Saturday, October 9, 2010

Al-Jazeera Video: Settler drives into Palestinian boys

"The leader of an Israeli settler organisation has hit two Palestinian boys with his car after they hurled stones at his vehicle in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.

David Be'eri is a well-known right-wing activist and is the director of Elad, a settler organisation that runs the City of David in occupied East Jerusalem.

One Palestinian boy was taken to hospital and is believed to be in moderate condition....."

Arabic Al-Jazeera Video:

مستوطن يصدم أطفالا فلسطينيين بالقدس

Injustice in three dimensions

By Robert Fisk

"....and when I peer through the eyepieces, I perceive two facts: that the peasants stand out in three-dimension against the fertile fields and trees of Ottoman Palestine; and that this ancient province was not the "barren" land which Israeli song and legend makes it out to be.....

For Gabby, too, there was no need to be brain-washed about Zionism. His fellow youth leaders were "role models" and he worked happily in the early 1960s with his very young wife at Kibbutz Nachshonim, whose economic future rested on the successful farming of a large and very fertile valley which, a few years earlier, had belonged to Palestinians. Gabby has since written to me about his story so, beside his letter, I pull out more of his picture cards and insert them in my wooden Perfecscope. There are Palestinian Arab fishermen off a distant Haifa, women in Palestinian traditional dress in a Hebron orchard, others in headscarves barley harvesting near Bethlehem, a procession of Arab Christians at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. There are a few photographs of bearded Palestinian Jews, including an ageing rabbi; members of a Jewish population which, in the 1900s, represented less than 10 per cent of the population. But the three-dimensional greyness of these pictures in my Perfecscope cast a disturbing, tragic light across the landscapes. The middle-aged Arab women would live to hear of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, though only the children, staring innocently at the camera, would – in middle age, of course – live to experience the Palestinian exile and the creation of the Israel to which Gabby journeyed.

In a deeply moving letter to his granddaughter, he describes his own partial conversion when, after being long convinced that "we Jews had arrived where we belonged", he had to drive a tractor out of his kibbutz, turning right at the gate and dumbing rubbish in a pile of garbage down the road. "I decided to turn left and take the tractor towards the border – a route that was rarely taken, and somewhat forbidden, by anyone in the kibbutz. Within a couple of miles I came across two groups of white stone buildings and mature eucalyptus and fig trees, blown apart and empty once the cool and no doubt beautiful homes of Palestinians... How could I not stop and think about this major dislocation right on my very doorstep... I became a ghost in a ghost town that no one ever spoke about."

This wasn't the only reason Gabby left Israel. There was "the growing existential feeling that I couldn't live a life where everything was predicted in advance". But the visit to the abandoned village remained central to his experience. "It reveals how small things lead to other things," he told me this week. "It was a realisation in such a stark manner, the Arab homes all blown up and me alone, seeing that. I'd never been there before."

So I looked once more at that lost world of Gabby's, and all the figures stretching away 3D across the fields and hills. Their fate was already set in drawing rooms in London, decided by the coming war which would finally take down those tiny Turkish flags in the pictures. Underwood and Underwood – and Gabby – gave me the 3D ghosts of the Palestinians. Of course, he had to turn left at the gate to find them."

Muallem: Situation in Lebanon Worrisome, Coordination with KSA Ongoing


"Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said that the current domestic situation in Lebanon is worrying, stressing coordination between Syria and Saudi Arabia over Lebanon. In an interview with As-Safir newspaper published on Saturday, al-Muallem said that the Syrian-Saudi efforts are ongoing "but Lebanon alone can remove the factors that are causing instability," stating that the situation in the country is "worrisome."......"

'US seeks to declare Pakistan failed state'

Interview with Wayne Madsen, investigative journalist from Washington, US

Press TV

".....Madsen: I think we have to look at what is happening. We have these cross-border incursions by US-led NATO forces into Pakistan. There was an attack on some Pakistani military units just the other day. And it would seem that the terrorist threat is not... to Western Europe or the United States. and I have been told by people in Pakistan that US covert operations teams may be responsible for some of the terrorist attacks in Pakistan, that were later attributed to the Pakistani Taliban.

I think there is a conscious effort by the Obama administration to destabilize Pakistan and I think they are working with Mossad and the Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) to do that, in order to give a pretext for declaring Pakistan a failed state and seize the nuclear weapons.

We see all these phony terrorist alerts. We just had a report last week from a high-level British law enforcement official who said all these terrorist alerts are a load of rubbish. Now we have other people saying that they are nonsensical. So, I think we are seeing a common denominator here that people like Obama and Sarkozy in France are having political prompts. They pull the al-Qaeda rabbit out of a hat to use it for their own purposes....."

