Saturday, May 29, 2010

Hamas faces rising anger after bulldozing Gaza homes

By Joseph Krauss (AFP)
(Via Uruknet)

"RAFAH, Gaza Strip — Huddled in a tent near the mound of rubble that used to be his home, Eissa al-Sidudi says out loud what many Gazans would only mutter in private: Hamas has gone too far.

On May 16 Hamas police dragged his wife and eight children out of their squat cement house and pummelled him with wooden batons as bulldozers razed the building along with nearly 20 other homes.

"They didn't come here as a government, they came as an enemy power," he said, surrounded by several nodding neighbours who are also camping out at the site, an outcrop of sand dunes on the edge of the town.

"Whoever destroys my house is my enemy," he said.

Hamas authorities said they demolished the homes under a court order because they were illegally built on government land.

But the image of Israeli bulldozers toppling homes in the occupied territories has been seared into the Palestinian conscience, and the move came amid rising discontent with Hamas's rule over the impoverished territory....."

Sleepwalking with Iran

By Stephen M. Walt
Foreign Policy

"I can't figure out who is actually directing U.S. policy toward Iran, but what's striking (and depressing) about it is how utterly unimaginative it seems to be. Ever since last year's presidential election, the United States has been stuck with a policy that might be termed "Bush-lite." We continue to ramp up sanctions that most people know won't work, and we take steps that are likely to reinforce Iranian suspicions and strengthen the clerical regime's hold on power.....

A second explanation is some combination of inside-the-Beltway groupthink and ordinary bureaucratic conservatism. For anyone currently working in Washington, a hard line on Iran and defending our longstanding policy of confrontation is a very safe position to support. No one will accuse you of being a naive appeaser; you'll have plenty of bureaucratic allies, and you'll retain your reputation as a tough and reliable defender of U.S. interests.

By contrast, any government official who proposed taking the threat of force off the table, who publicly admitted that sanctions wouldn't work, who acknowledged that we probably can't stop Iran from getting the bomb if it really wants to, or who recommended a much more far-reaching effort at finding common ground would be taking a significant career risk. And you'd be virtually certain to get smeared by unrepentent neocons and other hawks who favor the use of military force. So there's little incentive for insiders to contemplate -- let alone propose -- a different approach to this issue, even though our current policy is looking more and more like the failed policies of the previous administration.

Although I obviously can't be certain, I don't think there will be an open war with Iran. I think that enough influential people realize just how much trouble this would cause us and that they will continue to resist calls for "kinetic action." (Of course, I also thought that about Iraq back in 2001, and look what happened there.)...."

Al-Jazeera Video: Interview: Naomi Klein on oil spill

"May 28, 2010 — Frustration is growing among residents of the US Gulf of Mexico coast over the pace of efforts to combat the growing oil spill in the region.

Author and activist Naomi Klein has been visiting the state of Louisiana.

She told Al Jazeera that patience is running very thin. "

Surprise, Surprise! The Son of Another Arab Dictator Getting Ready to Inherit the Regime of His Father; They OWN the Country!

Gaddafi the younger looks to consign Libya's pariah status to the past

Saif Gaddafi, son of the Libyan leader, has engaged a New York PR firm to present the face of a modern reforming state

Ian Black, Middle East editor, Friday 28 May 2010

".....Saif, 37, is the face of modern, reforming Libya, emerging from its long years as a pariah state to become a dazzling mecca for western investment, with a reinvigorated energy industry, billions of dollars in cash reserves, a re-opened US embassy, and even plans for mass tourism.

Gaddafi junior has no formal position in the Jamihiriya – the "state of the masses" – but he is an energetic champion of change who has a finger in most pies in Libya, as well as jet-setting friends such as Britain's Lord Mandelson. It is widely assumed that he will one day succeed his father, although he insists he is a democrat.....

But it is clearly hard for him to escape that giant shadow. "Muammar al-Gaddafi is not just my father," said Saif. "He is the father of the nation. We cannot do anything without his approval. He is not against reforms – he has been very supportive. Without his support nothing will happen.""

Israel Threatening to Stop "Freedom Flotilla" to Gaza

Written by Free Gaza team 29 May 2010

(Left: Hedy Epstein (center) protesting and on hunger strike in Cairo, demanding the right to enter Gaza, on a previous mission to take supplies to Gaza.)

"....The ships from different locations are meeting in international waters in the Mediterranean and heading toward Gaza this weekend.

Those aboard the ships reportedly include over 30 parliamentarians from various countries and other notables. Among the Americans on board:Amb. EDWARD L. PECK, JOE MEADORS, HEDY EPSTEIN, ANN WRIGHT

Ambassador Peck was chief of mission in Iraq and Mauritania and deputy director of the White House Task Force on Terrorism in the Reagan administration. Meadors is a survivor of the 1967 attack by Israel on the U.S. military ship the USS Liberty in which 34 Americans were killed. Epstein is a survivor of the Nazi Holocaust and author of Remembering Is Not Enough. Wright is a 29-year U.S. Army/Army Reserves veteran who retired as a Colonel and a former U.S. diplomat who resigned in March 2003 in opposition to the invasion of Iraq. She just wrote the piece "The Audacity of the Free Gaza Flotilla: Breaking the Israeli Siege of Gaza May Lead to an Attack at Sea, Detention Camps and Deportation." The above and others aboard the ships are available for a limited number of interviews via:

GRETA BERLIN........."

Déjà Vu All Over Again: Just Like Fatah and Arafat Before Him; Nothing Has Changed!

Mashaal to US: Give Us Advanced Missiles to Target Accurately Israeli Military


"29/05/2010 Hamas politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal spoke out on Friday against American support of Israel and said that the Hamas was not against the United States but rather against its bias in favor of Israel, and stated Israel as the main obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

"We don’t have a problem whatsoever with the United States, nor with the American interests," Mashaal told U.S. broadcast journalist and acclaimed interviewer Charlie Rose. "America is a great state; it is a superpower and its right to keep its interests, but its interests shouldn’t be at the expense of others and the people of the region."

