Saturday, January 27, 2007

Anti-War Demonstration In San Francisco

Anti-War Demonstration In Los Angeles

Anti-war activist and Vietnam war veteran Ron Kovic (L) and co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace, Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq, prepare to lead an anti-war march in Los Angeles January 27, 2007.

Iraq veterans against the war march with thousands of protesters in Los Angeles January 27, 2007. The march was one of several held around the United States, with protesters demanding that the government bring home U.S. troops in Iraq. (REUTERS)

Antiwar activist and Vietnam war veteran Ron Kovic (L) and co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace Cindy Sheehan speak to each other as thousands of protesters march in Los Angeles January 27, 2007.

Antiwar activist and Vietnam war veteran Ron Kovic (L) talks with actor Mike Farrell (R) as singer Jackson Browne (2nd R) watches during a march in Los Angeles January 27, 2007. The march was one of several held around the United States, with protesters demanding that the government bring home U.S. troops in Iraq. (REUTERS)

Anti-war activists Cindy Sheehan, second right, and Ron Kovic, in wheelchair, lead thousands of protestors through downtown Los Angeles Saturday Jan. 27, 2007.(AP Photo)

Anti-War Demonstration In Washington, D.C.

Actors and anti-war demonstrators Susan Sarandon (L) and Sean Penn stand together to listen to speeches as thousands of protesters gathered on the National Mall to rally against the war in Iraq, in Washington January 27, 2007. (REUTERS)

The estimate of those who took part in the anti-war rally and march in Washington, D.C. was as high as 400,000, according to the organizers.

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine


"For anyone who possesses a strong stomach and an equally strong desire to know the truth, I strongly recommend Israeli historian Ilan Pappe's new book "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine", which makes painstakingly and painfully clear the extent to which the expulsion of the great majority of Palestinians from their homes and homeland between 1947 and 1949 (an expulsion absolutely essential to create a "Jewish state" in a country where, in 1947, the population was still 70% Muslim and Christian and these non-Jews still owned 94% of the land) was meticulously planned, programmed and documented, ruthlessly carried out and, thereafter, efficiently covered up, sanitized, erased from minds and memories and, to the extent necessary, denied. Pappe also makes clear that the cleansing spirit and cleansing practices have continued ever since, with public discussion in Israel of the "demographic threat" posed by those Palestinians still remaining in Palestinian never more openly conducted and with a recent poll showing 68% of Israeli Jews in favor of expelling all Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Unfortunately, this book, published in England (and available from, is highly likely to go unreviewed and largely unnoticed in the United States, a country where objective historical truth is much less popular than "revealed truth" and pure fantasy and where the Israel-First Lobby starts with a distinct home-field advantage in pursuing its successful efforts to convince American public opinion that American interests and values are identical to Israeli interests and values and to make American foreign policy and America's wars indistinguishable from Israeli foreign policy and Israel's wars.

While most of mankind, being comprised of peoples who have themselves been the victims of colonialism and racism, views racial-supremicist settler-colonial states founded upon the genocide or ethnic cleansing of an indigenous population as an abomination, Americans, exceptionally, are favorably inclined toward such states. The reason is simple. Until very recently, America was itself such a state, and the official Israeli narrative replicates the widely accepted American narrative of brave pioneers bringing civilization and economic advancement to a backward and savage land.

Furthermore, notwithstanding its history, America, as a nation, appears to have no regrets and to be troubled by no sense of national guilt. While, for reasons having less to do with bearing universal witness against man's inhumanity toward his fellow man than with justifying one particular instance of such inhumanity, there is a Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, there are no museums there devoted to the genocide of the Native Americans, to slavery or to the century of legalized segregation which followed abolition.

In addition, a significant proportion of the American population embraces a perverted interpretation of Christianity which ignores the humane message of Jesus Christ and the Golden Rule and focuses the devotions of its adherents not on God but, rather, on "God's Chosen People", through whose success in ethnically cleansing Palestine and provoking cataclysmic warfare these so-called "Christians" hope to achieve their personal, selfish "rapture" and "salvation".

Still, even in America, where Nakba denial is as obligatory as Holocaust denial is condemned, objective historical truth is available in Professor Pappe's book for anyone who cares."

World Ignores Signs of Civil War in Lebanon

By Robert Fisk

"This is how the 1975-90 conflict began in Lebanon. Outbreaks of sectarian hatred, appeals for restraint, promises of aid from Western and Arab nations and a total refusal to understand that this is how civil wars begin.

The Lebanese army lifted its overnight curfew on Beirut yesterday morning but the smouldering cars and trucks of a gun battle was matched only by the incendiary language of the country's bitterest antagonists. Beirut's morning newspapers carried graphic pictures of gunmen - Sunni Muslims loyal to the government and Shia supporters of Hizbollah - which proved beyond any doubt that organised, armed men are on the capital's streets. The Lebanese army - which constantly seeks the help of leaders on all sides - had great difficulty in suppressing the latest battles.

One widely-used picture showed a businessman firing a pistol at Shia during the fighting around the Lebanese Arab university, another a hooded man with a sniper's rifle on a rooftop.

All three dead men were Hizbollah supporters whose funerals in south Beirut and in the Bekaa Valley yesterday were accompanied by calls for revenge and - in one case - by a colour guard of militiamen and farewell shots over his grave. After 29-year old Adnan Shamas's widow and young children were brought to his funeral in Ouzai, there were cries of "blood for blood".

It was all very far from the self-congratulations of the western and Arab leaders in Paris yesterday, where European and American diplomats - after drumming up £4bn in aid for Lebanon (strings attached, of course) - seemed to believe they had just saved Fouad Siniora's government from the forces of Islamic "extremists".

Samir Geagea, the ex-civil war militia killer turned ardent government supporter - and host to the US ambassador this week - angrily turned on Hizbollah's leader, Sayad Hassan Nasrallah yesterday, chiding him over Hizbollah's war with Israel last summer, when Shia fighters fired thousands of rockets into Israel. "Don't think, Sayad Hassan, that Beirut is Haifa or Mount Carmel," he warned. "Let's sit together and we will discuss things together ... Otherwise the country is heading for the worst."

Talal Arslan, a pro-Syrian Druze leader, ferociously referred to government groups as an "organised crime syndicate" that wanted to turn Lebanon into another Iraq.

Which is exactly the language of 1975. It all seemed so far away in Paris where Siniora, talking to Lebanese residents and journalists, mystifyingly found himself fielding questions on Lebanon's agricultural industry and future tourism prospects. There is certainly plenty of history for any tourists in Lebanon but right now a new and terrible page appears to be opening while the rest of the world blithely looks on. "

A Sorry State: Following his State of the Union address, President Bush’s approval rating hits a new low in the NEWSWEEK poll

By Brian Braiker

"Jan. 27, 2007 - President George W. Bush concluded his annual State of the Union address this week with the words “the State of our Union is strong … our cause in the world is right … and tonight that cause goes on.” Maybe so, but the state of the Bush administration is at its worst yet, according to the latest NEWSWEEK poll. The president’s approval ratings are at their lowest point in the poll’s history—30 percent—and more than half the country (58 percent) say they wish the Bush presidency were simply over, a sentiment that is almost unanimous among Democrats (86 percent), and is shared by a clear majority (59 percent) of independents and even one in five (21 percent) Republicans. Half (49 percent) of all registered voters would rather see a Democrat elected president in 2008, compared to just 28 percent who’d prefer the GOP to remain in the White House....."

Back to the Future...

By Layla Anwar

"A brief summary report on"Operation American Freedom and the Liberation of America."

