Saturday, April 17, 2010

Al-Jazeera Video: Young Palestinians in Israeli jails

"It is estimated that around 9,000 Palestinians are detained every year by Israel.

According to human-rights groups, up to 700 teenagers and children were detained last year alone.

More than 270 Palestinians, who are under the age of 18, are currently held in Israeli prisons.

Little is known about the long-term effect of detention on Palestinian teenagers. But with over 760,000 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel since 1967, experts say detention is a source of trans-generational trauma in Palestine; one that is passed on and bound to repeat so long as the occupation persists.

Prisoners tend to have symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome, experts say, and they warn that young detainees suffer more than adults from this experience, even if they are not tortured.

Child prisoners account for almost 20 percent of patients at Palestine's only torture victim centre.

Al Jazeera's Nour Odeh reports from Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. [17 April 2010] "

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Iraq - Iraq: A satellite of Iran?

"April 17, 2010 — Iran maintains that its positive influence in Iraq is mistaken as interference but when Iraqi politicians met in Tehran to discuss the formation of a new government, Iran's power was unmistakeable. Inside Iraq discusses Iran's influence in Iraq. "

Real News Video: Kyrgyzstan's second "tulip revolution" Pt2

Engdahl: Kyrgyzstan crisis shows American strategic weakness

More at The Real News

Alleged Weapons Transfer Threatens Mideast Status Quo

By Charles Fromm

"WASHINGTON, Apr 16, 2010 (IPS) - This week, Israeli President Shimon Peres accused Syria of arming Lebanon's Hezbollah with long-range Scud missiles, possibly altering the current political and military dynamics of the region and affecting U.S. interests....

Some analysts believe this can all be traced back to the Golan Heights, the Syrian territory conquered by Israel during the 1967 war. Many analysts believe that Syria will end its support for Hezbollah only as part of a peace deal for the disputed land.

"Syria says it will no longer have any reason to arm Hezbollah once it gets the Golan back and can sign a peace agreement with Israel," wrote Syria analyst Joshua Landis Thursday on's the Middle East Channel.

"Syria understands that the reason Israel will not return the Golan Heights is because of the terrible imbalance in power between the two countries. So long as there is no peace, Syria will feel compelled to arm itself and its allies," Landis added.

CBS News quoted an intelligence analyst who spoke on the condition of anonymity as saying that if Syria was in fact transferring such advanced weapons to Hezbollah, "this would put pressure on Washington to move fast and bring Israel and Syria back to direct peace talks, frozen since 2000."....."

The Palestinian Authority's skin-deep makeover

The Palestinian government's latest PR drive looks like little more than a tactical attempt to dispel its 'collaborator' image

Rachel Shabi, Saturday 17 April 2010

"It looks as though the Palestinian Authority (PA), sick of being slated as an Israeli puppet, is trying to reinvent itself as the People's Authority.

The PA has upped support for some models of "popular resistance", with increasing numbers of officials turning up to demonstrate at various events such as at the weekly anti-wall protests in the West Bank villages of Bil'in and Na'alin....

But at the same time, there's a worry that this is just a tactic, not a strategy – and one likely to be pursued only as long as negotiations with Israel are at an impasse.
"For us, nonviolent direct action is a way of life," says Bethlehem campaigner Ahmed al-Azah. "It is not just a trend that the PA can back now, and then put pressure on us later when the Americans persuade them to resume negotiations."

Also, the PA's appetite for protest seems picky: it was PA forces, for instance, that recently helped to disperse demonstrations in Bethlehem.....

But even this prescribed list of support-worthy demonstrations is too much for Israel, which has already asked the PA to drop support for popular protest and voiced concern over a "Fayyad intifada"[what a joke! An Intifada by the Palestinian Ben Gurion!]......

But the PA continues to accept the restraints that bind it, unable or unwilling to break them. Maybe that's one of the reasons why the graffiti in Nablus urges resistance to the "fake, American-imposed government". By opting to be the preferred government of the Middle East quartet and Israel, by complying with all those accompanying, belittling and disempowering demands, the PA is backed into a corner – and it will take more than small tactical shifts to clean up its contaminated image."

The mean streets of Cairo

Egyptian demonstrators continue to get beaten up by the police. Is there some way to make their protests more effective?

Joseph Mayton, Saturday 17 April 2010

"It is protest season once again in Egypt. Scores of activists take to the streets only to be met by hundreds, if not thousands, of black-clad baton-wielding riot police from the Egyptian government. What ensues is almost barbaric; the activists are beaten, abused, often detained and some of the female protesters are sexually harassed. It is a never-ending spiral that has left the country lamenting a continued political stalemate.

Just look at what happened on 6 April and 13 April in Cairo. Hundreds of Egyptian protesters, mainly youth from the 6 April Movement, took to the streets to demand constitutional reforms. What followed was a police beat-down that must be condemned at every level. Protesters were violently attacked on both occasions. One woman reported a broken arm on April 6 and on April 13, one young man passed out after being violently beaten by riot police.

Even journalists couldn't get away from the abuse at the hands of the state. Cameras were quickly confiscated and a number of reporters said police shoved them when they attempted to get close to the action. Cairo-based journalist Sarah Carr reported on her Twitter account that an officer had grabbed her behind in one scuffle.

No wonder the opposition community is angry. Their anger is well founded and these protesters have every right to demonstrate and have their voices heard. Their grievances are real.
But there can be an alternative, if we look at other nations' struggle to make a new beginning. The revolution can happen in Egypt, but it must be done thoughtfully.....

Two successful protest movements can be a good starting point for the opposition in Egypt to choose a different path.

First, Gandhi's India.....

Second, the struggle of Martin Luther King and African-Americans in the United States is an example, possibly more poignant in today's Egypt, of how change can be made manifest. King and his followers employed the most dangerous challenge to the government: boycott.....

While the opposition continues to demand constitutional change, real change – in the likeness of King's bus boycott – would show that smaller, grassroots change can lift the people up to a level where they can then go after the larger, constitutional issues, much as the civil rights movement: start small, then go big.....

....Egypt needs change, but the current route is not working."

Friday, April 16, 2010

Hezbollah: Our Missiles Are None of Israel's Business


"16/04/2010 Loyalty to the Resistance Parliamentary bloc minister said on Friday that whether or not they have acquired scud missiles is none of Israel's business.

Minister Hussein Haj Hassan says the group was always arming and preparing itself but he refused to confirm or deny Israeli allegations that the Lebanese resistance group has acquired Scud missiles.

Israeli president Shimon Peres earlier this week directly accused Damascus of providing the scud missiles, a charge Syria denied.

The U.S. State Department responded to the allegations on Wednesday by saying that if they were true, "it would put Lebanon at a significant risk."

Haj Hassan, meanwhile, told Al-Manar TV that since Israel possessed all kinds of weapons, it's only natural for Lebanon to have the means to defend itself against an Israeli attack....."


You have got to admire Nasrallah and Hizbullah; they are the only Arabs willing to stand up and tell USrael to butt out! And it is not all talk, Nasrallah speaks from a position of strength and confidence.

He rightly tells USrael that it is the right and duty of Lebanon to acquire whatever weapons it needs to defend itself. After the repeated invasions by Israel, does anyone blame Hizbullah?

Compare this confidence and clarity with the insipid niceties of the Rabbit of Syria. He denies that weapons are reaching Hizbullah; he wants improved relations with Washington; he wants to restart "indirect negotiations" with Israel.

Or how about that idiot, Qadhafi, who has just made the statement that even though the US and Israel act as one, he has no problems with the US! Further, he stated that resisting US imperialism is not his problem, but it is the problem of the rest of the world! According to him, Libya can't do anything to help the Palestinians. Finally he made the astounding statement that it is foolish to resist the US since it is a super power!

