Saturday, September 22, 2007

Secret US air force team to perfect plan for Iran strike

"THE United States Air Force has set up a highly confidential strategic planning group tasked with “fighting the next war” as tensions rise with Iran.

Project Checkmate, a successor to the group that planned the 1991 Gulf War’s air campaign, was quietly reestablished at the Pentagon in June.

It reports directly to General Michael Moseley, the US Air Force chief, and consists of 20-30 top air force officers and defence and cyberspace experts with ready access to the White House, the CIA and other intelligence agencies.

Detailed contingency planning for a possible attack on Iran has been carried out for more than two years by Centcom (US central command), according to defence sources.

Checkmate’s job is to add a dash of brilliance to Air Force thinking by countering the military’s tendency to “fight the last war” and by providing innovative strategies for warfighting and assessing future needs for air, space and cyberwarfare.

It is led by Brigadier-General Lawrence “Stutz” Stutzriem, who is considered one of the brightest air force generals. He is assisted by Dr Lani Kass, a former Israeli military officer and expert on cyberwarfare......."

14 Years after Oslo Accord

Today after 14 years of the agreement I, like all my Palestinian country men and woman feel the bitterness of this harvest.

By Salim Nazzal

".....It is obvious that the Palestinian leaders who negotiated with Israel went into the opposite logic, at least compared with other national movements. Other national movements fight first the proxy government made by the occupation; In Palestine Israel failed to create a cooperating Palestinian corporation of proxy government, yet the tragic thing is that “we” negotiated Israel in order to have a proxy government and regardless of the intention of the Palestinian negotiators that is what has become of the Oslo accord, continuous occupation with a Palestinian stamp. Some may come with the argument that the Palestinian authority government has brought some positive things. This is controversial, but if it true the damage which occurred to the whole struggle is huge compared with the minor benefits if existed. Therefore I believe this period must be the period of drawing clearer and even sharper lines. In other words we need to make a clear and sharp demarcation message to all concerned that Palestinians are not interested any longer in time wasted negotiations. In the shadow of this type of negotiations Israel is imposing facts on the ground which will complicate the whole struggle. Future negotiations must be based on international resolutions and laws and not on the mood of the negotiators. In the absence of clear cut rod instrument made sharply by Palestinians Israel is able to coin false statements such the statement that there is no Palestinian partner for peace, the counter statement should be that Israel is not ready to respect the international resolutions ,when it is ready Palestinians are there. In fact Palestinian negotiators do not have to do much work other than to fill their suit cases the UN resolutions which are the valid references for this conflict. Yet before anything done in this regard the Palestinian duty on the domestic level must be done in great responsibility where the priority for the Palestinian political parties must start in recognizing the simple fact that there is no wisdom at all to go to negotiate the enemy while fighting the brother. "

The war on Gaza's children

By Saree Makdisi
(professor of English literature at UCLA and the author of "Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation," forthcoming from Norton)

The Los Angeles Times, via

".....It is a violation of international law to collectively punish more than a million people for something they did not do. According to the Geneva Convention, to which it is a signatory, Israel actually has the obligation to ensure the well-being of the people on whom it has chosen to impose a military occupation for more than four decades.

Instead, it has shrugged off the law. It has ignored the repeated demands of the U.N. Security Council. It has dismissed the International Court of Justice in the Hague. What John Dugard, the U.N.'s special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied territories, refers to as the "carefully managed" strangulation of Gaza - in full view of an uncaring world - is explicitly part of its strategy. "The idea," said Dov Weisglass, an Israeli government advisor, "is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not make them die of hunger.""

Beneath the Hideous Veneer of "Security"

Civil Society and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict


"......Reading these words, I was struck by a sense of déjà vu and had to double check the source to certify that they were in fact spoken 31 years ago. Unfortunately, however, although the similarities with present day circumstances are remarkable, the situation that we face vis a vis the Palestinian issue today is far more serious.

Noam Chomsky's response to my upbeat description of last year's UN's Conference in Geneva on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People was that if things did not soon improve on the ground in the occupied Palestinian territories, the next such conference "would be a wake." It was a sobering reminder of just how dire the situation has become; how, in Chomsky's words we are currently witnessing an event almost unprecedented in the modern era: the systematic, deliberate and long-term destruction of an entire nation......