"Israel is the obstacle in the face of peace in the region and the United States of America, morally and politically, has to deal with this reality and not put pressure on the Palestinian or the Arab side," Mashaal argued.

Mashaal also criticized the U.S. for not holding direct talks with the Hamas and questioned whether U.S. special Mideast envoy George Mitchell could succeed in his mission to bring peace to the region without the resistance movement.

"I think that the United States of America should have direct dialogue with Hamas without mediators [This is what the "Resistance" is all about??], because the United States is a major state, and it shouldn't fear Israel, and it should have dialogue with all concerned parties in the region," Mashaal said. "Why does he [George Mitchell] believe that he will succeed in the Palestinian issue without dialogue with Hamas?"

"Why did the American administration accept the Israeli election regardless of the results, it accepted [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, it accepted extremists like [Foreign minister Avigdor] Lieberman, to be the head of the diplomacy, and did not accept Hamas," he added and called this a "double standard."[Duh! You Finally realized that, Mr. Politburo Chief? ]....."


I despair for the Palestinians and their inability to produce a leadership and a movement that is up to the task! Civil society is left on its own to do what it can, without help (and probably with the opposition) of what passes for Palestinian "leadership."

Friday, May 28, 2010

Iraq: Paralyzed, Dejected, Corrupt

Robbing the State



"....“I have never been so depressed about the future of Iraq,” said one former minister. “The ruling class which came to power after 2003 is terrible. They have no policy other than to see how far they can rob the state.” None of this is very apparent to the outside world because US policy since 2008 has been to declare a famous victory and withdraw its troops....

The reign of the present ruling elite in Iraq may be temporary. Many of the returning immigrants seem to want to plunder as much as they can as soon as they can before relocating to Europe, the US or some sympathetic Arab capital. They may have abler successors. But the failure to form a new government, and the growing perception that the present one is illegitimate, is making Iraq so unstable that it cannot reconstruct itself."

Lebanon Marks Liberation Day

Celebrating Occupation's End


"...Was it a “strategic withdrawal” as Israel’s apologists often contend, or a “retreat” as Hezbollah supporters prefer to maintain?

Colonel Noam Ben-Tzvi (ret.), the last commander of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) western sector in south Lebanon, characterized their exit quite differently:

It wasn't a withdrawal and it wasn't a retreat. We ran away, pure and simple.” (Haaretz, May 21).....

Recognizing that Israel is itching for revenge after its July 2006 assault failed to eliminate the strength or popularity of Hezbollah and that an attack will involve a manufactured pretext (like the Scud missile allegations), Hariri knows Lebanon’s economically vital summer tourist season could be when they elect to strike again. The alternating cycle of tears and celebration to which Lebanon has grown accustom may not be over yet."

Al-Jazeera Video: Israel's Gaza PR offensive

"May 27, 2010 — While boats battle to get through the siege of Gaza, Gazans can eat out in fancy restaurants and have no need of aid.

That's what Israel has been telling journalists, at least.

Sherine Tadros picks apart the media campaign..."

Al-Jazeera Video: Gaza flotilla due to leave southern Turkey

Real News Video: TRNN Exclusive: The man that "shoed" Bush Pt3

al-Zaidi: Under US pressure, Iraqi media covered up my torture and supporters were arrested

More at The Real News

Tribute to the people of Gaza

By Mairead Maguire
Nobel Peace Laureate
May 28, 2010, 00:22

Online Journal

"I never cease to be amazed at the power of the human spirit to survive. During my last visit to Gaza in October 2008, I was amazed and deeply moved by the power of the people I witnessed. In a triumph of hope over adversity and tremendous suffering, love still abides.

Gaza comprises a small strip of land 27 miles long and 6 miles wide. This coastal strip is bordered by Israel on the one side, the Mediterranean Sea on the other and to a lesser extent by Egypt at the southern end. With one and a half million inhabitants Gaza is the fifth most densely populated place on the planet, 50% of which are under the age of 18. Two thirds of the total population hold refugees status, and comprise the victims and their descendants of previous acts of Israeli aggression.....

This journey, by boat, will be my third with the Free Gaza Movement and it has shown me that people can make a difference. The Free Gaza Movement was started by a few people with an idea and the courage to make it happen. If people wish to support their work and follow us on the boat journey to Gaza visit their website at above all we are inspired by the people of Gaza whose courage, love and joy in welcoming us, even in the midst of such suffering gives us all hope. They represent the very best of humanity and we are all privileged to be given the opportunity to support them in their nonviolent struggle for human dignity, and freedom. "

Israel's Disinformation Campaign Against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla

Written by Free Gaza team 28 May 2010

"......Israel claims that there is no ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Every international aid organization working in Gaza has documented this crisis in stark detail. Just released earlier this week, Amnesty International's Annual Human Rights Report stated that Israeli's siege on Gaza has "deepened the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Mass unemployment, extreme poverty, food insecurity and food price rises caused by shortages left four out of five Gazans dependent on humanitarian aid. The scope of the blockade and statements made by Israeli officials about its purpose showed that it was being imposed as a form of collective punishment of Gazans, a flagrant violation of international law."[1]

Israel claims that its blockade is directed simply at the Hamas government in Gaza, and is limited to so-called 'security' items. Yet When U.S. Senator John Kerry visited Gaza last year, he was shocked to discover that the Israeli blockade included staple food items such as lentils, macaroni and tomato paste.[2] Furthermore, Gisha, the Israeli Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, has documented numerous official Israeli government statements that the blockade is intended to put 'pressure' on Gaza's population, and collective punishment of civilians is an illegal act under international law.[3]....

Given the continuing and sustained failure of the international community to enforce its own laws and protect the people of Gaza, we strongly believe that we all, as citizens of the world, have a moral obligation to directly intervene in acts of nonviolent civil resistance to uphold international principles. Israeli threats and intimidation will not deter us. We will sail to Gaza again and again and again, until this siege is forever ended and the Palestinian people have free access to the world."