Too bad the Palestinians do not have anything even approaching Hizbullah.

I have a sneaky suspicion, based on several indicators, that an USraeli attack on Lebanon could be imminent; Hizbullah is taking the threat seriously. Before attacking Iran, USrael has to try to eliminate the retaliatory capabilities of Hizbullah.

Is the US Embassy in Lebanon Squandering its Diplomatic Immunity?

By Franklin Lamb - Beirut
Palestine Chronicle

".....According to Nasrallah during an interview with Al Manar channel: "All the information which the US embassy gathers in Beirut reaches Israel. Here we are not speaking about a normal foreign embassy which is gathering information for its own government ... When it comes to the American embassy in Beirut, it is a different story...And so what is given to the US Embassy and what reaches the Israelis, the information, all of these leads to the destruction of Lebanon. This helps the Israeli enemy to understand what is going on in Lebanon, to use this information against Lebanon and to take revenge against our country...What is the difference between espionage networks, which give information directly, or giving information by mediation, meaning giving it to the US embassy who then gives it to the Israeli side?" Nasrallah ask his viewing audience, estimated at more than 100 million viewers around the region.

April 2010 and April 1983 Parallels?

The Hezbollah Secretary-General is not the only one questioning whether the Us Embassy operates as "a normal foreign embassy" with acceptable " mild spying and information gathering" or operates as " an espionage network" for Israel and passing it intelligence reports from US assets throughout Lebanon who monitor all roads and paths from Syria as well as South Lebanon and South Beirut......"

"In the eyes of the state, we don't exist here"

Nora Barrows-Friedman, The Electronic Intifada, 16 April 2010

".....Ismayil asserted that home demolition policies forced upon Palestinians inside Israel are exactly the same as those in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

"There is no difference," he said. "When they want to destroy a house, they impose a curfew, they close the area, and they bring hundreds of police and soldiers with dogs. Helicopters hover overhead. They bring busloads of Jewish extremist settlers with them to empty furniture from the houses, and arrest people who refuse to be evicted."

"We experience the same policies of apartheid here in '48 [Israel] as those that are in effect in the occupied territories," Ismayil added. "People on the outside think that we're enjoying Israel's gift of democracy. But we're in the exact same situation. There is no peace, no democracy here.""

Egypt's Presidential Elections: Kuwait Casts Its Vote

ElBaradei Supporters Deported


"More than 250,000 Egyptians live and work in the oil-rich country of Kuwait. Yet when just three met at a local café to attend a small meeting of supporters of Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei, former IAEA head and possible Egyptian presidential contender—they were arrested.....

In less than 48 hours, Kuwait had managed to deport 21 Egyptians. At the time of this writing, up to 20 remain incarcerated. Human Rights Watch (HRW) quickly issued a press release condemning the Kuwaiti government’s actions. They appealed for a halt to the persecution of ElBaradei supporters, freedom for those still in detention and the return of the deportees to their homes and families in Kuwait.....

So why did they do it?
As I wrote last week, Middle East monarchs and autocrats fear ElBaradei’s potential to galvanize Egyptians into demanding political change and free elections might lead their citizens to do likewise.

By deporting ElBaradei’s supporters, Kuwait’s royal family in essence cast its vote for Mubarak well ahead of Egypt’s 2011 elections. The “brotherhood” of dictators that has never received the people’s sanction always sticks together.

Gamal Eid, an Egyptian activist and head of the Arabic Network for Human Rights and Information (ANHRI) remarked, “These deportations are the Kuwaiti government's favor to the current Egyptian government.”

The ANHRI now reports that the United Arab Emirates has blocked the opposition and pro-ElBaradei Web site, Save Egypt Front, despite the fact it doesn’t host any content related to the Emirates......

“In Cairo, around 15 women flanked by dozens of khaki-clad Egyptian police protested a few blocks from the Kuwaiti embassy over the deportations, chanting ‘May the (ruler) of Kuwait fall!’”

And on Tuesday, dozens of Egyptians from various opposition groups demonstrated in front of the High Court in favor of constitutional reforms and an end to police brutality. Some even carried signs reading “Down with Mubarak.” Unlike last week’s protests that resulted in severe beatings, this time the police largely looked on.

So, in the smallest of ways, it has begun....."

Real News Video: Kyrgyzstan's second "tulip revolution"

F. William Engdahl discusses situation in Kyrgyzstan

More at The Real News

The BRIC post-Washington consensus

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"Brazil, Russia, India and China, the engines of world economic growth over coming decades, are well on the way to defining how they shape the new geography of global power, even though the road to a formal trading bloc will be very long. As they move full-speed ahead towards the post-Washington consensus, the name of the game must be evolution, not revolution...."

VIDEO SHOCKER: AIPAC Official Mistakenly Admits How It Operates

Top AIPAC official, Jonathan Kessler, is talking about how they will deal with student opponents at UC Berkeley. He then admits how AIPAC operates in Washington.

Iranian Threat; What Iranian Threat? By Imad Hajjaj.

Iraqi refugees in Syria not going back soon

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees have been stuck in Syria for years. They are running out of money and into trouble.

".....Hundreds of thousands fled for Syria

Burud is just one of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees who have been living in Syria for years. Most of them do not live in refugee camps but have found a place amongst the Syrians. To date, 163,000 refugees have been officially registered with the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, but it is estimated that an additional 400,000 to 800,000 have not. “Perhaps they don’t need our help. Or perhaps they don’t trust us,” said Farah Dakhlallah, a spokesperson for the UNHCR in Damascus.

After the2006 bombing of Al Askari mosque in Samara set off a wave of violence between Sunni and Shia Muslims in Iraq, refugees started pouring into Syria in huge numbers....

The UN has yet to give the green light for them to return. “A lot of problems remain with general security,” Dakhlallah said, sitting in the UNHCR’s Damascus office. “In addition, power and potable water are not readily available. Unemployment levels are high. We do not believe that the conditions allow for a safe, permanent return, particularly in the five central provinces. A lot of work remains to be done there.”.....

New refugees are still coming

But at the registration centre, dozens of new arrivals still awaited their turn. Every day, some 20 to 30 families, 150 a week, still check in here. Approximately 60 percent are fresh from Iraq....."

More Looney Tunes From the Libyan Idiot!

الزعيم الليبي يدعو إلى تشجيع سياسية أوباما ويطالبه بتعديل سياسة أمريكا تجاه قضية فلسطين

"طرابلس- دعا الزعيم الليبي معمر القذافي شعوب العالم إلى تشجيع سياسة الرئيس الأمريكي باراك أوباما، الذي وصفه بأنه (رجل يجنح للسلام)، مطالبا إياه بتغيير سياسة بلاده تجاه القضية الفلسطينية وبالعمل على إعادة أربعة ملايين فلسطيني طردوا من فلسطين في العام 1948.
وكان القذافي يتحدث في ساعة متأخرة من ليل الخميس الجمعة لمناسبة مرور 24 عاما على قصف الطائرات الأمريكية لمدينتي طرابلس وبنغازي ومحاولة استهدافه الشخصي بقصف منزله في منطقة باب العزيزية أحد ضواحي العاصمة طرابلس وذلك في منتصف أبريل/ نيسان العام 1986، معتبرا أن تلك المواجهة بين البلدين، التي وصفها بـ(الساخنة) وصلت درجة العدوان فيما بينهما فأمريكا جرّبت ليبيا، والشعب الليبي أيضا جرّب المواجهة مع دولة كبرى.

