للديمقراطية الغربية في العالم، اي افغانستان، حيث يُقتل جنود امريكيون يوميا تحت هذا العنوان، ولكن هذا لا يمنع ان تصمت واشنطن على السجل الاسود والاسوأ للرئيس القرغيزي في ميادين حقوق الانسان، مثل قتل الصحافيين واغلاق الصحف ومحاكمة شخصيات المعارضة وفق قوانين الطوارئ.
السؤال الذي يطرح نفسه بقوة هو عن اسباب حدوث هذه الثورات الشعبية التي تنتهي بالاطاحة بأنظمة الفساد في دول مثل قرغيزستان في اسيا الوسطى وبوليفيا في امريكا الجنوبية، ولا نرى لها مثيلاً في الدول العربية؟
' ' '
احوال قرغيزستان افضل كثيراً من احوال دول عربية عديدة مثل مصر، ومع ذلك نرى شعبها الصغير الذي لا يزيد تعداده عن خمسة ملايين شخص ينزلون الى الشوارع طلباً للتغيير والاصلاح.
وحتى لا نتهم بالتركيز على مصر، نعرج على الضفة الغربية، حيث يعيش الشعب الفلسطيني تحت الاحتلال، ويواجه كل انواع الاهانات عند الحواجز الاسرائيلية، ويرى مقدساته تتهود في وضح النهار، ومع ذلك لا نرى مظاهرة احتجاج واحدة ضد السلطة، او 'السلام الاقتصادي' الذي تحققه وزارة السيد سلام فياض.
قد يجادل البعض بأن القمع الدموي للأنظمة العربية وقواتها الامنية هو الذي يدفع الجماهير للاستسلام والخضوع، وهذا صحيح، ولكن قوات الامن القرغيزية اثبتت انها اكثر قمعاً وشراسة، واطلقت النار على المحتجين وقتلت مئة منهم، ومع ذلك استمروا في مسيرتهم حتى اقتحموا القصر الجمهوري واشعلوا النار فيه.
الشعوب الحية هي التي تتحدى القمع والارهاب من اجل حقوقها الاساسية والدفاع عن مصالحها وتقديم التضحيات من اجل هذا الهدف السامي، ويبدو ان المشكلة لم تعد في الحكام العرب، وانما في الشعوب العربية ايضاً.
' ' '
ما يجري في قرغيزستان حالياً هو ظاهرة يجب ان يدرسها الحكام والشعوب العربية ايضاً، فهذا الشعب الصغير في تعداده (خمسة ملايين) الكبير في ارادته وعناده، قاوم الفساد والمحسوبية، واطاح بالرئيس وعائلته وولي عهده الذي اراد توريث الحكم له.
ولعل الدرس الابرز هو للحكام العرب الذين يعتقدون ان القواعد الاجنبية يمكن ان توفر الحماية لهم، ولحكمهم، اذا ما انتفض الشارع ضدهم، واراد تغييرهم، وادخال الاصلاحات السياسية والديمقراطية الحقة.
نشعر بحالة من القهر ونحن نتأمل اوضاعنا العربية، فالجدران سقطت (برلين)، واعتى الديكتاتوريات، يسارية كانت ام يمينية، انهارت وتحولت الى تاريخ، والقيم الديمقراطية وصلت الى جمهوريات الموز، ومع ذلك ما زال الوضع العربي على حاله، بل اكثر سوءاً، حيث الغالبية من الحكام العرب إما يعانون من امراض الشيخوخة او السرطان او الاثنين معاً.
"The US has stopped all troop flights to Afghanistan from its controversial air base in Kyrgyzstan, a day after the country's new leadership said it would close the key military base in the country.
No reason was given for the decision taken by the US commanders at the Transit Center at Manas (formerly Manas Air Base), a crucial hub for the US-led operations in Afghanistan.
The US military in Kyrgyzstan decided late Friday "to temporarily divert military passenger transport flights," Major John Redfield, a spokesman for US Central Command said......"
Do you consider the US as defeated in Iraq?
With about 800 responding (it is early), 67% said yes.
In my opinion, Iran has been the clear winner and Iraq the clear loser.
"BRUSSELS, Apr 10, 2010 (IPS) - Dexia, a major Belgian-French bank, is continuing to finance Israeli authorities in the occupied Palestinian territories almost a year after it indicated that it would cease providing loans to illegal settlements.
In May 2009, Dexia promised that it would not lend any fresh money to councils representing Israeli settlers in the West Bank.
Although Palestinian solidarity activists regarded the announcement as a victory for a campaign they had fought against Dexia, they are not satisfied that all the bank's transactions with Israeli settlements have been halted.
Intal, a human rights group in Brussels, says it will protest at Dexia's annual shareholders' meeting next month, because many of the earlier loans issued to Israeli settlements run until 2017 and are unaffected by last year's pledge......"
April 9, 2010
"The next time CNN’s Wolf Blitzer boasts about George W. Bush’s “successful surge” in Iraq or Newsweek hails “Victory at Last,” you should think of the video released by Wikileaks.org this week showing the killing of a group of Iraqi men, including two Reuters newsmen, as they walked nonchalantly through the streets of Baghdad.