Following 13 years of a cruel stringent embargo that left 1.5 million americans dead of which 500'000 american children below the age of 5 , the Iraqi army, with their imposing armada bombarded the U.S with over 700 tons of B.52's.
Iraqi armored vehicles, 150'000 Iraqi soldiers and 100'000 subcontractors and mercenaries(from the Arab world and Africa) have taken hold of Washington DC and other parts of the country.
The Iraqi soldiers toppled the Washington Monument, ransacked and pillaged the National Gallery of Art, the National Portrait Gallery as well the great Smithsonian institute and museum.
The White House , the Pentagon and the CIA have also been targeted and now encircled. Hundreds of Iraqi generals with their troops have squatted the headquarters of the American Government. The White House, looted, has now become an enclave of the Iraqi occupying forces and has been renamed the White Zone.

The President of the U.S.A as well as his 20 advisors have been caught and are now prisonners of war in a Fort Lauderdale secret prison, camp Babel......

Upper state New York, Buffalo and other towns have declared their independence and are being armed and trained by Canada as mercenaries and snipers.

Atrocious news have been circulating of hideous crimes committed by the Iraqi soldiers:

In Bethesda, over 12 pregnant women were killed as well as a 15 years old boy who spat on a passing Iraqi convoy. His mother's head was bashed against a wall and her boy shot in front of her eyes.

In Lexington Park , 3 neighborhoods have been razed to the ground. Over 500 defenseless civilians, majority of which were women and children have been shot in cold blood and some Iraqi soldiers were filmed pissing on the dead corpses.

In Richmond square, hundreds of bodies are strewn across the square and littering the side streets, showing signs of serious burns from napalm, phosphorus bombs and gun shots.

In Rockville, five Iraqi soldiers from the 32nd platoon division, gang raped 14 years old Abee Jones, shot her whole family including her 3 years old sister and grandparents then set her on fire. They were seen drinking Arak and grilling kebabs prior to their crime........

The UNESCO on the other hand has decried some of the Iraqi army practices. Many Iraqi soldiers have been found desecrating worship places by ransacking them, painting Islamic symbols, tearing, kicking, and burning the Bible and urinating in churches. American Monuments and historical sites have also been destroyed......

On the political front, mexicans have managed to infiltrate all echelons of the governing administration included all armed forces : the american army, the american FBI and ministries and they have developed , funded and trained militias that are wrecking havoc in the streets of the American capital.
Countless american citizens have been abducted, kidnaped, raped, and slaughtered.
Dead bodies are seen lying around the city showing marked signs of torture , like eyes and nails plucked out and holes from electrical drills. The american puppet government denies any role in all of this......

Four weeks ago, on Christmas eve, the president of the USA as well as three of his advisors were hanged in what appeared to be a sectarian lynching.

The Iraqi President expressed dissapointment at the way the execution was done, he added it was "fumbled" but was glad that justice finally prevailed....."

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)
By Tom Toles

"كتائب الأقصى" تتهم دحلان

كتائب الأقصى" تتهم دحلان بالوقوف وراء التوتير وتؤكد أن العقاب لن يطول

غزة - المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام"

اتهم قيادي بارز في "كتائب شهداء الأقصى - المجلس العسكري الأعلى"، الجناح العسكري لحركة "فتح"، فئة وصفها بـ "المرتزقة والعميلة"، بالوقوف وراء حوادث إطلاق النار، التي تعرض لها أبناء الشعب الفلسطيني.

وقال "أبو حسام" إن كتائب شهداء الأقصى "بريئة من المجرمين الذين يوجهون سلاحهم إلى أبناء شعبهم في شمال قطاع غزة"، مضيفاً أن "كل من يدعى عبر إذاعة الشباك (الشباب) الصهيونية وإذاعة الحرة (الحرية) الأمريكية بأنهم من كتائب شهداء الأقصى هم كاذبون".

واستنكر القيادي في الكتائب حادثة خطف الأطفال في مدينة نابلس (شمال الضفة الغربية)، وقال: "اتصلت شخصيا بالأخ القائد علاء سناقرة قائد كتائب الأقصى في نابلس، وقال إن الخاطفين باعوا أنفسهم إلى محمد دحلان بحفنة من الأموال"، على حد تعبيره.

وأضاف يقول في تصريح له: "إن عملية شراء الذمم، التي ينتهجها محمد دحلان، تهدف إلى شق الصف الوطني في كتائب شهداء الأقصى، وهو أمر لا نقبله".

وتابع "أبو حسام" القول، في معرض حديثه: "أتوجه لأبناء فتح لأسألهم من قتل قائدنا ياسر عرفات؟ لماذا لا نعمل على كشف القتلة وتعريتهم ونحن نعرفهم؟!"، معتبراً أن عناصر التيار الانقلابي من "ذوي التاريخ الأسود لن يطول عقابهم، وسيلفظهم أبناء الشعب الفلسطيني"."

'If they pay we kill them anyway' - the kidnapper's story

In the second of two remarkable dispatches from behind Baghdad's front lines, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad meets the commander of a Shia death squad

Saturday January 27, 2007
The Guardian

".......Kidnapping in Baghdad these days is as much about economics as retribution or sectarian hatred. Another Shia man close to the Mahdi Army told me: "They kidnap 10 Sunnis, they get ransom on five, and kill them all, in each big kidnap operation they make at least $50 000, it's the best business in Baghdad.".........

It was these qualifications plus his military experience - he was a corporal in the Iraqi military police - that earned Fadhel the role of commanding a "strike unit". His main job is kidnapping Sunnis allegedly involved in attacking Shia areas. It is men like Fadhel, responsible for the scores of bodies dumped on Baghdad's streets daily, whom the US troops pouring into Baghdad will have to bring under control if they are to have any hope of quelling the city's civil war.......

Fadhel and other Mahdi Army commanders describe an intimate relationship with Iraqi security services, especially the commandos of the Iraqi interior ministry. He says the Mahdi Army often uses these official forces in conducting its own operations against Sunni "terrorists".

"We have specific units that we work with where members of the Mahdi Army are in command. We conduct operations together. We can't ask any army unit to come with us, we just ask the units that are under the control of our men.

"The police are all under our control, we ask them to help or inform them that shooting will take place in a street and it involves the Mahdi Army, and that's it."

In one operation Fadhel took part in last summer, Iraqi interior ministry commandos attacked a Sunni area in Dora called "Arab Jubour". The raid involved 28 pickup trucks, he told me. Of them 16 were ministry of interior, the rest Mahdi Army.

The new Bush plan to secure Baghdad gives a major role to the Iraqi army and police units in securing Baghdad. Few in the city expect that these predominantly Shia forces will seriously challenge their fellow Shia.

As the discussions for the new security plan were continuing, an Iraqi Shia official who belongs to another party told me: "We know that Moqtada [al-Sadr] and his men are responsible for all this mess but what can we do? We can't attack them, we can only talk to them. Its like having a mentally ill relative - you can't just throw him in the street."

Fadhel and other Mahdi army officers also describe a complex relationship with Iraq's Shia neighbour. Iran, which backs a rival Shia faction to the Mahdi Army, secured a PR success when Mr Sadr upon his arrival in Tehran last year announced that the Mahdi Army would defend Iran if attacked by the US. One Mahdi Army commander told me: "The Iranians are helping us not because they like us, but because they hate the US."

The help comes in different forms. "We get weapons from them, mortar shells, RPG rounds, sometimes they give us weapons for free sometimes we have to buy. Depends on who is doing the deal," said the same commander.

Fadhel told me that back in November he escorted a small truck filled with weapons from Kut, on the Iranian border, to Baghdad. "We get the weapons in trucks, we take a letter to the Iraqi army checkpoints and it's all fine."....."

Should Israel be in Bush's back seat?