وطالب، أمام حشد من الفعاليات الشعبية الليبية في مدينة سرت شعوب العالم بمساعدة أوباما على تطبيق سياسته، وقال إن الرئيس الأمريكي شطب على كل الترهات الأمريكية والبرامج الأمريكية الجنونية التي استخدمتها أمريكا في العهود السابقة ضد الشعوب.

وأضاف: أدعو كل الشعوب أن يُعطوا أوباما الفرصة، وأن يؤيدوا سياساته مادام المطروح الآن هو برنامج سلمي، لافتا إلى أن أمريكا باعتبارها دولة عظمى في العالم إذا كانت سياستها شرا فستضر العالم، وإذا كانت خيرا فسيستفيد منها العالم.

ووصف معاداة السياسة الأمريكية باستمرار بأنها سياسة غير سليمة وغير حكيمة، وقال: نعادي أمريكا عندما تكون هناك مبررات لمعاداتها، مثلما عندما كان (الرئيس الأمريكي رونالد) ريغان (الذي تعرضت طرابلس لقصف جوي في عهده) وكانت هناك مواجهة.

وأعلن القذافي بأنه لا يوجد أي مشكل ثنائي بين ليبيا وأمريكا الآن، ولم يعد هناك أي مشكلة عالق بينهما إطلاقا خاصة بعد أن انتهت قصة لوكربي، في إشارة إلى التسوية التي طالت حادثة تفجير الطائرة الأمريكية (بان أميركان) فوق بلدة لوكربي الاسكتلندية في العام 1988.

وقال: إذا كانت أمريكا دولة إمبريالية، فهذه ليست مشكلة الشعب الليبي مع أمريكا هذه مشكلة كل شعوب العالم مع أمريكا، وإذا كانت أمريكا دولة نووية وقوة جبارة، فهذه لا تهم الشعب الليبي وحده بل أول من تهم الإتحاد الروسي والصين وتهم بقية العالم.

وأضاف: إذا كانت أمريكا مع الإسرائيليين ضد العرب، هذه لا تخص الشعب الليبي وحده، بل تخص كل الشعوب العربية وتخص الشعب الفلسطيني بالدرجة الأولى.

وتابع: نحن لن نكوّن نوابا عن بقية الشعوب في التصدي لأمريكا في هذا، فهذه مشكلة العالم كله.

وعزا القذافي سبب كراهية العرب لأمريكا إلى قضية فلسطين بعدما وقفت الولايات المتحدة إلى جانب الإسرائيليين، مشيرا إلى أن سياسة واشنطن تجاه تلك القضية أدت إلى خسارتها للعرب وأصبح الشارع العربي عدواً لها.

وأوضح أن أمريكا إذا أرادت أن تكسب الشارع العربي وصداقة العرب فلا بد لها أن تغير سياستها وليس باجترار النظريات البالية التي فشلت وهي إقامة دولتين يعيشان جنباً إلى جنب.

واعتبر أن التفكير في إقامة دولتين واحدة من الفلسطينيين في الضفة الغربية وقطاع غزة، ودولة إسرائيلية، تفكير ساذج ولن يحل المشكلة، موضحا أن حكاية دولتين جنباً إلى جنب لم تعد موجودة، فالواقع قد ألغاها.

وأشار إلى أن فلسطين هي الأرض الواقعة بين النهر والبحر والتي يجب أن يعيش فيها الفلسطينيون والإسرائيليون في دولة واحدة ديمقراطية منزوعة أسلحة الدمار الشامل يعود إليها اللاجئين الفلسطينيين.

وقال القذافي: بالنسبة لنا إذا عاد كل الفلسطينيين وتم تفكيك الترسانة النووية الإسرائيلية، لن يكن هناك مشكل بعد ذلك، مؤكدا أن العرب لا يمكن أن يعيشوا في ظل الصواريخ النووية الإسرائيلية حتى لو حلوا مشكلة فلسطين.

Hizbollah's silence over Scuds speaks volumes to Israel

Fears of conflict escalate as group refuses to discuss its arsenal with Jerusalem – or the Lebanese government

By Robert Fisk

"If Lebanon had a US-style colour-coded "war-fear" alert ranging from white to purple, we are now – courtesy of Israeli president Shimon Peres, the White House spokesman and the head of the Lebanese Hizbollah militia, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah – hovering somewhere between pink and red.....

A clue to the seriousness with which everyone now takes the possibility of war is contained in a remark made by an anonymous US spokesman who warned that the transfer of Scud missiles to Hizbollah would represent a "serious risk" to Lebanon. Not to Israel, mark you – but to Lebanon. There is no doubt that this is an allusion to frequent threats from the Israelis themselves that in another war with Hizbollah, the Lebanese government would be held responsible and as a result Lebanon's infrastructure would be destroyed.

This does not sound so bad in Lebanon as it does elsewhere. For in its last Lebanese war – the fifth since 1978 – the Israelis blamed the Lebanese government for Hizbollah's existence and smashed up the country's roads, bridges, viaducts, electricity grid and civilian factories, as well as killing well over 1,000 civilians. Israel's casualties were in the hundreds, most of them soldiers. What worse can Israel do now against the ruthlessness of the Hizbollah, even after the accusations of war crimes levelled against its equally ruthless rabble of an army?"

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

By Layla Anwar

Contributed by Secular Arab

"There is no topic that can stir as much controversy as that of Saddam Hussein....amazing when you think about it....The man, the president has been dead for over 4 years now...but still....his name enrages and stirs even the most subdued....

Some people absolutely hate him and some absolutely love him and some compare and contrast....the before and the after....

I personally have no problem with Saddam a person and as a leader...I was never a Baathist, I never belonged to any party --- am too independent in my head to be accepted by anyone, let alone a party...

None of my family were members of the Baath either....we always distanced ourselves from mass movements -- not so much out of elitism, we just never felt the need to carry a membership card...

And even though some in my family were strong sympathizers of the Iraqi Communist Party -- I personally always kept my distance....

I know some Iraqis blame Saddam Hussein and the Baath for EVERY THING that went wrong in their lives....I cannot be an ostrich and deny that fact....some would even go as far as saying that it is Saddam Hussein that enabled the americans and iranians to occupy Iraq . That for me is preposterous....and it defies all logic...

So whenever that comes up, I always ask the same question....and that usually shuts up my interlocutor.

And that question is -- which country in the Middle East gave rights to its minorities like Saddam Hussein did?

Be it Christians, Yazidis, Sabaens, Shias or Kurds...

Did Syria, Iran or Turkey give autonomy to the Kurds like Saddam's Iraq did ? The answer is a flat NO.

Did any of the Arab countries safeguard the rights of Arab Christians like Saddam's Iraq did ? The answer is a flat NO.

Did any country in the Middle East/Arab world engage as many Shias in the political process as Saddam's Iraq did ? The answer is again a flat NO

Look at Iran many Iranian Sunnis are in executive positions ? NONE.

In Iran if you are not from the Jaafari Shiite brand you cannot by law and by constitution reach any position of is a constitutional impossibility.

Can you say the same about Saddam Hussein's government ? Of course not. Over 60% of BOTH the Baath party as well as the leadership was Shia.

Can you deny that ? No you can't . I have names and you don't.

Furthermore, you need to look at sociological indexes. Which country in the Arab world and in the Middle East had as many mixed marriages like in Iraq - between Sunnis and Shias, between Muslims and Christians ?

Come on now, give me figures, don't just sit and talk from your ass.

Sociological indexes are very important because they are indicators....they show percentages of participation, in civic, political, and economic life....