Friday, October 8, 2010

قمة سرت.. تخبط وافلاس

قمة سرت.. تخبط وافلاس
عبد الباري عطوان

"قبل عقود، وعندما كنا اطفالا، تداولنا طرفة اثارت ضحكاتنا البريئة، مفادها ان رجلا يدعى سمير الحمار، ظل يعاني طويلا من كنيته هذه، ولمز وغمز اقرانه بسببها، فطفح به الكيل، وقرر ان يغير اسمه، وعندما نجح في مهمته هذه سأله رفاقه عن اسمه الجديد فقال بثقة انه سامر الحمار.
لا اعرف لماذا تذكرت هذه الطرفة وانا اطالع أهم القضايا المطروحة على جدول اعمال القمة العربية الاستثنائية في مدينة سرت التي من المقرر ان تلتئم اليوم السبت، وخاصة الاولى المتعلقة بتغيير اسم الجامعة العربية الى 'اتحاد' الدول العربية، والثانية التي تقترح انشاء تكتل اقليمي جديد يضم جميع الدول العربية ودول الجوار اي كلا من تركيا وايران (بعض العرب اقترح انضمام اسرائيل ايضا).
مشكلة الجامعة العربية، ومنذ تأسيسها قبل سبعين عاما تقريبا، لم تكن مطلقا محصورة في اسمها. وانما في انظمة الحكم العربية الاعضاء فيها، وطبيعة حكوماتها وزعاماتها، وفي النظام الداخلي للجامعة نفسها والعاملين فيها، والامناء العامين الذين تربعوا على عرشها، بحيث اصبحت هذه الجامعة عنوانا لعقم النظام الرسمي العربي، وصورة مصغرة عن امراضه المستعصية على العلاج. ولذلك فان حصر مسألة اصلاح هذه المؤسسة البيروقراطية المتعفنة الهرمة، في تغيير اسمها هو محاولة يائسة جديدة للاستخفاف بعقولنا، والتعاطي مع المواطن العربي وكأنه قطيع من الاغنام.
اصلاح الجامعة مستحيل في غياب اصلاح شامل وجذري للنظام العربي، فالغالبية الساحقة من التكتلات الاقليمية العالمية الاخرى تطورت وفرضت نفسها، وافادت دولها ومصالح شعوبها، لانها تمثل دولا ديمقراطية، ولذلك ليس صدفة ان المنظمة الاقليمية الوحيدة التي لم تتطور فقط بل تراجعت هي الجامعة العربية، لانها تمثل حكومات هي الاكثر فسادا وتخلفا وقمعا وديكتاتورية في العالم بأسره، ولان امينها العام يأتي من رحم هذه الحكومات ومن اجل احد هدفين ليس لهما علاقة بالعمل العربي المشترك او قضايا الامة، الاول توفير تقاعد مريح له ماديا ومعنويا حيث الرواتب وبدلات السفر الضخمة. اما الثاني فإبعاده عن دائرة المنافسة على الزعامة، وتسهيل عملية التوريث، مثلما هو حال الامين العام الحالي السيد عمرو موسى.
اعمل في الصحافة منذ ثلاثة عقود، وفي مطبوعات عربية متعددة قبل 'القدس العربي'، واجزم بأنني لم اتلق دراسة عربية واحدة ذات قيمة اعدتها الجامعة، او اقسامها، بل لا ابالغ اذا قلت انه لم يصلني بيان واحد من اقسامها المتعددة، او حتى مكاتبها في الخارج ذات الميزانيات الضخمة بما في ذلك مكتبها في لندن الذي لا اعرف اسم مديره. بينما تصلنا آلاف الرسائل الاليكترونية من مختلف المؤسسات العالمية والعربية الاخرى. فماذا يفعل هذا الجيش العرمرم من الموظفين اذن؟
وما يثير الغيظ، غيظنا نحن على الاقل، كثرة الاستدلال هذه الايام، في غمرة الحديث عن الاصلاح، بالاتحاد الاوروبي، ومقارنة الجامعة به، وامكانية تحويلها الى منظمة اقليمية على نمطه او افضل منه، بحكم اللغة واواصر القربى والثقافة والتاريخ المشترك للدول الاعضاء.
الاتحاد الاوروبي يمثل دولا نسبة الامية فيها دون الصفر وابرز الاسس التي قام عليها هي الديمقراطية وحقوق الانسان وحرية التعبير والقضاء العادل المستقل، والشفافية والمحاسبة المطلقتان، والمساواة في الوظائف وفرص العمل، والتوزيع العادل للثروة، والتكافل الاجتماعي، والرقابة البرلمانية الشرسة، والتعددية السياسية، والاعلام الحر الجريء، وهذه القيم، مجتمعة او منفردة، غير موجودة في معظم، او كل، قواميس الدول العربية الاعضاء في الجامعة.
* * *
الجامعة العربية لا يمكن ان تلحق بالاتحاد الاوروبي او تقترب من ظله عبر قطار تغيير الاسم، والذين يعتقدون ذلك، ويبشرون به، يتصرفون وكأنهم جاءوا من كوكب آخر، او انهم لم يقرأوا تجربة الاتحاد الاوروبي، ويتعرفوا على الاسباب التي ادت الى قيامه، والقيم التي تحكمه، واذا كانوا قد قرأوا فانهم لم يفهموا، وان فهموا فانهم في ظل تقديمهم مصالحهم الوظيفية على مصالح الامة، قرروا الصمت ومجاراة عمليات التضليل التي تسود حياتنا السياسية والمجتمعية.
احد المبادئ المهمة التي قام عليها الاتحاد الاوروبي هو التكافل بين الشعوب، ومساندة الغني للفقير، اذا ابدى استعداده للالتزام بشروط العضوية المذكورة آنفا، فالدول المؤسسة، وقبل تغيير الاسم اي (السوق الاوروبية المشتركة) مثل المانيا وبريطانيا وفرنسا قدمت مئات المليارات من الدولارات في صيغة مساعدات وقروض واستثمارات للنهوض بالدول الاوروبية الفقيرة المرشحة للعضوية مثل اسبانيا والبرتغال واليونان، وتعزيز اقتصاداتها، وتحسين الظروف المعيشية لمواطنيها. فهل الدول العربية الغنية مستعدة ان تفعل الشيء نفسه، او تخصص سبعة في المئة من انتاجها القومي كمساعدات للدول الفقيرة مثلما تفعل دول مثل السويد والنرويج؟
الملياردير الامريكي بيل غيتس صاحب شركة مايكروسوفت العملاقة الذي يقضي معظم وقته وزوجته في متابعة المشاريع الخيرية في افريقيا وآسيا، خصص 35 مليار دولار من ثروته الشخصية لمساعدة الفقراء في العالم. وفوجئت بان تبرع هذا الرجل وحده يزيد بخمسة مليارات دولار عما قدمته المملكة العربية السعودية (مشكورة) من مساعدات خارجية على مدى عشرين عاما وفق ما جاء في بيان رسمي صدر قبل اسبوعين ونشر في الصحف السعودية.
وربما يفيد في هذه العجالة ان نذكّر بعشرات المليارديرات الذين قرروا التبرع بنصف ثرواتهم لاعمال الخير، بمبادرة من غيتس وزميله بافيت، ولم يكن من بينهم ملياردير عربي واحد، رغم ان معظم هؤلاء كونوا هذه الثروات من سرقة المال العام، والمشاركة في صفقات مريبة وغير قانونية، نقولها والمرارة في حلوقنا.
الحقيقة المؤلمة، والفاضحة، التي يعرفها الجميع ويتجاهلونها، تتلخص في ان وزن وقيمة الحكومات العربية التي تنضوي تحت مظلة الجامعة تقترب من الصفر في معادلات القوى العالمية، وانفاق مئات المليارات من الدولارات على شراء صفقات اسلحة لا يغير من هذه الحقيقة، لان السلاح المشترى ليس للاستخدام، وإن استخدم فليس في المكان الصحيح، وغالبا في خدمة حروب تخدم المصالح الامريكية وليس العربية. واتحدى ان يثبت اي شخص ان طائرة واحدة من صنع امريكي استخدمت في الحروب ضد اسرائيل.
السؤال الذي يطرح نفسه هو كيف يطرح السيد عمرو موسى تشكيل تكتل يضم الدول العربية الى جانب تركيا وايران في ظل حال الهوان الرسمي العربي الراهن، في وقت تنفق فيه دول الخليج العربية مبلغ 123 مليار دولار على شراء طائرات ومعدات عسكرية امريكية متطورة استعدادا للمشاركة في اي حرب تشنها امريكا لتدمير المنشآت النووية والبنى التحتية الايرانية؟
هناك مثل يقول 'مجنون يحكي وعاقل يسمع' فهل من الممكن تشكيل هذا التحالف مع ايران في وقت تقرع فيه انظمة عربية واعلامية طبول الحرب ضد ايران، وتشارك بحماس منقطع النظير في تطبيق العقوبات الدولية المفروضة عليها بتحريض امريكي؟ ثم لماذا تنضم تركيا الديمقراطية التي تحتل المرتبة السادسة عشرة على قائمة اقوى الاقتصادات في العالم، وتجري مناورات مشتركة مع الصين وايران الى مثل هذا التكتل المسيطر عليه امريكيا؟
* * *
هذه المقترحات 'البهلوانية' حول اصلاح الجامعة واقامة تكتل دول الجوار العربي، تذكرنا باقتراحات مماثلة مثل البرلمان العربي، ومفوضيات الاعلام والسياسة والتعليم، التي لم تنجح الا في زيادة عدد الكادر الوظيفي في الجامعة، وتوظيف بعض الوزراء السابقين او ابنائهم. هذه المقترحات الموضوعة على جدول اعمال قمة سرت هي قنابل دخان الهدف منها اخفاء عورات النظام الرسمي العربي، واستمرار عمليات التضليل، والايحاء بان مؤسسة القمة العربية ما زالت حية ترزق وتتخذ القرارات.
في ظل هذا التدهور المهين لمكانة النظام الرسمي العربي، لا نستغرب رفض وزراء خارجية دول افريقية اضافة فقرة في البيان الختامي للقمة العربية الافريقية، التي ستعقد بعد القمة العربية، تدين الاستيطان الاسرائيلي صراحة، وقبولهم لاحقا، وبعد استجداءات، بصيغة وسط عمومية. فالدول الافريقية تدرك هزالة الوضع العربي وضعفه، وكيف خذلت الدول العربية ليبيا اثناء حصارها، وتخذل الفلسطينيين المحاصرين في قطاع غزة. وهي لا تريد التضحية بعلاقاتها مع اسرائيل في وقت يطبّع معظم العرب علاقاتهم معها في السر او العلن.
عندما كانت الحكومات العربية، او معظمها، تتصرف بمسؤولية، وتعمل بجدية من اجل خدمة قضاياها، والالتقاء مع الآخرين على قاعدة المصالح المشتركة في مواجهة الظلم والاستكبار الغربي، وتتخذ مواقف شجاعة ورجولية، كان العالم يحترمها، ويقف الى جانبها في المحافل الدولية، ولكن عندما توظف امكانياتها واراضيها في خدمة حروب امريكا وتوفر الوظائف للعاطلين الامريكيين من خلال صفقات اسلحة، ونسبة البطالة في اوساط الشباب العربي تزيد عن الثمانين في المئة، فان فشل الطروحات العربية في الامم المتحدة او هيئة الطاقة الذرية، او المجلس العالمي لحقوق الانسان من الامور الطبيعية.