Not only did a U.S. military helicopter gunship mow them down amid macho jokes and chuckling – after mistaking a couple of cameras for weapons – but the American attackers then blew away several Iraqis who arrived in a van and tried to take one of the wounded newsmen to a hospital. Two children in the van were badly wounded. “Well, it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle,” one American remarked.
The videotaped incident – entitled “Collateral Murder” by Wikileaks – occurred on July 12, 2007, in the midst of President Bush’s much-heralded troop “surge,” which the U.S. news media has widely credited for reducing violence in Iraq and bringing something close to victory for the United States.....
Terror Can Work
The indiscriminate use of military force has been cited by many analysts as a factor in the anti-Americanism that has fueled the Iraqi insurgency, but terror also has its advantages. As tyrants have learned throughout history, at some point violent repression does work.
With the total Iraqi death toll estimated in the hundreds of thousands and many more Iraqis horribly maimed, the society has been deeply traumatized.
The kind of U.S. firepower on display in the Wikileaks video – after having been concentrated on alleged Iraqi insurgents and civilian bystanders for more than five years – might well have slaughtered enough Iraqis to convince others to look to their own survival.
Yet, today’s conventional wisdom in Washington is celebratory. The “surge” is hailed as Bush’s finest hour as he showed the steely resolve needed to pull victory out of the jaws of defeat. After all, most of the U.S. news media stars supported the Iraq invasion....."
"On April 9, 2003, exactly seven years ago, Baghdad fell under the US-led occupation. Baghdad did not fall in 21 days, though; it fell after 13 years of wars, bombings and economic sanctions. Millions of Iraqis, including myself, watched our country die slowly before our eyes in those 13 years. So, when the invasion started in March of 2003, everyone knew it was the straw that would break the camel's back.....
The conditions on the ground are rapidly deteriorating in Iraq. After last month's general election, there is a dramatic spike in violence and growing threats to the security and political stability of the country. This week alone, hundreds of Iraqis were killed and injured because of car bombs, assassinations, and other armed attacks. Meanwhile, the Iraqi political establishment is struggling to form the new government. The US war machine is already trying to use this deterioration as an excuse to delay or cancel the withdrawal plan, or at least link it to conditions on the ground....."
The Guardian, Saturday 10 April 2010
"I know the area where this massacre was committed. It is a crowded working-class area, a place where it is safe for children to play outdoors. It is near where my two aunts and their extended families lived, where I played as a child with my cousins Ali, Khalid, Ferial and Mohammed. Their offspring still live there....
In their Apache helicopter, with their sophisticated killing machinery, US soldiers seem superhuman. The Iraqis, on the ground, appear only as nameless bastards, Hajjis, sandniggers. They seem subhuman – and stripping them of their humanity makes killing them easy.....
We often hear of the traumas US soldiers suffer when they lose one of their ranks, and their eagerness to even the score. We seldom hear from people like the Iraqi widow whose husband was shot, who looked me in the eye last summer, and said: "But we didn't invade their country." Unlike this video, the injustice she feels will not fade with time. It is engraved in the collective memory of people, and will be until justice is done."
"In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera, Roza Otunbayeva, the self-declared leader of Kyrgyzstan's interim government, called on the country's president to resign.
She said that life under Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who has fled the capital in the aftermath of violent anti-government protests, had been "unbearable".
Otunbayeva also told Al Jazeera that the interim government was "pretty much in control of the whole country", but warned that there could be more violence if Bakiyev stays in office."
Friday, April 9, 2010
الهدوء القائم حاليا يبدو أكثر من ضروري لإسرائيل لمواجهة الخطر الذي يحظى بالأولوية في هذه المرحلة ممثلا في المشروع النووي الإيراني، حيث إن اندلاع انتفاضة جديدة سيعطل اللعبة، وقد يقلبها لصالح الطرف الإيراني
مشاهد الموت والدمار في الأراضي المحتلة، معطوفة على عودة المقاومة، لن تكون محصورة الأثر في تلك الرقعة من العالم العربي، وإنما ستمتد هذه المرة، لتهدد عددا لا بأس به من الدول العربية القريبة من الولايات المتحدة والغرب
يبقى الطرف الفلسطيني، ممثلا في السلطة في رام الله، وهي سلطة تسابق بدورها الزمن من أجل الحيلولة دون اندلاع الانتفاضة، وتبعث برسائل عديدة للأطراف المعنية تحذر من هذا الاحتمال الذي لن يكون بوسعها منعه إلى ما لا نهاية في حال استمر التعنت الإسرائيلي، مع العلم بأن الفئة الحاكمة في تلك السلطة لا تؤمن، أو بعضها في أقل تقدير، بخيار الانتفاضة، بل تراه تهديدا لما تسميه "المشروع الوطني"، من دون أن ننسى أن مصالح جزء كبير من تلك الفئة قد باتت مرتبطة بالتصور الجديد لسلطة تحت الاحتلال، سواء تطورت إلى دولة منقوصة السيادة، أم بقيت في حدود ما يشبه الدولة، لأن السيادة بحسب هؤلاء ليست ضرورية تماما.
