Saturday, August 28, 2010
Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef denounced upcoming peace talks with the Palestinians, which are set to start September 2 in Washington, and called for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to "perish from this world," Army Radio reported overnight Saturday.
Shas spiritual leader Ovadia Yosef
|Photo by: Daniel Bar-On|
"Abu Mazen and all these evil people should perish from this world," Rabbi Ovadia was quoted as saying during his weekly sermon at a synagogue near his Jerusalem home. "God should strike them with a plague, them and these Palestinians."
In 2001, the spiritual leader of the ultra-Orthodox faction gave a speech in which he also called for Arabs' annihilation.
"It is forbidden to be merciful to them," he was quoted as saying. "You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable."
Writing in his blog, which appears on the Web site of Finland’s third largest newspaper Iltalehti, Johansson wrote on Monday that “A friend of mine who works in Israel was visiting [and] while piling wood in the shed, we got to [talking about] his favourite topic. [After] several years of residence in the Holy Land, he has come to the conclusion that ‘Israel is a scum state.’ Based on my own visit[s], which occurred during the 1970s and for the last time in the 1990s, I agree.”
An English translation of Johansson’s blog first appeared Tuesday on the Web site Tundra Tabloids, a pro-Israel blog that monitors anti-Israeli sentiments in the Finnish media and blogosphere.
Speaking from Finland, Kenneth Sikorski, who runs the Web site and picked up Johansson’s remarks, told The Jerusalem Post that Johansson’s comments are “absolutely atrocious and indicative of a problem of systematic anti-Semitism.”
Yes, it has to be "anti-Semtism"! What else? Revulsion at the occupation, ethnic cleansing, slaughter, dehumanisation and subjugation of the Palestinian people? Or is it the unabated judasiation of Palestine via settlement building and memoricide? Nah! It has to be anti-Semitism!
"Israel announced weeks ago that it would ease its siege on Gaza, but students who want to travel to the West Bank to study are still banned - as they have been for 10 years.
To publicise the problem, the Israeli human rights group Gisha has created an online game that demonstrates just how difficult it is to leave the Gaza strip.
Al Jazeera's Nicole Johnston reports."
"RAMALLAH, Aug 28, 2010 (IPS) - As Hamas cracks down on the rights of Palestinian women in the Gaza Strip, their sisters in the occupied West Bank are slowly gaining ground. But a bureaucracy, that is sometimes supported by foreign aid, is crippling these advances.
The Hamas authorities in Gaza have been making international headlines as they slowly restrict the rights of women. The restrictions have included banning women from smoking argilah (also known as hookah or water-pipe) in public places and riding pillion on motorbikes. Schoolgirls and women lawyers are now forced to cover their hair, and mannequins displaying female underwear have been banned from Gaza's shop windows....."
"On May 31, I joined some 50 students and faculty members who gathered outside Ben-Gurion University of the Negev to demonstrate against the Israeli military assault on the flotilla carrying humanitarian aid toward Gaza. In response, the next day a few hundred students marched toward the social-sciences building, Israeli flags in hand. Amid the nationalist songs and pro-government chants, there were also shouts demanding my resignation from the university faculty.
One student even proceeded to create a Facebook group whose sole goal is to have me sacked....
Israeli academe, which was once considered a bastion of free speech, has become the testing ground for the success of the assault on liberal values. And although it is still extremely difficult to hurt those who have managed to enter the academic gates, those who have not yet passed the threshold are clearly being monitored.
I know of one case in which a young academic was not hired due to his membership in Courage to Refuse, an organization of reserve soldiers who refuse to do military duty in the West Bank. In a Google and Facebook age, the thought police can easily disqualify a candidate based on petitions signed and even online "friends" one has. Israeli graduate students are following such developments, and for them the message is clear.
While in politics nothing is predetermined, Israel is heading down a slippery slope. Israeli academe is now an arena where some of the most fundamental struggles of a society are being played out. The problem is that instead of struggling over basic human rights, we are now struggling over the right to struggle."
"....The RAF attacks on Nazi-occupied Caen are "to devastate the Nazi defences" – again, no mention of the 1,150 dead French civilians – and when the Allies destroy the 10th-century monastery of Monte Cassino, we are told that "bombs crashed on the startled monks" of this "fabulous monastery"....Very occasionally, the Germans become human....
War is terrible but war is glorious. Biff the Huns and the Nips. Don't worry about the enemy's civilians. Yes, I know, the Nazi and Japanese were evil personified. But I'm struck by the thought that other teenagers who read this nonsense might include a few of the senior officers and diplomats who sent us off to war in Afghanistan in 2001 and in Iraq in 2003. Does this stuff leave its mark on young people? Does this account, I wonder, for Saddam's re-branding as "the Hitler of the Tigris" and why the Taliban became "the Nazis of Kabul"?"
"28/08/2010 Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro said al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is a US CIA agent used by former US President George W. Bush to scare the world.
“Any time Bush would stir up fear and make a big speech, bin Laden would appear threatening people with a story about what he was going to do,” Castro told state media during a meeting with a Lithuanian-born writer known for advancing conspiracy theories about world domination. “Bush never lacked for bin Laden's support. He was a subordinate.”
Castro said documents posted on WikiLeaks.org - a website that recently released thousands of pages of classified documents from the Afghan war – “effectively proved he was a CIA agent”. He did not elaborate...."
"28/08/2010 A government-owned Turkish company has approached an Israeli company that develops radars systems aimed at defending nuclear reactors and border fences, the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported Wednesday.