By Tony Karon

"When Ehud Olmert tells the world that President Bush's invasion of Iraq has made the Middle East safer, at least he can fall back on the excuse that sarcasm is a mainstay of Israeli discourse. But when Olmert says Israel won't talk to Syria as long as President Bush won't, Israelis ought to be worried. More worried, still, when Condi Rice comes hawking fantasies about Israel concluding peace with the Palestinians while Hamas is swept away by Mahmoud Abbas (or is it Mohammed Dahlan?) playing a Palestinian Pinochet, while the likes of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt somehow contrive to reverse the train wreck of Iraq and scare Iran back into its shell.

Olmert appears to be outsourcing Israel's strategic decision-making to a White House that has repeatedly demonstrated a catastrophic failure to grasp the realities of the region. Betting Israel's security on the ability of the Bush crowd to transform the strategic landscape in the Middle East is rather like leaving a party in the backseat of an SUV whose driver is cradling a bottle of tequila and slurring his words as he rebuffs offers by more sober friends to take the wheel.

Warning signs have been there for months: When Olmert stumbled into Lebanon last summer, he may have been expecting Washington to play the role of the big brother who would drag him, still swinging, off Hassan Nasrallah, having demonstrated his "deterrent" power without getting himself into too much trouble. Instead, he found Washington impatiently egging him on, demanding that he destroy Nasrallah to prove a point to the Shiite leader's own big brother, and holding back anyone else who tried to break up the fight. As neocon cheerleaders like Charles Krauthammer made plain, the administration was disappointed at Olmert's wimpish performance.

Clearly, the game changed when the United States blundered into Iraq, believing it could transform the region through the application of its overwhelming military force. Sober minds in Washington have concluded that Iraq is lost, but Bush is having none of it - as he made clear last week, he intends not only to up the level of force, but also to begin directing it at Syria and Iran. Those in Israel tempted to welcome this development may be suffering from the same geopolitical psychosis as President Bush: the belief that military force translates automatically into power. If anything, 2006 highlighted the fact that America's overwhelming military advantages have failed to tip the region's political balance in its favor; on the contrary, resorting to military force over the past four years has actually been accompanied by a precipitous decline in America's ability to influence events in the region and beyond, much less impose its will.

As a character in the great gangster movie Miller's Crossing put it, "You run this town because people think you run it." Ergo, when people realize that you don't, then you no longer do.

The failure to impose Pax Americana on Iraq or even Afghanistan has therefore had profound consequences throughout the region. The Iraq Study Group recognized that the United States is simply in no position to dictate terms to its rivals and enemies in the region, and instead advocated pursuing a new stability based on recognition of the real balance of power, rather than the fantasy one concocted by the White House. But Bush remains in denial, pressing ahead with short-sighted, aggressive strategies that will only compound and accelerate the demise of U.S. influence in the region.

Washington's rejection of any talks between Israel and Syria has nothing to do with Israel's security; it is based on U.S. power plays in relation to Iraq and Lebanon, games the United States looks unlikely to win.

And Israelis know that the result of toppling Bashar Assad would be to extend Iraq's "Jihadistan" province of Anbar all the way to Israel's northern border. On the Palestinian front, Israel's security establishment knows that the fundamental flaw in the U.S. effort to topple the Hamas government is that such efforts will actually strengthen Hamas politically and further weaken an already decrepit Fatah. Washington has looked on skeptically at Abbas' efforts to form a government of national unity, and it has prepared for what it appears to assume is the eventuality that these will fail and he'll get on with the business of destroying the Islamists - which is what the Bush administration prefers.

Rice's attempts at social engineering in the Palestinian Authority are giddily detached from reality, and when they fail - as the United States has failed in Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon - it is Palestinians and Israelis who will pay the price. Moreover, throughout the region it has become clear that even U.S. clients such as Saudi Arabia simply ignore the American line when it doesn't make sense - for example, in engaging with Hamas. Even the Iraqi government has made clear that it has no interest in backing U.S. efforts to confront what Washington calls Iranian "meddling" in Iraq.

So, the idea that the Bush administration is implementing a policy capable of turning the regional dynamic against Iran is equally deluded: No matter how much tacit support they garner from Cairo, Amman and Riyadh for an air strike to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities, where would the success of such a strike get Israel or the United States? The lesson of Iraq is that wars of choice based on the suspicion of an opponent's motives and capabilities can produce catastrophic unintended consequences - consequences that will likely be felt more painfully in Israel than in the United States. Military solutions to the region's problems have, quite simply, exhausted themselves. Yet, the Bush administration has resisted recognizing that reality, preferring strategies whose implementation only serves to accelerate the demise of Washington's influence in the region. The irony is that Israel's security establishment is well aware of the folly of many of these U.S. policies. But still, they stay in the back seat.

Even if Washington is unwilling to engage with the realities of the region, Israel has plenty of incentive to independently and directly engage the powers that be in Damascus, Beirut, Tehran, Gaza and Ramallah, along the lines revealed by Haaretz last week in relation to Syria. The reason is simple: It's a safe bet that Assad, Nasrallah, Ali Khamenei and Hamas will be there long after Bush, Rice and their fantasy are wheeled off the stage."

Bush Is About to Attack Iran

Why Can't Americans See it?

by Paul Craig Roberts

"The American public and the US Congress are getting their backs up about the Bush Regime's determination to escalate the war in Iraq. A massive protest demonstration is occurring in Washington DC today, and Congress is expressing its disagreement with Bush's decision to intensify the war in Iraq. This is all to the good. However, it misses the real issue – the Bush Regime's looming attack on Iran.

Rather than winding down one war, Bush is starting another. The entire world knows this and is discussing Bush's planned attack on Iran in many forums. It is only Americans who haven't caught on. A few senators have said that Bush must not attack Iran without the approval of Congress, and postings on the Internet demonstrate world wide awareness that Iran is in the Bush Regime's cross hairs. But Congress and the Media – and the demonstration in Washington – are focused on Iraq.

What can be done to bring American awareness up to the standard of the rest of the world?

In Davos, Switzerland, the meeting of the World Economic Forum, a conference where economic globalism issues are discussed, opened January 24 with a discussion of Bush's planned attack on Iran. The Secretary General of the League of Arab States and bankers and businessmen from such US allies as Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates all warned of the coming attack and its catastrophic consequences for the Middle East and the world.

Writing for Global Research, General Leonid Ivashov, vice president of the Academy on Geopolitical Affairs and former Joint Chief of Staff of the Russian Armies, forecasted an American nuclear attack on Iran by the end of April. General Ivashov presented the neoconservative reasoning that is the basis for the attack and concluded that the world's protests cannot stop the US attack on Iran.

There will be shock and indignation, General Ivashov concludes, but the US will get away with it. He writes:

"Within weeks from now, we will see the informational warfare machine start working. The public opinion is already under pressure. There will be a growing anti-Iranian militaristic hysteria, new information leaks, disinformation, etc.... The probability of a US aggression against Iran is extremely high. It does remain unclear, though, whether the US Congress is going to authorize the war. It may take a provocation to eliminate this obstacle (an attack on Israel or the US targets including military bases). The scale of the provocation may be comparable to the 9/11 attack in NY. Then the Congress will certainly say 'Yes' to the US president."

The Bush Regime has made it clear that it is convinced that Bush already has the authority to attack Iran. The Regime argues that the authority is part of Bush's commander-in-chief powers. Congress has authorized the war in Iraq, and Bush's recent public statements have shifted the responsibility for the Iraqi insurgency from al-Qaeda to Iran. Iran, Bush has declared, is killing US troops in Iraq. Thus, Iran is covered under the authorization for the war in Iraq.

Both Bush and Cheney have made it clear in public statements that they will ignore any congressional opposition to their war plans. For example, CBS News reported (Jan. 25) that Cheney said that a congressional resolution against escalating the war in Iraq "won't stop us." According to the Associated Press, Bush dismissed congressional disapproval with his statement, "I'm the decision-maker."