سيقال هنا إن قوى المقاومة في وضع صعب في الضفة الغربية، ولن يكون بوسعها فعل الكثير في مواجهة برنامج الجنرال الأميركي "كيث دايتون" الذي يتحرك بقوة على الأرض ويحقق نجاحات كبيرة، وقد يكون ذلك صحيحا إلى حد ما، لكن ما ينساه هؤلاء هو أن الشارع العادي هو من فجّر انتفاضة الأقصى وليس الفصائل، ثم التحقت هذه الأخيرة بها ومنحتها الزخم المسلح والاستشهادي بعد مرحلة كانت تعيش فيها بؤسا استثنائيا بسبب قمع أوسلو وتنسيقه الأمني.
أما المقدمة الضرورية لتلك الانتفاضة فهي انقلاب حماس ومن معها وحولها من قوى المقاومة على خيار السلطة تحت الاحتلال وديمقراطيتها التي لا بد أن تخدم مشروع الاحتلال أيضا، ويتمثل ذلك في رفض مشروع المصالحة على قاعدة تكريس واقع تلك السلطة وطرح مشروع مقابل عنوانه إدارة بالتوافق لقطاع غزة بوصفه منطقة محررة أو شبه محررة، مع إعلان انتفاضة شاملة حتى دحر الاحتلال من دون قيد أو شرط حتى حدود الرابع من يونيو/حزيران، وذلك حتى لا يلتزم الشعب بأي تعهد يفرط في أي شيء من حقوقه، وهو ما سيكون بالطبع مقدمة للتحرير الشامل."
April 9, 2010
"WASHINGTON - April 9 - Josh Stieber, who is a former soldier of the “Collateral Murder” Company, says that the acts of brutality caught on film and recently released via Wikileaks are not isolated instances, but were commonplace during his tour of duty.
“A lot of my friends are in that video,” says Stieber. “After watching the video, I would definitely say that that is, nine times out of ten, the way things ended up. Killing was following military protocol. It was going along with the rules as they are.”
Stieber deployed to Baghdad with Bravo Company 2-16, whose members were involved in the incident captured in Wikileaks' “Collateral Murder” video, which has made international headlines by depicting a July 2007 shooting incident outside of Baghdad in which over a dozen people, including two Reuters employees, were killed. Although he was not present at the scene of the video, he knows those who were involved and is familiar with the environment. Stieber, who now works to promote peace and alternatives to war, is speaking publicly about his time in Iraq and the incident captured in this video.
“If these videos shock and revolt you, they show the reality of what war is like,” says Stieber. “If you don’t like what you see in them, it means we should be working harder towards alternatives to war.”....."
"The people's revolt in Kyrgyzstan threatens the investment the United States has made in hopes of ensuring its military presence in the strategically placed country, particularly at Manas air base. Coming as the end game in Afghanistan slides into view and as the US accelerates its plans for strategic expansion into Central Asia, the events in Bishkek - where much will depend on interim leader Roza Otunbayeva - are most untimely for Washington...."
By RANNIE AMIRI
"Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei is quickly becoming the Middle East’s most prominent progressive voice. Candidly and calmly articulating beliefs long held by average citizens, he does so not from a faraway think tank in the United States or Europe, but from the very heart of the Arab world.
Defying the Egyptian government’s ban on non-state sanctioned public gatherings, ElBaradei is attracting increasingly large crowds as he takes his message of reform to Cairo’s streets and most recently, to the Nile Delta. Decrying the West’s support for the region’s authoritarian regimes in the midst of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s security services is also no small undertaking, but ElBaradei has done it with poise and courage....
With a reputation as an even-handed, fair-minded individual working solidly in his favor, ElBaradei has the ability to dramatically alter the trajectory of Middle East politics. Speaking forcefully and compellingly against an entrenched and self-perpetuating political system, if successful, what he does for Egypt will resonate throughout the Arab world.
And for this reason, and notwithstanding the political system rigged against him, all the region’s authoritarian rulers hope ElBaradei will fail in his quest to motivate the Egyptian masses and galvanize them into action, for fear their own rule will then be in jeopardy.
“The state may be a centralized power but the people are stronger,” he said.
As the new wind brought by ElBaradei blows across Egypt’s political landscape, the outcome of the 2011 election will determine if his truism becomes reality."
By JONATHAN COOK, in Nazareth.
"Next week 23-year-old Anat Kamm is due to stand trial for her life -- or rather the state’s demand that she serve a life sentence for passing secret documents to an Israeli reporter, Uri Blau, of the liberal Haaretz daily. She is charged with spying.
Blau himself is in hiding in London, facing, if not a Mossad hit squad, at least the stringent efforts of Israel’s security services to get him back to Israel over the opposition of his editors, who fear he will be put away too.
This episode has been dragging on behind the scenes for months, since at least December, when Kamm was placed under house arrest pending the trial.....