By understanding this we are forced to confront the sudden cynical embrace by both Israel and the US of Mahmoud Abbas and his disturbing acquiescence in this embrace. Abbas' illegal government-by-decree has agreed not only to avoid any dialogue or attempts at reconciliation with Hamas; it has also accepted ­ in Orwellian fashion-the US/Israeli designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization. Indeed Abbas himself while lauding the values of freedom and democracy announced on Israeli television that he would refuse to "conduct negotiations with murderers." Surely his Israeli and American backers have satisfied their immediate aims of making him an honorary Warrior on Terror. Thus, with help from his foreign backers, Abbas' Fatah faction has succeeded in splitting the Palestinian National Movement in half making it easier still for the Israelis to continue to destroy the economic, social, cultural and political fabric of Palestine. Who are these people that they would sacrifice on the altar of celebrity, power and corruption the historic struggle and soul of Palestine? The path on which this cynical triumvirate of power is moving leads inexorably to a fate none of us here would seriously like to contemplate.

Last November I had the pleasure of returning to Gaza to visit friends to whom I owe more than I can ever say. Yet the visit called up the usual mixture of emotions that fill one's heart with the beauty and anguish that is Gaza today. In the midst of a lovely family gathering, of laughter, warmth and an uncanny sense to me of belonging, the treacherous thundering guns of "Operation Autumn Clouds" commenced in the north, in Beit Hanoun. In the days that followed I visited the Shifa and Kamal Adwan hospitals ­the ICU wards full of badly wounded civilians- and the morgues on which the dead men, women and children lay silently on cold, silver freezer trays.

What was more troubling to me than anything else was not the absurdity and injustice of these deaths; the on-going brutality and barbarism that a state has adopted under a hideous veneer of "security needs." No, what bothered me most was the chilling familiarity of the scenes: Jenin, Rafah, Gaza City, Khan Yunis, Ramallah, Nablus, Beitunia, El-Bireh, Qalandia, Beit Sahour, Hebron I can no longer remember which place bore which of these unspeakable tragedies. All I know is that they show no sign of ending and that, my friends, is why our messages here at this conference must be urgently heeded."

Blackwater: Hired Guns, Above the Law

By Jeremy Scahill

Editor's Note: This is an edited transcript of the prepared testimony of Jeremy Scahill before the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, September 21, 2007.

"......It is long past due for the actions of Blackwater USA and the other private military firms operating in Iraq--actions carried out in the names of the American people and with US tax dollars--to be carefully and thoroughly investigated by the US Congress. For the Iraqi people, this is a matter of life, and far too often, death. In the bigger picture, this body should seriously question whether the linking of corporate profits to war making is in the best interests of this nation and the world. I would humbly submit that the chairs of relevant committees in both the House and Senate use their power of subpoena to compel the heads of the major war contracting companies operating on the US payroll in Iraq to appear publicly before the American people and answer for the actions of their forces. I am prepared to answer any questions."

Giuliani, Greenwald, and Israel

By Kurt Nimmo

"It should come as no surprise Rudy Giuliani is a stark raving neocon. One glance at Giuliani’s foreign policy team—stacked with the usual suspects from the American Enterprise Institute, the Hoover Institution, and the Heritage Foundation—and it should be obvious what sort of decider-commander guy Giuliani would be, not that he has a snowball’s chance in hell of getting anywhere near the White House. No, the White House is reserved for the Bilderberg Queen, Hillary, and the “field,” as it is called, is little more than a dog and pony show for distracted Americans, who think they live in a democracy.

“Rudy Giuliani talked tough on Iran yesterday, proposing to expand NATO to include Israel and warning that if Iran’s leaders go ahead with their goal to be a nuclear power ‘we will prevent it, or we will set them back five or 10 years,’” Newsday reported earlier this week. “Giuliani’s implied threat of a U.S. or allied attack on Iran’s nuclear capabilities goes further than the hard line against Iran by most other Republican presidential hopefuls, and even exceeds the stern warnings of the Bush White House.” In fact, this “hard line” is more of the same, albeit a bit shriller than the typical neocon superfluity of warmongering. But then Rudy is attempting to stand out from the other “hopefuls,” all of them down to the man and women—with the notable exception of Ron Paul—calling for continued mass murder and war crimes......"