Video: The mate on board of Challenger 1, 27th May 2010

" May 28, 2010 — Shane Dillon, Mate on Challenger 1 talks about his personal reasons for working with FreeGaza. His brother Owen Dillon, uilleannpiper with Kila, has written a song called "The Rachel Corrie" about an American girl who was killed by an Israeli bulldoser. One of the cargo ships in the Freedom Flotilla is called The Rachel Corrie in her honor.

They are now close to the coasts of Cyprus now, sailing towards the Freedom Flotilla meeting point, to proceed all together to Gaza...."

Israeli Human Rights Activist: I Was Tortured

By Jonathan Cook - Nazareth
Palestine Chronicle

"A leading human rights activist from Israel's Palestinian Arab minority was charged yesterday with the most serious security offences on Israel’s statute book, including espionage.

Prosecutors indicted Ameer Makhoul, the head of Ittijah, an umbrella organisation for Arab human rights groups in Israel, with spying on security facilities on behalf of Hizbollah after an alleged meeting with one of its agents in Denmark in 2008.

Mr Makhoul, who had been held incommunicado by Israel’s secret police, the Shin Bet, for much of the time since his arrest three weeks ago, appeared in court and pleaded not guilty. In his first public statement, he told the court: “The Shin Bet controls the Israeli justice system.”

As a gag order was lifted on the case, his lawyers said Mr Makhoul had been tortured during his detention, including being told by interrogators that they would leave him “disabled”. The three lawyers said he had been forced to make a false confession, which they would argue was inadmissible.....

Since 2007 Azmi Bishara, the leader of the Balad party, has been in exile after he was accused of espionage while out of the country. Critics say the Shin Bet effectively silenced him without having to produce evidence.

“It has become clear over the past few years that this could happen to any of us,” he said....."

The American Century Is So Over

Obama’s Rudderless Foreign Policy Underscores America’s Waning Power

By Dilip Hiro

"What do you make of it when Afghan War commander General Stanley McChrystal now refers to the only significant offensive he’s set in motion — the attempt to drive the Taliban out of Marjah, a collection of villages in Helmand Province — as "a bleeding ulcer"? Or what about his upcoming summer "offensive" to drive the Taliban out of the second largest Afghan city, Kandahar, which has recently been verbally downgraded from an "operation" to something called "Cooperation for Kandahar," now also referred to as a "military presence" so as not to offend local sensibilities with a hint of the coming violence. What do you make of it when Dion Nissenbaum and Jonathan Landay of McClatchy Newspapers report in mid-May that the American non-operation in Kandahar, scarcely beginning, is already showing signs of "faltering," while Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post describes it as a "go-for-broke move that even its authors are unsure will succeed," adding: "There is no Plan B."

Or what about when Gareth Porter, who has been doing top-notch reporting on the Afghan War for Inter Press Service, points out McChrystal’s striking recent Kandahar flip-flop.....

By now, from Afghanistan to Honduras, Brazil to China, global leaders large and small increasingly sense that the Obama administration’s bark is worse than its bite, and though the U.S. remains a major power, it is no longer the determinative one. The waning of the truncated American Century is by now irreversible."

Switch On Your B-S Detector

(Cartoon by Carlos Latuff)

When government officials open their mouths -- and keep it on

by Justin Raimondo, May 28, 2010

"....Well, actually, it isn’t all that great, or, rather it’s not as great as they might imagine, because, you see, all too often I’m dealing with subject matter that’s light as a feather, intellectually – and also, essentially, bullsh*t. Due to the fact that a lot of what I write about concerns the pronouncements of public officials, whose ability to generate b-s is unrivaled. Take, for example, the recently released "National Security Strategy of the United States," [.pdf] a document issued by successive US administrations since the advent of the cold war to obfuscate our real aims behind a smokescreen of catchphrases, bromides, and oily evasions, all woven together in a decorative wreath of grandiose phrases. All of this is meant to put a benevolent face on what is a policy of unrelenting aggression directed at any target that represents even a potential threat to American hegemony.

In short, the national security strategy document is pure propaganda, aimed – first and foremost – at the American people. It is they, after all, who are paying for the implementation of this grand strategy: a world empire of bases, occupied countries, and interlocking alliances that enables US hegemony. Reading these national security strategy documents in chronological order, from beginning to end, is not only sure to produce a splitting headache, but apt to impress the reader with the remarkable consistency with which our rulers pursue their dream of global domination......."

Syria accused of arming Hezbollah from secret bases

Times Online

Warning: Read with Caution! Could very well be part of a disinformation campaign.

"Hezbollah is running weapons, including surface-to-surface missiles, from secret arms depots in Syria to its bases in Lebanon, according to security sources.[??]

The Times has been shown satellite images of one of the sites, a compound near the town of Adra, northeast of Damascus, where militants have their own living quarters, an arms storage site and a fleet of lorries reportedly used to ferry weapons into Lebanon.

The military hardware is either of Syrian origin or sent from Iran by sea, via Mediterranean ports, or by air, via Damascus airport. The arms are stored at the Hezbollah depot and then trucked into Lebanon.

Hezbollah is allowed to operate this site freely,” said a security source. “They often move the arms in bad weather when Israeli satellites are unable to track them.”....."

Haaretz: Illusions Allow Us To Ignore That Threats Are Closing In On Us


"....The author went on to say that Israel’s national security was ‘not good’ and he attributed this to the unilateral withdrawals from Lebanon in 2000 and Gaza in 2005, the Israeli war on Lebanon in 2006 and the war on Gaza in 2008-09. “Thanks to the unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, Israel now faces a strategic threat from the north. Due to the unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005, Israel faces the threat of rocket fire from the south as well. The Olmert war in Lebanon a year later strengthened Hezbollah to an unprecedented extent, and the Olmert war in Gaza in 2008-09 led to a dangerous erosion of Israel's legitimacy,” Shavit said......"