Everything is in place for an attack on Iran. Two aircraft carrier attack forces are deployed to the Persian Gulf, US attack aircraft have been moved to Turkey and other countries on Iran's borders, Patriot anti-missile defense systems are being moved to the Middle East to protect oil facilities and US bases from retaliation from Iranian missiles, and growing reams of disinformation alleging Iran's responsibility for the insurgency in Iraq are being fed to the gullible US media.

General Ivashof and everyone in the Middle East and at the Davos globalization conference in Europe understands the Bush Regime's agenda.

Why cannot Americans understand?

Why hasn't Congress told Bush and Cheney that they will both be instantly impeached if they initiate a wider war? "


"Congress has authorized the war in Iraq, and Bush's recent public statements have shifted the responsibility for the Iraqi insurgency from al-Qaeda to Iran. Iran, Bush has declared, is killing US troops in Iraq. Thus, Iran is covered under the authorization for the war in Iraq"--- This is a key point in this analysis.

This man is looking for a pretext for another war

By Juan Cole

"Bush says US troops are authorized to "kill or capture" suspected Iranian intelligence agents operating in Iraq. Thousands of Iranians go in and out of Iraq as pilgrims to the Shiite holy sites, so personally I'm skeptical you can know which ones are spies. And, like, it wouldn't be good to kill the pilgrims. Might cast the US in a bad light with the Shiites and all that. I'd say this man is looking for a pretext for another war.

Plus, when you look at where US troops are being killed, it is in Sunni Arab al-Anbar Province, and Sunni Arab Salahuddin, Diyal, Mosul, and West Baghdad. Those Sunni guerrillas are not being helped by Iran. They are being helped by Sunnis in countries allied to the US.

And then, the US hold over 10,000 prisoners swept up on suspicion of insurgent activity in Iraq. What number of them is Iranians? Slim to none. More Syrians and Jordanians and Saudis by far than Iranians.

So if 99 percent of the problem is with the Sunni Arabs of Iraq, why all this big talk about Shiite Iran?

Because this man is looking for a pretext for another war

Emma Thompson bids for Palestinian Rights

Report, Enough!, 27 January 2007

Broadbased coalition in support of an end to Israeli occupation set for launch

"Record-breaking actor Emma Thompson revealed today why she is helping to make political history by supporting Britain's first broad-based alliance for a just peace in the Middle East. Ms Thompson earned her Oscars for best actress in Howard's End and for best-adapted screenplay for adapting Jane Austen's novel Sense and Sensibility. The only person ever to have won film Oscars for acting and writing is backing a new historic drive for a just settlement between Israelis and Palestinians.

The ENOUGH! coalition, representing over three million people in charities, trade unions, faith and campaign groups has come together to mark this year's 40th anniversary of the Israeli military occupation of the Gaza Strip and West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

The launch will come only days after a report, funded by the British government, warned that Israel's separation wall is trapping 250,000 Palestinians. The report on Israel's separation wall was produced by the Israeli planning and rights organisation Bimkom. The report says the wall is cutting off Palestinians from employment, education, healthcare needs, undermining social and family life and isolating farmers from markets.

Ms Thompson said: "This report cites the devastating effects on Palestinians' health and livelihoods of Israel's separation wall. It shows the vital need for our ministers to make fresh moves for a just peace. It is high time the UK government matched its rhetoric with action which can save Palestinians and Israelis from another 40 years' conflict."......."

Friday, January 26, 2007

Our Mercenaries in Iraq: Blackwater Inc and Bush's Undeclared Surge

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"On Tuesday, five employees of the private security firm Blackwater USA were killed in a violent Baghdad neighborhood. Hours later, President Bush used his State of the Union address to call on what some are calling an undeclared surge of private mercenaries in Iraq. We speak with Jeremy Scahill, author of the forthcoming “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.”
The private security firm Blackwater USA is back in the news again. On Tuesday, hours before President Bush’s State of the Union address, one of the company’s helicopters was brought down in a violent Baghdad neighborhood. Five Blackwater troops - all Americans - were killed. Reports say the men’s bodies show signs of execution-style deaths with bullet wounds to the back off the head.
Blackwater provided no identities or details of those killed. They did release a statement saying the deaths “are a reminder of the extraordinary circumstances under which our professionals voluntarily serve to bring freedom and democracy to the Iraqi people.”

President Bush made no mention of the incident during his State of the Union. But he did address the very issue that has brought dozens of private security companies like Blackwater to Iraq in the first place: the need for more troops.

Is the president looking to further outsource war? My next guest writes that Blackwater is a reminder of just how privatized the Iraq war has become. Jeremy Scahill is a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute and is author of the forthcoming book, “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.” He has an OpEd in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times titled “Our mercenaries in Iraq.” He joins me in the firehouse studio."

Watch, Listen or Read The Transcript of This Revealing Segment

Also See This Article By Jeremy Scahill In The L.A. Times

The Steady March to War on Iran

What It Would Take to Stop It

by Virginia Tilley

(Contributed by Datta)

"Johannesburg, South Africa -- From its inception, the US occupation was a lose-lose proposition. Simply rolling into Iraq -- a society of which the Bush neocons had so distorted a conception and US occupation commanders and foot soldiers had no grasp at all - was a formula for doom. But US policy in the Middle East has now advanced to a new stage and the risk to the rest of us has changed. For stopping an attack on Iran, which is the only way to avert final regional disaster, may require action in Washington that falls outside the parameters of what is normally politically possible.......

The US occupation of Iraq has appeared since its inception like a large and cumbersome truck driven into a swamp. We have been watching, in horrified fascination, as it slowly sinks. In recent months, we have been certain that even the drivers must soon surely abandon the truck, jump for shore, and try to preserve some shred of dignity as it goes down. Instead, we are seeing those drivers flinging out ropes around everything in sight and getting ready to haul, apparently in the hope of dragging the whole carcass back onto solid ground and rolling on to glory. That they can only strangle the rest of us, and bind everyone into the swamp with them, must finally inspire decisive collective action. Washington insiders and key players in the new Democratic Congress, with political backing from an alarmed electorate and frantic international allies, can still stop the neocons' rush to disaster. But it would require rare determination, initiative, transparency, and courage, and it would have to happen fast."

What Happened To Liberation???

Kids abducted by Al-Aqsa "Martyrs Brigades" in Nablus

The Palestinian struggle has degenerated (by the Oslo design) to this. Shame on such "resistance." The Palestinians had more national awareness, political maturity and cohesion 70 years ago. Shame on both major movements. To hell with your "Authority" which controls nothing; dissolve it now! Palestinian civil society should be in the streets demanding this.

"Fatah has postponed unity government talks with rival Hamas after at least five people were killed and 24 others abducted in factional violence across the Palestinian Territories.

The clashes on Friday marred celebrations to mark the first anniversary of Hamas's election victory.

They also came after Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, said a deal could be done in weeks.

"The entire dialogue could explode," Tawfiq Abu Khoussa, the Fatah spokesman, said as he blamed Hamas for the violence.

"How can dialogue go on when there is a bomb underneath the table?"

The talks, which had been due to resume on Friday, will now be held on Sunday at the earliest.

Two Hamas supporters, a member of the Fatah-linked al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and two bystanders were killed in a series of shootings on Friday.

In Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip, Hamas security forces surrounded the house of a senior Fatah activist they blamed for shooting a Hamas supporter earlier on Friday.

Hamas supporters abducted

Fighters from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the West Bank city of Nablus have said they are holding 24 Hamas supporters and threatened action against them if their demands are not met.

The group is demanding that no Fatah officials are harmed and that armed Hamas supporters leave the streets of the Gaza Strip......."


