Saturday, September 25, 2010
Which Obama Will Admit to the UN Next Year.
Mickey Mouse Declined the Offer to be President....
He Will Stay in Disneyland.
With the "Reconciliation" of the Crooks Imminent....
Barney is My Last Hope!
"Discrimination faced by Palestinians living within Israel's borders remains one of the key sticking points in Middle East peace talks.
Umm al-Fahm is a town made up almost entirely of Palestinian Israelis - those who found themselves within the new border when Israel was created in 1948.
Israel's declaration of independence, the equivalent of a constitution, states that all citizens are equal but the one-fifth of the population who are Palestinian, believe they are less equal than others.
Al Jazeera's Dan Nolan reports from Umm al-Fahm, Israel."
"One thing that comes through clearly in Bob Woodward’s new book, Obama’s Wars, is the contempt felt by Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, toward President Barack Obama.
One of Woodward’s more telling vignettes has Petraeus, after quaffing a glass of wine during a flight in May, telling some of his staff that the administration was "[expletive] with the wrong guy."
No need to divine precisely what may be the "expletive deleted." Petraeus’s Douglas-MacArthur-style contempt for the commander-in-chief comes through clearly enough. But Obama is no Harry Truman, facing down a popular general who may fancy himself a future president.
Pity poor Obama.....
Yet, wooden-headedness prevails. On Thursday, Adm. Mullen attempted to reassure the press about Afghanistan, stating that although "this is a very, very difficult year, we’ve got the inputs right" and "we’re starting to move forward."
For his part, Defense Secretary Gates expressed full confidence in the current approach and predicted only "some adjustments and tweaks" during a planned December war review "to try and enhance what’s going on."
God help us! "
The Guardian, Saturday 25 September 2010
"The housing project currently under construction in Almon offers enticingly priced, spacious family homes with a garden and a view. The surrounding neighbourhood, also known as Anatot, sits on a ridge overlooking the Judean hills, near Jerusalem, a blaze of cultivated greenery in the parched landscape. Residents have a relaxed air, and newcomers who have recently relocated from Jerusalem wish they'd made the move years ago. If I were a prospective house-buyer, I'd be charmed. But I would not be looking here – because Almon is in the occupied West Bank.....
How hard would it really be to divert funds from the occupied West Bank back into Israel, thus encouraging settlers to move back – especially from somewhere like Almon, where residents have already said they will relocate if political realities dictate that they should?....."
"Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, has again managed to steal the global spotlight, after levelling a series of rhetorical attacks on the US and Israel - the "Zionist entity" in his words - during an address to the UN General Assembly.
Specifically, he told world leaders on Thursday that the "majority of the American people, as well as most nations and politicians around the world agree" that "some segments within the US government orchestrated" the September 11, 2001, attacks in order to "reverse the declining American economy" and to justify US military operations in the Middle East to "save the Zionist regime".
Western diplomats, including the US, Canada and the 27-member EU bloc, walked out during the tirade. PJ Crowley, the US assistant secretary of state, told Al Jazeera that the statement was "totally outrageous".
But, for better or worse, significant segments of the world's population are sympathetic to Ahmadinejad's "conspiratorial" view of the 9/11 attacks which killed about 3,000 people....."
Friday, September 24, 2010
With Amy Goodman
"President Obama makes the Israel Palestine conflict the centerpiece of his address to the UN General Assembly. Urging the international community to support his plan for peace, the President called on Palestinians to move ahead with "genuine reconciliation" with Israel and said Israel should extend it’s "settlement moratorium" We speak with attorney Diana Buttu, a former advisor to Palestinian negotiators...."
"The key - one may say tragic - point of Bob Woodward’s latest court opus Obama's Wars is that the United States president not only cannot end the Afghan war, he cannot even downscale it without incurring blowback. Even if Barack Obama is seriously betting on his exit strategy, the Pentagon wants infinite war. The corporate media-orchestrated narrative will never tell us why...."
"....Abbas, despite his authority’s lack of legitimacy and shrinking popularity among Palestinians, remains the best option of a ‘Palestinian leadership’ as far as the US is concerned. He is flexible, both morally and politically. His Authority’s bread and butter are US funds and US-Western political validation. Abbas gleaned from the Gaza experience that popular democracy is worthless in the age of draconian sieges and Blitzkriegs. In fact he used both the siege and the Israel war on Gaza to strengthen his political stance and to bargain with the US. But his language and action will remain predictable.....