Netanyahu: “Obama Failed to Subjugate Me on Settlements, I Triumphed”


"28/05/2010 “I triumphed over the US administration, I had the upper hand at the end of the rift that happened between me and President Barack Obama,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a closed meeting with high-ranking officials of his government, Maariv newspaper reported.

According to Maariv, Netanyahu indicated that his victory came after the US failure to subjugate him in the settlements issue adding that his resiliency on refusing to abandon the “red lines” helped him also. The Israeli PM went on to say that as a result of this ‘victory’, “Israel needs no expansion of the date of freeze on settlement construction” which expires at the end of September 2010.

Concerning Obama’s invitation to Netanyahu, Maariv considered it as “an unrestrained shift in US policy in Netanyahu’s benefit”. The newspaper quoted political sources as saying that the upcoming meeting “represents the peak of a campaign launched by Obama’s administration in favor of Israel and the Jews which would put an end to the crisis between both sides.”....."

Jewish lobby has 'absolute control' in US foreign policy

Interview With Philip Giraldi
By Press TV

"The following is a rush transcript of Press TV's interview with former CIA and DIA Officer Philip Giraldi on the resignation of Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair.

Press TV: Do you believe that Dennis Blair's resignation was a forced one? Do you believe that it was the AIPAC Jewish lobby's influence that caused Blair to lose his job?

Giraldi: When Blair was appointed and was opposed by the lobby, I think when that happen, that man sooner or later Dennis Blair would be in trouble, as soon as, there were an opportunity to turn on him.

It means that the Jewish lobby, the Israeli lobby, has absolute control over any appointment under either the security position or foreign policy position that has any thing at all to do with the Middle East. They are basically able to say yes or no on the appointment of any individual and it seems it is the case at the policy-making level.

Press TV: What does it say about the US sovereignty if Israel is making decisions dealing with the Middle East?

Giraldi: Obviously that is the fundamental dilemma in terms of American foreign policy. Essentially the Israeli veto over major aspects of US foreign and security policy do not make sense in terms of what the US national interest is....."

Video: Aid flotilla begins journey to Gaza after minor delay

Doctoring the Middle East

By Marwan Bishara

"As the Obama administration introduces its new foreign policy doctrine this week, it's worth reminding ourselves that the greater Middle East region is central to US strategy today just as it has been over the last half a century....

More of the same..?

All in all, over the sixty years, Washington, guided by special national security doctrines, has grown into the most important Middle East power.

The US has been changing regimes, making key alliances, sponsoring diplomatic processes, intervening in internal state affairs, invading countries and deploying hundreds of thousands of soldiers in the name of US national security.

And despite all his rhetoric to the contrary, President Obama has so far been as implicated in the region has his predecessors. In fact, even more so in certain areas as Afghanistan/Pakistan.

Some even go as far as describing Obama's presidency as Bush II!.....

Regional commentators and analysts see Obama's policies starting by his escalation of the war in Afghanistan, issuing ultimatums to Iran, expanding US covert operations in the Middle East - as revealed in the New York Times last week - through his new rapprochement with the unrepentant Netanyahu government, as signs of more of the same aggressive (read interventionist) US strategy in the region.

The following quick summary of how 60 years of US national security doctrines influenced the Middle East region

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Brave Freedom Flotilla to Gaza Contrasted with the Cowardly Navies of the Arab Regimes, by Emad Hajjaj.

Video: About the Freedom Flotilla, Huwaida Arraf, Free Gaza Chair

A Very Good Short Video

"Greece, 26th May 2010.
Huwaida Arraf, Free Gaza Chair, talks about the Freedom Flotilla, already on its way to Gaza.

News about the Freedom Flotilla on
Turks leave tomorrow, Greeks have left, faster boats leave tomorrow. On schedule to meet in international waters by Saturday."

Rabbi Lior: Youth violent because of moms' careers

Kiryat Arba rabbi says women should not be ashamed of being housewives, as 'it's a 24-hour job'

Kobi Nahshoni

Kiryat Arba Rabbi Dov Lior believes violence among Israeli teenagers stems from their mothers' careers. "People say that the youth has a problem of violence," he said Wednesday. "The problem is that the mother works and it's hard for her to devote herself to her home."

According to the rabbi, a woman pursuing a career – whether in a public office or a private one – is not doing the ideal thing as her job is to be a housewife.

Big Brother is Watching, by Emad Hajjaj

"...No, Honey....Please...I Don't Want Anyone to See Us!"

Iran: Obama's other oil spill

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"Nobody but washed up neo-conservatives, the Israel Lobby and full spectrum dominance fanatics can win from President Barack Obama's attempt to sink the emergence of non-United States-centric diplomacy that Brazil and Turkey's nuclear deal with Iran epitomizes. By drilling hard for United Nations sanctions on Iran, Obama has the political equivalent of another Gulf oil spill on his hands.....

Meanwhile, the fact - noted by the developing world - is that Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama stabbed both Brazil's Lula and Turkey's Erdogan in the back by torpedoing the deal with Tehran and proclaiming a draft resolution for a fourth UN round of sanctions against Iran, after having both allies take an immense risk and put their prestige on the line for him.

All this is in exchange for a diluted-to-death sanctions package that will do absolutely nothing toward changing the Iranian regime's behavior (not to mention "regime change" itself). Who wins? Washed up neo-cons, the Israel Lobby and full spectrum dominance fanatics. Iran is now Obama's political twin to the Gulf oil spill. "

NATO's other member state

David Cronin, The Electronic Intifada, 26 May 2010

"Israel's worst-kept secret has finally been revealed.

Documents published in recent days show that Israel not only has nuclear weapons -- something it has never officially acknowledged -- but that it considered selling them to South Africa's white minority government in 1975. The evidence -- contained in Sasha Polakow-Suransky's new book The Unspoken Alliance: Israel's Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa -- appears strong and credible.

But will it cause Europe and America to rethink their relationship with Israel? The truth is that Israel already enjoys such a privileged level of access to their key institutions that any rethink is improbable -- at least in the short-term. One of the most important aspects of this relationship relates to how Israel interacts with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)......"