The Turkish company has looked into the possibility of purchasing BiScopic Protection system, a high performance stereoscopic vision sensory system for the detection of perimeter intrusion, from Dimona-based Magna BSP Ltd. to boost security along Turkey's border with Kurdistan. Kurdish infiltrations into Turkish territory have increased as of late.
The system, which was developed by Magna in cooperation with the Nuclear Research Center and the Ministry of Defense, is used by the Israeli army....."
This is bizarre and surreal. The Israeli Mossad has bases in Northern Iraq (Kurdistan) and has been training and arming the Kurds for many years.
Now Israel is using the increased Kurdish infiltrations into Turkey and the terrorist attacks inside Turkey to get back at the Turkish government.
Yet, simultaneously Turkey is buying Israeli drones and is now looking into buying Israeli radar systems to detect Mossad-enabled infiltrations??
Is this Turkish "realism" or Turkish schizophrenia?
Watch This Video:
Bring in the Clowns: Erekat Says Israel Must Choose Peace or Settlements; Rejects Bi-Monthly Meetings
"28/08/2010 Palestinian Authority Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat rejected Israeli Prime Minister Binjamin Netanyahu's calls for bi-monthly, face-to-face meetings with PA President Mahmoud Abbas [he insists on daily meetings!]during upcoming peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, Israel Radio reported on Saturday, citing an interview Erekat conducted with the BBC in Arabic.
In the interview, Erekat added that it is too soon to establish who exactly will meet for negotiations, how often they will do so, and where the meetings will take place....."
Friday, August 27, 2010
– Samar al-Hajj, coordinator of the all-women Lebanese aid vessel Mariam
The Stalled Voyage of St. Mariam
By RANNIE AMIRI
"The bloody wake left by the Mavi Marmara after the May 31 Israeli commando raid has not deterred 50 female activists from trying to break the four-year-old siege of Gaza. To hear Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak speak of their planned relief effort, one would think the very existence of Israel was at stake.....
If the Mariam is allowed to sail and Israel cannot find justification to stop the nuns, doctors, lawyers, journalists, human rights workers and a pop star aboard from landing—if they are permitted to break the siege—then the Gaza shore could soon become inundated with ships, vessels and relief flotillas from the world over. And the myth of Israel as invincible regional superpower would, yet again, be shattered.
This is why Israel is terrified of a ship full of women, and why they are being demonized."
(Click on cartoon by Khalil Bendib to enlarge)
"A disaster of biblical scope: the floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains a month ago have affected more than 17.2 million people and killed over 1,500, according to Pakistan's disaster management body August is the monsoon season in Pakistan. This year a hard rain keeps falling, which is why the floodwaters are not abating. Nearly two thousand deaths and over 20 million people are homeless. The man-made disasters – war in Afghanistan, its spillage into Pakistan – are bad enough. Now the country faces its worst ever natural disaster. Most governments would find it difficult to cope, but the current regime is virtually paralyzed.....
Zardari joins the Shoe Club with Bush
Another is home-grown. Many citizens of Pakistani origin I have spoken to in recent weeks are reluctant to send money because they fear it will end up in the huge pockets of the corrupt leaders who govern the country. As the floodwaters began to surge through Pakistan, the country's President left for Europe. Properties had to be inspected; his son had to be crowned as the future leader of Pakistan at a rally in Birmingham, England...."
"A Sri Lankan woman working as a domestic helper in Saudi Arabia says she has been severely abused for complaining about being overworked.
Ariyawathi's Saudi employers reportedly hammered 24 nails into her hands, legs and forehead, which had to be removed later with surgery.
Sri Lanka's government says it will report the incident to Saudi authorities."
"The US stands at a historic crossroads, redeploying its combat troops out of Iraq and surging them in Afghanistan. But are they really leaving Iraq - or just rebranding the occupation? Why is Iraqi Lieutenant General Zibari requesting a decade-long US military presence?"
EXCLUSIVE...Zeitoun: How a Hero in New Orleans After Hurricane Katrina Was Arrested, Labeled a Terrorist and Imprisoned
With Amy Goodman
"Today a personal story of a national tragedy. Five years ago, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. Abdelrahman Zeitoun, a Syrian-born New Orleans building contractor, stayed in the city while his wife and children left to Baton Rouge. He paddled the flooded streets in his canoe and helped rescue many of his stranded neighbors. Days later, armed police and National Guardsmen arrested him and accused him of being a terrorist. He was held for nearly a month, most of which he was not allowed to call his wife, Kathy. Today, in a rare broadcast interview. Abdelrahman and Kathy Zeitoun join us to tell their story, along with the man who chronicles it in the book, Zeitoun Dave Eggers...."
by Justin Raimondo, August 27, 2010
"Year after year – since 1998! – several times a week I have pointed out the mendacity, hypocrisy, and immorality of our foreign policy of global intervention, and I’m sure you’ll pardon me for complaining, but after a while a certain weariness sets in. How many times does it have to be proved that military means cannot solve socio-political questions? One might have thought we’d have learned after our stinging defeat in Vietnam – and, if not, then soon after we invaded and failed to pacify Iraq. And if we still didn’t absorb this much needed lesson, then perhaps the ongoing failure in Afghanistan might have given us a clue.
But oh no: the people who run American foreign policy – our rulers – don’t recognize the concept of objective limits. They think they create reality, and not the other way around.
"Just back from Afghanistan, Marine Commandant, Gen. James Conway held a news conference to add his voice to the Pentagon campaign to disparage the July 2011 date President Barack Obama set for U.S. troops to begin leaving Afghanistan.