In order for Hamas to become politically manageable, from the US point of view, it would have to depart from these commitments, and become as politically flexible, predictable and controllable as Fatah and Abbas. The US can only work with a weak Palestinian leadership which it can easily manipulate. Hamas, thus far, doesn’t fit the criterion, thus the lack of any prospect of ‘engagement’, and the continued betting on Abbas and Netanyahu, despite the predictable - and possibly disastrous - outcome of their talks."
By Philip Giraldi
"....So what do these countries have in common? They are frontline states in the burgeoning but still secret phase three of the Global War on Terror being planned by the Pentagon and spy agencies with the concurrence of the Barack Obama White House. Those who thought there might be some kind of peace dividend with the Democrats holding the presidency can bid those thoughts goodbye. The administration is clearly thinking beyond Afghanistan (and even Iran), anticipating the next battlefronts in Yemen and Somalia. It is assiduously gathering resources to enter the fray, including setting up business fronts that can be used by covert operatives...."
By Hans von Sponeck
"....My predecessor in Baghdad, Denis Halliday, and I were repeatedly barred from testifying to the Security Council. On one occasion, the US and UK governments, in a joint letter to the secretary general, insisted that we did not have enough experience with sanctions and therefore could not contribute much to the debate. You were scared of the facts.
We live in serious times, which you helped bring about. The international security architecture is severely weakened, the UN Security Council fails to solve crises peacefully, and there are immense double standards in the debate on the direction our world is travelling in. A former British prime minister - "a big player, a world leader and not just a national leader", as you describe yourself in your book - should find little time to promote his "journey" on a US talk show. You decided differently. I watched this show, and a show it was. You clearly felt uncomfortable. Everything you and your brother-in-arms, Bush, had planned for Iraq has fallen apart, the sole exception being the removal of Saddam Hussein. You chose to point to Iran as the new danger....."
A GOOD, LONG INTERVIEW
Interview by Johann Hari
"Gideon Levy is the most hated man in Israel – and perhaps the most heroic. This “good Tel Aviv boy” – a sober, serious child of the Jewish state – has been shot at repeatedly by the Israeli Defence Force, been threatened with being “beaten to a pulp” on the country’s streets, and faced demands from government ministers that he be tightly monitored as “a security risk.” This is because he has done something very simple, and something that almost no other Israeli has done. Nearly every week for three decades, he has travelled to the Occupied Territories and described what he sees, plainly and without propaganda. “My modest mission,” he says, “is to prevent a situation in which many Israelis will be able to say, ‘We didn’t know.’” And for that, many people want him silenced.
The story of Gideon Levy – and the attempt to deride, suppress or deny his words – is the story of Israel distilled...."
A GOOD COMMENT
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 23 September 2010
"....What the latest disclosures have achieved is to flesh out the deeply dispiriting picture painted during the summer – of a dysfunctional team at war with itself. They describe a president, deeply insecure about his military inexperience, who – despite his denials – was "jammed" by the Pentagon in 2009 into authorising a controversial surge in Afghanistan. Whose only options, provided by the Pentagon to consider, were whether he should increase troop numbers by 30,000 or 40,000.
Taken together, the sum of the recent disclosures suggests strongly that Obama's weak personal leadership in the debate over his Afghan policy has created a climate in which feuds between his senior advisers have been allowed to breed to toxic and damaging levels. For what is most fascinating about the disclosures from Obama's Wars is how they supply the context for much that has happened in the last year.....
What seems clear, even before the details of Woodward's book began to leak out, is that it is a battle that is far from over, with General Petraeus, McChrystal's replacement, even this week manoeuvring to throw cold water on early plans for a draw-down in Afghanistan.
But in the pathology of these things, the feuds at the heart of Obama's Afghanistan policy are simply symptoms. One expects towering egos and conflicts of ideas, arguments and rivalries – some over policy and some borne out of personality or shared history. The real problem, it is increasingly apparent, lies not with the subsidiary personalities but is located at the very top, resting in Obama's inability to bring any kind of real discipline to this feuding team, protected as some are by senior figures within his administration, including his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton....
Most damaging of all, if it is clear that the strategy for Afghanistan barely enjoys the support of those tasked with drawing it up, then how possibly can it be sold to anybody else, not least the long-suffering people of Afghanistan?"
"Barack Obama, the US president, has urged countries in the United Nations to get behind Middle East peace efforts in an address at the UN General Assembly.
But Ali Hasan Abunimah, a Palestinian-American journalist and co-founder of Electronic Intifada, an independent website about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, said Obama's speech did not represent anything new.
"That bodes very ill for the peace process that he's so invested in," Abunimah told Al Jazeera's Shihab Rattansi, speaking from the US state of Indiana.
"Let's judge him not by what he says, but what he does.""