Israeli Settler Runs over Protesting Palestinian Children

Aljazeera is reporting on an Israeli settler hit-and-run attack by automobile on two young Palestinian boys in Silwan protesting the expansion of Israeli settlements and theft of Palestinian land there. As horrible as the video is to watch– and one hopes the boys are not gravely injured– it is a remarkable simile for what the settlers are doing to the Palestinians.

The Soros Syndrome


"George Soros announced a few weeks ago that he is giving $100 million to Human Rights Watch—conditional on the organization to find a matching $100 million a year from other donors for ten years. He’s been rewarded with ringing cheers for his disinterested munificence.

The relationship of “human rights” to the course of empire is nicely caught in two statements, the first by HRW’s former executive director Aryeh Neier: “When we created Human Rights Watch, one of the main purposes at the outset was to leverage the power, the purse and the influence of the United States to try to promote human rights in other countries.”

Set this remark, startling in its brazen display of imperial self-confidence, next to Soros’s recent statement on National Public Radio PR, that in the expansion of HRW prompted by his big new donation “the people doing the investigations won’t necessarily be Americans.… The United States has lost the moral high ground and that has sort of endangered the credibility, the legitimacy of Americans being in the forefront of advocating human rights.”

Soros the international financier made his billions as a currency speculator; he could destroy a country’s reserves, hastening its social disintegration. Then Soros the philanthropist could finance HRW’s investigations into the abuses his operations helped to induce. He offers in his single person an arresting profile of liberal interventionism in our era, in which direct economic and political destabilization (mostly calibrated in concert with the US government) has easy recourse to the moral and political bludgeon of a human rights report, which is in turn used to ratchet up the pressure for a direct imperial onslaught—whether by economic sanctions, covert sabotage, aerial bombing or a blend of all three. The role of human rights NGOs in NATO’s attack on the former Yugoslavia is a prime example...."

On the Road to Damascus, Thinking of Monty Python

"The Peace Talks are Dead, Mate!"


".....All that remains of Palmyra is a series of magnificent ruins which fire the imagination, but I can almost guarantee that after another thousand years the name of Zenobia will still be talked about because of her legendary courage and spirit. I wonder if anyone will remember Israel and, if so, for what? It’s illegal and immoral occupation of the Palestinians, perhaps, or its complete disregard for the rule of international laws and conventions? Perhaps someone should explain this to the other new kids on the block: the Americans. And if Obama still doesn’t get it then maybe one of his special advisors should run the Monty Python dead parrot sketch in the White House’s private cinema one evening soon.

Mr President, to misquote John Cleese’s character, I think it is fair to say: “These peace talks are no more! They have ceased to be! The process has shuffled off this mortal coil and gone to meet its maker! It is expired, bereft of life. The peace talks are dead, mate. They’ve snuffed it!” And, despite being nailed on by US support, all we need now is for Israel to fall off its somewhat precarious perch. What a day that will be."

Is Pakistan Falling Apart?

Where Stories Acquire a Life of Their Own


".....The problem for Pakistan is not that the country is going to implode or sink into anarchy, but that successive crises do not produce revolutionary or radical change. A dysfunctional and corrupt state, part-controlled by the army, staggers on and continues to misgovern the country. The merry-go-round of open or veiled military rule alternates with feeble civilian governments. But power stays in the hands of an English-speaking élite that inherited from the British rulers of the Raj a sense of superiority over the rest of the population....."

An Evaporating Palestine

Whores of the Empire.....

Negotiating One's Demise


"....It is remarkable that those representing the Palestinian people would waiver in the slightest about quitting the talks in the face of ongoing land seizure. If this is not a red line, what is? It suggests a leadership which has not only failed to stand for the basic rights of its people, but a further reminder of Abbas’ illegitimacy as a spokesperson for those rights....

But could Israel find a better “partner” with whom to conduct peace talks than Abbas? His protestations against Israel’s December 2008 onslaught of Gaza were noticeably muted. The PA also endorsed a recent vote by the U.N. Human Rights Council postponing action on the Goldstone Report which alleged Israeli war crimes in the conflict.....

As Abbas seeks outside opinion, consults Arab foreign ministers and holds cabinet sessions to decide the wisdom of pulling out of talks, Palestine is being whittled away … as the PA whittles away time."

Al-Jazeera Video: Palestinians caught in border trouble

"For the people of Gaza, living and working close to Israel's border can be life-threatening.

According to the UN, since the end of Israel's attack on Gaza in January 2009, 25 civilians have been killed and another 146 injured for being too close to the border.

Al Jazeera's Bernard Smith reports from the town of Juhor Ad Dik, right along the Israeli border."

Latin America’s Twenty-First Century Socialism in Historical Perspective

By James Petras

"Introduction: The electoral victory of center left regimes in at least three Latin American countries, and the search for a new ideological identity to justify their rule, led ideologues and the incumbent presidents to embrace the notion that they represent a new 21st century version of socialism (21cs).....

For these reasons, one of the major actors (US imperialism) which has been responsible for the cyclical rise and fall of leftist regimes, has been structurally weakened, improving the chances for longer duration. Yet, the US is still a major factor acting with potent resources based on its close ties with major rightist military and economic forces in the region. Secondly, by the very nature of the development strategies chosen by the ‘center-left regimes’ they are very vulnerable to crises – namely the agro-mineral export policies based on foreign and domestic economic elites and fluctuating world demand. Thirdly, the center-left regimes have failed to resolve basic regional imbalances, to significantly lessen social inequalities and to recapture ownership and control of strategic economic sectors. These considerations call into question the middle term durability of contemporary center – left regimes.