Israeli arrested due to frequent visits to Lebanon


"An Israeli citizen has been arrested in Lebanon, Lebanese local media reported on Saturday. The reports say that the man was arrested due to frequent visits to Lebanon using a foreign passport. The German embassy in Beirut confirmed on Saturday that a man by the name of Daniel Sharon had in fact been arrested, but could not confirm the man's nationality. According to Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, Daniel Sharon was arrested on Thursday following an investigation into the murder of a Lebanese citizen. During the murder investigation it had emerged that the German-Israeli dual citizen had visited Lebanon 11 times over the last two years. Sharon denied allegations he was on an espionage mission. According to reports, Lebanese police was investigating a murder of a man found dead in his home. The victim had been shot with a gun belonging to a security worker who had been his roommate. The roommate was summoned for questioning, and maintained that he had lost his gun.
The roommate also said that during the time of the murder, he had been with his German friend who lives at the Four Points Sheraton hotel in Beirut. A hotel employee told the police that Sharon had paid him a sum of money in exchange for not writing his full name on any documents. The media also reported that Sharon had visited Lebanon 11 times since 2005, once immediately prior to the Second Lebanon War with Israel last summer. His last visit was four days prior to his arrest, and he was scheduled to leave on the day of his arrest. It later emerged that Sharon had his security worker friend on trips abroad on several occasions, and in exchange the man helped Sharon within Lebanon."

Hamas women protest to free loyalists from Palestinian jails

"Hundreds of female Hamas supporters, some fully veiled, marched Saturday to demand the release of members of the Islamic militant group from Palestinian jails.

The protest was the first during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan held by Hamas loyalists in the West Bank, which is ruled by rival group Fatah. Previous protests in support of Hamas have ended in violence.

Palestinian police formed a chain to prevent the women, some covering their faces and others wearing headscarves and long coats, from gathering in Ramallah's main square, where protests traditionally converge......

Sabah Katalouni, 41, said her husband, a 50-year-old municipal official, was arrested Friday after security officials broke into their house and fired in the air. Katalouni said pro-Fatah officials beat her husband and her son. "They are oppressors," she said of Fatah.

"It is Ramadan and our brothers and fathers are in Abbas's jails," said a woman who gave her name only as Rula. "We are one Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank... Abbas is helping the Israelis by jailing his own people."

The women said some 700 Hamas loyalists have been arrested in the West Bank since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip by force in June, and that some 150 still remain in jail without charge.

Palestinian human rights groups have said some Hamas loyalists were harshly beaten during arrests........"

Palestinian police, in coordination with Israel, seize over 100 residents of Huwwara

"Nablus – Ma'an – Dozens of Palestinian police officers, in collaboration with the Israeli military, raided the village of Huwwara, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, on Friday night in an attempt to control the security situation which has reportedly deteriorated in recent days.

Huwwara is located in Area B, which in terms to the Oslo Accords, falls under Palestinian civil administration and Israeli security control. However, the Oslo Accords are widely considered to be defunct after the Israeli reinvasion of areas under full PA control in late 2001.

Director of Nablus police, Ahmad Sharqawi, told Ma'an that the Palestinian police seized dozens of local residents, who were 'wanted' for contraventions of Palestinian justice and law.

Sharqawi added that the operation was undertaken by the police department, with reinforcement from the Palestinian national security, and there was coordination with the Israeli authorities to allow the Palestinian police to enter the area......"

Barak: profile of a brutal child-killer

From Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank

"Ehud Barak, the certified Zionist war criminal, is threatening to turn Gaza Strip into a full-fledged concentration camp. Last week, the Israeli war minister who is believed to be responsible for the murder of hundreds of Palestinian children during the first few months of the Aqsa Intifada in 2000 and 2001, disclosed a new policy toward the Gaza Strip resembling very much the manner in which the Nazi authorities treated Jews in the course of World War II.

Barak said he would make sure that very little food and medicine will be allowed to reach Gaza. He also said that Israel would cut off electricity supplies to the hermetically blockaded costal enclave which already looks very much like a concentration camp.

For those who don’t know, Barak has a long history of criminality and murderousness toward the Palestinians. In 1998, when he wanted to impress the Israeli public to elect him as Prime Minister, he had to remind them of the most graphic details of one of his murderous missions in Beirut. The ghoulish tactic worked, and the Israeli Jewish public gave him a certificate of good conduct.