Thursday, September 23, 2010
When Obama spoke of "the young girl in Gaza who wants to have no ceiling on her dreams" I thought of her (graphic)
This time, we will think not of ourselves, but of the young girl in Gaza who wants to have no ceiling on her dreams, or the young boy in Sderot who wants to sleep without the nightmare of rocket fire.
THIS IS A MUST READ!
(Scroll down for more new posts)
"New York, NY—The S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace hosted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for dinner on Tuesday, September 21, 2010, with over 50 top leaders of the American Jewish community and former American administration officials. The dinner, hosted by Center founder and chairman Dan Abraham and Center president Robert Wexler at the Plaza Hotel, was organized at the request of Abbas, following a dinner hosted by the Center with Abbas and Jewish leaders in Washington DC in May.....
Abbas stipulated that “we accept the state of a demilitarized Palestine,” and expressed his willingness to allow Jewish soldiers to participate in a third-party security force within Palestinian territory. When asked if he is willing to compromise on the right of return for Palestinian refugees, Abbas said, “We have to discuss it. We have a problem.....
When asked about the likelihood of Prime Minister Netanyahu not extending the settlement construction moratorium, Abbas said, “I cannot say I will leave the negotiations.....
In response to a question about recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, Abbas said, “If the Israeli people want to name themselves whatever they want, they are free to do so.” He said he would accept Israel’s characterization as a Jewish state if the Israeli Knesset voted to designate the state as such. Abbas reiterated the Jewish people’s historical connection to the Middle East, as well as the historical tragedy of the Holocaust.....
Abbas expressed his understanding of Israel’s security concerns, and how those concerns are shared by Palestinians. “We know the Israelis want to live inside their borders, inside secure borders, they want their families to feel that they are secure, no suicide bombers, I know that they want peace and they want security. If you ask me how that in three or four years until now no single event comes from the West Bank, why? I’ll tell you it’s because we decided to cooperate with the Israeli side, and we prevent anybody from doing anything against Israel, because the security of Israel is our security,” Abbas said. “The goal of maintaining law and order is in Palestinians’ interest.”.
Abbas emphasized the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative, which offers full diplomatic recognition of Israel by the countries of the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference once peace is reached with the Palestinians. “We are not only looking for a peace between the Palestinians and Israelis, we are looking for a peace with all the Arab and all the Muslims,” Abbas said. “We are working very hard on this.”....."
"An increasing number of the young people in the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] are the children of Russians and settlers, the hardest-core people against a division of the land. This presents a staggering problem," Clinton told a roundtable with press in New York. "It's a different Israel. Sixteen percent of Israelis speak Russian."
"......Much of the equipment left behind by Israel and its collaborators is now exhibited at a museum housed in a former Hizballah command center in the village of Mlita, in the heart of southern Lebanon.
I was in Mlita last week. From that hilltop, one can see occupied Palestine very close across the border fence. While there were thousands of Lebanese families and foreign tourists inspecting Israeli military debris, which included tanks, artillery, ammunition, helmets, boots, small arms, jeeps and lots more, and joyfully posing for photos on top of the displayed equipment, there was no sign of movement on the Israeli side....
For the first time in the history of Arab-Israeli wars, an Israeli military victory was not matched by any political gain.
The 1982 invasion was the war which marked the end of Israeli military power as an effective tool for imposing political realities. Since then, Israel has used brute military force without limits, as it did against Lebanon in 1996 and 2006, and against Gaza in 2008-2009. But Israel's atrocities and massacres offer at best a reprieve from whatever problem it is trying to "solve" while its standing, legitimacy and deterrent power continue a long and steady decline.
When the Israeli invaders withdrew from most of Lebanon in 1983, Israel decided to keep a so-called "security zone" of roughly ten kilometers inside Lebanese territory. This was policed by the SLA, created and financed by Israel with Lebanese collaborators. Israel later envisaged the Palestinian Authority's security apparatus along the same lines -- a local native militia meant to serve and protect the occupier and relieve the Israeli army as much as possible of the burden of occupation. But it was the local Lebanese resistance that foiled Israeli plans, and this is what the museum at Mlita commemorates and celebrates....."
"A Palestinian has been killed after a Jewish settlement guard opened fire at a group of men in an Arab neighbourhood of East Jerusalem.
The incident occurred after clashes broke out between Jewish settlers and a number of local Palestinians in the Silwan neighbourhood, Al Jazeera's Dan Nolan reports from Jerusalem."
""The Palestinian Authority (PA) forces came late at night and started shooting inside the camp," Shihab said. "They came in, shooting, acting like the Israeli military. They wanted to make the people afraid. Everyone went to the main street and started throwing stones, because people thought they were the Israelis, not the PA forces."