Ameer Makhoul's arrest is an assault on all Palestinians in Israel

Janan Abdu, Issam Makhoul, The Electronic Intifada, 26 May 2010

".....The fact is that Ameer Makhoul does not belong to any specific political party. Rather, he reserves for himself an independent position, which is a clear indication that the main target of this attack is the Arab Palestinian public and their leadership, their rights and freedoms. Defending the freedom of Ameer and his rights as a detainee, and rejecting incitement against Arab citizens in light of his detention, are not an individual or class issue, but a national, democratic mission.

The real indictment is against the GSS and the Israeli establishment, which are trampling on democratic freedoms and human rights and resorting to illegal methods of interrogation and torture."

Join us as we travel to Gaza. Witness what happens on board the boats. Watch our videos everyday. Stay tuned for WitnessGaza.

"May 27, 2010 — Greece, May 27th, 2010. A few minutes ago one of the Free Gaza passenger boats, departed.

Ewa Jasiewicz , Free Gaza Movement volunteer, talks about the siege of Gaza and the emergency to act, that we, citizen of the world, are feedling deep in our heart. "

The Strategic Ally Myth

A Good Piece
by Philip Giraldi, May 27, 2010

".....Zuckerman’s latest contribution to international harmony is a lengthy piece in the US News & World Report entitled “Israel Is a Key Ally and Deserves US Support.” It is a propaganda piece that promotes one of the most persistent fictions put out by the mainstream media, that the relationship with Israel somehow benefits the United States. To give the devil his due, it is not often that an article in a national publication includes an out-and-out lie in its first few words, but Zuckerman succeeds in doing just that.....

Make no mistake, Tel Aviv is always carefully calculating how it can use Washington to further its own objectives with little regard for possible American interests. In 1967 the Israelis attacked the USS Liberty in international waters with the intention of sinking the ship and killing all the crew. During the first Gulf War Israel had to be defended by the United States. In the Cold War Israel spied aggressively on the US while cutting deals with both the Soviets and Chinese. The intelligence provided by Israel that Zuckerman praises is generally fabricated and completely self serving, intended to shape a narrative about the Middle East that makes the Israelis look good and virtually everyone else look bad – ask any intelligence officer who has seen the stuff. Israel as a key ally and security asset? A “strategic aircraft carrier”? Completely ridiculous."

Power to change

If America can't broker peace in the Middle East, is it time for the Russians to step in? They have a long history with the region – and aren't hobbled by an Israeli lobby

By Robert Fisk

"...The fault lines between Russia and the Middle East, however, are not so deep, nor do they obscure so much truth....

....But the Soviets understood much of the Muslim world, certainly the Arab bit of it. They had spent decades helping to teach their dictators how to rule like the Kremlin ruled....

....No American president can pressure Israel to change its policies towards Palestinians. Mearsheimer does not mince his words....

....The flaw of the Europeans, of course, is that they will not themselves take any steps over Israel because – this is the sublime and false message of all EU foreign ministers – it is America that has "leverage" over Israel. Yes, it should be America that has leverage over Israel – given its massive economic subventions to the Jewish state – but it's not; because, as Mearsheimer says, the lobby has too much control over US policy in the Middle East....

....But our preconceptions go much further back – to the days when we generally used the word "Turk" for Muslims. In Italy, they were using the word "Turks" as a curse before the 16th century....

Maybe that was the original fault line. Or it was the Crusades? Or the Ottoman Empire – remember how Turkey was "the sick man of Europe"? – or our lies to the Arabs about Palestine? Or the Iranian revolution? Or our unconditional support for Israel? Or our fostering of all those awful dictatorships? But it's time we got rid of fault lines, saw the reality of history and listened – dare I repeat it? – to the likes of Dmitry Medvedev. "

Female attacks on religious police show shift in Saudi values

Recent attacks on Saudi Arabia's 'morality police' suggest public support for intrusive religious law enforcement is waning

Nesrine Malik, Wednesday 26 May 2010

"Something's afoot in Saudi Arabia. In the past month, there have been two incidents where Saudi women, when questioned or harassed by the notorious "morality police" from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, have lashed out – literally.

In the first incident, according to the Saudi Gazette, a young couple "appeared to be acting in an inappropriate manner" in an amusement park. A commission member who spotted them suspected they were not married or related and were therefore breaking the law. As the commission member approached them, the young man collapsed – presumably out of shock or fright – but the woman showered him with punches. He was taken to a medical centre to be treated for bruises. In the second incident, which the LA Times calls an unprecedented outburst, a woman caught in "illegal seclusion" with a man shot at the religious police when questioned......"

Amnesty: U.S., Europe Shielding Israel over Gaza War Crimes


"27/05/2010 Despite Israel's claim that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is "stable" and that it is transferring an adequate supply of food, medicines and equipment into the Strip, Amnesty International says in its 2010 report that the blockade, imposed in June 2007, "continued to cut off almost 1.5 million Palestinians from the rest of the world, isolating them in Gaza’s cramped confines, and greatly limiting the import of essential goods and supplies.

Amnesty International complained in its report released Thursday that the U.S. and members of the European Union had obstructed international justice by using their positions on the UN Security Council to shield Israel from accountability for war crimes committed during last year's Gaza war.

The rights group also accused Israel of continually violating human rights in the Gaza Strip. It cited Israel's ongoing economic blockade as violating international law, leaving Gaza residents without adequate food or water supplies......."

See Amnesty Report Here (pdf)

Israel never to achieve sense of security in the Middle East

Interview with Jennifer Loewenstein
Press TV

"US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the influential pro-Israel AIPAC lobby group in March that "the dynamics of demography, ideology, and technology" in the Middle East was not working in Israel's favor, cautioning Tel Aviv that its status quo in the region was unsustainable.

Speaking on Tuesday on the tenth anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from south Lebanon, Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah shared the views expressed by Clinton on the Israeli situation.

Nasrallah said, "If we are targeted, we target them as well. (If) we are killed, we can kill. (If) we are forced to leave our homes, we force them to leave their homes. (If) we are confronted, we confront them and so they will have a real problem."