Now Barak is planning to become Prime Minister once again, and his way to expedite and accelerate his plans in this regard is by murdering Palestinian children nearly on a daily basis. On Thursday, 20 December, the Israeli occupation army murdered three additional Palestinian minors in the Gaza Strip. One of the boys was crushed to death by an American-supplied bulldozer. Graphic pictures of the badly-mutilated boy were shown all over the world, while Israeli boys and girls on talkback forums were busy congratulating themselves “on teaching Palestinians a lesson.!”....

In the final analysis, killing knowingly is killing deliberately, and when the killing happens on a daily basis and the number of civilian victims is in the hundreds or thousands, intent becomes irrelevant. It is widely understood that one of the main reasons for the persistent and unmitigated pornographic killings of helpless and unprotected Palestinians is the disgraceful silence of the international community, especially the United States , toward Israeli criminality.

This is not a new behavior. The US always looked the other way whenever Israel indulged in murdering civilians, even when there is no question as to the deliberate targeting of civilians, as was the case during Israel’s genocidal campaign against Lebanon in 2006, as testified by Human Rights Watch and other human rights organizations.

Of course, a country that killed or caused the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians under the false rubric of ridding Iraq of its non-existent weapons of mass destruction can’t be expected to behave morally. After all, the last thing racist and Godless Ashkenazi Jews who hold the Bush administration by the throat, is matters of justice and morality.....

Today, the creeping Jewish genocide in Palestine takes many forms. These include starving millions of innocent Palestinians, barring Palestinians from accessing food and work, mainly by transforming their population centers into detention camps and constantly killing Palestinians, including children.

True, the scope of the daily killings has not reached the Auschwitz levels. But the fact that it hasn’t is not attributed to Zionist morality or magnanimity but rather to concerns about possible reactions by the international public opinions. This means that Israel, a country that has much in common with Nazi Germany, wouldn’t hesitate to adopt a more daring approach toward the Palestinians if the world’s callous indifference toward the Palestinian plight continued.

In short, the world has to make its stand clear. Is it willing to allow Israel to commit a holocaust by killing and/or causing the death of tens of thousands of Palestinians? Does the world believe that a holocaust against the Palestinians will be kosher just because Jews, not Germans, happen to be the perpetrators? In the early 1940s, the world, or much of it, stood silent as the Gestapo, SS and the Wehrmacht were exterminating innocent people, Jews and non-Jews in order to fulfil the nefarious concept of “the Master race.” Now, the world is passively watching Israel’s creeping genocide against the Palestinians, all in the name of Jewish nationalism and “the chosen people.”

Has humanity reverted to the age of cannibalism?"

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

Do you see the necessity of international protection for the Lebanese presidential elections?

With about 700 responding so far, 77% said no.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Arab World Today.....
(Click on to enlarge and for a closer look)

Showing Maliki Who The Real Mafia Don Is: US Embassy Resumes Some Travel With Help of Blackwater Security Firm

"The U.S. Embassy resumed limited travel by road with Blackwater USA protection in Baghdad on Friday. As VOA's Jim Randle reports, the move came just days after all travel by land by U.S. officials was suspended amid public outrage over the killing of civilians by private guards from the American company......"

Aid groups, UN protest Israeli sanctions move on Gaza

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

"JERUSALEM, 20 September 2007 (IRIN) - An Israeli cabinet decision on 19 September, which declared the Gaza Strip a "hostile entity" and which would allow the state to cut fuel and electricity supplies to the enclave, has been immediately condemned by aid and human rights organisations.....

Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said the decision is in line with international law and "it's not going to affect the humanitarian needs of the population in the Gaza Strip."

However, Oxfam International disagreed.

"Reducing the fuel supplies to a bare minimum [will] only increase the suffering of one and a half million people in Gaza, and constitutes collective punishment," said Jeremy Hobbs, the group's executive director, adding it would be "immoral and contrary to the Geneva Conventions".

Cutting power, legal experts said, would not distinguish between civilians and militants.

Israel maintains it has very limited responsibility for the Gaza Strip since its 2005 redeployment of troops and settlers from the territory. Amnesty International, however, believes the Jewish state, is "ultimately responsible for ensuring the welfare of the… Palestinians who live in the Gaza Strip", since it "retains effective control" over the area.