Does Lebanon, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait or Syria show that much of "mingling", inter-relationship by marriage between Sunnis and Shias and between Muslims and Christians as Iraq's Saddam Hussein did ? The answer is a flat NO.

These are the facts I use...and will always denounce you. You and your lies...

And as I said in my previous post -- you can threaten me as much as you like with your death won't change a damn thing....Truth remains Truth."

Al-Jazeera Video: Vandalise a Mosque in Huwara

"A mosque in the West Bank town of Huwara has been vandalised and two cars set alight.

Palestinian officials say the perpetrators were from a nearby Jewish settlement. The Israeli army has condemned the incident but says it doesnt know who the attackers are.

According to eyewitnesses, armed Israeli settlers came to the village at dawn on Wednesday, they also painted the name Mohamad an apparent reference to the Muslim prophet but their vandalism was cut short by residents.

Nour Odeh reports from Huwara. "

Al-Jazeera Video: Jerusalem park threatens Palestinian homes

"Hundreds of Palestinians could be displaced if Jerusalem authorities carry out a plan to turn the neighborhood of Al Bustan into a tourist park.

The plan entails the demolition of many Palestinian homes.

But the mayor of the city says he will make sure houses are protected while developing the area. However, Palestinians in Al Bustan are sceptical of the assurance.

Jacky Rowland reports."

Hamas Government In Gaza Executes Two Collaborators? Funny, I did not See Fayyad or Abbas Executed! What Gives?

"The dissolved Hamas-led government in the Gaza Strip officially announced on Thursday morning that it executed two Palestinians convicted of collaborating with the Israeli Intelligence. The two were shot to death....."

Lula’s Legacy: The Two Brazils

By James Petras

"Brazil is a country of paradoxes: President Lula embraces free trade, signs military agreements with Washington, is acclaimed as “Statesman of the Year” by the billionaires club at Davos in 2010 and has enriched bankers from Wall Street to the city of London; yet many western and a few Brazilian writers , Fidel Castro and other intellectuals and academics call him a “pragmatic leftist” or “progressive visionary”.....


Brazilian politics have moved a long way to the right over the past decade: the PT is now an openly pro-business party, whose fiscal policies are a mirror image of the IMF recipes. The once militant trade confederation, the CUT, is now little more than an adjunct of the Ministry of Labor, well rewarded with economic subsidies but incapable of putting workers in the streets. Even the mass based rural landless workers (MST) which still retains its organizational autonomy feels weakened and isolated in the face of the PTs right turn. On the other hand, agro-export elites are thriving, investment bankers and overseas multi-nationals are pouring over $30 billion a year into Brazil; one of the worlds “safest emerging world powers”. Leftist leaders like Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez praise Brazil’s “progressive” foreign policy even as Lula signs defense pacts with Obama for joint training and military exercises.No doubt Lula has gained greater international recognition for Brazil and will finish office with the greatest popularity ratings of any President in recent history. Yet with a cost of living comparable to that of Barcelona, over 30%, of Brazilian wage workers still receive a minimum wage of $200 dollars a month; the public school teachers in Sao Paolo receive between $436 - $505 dollars a month. One has only to visit the millions dwelling in the slums surrounding Sao Paulo, Rio and the other major cities to realize that there are two Brazils: the mass media publicized Brazil of the BRIC, the banker’s ‘emerging world power’, the Brazil of free elections and free markets .Then there is the “other Brazil” of forty million impoverished slum dwellers, twenty million landless rural workers, tens of thousands of dispossessed (Amazon) Indians, thousands of unpaid ‘slave laborers’ living in debt peonage, the millions of public school teachers, working two, three or more shifts up to 13 hours a day to earn a decent pay. Lula’s presidency may have raised Brazil’s international stature and gained him the status of a ‘global statesman’ but most workers, peasants and Afro-Brazilians still work and live under Third World conditions. "

Dr. Strangelove, Made in Israel

by Philip Giraldi, April 15, 2010

"One would expect the Air Force’s top civilian adviser to be someone who has spent some time in the US military or who has a very particular educational or skills set that brings something special to what is, after all, a very senior and sensitive position. Not so. Dr. Lani Kass, who is the senior Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force General Norton A. Schwartz, was born, raised, and educated in Israel and then served in that country’s military where she reached the rank of major. She has a PhD in Russian studies but advises Air Force Generals on Cyberwarfare, terrorism, and the Middle East. And Kass appears to have close and continuing ties to her country of birth, frequently spicing her public statements with comments about life in Israel while parroting simplistic views of the nature of the Islamic threat that might have been scripted in Tel Aviv’s Foreign Ministry.

Kass’ official Air Force bio, which has been expunged from the Pentagon website possibly due to less than flattering commentary regarding her appointment, indicates that since January 2006 she has been "the principal adviser on policy and strategy and formulates, develops, implements, and communicates the policies, programs and goals of the Air Force." Another official bio adds that she "…conducts numerous complex, high priority special assignments involving research and fact-finding to develop analyses, position and issue papers, and generate new initiatives based on a variety of strategic subjects of critical importance to the Joint Staff and/or the Joint Force." There have also been suggestions that Kass has recently become an informal adviser to Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Middle Eastern policy......

Dr. Kass the Kremlinologist might have been a dab hand at interpreting the Nomenklatura standing on top of Lenin’s tomb but her embrace of Cyberwar and her comments relating both to terrorism and the state of the Middle East make one wonder how she has ascended to her lofty perch…and equally why she should remain there. Legitimate security concerns about her possible conflicted loyalty and her intentions should have blunted her trajectory long ago. But on the other hand, the global war on terror is so much of a joke that it perhaps needs someone like Dr. Kass to symbolize its absurdity and to launch the US Air Force on a vital new mission replete with lethal warrior-airmen delivering "global effects" at the speed of light. At an estimated cost of $100 billion, one might add. Captain Kirk? Are you ready to beam me up? Things are getting kind of strange down here."

Publish banned Gaza 'war crimes' report, says Arab Israeli MP

By Jonathan Cook
The National

"NAZARETH, ISRAEL // An Arab member of the Israeli parliament is demanding that a newspaper be allowed to publish an investigative report that was suppressed days before Israel attacked Gaza in winter 2008.

The investigation by Uri Blau, who has been in hiding since December to avoid arrest, concerned Israeli preparations for the impending assault on Gaza, known as Operation Cast Lead.

In a highly unusual move, according to reports in the Israeli media, the army ordered the Haaretz newspaper to destroy all copies of an edition that included Mr Blau’s investigation after it had already gone to press and been passed by the military censor. The article was never republished.

Mr Blau has gone underground in London after the Shin Bet, Israel’s secret police, demanded he return to Israel to hand back hundreds of classified documents they claim are in his possession and to reveal his sources.

He published several additional reports for Haaretz in 2008 and 2009 that severely embarrassed senior military commanders by showing they had issued orders that intentionally violated court rulings, including to execute Palestinians who could be safely apprehended.

Haneen Zoubi, an MP who previously headed an Israeli media-monitoring organisation, said it was “outrageous” that the suppressed report was still secret so long after the Gaza attack......"

Obama's Secret Plan: Bring Arab Puppets to Jerusalem; They Will Have to Address the Knesset!

Obama's theological Israel mission

Any new Middle East peace initiative from the US must break the power of the myth of filial sacrifice associated with Jerusalem

Carlo Strenger, Thursday 15 April 2010

".....To change Israelis' pessimism about the possibility of peace, Obama will have to heed Brzezinski's advice: he will have to bring central figures of the Arab League to Jerusalem; they will have to address the Knesset, thus showing that they truly accept Israel's existence. This is, no doubt, a tall order. But nothing less will do if Obama wants to fulfil his strategic goal of moving to a more peaceful global order."