On Tuesday, Conway claimed that intelligence intercepts suggest that this deadline has strengthened the conviction of those resisting the U.S.-led occupation that it is just a matter of time before most foreign forces leave. Conway said:
"In some ways … it’s probably giving our enemy sustenance. … We think he may be saying to himself … ‘Hey, you know, we only have to hold out for so long.’"
Conway, however, was quick to reassure supporters of the war in Afghanistan that Taliban morale is likely to drop when, "come the fall [of 2011] we’re still there hammering them like we have been."
Conway began his press conference by adding a new measure to the refrain led by Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, that considerable time will be required before Afghan forces can take over from U.S. troops.....
Gen. Conway may already know the full story. As his retirement nears, he may feel free to point out the actual sequence of events stretching from Gaza to Fallujah and join other realists who have served in the U.S. military and noted the increased dangers to U.S. troops that flow from the widespread perception that U.S. policy is identical to that of Israel."
By Johann Hari
"Thank God man-made global warming was proven to be a hoax. Just imagine what the world might have looked like now if those conspiring scientists had been telling the truth. No doubt Nasa would be telling us that this year is now the hottest since humans began keeping records. The weather satellites would show that even when heat from the sun significantly dipped earlier this year, the world still got hotter. Russia's vast forests would be burning to the ground in the fiercest drought they have ever seen, turning the air black in Moscow, killing 15,000 people, and forcing foreign embassies to evacuate. Because warm air holds more water vapour, the world's storms would be hugely increasing in intensity and violence – drowning one fifth of Pakistan, and causing giant mudslides in China......
Nature doesn't follow political fashion. Global warming may not be hot today, but the planet is – hotter than ever. When you stare out over the wave of Weather of Mass Destruction we are unleashing, who looks crazy – the protesters, or the people who have yet to join them? "
guardian.co.uk, Friday 27 August 2010
"..... According to her, the few Palestinians who were naturalised in Lebanon during the late 1940s and early 1950s were Christians. But only a small number of Palestinian Christians gained citizenship – wealthy people, chiefly. That underlined the fact that while Lebanon is sectarian, economic considerations also bedevil this mélange society.
Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are mostly relegated to society's fringes. A history of violence, poverty and state-sanctioned discrimination combine to beget more violence and poverty. These refugees are traumatised. Theirs is a psychology of besieged dispossession – and they yearn simultaneously for home and a better life now, in Lebanon.......
Of course, there is a sectarian element to the Palestinian problem here. Naturalising Palestinians wrecks what is ostensibly a delicate demographic balance – never mind that a census hasn't been conducted since 1932. But Palestinians don't want to be naturalised. They just want their human rights and dignity."
"US President Barack Obama seems to be interested in achieving any kind of success before the indirect presidential elections this year. Obama, whose approval rating has hit a new low, is interested in marking his first success in the Middle East, in light of the ongoing bloodshed in Iraq and Afghanistan. He plans to present Israel and the Palestinian Authority with a new outline aimed at ending the Middle East conflict.
Israeli daily The Yedioth Ahronoth has reported Friday that the Americans will pressure the parties to sign a framework agreement for a permanent settlement within one year, but that the agreement itself would be implemented within 10 years [or until kosher pigs fly]....."
With Wayne Madsen
"A newly released report claims that the US President Barack Obama is a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) creation, as his clandestine life poses question after question.
American investigative journalist and former National Security Agency employee, Wayne Madsen, says Obama, as well as his family, including his parents, step-father, and grandmother, had connections with the CIA and other wealthy elites such as the Rothschild and Rockefeller families.
Madsen has put together an extensive three-part series with conclusive proof and documentation that Barack Obama Sr., Stanley Ann Dunham (Obama's mother), Lolo Soetoro (the Indonesian stepfather of Barack Obama) and Barack Obama himself all hold deep ties to the CIA and a larger intelligence community. Madsen has been using publicly available data bases for his work on Obama.
Obama's supporters have been very careful to keep his history hidden by clamping down his high school records, college records, passport, and his birth certificate. Barry Soetoro was an alias for Barack Obama and this was the name registered at the Fransiskus Assisi School in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Press TV conducted an interview with Madsen, the author of the report on Obama's CIA connection. The following is the rush transcript of the interview......"
"The European Union has publicly criticised Israel, over the conviction of a human rights activist from the West Bank town of Bilin.
Abdallah Abu-Rahma was found guilty of incitement by an Israeli military court, and is now awaiting sentencing.
Nour Odeh reports."
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Damage to Israeli Companies exacts a heavy price
It’s not only Norway: Israeli companies are boycotted by many countries for political reasons. Glass factory owner: the boycott has caused me enormous damage.
Yesterday’s decision by the Norwegian Oil Foundation to remove its investments from Africa-Israel and from Denia-Seabus, claiming that they are involved in illegal construction in the Territories is only the last of a long and growing line of decisions taken by governmental and private companies in Europe to boycott Israeli companies for political reasons.
In most cases, the claims are that the products were manufactured beyond the Green Line and thus, in “occupied territories”. Sometimes it is a political protest against Israel’s policy against the Palestinians, as in the response to the flotilla events. One thing is not in doubt: in the past few months, boycott of Israeli brands for political reasons has become markedly increased.Read more-Mondoweiss
"اقدام قوات الامن الفلسطينية على منع انعقاد ندوة ضد المفاوضات المباشرة، المزمع استئنافها في واشنطن منتصف الاسبوع المقبل، امر مؤسف بكل المقاييس، خاصة ان الطريقة التي تم من خلالها هذا المنع تؤكد ان السلطة تتحول بشكل متسارع الى نظام قمعي ديكتاتوري يشبه الانظمة العربية الاخرى، مع فارق بسيط واساسي ان الدولة الفلسطينية لم تقم بعد، وان هذه السلطة ما زالت تحت الاحتلال الاسرائيلي، وتأتمر بأوامره.