Shihab, who didn't want to give his last name, is a spokesperson for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a Marxist-Leninist political party, in Dheisheh refugee camp in southern Bethlehem in occupied West Bank. He told The Electronic Intifada that in the last few weeks, the PA's security services have been waging a campaign of intimidation and violence inside Dheisheh, intent on what he called "destroying the unity and community within the camp."....
Shihab said that the PFLP's responsibility now is to protect everyone in the Dheisheh refugee camp community. "We operate within the refugees' culture, and we support each other regardless of political beliefs or affiliation," he said. "When [al-Qassam Brigades leader] Iyad Asad Abu Shelbaya was assassinated in Tulkarem by Israeli forces, where was the PA for the security they're talking about? Everyone in our community understands that their version of security is the security of the occupation, not the security of the Palestinians. Where is the PA to defend us?"
He added, "where was the PA a month ago, when the Israeli army came into the camp to destroy houses? Where are they every night when [the Israeli army] comes in to arrest people?" Taking a sip of coffee, Shihab said, "They will never succeed at destroying the unity within the refugee camps. We will remain unified.""
"Between theory and practice, calming down the deteriorating political situation in Lebanon could determine the fate of the country, and even the region.
What had started as a debate on whether false witnesses in the Rafiq Hariri murder case existed or not, whether the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) was politicized or not, or even whether Israel was behind the assassination or not, has turned into political wrangling and tense rhetoric.
Worse, March 14 bloc members have taken their speech to a more dangerous sectarian level....
Playing on the sectarian chord has proved to be the most effective way to keep a people divided; it’s been tried in Lebanon before, and the 1982 invasion came as civil war was reaching its peak.
The STL today is under Hezbollah’s microscope until it proves it is handling the Hariri assassination case properly, in light of the provided evidence that point to Israel, the persecution of the false witnesses who deluded the investigation for five years, and the upcoming indictment.
“If the indictment echoed the Der Spiegel report, this will mark the beginning of a US-Israeli invasion similar to that of 1982. Every invasion necessitates a proper confrontation. The objective of the 1982 invasion was the May 17, 1983 agreement and the new invasion, should it happen, aims at a new May 17 agreement which we will categorically refuse. When Lebanon comes under invasion, the resistance has an obligation to defend the country,” Hezbollah MP Nawaf Moussawi said in a televised interview Wednesday.
Pending the outcome of the tripartite Arab efforts and the indictment, Hezbollah sees no possible settlement to the political deterioration in Lebanon. Calm, amid incitement and sectarian mobilization by some March 14 officials, could only be a temporary solution.
The ultimate solution for Hezbollah is to stop targeting the resistance.
With Israel preparing for worst case scenarios, the US striking multi-billion dollar arms deals with Gulf States, and US-Israeli threats to strike Iran are on the rise, the sectarian rhetoric by some March 14 officials in Lebanon is giving US-Israeli warmongers the strategic advantage, the power and the needed spark to enflame the region. "
""Terrorism" has become the most abused word in the English language. The fear of terrorism has driven explosive growth in the United States government, has led to two wars in the past ten years with possibly several more waiting in the wings, and has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. Terrorism is a tactic, not an enemy. It consists of attacking a largely civilian population to demoralize it and reduce its willingness to resist either an aggressor or an occupying power. It has been used extensively in the twentieth century and so far into the twenty-first century because it is a force equalizer. It enables a resistance movement or a group seeking a change in government to attack a much larger and more powerful opponent. Because it has that ability to engage asymmetrically, one can expect that terror tactics will continue to be with us for the foreseeable future.
Fear of terrorism has been exploited by those who seek a hegemonistic role for the United States. To be sure, 9/11 was a horrific event and subsequent terror attacks in London, Madrid, Moscow, and Bombay were reminders that there will always be individuals and groups prepared to sacrifice their own lives to kill at random for a cause. But the horror of a terror attack should be placed in context and should not be allowed to justify actions on the part of government that are even more damaging in the long term. In the United States, that is precisely what has happened.
"The European Union (EU) is considered the main donor and bankroller of the Palestinian Authority (PA), an entity that more or less lives off European' tax payers. Hence, the EU is supposed to have certain leverage on PA domestic policies, including the extent to which the Ramallah-based government is committed to human rights and civil liberties.