Writing in Haaretz today, Blau said he had been warned “that if I return to Israel I could be silenced for ever, and that I would be charged for crimes related to espionage”. He concluded that “this isn’t only a war for my personal freedom but for Israel’s image”.
He should leave worrying about Israel’s image to Netanyahu, Diskin and judges like Dorner. That was why the gag order was enforced in the first place. This is not a battle for Israel’s image; it’s a battle for what is left of its soul [whatever that means.]."
"The Pentagon is reeling after two lethal episodes uncovered by diligent journalism show trigger-happy U.S. Army helicopter pilots and U.S. Special Forces slaughtering civilians, then seeking to cover up their crimes.
The worldwide web was transfixed on Monday when Wikileaks put up on YouTube a 38-minute video, along with a 17-minute edited version, taken from a U.S. Army Apache helicopter, one of two firing on a group of Iraqis in Baghdad at a street corner in July of 2007. Twelve civilians died, including a Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and a Reuters driver, Saeed Chmagh, 40.
At a press conference in Washington, D.C., Wikileaks said it had got the footage from whistle-blowers in the military and had been able to break the encryption code. The Pentagon has confirmed the video is genuine.....
Reuters, which by that time had already had four employees killed in Iraq by the U.S. military (ultimately, to date, eight), demanded an investigation, which the Army says it undertook but found no breach of its Rules of Engagement by the pilots or U.S. Army intelligence.
The reaction of David Schlesinger, Reuter’s editor in chief, to the release of the footage by Wikileaks was appallingly feeble....."
Once-Banned Muslim Scholar Tariq Ramadan On His First Visit to U.S. in Six Years, President Obama and Why Muslims Should Make Their Voices Heard
With Amy Goodman
"We speak with leading Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan, who was banned from entering the United States for six years. In 2004, Ramadan had accepted a job to become a tenured professor at the University of Notre Dame but nine days before he was set to arrive, the Bush administration revoked his visa invoking a provision of the Patriot Act. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lifted the travel ban earlier this year. This week, he arrived in New York for the first time since 2004. Tariq Ramadan joins us in our studio to talk about the ban, his thoughts on President Obama, the importance for Muslims to make their voices heard and much more....."
"RAMALLAH, Apr 8, 2010 (IPS) - Israeli authorities prevented thousands of Palestinian Christians from entering Jerusalem and accessing Christianity’s most holy sites over Easter in an unprecedented clampdown on religious freedom.
"Easter is one of the most significant holy periods for Christians and we as Palestinian Christians were not allowed to worship freely," Ramzi Zaniniri from The Near East Council of Churches in Jerusalem told IPS.....
Many have opted to emigrate for a better life abroad with their high standards of education.
Currently, the largest concentration of Palestinian Christians is in South America. There are more of them living in Sydney, Australia, than in Jerusalem."
by Justin Raimondo, April 09, 2010
"The headlines are trumpeting the latest revolution in Kyrgyzstan, and the average Joe or Jane is bound to ask: Why in the name of all that’s holy should anyone – even a foreign policy wonk – care about the fate of Kyrgyzstan, a Central Asian former Soviet “republic” on the edge of nowhere?
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 8 April 2010
" He looked to be in his early 20s. With his shirt ripped open and blood trickling down one side of his face, it took all the energy he could muster to momentarily writhe free of the six thugs dragging him off to a police truck and issue a final, desperate appeal to the stunned tourists watching from the other side of the street.
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 8 April 2010
"The west's proudest export to the Islamic world this past decade has been democracy. That is, not real democracy, which is too complicated, but elections. They have been exported at the point of a gun and a missile to Iraq and Afghanistan, to "nation-build" these states and hence "defeat terror". When apologists are challenged to show some good resulting from the shambles, they invariably reply: "It has given Iraqis and Afghans freedom to vote.".....
guardian.co.uk, Friday 9 April 2010
"Of all the myriad tags used to define Israel's Palestinian population, "targeted citizen" has to be one of the more appropriate. It's the title both of a track by the "Arab-Israeli" rappers, Dam, and a short film in which they and others expose the persistent double dose of discrimination and suspicion meted out to "Arabs of Israel".
Produced by Adalah, the legal centre for Arab minority rights in Israel, Targeted Citizen spells out the core contradiction that informs such treatment in its opening frames: "As non-Jews living in a self-defined 'Jewish state', discrimination against them is institutionalised and intentional.".....
In this context, Adalah's film is an urgent exposure of a problem that's routinely dismissed as fictional, or lost to the louder, deadlier cries of the wider Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is a plea to cut the bogus talk of equality or inclusion and a reminder that it is long past time for Israel to face up to the distinctly non-democratic treatment of its targeted citizens."
Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi
guardian.co.uk, Friday 9 April 2010
"The events that unfolded in Kyrgyzstan in the past few days have demonstrated how seemingly entrenched regimes can be in fact on the cusp of a coup d'état. Arabs have followed the events in Kyrgyzstan with wonder. But why isn't the same happening in their own countries?