There are few internal changes in the nature of the state apparatus and class structure which could prevent a reversion back to neo-liberal policies. The basic question of whether the current 21cs regimes are stepping stones toward further socialization or simply transitory regimes opening the way for a restoration of neo-liberal pro – US regions, is still open to dispute, even as evidence is accumulating that the latter outcome is more likely than the former......"

Video: Viva Palestina Activists appeal to Egypt to allow Gaza aid.

Press TV

A Long History of America's Dark Side


By Peter Dale Scott and Robert Parry
October 7, 2010

"Editor’s Note: Many Americans view their country and its soldiers as the “good guys” spreading “democracy” and “liberty” around the world. When the United States inflicts unnecessary death and destruction, it’s viewed as a mistake or an aberration.

In the following article – cobbled together from previous stories published at – Peter Dale Scott and Robert Parry examine the long history of these acts of brutality, a record that suggests they are neither a “mistake” nor an “aberration” but rather conscious counterinsurgency doctrine on the "dark side":

There is a dark -- seldom acknowledged -- thread that runs through U.S. military doctrine, dating back to the early days of the Republic.

This military tradition has explicitly defended the selective use of terror, whether in suppressing Native American resistance on the frontiers in the 19th Century or in protecting U.S. interests abroad in the 20th Century or fighting the “war on terror” over the last decade.

The American people are largely oblivious to this hidden tradition because most of the literature advocating state-sponsored terror is carefully confined to national security circles and rarely spills out into the public debate, which is instead dominated by feel-good messages about well-intentioned U.S. interventions abroad....."

Jazza for Gaza: Music against Oppression

By Gilad Atzmon
Palestine Chronicle

" Sarah Gillespie, myself and at least 40 other leading artists from UK and Palestine are trying to achieve the impossible next week.

We are promoting and playing together in a massive music festival for Palestine. We are flying musicians to London, we are mixing jazz with folk with hip hop and roots music. We all believe one thing - that artists who support Palestine must say so loudly and proudly using our notes and our voices. Jazza Festival is serious but is also a big party and we want you to join in.

Jazza Music Festival 12 & 13 October 2010 @ THE SCALA
275 Pentonville Road, London

For lineup: click here.
From 7.30 pm

The funds raised in these 2 nights will help Free Palestine Movement deliver more and more humanitarian aid to Palestine......"

Support the Troops?

No way!

by Justin Raimondo, October 08, 2010

"We often hear, from antiwar activists as well as pious politicians and every sort of commentator, that we should all "support the troops." No matter what one thinks of the particular war being fought, this kind of boilerplate is invariably appended: "But of course," we are told, "everyone supports the troops." We honor them for their service. We pat them on the back and say: "Good job!"

In this context, consider the details of the most recent atrocity coming out of Afghanistan, the activities of the "Thrill Kill platoon," which is accused of murdering Afghan civilians and keeping body parts as trophies. The alleged mastermind of the thrill-killers, Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs, is also under investigation by military authorities on suspicion of carrying out similar murders in Iraq. The Gibbs "kill team" is suspected of slaughtering at least seven Afghan civilians, and quite possibly more, in the most heinous manner imaginable. Gibbs and four others were arrested in June, and seven others are being held.

These twelve apostles of mayhem — assigned to the 2nd Stryker Brigade, and stationed at Forward Operating Base Ramrod, along the border with Pakistan — randomly chose unarmed Afghan civilians to murder. Then they shot them, or blew them up with grenades, mutilating the victims. Gibbs, the alleged ringleader, made necklaces out of the body parts. They covered up their killing spree by placing weapons near the corpses, and the incidents went down in the records as gun battles with "insurgents." .....

The US is exporting its sociopaths overseas, in hopes that the havoc such people usually wreak can be put to some "good" use, but such callousness will soon blow back in our faces when Johnnie-the-thug comes marching home.....It will be a harsh justice indeed as these deranged killers visit the same sort of destruction on us as they inflicted on their innocent victims overseas. "

The wrong way for the Fed to go about regaining face

Quantitative easing may seem an answer to the US's problems, but any benefits would likely be offset by the costs

Joseph Stiglitz, Thursday 7 October 2010

"With interest rates near zero, the US Federal Reserve and other central banks are struggling to remain relevant. The last arrow in their quiver is quantitative easing (QE), and it is likely to be almost as ineffective in reviving the US economy as anything else the Fed has tried in recent years. Worse, QE is likely to cost taxpayers a bundle, while impairing the Fed's effectiveness for years to come.

John Maynard Keynes argued that monetary policy was ineffective during the great depression. Central banks are better at restraining markets' irrational exuberance in a bubble – restricting the availability of credit or raising interest rates to rein in the economy – than at promoting investment in a recession. That is why good monetary policy aims to prevent bubbles from arising.

But the Fed, captured for more than two decades by market fundamentalists and Wall Street interests, not only failed to impose restraints, but acted as cheerleader. And, having played a central role in creating the current mess, it is now trying to regain face....."

قمة سرت الطارئة "تنقذ" المفاوضات أم فلسطين؟!

نزار السهلي

"لن يكون مفيدا أن يتم توجيه الأنظار إلى القمة العربية الطارئة في مدينة سرت الليبية، ومقررات نسختها العادية في آذار الماضي، وظروف انعقادها تشبه كل الظروف المحيطة بانعقاد كل القمم العربية منذ القمة الأولى في انشاص عام 1946 إلى يوم التاسع من تشرين الأول 2010، قمم عادية وطارئة وموسمية، لم تغير من واقع الحال شيئا، فعلى العكس تماما، إذا أخذنا وثيقة سرت الماضية المتعلقة، بربط المفاوضات بوقف الاستيطان، والالتزام بسقف زمني محدد لها، والإعلان الماضي المتعلق بدعم مدينة القدس" ودعم صندوق القدس " ب500 مليون دولار لم يصل منها شيء، نجد أن المشاريع الاستيطانية في المدينة وعمليات هدم البيوت وطرد السكان متواصلة، و لا تقيم وزنا لكل بيانات القمم الصادرة عن أية قمة.

تكرار ذات الجمل والبيانات البلهاء، وصياغة شعارات الدعم للقدس وللمفاوضات و"لعملية السلام" والمبادرة العربية المرتبطة بخيارات العرب السلمية، أتاحت للكوارث المتلاحقة فوق الجسد العربي أن تستفحل، دون أن تقدم فعلا مباشرا على الأرض يصون كرامة أذلتها آلة العدوان الإسرائيلية.

وقمة بعد قمة، تبتلع إسرائيل في جوف الاستيطان، أحلام "الدولة" الموعودة، وما هو مؤكد أن إسرائيل هي المطمئن الوحيد من اجتماع بعض القادة العرب، التي تجد في شعاراتهم الممجوجة عن التحديات المصيرية التي تواجهها شعوبهم مع مقررات القمم عن الوحدة والتعاون العربي والدفاع العربي والوحدة الاقتصادية كلها مفردات شكلت طوق النجاة، لإسرائيل للإفلات من العقاب على جريمتها المتمثلة باغتصاب فلسطين وفرض النكبة على الشعب الفلسطيني واستمرار العدوان المرادف لخطاب السلام العربي.