Bush: I'm the decision-maker

"George Bush, the US president, has challenged Congress and skeptical politicians not to prematurely condemn his plan in Iraq.

In an oval office meeting with senior military advisers on Friday, Bush said: "I'm the decision-maker" about sending more troops to fight the war in Iraq.

"I've picked the plan that I think is most likely to succeed," Bush said.

He also challenged Democratic and Republican politicians, who are lining up to support resolutions opposing his decision to send 21,500 troops to Iraq, to put up their own ideas.

"Some are condemning a plan before it's even had a chance to work," he said......"

The Hidden Cost of Free Congressional Trips to Israel

by Jim Abourezk
(a former Democratic senator from South Dakota)
The Christian Science Monitor

"Democrats in Congress have moved quickly – and commendably – to strengthen ethics rules. But truly groundbreaking reform was prevented, in part, because of the efforts of the pro-Israel lobby to preserve one of its most critical functions: taking members of Congress on free "educational" trips to Israel.
The pro-Israel lobby does most of its work without publicity. But every member of Congress and every would-be candidate for Congress comes to quickly understand a basic lesson. Money needed to run for office can come with great ease from supporters of Israel, provided that the candidate makes certain promises, in writing, to vote favorably on issues considered important to Israel. What drives much of congressional support for Israel is fear – fear that the pro-Israel lobby will either withhold campaign contributions or give money to one's opponent.

In my own experience as a US senator in the 1970s, I saw how the lobby tries to humiliate or embarrass members who do not toe the line.

Pro-Israel groups worked vigorously to ensure that the new reforms would allow them to keep hosting members of Congress on trips to Israel. According to the Jewish Daily Forward newspaper, congressional filings show Israel as the top foreign destination for privately sponsored trips. Nearly 10 percent of overseas congressional trips taken between 2000 and 2005 were to Israel. Most are paid for by the American Israel Education Foundation, a sister organization of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the major pro-Israel lobby group....."

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)
By Tom Toles

Mideast Strategy Increasingly Targets Iran

A Good Article
By Jim Lobe

"Six months after last summer's war between Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah, Iran has become the George W. Bush administration's "Public Enemy Number One," against which its Middle East strategy is increasingly focused, according to one of the US's leading experts on the Gulf.

That strategy, which aims at forging an informal tripartite alliance consisting of the US, Sunni-led Arab states and Israel, is already being played out in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. Along with Iraq, the last two have become the main battlegrounds in what so far has been a proxy war designed to challenge and roll back perceived Iranian influence, according to Gary Sick, a Columbia University professor who served as former President Jimmy Carter's chief advisor on Iran.

"The organizing principle of the new strategy is confrontation with and containment of Shia influence – and specifically Iranian influence – wherever it appears in the region," says Sick.

In a recently circulated memo, Sick argued that Washington's new strategy stems primarily from the dramatic shift in the regional balance of power in Iran's favor following the removal – by the US, no less – of Tehran's two neighboring nemeses, the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

That shift – to the detriment of Washington's traditional Sunni-led allies, especially Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan – has since been exacerbated both by the administration's pro-democracy policies in the region, which had the paradoxical but predictable result of strengthening anti-Western and Islamist forces, and the perception that the vaunted US military has become hopelessly bogged down in the Iraq quagmire.

The new strategy appears to have been galvanized by last summer's Israel-Lebanon war, which, according to Sick, "was perceived by Israel, the United States and the Sunni Arab governments in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan as an Iranian attempt to extend its power into the Levant by challenging both Israel and the Sunni Arab leadership."

In the months that have followed, a division of labor among the three principal components of the anti-Iranian front has emerged based on a series of presumed mutual understandings.

For its part, the Bush administration has essentially dropped its democratization campaign in the region; beefed up its naval power in the Gulf while providing Patriot missiles to the Arab Gulf states to encourage them to adopt a more confrontational posture toward Iran; stepped up military and other support to the Sunni-led, Saudi-backed Lebanese government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora; and renewed its involvement in promoting a peace process between Israel and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas –"recognizing that even limited visible progress will provide diplomatic cover to the Arab states if they are to co-operate more with Israel," says Sick.

In addition, the administration has tried to increase diplomatic pressure on Iran both in the UN Security Council over its nuclear program and in Iraq by charging Tehran with arming sectarian militias and harassing Iranian officials there.

At the same time, Bush has assured the Saudis, in particular, that he will maintain US forces in Iraq to prevent a full-scale civil war that could be catastrophic for the Sunni population and press the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to control the Shi’ite militias or risk replacement by a "more Sunni-friendly" regime.

"Washington may also be trying to organize dissident movements in Iran, primarily among ethnic groups along the periphery and other targets of opportunity, to distract and potentially even destabilize the Tehran government," warned Sick.

For their part, according to Sick, the Sunni-led Arab states, which include all members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Egypt and Jordan, have agreed to provide major funding and political support to the Siniora government in Lebanon and "to woo (or threaten) Syria away from its alliance with Iran." Also, they promise to provide facilities and funding to support US efforts in the region and against Iran, and to try to bring down the price of oil, both to relieve political pressure on Bush and "make life more difficult for Iran."

Israel's contribution is to provide intelligence support to US and, possibly, Arab anti-Hezbollah efforts in Lebanon; keep highlighting the alleged "existential" threat Iran's nuclear capability would pose to it; use its long-standing contacts, especially among Iran's Kurds, to foment opposition to Tehran; and "be prepared to make sufficient concessions on the Palestinian issue and the Golan Heights to provide at least the perception of significant forward motion toward a comprehensive settlement."

This strategy is attractive to Bush for a variety of reasons; not least that focusing greater attention on Iran may serve to "distract public attention from the Iraqi disaster." Sick also noted that given the antipathy and distrust in US attitudes toward Iran created by the 1979-81 hostage crisis, it is relatively easy to rally bipartisan opinion against the Islamic Republic.

But perhaps most important, like the Cold War, the new strategy provides a "single, agreed enemy that can serve as the organizing point of reference" and "be used to explain and rationalize a wide range of policies that otherwise might be quite unpopular," noted Sick.

"The Holy Grail of US Middle East policy has always been the hope of persuading both Arab and Israeli allies to agree on a common enemy and thereby relegate their mutual hostilities to a subordinate role," Sick wrote.

But while Arab states generally found it hard to accept that Moscow was the greater threat during the Cold War, "Iran as a large, neighboring, non-Arab, radical Shia state may fulfill that role more convincingly," according to Sick, who noted that the "extravagant rhetoric and populist posturing" of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad add to the strategy's appeal.

While this strategy is not necessarily designed to provoke or lay the foundations for a military conflict – and may be in fact be aimed more at "containing" Iran and persuading it to change its policies – Sick also believes that it is "deliberately provocative and risks prompting a belligerent Iranian response...that could quickly escalate into an armed exchange." "

Homage to Herzliya

The Lobby wants war with Iran

By Justin Raimondo

"......For evidence of the war hysteria now sweeping official Israeli circles, readers of the Israeli (and overseas) press will note the attention paid to the seventh annual Herzliya conference, an event attended by top Israeli – and American – leaders, including a surprising number of would-be occupants of the Oval Office. "There is no doubt that the war drums are beating pretty loudly here in Herzliya," reports Gideon Rachman, the Financial Times foreign correspondent, who was struck by "the number of top Americans who have bothered to come over for the conference." With US officials Gordon England and Nick Burns as the centerpieces, several serious presidential wannabes decorated the podium: Mitt Romney made a personal appearance, with John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and John Edwards addressing the conference by satellite. "I cannot think of any other country in the world that could summon up this level of American participation for a conference like this," writes Rachman. "Certainly not Britain."