“Scud Missiles in the Hands of Hezbollah Could Be a Game-Changer”


"15/04/2010 Once again Washington expresses concerns towards “Lebanon’s security” fearing that the arms of the Lebanese Resistance, which has defended and still defending the land against the Israeli aggressions, could harm the country without taking into consideration the Israeli threats and the daily violations for the Lebanese sovereignty.

According to the US administration “Israel has the right of self defense” and that right justifies its continuous armament while Lebanon has no such right in the US and Israeli dictionary....."

Video: Eyewitness Journalist: US covers up civilian deaths in Iraq

Press TV

Eyewitness Journalist: US covers up civilian deaths in Iraq

"Transfer," by Imad Hajjaj

Netanyahu to the Stupid Arab "Leader": "Just Laying New Foundation for the Peace Process!"

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

International Attention Focused on Berkeley Divestment Vote

Published on Wednesday, April 14, 2010 by The Daily California (UC Berkeley)

"International attention will descend on the ASUC Senate meeting tonight as senators consider upholding the passage of a controversial bill urging the student government and the University of California to divest from two companies that have provided war supplies to the Israeli military.

The bill names two companies-United Technologies and General Electric-as supplying Israel with the technology necessary to attack civilian populations in Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The bill originally passed the senate March 17 by a 16-4 vote following about six hours of discussion. A two-thirds majority, or 14 votes, is needed in order to override the veto....

Prominent figures including South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, activist Naomi Klein and leftist MIT professor Noam Chomsky have spoken in support of overriding ASUC President Will Smelko's March 24 veto of the bill....

In a recent letter to the UC Berkeley community, Tutu, who won the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts opposing apartheid in South Africa-said he endorsed the bill and urged senators to uphold the original vote, which he compared to similar efforts at UC Berkeley to divest from South Africa in the 1980s. He said in an e-mail Tuesday that he had a message for ASUC senators.

"I salute you for wanting to take a moral stand," he said in the e-mail. "(Your predecessors) changed the moral climate in the U.S. and the consequence was the Anti-Apartheid legislation, which helped to dismantle apartheid non-violently. Today is your turn. Will you look back on this day with pride or with shame?"....."

Obama's approval rating slides


"WASHINGTON — The latest Associated Press-GfK poll shows President Barack Obama’s approval has slipped to a new low despite the new health care law and signs of economic revival.

Just 49 per cent of people approve of the job Obama is doing, and only 44 per cent like how he has handled health care and the economy...."

Business with Israel pays off in Jordan

[Repulsive report about Normalization with "Israel" , UC Berkely is boycotting and divesting from the criminal state while Jordan is happy about doing business with them , how shameful ]

IRBID, Jordan — Manager Rami Kurdi snapped off a quick celebratory salute to his workers as the factory's bell rang, marking the completion of the day's 1,000th tracksuit in record time.

For Kurdi and the employees at the Century Standard Textile plant, one of several that manufacture clothing for top brands like Calvin Klein, Victoria's Secret, Nike and Reebok, the new record was a source of personal pride.

It's also the sign of the success of a key economic prize from Jordan's peace with Israel. The factory is one of dozens in Jordan's Qualified Industrial Zones, where companies that use a percentage of Israeli inputs can export duty-free to the United States. The QIZs, as they are known, have become the strongest engine for Jordan's economic growth.

"Peace with Israel has paid off," Kurdi said. "It made us so busy getting clothing to Americans that it's hard to keep up with the demand."

Over the past decade, Israel — which previously was the main Mideast textile exporter to the U.S. — has helped its Arab neighbor develop greater skills and access in the textile industry. Ten Israeli factories opened shops in the QIZs. Exports from the QIZs go through Israel's Mediterranean port of Haifa to reduce shipping costs from Jordan, which has only one sea outlet via the Red Sea.

An immaculate conception?

Joseph Massad, The Electronic Intifada, 14 April 2010


The Arabic version of this was posted yesterday.

"The Palestinian Authority is pregnant! Indeed, it is the unelected and American-imposed Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad who is pregnant. He told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz in a recent interview that "the time for this baby to be born will come ... and we estimate it will come around 2011." Unlike females of the human species but like female whales, the gestation period for male Palestinian collaborators with the Israeli occupation extends at least to two years. Fayyad, "the Palestinian Ben-Gurion," as Israeli President Shimon Peres recently dubbed him, had declared his pregnancy in a document he issued on 25 August 2009 titled "Palestine: Ending the Occupation and Establishing the State," and more recently to Haaretz: "the birth of a Palestinian state will be celebrated as a day of joy by the entire community of nations."

We seem to already know the name, weight, ideological color and the physical make-up of this "baby;" nay we even know the political structure, and the foreign policy of the fruit of Fayyad's womb: a tiny Palestinian "state" that recognizes Israel as a "biblical" Jewish state. The time of birth will be determined by Fayyad as both mother and midwife. While the last immaculate conception that took place in Palestine was in Nazareth, it remains unclear if what is unfolding in Ramallah is a second immaculate conception, as no paternity tests have been scheduled as of yet for this illegitimate baby.

Given the longstanding affairs that Fayyad has had with the Americans since his stint at the International Monetary Fund from 1995 to 2002, some heretics reject the theory of immaculate conception and claim to know the identity of the father and point to Fayyad's words as evidence. According to Haaretz, Fayyad is planning to induce labor in August 2011 in order "for the state to be born during the first term of [US President] Barack Obama," the most likely father according to the heretics. Non-Cuban cigars will be on hand for immediate distribution to the friends and family of the happy couple....

After these preparations are finalized, Fayyad will give birth to his illegitimate American baby, christened "Palestine." Unlike the Nazarene baby, Fayyad's baby will be the harbinger not of salvation but of more misery for the Palestinian people. Gifts to mother and child should be sent care of Salam Fayyad's office in Ramallah."