Jennifer Loewenstein, Associate Director of the Middle East Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison joined Press TV in an exclusive interview to comment on Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah's speech.

Jennifer Loewenstein: I think it is high time for the people in the US and the Israelis to hear it (Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah's speech). They (Israelis) provided the conditions that made such a speech necessary and possible. You know, yesterday was the anniversary of the withdrawal from Lebanon by the Israeli forces. I remember it very, very clearly. What I want people to understand is that these events did not grow up out of a void. The appearance and the emergence of Hezbollah did not just happen because of some vague circumstances. It happened because of the history of the region and in particular because of the occupation of Palestine and the Israeli invasions of Lebanon and a lot more.

Press TV: Do you think that the resistance is showing that they have been more successful than in the past, or they are showing more confidence?

Jennifer Loewenstein: Here, in the United States, we really got to hear Seyyed Nasrallah's speeches. We should follow this news. It is obvious that we only get the picture from one side. I have followed his speeches as far as possible. I remember when Lebanon was liberated by Hezbollah in 2000, a year before and a year after I listened to his speeches. I have to say that was a turning point in my mind and since then the resistance has not only gotten better and more skillful and I also think it has been winning the hearts and minds of the people in the Middle East, across the region, as far as I can tell, in almost every country. It is having an effect on the US public as well....."

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Reforms transform Syrian economy, but not politics

Assad's free market policies transform Damascus, but no political reform in sight in Syria

AP News

".....He opened up the country for foreign banks, threw its doors wide open for imports, authorized private higher education and empowered the private sector.

But the lanky, former eye doctor who came to power 10 years ago this summer has not matched his liberal economic policies with any political reforms. None, in fact, and his powerful security services are in constant watch for criticism of the regime.

In the process, Assad has changed the Syrian regime's basis of legitimacy. He has depended less on his father's old anti-Israeli, Arab nationalism rhetoric, basing his power instead on promises of stability, modernization, economic openness and ending Syria's international isolation.

After 10 years of Assad's rule, the Damascus that once looked like a grim little place now smells of money, gripped by a consumer boom sustained by a clique of nouveau riche and businessmen living it up in what's essentially a "money talks" society.

Foreign tourists crowd the old city's storied bazaar, hotels boast full occupancy and trendy restaurants are so busy that advance booking is always recommended. The latest car models from Japan and Europe are a common sight on the city's congested streets and boutiques selling designer clothes seem to multiply.

Opening up a country economically while denying the populace democracy and freedoms is perhaps the Arab world's most popular formula of governance. Close U.S. allies Egypt, Tunisia and Jordan have been pioneers in the field.[Welcome to the field, Mr. Rabbit].....

Meanwhile, his family and its trusted associates keep a tight grip on the armed forces, security and intelligence. They and the new business clique that owes its deep pockets to the regime control the biggest and most lucrative businesses like mobile phone line providers and franchises for anything from cars to computers.....

Still, after a short-lived accommodation with opponents soon after coming to power in 2000, he has followed the same uncompromising intolerance for dissent....

Assad's feared security agencies also keep a close watch on everyone, carefully combing Internet postings for criticism.....Syrians say they are back to whispering again just as they were when they wanted to talk politics under the rule of the late Assad....."

Also, see this report:

SYRIA: Wealth gap widening as inflation hits poor

(Left: Expensive Western-style stores selling branded clothing and Swiss watches are becoming more numerous in Damascus. But for most Syrians they remain firmly out of reach; source: IRIN.)

Haaretz: Israeli Leaders Wish Mubarak Be Granted Immortality!


"26/05/2010 Under the title "For Israel's sake, let us pray for Mubarak's health," Israeli daily Haaretz said on Wednesday that both US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu understand that Israel's most important ally in the Middle East is Egypt, and they are doing everything possible to keep it that way.

"Of all the world's statesmen, the one closest to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak," the Israeli daily claimed, noting that the two men have met four times since Netanyahu returned to power, "and unlike Obama, Mubarak has no qualms about shaking Netanyahu's hand in public." The Israeli daily quoted a highly placed Israeli source as saying that ties between Tel Aviv and Cairo are much closer than they seem....."

عالم دين سعودي: الاختلاط بوابة الفساد ومن يروجون له خونة ومنافقون

عالم دين سعودي: الاختلاط بوابة الفساد ومن يروجون له خونة ومنافقون

Do you wonder why Saudi Arabia is in the pre-Dark Ages? This idiot is a "professor" in an Islamic University in the kingdom!

"الرياض- وصف عالم الدين السعودي الشيخ الدكتور يوسف الأحمد عضو هيئة التدريس بجامعة الإمام محمد بن سعود الإسلامية في الرياض الاختلاط بأنه البوابة الرئيسية لفساد المجتمع، وشن هجوما شديدا على من وصفهم بـ(خونة الله ورسوله) ممن يروجون للاختلاط، والذين قال إنهم يغيرون الإسلام إلى الإسلام الأمريكي المودرن.
وقال خلال محاضرة له بجامع الشيخ عبد العزيز بن باز في العريجاء بالرياض مساء الثلاثاء نشرتها صحيفة (سبق) الإلكترونية الأربعاء ضمن سلسلة المحاضرات وتشرف عليها وزارة الشؤون الإسلامية، إن الاختلاط هو البوابة الرئيسية لفساد المجتمع.

وخاطب الأحمد الحضور: لماذا الاختلاط ولماذا يحرص المنافقون عليه؟. ذلك كله يصب في اتجاه تغريب المرأة وإفساد عقيدتها ودينها.
وأضاف إن ما يجري وراءه هؤلاء المنافقون هو تغيير الإسلام وتبني (الإسلام الأمريكي المودرن) اللين للوصول إلى مطالبهم من هذه الجوهرة المصونة، مشيرا إلى انهم يريدون تخليص هذا البلد (السعودية) من الحكم بالشريعة إلى دين الحرية المطلقة لشخصية الفرد.