Unfortunately, the EU has done next to nothing in terms of urging the PA to conform with internationally-observed human rights standards. The fact that the PA, a virtual police state without a state, continues to be a serious human rights violator, shows that the EU may not really be sufficiently concerned about the status of human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The National Security Archive
"Washington, D.C., September 22, 2010 – Following instructions from President George W. Bush to develop an updated war plan for Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ordered CENTCOM Commander Gen. Tommy Franks in November 2001 to initiate planning for the “decapitation” of the Iraqi government and the empowerment of a “Provisional Government” to take its place.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Dr. Abdul-Sattar Qassem
"فوجئ مذيع إحدى المحطات التلفزيونية عندما قلت له في إحدى المقابلات إن السلطة الفلسطينية تؤيد الاستيطان، وإن ما أسمعه في الإعلام لا يعنيني بقدر ما يعنيني ما أراه على الأرض، وكان واضحا أن ترتيب أسئلته قد أصيب بإرباك، واضطر إلى أن يبحث معي في هذا الرأي
المعنى أن الساحة العربية ليست ساحة ديمقراطية، والبحث العلمي لا يتمتع بحرية في الوصول إلى المعلومات، والعربي يتعرض لكثير من التضليل والكذب من قادته ومن وسائل الإعلام، وعلى المرء أن يطور قدرات كبيرة من أجل تحصين نفسه من غسيل الدماغ والتشويهات التي يتعرض لها.
لا الإعلام الفلسطيني ولا القيادات الفلسطينية مستثناة من هذه الظاهرة، وأكبر دليل على ذلك أن مختلف الشعارات التي تم رفعها من قبل القيادات عبر حقب متعددة من تاريخ القضية الفلسطينية قد تهاوت، وأن كل الزمجرة والتظاهر بالرجولة التي رافقتها لم تكن سوى فقاعات تلاشت
لم تختلف السلطة الفلسطينية في موقفها عبر سنوات طويلة عن الموقف الأميركي الذي طالما ردد بأن الاستيطان يشكل عقبة في طريق السلام، ولم يتطور إلى إجراء عملي يرغم إسرائيل على وقف الاستيطان. الاستيطان استمر في ظل مختلف الحكومات الصهيونية، واستمرت المفاوضات.
ثالثا- أوباما ورّط الجانب الفلسطيني، إذ لم تعلن السلطة الفلسطينية أنها لن تفاوض إلا إذا تم تجميد الاستيطان تماما، إلا بعدما أعلن الرئيس الأميركي أوباما معارضته للاستيطان في خطابه الشهير بجامعة القاهرة، وكأن السلطة أرادت أن تلحق بركب أوباما الذي ظنت أنه سيكون قادرا على وقف الاستيطان، أي أن المسألة كانت عبارة عن انتهاز فرصة حتى لا تبدو السلطة في موقف دون الموقف الأميركي من الاستيطان.
وقد كان رأيي منذ البدء أن أوباما لن يصمد عند أقواله، وأن السلطة الفلسطينية ستعود إلى المفاوضات دون أن يتوقف الاستيطان
لا قيمة لوقف المفاوضات ما دامت الأجهزة الأمنية الفلسطينية تعتقل الفلسطينيين بسبب علاقتهم بالمقاومة أو بسبب نواياهم، وكل الحديث ضد الاستيطان في مثل هذا الوضع لا يمكن أن يكون مقنعا، خاصة عندما يشاهد المرء أن الأجهزة الأمنية الفلسطينية تعمل ضد ما من شأنه أن يقض مضجع المستوطنين
السلطة الفلسطينية تقول إنها ضد الاستيطان وهي تملك خيارات للتفاوض، وتشرح بأن خيارها هو الذهاب إلى مجلس الأمن لفك الأزمة.
خيار لا شك أنه ساذج إذا كان حسن النية لأن أميركا تشكل محورا أساسيا في المجلس وهي تملك حق النقض، أي أن الهروب من أميركا إلى مجلس الأمن عبارة عن ارتماء في الحضن الأميركي
وعلى أي حال، قال الرئيس الفلسطيني محمود عباس إنه سيفاوض إن فشلت المفاوضات، وسيفاوض إن فشل الفشل، وسيفاوض إن فشِل فشَل الفشَل، وكبير مفاوضيه كتب أن الحياة مفاوضات.
لم يحصل في التاريخ الإنساني أن أصبحت المفاوضات منهج حياة بدل أن تكون أداة أو آلية إلا لدى فلاسفة السياسة الفلسطينيين.
المعنى أن فلسفة التفاوض الفلسطينية لا تحيد عن استمرار التفاوض، وإذا كان للاستيطان أن يستمر، فإن الفشل لا يعني وقف التفاوض
من لا يريد أن يفاوض، عليه أن يقوم بخطوات عملية لإثبات مواقفه مثل: وقف التنسيق الأمني وتغيير التحالفات واستبدال جهات التمويل وتغيير الأوضاع الداخلية بما فيها الوزارة وإدارات المؤسسات وإطلاق يد المقاومة والعودة بالأمور إلى وحدة وطنية فلسطينية على قاعدة التحرير.