نصيحة عربية لا تستحق الاحترام

نصيحة عربية لا تستحق الاحترام
عبد الباري عطوان

"ليت الجامعة العربية، وامينها العام، ومجلسها يكفون جميعا، ولمدة زمنية مفتوحة عن مناقشة القضايا العربية الملحة، والفلسطينية منها على وجه الخصوص، احتراما للعقل العربي، او ما تبقى منه، بعدما باتت البيانات والتصريحات الصادرة عن هذه المؤسسة تثير الغثيان.
بالامس، وبعد اجتماع طارئ للمجلس المذكور على مستوى المندوبين، لمناقشة القرار الاسرائيلي بترحيل سبعين الف فلسطيني 'تسللوا' الى الضفة الغربية من قطاع غزة والاردن، خرجوا علينا ببيان قرأه الامين العام، يطالب هؤلاء الفلسطينيين المهددين بالطرد 'بعدم الانصياع' الى الأوامر الاسرائيلية هذه، معتبرا ان هذا القرار عنصري ويخالف المسؤوليات، الواقعة بموجب القانون الدولي على عاتق الدولة القائمة على الاحتلال.
اولا: قضية على هذا المستوى من الخطورة، لا يجب ان تناقش من قبل المندوبين، لان هذا يشكل استخفافا بأبعادها السياسية والقانونية والانسانية، وكان الاجدى ان تكون المشاركة في هذا الاجتماع الطارئ على مستوى وزراء الخارجية، في الحد الادنى، ولكن وزراء الخارجية العرب منشغلون بأمور اكثر اهمية، وهي كيفية فرض حصار على ايران، والحد من طموحاتها النووية.
ثانيا: كيف يطالب مجلس الجامعة الفلسطينيين المحاصرين، العزل، بالتصدي لأوامر الترحيل والطرد الاسرائيلية وعدم الانصياع لها، فهل هؤلاء يملكون الاسلحة والطائرات والمدافع والصواريخ التي تتدفق عليهم من اشقائهم العرب عبر الحدود والجسور الجوية؟
ثالثا: اذا كان المجلس المذكور يصف القرار بأنه 'عنصري' ويستهدف تطبيق سياسة التهجير القسري للفلسطينيين، ويخرق الاتفاقات الموقعة بين منظمة التحرير واسرائيل، بما فيها اتفاقات اوسلو، فلماذا لا يرد على كل هذه الانتهاكات والتجاوزات بسحب المبادرة العربية للسلام، بعد ان اصبح استمرار وجودها على الطاولة يشجع الاسرائيليين على التمادي في مصادرة الاراضي، وبناء المستوطنات وتهويد المقدسات، واخيرا طرد الفلسطينيين من اراضيهم، اي على عكس كل المبررات التي يطرحها بعض 'العقلاء' و'المعتدلين' لابقاء المبادرة واستمرار التمسك بها.
' ' '
نعترف اننا مللنا من الحديث عن حالة الهوان التي يعيشها حاليا النظام الرسمي العربي، وقد رأيناها في ابشع صورها اثناء قمة سرت الاخيرة، والقرارات الهزيلة التي تمخضت عنها، وسياسات النقد الذاتي التي صدرت عن بعض الزعماء، ووصلنا الى قناعة بأنه لا فائدة من مخاطبة هؤلاء ومطالبتهم بفعل هذا او ذاك، ولذلك نكتفي بالتوسل اليهم بان يوقفوا هذه الاجتماعات، الطارئة والعادية، تأكيدا لعدم قدرتهم او رغبتهم، او الاثنين معا، في فعل اي شيء يخدم هذه الامة وقضاياها.
الفلسطينيون المرابطون في الاراضي المحتلة، يتصدون وحدهم لعمليات التهويد ومصادرة الاراضي وهدم البيوت، ولا يحتاجون الى 'نصيحة' السيد عمرو موسى ومجلس جامعته، 'بعدم الانصياع' لقرارات الطرد والابعاد الاسرائيلية، ولا ينتظرون، بل ولا يتوقعون منهم اي شيء على الاطلاق.
فإذا كان هؤلاء لم يتحركوا لكسر الحصار عن مليون ونصف مليون انسان، محاصرين، مجوعين، في قطاع غزة، وصمتوا صمت القبور على بناء كنيس يهودي بالقرب من باحة المسجد الاقصى، والحفريات التي توشك ان تدمر الاخير، فهل نتوقع منهم ان يتصدوا لعمليات الطرد والابعاد القادمة؟
ممارسة الاسرائيليين لسياسات التطهير العرقي للفلسطينيين ليست جديدة، ولم تتوقف مطلقاً منذ احتلال فلسطين قبل ستين عاماً، الجديد هو ان هذه السياسات تستعد لدخول المرحلة الثانية والاخطر منها، اي إبعاد اهالي المناطق المحتلة عام 1948 في الجليل والمثلث وغيرهما، باعتبارهم اغرابا لا مكان لهم في الدولة اليهودية.
فإذا كان ممنوعاً على ابناء قطاع غزة البقاء في رام الله او نابلس او الخليل باعتبارهم اغرابا فلماذا لا يكون الوضع نفسه بالنسبة الى مليون ونصف المليون عربي يقيمون في الناصرة والطيبة وحيفا وعكا ويافا الذين يتواجدون على ارض يهودية محصورة الاقامة عليها لليهود فقط، حسب السياسات والمخططات العنصرية الاسرائيلية الظاهرة والمخفية.
اسرائيل بقرارها هذا تطلق 'بالون اختبار' لقياس رد الفعل العربي تجاه عمليات طرد وترحيل اكبر تخطط لها حكومة اليمين الحالية في المستقبل القريب، مستغلة اشتعال حرب اقليمية جديدة في المنطقة.
' ' '
من المحزن ان الاختبار الاسرائيلي هذا اعطى مفعوله وسريعاً، بل اسرع مما توقعه حكام تل ابيب، ولا بد ان بنيامين نتنياهو رئيس وزراء اسرائيل يفرك يديه فرحاً، بينما يقع حليفه افيغدور ليبرمان وزير خارجيته على الارض من شدة الضحك، وهو يستمع الى بيان الاجتماع الطارئ لمجلس الجامعة العربية، وما ورد فيه من عبارات فاقدة لاي حرارة او الحد الادنى من الغضب.
تصورنا، وتوقعنا إقدام الحكومة الاسرائيلية على كل شيء لاذلال الشعب الفلسطيني في ظل الوضع العربي المتردي الراهن، ولكن لم يخطر في بالنا مطلقاً، وبعد كل التنازلات العربية، ومبادرة السلام، والخدمات الجليلة التي قدمتها الانظمة العربية لامريكا في الحرب على الارهاب، واحتلال العراق واطاحة النظام فيه ، ان يصبح ابن غزة 'اجنبياً' في الضفة او العكس. هذا يعني عملياً، ان الدولة الفلسطينية في الضفة وغزة لن تقوم مطلقاً.
اسرائيل بعد احتلالها الضفة والقطاع في حزيران (يونيو) عام 1967، شجعت الكثير من الأسر في قطاع غــــزة على الانتــــقال الى الضفة والاستقرار فيها، لتخفيف الكثافة السكانية المكتـــظة في القطاع، وتحسين احوال هؤلاء، حيث فرص العمل والمعيشة افضل هناك، الآن تريد حل مشكلة الكثافة السكانية، وخوض الحرب الديموغرافية بالاحرى، بسلاح التفريغ، تماماً مثلما فعلت بعد احتلالها لفلسطين بعد عام 1948 بطرد سكان اربعمائة قرية على الاقل ومحوها من الخريطة كلياً.
عندما التقيت العاهل الاردني الملك عبدالله الثاني في اوائل عام 2002 (لم ازر الاردن منذ ذلك الوقت) وبعد عودته من واشنطن، اي قبل ثلاثة اشهر من احتلال العراق، قال انه ابدى للرئيس الامريكي بوش الثاني مخاوفه من اقدام شارون على ترحيل ابناء الضفة الى الاردن، مستغلاً الحرب المؤكدة على العراق، وطلب منه 'ضمانات' بعدم حدوث ذلك، وأكد الملك انه حصل عليها، وقال بالحرف الواحد 'لو اقدمت اسرائيل على ترحيل اهل الضفة الى الاردن سأعلن الحرب.. فهذه خطوة لا يمكن التهاون تجاهها'.
لا نعرف ما هو رد الحكومة الاردنية على القرار الاسرائيلي المذكور، لان معظم المطرودين سيجدون انفسهم في الاراضي الاردنية، مثلما حصل لاشقائهم الذين ابعدوا في حربي 48 و67، ولكن ما جاء في بيان وزارة الخارجية الاردنية حول طلبها توضيحات حول هذه المسألة من نظيرتها الاسرائيلية لا يوحي بالاطمئنان على الاطلاق.

Was Obama Nuke Summit Necessary or Just “Nuclear Alarmism”? And What About Israel’s Arsenal?

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"President Obama concluded an international summit on nuclear security in Washington, DC Tuesday after securing pledges from dozens of nations to eliminate or safeguard all vulnerable nuclear materials within four years. We speak with political science professor, John Mueller, author of Atomic Obsession: Nuclear Alarmism from Hiroshima to Al-Qaeda, and John Steinbach, who has studied Israel’s nuclear weapons program...."