قوات الامن الفلسطينية، التي من المفترض ان تحافظ على الامن والنظام، تصرفت كمجموعة من البلطجية، عندما اقتحمت مقر الندوة في قاعة 'البروتستانت'، باعداد كبيرة، واعتدت على المشاركين، ومزقت اللافتات التي علقوها وتحمل عنوان الندوة، وهتفت بشكل مستفز بشعارات تؤيد الرئيس محمود عباس.
الجهات التي دعت الى عقد هذه الندوة، وهي الجبهتان الشعبية والديمقراطية لتحرير فلسطين، وحزب الشعب (الشيوعي سابقاً) تعتبر من أبرز الداعمين للسلطة، وللرئيس عباس نفسه، وتمسكت بعضويتها في اللجنة التنفيذية لمنظمة التحرير، وتحملت الكثير من الانتقادات بسبب مواقفها هذه، وليس من اللائق ان تكافأ على كل هذه المواقف الممتدة لأكثر من سبعة عشر عاماً، اي منذ توقيع اتفاق اوسلو، بمثل هذه البلطجة المهينة.
فاذا كان مؤيدو السلطة، والواقفون في معسكرها، والموفرون لها الغطاء السياسي يعاملون بمثل هذه المعاملة، ويتعرضون للضرب والاهانات، فكان الله في عون المعارضين، وخاصة من الفصائل الاخرى غير المنضوية تحت مظلة السلطة، ومنظمة التحرير مثل حركتي 'حماس' و'الجهاد الاسلامي'.
منظمو هذه الندوة، او الداعون لعقدها ارادوا التعبير عن حق مشروع في ابداء رأيهم في قرار اتخذته السلطة وقيادتها في الذهاب الى مفاوضات مباشرة، من المفترض ان تدور حول تسوية قضايا الحل النهائي وترسم حدود الدولة الفلسطينية المنتظرة، فهل الاعتداء على هؤلاء ومنعهم من التعبير عن موقفهم هو مقدمة لفرض مثل هذه التسوية في حال التوصل اليها بالحديد والنار، وبمباركة امريكا واسرائيل والاتحاد الاوروبي، وهي أطراف تدعي الايمان بالديمقراطية والحريات المتفرعة عنها؟
لا نعرف كيف تقبل الولايات المتحدة زعيمة 'العالم الحر' ان يمثل الشعب الفلسطيني في هذه المفاوضات رئيس لا يملك تفويضاً شرعياً من هذا الشعب للتحدث باسمه، ويرسل قوات أمنه لمنع ندوة ينظمها حلفاؤه للتعبير عن رأيهم في هذه الخطوة بطريقة حضارية وديمقراطية؟
الرئيس عباس قال انه سيفتح تحقيقاً في هذه المسألة، وكأنه يحاول تبرئة نفسه من هذا العمل القمعي المخجل. ان اجراء تحقيق خطوة مهمة، ولكن متى كانت تحقيقات السلطة تتمخض عن نتائج حقيقية، وحتى اذا توصلت الى مثل هذه النتائج، فمتى جرى تطبيق اي منها وتقديم المتهمين المدانين الى العدالة؟
الرئيس عباس يتحمل مسؤولية هذا التصرف الفاضح من قبل 'زعران' اجهزته الامنية بالكامل، لأن هؤلاء كانوا يرفعون صوره ويهتفون باسمه، ويدينون بالولاء له ولسلطته والجنرالات الذين اصدر مراسيم تعيينهم في مواقعهم.
الشعب الفلسطيني الذي تباهى دائماً بديمقراطيته، ديمقراطية غابة البنادق، حسبما كان يردد الزعيم الراحل ياسر عرفات، لا يستحق هذه المعاملة، واذا كانت الدولة الفلسطينية التي تريد هذه السلطة الاتيان بها الى الشعب الفلسطيني من خلال المفاوضات الحالية هذا هو عنوانها، اي القمع وتكميم الافواه، ومصادرة الحريات، فان الشعب الفلسطيني، او غالبيته ربما يعيد النظر فيها كلياً. فأي دولة فلسطينية تنشأ يجب ان تكون ديمقراطية، دولة تحترم الحريات، وتطبق القانون، ولا نعتقد ان الحد الادنى من هذه المواصفات متوفر في السلطة التي تريد اقامتها، والمقدمات الخاطئة تؤدي دائماً الى نتائج كارثية.
Global Research, August 25, 2010
"WMR has learned from its Lebanese intelligence sources that the Lebanese government is coming to realize that Israeli intelligence penetration of all political groups in the country is worse than originally believed.
Israel’s Mossad, once content on penetrating the Christian and Druze parties in the country, has now thoroughly infiltrated the top echelons of Sunni and Shi’a parties, as well. Recently, Lebanon charged retired General Fayez Karam, a senior member of retired General Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement, which is allied with Hezbollah, with spying for Mossad.
Among the political parties penetrated by Israeli intelligence is the Future Movement of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the son of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was assassinated by a car bomb in Beirut in 2005. The UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is expected very soon to charge Lebanon’s Hezbollah with the assassination. However, Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah recently announced the group had video evidence from Israeli drones that showed the Israeli Defense Force was tracking Hariri before his assassination....