Richard Perle, Jim Woolsey, and nutty Newt Gingrich rounded out the speakers list, adding their own notes of individualized hysteria to the chorus of warmongering. "A lot of these chaps," avers Rachman, "were very prominent in the drive to go to war in Iraq. Now, flushed by their undoubted success there, they are turning their attention to Iran.".....

Just as we attacked Iraq "motivated in good part by a desire to make Israel more secure," as Mearsheimer and Walt put it, so we'll fight the next war – against Iran – for the same reason. The power of the Lobby is being mobilized, and not quietly. While there is some opposition, notably coming from Harry Reid and others who say that the war authorization for Iraq didn't and doesn't include Iran, Congress has yet to take any concrete action. In any event, as Dick Cheney put it, "It won't stop us."......"

Bush's Brave New World War: Free of Holocaust Denial

By Gilad Atzmon

"The draft resolution proposed by the US "condemns without any reservation any denial of the Holocaust," yet, it doesn't single out any specific country for criticism. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that it is Iran’s Ahmadinejad who the Americans are after. Clearly, the new American initiative at the UN, which is aiming at transforming the world into a ‘Holocaust Denial Free Zone’ has very little to do with genuine truth-seeking or an authentic interest in historical research. The Americans are there to furnish us all with the futureless nightmare of hard capitalism. They mistakenly believe that they can do so as long they restrict our vision of the past. If to be honest, It isn’t really Abe Foxman and the ADL that the Bush Administration is caring for. And it should be evident that the American decision makers could not care less about the notion of history or the truth of European Judeocide. What’s it about, then? America wants oil and Ahmadinejad has plenty of it. Not wanting to stop there, America also has as its priority stopping Iran from joining the nuclear club that they themselves lead. Yet, It is rather amusing that America - with all its fleets, airplane carriers, cruise missiles, ultimate air power and nuclear might - needs the Holocaust to win what seems to be its next war.......

For the Anglo-Americans the Holocaust is there to push away any real ethical engagement with Dresden, Hiroshima, Vietnam, Palestine and Iraq. Most importantly, the new Holocaust denial resolution provides the Americans with the pretext for the next Genocide. In other words, the next Holocaust is actually a collective punishment of Holocaust denial......"

After The Midwife Of Death, It Is Livni's Turn To Instruct The Puppet

Livni warns Abbas against striking deal with Hamas

"DAVOS, Switzerland - Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni warned Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas Thursday that should he reach a compromise with Hamas, that would send the diplomatic process into a deep freeze.

"Compromising with extremists will not promote anything, but it can lead to further stagnation," Livni told Abbas during a session of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Abbas, though not mentioning Hamas by name, responded by saying that should the Islamic organization refuse to honor agreements signed by the Palestine Liberation Organization or to accept proposals that have the support of the Arab world - an apparent reference to the Arab League's Beirut declaration of 2002 - he will call new elections.

Any Palestinian government, he said, must accept previously signed agreements and ease the suffering of the Palestinian population. Thus if the various Palestinian factions cannot agree on such a platform, he will call new elections and let the Palestinian people choose their leadership and their platform......."


How much beating can a puppet take and still look himself in the mirror?

Livni told him she would still respect him, the morning after.

The Mahdi Gang Would Only Fight If Iran Is Attacked

From Juan Cole:

"Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that the Sadr Movement of Muqtada al-Sadr gave its unstinting support to al-Maliki's security plan. It was speculated that this step is an attempt to avoid a confrontatation with US forces. The London daily also confirms that the Sadrists have appointed a negotiator to talk directly to the Americans on behalf of the commanders of the Mahdi Army militia. It says that some Mahdi Army commanders have scattered to Kut, Babil and Taji or even to neighboring countries, and that al-Maliki has avoided having to choose between his American partners and his Sadrist allies by convincing the Mahdi Army to fade away for the moment. It says US ambassador in Baghdad Zalmay Khalilzad expressed concern that gunmen in Iraq may go into hiding during the US "surge," and then reappear when it is over.

I think that is what Gen. Abizaid tried to warn about when he argued against an escalation."


This is in line with Maliki's secret letter to the Mahdi gang, posted here yesterday.

Latest Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

Who is most responsible for security deterioration in Iraq?

With about 2,000 responding so far, here are the opinions:

The occupation...................63%

The militias........................12%

The Resistance....................4%

The Maliki Government..........21%

Money can't close the sectarian divide in Lebanon

By Robert Fisk

"........That the great and the good should have met in Paris to help "save" Lebanon - a country which has fewer than 4 million people - shows how desperate the situation in Beirut has now become. The stakes are high for a Western world which sees "extremism" behind any threat within Middle Eastern countries. The Saudis have already sought Syria's help - no doubt oiling their appeal in the usual way - while Iranian diplomats have been visiting Riyadh. So at least the largest Shia country is talking to the richest Sunni nation.

The mere fact that these talks can be viewed in such a way shows how dark are the shadows falling across the region. From the Pakistan border to the Mediterranean, almost every land is in crisis. Suddenly, all the Western talk of a Sunni-Shia war looks troublingly real. But, in an Arab world weaned on conspiracies - not all of them imaginary as the Iranians can fully attest after the CIA's overthrow of the Mossadeq regime in 1953 - many believe it has been the West's intention all along to divide their lands on religious lines. "

American Politicos Campaign for Likudnik Total War Against the Palestinians

By Kurt Nimmo

" It’s a headline that speaks volumes: “U.S. Presidential Hopefuls Campaigning in Israel.” Not in the Granite State, New Hampshire, but Israel. “Three Presidential hopefuls appeared in Israel or spoke through a satellite link this week at the Herzliya Conference in an effort to show their support for Israel,” reports Arutz Sheva. As should be expected, the “campaign” issue is Iran, not American domestic politics, basically an irrelevancy.

“Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney called for more severe sanctions on Iran and added that a military strike should be considered” and John McCain, the Manchurian candidate for AIPAC, “said through a satellite link that he backs ties between Israel and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)” and declared a “friendly democracy under siege should be closer partners to the world’s most successful security alliance,” never mind, back when I was in grade school, NATO revolved around Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty, stating “that an armed attack against one or more [parties] in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.” But then, when you think about it, since the rulers of Israel are of European stock, it very well may make sense this “democracy”—that is, a “democracy” jus sanguinis, i.e., for Jews only—join NATO.........

Finally, as the cardboard cut-out presidential wannabes trek to Israel for acceptance, bending over backwards to parrot the Likudnik line on Iran, we turn to Ilan Pappe, an Israeli-born professor at Haifa University. Pappe was recently interviewed by Today’s Zaman, a Turkish web site. Going after Iran, Pappe insists, has nothing to do with nukes. Instead, it has everything to do with the Zionist project, i.e., the task of dispossessing Palestinians of their land and inflicting privation upon them.

“Israel has its own plan for imposing its will and this is in Palestine,” Pappe told Ali Cimen. “It wishes unilaterally to annex large parts of the areas it occupied in 1967 and to imprison the Palestinians in small Bantustans and by that destroy the Palestine will and aspirations. Only two movements, Hezbollah and Hamas, and only two states, Syria and Iran, oppose this scheme. Israel sees the present American administration and mood as providing a rare window of opportunity to use its military might for destroying the only forces willing to resist its policies in Palestine.”

Naturally, come the election next year, with the American election selectees all lined up neatly in a row like rubber ducks with their Likudnik endorsements in hand, we will hear nothing of this long planned ethnic cleansing campaign, although we will assuredly hear about the threat of Iran, determined to cobble together a nuclear bomb or two and take out Israel in one last suicidal gasp.

Of course, come the election, large areas of Iran may be already smoldering under a dreadful radioactive pall cast by “mini-nukes,” as only a blind, deaf, and dumb person—or one tuned in incessantly to Fox News—is unable to hear the alarm bells screaming, drawing closer from the distance, foretelling a terrible calamity right around the corner."