The Israeli human rights group Gisha said the decision was "dangerous, because operating rooms, emergency services, sewage pumps and water wells cannot run without electricity". "

The Zionist Question

A History of Violence

(professor of economics at Northeastern University, and author of Challenging the New Orientalism: Dissenting Essays on America's 'War Against Islam')

"......Yet few Zionists would deny one central fact of their history: and that is the history of violence that has attended the insertion of Jewish colons into the Middle East. The history of the Zionist movement in Palestine--it can scarcely be disputed--has been attended by violence between the Jewish settlers and the Palestinians; it has led to unending conflicts between Arab societies and Israel; and these conflicts continue to draw Western powers, especially the United States since 1945, into ever widening clashes with the Islamic world.

The history of this violence was contained in the Zionist idea itself. Violence is integral to Zionism: not incidental to it.

This violent history of Zionism had been foreseen by the early Zionists in their private musings; and certainly, the risks inherent in Zionism could scarcely remain hidden once its victims began to resist the colonization of their lands. However, the Zionists chose to shelve these concerns, convinced that the 'natives' lacked the will, organization and resources to derail their plans.

Thus it is that the Zionists, who engaged in voluminous and intense discussions about the nature of their movement, never developed a coherent "Arab doctrine" that would examine and appraise the unfolding Arab response to Zionism.

In part, they may have felt that this was unnecessary. After all, many of the early Zionists--according to Ahad Ha'am writing in 1891--believed that "the Arabs are all savages who live like animals and do not understand what is happening around them." Why worry about these "savages," when they were sure to be swept away by the inexorable advance of civilization the Jewish settlers were introducing into the region?.....

Yet, there is little reason for optimism. Israel cannot render justice to the Palestinians without abolishing its exclusively Jewish character, without dismantling the apartheid that grinds the Palestinians.

No colonialism yet has restrained itself because the colonial masters had acquired a conscience. It was force that stopped them: countervailing force, with or without violence......."

This could be why people are pretty quiet about the latest "AQ" releases

Missing Links

"......What strikes me as even more peculiar is that this is heppening at the same time that the "AlQaeda" message is becoming noticeably more Bush-like, by which I mean that the stress is more and more on the irreconcilable and open-ended "war of cultures" nature of the conflict, (as opposed to earlier positions that in effect said "as you kill you will be killed", suggesting that the conflicts were thought of as defined). And in this context the Zawahiri remarks about killing the French and Spanish in the Maghreb are particularly telling.

So these two things are happening at the same time: These messages are filtered through Washington-based groups, and the content of the messages is increasingly supportive of the idea of an open-ended and endless war between Islam and the West.

There is another piece of this picture. Increasingly people are speculating about the possibility that Bush will have to forego some of his warlike plans because at some point his term of office will run out, and the question then becomes how he will go about setting the table to make sure that a successor Democratic administration is faced with no alternative but to continue down the same road. Surely (just thinking of the logic of it), if the Bush-Cheney people were able to ratchet up the "AlQaeda" issue as an imminent threat to, say, the nuclear state of Pakistan, or to a cleansing of white people from North Africa, that would go a long way to serve that purpose."

Ahmad Yousef (Habila's Advisor): Hamas is the key


Following the same footsteps of Yassir Arafat:

"......Hamas is a bulwark in the face of radical and militant ideas and trends. Policies whose aim is the isolation or marginalization of Hamas will not only fail but will also set the stage for the spread of extremist thinking in occupied Palestine. Allowing Hamas to participate in the Palestinian political process will encourage the growth and development of pragmatic ideas and instruments of political action. It will also allow tolerance and respect for pluralism and diversity to strike root in Palestinian political culture. The West should ask itself whether it wants the moderation and realism of Hamas or the dogmatism of radical groups that subscribe to the clash of civilizations theory."

Robert Ménard, of Reporters without Borders, follows in Washington’s steps and legitimizes torture

by Salim Lamrani

"......How can one try to defend human rights when a practice as abominable and inhuman as torture is justified? What remains of Robert Menard’s and Reporters without Border’s credibility – the two are so intimately connected that it is impossible to disassociate them—when they justify the unjustifiable? The secretary general of RSF showed his true face. He doesn’t defend freedom of the press but the hateful practices of the CIA. But, is it really surprising when it is financed by the National Endowment for Democracy (10), which is no more than an Agency front according to the New York Times? (11)"

Where Justice Seems Very Far Away

Letter from Lebanon

(Assistant Professor of International Relations in the Dept. of Political Studies and Public Administration at the American University of Beirut)

".......It is too early to tell what the precise fall out from this latest murder will be. Alas, genuine statesmen capable of rising above petty interests are in short supply here, and Lebanese will now expect more assassinations as Lebanon head towards a worst case scenario, namely the formation of two governments (in case no consensus is reached before the current President's term expires on 24 November) and the effective partition of the country, not to mention state institutions. If this is allowed to happen, the future could be grim indeed.