ومنذ أن طرح العرب مبادرتهم "الشهيرة" في قمة بيروت 2002، وامتداد المفاوضات لعقدين منذ مدريد والى اليوم، نجحت إسرائيل وأمريكا في ترويض المفاوض الفلسطيني والعربي، الذي جرد نفسه من كل الضمانات
وأسباب المناعة والضغط والقوة والمقاومة أمام سيل العدوان الجارف، وتمسكه بأوهام بددتها آلة العدوان والقتل
وسياسة الانحياز الأمريكي الأعمى لإسرائيل.
وكل تعويل لا ينطلق من الذات، أي أن يعول الفلسطينيين على أنفسهم أولاً، وعلى مقاومتهم بإطلاق إستراتيجية
قائمة على وحدة الصف الفلسطيني أساسها مقاومة الاحتلال وطرده، ووقف التنسيق الأمني وإطلاق يد الشارع الفلسطيني لمواجهة العدوان ودون ذلك تبقى شعارات الانسحاب من المفاوضات والطلب من واشنطن مواصلة الجهود واستقبال اشكنازي في بيت لحم ورام الله وثناءه على جهود ضباط الأمن الفلسطينيين، تسقط كل الشعارات الذي يعتقد واهما المفاوض الفلسطيني أنه متمسك بثوابت يطلقها في وجه الشارع العربي
وإذا كان المواطن العربي والفلسطيني، يستمع طوال حياته المعاشة، وحياة من سبقه لشعارات من نوع إن إسرائيل لا ترغب في السلام، وإن العدوان مستمر وموقف أمريكا والغرب يحمل نفاقا وتدليسا ومحاباة لإسرائيل، وإن نوايا إسرائيل باتت مكشوفة وأطماعها لم تتغير، وان أحزابها المختلفة لها لون واحد من العدوان
وان قرارات إدانة إسرائيل لا طعم ولا لون لها في عالم لا يحترم الضعفاء، إذاً على ماذا الرهان؟

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Barack Obama accused of exaggerating terror threat for political gain

• Pakistani diplomat launches scathing attack on White House
• European intelligence claims raised terror alerts 'nonsensical'

Simon Tisdall and Richard Norton-Taylor, Thursday 7 October 2010

"A US terror alert issued this week about al-Qaida plots to attack targets in western Europe was politically motivated and not based on credible new information, senior Pakistani diplomats and European intelligence officials have told the Guardian.

The non-specific US warning, which despite its vagueness led Britain, France and other countries to raise their overseas terror alert levels, was an attempt to justify a recent escalation in US drone and helicopter attacks inside Pakistan [This is exactly what Gareth Porter said in an interview by Press TV, posted below] that have "set the country on fire", said Wajid Shamsul Hasan, the high commissioner to Britain...."


As the old saying goes, you can fool all the people some of the time, ....., but you can't fool all the people all the time.

The current Al-Jazeera online poll (posted yesterday) shows that 85% of those responding do not believe that there is a threat.

Obama’s Balfour Declaration

By Hasan Abu Nimah

Those who invested again in the so-called peace process apparently believed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was ready for historic decisions, and that US President Barack Obama's support for the talks represented a unique and serious opportunity.

Netanyahu allowed Israel's mostly fictitious 10-month "settlement freeze" to expire on September 26, setting off a desperate scramble among peace process sponsors to find a formula to "save the peace talks" - as if simply having such talks is the ultimate prize.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, US envoy George Mitchell and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton all rushed in not with the goal of stopping Israel's criminal settlement expansion but to find a formula for Israel to continue building settlements while pretending it is not.

This allows Israel to feed its insatiable appetite for Palestinian land undisturbed, and provides cover for Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas to continue the talks that virtually all Palestinians oppose.
As Netanyahu showed he was true to his word and would not extend the "freeze", the Americans became desperate. The Obama administration apparently offered Israel unprecedented promises and guarantees in exchange for virtually nothing. The Americans reinforced their promises to support Israel in its adamant opposition to guaranteeing Palestinians rights; supported Israel's desire to occupy and effectively annex the Jordan Valley indefinitely even after a Palestinian "state" is declared; and more military go?dies, money and diplomatic cover. Obama's offer included a series of guarantees to prevent the smuggling of weapons and missiles into a Palestinian state and a comprehensive regional defence pact, for protection from Iran, to follow the establishment of this state.

All Israel would have to do is extend the freeze by just 60 days, with a guarantee that this would be the last time ever that the Americans would ask Israel to stop settlements. After that, Israel could presumably build without even the pretense of American opposition.

It is as if Obama delivered a second Balfour Declaration.

Actually what is happening on the ground is more than direct talks, with close security cooperation between Israel and the PA at its best. Do the PA security forces not protect the settlers from their helpless Palestinian victims? Did the PA forces intervene to prevent the settlers from burning mosques and holy Korans, as they did in their latest raid, two days ago, on the Mosque of Prophets in the village of Beit Fajjar, south of Bethlehem? But that is not why the PA forces were created for to start with,?Dayton made clear repeatedly. They are created to curb Palestinian "terror" against the occupation and the colonisation of their land, of which the building of Jewish settlements is an integral part.

Abbas himself boasted proudly in the US how his security forces instantly tracked down and arrested the Palestinians who attacked settlers in the Hebron area a month ago.

I have argued repeatedly - and at the risk of sounding immodest, with unfailing accuracy - that such policies promise no hope. The whole approach is futile, catastrophic and without principle.

Real News Video: China and the Afghan War

One War in Pakistan and Afghanistan Pt.2

More at The Real News

The Dayton Gang Arrests Former Detainee

"On Thursday The Palestinian Security Forces of the Fateh-led Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, arrested Omar Barghouthi, 55, a former political prisoner held by Israel for more than ten years, and the brother of the longest held Palestinian detainee in an Israeli prison...."

'Recognition': Lieberman Speaks for All of Israel

By Jonathan Cook - Nazareth
Palestine Chronicle

".....Although American Jewish leaders decried Lieberman's use of the UN platform to reveal a proposal that officially counters his own government's policy, Netanyahu baffled observers by remaining demure. His officials publicly distanced him from the scheme, but then privately told the Israeli media that the prime minister did not think the plan illegitimate and that he would not "chastise" Lieberman.

Netanyahu's silence should not surprise us. His foreign minister may be speaking more bluntly than other Israeli politicians, but he speaks for them nonetheless."

Six More Years

by Philip Giraldi, October 07, 2010

"....Just as neoconservatives were in complete denial during the Bush years about the horrors emerging from the Pandora’s box that the Administration opened after 9/11, so too are progressives currently in denial about just how awful President Barack Obama has been on the world stage. He has authorized the extrajudicial killing of US citizens overseas based only on suspicion and has concealed war crimes committed at Guantanamo by citing the state secrets privilege. Obama has actually broadened the abominable “global war on terror,” which he refers to as “overseas contingency operations,” demonstrating his ability to wordsmith unsustainable policies by making them appear to be something that they are not. Having embraced the concept of war without end, he has sent 100,000 troops to Afghanistan and is preparing for more fighting in Somalia and Yemen. He has pretended that he is willing to negotiate with Iran while doing no such thing and placing preconditions on talks that guarantee that neither he nor Hillary will ever speak to the Mullahs....."