Real News Video: On the border Pt8

Warschawski: The Middle East and the next decade - the unipolar world ends and economic crisis deepens

More at The Real News

Nuclear Obama

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"Talk about terrorist threats was thin disguise for the call for sanctions on Iran, the real target of US President Barack Obama's 47-nation gabfest on nuclear security this week. And while there is no clarity on how much further the US will cut its formidable atomic arsenal, Obama's vision of a "completely nuclear-free world" is the stuff of dreams for the Pentagon and its growing strategic non-nuclear firepower....

The show, meanwhile, must go on. Next month comes the UN conference dedicated to the five-year review of the NPT. Obama will be on top of this review - which is already being spun in Washington as an "effective strategy" to contain Iran.

So one should expect more Obama administration pressure over reluctant China and Russia - instead of Obama showing real "Nixonian deftness" by offering carrots (and not only sticks) as well as trying to address Tehran's absolute (and not unfounded) paranoia of an US bent on regime change.

And as for Washington talking about a "completely nuclear-free world" - that's the stuff (non-Pentagon) dreams are made of. "

Adding Torture to Injury

By Pam Bailey

"GAZA, Apr 14, 2010 (IPS) - It was bad enough that Ahmad Asfour was severely maimed by an Israeli drone strike outside his house on Jan. 9, 2009. But, his search for advanced treatment landed the journalism student, now 19, in Israeli prison where he remains.

According to Mahmud Abo Rahma of the Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, not many Palestinians are arrested as Ahmed was, but it is increasingly common for patients entering Israel to be denied treatment unless the patient or family agrees to collaborate.

Al Mezan has joined the Physicians for Human Rights and the ADALA Centre (which defends the rights of Palestinian Arabs in Israel) to charge Israel with blackmailing Palestinian patients in Gaza, exploiting their need for medical treatment to pressure them into collaborating with its intelligence agencies......"

Kyrgyzstan Could Be Victory for Freedom – If US Allows It

The US use of Kyrgyzstan as a military staging ground has caused it to turn a blind eye to conflict

By Stephen Kinzer

"....The United States has seen Kyrgyzstan as a military staging ground, but it is something more: a nation struggling toward freedom. Democracy has a better chance in Kyrgyzstan than anywhere else in Central Asia. If the new regime manages to consolidate itself in the coming days, the United States should approach it with humility rather than more demands. If it does, Kyrgyzstan — not Afghanistan or Pakistan — might emerge as the region’s democratic leader. That would be the kind of victory for freedom that American leaders say they want to win in this deeply troubled region."

Liberals Smear Wikileaks

Mother Jones and Colbert go after Wikileaks

by Justin Raimondo, April 14, 2010

"Activists intent on releasing evidence of crimes committed by a powerful government are harassed and followed by police and intelligence agents: a restaurant in which they are meeting comes under surveillance, and, subsequently, one of their number is detained by the police for 21 hours. Their leader is followed on an international flight by two agents: and, in a parking lot of foreign soil, one of their number is accosted by a "James Bond character" and threatened. Computers are seized, and on the group’s Twitter account the following message appears:
"If anything happens to us, you know why … and you know who is responsible."

Well, then, who is responsible? Surely it must be some totalitarian regime – say, the Chinese, or one of the Arab autocracies – but no. The culprits are the Americans, and their target is Wikileaks the web site of record for leaked government and other official documents, which has so far done more real investigative reporting in the last few years to unnerve and expose the Powers That Be than the New York Times and the Washington Post, combined......

And when are liberals going to wake up and smell the fact that their Dear Leader has betrayed the Revolution, and is in many ways worse than his predecessor? At least you knew Bush was an authoritarian. Obama puts a "reasonable" and even "liberal" face on what is, essentially, the same doctrine of executive and governmental supremacism. What’s interesting is to listen to liberals now sounding like the once-hated neocons, smearing anyone who stands in their way and justifying an increasingly unpopular and costly war. The real Mother Jones must be spinning in her grave."

ElBaradei: Gaza, world's largest jail

Press TV

"Former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei has expressed support for Palestinian resistance, calling Gaza the world's largest jail.

In a report published by UPI on Tuesday, ElBaradei described resistance the only path open to the Palestinian people, because the Israeli occupation only understands the language of force.

"The peace process has become a stupid joke which we talk about without achieving any progress," the Egyptian diplomat reportedly said, adding that the Arabs should back their negotiation option with force and deterrence.

He also criticized Cairo's construction of a steel wall along the border with the Gaza Strip, aimed at disrupting Palestinians' "survival" tunnel network, as harmful to Egypt's reputation.

He described Egypt's construction of the wall as joining Israel in its closure of the strip, which he said "has become the world's largest prison."

"The logical solution to the problem would be to close the tunnels and open border crossings while creating a free trade zone in Rafah where Palestinians can trade and then return to Gaza."...."

Hypocrisy and the end of empires

By Mark LeVine

"....The brief moment of clarity reminds us of the crucial role played by one of the most subtle yet damning of human vices - hypocrisy - in sustaining the problems confronting the US, and most other global powers for that matter.

Hypocrisy laid bare

Hypocrisy has always been an important denomination of political currency, but today it has seemingly become the coin of the realm.....

However, the continuities in US foreign policy between the Obama and Bush administrations reflect a more systemic hypocrisy whose negative consequences have global implications.

The US - like great powers before it - has long declared its intention to support freedom, democracy and progress while pursuing policies that encourage, or even demand, their opposite.

Not surprisingly, it has also turned a blind eye to its allies' or clients' hypocrisies: Israel declaring its desire for peace while intensifying occupation, Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, promising to fight corruption while rigging elections and placing family members in crucial positions.

Then you have this or that Arab leader pledging democratic reform while continuing to arrest and abuse citizens - until the disconnect between words and deeds threatens core American interests.....

The most recent opening in the haze of media and political hypocrisy began with the near simultaneous revelations of civilian deaths at the hands of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The now ubiquitous Wikileaks video footage of soldiers firing on Reuter's photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, his colleague Saeed Chmagh, and several other civilians in Baghdad in July 2007 was equalled in graphic power by the accusations that in February 2010, US special forces personnel had not only killed two pregnant women along with a teenage girl and two local officials in Khataba, Afghanistan, but carved the bullets out of the bodies to remove evidence of their responsibility for the deaths.

The hypocrisy of the official responses has been glaringly on display.....

'Dead bastards'

In military footage released by Wikileaks, Iraqi fatalities were called "dead bastards" [AFP]
Hypocrisy is often accompanied by arrogance.

Gates assumes that scenes of US soldiers blithely calling the victims "dead bastards," laughing, looking for an excuse to finish off an unarmed victim, and blaming other victims for "bringing their kids into a battle" will "not have any lasting consequences".

Consequences for whom, one might ask......"

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Grassroots organizer targeted by PA, Israeli forces

Nora Barrows-Friedman, The Electronic Intifada, 13 April 2010

"Mousa Abu Maria, father of a newborn baby and co-coordinator of the grassroots Palestine Solidarity Project (PSP) in the occupied West Bank village of Beit Ommar, was used to the sound of boots running on the ground and surrounding his home in the middle of the night. Awakened once again at 2:00am on Tuesday, 6 April, Abu Maria told an international volunteer with PSP who was sleeping in his house not to worry but that they should start moving the computers out of the rooms. Weeks earlier, PSP's office was raided by Israeli forces; computer hard drives and printers were confiscated as Abu Maria's entire family was forced to stand outside in the freezing cold. But when Abu Maria looked outside the window this time, it wasn't Israeli forces shouting at him to come outside. It was a squadron of heavily-armed Palestinian Authority (PA) police.