Mossad is also reported to be grooming a successor to the Lebanese Shi’a political leader Nabih Berri, currently the speaker of the Lebanese parliament. The Mossad operation is being actively supported behind the scenes by Saudi Arabia, a country that is fast becoming one of Israel’s most “open secret” allies in the Middle East. (italics in the original)
According to WMR’s sources in Lebanon, one network that Israel and the United States can rely on to support the UN after the expected indictment of Hezbollah for Hariri’s assassination is a Sunni network in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon. It includes a member of the same family as Ziad al-Jarrah, one of the alleged United flight 93 hijackers on September 11, 2001.....
The Israeli espionage network also extends to Syria. Lebanese sources report that former Syrian Vice President Abdel Halim Khaddam, who accused Syrian President Bashar al Assad of ordering Rafik Harir’s assassination, is tactically backed by Israel and the United States. Khaddam, who heads the exiled National Salvation Front (NSF), is seeking to overthrow Assad. The NSF not only receives support from Israeli and U.S. intelligence but also from the French and German intelligence....."
"JERUSALEM - Rightwing Israeli groups financially supported by Jewish and fundamentalist Christian groups from abroad are on a campaign to undermine free thought in Israeli universities. Collaterally, a move is under way by right-wing parties in the Knesset, Israel's parliament, to limit the freedom of action of civil and human rights-minded NGOs...."
"......So we have dodged the bullet on the war that might have begun on August 21st because our leaders really do know that Iran is not a threat and when it came to gut check time were ultimately unwilling to start World War III. But the bomb is still ticking because those selfsame politicians, lacking any sense of true leadership, have set the forces in play that will almost inevitably produce a war. It is somewhat reminiscent of Iraq surely, but it also recalls the 1914 European security environment in which an entangling web of alliances and arrangements virtually guaranteed that a war would take place. The only way to stop the rot is for President Obama to consider for a moment what is good for the United States rather than for his political party’s hold on power. He should act like a true statesman instead of a used car salesman. If he is uncertain how to do that there are a number of good nineteenth century political biographies that he can read up on to learn the ropes. He must stand up before the American people and state simply and unequivocally that Washington opposes any new military action in the Middle East and that the United States is not threatened by Iran and will take no part in any military action directed against it. He might add that the US will further consider anyone staging such an attack as an aggressor nation and will immediately break off relations before demanding a UN Security Council vote to condemn the action. Will that happen? Fat chance."
By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
Lady Ashton said she was "deeply concerned" that Abdallah Abu Rahma was facing a possible jail sentence "to prevent him and other Palestinians from exercising their legitimate right to protest against the separation barriers in a non-violent manner".
Though acquitted on two charges – including one of stone-throwing – Mr Abu Rahma, 39, a leader of the anti-barrier protests which have taken place every Friday for five years in the West Bank village of Bil'in, was convicted on Monday on another two: "incitement" and "organising and participating in an illegal demonstration"....."
(Kamel Labidi is a Tunisian journalist and Middle East consultant for the committee to protect journalists)
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 25 August 2010
".....Tunisian women undoubtedly benefit from the pioneering personal status code, which abolished polygamy, instituted judicial divorce and required that marriage be based on mutual consent of the future husband and wife. Their enriching participation in the country's social and economic life is made possible by other groundbreaking reforms, also initiated by the late President Habib Bourguiba in the wake of independence from France in 1956.
Today, though, Tunisian women are not spared from the long and ruthless war on freedom of expression and association, of a kind unseen even under the French protectorate and which can no longer be camouflaged by the personal status code or Ben Ali's "achievements" or by western public relations firms.
The launch of this dirty war in the early 1990s coincided with new amendments to the personal status code and more rhetoric about Ben Ali's trumpeted commitment to women's rights, widely seen as an "attempt to project an image of modernity and democracy" while hiding another part of Tunisia's picture. The raging war at that time in neighbouring Algeria (between the military-backed government and armed groups infuriated by the cancellation in 1992 of the results of legislative elections the Islamists were poised to win) led many to overlook the merciless repression in Tunisia...."
From the Saudi Age of Enlightenment: Saudi couple hammered 24 nails into Sri Lankan maid, say officials
LT Ariyawathi says her employers hammered the nails into her after she complained that her workload was too heavy
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 26 August 2010
"A Saudi couple tortured their Sri Lankan maid by hammering 24 nails into her hands, legs and forehead, after she complained of a too heavy workload, officials said today.
Nearly 2 million Sri Lankans sought employment overseas last year and around 1.4 million, mostly maids, were employed in the Middle East. Many have complained of physical abuse or harassment. LT Ariyawathi, a 49-year old mother of three, returned home on Friday after five months in Saudi Arabia.
Her family only realised what had happened to her when she complained of pain and they took her to see the doctor, Foreign Employment Bureau officials said.
"The landlord and the wife of the landlord hammered 24 nails into her when she complained of the heavy workload," Kalyana Priya Ramanayake, media secretary of the Foreign Employment Bureau, said.
Ariyawathi has been taken to hospital for surgery to remove the nails, which according to the maid were hammered in when they were hot.
X-rays showed one- to two-inch nails in her hands and legs, with one over her eyes, officials said......."
"قال رئيس السلطة الفلسطينية، محمود عباس، مساء أمس الأربعاء، إنه سيذهب إلى واشنطن من أجل البدء بالمفاوضات المباشرة برعاية الولايات المتحدة، معربا عن أمله أن "يستغل الجانب الإسرائيلي الفرصة التاريخية المتاحة للوصول إلى السلام".
وخلال مأدبة إفطار أقامها في مقر الرئاسة في رام الله، قال إنه سيسعى للوصول إلى السلام حتى لو كانت نسبة الوصول إليه 1%.