The former Kyrgyz president Kurmanbek Bakiev shares much with leaders from the Arab world. He had "won" an election held in 2005 with a 90% margin after the ousting of the former dictator merely replaced one totalitarian leader with another. More than a dozen Arab countries share similar stories of those who launched coups against a former monarch or president only to install themselves as rulers until they die.....
The reason why Arabs are not more vocal about change in their countries varies from state to state. In the wealthy countries of the Gulf a sense of apathy can be felt that may be associated with materialism.....
In these less-wealthy states the opposition movements have floundered and have proven that they are either unable or unwilling to first and foremost instil good governance in themselves before they attempt to govern a state. The opposition movements' leaders have in most cases served in their positions for decades, appointed relatives to high ranks within the movement or demonstrated unrealistic expectations with regard to dealing with others – whether within the country or internationally – thereby leaving themselves largely without power or integrity.....
Who would risk a repeat of the Hamas scenario where the corrupt leaders of Fatah were voted out by the Palestinians and replaced by Hamas political novices? Arabs have now learned that by punishing their corrupt leaders and "doing the right thing" they can pay a heavy price.
Between bribing citizens with cash and jobs, and threatening them with draconian martial laws, it is unlikely that we will be seeing even a colourless revolution in the Arab world in the foreseeable future......"
April 8, 2010
Part I: Hiba’s Story
Ein el Helwe Palestinian Refugee Camp, Lebanon
Granting even the most elementary and normally taken for granted civil rights to Palestinians in Lebanon won’t be easy and it may not be pretty. Yet there is undeniable and growing Lebanese and international resolve for Lebanon’s politicians to end a dark bleak chapter in Arab brotherly relations.
The disturbing paradox of Lebanon depriving its refugees of the most elementary civil rights, some of which are even granted Palestinians by their arch-nemesis, the Zionist occupiers of their own country, is increasingly being condemned in Lebanon. In addition, there is the gaping contradiction between the sweet words and the clarion trumpeting calls by groups wanting to liberate Jerusalem and all of Palestine and enforce the internationally mandated Right of Return (UNSCR 194), while at the same time appearing to avert their eyes from the very ones seeking to return and who exist in abject squalor, humiliation and indignity, thus appearing to tolerate their brothers and sisters’ degradation. These contradictions are motivating expanding panoply of Lebanese leaders, civil society organizations, side by side with local and international NGO’s, to demand civil rights legislation from the current Cabinet and Parliament. What civil rights advocates seek is compliance with basic international law and indeed Lebanon’s Constitution, both sources of law mandating civil rights for Palestine refugees including the right to work and to own a home......
The only four jobs listed by the Lebanese Ministry of Labor that are open to Palestinian refugees are:
2. financial brokerage firm owner
3. roving photographer
4. land surveyor.
"The Israeli Prime Minister has decided not to partake in the forthcoming Nuclear Security Summit in Washington over Egypt and Turkey's plan to file a motion demanding that Tel Aviv open its nuclear facilities for international inspection.
According to a report broadcast on Israel's Army Radio on Thursday, Benjamin Netanyahu has called off the trip to the US capital and is sending Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor instead.
American sources have notified Israel that a group of participating Arab countries led by Turkey and Egypt plan to use next week's Nuclear Security Summit in Washington to pressure Israel join the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) and give international inspectors "unfettered access" to its nuclear facilities.
Israel is the sole nuclear-armed power in the Middle East......"
Thursday, April 8, 2010
ضيف الحلقة: عزمي بشارة/ مفكر عربي
تاريخ الحلقة: 5/4/2010
Arabic Transcript Included
With Amy Goodman
"We speak with two journalists who have covered Gaza extensively about the dangers and difficulties of reporting from the Occupied Territories: Mohammed Omer, an award-winning Palestinian journalist who was interrogated and beaten by armed Israeli security guards on his way back home to Gaza after receiving the prestigious Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in London in July of 2008, and Ayman Mohyeldin, the Gaza correspondent for Al Jazeera English, who was one of the only international journalists reporting from inside Gaza during the twenty-two-day Israeli assault last year....."
With Amy Goodman
"As the US Central Command says it has no plans to reopen an investigation into the July 2007 helicopter attack that killed a dozen people in Baghdad, including two Reuters news staff, we play never-before-seen eyewitness interviews filmed the day after the attack...."
"Oppositon leaders in Kyrgyzstan say they are in control of the country following days of nationwide protests.
The health ministry says at least 65 people were killed and 400 injured in clashes on Wednesday between protesters and police.
Roza Otunbayeva, the former foreign minister and head of the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan, an opposition group, says she is now leading a provisional government.
Meanwhile, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, the president, has fled the capital and reports say he's now in the southern city of Osh...."
"After decades of military rule over Palestinians and theft of our land, Israeli leaders are increasingly seeing the writing on the wall. They are at least acknowledging reality, if not yet grappling with the consequences.....
We are now in the early stages of a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) directed at this Israeli government for its refusal to abide by international law. Such action successfully overturned Jim Crow laws in the American South and apartheid in South Africa, and we are slowly applying it to Israeli occupation and apartheid. But until students seize on it with the same moral fervency as earlier generations did against Jim Crow and South African apartheid, we will achieve only marginal success.