Saudi embarrassment

New Statesman

"The news that a Saudi prince is on trial in London for killing an aide who was reputedly also his gay lover will be enormously embarrassing to the government back in Riyadh. Saudis dislike bad publicity intensely, and especially when it involves a case as horrific as an alleged princely murder — as we in Britain should know well. In 1980, the Saudi government expelled our ambassador and banned Concorde from its airspace after ITV screened Death of a Princess, about a young member of the royal family who was executed for the "crime" of conducting a secret relationship.

In the opinion of David Gardner, author of Last Chance: the Middle East in the Balance (and who wrote a fascinating essay on Saudi Arabia for the NS last year): "This prince has become a very hot potato for the Saudi ruling family. Though a minor princeling, he is the grandson of a king who has tried to project an image of austere probity, to limit the power of the clerical establishment and curb the excesses of the more wayward and corrupt royals.

"Then along comes this . . . which presses just about every Wahhabi button in its transgression: murder and homosexuality against a backdrop of phenomenal quantities of alcohol and drugs.".....

Prince Saud's story will soon be known. Perhaps some of those reading it will shudder, and give thanks that nothing similar happened to them — after all, they may have met him online already . . ."

Hungary toxic spill reaches Danube branch

Toxic red mud spill that killed four people in western Hungary has reached the Mosoni-Danube, a southern branch of the river

Hungary toxic spill reaches Danube branch

The Guardian

"A toxic red mud spill that killed four people in western Hungary has reached the Mosoni-Danube, a southern branch of the Danube, Hungarian disaster officials said today.

Tibor Dobson of Hungary's national disaster unit told Reuters the spill reached the branch of the Danube near Hungary's border with Slovakia and Austria this morning....."

Nazzal asks Arab summit to break the siege on Gaza


How stupid and naive can you be Hamas?

The Arab regimes are as impotent as you are; they take their orders from Washington, and they do not give a damn about Palestine and the Palestinians. The Arab regimes were far better defenders of the Palestinians after the Nakba in 1948 than they are today. Now, not only will they not fight for and with the Palestinians, today THEY FIGHT THE PALESTINIANS. This is how badly things have changed.

I think that the Palestinians had better awareness and were better focused in the 1930s than they are today.

With the likes of Fatah and Hamas the Palestinians have no hope left.

Go issue another edict against women Mr. Nazzal and go celebrate another graduation of kids who have memorized the Qur'an.

"DAMASCUS, (PIC)-- Political bureau member of Hamas Mohammed Nazzal has asked the Arab leaders, scheduled to meet in Libya on Saturday, to agree on breaking the siege on Gaza and to open the Rafah crossing without any hindrances.

Nazzal, speaking at a ceremony in honor of the participants in the lifeline 5 aid convoy to Gaza hosted by resistance factions in Damascus on Tuesday night, also urged the Arab leaders not to give a cover for negotiations with Israel and to reject direct negotiations......."

بروتوكولات إسرائيلية عن حربِ أكتوبر: مئير تجيز ضرب المدنيين في دمشق

تاريخ النشر: 06/10/2010

"يتابع أرشيف الدّولة العبريّة نشر بروتوكولات حرب أكتوبر\ 1973 السّرية، بعد مرور 37 عاما عليها، وقد وصل عددها إلى الآن ثمانية؛ وبسببها تعيش الأوساط الإسرائيلية هذه الأيام، نخبا وشارعا، حالة من الصخب والبلبلة، إذ تكشف تلك الوثائق عن تفاصيل مهمة تغير جذريا الرؤية التي كانت سائدة لعقود لدى الإسرائيليين حول بطولات قادتهم وشجاعتهم، خصوصا موشيه ديان، وزير الدفاع حينها، وأريك شارون، القائد العسكري في الجنوب.
وتكشف البروتوكولات عن الاستعدادات الدّبلوماسيّة والعسكريّة الإسرائيلية الّتي سبقت اندلاع الحرب بساعاتٍ قليلة، كاشفين عن وجود مصدر أمني موثوق وكبير في مصر، بحسب البروتوكولات، هو أشرف مروان، وفر للإسرائيليين المعلومات عن نوايا العرب، وملمحين إلى علاقات طيبة مع الأردن عشية الحرب، مع وجود إشارات لخشيتهم من انقلاب الملك حسين فجأة عليهم في الآن نفسه.
هذا ويظهر من البروتوكولات عدد من الاقتراحات غير الاعتيادية حول التجنيد، إذ يقترح موشيه ديّان استدعاء الإسرائيليين الذين تجاوزوا سن التجنيد، وكذلك اليهود المقيمين خارج إسرائيل.. وكان هناك اقتراح أيضًا بتجنيد من هم دون سنّ الـ 18 من قوميين شباب يهود، وذلك حتى يكونوا جاهزين للحرب في حال أنها طالت.
مئير تسمح باستهداف دمشق ومصر مهما كلف ذلك من مدنيين
وكشفت وسائل الإعلام الإسرائيلية ( يديعوت وهآرتس )، تفاصيل في غاية الخطورة، تفيد أنّ غولدا مئير منحت لقادتها العسكريين خلال يوميّ 8 و 10\10، الإذن باستهداف مواقع في العمقين المصريّ والسّوريّ، مهما كلف ذلك من قتل للمدنيين، وذلك بهدف تشكيل ضغطٍ على القوّات العربيّة للتراجع، فسمحت لرئيس الأركان بأن يستهدف 4 مواقع مدنيّة على الشّاطئ المصريّ، بعد أن بيّن طلبه قائلا: " فليقلقوا.. يجب الضّغط عليهم، فهم في نهاية الأمر بشر."
كما أظهر موشيه ديان ثقة كبيرة بقدرة القوات الإسرائيلية على حسم المسألة مع السوريين، وطلب أن يتمّ قصف أهداف في دمشق بصورة غير مسبوقة، وإن أدى ذلك إلى تعرض تل أبيب لضربة مضادة: " هناك أمر: لا انسحاب من الجولان، أنا أقترح وأطلب الموافقة: تفجيرات داخل دمشق." وتابع: " داخل المدينة ومحيطها. يجب كسر السوريين".
ومن الأهداف التي اقترح ديان استهدافها في العمق السوري، وفق صحيفة هآرتس، هيئة الأركان السورية، ومرافق البنية التحتيّة: " لقد سرنا بما فيه الكفاية في حقول دمشق.. الهدف الأكثر أهمية هو دمشق، لا يمكن القول إن السكان لن يصابوا."

Israel Releases 1973 War Minutes To Send Syria, Hezbollah, "Strong Warning"


"07/10/2010 The Israeli intelligence Website “Debkafile” quoted “military and intelligence sources” as saying that PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his Defense Minister Ehud Barak have decided to release the minutes of the deliberations on an air blitz against Damascus - held in Jerusalem before and during the 1973 war – “as a strong warning to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

“Then, a decision to take out Damascus to halt the Syrian offensive was overruled. This time could be different: Bashar Assad regime's own centers of power could be at risk if Syria and Hizballah go through with their plan to overpower Beirut and topple Saad Hariri's sovereign government,” the sources told Debkafile.