أما الحديث ضد الاستيطان ضمن معطيات الهزيمة والخنوع فلا طائل منه ولا جدوى، ولا يعني إلا شيئا واحد هو أن السلطة الفلسطينية تؤيد الاستيطان عمليا وترفضه إعلاميا.
"Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has signaled that a renewal of settlement construction in the West Bank would not necessarily end peace talks, attendees at a dinner with the Palestinians leader in New York told Haaretz on Wednesday...."
Citing UN sanctions, Russia has cancelled a planned sale of advanced missiles to Iran. Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, has issued a decree prohibiting the delivery of S-300 air defence missile systems and other weapons to Iran.
Reuters news agency reports that the presidential decree, issued on Wednesday, brings trade rules for Russia and its companies into line with the sanctions, pleasing the United States and other Western nations that are deeply worried about Iran's military capability.
"What's interesting about this order is that it not only bans the sale of surface-to-air S-300 missiles, it also bans other weapons system," Alexander Nekrassov, former adviser to the Kremlin, told Al Jazeera.
He added that the decree also bans senior Iranian officials "who are somehow linked to the nuclear programme" from visiting Russia.
By JONATHAN COOK
"A vague security offence of “contact with a foreign agent” is being used by Israel’s secret police, the Shin Bet, to lock up Arab political activists in Israel without evidence that a crime has been committed, human rights lawyers alleged this week.
The lawyers said the Shin Bet was exploiting the law to characterise innocent or accidental meetings between members of Israel’s large Arab minority and Arab foreign nationals as criminal activity....."
"A Departure to Be Welcomed": Robert Scheer on Resignation of White House Economic Advisor and De-Regulation Proponent Lawrence Summers
With Amy Goodman
"The makeup of President Obama’s economic team is being shaken up some more as Lawrence Summers has announced he is resigning as director of the National Economic Council later this year to return to Harvard University. According to Bloomberg news, the White House is considering naming a "prominent corporate executive" to replace Summers in order to counter Wall Street criticism that the administration is "anti-business." We speak to veteran journalist Robert Scheer, author of "The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street."...."
Also, this by Robert Scheer:
So Long, Summers
".....In light of Ahmadinejad's multiple gestures of conciliation and compromise, including his offer of helping the US on Afghanistan and Iraq, the ball is now fully in the US's court. It can either reciprocate the Iranian president's gestures of goodwill toward the US, or it can continue on the present course of coercive action against Iran. In the event of the latter, it can be safely assumed that yet another window of opportunity in US-Iran relations will have been prematurely closed."
"قالت الإذاعة الإسرائيلية "ريشيت بيت" إن رئيس السلطة الفلسطينية، محمود عباس، أبدى مرونة وتراجع عن موقفه السابق بوقف المفاوضات في حال استمر الاستيطان.
وبحسب الإذاعة الإسرائيلية فإن عباس، وفي حديثه، مع عدد من قادة اليهود في الولايات المتحدة، قد صرح بأنه لا يستطيع الجزم بوقف المفاوضات في حال قررت إسرائيل مواصلة البناء الاستيطاني على أراضي الضفة الغربية.
ونقلت الإذاعة عن مصادر في مكتب رئيس الحكومة الإسرائيلية أنهم لا يتوقعون أن يقوم رئيس السلطة الفلسطينية بوقف المفاوضات في حال قررت مواصلة البناء الاستيطاني.
ومن جهتها كتبت "يديعوت أحرونوت" في موقعها على الشبكة أنه في ظل المخاوف من تفجر المفاوضات، فإن محمود عباس لم يكن قاطعا في موقفه من مواصلة البناء الاستيطاني أمام عدد من قادة اليهود في الولايات المتحدة، فجر اليوم الأربعاء، وبدا "لينا نسبيا".
"Viva Palestina's international leader George Galloway today responded to the statement by the spokesman of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry that he would not be permitted to enter Egypt. The British parliamentarian is currently leading an international convoy to Gaza which intends entering the besieged Palestinian territory through the Egyptian port of Al Arish. Responding from Paris he said:
" I am currently leading a huge international effort to break the siege on the Gaza Strip, imposed by Israel and its allies to punish the people for how they voted in a free, democratic election. The convoy will travel through France, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Syria and thence by ship to Al Arish. It will be joined by convoys which set out on the same day from the Gulf and from North Africa. I intend to continue to lead this convoy and I appeal to the Egyptian Government to reconsider the decision announced last night in Cairo. I was not deported from Egypt and I am not "persona non grata" there. No official notification of either has ever been conveyed to me. I have no wish to have a fight with the Egyptian government; my fight is with Israel....."