That day of student engagement is coming. I have spoken on many American and European campuses and see change in the more diverse audiences I address today as opposed to 20 years ago. These young people, including many progressive Jewish activists, recognize that this is not a conflict between Arabs and Jews, but between universal conceptions of freedom and antiquated notions of racial supremacy and colonization. These audiences are on the road to endorsing the BDS campaign because they are aware that their political leaders are, with rare exceptions, unwilling to challenge Israel's subjugation of Palestinians.
American politicians may be the last to embrace our struggle -- be it the urgency of a truly sovereign Palestinian state side by side with Israel or one state with equal rights for all -- but the equation is shifting and their calculus will not always be towards knee-jerk support for Israel. Our moral case is too powerful. "
The exceptions to this narrower focus would be non-nuclear attacks by any nuclear-armed state, or states that the United States deems to be in violation of the NPT. Translation: We still reserve the option of first nuclear use against Iran and North Korea.......
"Back in August 2005, I broke the story that Dick Cheney and the Pentagon were working on a contingency plan to use tactical nuclear weapons in an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. The nukes would be used because they were the only effective way to destroy the hardened sites, many of which are located deep underground. I also reported that the contingency plan would kick in if there were another major terrorist attack against the United States, whether or not Iran was actually involved. It would use the terrorist action as a justification for taking preemptive action and employing nukes would serve as a warning to Iran that any retaliation would result in possible additional nuclear strikes. If implemented, it would have constituted the first use of nuclear weapons since the end of the Second World War.
It would be convenient to assume that the Dick Cheney school of international relations no longer exists. In truth.....
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is even worse than Netanyahu and is a symbol of the kleptocratic impulses that characterize the extreme right in Israel. He is a racist who has openly advocated executing Arab members of the Knesset and drowning Palestinian prisoners in the Dead Sea. At one time he called for bombing the Aswan dam to punish Egypt for supporting the Palestinians and he was behind a bill in the Knesset that would have required all Israeli citizens of Arab descent to swear loyalty to Israel as a Jewish state or face expulsion. That he is the Foreign Minister of a country that pretends to have western-style democratic political values is itself telling.
It all adds up to a toxic brew. If the US refuses to cooperate in bombing Iran conventionally, Israel might well accept the view that the Iranian nuclear program can only be destroyed by using other nuclear weapons. Tel Aviv, controlling its own nuclear arsenal and the means to deliver the bombs on target, would be able to stage such an attack unilaterally. An increasingly isolated Israel headed by reactionary and irrational politicians who are influenced by their own sense of racial superiority just might decide that the gamble is worth it. It would be a very bad decision for Israel, Iran, and for the United States."
"Kyrgyzstan's opposition said today it had taken power and dissolved parliament in the poor but strategically important Central Asian state after deadly protests forced President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to flee the capital......"
في العمق تحدث د. عزمي بشارة مساء الاثنين 5 ابريل 2010 مع محاوره علي الظفيري.. وفي ذات العمق أوجز الرسالة الواضحة لمفكر عربي خبر عن قرب بلحمه وعظمه وعقله توجهات الحركة الصهيونية وعلاقات الانتهازية المتبادلة مع الولايات المتحدة الأميركية..
من المؤسف أن تكون هناك شخصيات بوزن الدكتور عزمي بشارة ومعه الكثيرين ممن يقدمون قراءة واضحة غير مرتجفة بينما تستمر بعض أطراف النظام السياسي الرسمي العربي تلقي بالنرد علها تصيب.. وهذه ليست صناعة لسياسات إستراتيجية بل ركون لما يمكن أن ينتج عن توجهات المصالح الأميركية في المنطقة.. والعرب بوجود القراءات الواضحة يحتاجون اليوم أكثر من الأمس لمزيد من الوضوح والثبات فيما هو قادم من واشنطن، فمن غير المفيد إطلاقا انتظار " مبادرات" الآخرين بينما الحد الفاصل بين الحقوق الكاملة والمنقوصة واضحة وضوح الشمس.. وقبل أن تلقى " الكرة" في الملعب العربي ( بتوافق على طريقة دينيس روس ومارتن انديك وغيرهم ممن ذكرهم عزمي بشارة) على العرب الرسميين أن يتوقفوا ولو مرة واحدة أمام إمكاناتهم الذاتية ورفع الصوت الخافت بوجه الإدارة الأميركية بلغة يفهمها صناع القرار في واشنطن..
إن ما يُشاع عن رفض نتنياهو لخطة أوباما التي يريد طرحها لا تعني شيئا.. فمن التجارب السابقة لا يمكن لأوباما، كما لم يفعل كلينتون، طرح أية مبادرة بدون أن يكون لـ"اللوبيات الصهيونية" في الإدارة الأميركية دورا في صياغتها حفاظا على مصالح تل أبيب ( وبالتالي مصالح واشنطن).. لذلك لن يكون مفيدا ( سوى لتخدير وتهدئة الشارع العربي) أن يعتمد هذا البعض العربي مسألة التريث وقراءة ما سيطرح عليهم لإعداد لجان ووفود وغيرها من بيروقراطية العمل العربي بينما تستمر آليات المشروع الصهيوني مستمرة في مشروعها المطروح علنا عن الضم والتهويد وخلق كانتونات فلسطينية ولو أُطلق عليها، ليس دولة فحسب بل " إمبراطورية" طالما أنها لا تخرج عن سياق المشروع الذي تفرضه الحركة الصهيونية..