The Website said that in the hours leading up to Oct. 6, 1973, Lt. Gen. David Elazar told PM Golda Meir that the Israeli forces can wipe out the entire Syrian air force by noon that day, and that they need another 30 hours to destroy Syrian missiles......

In a closed meeting with Golda Meir, the iconic defense minister Moshe Dayan asked for permission to bomb Damascus. "Inside the city?" she asked. "Inside the city and its environs," he replied. "We have to break the Syrians," Dayan explained that he proposed to strike the Syrian General Command and infrastructure in Damascus. "We've done enough going around the fields (a reference to targets outside the Syrian capital). There are no more key targets left. Damascus is the only one. We can't promise the population won't be hurt,”.....
The Israeli military and intelligence sources told Debkafile that the decision to release the documents and the section relating to Syria was taken in Jerusalem “after the Obama administration failed to prevent the two-day state visit to Lebanon by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad taking place on Oct. 13.”

According to the Israeli site, the message “goes beyond uncovering secret operational and intelligence decision-making and is unusually wide-ranging.”"

US citizens cautioned against EU travel

Interview with a historian and investigative journalist, Gareth Porter
Press TV

Press TV:Gareth Porter, is there an attack involving people from somewhere in Europe, Africa, South or Central Asia to take place in Europe or North America at some point of time? It's a good portion of the global population as suspects to take place on a large area, rather a bit of a stretch don't you think?

Porter: Yes, I think this is highly suspicious; particularly, in light of the checkered history of past use of various sorts of alerts for political purposes without very much of a foundation in concrete intelligence. Furthermore, I think even more importantly at this point, is the specific context in Pakistan, where the United States has just carried out these cross-border raids, which are clearly intended as a signal to Pakistan. This is against the background of a US policy that has been quite frustrated of course with the Pakistani policy toward the militants in the Fata area. This particularly includes the Taliban from Afghanistan.

The United States government wants the Pakistani government to take on in a much more aggressive way than it's willing to do. We now know from Bob Woodward's book that various people in the US government had actually proposed that the United States some time retaliate by carrying out 120 bombings of sites in Pakistan in retaliation at some point for failure of the Pakistani government to act as the United States wanted. So, I think that is the real context here, in which this terror alert has been announced......."

Obama's man on the Middle East

The Obama administration's letter of assurances and incentives to Israel has Dennis Ross written all over it.

By Lamis Andoni

"....The veteran American negotiator who has championed Israeli security needs while repudiating Palestinian rights for the past two decades reportedly convinced Barack Obama, the US president, that the letter of assurances and incentives was necessary to persuade Israel to extend the settlement freeze that expired at the end of last month....

Included within this are assurances aimed at stopping the infiltration of weapons into Palestinian territories and the positioning of Israeli troops in the Jordan Valley – all of which is consistent with the Israeli vision of a demilitarised Palestinian state. The letter effectively offers to consolidate the integration of Israeli security interests into US national strategy and pledges to engage Arab parties and Israel in discussions on a "regional security architecture"; a convoluted euphemism for an arrangement to address Israel's need to confront Iran.

Furthermore, the letter promises that after the initial 60-day extension of the freeze, the US would not ask Israel for another - leaving the status of the settlements to be decided only as part of final status negotiations.

The terms are such that they would only serve Israel's strategic goals and further strengthen the Israeli hand at already asymmetrical negotiations.

Under such conditions, the construction of colonies would continue unabated as soon as the extended freeze expired, leaving Palestinians unable even to raise the issue of Israel's ongoing land grab. The letter offers Israel what it wants, while effectively setting the stage for the legitimisation of settlement building and the fulfillment of Israeli plans to annex the major settlements as part of a final deal.....

But it was his memoirs that revealed the true extent of his support for Israel and his dismissal of Palestinian rights. For Ross, Palestinians are held hostage to a culture of victimhood that breeds a sense "of entitlement" to land and self-perceived rights without paying attention to "Israeli needs".....

But Ross is not alone within the US establishment in dismissing UN resolutions relating to Israel and Palestine, for US policy in general is based on the belief that Israeli military-imposed facts on the ground should determine the shape of a final solution to the conflict. In other words the party that controls the land determines the parameters for a solution.....

But Ross' value was not based simply on his knowledge and experience of the region. His initial role was to garner votes for Obama within pro-Israeli Jewish circles.

In June 2008, he was sent to Florida, a swing state, to convince pro-Israeli Jewish voters that Obama was a true friend to Israel. He also gave interviews to Israeli newspapers to placate Israeli fears.....

Under the guise of meeting Palestinian demands, the letter aims primarily at repudiating international law and UN resolutions once and for all, while making Israeli "security needs" the main focus of final status talks...."

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Obama lies again

The Obama administration mislead the public about the size of BP's spill and misrepresented a report about much oil remained in the Gulf following clean-up efforts, according to one of four staff reports released today by the National Oil Spill Commission, the panel convened by the President to investigate the disaster. According to the report, the White House also deliberately kept a worst-case scenario estimate under wraps, despite a federal agency's request to make the information public.
Initially, BP claimed that 1,000 barrels oil per day were leaking from the well, an estimate the administration adopted. But, according to the report ("The Amount and Fate of the Oil"), "Neither the Coast Guard nor BP divulged the data or methodology behind this estimate. Based on the information we have to date, it appears the figure came from BP without supporting documentation."
When the administration revised its estimate to 5,000 barrels per day a week after the spill, it again provided the public with dubious information. The report indicates that the number was basically made up. The figure came from a scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) who had no experience making this kind of estimate, used "imprecise" methodology, and did not rely on established or peer-reviewed methods.

The Jews sang ‘We are not afraid’ as 8 Israeli warships surrounded their little boat

Edith Lutz was one of two women on the Jewish boat to Gaza, intercepted last week. Here is an excerpt of her diary entry in an Israeli jail, before she was deported earlier this week.

I’m writing from my dirty prison cell. I do not know what kind of prison, where the prison is located. Givat what? I didn’t repeat my question to the drivers, lo ichpat li, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I write down what happened as soon as possible in order to save as much as possible from the images, words and impressions before they get lost or inaccurate in my memory.

Edith Lutz-Mondoweiss

New face, same imperialism


After all the hope and hype, Obama's foreign policy mirrors the ugliness of the Bush years.

By Tariq Ali
The Age

"....Rarely has self-interested mythology - or well-meaning gullibility - been more quickly exposed. There was no fundamental break in foreign policy between the Bush and Obama regimes. The strategic goals and imperatives of the US imperium remain the same, as do its principal theatres and means of operation.

Obama's line towards Israel would be manifest even before he took office. On December 27, 2008, the Israeli Defence Forces launched an all-out air and ground assault on the population of Gaza. Bombing, burning, killing continued without interruption for 22 days, during which time the president-elect uttered not a syllable of reproof.....

However, war-zones further east have the first call on imperial attention. In 2002, on his way up the political ladder as a low-profile state senator in Illinois, Obama opposed the attack on Iraq; it was politically inexpensive to do so. By the time he was elected President, his first act was to maintain Bush's Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, long-time CIA functionary and veteran of the Iran-Contra affair, in the Pentagon. A cruder and more demonstrative signal of political continuity could hardly have been conceived.....