واعتبر أن هناك فئة من الناس تبحث عن الاختلافات والأقوال الضعيفة في الكتب ليبرروا الاختلاط وإرضاع الكبير.

وقال: هؤلاء هم المنافقون أعداء الدين وهؤلاء النكرات هم من يأتون ليستهزئوا بالرسول عليه الصلاة والسلام وأم المؤمنين عائشة رضي الله عنها.. يريدون أن نتنازل عن ديننا لإرضاء الكفار.

وذكر الأحمد أن توظيف المرأة لابد أن يكون بشروط أن تكون محجبة وغير متزينة ويكون هناك ضوابط. وتابع إن هناك من يريدنا مثل الكفار والغربيين ومع أن في الغرب الأمر مفتوح.

ورأى الأحمد أن الخونة الذين يريدون أن تكون المرأة سكرتيرة عند المدير وأن يكون هناك فريق كرة قدم وطائرة وسلة نسائي هؤلاء الخونة يخونون الله ورسوله ويخونون المجتمع والوطن.

وأوصى الشيخ الاحمد المذبذبين والمنافقين أن يتقوا الله وأن يراجعوا حساباتهم مع أنفسهم ويتذكروا القبر وظلمته والنار وحرارتها، وأنهم موقوفون أمام الله، وأن الدنيا فانية.

Al-Jazeera Video: Lebanon occupation's bitter legacy

"Ten years ago, Israel's tanks trundled out of southern Lebanon after keeping a presence there for 20 years, battling both Palestinian and Lebanese fighters.

The withdrawal was welcomed by most Lebanese, but it left the mainly Christian militia, which fought alongside the Israelis, vulnerable to investigation by the Lebanese authorities. Many of them sought refuge in Israel.
Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland reports from the Israel-Lebanon border where the legacy of the war has made it dificult for some families to rebuild their lives."

Turkey Demands that Israel Not Intercept Freedom Flotilla

"The Turkish government officially demanded that Israel not intercept or obstruct the Freedom Flotilla, a convoy of ships attempting to bring humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip. Turkey is requesting that Israel stop its threats against the Flotilla and the activists on board....."

Interview: ethnic cleansing inside the green line

Nora Barrows-Friedman, The Electronic Intifada, 25 May 2010

"....The Israeli daily Haaretz reports that the highway extension is part of the Israeli government's plan for "development" of the Naqab, which also includes the construction of a massive Israeli military training facility at the Southern end.

More than 80,000 indigenous Bedouins live in the Naqab desert region, in dozens of so-called "unrecognized villages"[How Orwellian!] -- communities that the state has refused to acknowledge despite the fact that most of them have existed before the State of Israel was established. Moreover, Israeli politicians often refer to the areas as "empty" in order to create support for building new Jewish settlements, removing the indigenous populations in continuation of an ethnic cleansing project that is now more than 62 years old.

On a regular basis, Israeli bulldozers and squads of police invade Palestinian Bedouin villages, carrying out widespread home demolitions and leaving entire communities reduced to rubble. While such Israeli rights violations in the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem have generated protest, it is less known that such policies are in place in Israel itself.

Rawia Abu Rabia, a social activist and human rights lawyer with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, represents her community and advocates for their human and civil rights as the state continues to discriminate and uproot citizens across the country. Nora Barrows-Friedman interviewed Abu Rabia for KPFA's Flashpoints Radio on 13 May...."

Reclaiming Self-Determination

al-Shabaka policy brief

By Ali Abunimah

"Will a Palestinian state, no matter how sovereign, fulfill the Palestinian right to self-determination? Al-Shabaka Policy Advisor Ali Abunimah argues that in order to achieve true sovereignty, self-determination must return to the center of the Palestinian struggle...."

Download PDF Document

"Liberation" We can Believe in! Hamas' Turn to Demolish Palestinian Homes

By Mel Frykberg

"RAMALLAH, May 25, 2010 (IPS) - On Sunday approximately 150 Palestinians from 20 families were driven out of their homes in Rafah, in the southern Gaza strip, by heavily armed police and soldiers who menaced them with clubs.

The difference this time was that it was not the Israeli Defence Forces carrying out evictions and demolitions but Hamas security forces, including policewomen with their faces veiled.

Reporters trying to cover the event were barred by Hamas police.

Many of those expelled had already lost their homes and been forced into the streets when Israel carried out its brutal military assault over the coastal territory, which deliberately targeted Gaza’s infrastructure, during Operation Cast Lead at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009.

Some of the homes destroyed on Sunday were temporary shacks built hastily after the Israeli assault. Other homes were concrete structures built prior to Israel’s crippling blockade, imposed on Gaza after Hamas took control in June 2007, which has prevented most reconstruction material from entering the territory.

The Hamas authorities argue that the homes were built on government land and without permission [Sounds so Israeli!]. Residents claimed they had been sold permits by a local landowner......"

Covert US Military Strategy on Iran

By Robert Parry
May 25, 2010

"Hawks in the United States and Israel appear set on “regime change” in Iran, pursuing a game plan similar to the run-up to war in Iraq, ratcheting up tensions while frustrating opportunities for a peaceful settlement.

In the latest example, the New York Times on Tuesday published a leaked account of an order signed by U.S. Central Command chief, Gen. David Petraeus, expanding “clandestine military activity in an effort to disrupt militant groups to counter threats in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and other countries in the region.”

In most of those countries, the secret U.S. military operations would be intended to help U.S. allies combat anti-government militants. However, in Iran, the goal would be to make contact with opposition forces, according to the Times article by Mark Mazzetti.....

The new leak regarding covert U.S. military operations inside Iran has sprayed even more cold water on hopes for a diplomatic solution."

Israel's Bomb out of the Shadows

By Jonathan Cook - Nazareth
Palestine Chronicle

"Israel faces unprecedented pressure to abandon its official policy of 'ambiguity' on its possession of nuclear weapons as the international community meets at the United Nations in New York this week to consider banning such arsenals from the Middle East.