لا يمكن للاحتلال أن يتغير طالما أنه لا يرى الثمن الذي يدفعه نتيجة لاستمراره.. ولا يمكن لا لأوباما ولا لأي إدارة أميركية أن تغير من سياساتها طالما أن السياسة العربية عاجزة عن التوقف عن سياسة سلبية متفرجة ومتأهبة لدراسة وقبول أي فتات يُلقى عليها.. فالمراهنة على "أبو حسين!" ليست سوى وهم وقراءة سطحية!
"The fall of Kyrgyzstan's government this week contains glints of a latent Cold War rivalry between Moscow and Washington and the Kremlin has won the latest big-power tussle, AFP quoted experts as saying Thursday.
Moscow has emerged from the riots which ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev with a strong partner in interim Kyrgyz leader Roza Otunbayeva, with whom Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin spoke by telephone on Thursday.
The United States and EU on the other hand, eager for access to a US airbase near Bishkek, hurt their standing by keeping silent over Bakiyev's increasingly harsh rule, said Alexander Cooley, a professor at Columbia University in New York.
"The US and EU are big losers today. Both have dampened their criticism of Bakiyev's political and corrupt governance practices [Does this sound familiar throughout the Arab world??]in the name of preserving stability in the country," he said.
The presence of the US airbase at Manas, which is used to ferry tens of thousands of coalition troops into and out of Afghanistan every month, has long been a point of contention between Moscow and Washington......"
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
"......Excluded from discourse
Western media coverage of the structural discrimination and discriminatory land and housing policies experienced by Palestinian Bedouins has generally been poor.
In a discourse shaped by Zionist and Orientalist tropes, the Negev is a vast, wild, desert; a frontier to be civilised. The 'Bedouin', meanwhile, are either invisible or exotic savages, objects of benevolent philanthropy.
Furthermore, the international 'peace process' has meant that the question of Palestine has become the story of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Palestinian citizens of Israel have been left out, a situation exacerbated by the media mentality of 'if it bleeds it leads'. Core issues facing Palestinian Bedouins - land control, zoning, bureaucratic and physical boundaries of exclusion - are not considered suitable fare.
This nonexistent or weak coverage is regrettable, particularly as Israel's policies in the Negev towards the Palestinian Bedouin minority are highly illuminating for understanding the state's position vis-à-vis the Palestinians in a more general sense.
Moreover, tension is building in the Negev over Israel's continued apartheid-like policies. Palestinian Bedouins continue to resist the strategies of the Israeli state and Zionist agencies, through legal battles, and grassroots organisation, like the Regional Council for the Unrecognised Villages.
Perhaps one of the main kinds of resistance being offered by the Palestinians in the Negev is their determination to stay. This steadfastness is a direct refusal of a strategy of home demolitions, dispossession and Judaisation.
The recent protest in al-Araqib could only be a foretaste of things to come, as Palestinian Bedouins demand equality from a state seemingly unwilling to change."
By James Petras
Israel had to openly humiliate the US as a show of its power. Given Israel's strategic domination of the US political system and the ZPC control over mass media and their enormous wealth, a Zionist-controlled administration, like Obama's, would have to capitulate. Israeli and US Zionist pressure forced the American leaders to subordinate their international image and national self-respect and accept the unlimited expansion of Jews-only settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, no matter how this might undermine US standing in the region and jeopardize US troops. By 'whipping' the Obama Administration into line, Israel has set the stage for the launching of its top priority: Forcing a direct US military confrontation with Iran in Israel's strategic interests. It is clear that the entire ZPC will stand with Israel as it promotes its militarist agenda against Iran, regardless of the consequences to the United States.
It has been proven beyond a doubt by the recent events, that the ZPC has the ultimate say with the Obama Administration, against the advice of top US military officials and against the basic interests of the American people. In plain English, we are a people colonized and directed by a small, extremist and militarist 'ally' which operates through domestic proxies, who, under any other circumstance, would be openly denounced as traitors.....
Fissures in the Zionist monolith are beginning to appear. These would deepen if and when the American public realizes that Israel's' dispossession of Palestinians is raising havoc with American lives and with American interests in a vital part of the world populated by 1.5 billion Muslim. As more issues arise, the critical choice between following the lead of the ZPC in pledging unconditional allegiance to Israel and enduring its provocations and humiliations, or standing up for the dignity, basic interests and integrity of America, will have to be made. More fissures will appear and the AIPAC and other members of the ZPC will be seen for what they are: Swaggering bullies acting on behalf of a foreign power."