وفيما يتعلق بالحديث عن الشروط الفلسطينية المسبقة، قال الرئيس : إننا كفلسطينيين لسنا بموقع يسمح لنا فرض شروط مسبقة، ولا يجوز لأي طرف من الأطراف وضع شروط مسبقة قبل أن يذهب إلى المفاوضات".
وأعرب عباس عن أمله بأن يستغل الجانب الإسرائيلي الفرصة التاريخية المتاحة للوصول إلى السلام.
وقال: "هناك معارضة فلسطينية وهي مشروعة وعلينا أن نحترمها، ومن حق أي إنسان أن يقول رأيه بمنتهى الحرية، وعندما نذهب إلى مؤسساتنا القيادية نعطي الجميع كامل الحرية لتعبر عن رأيها، وبالنتيجة الديمقراطية تحسم الأمر".
وفي هذا السياق تجدر الإشارة إلى أن قوات الأمن الفلسطينية أفشلت انعقاد مؤتمر شعبي ضد إطلاق المفاوضات المباشرة في مدينة رام الله، بعد أن اقتحم عناصر من قوات الأمن قاعة المؤتمر لحظات قبل انعقاده، فيما نفت السلطة أي تدخل من جانبها في إفشال المؤتمر.
وهاجم نحو 200 شخص بلباس مدني يعتقد أنهم تابعون للأجهزة الأمنية الفلسطينية تجمعا يقدر بنحو 250 شخصا من ممثلي القوى الوطنية والشخصيات المستقلة كانت تستعد لتلاوة بيان مناهض لموقف الرئيس الفلسطيني الموافق على الذهاب إلى المفاوضات المباشرة في الثاني أيلول/ سبتمبر القادم بدعوة من الإدارة الأمريكية.
وأدانت نقابة الصحفيين في بيان لها، مساء أمس الأربعاء، اعتداء الأجهزة الأمنية على الصحفيين في رام الله أثناء تغطيتهم لفعاليات احتجاجية بعد انعقاد مؤتمر لفصائل العمل الوطني المعارضة للعودة للمفاوضات المباشرة.
وسجلت النقابة رواية الزميل ملكي سليمان مراسل صحيفة الحياة الجديدة الذي قال إن عنصر أمن بلباس مدني أوقفه لدى محاولته التقاط صور لقادة ونشطاء من الفصائل تجمهروا بالقرب من قاعة البروتستانت برام الله. ومنعه من التصوير بحجة أن المنطقة تشهد حالة طوارئ في وقت قام فيه عناصر أمن بسحب الكاميرا وشطب الصور عن ذاكرتها وإعادتها والطلب من سليمان مغادرة المكان.
كما وأدانت النقابة الاعتداء على زميلين من تلفزيون وطن هم: خالد ملحم، ايسر البرغوثي ومصادرة شريط الكاميرا في نفس الموقع الذي تعرض فيه سليمان للاعتداء والمنع.
وقالت النقابة إن هذا الاعتداء يمثل مسا خطيرا بالحريات الإعلامية، ودعت النقابة إلى شمل قضايا الاعتداء على الصحفيين في عمل لجنة التحقيق التي شكلها للتحقيق في ملابسات ما حدث في رام الله.
وفي السياق ذاته، كتبت "يديعوت أحرونوت" أنه بعد أن أجبر عباس على تجديد المفاوضات فإنه يعتبر المفاوضات فرصة تاريخية للتوصل إلى اتفاق سلام مع إسرائيل.
وأضافت أنه عدا عن أقوال عباس هذه بشأن الفرصة التاريخية، فإن ما حصل في مدينة رام الله يوم أمس يؤكد على الأهمية الكبيرة التي توليها السلطة الفلسطينية لتجديد المفاوضات المباشرة مع إسرائيل.
(Left: CIA stooges sharing a joke.)
"26/08/2010 An aide to Afghan President Hamid Karzai who is under investigation for corruption is on the payroll of the Central Intelligence Agency, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.
The revelation raised new questions about how the United States can root out corruption in the Afghan government when US operations in the country require support from some of the same politicians and leaders accused of graft....."
"US-led troops have reportedly opened fire at demonstrators in northern Afghanistan, killing dozens of people and wounding more than 20 other civilians.
Thousands of people protested near a NATO base in Badghis province after NATO forces killed an Afghan police trainee, a Press TV correspondent reported.
The Afghan trainee had fired on foreign troops, killing two Spanish soldiers and their interpreter.
Afghan media said that the Afghan soldier shot and killed the Spaniards when they tried to remove an Afghan woman's veil by force.
The protesters also called on the Afghan government to help send Spanish troops to their country.
More than 800 Spanish soldiers have stationed in Afghanistan within the framework of NATO forces.
Some 140,000 US-led troops are currently stationed in Afghanistan. A further 10,000 are expected to be deployed to the war-ravaged country in the coming weeks."
"While the Obama administration continues to affirm its intention to withdraw US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, the US' military presence in the Muslim world is actually expanding and this is exacerbating tensions and inflaming animosities.
Barack Obama's promise to open a new page with the Muslim world on the basis of mutual respect and interests - supplemented and enforced by the use of soft rather than hard power - now rings hollow.
This is most evident in the withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq and the corresponding surge in Afghanistan - an exercise in redeploying military forces, not extracting them.
As the gap between words and deeds; declarations and policies; public diplomacy and military strategy deepens, so the political and strategic crisis facing the Obama administration continues to deepen.....
Some reckon Obama, a liberal who never served in the military, is worried about being seen as a wimp. Others lament that he has been out-manoeuvred by powerful forces in Washington, including the Pentagon and its generals. And yet others remain hopeful that he will prevail and eventually downsize the US military presence overseas.