Israel’s equivocal stance on its atomic status was shattered by reports on Monday that it offered to sell nuclear-armed Jericho missiles to South Africa’s apartheid regime back in 1975.

The revelations are deeply embarrassing to Israel given its long-standing opposition to signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, arguing instead that it is a “responsible power” that would never misuse nuclear weapons technologies if it acquired them.....

Mr Peres [Nobel Laureate!], who master-minded the nuclear programme, later formulated the policy of ambiguity, in which Israel asserts only that it will “not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons to the Middle East”.

That stance -- and a promise not to conduct nuclear tests -- was accepted by the US administration of Richard Nixon in 1969.

According to analysts, the agreement between Israel and the US was driven in part by concerns that Washington would not be able to give Israel foreign aid -- today worth billions of dollars -- if Israel declared itself a nuclear state but refused international supervision.

Nonetheless, revelations over the years have made it increasingly difficult for the international community to turn a blind eye to Israel’s arsenal....."

General Petraeus's Secret Ops

Robert Dreyfuss
The Nation

" A secret military directive signed last September 30 by General David Petraeus, the Centcom commander, authorizes a vast expansion of secret US military special ops from the Horn of Africa to the Middle East to Central Asia and “appears to authorize specific operations in Iran,” according to the New York Times.

If President Obama knew about this, authorized it and still supports it, then Obama has crossed a red line, and the president will stand revealed as an aggressive, militaristic liberal interventionist who bears a closer resemblance to the president he succeeded than to the ephemeral reformer that he pretended to be in 2008, when he ran for office. If he didn’t know, if he didn’t understand the order, and if he’s unwilling to cancel it now that it’s been publicized, then Obama is a feckless incompetent. Take your pick....."

When it comes to terrorism, Obama is following Bush's lead

Same Shit....
Different Asshole!

By Rupert Cornwell
The Independent

"The greater involvement of the US military in special operations
has already led to complaints it could complicate relations with traditional allies in the Middle East, and perhaps deny captured American soldiers the protection of the Geneva conventions.

Above all, however, it underlines how, when it comes to terrorism and national security, President Obama is following, almost uncannily, in the footsteps of George W Bush.

Mr Bush had his 2007 "surge" in Iraq. Two years later, Mr Obama, confronted by a comparable dilemma in Afghanistan, did the same thing there.

This President came to office promising to talk to Iran. Now he has adopted the old Bush mix of sanctions, deadlines, and the threat of military action against Tehran if all else fails......"

Is it time for the west to engage with Hamas and Hezbollah?

Debate in Qatar this week between groups at heart of Middle East conflict adds weight to calls for international dialogue

Ian Black, Middle East editor, in Doha, Tuesday 25 May 2010

"Al-Jazeera, the Arabic satellite TV network, rarely shies away from controversy, so it was not surprising that one of the most interesting sessions at its annual forum in Doha this week was entitled: Engaging Resistance: Choice or Necessity?

Anyone who follows the Middle East knows that Resistance, with a capital R in English and the definite article in Arabic (al-Muqawama), is shorthand for two movements that operate at the heart of the region's toughest conflicts: Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine.....

Osama Hamdan, in charge of Hamas's foreign relations, responded by urging the US to stop treating Israel as a strategic asset, stop relying on "agents" (Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority) and to get over its aversion to dealing with Islamists. Ibrahim Moussawi of Hezbollah said given the choice between resistance and compromise, resistance was the obvious option. "When we face aggression," he said, "we have to defend ourselves."

Both proudly listed the achievements of their "asymmetric" struggle against Israel. Hezbollah is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its greatest victory ‑ Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon. Other landmarks include Ariel Sharon's unilateral "disengagement" from the Gaza Strip in 2005, the 2006 Lebanon war and last year's Cast Lead offensive, with all their human and material losses to a technologically superior enemy.

Both are implacably opposed to Fatah and the Palestinian Authority (PA), which first under Yasser Arafat and then Mahmoud Abbas abandoned armed struggle for negotiations, resistance for diplomacy. Negotiations have been going nowhere, slowly and sporadically, for 17 years while Israeli settlements in the West Bank have more than doubled...."

Gaza Mission Activist: It's Just Like Facing Nazis


"26/05/2010 Eight ships are already making their way through the Mediterranean towards the Gaza Strip in the framework of a European aid mission - with activists aboard the vessels likening their work to the anti-Nazi effort during World War II.

"We're helping the Palestinians, just like the Greeks helped during World War II against the Nazis," a Greek activist aboard one of the ships told Ynet Tuesday.

The mission was organized by Turkish group IHH as well as other leftist European organizations. The activists taking part in the sailing operation also expressed their fear that the Israeli occupation army will prevent them from arriving at their destination.

The Greek activist, university professor Vangelis Pissias, told Ynet that he is concerned about harm to human rights anywhere in the world.

"Just like we don't accept the Israeli behavior in Gaza, we will not accept it anywhere," he said. He added that the mission is an anti-violent act, and that participants only wish to offer aid to Gazans and bring the message that "we won't let any military force to keep them in prison."....."

Video: Freedom Flotilla to sail through Gaza siege

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

PA collaborators Visit "Israel"

Palestinian police tour Jaffa neighborhood

Dozens of Palestinian Authority officers visit Tel Aviv district to learn about community policing model

Ali Waked

Published: 05.24.10, 16:12 / Israel News

Residents of Jaffa got to witness a rare site on the city's streets Monday, as dozens of Palestinian police officers visited the area for a tour by the Tel Aviv District Police to examine the possibility of adopting the community policing model in the Palestinian Authority.

The Israeli police officers took their Palestinians guests on a tour of Jaffa, during which they visited the Ajami community center and the Peres Center for Peace.

The Palestinian officers learned from their Israeli counterparts of the police's work in Israel, and then dined at a local restaurant.

Despite the attempts to bring the parties together, the Palestinian officers did not befriend the Israelis and each of the parties ate its lunch separately. [Comment: who are these traitors fooling?]