US elevates Pakistan to regional kingpin

The US has dropped all criticism of Pakistan over perceived support of the Taliban in Afghanistan. President General Pervez Musharraf is being feted in pro-American Sunni Arab capitals, and Islamabad and NATO have finalized a landmark cooperation agreement. With these rapid developments, Pakistan has been made "part of the solution" and is assured a pivotal role in US regional policy that extends far beyond Afghanistan and includes, crucially, Iran

By M K Bhadrakumar
Asia Times

"..........But there are other nuances, too. It appears that the US has broached with Pakistan the issue of "help and assistance" in respect of its standoff with Iran. At any rate, the timing of Musharraf's tour of the pro-American Sunni Arab capitals Riyadh, Cairo and Amman last weekend was important. The hurriedly arranged tour followed consultations of the US secretaries of state and defense in Riyadh.

In a rare gesture, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia personally received Musharraf at the airport at Riyadh. Also, a grateful Saudi king conferred on Musharraf the "King Abdul Aziz Prize", Saudi Arabia's highest award. For some obscure reason, Musharraf has become the first-ever Pakistani leader to receive such an honor.

The emphasis during Musharraf's discussions in the pro-American Sunni Arab capitals has been on joint "Islamic action" in tackling the crisis in the Middle East. Curiously, fleshing out Bush's new Iraq strategy, former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger recently explained at some length from another angle what such an "Islamic action" could amount to.

Kissinger wrote that Bush's Iraq strategy will require in the downstream "an international concept involving both Iraq's neighbors and countries further away that have a significant interest in the outcome". Kissinger underlined that the US will expect that "other countries must be prepared to share responsibilities for regional peace ... [since] it is impossible for America to deal with these trends unilaterally".

Equally, Pakistan and NATO seem to have finalized their agreement establishing an institutionalized framework of cooperation. NATO and the US have been pressing Musharraf for early conclusion of such an agreement. But Pakistan has been dragging its feet. Without doubt, Washington will appreciate that Musharraf has once again braved potentially vehement domestic opposition to deliver on a key US demand.

Musharraf is sending Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz to NATO headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday. A NATO spokesman hailed the visit as "vitally important", and underlined that the visit will "deepen the political relationship between NATO and Pakistan". Formal NATO-Pakistan cooperation is bound to impact on the "war on terror" in Afghanistan. As the NATO spokesman succinctly put it, Pakistan will henceforth become "part of the solution".......

At the same time, emerging ties with Pakistan will enable NATO to begin to reduce its dependence on Russian airspace (and Russian goodwill) for ferrying supplies for troops in Afghanistan. Not only that: at a time when Israel's formal admission to NATO is under active discussion, NATO will have already established a foothold on the Persian Gulf region's eastern periphery.

Most important, the configuration works to the great advantage of the US in the event of an outbreak of military hostilities against Iran, which borders Pakistan. The rapid sequencing of these developments is interesting, to say the least. It is hardly a week since the new chairman of the US Senate Intelligence Committee, Jay Rockefeller, told the New York Times that the Bush administration's statements about Iran were uncomfortably reminiscent of the rhetoric in the run-up to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Being a lawmaker with access to highly classified intelligence, Rockefeller's views carry particular weight. So indeed do Negroponte's. "

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Palestinian Unity Talks?
He Is Sure A Lot Friendlier (Hugs and Kisses) To Peres Than He Was To Mash'al!

Give His Plan A Chance?

By Mike Luckovich

Secret Document: Maliki Tells Sadr to Get Commanders Out Of Baghdad

Click on picture, then on bottom right corner to enlarge

"A top secret directive from 'Prime Minister' Maliki, upon consultation with Muqtada Al-Sadr and 'National Security Advisor' Al-Rubaii, ordering that top echelon of Mahdi Army leaders (11 names are listed) who are directly associated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards are to go underground, preferably sent back to Iran, and that the second tier of Mahdi Army commnaders are to be temporarily dispatched to the south of Iraq in response to the immenint 'surge' of the American forces and the intended campaign against the militias in Baghdad.
Copy of the directive is sent to the Iranian Embassy in Baghadad,
The Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq SCIRI, and the Sadr Office.

January 14, 2007

Note: The 'National Security Advisor's' salary is paid directly by the American occupier, not by the Iraqi

Sayyed Nasrallah in live address: cooperation with army is top priority


"Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah made a live address to the Lebanese through Al-Manar TV station and called for calm and restraint in the streets.

Sayyed Nasrallah said that what happened today is regretful adding that this is what the opposition has been trying to warn against. His eminence stressed calls by opposition and other political leaderships to maintain calm and abide by the instructions of the Lebanese army should be observed. He also said that the first priority now is to cooperate with the Lebanese army given the critical mission this institution is undertaking. Sayyed Nasrallah said in his address that the army today is the real guarantee for Lebanon to overcome this crisis and not be dragged into what is being plotted against this country. "It is a political, ethical and religious obligation to abide by the instructions of the Lebanese army and withdraw from the streets," his eminence said.

Sayyed Nasrallah also called on the judiciary and the Lebanese army to arrest and expose those who opened fire during today's events. He discouraged some groups to follow other parties that had earned a black history during the civil war, adding that happened today proves that these same groups are seeking to drag the country into the unknown. Sayyed Nasrallah said snipers who had operated during today's clashes were a serious issue adding that "we have warned against bringing in snipers and placing them in buildings." These snipers, Sayyed Nasrallah said, should be arrested and exposed. "We have been saying that arms that are raised by some Lebanese against their countrymen are Israeli arms," Hezbollah's chief said. His eminence renewed his call for calm and urged the Lebanese to contain the tension and act responsibly to prevent the clashes from expanding from one area to another. "I hope that everyone would positively respond to the calls made by all political leaderships in the country for calm," Sayyed Nasrallah concluded."

Iraq crash exacts heavy toll from U.S.

"BAGHDAD, Iraq - Two colonels, one lieutenant colonel and two command sergeants major were among the 12 soldiers killed last weekend in a Black Hawk helicopter crash northeast of Baghdad, the Pentagon said.

It appeared to be the largest number of key officers and command sergeants killed in a single incident during since the Iraq war started nearly four years ago.

The U.S. command has not said why so many key officers were aboard a single helicopter, which went down Saturday in Diyala province, one of the flashpoints of the Iraq conflict. It was also unclear why they were traveling in the volatile region. But the loss of such pivotal figures is likely to be a severe blow to their units.

Ten of the dead were members of the National Guard, making it the deadliest single combat incident for the Guard since at least the Korean War, said Mark Allen, a National Guard Bureau spokesman....."

Bush's State of Deception

The Evils of Escalation

A Good Article

"Bush's state of the union address did not describe the deplorable state of the union. The speech's importance consists of Bush's plea to Congress to please let him fool them one more time in order that he can attack Iran and start a bigger war that Congress will have to support in order to support Israel.....

The "surge" of US troops for Iraq is another deception. The surge's purpose has nothing to do with achieving victory in Iraq. Its purpose is to counter the pressure from the American public, Congress, and the US military to withdraw US troops from Iraq. Once a withdrawal begins, the neoconservative misadventure in the Middle East is at an end before its goals can be achieved. Delaying the withdrawal by proposing an escalation and provoking a debate gives Bush and Israel time to orchestrate an attack on Iran.....

Consequently, while Congress wastes time with non-binding resolutions against the surge in Iraq, Bush proceeds to implement plans to start war with Iran.....

The Bush Regime is the first neoconservative regime in US history. Bush hides the neoconservative agenda behind "the war on terror," which essentially is a hoax. The main purpose of the neoconservatives' "war on terror" it to eliminate any effective Muslim opposition to Israel's theft of Palestine and the Golan Heights.....