"They told me that they needed to talk with me for just one hour," Abu Maria told EI on the phone from Beit Ommar. "But they kidnapped me, forced me into a jeep, and took me to the Hebron police station where they held me until the next afternoon. They acted exactly like Israeli soldiers, accusing me of hitting a police officer during a demonstration -- a totally fabricated claim."

PSP has been instrumental in coordinating weekly demonstrations in front of Route 60, the "settler road" that runs alongside Beit Ommar and connects Jerusalem to the settlement colonies in the Bethlehem/Hebron area, and Abu Maria has borne the brunt of Israeli backlash for his involvement in the group's nonviolent direct actions...."

Iran is Obama's 'only chance' of success: Ahmadinejad

"TEHRAN (AFP) – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday that Iran was the "only chance" for his US counterpart Barack Obama to succeed after the crises Washington has faced in neighbouring Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ahmadinejad also said he is currently drafting a letter to Obama which will be "published in due time."

His remarks came soon after Washington said the credibility of the UN Security Council "was at stake" in the push to impose new sanctions against Iran for defiantly pursuing its controversial nuclear programme.

"Mr Obama has only one chance and that is Iran. This is not emotional talk but scientific. He has but one place to say that 'I made a change and I turned over the world equation' and that is Iran," Ahmadinejad said in a live interview on state television.

"He has but one chance to stay as head of the state and succeed. Obama cannot do anything in Palestine. He has no chance. What can he do in Iraq? Nothing. And Afghanistan is too complicated.

"The best way for him is to accept and respect Iran and enter into cooperation. Many new opportunities will be created for him."....."

Rat Zinger, by Khalil Bendib

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

حَبَلٌ بلا دَنَسٍ؟..

جوزيف مسعد

A Very Good Piece
By Professor Joseph Massad

"لقد جاءتنا البشارة من رام الله: السلطة الفلسطينية حُبلى، بل رئيس الوزراء الفلسطيني غير المنتخب والمفروض أميركياً سلام فيّاض هو من ينتظر مولوداً. فقد أعلن للصحيفة الإسرائيلية هآرتس في مقابلة نشرتها أخيراً: «ستأتي ساعة ولادة هذا الطفل...، ونحن نقَدِّر أنها ستكون في عام 2011». وبخلاف إناث النوع البشري وبالتماثل مع إناث الحيتان، فإن فترة حمل الذكور الفلسطينيين المتعاونين مع الاحتلال الإسرائيلي تمتد إلى عامين على الأقل، حيث أعلن فيّاض، الذي لقّبه شمعون بيريز بـ«بن غوريون الفلسطينيين»، عن حمله في وثيقة أصدرها في 25 آب (أغسطس) 2009 تحت عنوان «فلسطين: إنهاء الاحتلال وإقامة الدولة»، ثم أعاد إعلانه في هآرتس: «سيحتفل بيوم ولادة الدولة الفلسطينية كيوم سرور للمجتمع الدولي بأسره». يبدو أننا نعرف سلفاً اسم هذا الطفل ووزنه ولونه الأيديولوجي وتكوينه الفسيولوجي، بل إننا نعرف البنية السياسية والسياسة الخارجية لثمرة بطن فيّاض: دويلة فلسطينية تعترف بإسرائيل كدولة يهودية «توراتية». سيحدِّد فيّاض كأمٍّ وكقابلةٍ ساعةَ الولادة. وبينما كان آخر حَبَل بلا دَنَسٍ في فلسطين قد وقع في مدينة الناصرة، فإنه لا يزال من غير الواضح إن كان ما يتبلور في رام الله هو حَبَل بلا دَنَسٍ ثانٍ، حيث لم يُعيَّن بعد موعدٌ لتحديد أبوة هذا الطفل غير الشرعيّ. ولكن نظراً للعلاقات الطويلة الأمد التي تربط السيد فيّاض بالأميركيين منذ توليه وظيفة في صندوق النقد الدولي من عام 1995 إلى عام 2002، يرفض بعض الهراطقة نظرية الحَبَل بلا دَنَسٍ ويدّعون معرفة هوية الأب، مستندين إلى كلمات فيّاض نفسه كدليل إثبات. فبحسب هآرتس فإن فيّاض يخطط لبدء الطلق الاصطناعي في آب (أغسطس) 2011، كي «تولد الدولة أثناء إدارة أوباما الأولى»، والتي يُصِرُّ الهراطقة على أنه الأب المحتمل لطفل فيّاض. وسيوزَّع السيجار «غير الكوبي» حسب العادات الغربية عند الولادة على الأصدقاء وأفراد عائلتَي الأبوين السعيدين......

وبعد الانتهاء من هذه الاستعدادات سيلد فياض طفله الأميركي غير الشرعي الذي سيعمِّده باسم «فلسطين». وبخلاف طفل الناصرة، فإن طفل فياض لن يجلب الخلاص للشعب الفلسطيني بل سيكون وبالاً وخراباً عارماً عليه.
يرجى التفضل بإرسال هدايا الأم والطفل إلى عنوان مكتب السيد سلام فياض في رام الله."

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

This is a timely poll; it asks:

Do you expect an appropriate Arab response to Israel's decision to expel thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank?

With over 1,700 responding so far, 97% said no.

Anat Kam: I stole IDF documents to expose West Bank war crimes


"Classified documents reveal that the Israel Defense Forces had committed war crimes in the West Bank, Anat Kam, the former soldier indicted for espionage over an alleged theft of top secret material, told the court earlier in the year, according to police documents released allowed for publication Monday at the request of Haaretz.

In the newly released material documenting court hearings surrounding Kam's arrest, the journalist and former IDF soldier said that the motivation behind her removal of sensitive military material was to expose "certain aspects of the IDF's conduct in the West Bank that I thought were of interest to the public."

Kam added that her thinking behind taking the top secret papers was to ensure that "if and when the war crime the IDF was and is committing in the West Bank would be investigated, then I would have evidence to present."....."

Ethnic cleansing in Palestine, by Carlos Latuff

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Artist's Comments:

High resolution version here: [link]

The Israeli military has issued a new ruling that would allow the mass deportation of Palestinians from the occupied West Bank.

Mossad Operation Threatened Against Reporter

Whistleblowing Israeli Journalist Treated as "Fugitive Felon"

By JONATHAN COOK, in Nazareth

"An Israeli journalist who went into hiding after writing a series of reports showing lawbreaking approved by Israeli army commanders faces a lengthy jail term for espionage if caught, as Israeli security services warned at the weekend they would “remove the gloves” to track him down.

The Shin Bet, Israel’s secret police, said it was treating Uri Blau, a reporter with the liberal Haaretz daily newspaper who has gone underground in London, as a “fugitive felon” and that a warrant for his arrest had been issued....

However, media coverage of the case in Israel has been largely hostile. Yuval Elbashan, a lawyer, wrote in Haaretz yesterday that Mr Blau’s fellow military reporters and analysts had in the past few days abandoned their colleague and proven “their loyalty to the [security] system as the lowliest of its servants”.

One, Yossi Yehoshua, a military correspondent with the country’s largest-circulation newspaper, Yedioth Aharonoth, who is said to have been approached by Ms Kamm before she turned to Mr Blau, is due to testify against her in her trial due next month.

Chat forums and talkback columns also suggest little sympathy among the Israeli public for either Ms Kamm or Mr Blau. Several Hebrew websites show pictures of Ms Kamm behind bars or next to a hangman’s noose...."