There persists the uneasy thought that the Iraqi resistance, capable of inflicting such damage on the US military machine only yesterday, might just be biding its time after its heavy losses and the defection of an important segment, and could still visit havoc on the collaborators tomorrow, should the US pull out altogether. To ensure against any such danger, Washington has put down markers in the modern equivalents - vastly larger and more hideous - of the Crusader fortresses of old.....

From Palestine through Iraq to Iran, Obama has acted as just another steward of the US empire, pursuing the same aims as his predecessors, with the same means but with a more emollient rhetoric. In Afghanistan, he has gone further, widening the front of imperial aggression with a major escalation of violence, both technological and territorial.....

In what The New York Times delicately described as a ''statistic that the White House has not advertised'', it has informed its readers that ''since Mr Obama came to office, the Central Intelligence Agency has mounted more Predator drone strikes into Pakistan than during Mr Bush's eight years in office''.....

If a textbook illustration were needed of the continuity of American foreign policy across administrations, and the futility of so many softheaded attempts to treat the Bush-Cheney years as exceptional rather than essentially conventional, Obama's conduct has provided it. From one end of the Middle East to the other, the only significant material change he has brought is a further escalation of the War on Terror - or ''Evil'', as he prefers to call it - with Yemen now being seen as the next target......"

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question asked: Do you believe what is being propagated in the West about imminent terrorist attacks in Europe?

With over 1,100 responding so far, 85% said no.

Real News Video with Transcript: Pakistan and Afghanistan Has Become One War

Muhammad Junaid: U.S. is replicating the final days of Russian occupation, deal looking more likely

More at The Real News

Entrapment or Foiling Terror? FBI’s Reliance on Paid Informants Raises Questions About Validity of Terrorism Cases

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"Prosecutors and defense attorneys made their final arguments this week in the trial of the Newburgh Four–a high-profile case that has made national headlines as a potent example of so-called "homegrown terror." The defense has argued that the defendants were entrapped by government agents and not predisposed to commit a terrorist crime. For several months, Democracy Now!’s Anjali Kamat and Jacquie Soohen of Big Noise Films traveled through Muslim communities in New York and New Jersey to track the Newburgh case and two others. In all three, Muslim men were arrested on terrorism charges. In all three, no terrorist crime was actually committed. And all three cases relied heavily on hundreds of hours of surveillance recorded by a paid government informant. Today, a Democracy Now! special investigation...."

Tehran alarm grows at Russia's defection

By Kaveh L Afrasiabi
Asia Times

"Moscow's decision to rescind a weapons deal and its recent ban on sales of uranium to Iran point to defection by Russia, the Islamic Republic's sole nuclear partner. Moscow's lambasting of "unilateral sanctions" against Iran can barely compensate an angry Tehran for its realistic fear that Russia may have been lost to the West....."

Israeli Police Given Protection for Killing

By Mel Frykberg

"SHUAFAT, Occupied East Jerusalem, Oct 6, 2010 (IPS) - A peaceful morning is interrupted by the sounds of an Israeli helicopter circling overhead -- often a sign of trouble on the ground. Later Sunday the news broke -- a Palestinian man was shot dead in the village of Issawiya by Israeli paramilitary border police as he tried to enter Israel in search of work.

Father of five, 38-year-old Ezzidine Al-Kawazba from Hebron became the latest Palestinian casualty to die at the hands of the Israeli security forces in disputed circumstances. The policeman who shot Al-Kawazba alleged that his weapon went off "accidentally" and that he "didn't mean to kill the labourer.".....

In the report B'tselem stated that "at the beginning of the second Intifadah, the Judge Advocate General's Office announced that it was defining the situation in the Occupied Territories as an 'armed conflict', and that investigations would be opened only in exceptional cases, in which there was a suspicion that a criminal offence had been committed.

"This policy, which led to a significant drop in Military Police investigations of homicide cases, ignored the varying character of the army's actions in the Occupied Territories, and treated every act carried out by soldiers as a combat action, even in cases when these acts bear the clear hallmarks of a policing action." Meanwhile, another Palestinian mosque near Bethlehem was torched and vandalised on Sunday night by Israeli settlers. A number of copies of the Koran were reported destroyed. Clashes then broke out between Palestinians and the settlers. Israeli soldiers subsequently arrived and forced the settlers to retreat, but none were arrested.

Several West Bank mosques have been subjected to settler vandalism and arson attacks
since last year. Others have had anti-Arab and anti-Muslim graffiti scrawled on their walls. The Israeli authorities have not charged anyone."

Neocons Panic Over ‘Tea Party’

How sweet it is!

by Justin Raimondo, October 06, 2010

"......A cheaper military is not necessarily a weaker military: indeed, a leaner fighting force, one geared to the realistic objectives of the post-cold war era, is in all ways a stronger, more capable, more useful military configuration. This is what a real “defense” budget would entail: but the neocons aren’t interested in defense: they want to play offense. It was, after all, Kristol’s little subsidized magazine that plumbed for war with Iraq, and is now agitating tirelessly for war with Iran. Beyond that, it was the Standard that published Max Boot’s infamous article, “The Case for American Empire,” which called for establishing US colonies around the world.

What we have is a bankrupt empire – and that’s the sort of empire that inevitably goes into decline. If we follow the advice of Kristol and his buddies, we’ll be in receivership in no time.

It’s great to see the neocons so worried: anything that makes them nervous is a good thing. Now, come on, you tea partiers, let’s give them something to worry about! "

Saudi prince 'battered servant to death', court told

Grandson of Saudi king denies prosecution claims that he was having a sexual relationship with victim Bandar Abulaziz

The Guardian

"A Saudi prince strangled and battered his servant to death in a ferocious sexually motivated murder, a court heard today.

Saud bin Abdulaziz bin Nasir al Saud, a grandson of the billionaire king of Saudi Arabia, is accused of killing his male aide in a brutal attack in a luxury London hotel room earlier this year.

The bloodied body of the 32-year-old servant, Bandar Abdulaziz, referred to in court simply as Bandar, was found in a suite at the five-star Landmark Hotel on 15 February after his master raised the alarm, claiming Bandar was suffering the effects of an earlier street robbery.

But police soon realised all was not quite as it seemed, the Old Bailey heard. A post-mortem report revealed the dead man had bite marks to his face, his lips were split open and there was evidence of manual compression on his neck. Though there was no evidence of a recent sexual assault, semen – possibly belonging to the prince – was detected on the victim's underpants...."

Gaza Victims Trumped by Talks

by Fred Abrahams
Human Rights Watch

"Late last week the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah sent a cruel message to the civilian victims of laws-of-war violations during the Gaza conflict: we won't demand justice for your suffering.

The message came in the form of a resolution drafted by the Palestinian Authority at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. The PA had the chance to increase pressure on Israel and Hamas to punish those responsible for war crimes. Instead, it opted to tread water, stalling justice and turning its back on victims, the vast majority of whom live in Gaza.

If critics who say the Palestinian Authority is out of touch with the needs of Palestinians require evidence, last week's resolution provided it in spades.

According to diplomats in Geneva, Ramallah thought it needed to dampen the call for investigations to keep the fragile peace talks with Israel on track. But neglecting the victims of the conflict will not aid peace. It will undermine the already tenuous faith that many Palestinians have in the Palestinian Authority: how can it negotiate a fair settlement if it won't demand justice for egregious crimes?....."