Bush is not going to be forthright about the neoconservative agenda, because he knows it is one that Congress and the American people must be manipulated and maneuvered into accepting. However, neoconservatives themselves are very forthright about their war plans. Let's listen to their most recent pronouncements.....

Another American presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney, told the Israeli audience that Islamic jihadism was "the nightmare of this century." Israel, Romney declared, "is facing a jihadist threat that runs through Tehran, to Damascus, to Gaza." Hezbollah, he declared, is not fighting for a Palestinian state but for the destruction of Israel.

The world has not experienced this level of warmongering since Hitler......

Burns told the Israelis that "We are committed to our alliance with Israel. We are committed to being Israel's strongest security partner. I can't remember a time when the relationship between our two countries was stronger than it is today."......

Former Israeli defense minister Shaul Mofaz, who met privately with Burns prior to their joint appearance at the Herzliya conference, said that 2007 would decide the future of the Middle East. Mofaz declared, "The year of 2007 is a year of decisiveness. Iran of 2007 has all the components to threaten us existentially, and the whole of the region."......

Iran is being set up by the identical propaganda machine that set up Iraq with fearful imagery of "mushroom clouds over American cities" and nonexistent "weapons of mass destruction.".....

A great number of Western experts agree that the problem in the Middle East is neither Islamic jihad nor Israel per se, but Zionism, which keeps Israel on a land expansionist course at the expense of Arab peoples. The failure of US policy in the Middle East is the failure to deter Israel from this Zionist policy. A large number of Israelis are opposed to this policy and recognize that Zionism is the cause of Israel's conflict with Arabs. The real problem that Americans face is that the Zionist influence on US policy is so powerful that instead of dealing with the real cause of strife in the Middle East, the US is about to join Zionism in attempting to eliminate all Muslim opposition to Zionist expansion.

Bush's "war on terror" and Iran's alleged nuclear weapons are just propagandistic cover for the real agenda, which is to silence opponents of Zionist expansion....."

Hezbollah calls on citizens, supporters to get out of streets, not to drag into sedition

"Following the bloody events taking place in and around the Beirut Arab University (BAU), Hezbollah issued a statement calling citizens and supporters to maintain calm and immediately get out of the streets. The statement said: After the aggressive attacks by members of the authority's militias against BAU students which extended to other regions, Hezbollah calls on all citizens and supporters to get out of the streets and not to be dragged into sedition which some well known groups are trying to incite."

Two martyrs and dozens of injured in pro-government militia attack against university


"Initial reports said that two university students were killed and twenty others injured have been injured in the attack launched by pro-government militias against the Beirut Arab University. MP Saad Hariri's Future Movement militias stormed into the University in started attacking pro-opposition students in campus, and sought to kidnap some students and a fistfight ensued. Future Movement militias surrounded the university from all four sides and ordered students loyal to the opposition out of the campus. Reports also said that Future militiamen living nearby came out to their balconies with machine guns and started shooting at the university. Tension is still prevailing in the area and the Lebanese army is trying to disperse Future movement militiamen and secure the exit of the besieged students while sounds of gunshots are being heard. Hezbollah issued a statement and called on citizens and supporters to retreat from the street. Similar calls were made by Speaker Nabih Berri and MP Hariri. "

EI EXCLUSIVE: Israeli document gives frightening glimpse of apartheid

Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 25 January 2007

"......Now, The Electronic Intifada has obtained an Israeli Ministry of Defense Powerpoint presentation which provides a frightening glimpse into the mindset of the bureaucracy of apartheid.

The first page of the document bears the name "Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories" as well as the acronym "COGAT" at the bottom of each page. These appear to refer to the unit of the Israeli army that enforces the occupation against the Palestinian civilian population.

The top of the first slide also bears the names and insignia of the "State of Israel" and the "Ministry of Defense." Dated January 12, the presentation is titled "Key Measures for easing the daily lives of the Palestinian Population."

Far from that, the document provides detail of the regime of severe movement restrictions, bureaucratic ethnic cleansing and political manipulation and fostering of collaboration that Israel operates in the the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.....

Amidst a system of ruthless and obsessive control such as the one Israel operates against Palestinians, not even this token 'easing' designed purely for public relations can be taken for granted; Israel routinely lies about what it does. For example, during a summit meeting with Mahmoud Abbas in December, Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert promised to remove dozens of checkpoints and obstacles impeding the movement of Palestinians inside the occupied West Bank. The Israeli occupation forces later claimed to have removed 44 of the hundreds of obstacles in fulfillment of Olmert's pledge. In fact, the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reported on January 22, the Israeli army "admitted on Sunday that the 44 dirt obstacles it said had been removed from around West Bank villages did not actually exist."

What does exist, and is plain for all the world to see, is a horrifying regime of totalitarian control of millions of Palestinians who remain prisoners of Israel's racist system and the army and settler militias that enforce it."

IRAQ: UN concerned for persecuted Palestinians

UN Office For The Coordination Of Humanitarian Affairs

"BAGHDAD, 25 Jan 2007 (IRIN) - There is increased international concern about the plight of Palestinians living in Baghdad following the arrest on 16 January of 30 Palestinians by Iraqi security forces in two neighbourhoods of the capital, Baghdad. Although they were released shortly after, the UN is concerned that Palestinians have been systematically targetted and threatened by authorities and militias.

However, despite their release, a group of up to 90 terrified Palestinian men, women and children fled Baghdad on Wednesday heading toward the Syrian border, where the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says more than 500 Palestinians have been stranded for months.....

In one incident in Baghdad's central district of al-Batawyen, interior ministry forces broke doors and windows of a building that is rented by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to house Palestinian refugees and arrested 17 men. The second incident took place in al-Amin district in the eastern side of the capital. According to UNHCR, 13 Palestinian men were apprehended by men wearing Iraqi security uniforms......

UNHCR said on Wednesday that what happened to the men during their abduction was unclear. The agency said the men and their families were clearly traumatised by the ordeal and afraid to provide any details.

The refugee agency said that the abduction caused great panic among the Palestinians, with some saying that they feared attacks by militias. Others said they wanted to leave as well but could not because they lacked proper documents or because they still had family members in Baghdad who cannot leave.

IRIN spoke to Khalid al-Qudsi, a 55-year-old Palestinian who lives in the west Baghdad neighbourhood of Iskan and whose relatives were among those arrested on Tuesday and who were heading to the Syrian border on Thursday.

Instant death in Baghdad

"I heard from my cousin yesterday night and he was really terrified. He told me that they can't stand it any more and that they are leaving for Syria with other families. He told me that they would prefer to live under the harsh conditions at the Syrian borders than to meet instant death in Baghdad," said al-Qudsi.

"I have not heard from my daughter and her three kids who are stranded at the Syrian border. I last heard from her two months ago when she sent me a letter with a taxi driver. They were in a very bad situation and she said that one of her sons, who is seven years old, was sick,” he said.

UNHCR said that around 15,000 Palestinians live in Baghdad as refugees, but face constant threats from death squads and are unable to move freely. The refugee agency said many of those in Baghdad who have tried to leave have been turned back by militia in the city.

Of all the groups being targeted in Iraq, the Palestinians are the most vulnerable as they literally have nowhere else to flee, and in many cases have been denied travel documents”, said Andrew Harper, the Geneva-based senior Iraq operations manager for UNHCR. “The international community must act now to help these people. A safe haven needs to be found immediately, outside Iraq.”

At the same time, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) has appealed to Arab governments to take in the more than 500 Palestinians who have been stranded for months at the Iraqi-Syrian border after fleeing persecution in Baghdad.

"We appeal to their common sense and generosity to allow them in. Having pregnant women, children and newborn babies there under snow and rain is no solution," Panos Moumtzis, head of UNRWA in Syria, said."