".....Thus, if these current direct talks are aiming to produce an agreement that ignores or attempts to coexist with the unrelenting, slow-motion, ethnic cleansing of Palestinians that Israel continues to this day, then it will be worthy of merely a few photo-ops that will be forgotten before the negotiating teams return to their respective homes. Even the creative idea floating around of using a failure in the talks to get the UN to admit Palestine as a state--if it does not remove the underlying system of apartheid--would merely be rearranging the legal status to serve the continuation of Israel's crimes against humanity.
The most dignified failure these talks can hope for is that the international community finally come to its senses, preferably with the U.S., and passes a UN resolution with specific punitive actions that identifies the status in Israel-Palestine, all of historic Palestine, for what it is: the crime of apartheid.
Only when the definition of the problem is crystal clear can we formulate an appropriate solution and have renewed faith in the international community's ability to act on what it knows very well to be reality: that Israeli actions over the last six decades have nullified the two-state solution. A new model of co-existence must be envisioned, a model built not on racism, separation and exceptionalism, but on mutual and equal human and civil rights across all of Palestine and Israel.
If the current peace talks surprise the world and result in a true sovereign Palestine, free of Israeli control and domination, then I'd be happy to be mistaken; if not however, it's time for the world to at least call reality for what it is. Anything less is an insult to our collective intelligence."
by Justin Raimondo, September 22, 2010
"On July 13 of this year, the municipal government of Jerusalem honored one of Israel’s most popular national heroes, a man who had suffered and sacrificed his all for the Jewish state, and is recognized by practically everyone as not only a hero but a modern exemplar of Zionist virtue. As evening fell, lights illuminating the walls of the Old City were dimmed “as a gesture of solidarity with convicted spy Jonathan Pollard,” reported Ha’aretz. “As part of Tuesday’s event, a special message calling upon US President Barack Obama to release Pollard will be projected onto the darkened city walls.” July 13 marked the 9,000th day of his incarceration.
Yes, in Israel they’re counting the days until this traitor is released, and their message – hand the traitor over – is now being projected by Israeli negotiators, who are pressing the US for Pollard’s release in exchange for yet another temporary halt to their aggressive “settlement” building campaign. The settlements have become a big sticking point obstructing the peace process, with unelected Palestinian “President” Mahmoud Abbas threatening to walk if the Israelis don’t lay off......
The “free Pollard” campaign also raises another question, and it is this: if the Israelis have valorized Pollard, a convicted spy and a traitor to his own country, to this extent, and made such a diplomatic and domestic issue out of his fate, then what does this say about the current extent of Israeli spying on and in the US? How many more such “heroes” are doing their dirty work on US soil?"
"You might think that a plot to blow up the Pope would be news for a while. Popes don't get blown up all that often, and this one's enough of a celebrity that if he fell over drunk at the MTV awards with Kanye West it would be in the papers for a few days, so it's strange that a plot to blow him up was only of interest for one day.
On Saturday, the front-page headline in the Express was "Muslim plot to blow up Pope", and every paper had a similar headline.....
Luckily it's unlikely that being a street cleaner would have been enough to get all that close to the Pope, unless they were hoping to shout: "Hang on, Pontiff, you can't start Communion yet, there's a crisp packet under your cassock, I'll come and brush it away for you – KABOOM!"
So what happened to the plot? The most likely answer is obviously that its sudden disappearance was due to a miracle. But sceptics might suggest another explanation.
The Express told us: "The suspected plot was smashed." Other papers agreed it had been "foiled". But after the anti-terrorist squad raided the cleaning depot and arrested the six men, it turned out the only evidence against them was that someone had overheard them talking about the Pope, and they were released without charge. So the plot was smashed and foiled through the tactic of never having existed in the first place.
Maybe this is how the police can increase the number of crimes they solve, by foiling and smashing more such cases....
So the work is done, and they're free to make up the next one, such as "Muslims force Dalai Lama to harpoon a kitten" or something...."
Jack Shenker in Cairo
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 21 September 2010
"Clashes broke out in central Cairo today after hundreds of Egyptians took to the streets to protest against what they claimed were plans for the president's son to assume power.
Lines of riot police encircled and attacked demonstrators opposed to Gamal Mubarak outside Abdeen palace, the site of a 19th-century nationalist revolt against monarchical and colonial British rule.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
The world is home to Jews of all types: We have haredim, seculars, national-religious Jews, traditional Jews, and confused Jews. Yet the images of Breslov Hassidim with their eyes covered at the airport may indicate that a new and surprising Jewish stream is growing here – the blind Jews.