".....The U.S. military inquiry into the killings cleared the soldiers of any wrongdoing, and Reuters’ Freedom of Information requests for the video were denied. Despite the Pentagon’s whitewash, the attack was brutal and might have involved a war crime, since those removing the wounded are protected by the Geneva Conventions. WikiLeaks says it obtained the video “from a number of military whistle-blowers.” Wikileaks.org, founded in late 2006 as a secure site for whistle-blowers to safely release documents, has come under attack from the U.S. and other governments.
WikiLeaks has broken numerous stories and has received awards. It and members of the Icelandic Parliament are working together to make Iceland a world center of investigative journalism, putting solid free speech and privacy protections into law. The words of legendary journalist I.F. Stone still hold true: “Governments lie.” Because of that, we need courageous journalists and media workers, like Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh, and we need whistle-blowers and news organizations that will carefully protect whistle-blowers’ identities while bringing their exposés to public scrutiny."
(Left: A destroyed house with graffiti reading: “This is the help Yemen gets from America”)
"The scale of the devastation caused by Yemeni and Saudi Arabian aerial bombardments of the northern Yemeni region of Sa’dah has been revealed in hundreds of images obtained by Amnesty International.
The pictures, given to Amnesty International by an independent source and taken in March 2010 in and around the town of al-Nadir, show buildings destroyed between August 2009 and February 2010 during the latest in a series of clashes between Yemeni forces and supporters of a Shi’a cleric.
Among the damaged or destroyed civilian buildings photographed are market places, mosques, petrol stations, small businesses, a primary school, a power plant, a health centre – and dozens of houses and residential buildings.....
Government restrictions on access to the region combined with landmines and other security concerns mean that no independent observers or media are believed to have visited the area in recent months.
The pictures are consistent with testimony given by many witnesses who had fled Sa’dah to Amnesty International delegates in Yemen earlier this month. These witnesses, interviewed separately, repeatedly said that Saudi Arabian air strikes, which began in November and were clearly different from earlier Yemeni military attacks, were of an intensity and power not experienced before.
They also said the strikes went on around the clock in the days leading up to their flight and the ceasefire in February 2010.
UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, said in March that about 250,000 people from Sa’dah had fled the conflict, around 10 per cent of them ending up in camps. The rest are living with relatives or in derelict or half-completed buildings in the capital Sana’a and elsewhere in the country.
Unlike with previous rounds of fighting, families from Sa’dah fled further afield and ,most say they are not planning to return because their homes have been destroyed and they fear the conflict will resume......."
"The Pentagon has not said if it will launch a new investigation into the US military shooting of civilians in Baghdad, following the release of video showing the attack.
The video, released by WikiLeaks, a website that publishes anonymously sourced documents, showed a US military helicopter firing at unarmed civilians in the 2007incident.
Al Jazeera has obtained a copy of the US military's first two investigations, which cleared the soldiers of wrongdoing.
Patty Culhane reports that they contain inconsistencies that the military has not addressed (07 April 2010). "
"Sinan Antoon is an Iraqi-born poet, novelist, filmmaker and assistant professor at New York University. His novel I'jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody and his collection of poems The Baghdad Blues are written with great sophistication and a haunting sense of irony. Similarly, his 2003 documentary About Baghdad captured the terror and exhilaration of Iraqis after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime and the early months of the US occupation. The Electronic Intifada contributor Dina Omar interviewed Sinan Antoon about his work and experiences....."
"CAIRO, Apr 7, 2010 (IPS) - Egyptians find it hard to see past Mahrousa Salem's wheelchair, so they look away.
The veiled Egyptian woman is one of more than a million Egyptians with physical or mental disabilities living in the shadows of society. They are excluded from the education system, overlooked by employers, and invisible to city planners.
"We're not beggars and we don't want people's pity," says Salem. "We just want the basic rights for which we are entitled."......"
(Sayed Dhansay is based in South Africa)
".....The Obama administration has a tough task trying to reign in the most right-wing government in Israel’s history, while also attempting to maintain the pretense of a genuine peace process. The delicate act of balancing these considerations with its own interests is bound to agitate the US occasionally. To consider this squabble as anything more significant however is simply wishful thinking."
by Justin Raimondo, April 07, 2010
"The video released by Wikileaks showing US fighter planes picking off civilians as our airmen chortle with glee is shocking everyone. Everyone but me, that is.
Perhaps I’m suffering from some sort of moral exhaustion: I’ve just about gone numb after living through and constantly writing about the past decade of American war crimes. Abu Ghraib, Haditha, this, or any of a number of other atrocities – this one seems little different from the others. The bloodthirstiness of our "boys," chillingly eager to start shooting; the requisite cover-up, the denials, the expressions of "well that’s what war is" from defenders of US foreign policy. In the end it all boils down to a prosaic routine: another day, another atrocity. The only difference here being that it isn’t being done in the dark, but in the media spotlight for the world to see. As Glenn Greenwald points out, this kind of behavior by our glorious troops is not unusual: it’s the norm. It’s what war and occupation are all about: "collateral damage," dead children, error, malice, and tragedy all rolled into one messy package and marketed as our righteous (and endless) "war on terrorism."......."