Consider me a realist, but I doubt the empire will be downsized any time soon.
However, the good news is that the majority of Americans today - like the absolute majority of the Greater Middle East - would like to see the US mind its own business and stop interfering militarily around the world.
Call me an idealist, but I think in a democracy, it is the people and their political representatives that have the last word, not the generals....."
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
"Palestinian political leaders and activists, outraged by the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) approval of direct talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israeli leaders next week, attempted to converge in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah today in a meeting aimed at "express[ing] or stand[ing] against a return to negotiations," Ma'an News Agency reported ("Police shut down conference against talks," 25 August 2010)
The meeting was held at the same time as a conference in Gaza City, where officials of various Palestinian parties also discussed their opposition to the PLO's plans for direct talks.
According to Ma'an, and corroborated by the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq, the Ramallah meeting was interrupted and shut down by the Palestinian Authority's General Intelligence forces, who provoked participants and attacked individuals trying to document the incident.
Khaleda Jarrar, Ramallah mayoral candidate with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) party, told Ma'an that participants in the meeting were confronted by Palestinian Authority (PA) forces in civilian uniform, who "attempted to thwart the event from the start, chanting slogans and leading event participants towards the center of Ramallah."
"We aimed to voice our dissent, and the PA decided to enter the conference hall and drag participants out to an unplanned rally," continued Jarrar. The PA has made it an ongoing policy to prohibit "unplanned" rallies by opposing political groups.
Al-Haq, whose offices are located next to the Protestant church where the meeting was held, stated in a press release that some of its staff members attempted to document the events and were subsequently attacked by the PA forces.
"Upon seeing one of the staff members, Wesam Ahmad, equipped with a camera, plain-clothed General Intelligence officers accosted him and knocked the camera from his hand," stated Al-Haq. "After retrieving the camera and asking why he was being prevented from taking any pictures, Mr. Ahmed was surrounded by approximately 10 members of the GI. They grabbed him around the neck and head while holding his arms, stripping the camera from him. During the attack, another Al-Haq staff member, Ms. Nina Atallah, who tried to intervene to assist her colleague, was injured and had to be taken to hospital. ... It emerged, after asking policemen on the scene, that Al-Haq's camera had been confiscated by the GI. Equipment and footage from journalists on the scene were also confiscated during the incident."
Al-Haq added that it denounced the repeated violations of human rights by PA forces, and urged civil society to condemn such practices and ensure freedom of expression and assembly. "Today's incident is a further example of the increasing climate of violence and intimidation that is effectively transforming Palestinian society into a 'police-state,'" Al-Haq reported.
This violence meted out by PA forces on Wednesday comes amidst growing dissent within Palestinian political parties against the leadership of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who continues to hold office under controversial emergency decrees extending his expired term. His decision to attend US-brokered direct talks with Israel -- despite the continued construction of Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land and the ongoing Israeli siege on Gaza, amongst other rights violations -- has been greeted with condemnation.
In Damascus, Hamas leader Khaled Meshal denounced the resumption of direct talks as "nationally illegitimate, carried out by force and American summons," according to Ma'an ("Mash'al: Talks will eliminate Palestinian cause," 25 August 2010).
Earlier this month, the Executive Committee of the PLO announced that it approved the direct talks in spite of the overwhelming opposition against negotiations. The PLO is comprised of all the main Palestinian political factions except for Hamas. The Executive Committee's approval came despite the fact that all the PLO factions except for Abbas' Fatah opposed the resumption of direct talks.
Meshal added that the PLO's unilateral decision serving the PA's interests was "an echo of Washington's order."
"The success of talks will be according to Israeli measures and conditions, which means eliminating the Palestinian cause, including the right of return, Jerusalem, [and the] 1967 borders," Meshal added.
The PLO's endorsement of direct talks sparked a wave of dissent from various Palestinian parties, uniting factions that have been historically split since the outcome of the Oslo negotiations in the mid-1990s.
The PFLP, along with the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), the Palestinian People's Party (PPP), Hamas, dissenting Fatah members and factional military wings, joined in a vociferous condemnation of the PLO's actions in a meeting in Damascus on 15 August.
In a statement read during the conference by PFLP's leader in exile Dr. Maher al-Taher, the groups warned of "serious repercussions of continuing the policy of concessions and compromises of Palestinian national rights" ("Palestinian factions reject US/Zionist pressure for direct negotiations").
When the PLO failed to respond to the Damascus statement, al-Taher remarked on 20 August that "the action of the Executive Committee of the PLO in approving these negotiations makes it clear that independent Palestinian decision-making and democracy is a farce in these institutions, as the Palestinian people have clearly expressed their rejection of negotiations" ("PFLP rejects and calls for action ...").
Even with the overwhelming dissent voiced by its constituents, the PLO formally approved the direct talks on 21 August. The talks are scheduled to begin on 2 September in Washington, DC after a ceremony expected to be hosted by US President Barack Obama. "
"عبرت قيادات فلسطينية مستقلة وأعضاء في فصائل منضوية في إطار منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية عن غضبها الشديد حيال منع الأجهزة الأمنية الفلسطينية عقد مؤتمر وطني في مدينة رام الله مناهض للمفاوضات المباشرة مع إسرائيل.
ونددت هذه القيادات بمنع عناصر من الأجهزة الأمنية الفلسطينية وأخرى عرفت عن نفسها بأنها مؤيدة للرئيس محمود عباس، عقد المؤتمر الذي كان من المقرر أن تعقده مئات الشخصيات الفلسطينية في مدينة رام الله بالضفة الغربية أمس الثلاثاء للتعبير عن معارضتها للمفاوضات المباشرة مع إسرائيل.