Haredi Judaism is a byproduct of the Enlightenment movement – detachment from modern Judaism in order to preserve the old ways. For years, the haredim attempted to distinguish themselves from the other Jews, to dwell alone, yet they understood that they are nonetheless part of the larger family – the family of Judaism. It may be a split, divided family (and too frequently so,) yet nonetheless, it’s family.
Avigdor Lieberman is at again. The right-wing Israeli foreign minister wants the Palestinian Authority (PA) to effectively accept the expulsion of Palestinian-Israelis (or Israeli-Arabs as they are known inside Israel) as part of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.
Speaking to a government committee on Sunday, Lieberman said that the guiding principle of the current Palestinian-Israeli negotiations should be the exchange of land and populations and not land for peace. In other words a peace treaty should involve the Israeli annexation of heavily populated Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the PA taking the Palestinian population of Israel into territories under its jurisdiction.
He explained that since both the Arabs and the Palestinians have refused to recognise Israel as a Jewish state, the status of the Arabs in Israel should be the focus of the negotiations.
Lieberman is often at odds with other Israeli officials over some of his extremist views, but these statements are consistent with the essence of Israel's insistence that the Palestinians accept Israel as a Jewish state.
According to Palestinian officials, Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, rejected that demand during the first round of direct talks in Washington earlier this month on two grounds. The first being that it would be a betrayal of the rights of Palestinian-Israelis to stay in their homeland and to fight for equal civil rights and the second that it would amount to forfeiting the right of return for Palestinian refugees.
But these two reasons are exactly why Israel is pushing for Arab recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. It wants the Palestinian leadership in one swift move to legitimise the expulsion of Palestinian-Israelis and to end any discussion of the right of return.
Tony Benn on Tony Blair: "He Will Have to Live ’Til the Day He Dies with the Knowledge that He Is Guilty of a War Crime"
With Amy Goodman
"We speak with former British cabinet minister and MP Tony Benn. He was the longest-serving MP in the history of the British Labour Party, having served for more than half a century. He is now president of the Stop the War Coalition....."
With Amy Goodman
A VERY GOOD INTERVIEW
"We speak with British-Pakistani political commentator, writer, activist and editor of the New Left Review, Tariq Ali. He is the author of numerous books, his latest is The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad....."
"......While the United States military can claim that it did not lose the war in Iraq, it will have a hard time backing up any claims of victory. America was denied its “Missouri moment” in Iraq—the Baathists of Saddam Hussein’s regime were never compelled to line up, as the Japanese had in Tokyo Bay in August 1945, and sign a surrender document. This lack of closure highlights the ever-present reality that while American forces may have defeated Saddam Hussein’s divisions, and ultimately captured or killed the Iraqi president and the majority of his senior officials, the fighting would last for years and continues today......
The Obama administration’s so-called strategy for Iraq lacks any discernable benchmarks for success. Void of any coherent definition of what “success” in Iraq might actually look like, the “withdrawal” of “combat troops” from Iraq can be viewed as little more than an ineffective attempt by a faltering president to improve his image—and that of his floundering party—on the eve of critical midterm elections. By continuing to place American troops in harm’s way in Iraq for no reason other than to prop up his domestic political image, Obama has compounded his mistakes in ways that allow his political viability to be questioned, tarnish his legacy and undermine America’s image at home and abroad. Rather than living up to the promise of his inaugural address to “set aside childish things,” President Obama has given us a glimpse of the future “through a glass, darkly.” "
"BAGHDAD, Sep 21, 2010 (IPS) - Iraqis promised development with the ouster of Saddam Hussein and the arrival of the U.S. are now suffering lack of development as never before. And where it hurts every moment is through the collapse of power supply.
More than seven years into the U.S. occupation, most Iraqis lack electricity, leading to demonstrations in towns and cities across the country...."
"The obesity explosion that has swept the Western world over the past 30 years may have been caused by a virus, scientists have said.....
Now scientists at the University of California, San Diego, have found that children who showed evidence of infection with adenovirus 36 were more likely to be fat. In tests on 124 children aged eight to 18, the virus was present in more than 20 per cent of those who were obese, compared with less than 6 per cent of the rest. Among those infected with adenovirus 36, four out of five were obese....
Laboratory studies showed the virus infects immature fat cells, prompting them to proliferate and grow more quickly. Professor Schwimmer said: "This might be the mechanism for obesity but more work needs to be done."...."
Go ahead now and gulp that Twinkie or cream-filled donut with no guilt. It is the virus' fault!