وقال عضو المكتب السياسي لحزب الشعب الفلسطيني خالد منصور إن عشرات العناصر التي ترتدي زيا مدنيا وتحمل صور الرئيس محمود عباس اقتحمت مقر انعقاد المؤتمر المناهض للمفاوضات مع الإسرائيليين ومنعت انعقاده وحاولت الاعتداء على قيادات مشاركة فيه.
ووصف منصور في حديث لمراسلة الجزيرة نت في رام الله ميرفت صادق ما جرى بأنه كان قمعا لنشاط ديمقراطي لمجموعات فلسطينية لها وزن على الساحة الفلسطينية أرادت إعلان موقفها السياسي تجاه المفاوضات المباشرة، مضيفا "هذا أمر خطير ومؤشر على مستوى الديمقراطية التي تنتظرنا مستقبلا".
The Latest From Wikileaks: CIA Red Cell Memorandum on United States "exporting terrorism", 2 Feb 2010
This CIA "Red Cell" report from February 2, 2010, looks at what will happen if it is internationally understood that the United States is an exporter of terrorism; 'Contrary to common belief, the American export of terrorism or terrorists is not a recent phenomenon, nor has it been associated only with Islamic radicals or people of Middle Eastern, African or South Asian ethnic origin. This dynamic belies the American belief that our free, open and integrated multicultural society lessens the allure of radicalism and terrorism for US citizens.' The report looks at a number cases of US exported terrorism, including attacks by US based or ﬁnanced Jewish, Muslim and Irish-nationalism terrorists. It concludes that foreign perceptions of the US as an "Exporter of Terrorism" together with US double standards in international law, may lead to noncooperation in renditions (including the arrest of CIA officers) and the decision to not share terrorism related intelligence with the United States. "
Click Here to Download Secret CIA Document
أتهمت قوى سياسية فلسطينية اليوم قوات الأمن الفلسطينية بإفشال انعقاد مؤتمر شعبي ضد اطلاق المفاوضات المباشرة في مدينة رام الله، بعد أن اقتحم عناصر من قوات الأمن قاعة المؤتمر لحظات قبل انعقاده، فيما نفت السلطة أي تدخل من جانبها في إفشال المؤتمر.
وهاجم نحو 200 شخص بلباس مدني يعتقد انهم تابعون للاجهزة الامنية الفلسطينية تجمعا يقدر بنحو 250 شخصا من ممثلي القوى الوطنية والشخصيات المستقلة كانت تستعد لتلاوة بيان مناهض لموقف الرئيس الفلسطيني الموافق على الذهاب الى المفاوضات المباشرة في الثاني من سبتمر ايلول القادم بدعوة من الادارة الامريكية.
ووصف ممدوح العكر رئيس الهيئة المستقلة لحقوق الانسان في كلمة له في المؤتمر الصحافي الذي عقده منظمو المؤتمر الوطني في قاعة محطة تلفزة محلية "بالغوغاء" وقال "ان هذا يوم اسود في تاريخ النظام السياسي الفلسطيني وبداية الانزلاق نحو الفاشية يجب وضع حد لهذا السلوك فورا."
واضاف "ما جرى وصمة عار في جبين من اقدموا عليه واساءة واهانة للرئيس (عباس ) ولحركة فتح. من الضروري صدور ادانة واضحة من الرئيس وتشكيل لجنة تحقيق فيما جرى ومحاسبة المسؤولين."
ونقلت وكالة الانباء الرسمية الفلسطينية عن رئيس السلطة محمود عباس قراره "تشكيل لجنة تحقيق في ملابسات ما جرى اليوم.. في نادي البروتستانت برام الله (مكان انعقاد المؤتمر الوطني)."
واستنكرت ادارة تلفزيون وطن المحلي "اعتداء الاجهزة الامنية الفلسطينية على طاقم تلفزيون وطن ومصادرة المحتويات الصحفية."
وتحدث في المؤتمر الصحفي كل من عبد الرحيم ملوح نائب الامين العام للجبهة الشعبية وقيس عبد الكريم عضو المكتب السياسي للجبهة الديمقراطية وحيدر عوض الله القيادي في حزب الشعب ورجل الاعمال الفلسطيني المعروف منيب المصري الذين اجمعوا على ادانة ما حدث بشدة ورأوا فيه "تهديدا للديمقراطية الفلسطينية وقمعا للحريات العامة" وشوهد خلال التجمع عدد من الشبان يرفعون صورا للرئيس ابو مازن ويرددون شعارات لحركة فتح في محاولة للتشويش على المؤتمر ومنع المشاركين فيه من الحديث الامر الذي ادى الى خروج منظمي المؤتمر من القاعة الى الشارع في مسيرة قصيرة بسبب مواصلة التشويش من خلال تشغيل صفارة الانذار من سيارة كانت تقف الى جانب المسيرة.
وقال هاني المصري عضو المؤتمر الوطني "ان اجتماعا سيعقد في الساعات القادمة لتحديد الخطوات القادمة لمواصلة التعبير عن رفض الذهاب للمفاوضات المباشرة".
Abu Rahmah, coordinator of the popular committee against the wall and settlement in the village of Bil'in, near Ramallah in the central West Bank, was detained nine months ago while the investigation was ongoing. He was convicted of incitement and organising nonviolent protest against the construction of the Annexation Wall in the West Bank.
A number of European diplomats and many of Abu Rahmah's friends were in attendance to observe the trial. The sentence is expected to be pronounced next month, and some local sources said they expect a two-year imprisonment......"