Yesterday's events cannot be taken out of the larger regional context. Just as prospects for Lebanon's unity was taking a beating-and Iraq continues its violent spiral towards partition-Palestine was being further divided with Israel officially declaring Gaza, now a huge prison with 1.5 million people living in atrocious conditions, a "hostile territory" (with American blessing). Leaving aside the obvious legal and humanitarian considerations of such a provocative move by Israel, as noted by the UN Secretary General, it is clear that the Arab region is undergoing yet another round of internationally-sponsored violence and perhaps even partition, redrawing the regional map along the line fantasized by some neocons. The objective of such policy is to establish a string of "pro-US" (and neoliberal) regimes across the region and punish the "bad guys," those state (e.g., Iran, Syria) or non-state (e.g., Hizbullah, Hamas) actors who reject Pax Americana and Israeli regional hegemony......"

Dehumanizing the Palestinians

Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, Sep 21, 2007

".....There have been barely audible bleats of protest from the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon ("Such a step would be contrary to Israel's obligations towards the civilian population under international humanitarian and human rights law") and the European Union ("The [European] Commission hopes that Israel will not find it necessary to implement the measures for which the [cabinet] decisions set the framework yesterday."

What? It hopes that Israel will not find it necessary to cut off water supplies to 1.5 million people of whom half are children?

These statements serve only to underline that Israel operates in a context where the "international community" has become inured to a discourse of extermination of the Palestinian people -- political and physical.

Yossi Alpher...argued coolly this week that Israel should murder the democratically-elected leaders who won the Palestinian legislative election in January 2006 -- calling for "decapitating the Hamas leadership, both military and 'civilian.'"

Alpher incited the murder of democratically-elected politicians not in a fringe, right-wing journal, but in the European Union-funded online newsletter Bitterlemons, which he co-founded along with former Palestinian Authority minister Ghassan Khatib...... Indeed, in the current political climate, any attempt to exclude Alpher might even be cast as an attack on academic freedom!

Declarations that reduce Palestinians to bare biological life that can be extinguished without any moral doubt are not isolated exceptions. In May, as reported by The Jerusalem Post, Israel's former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu issued a religious ruling to the prime minister "that there was absolutely no moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians during a potential massive military offensive on Gaza aimed at stopping the rocket launchings" (See "Top Israeli rabbis advocate genocide," The Electronic Intifada, 31 May 2007). I could find no statement by any prominent Israeli figure condemning Eliyahu's ruling.

And, in a September 6 blog posting, an advisor to leading US Republican Presidential hopeful Rudolph Giuliani argued for "shutting off utilities to the Palestinian Authority as well as a host of other measures, such as permitting no transportation in the PA of people or goods beyond basic necessities, implementing the death penalty against murderers, and razing villages from which attacks are launched.".....Giuliani faced no calls from other candidates to dismiss the advisor for advocating ethno-religiously motivated war crimes. Indeed the presence of such a person in his campaign might even be an electoral asset.

The latest Israeli government declaration comes as Palestinians this week marked the 25th anniversary of the massacres in Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut, in which the Israeli occupation army and political leadership were full participants. We can reflect that Israel's dehumanization of Palestinians and other Arabs, its near daily killing of children, destruction of communities and racist apartheid against millions of people has been so normalized that if those massacres occurred today Israel would not need to go through the elaborate exercise of denying its culpability. Indeed, the "international community" might barely notice."

By Tom Toles

Making a killing: how private armies became a $120bn global industry

The Independent

"......Now the mercenary trade comes with its own business jargon. Guns for hire come under the umbrella term of privatised military firms, with their own acronym PMFs. The industry itself has done everything it can to shed the "mercenary" tag and most companies avoid the term "military" in preference for "security". "The term mercenary is not accurate," says Mr Ayers, who argues that military personnel in defensive roles should be distinguished from soldiers of fortune.......

Private soldiers are involved in all stages of war, from training and war-gaming before the invasion to delivering supplies. Camp Doha in Kuwait, the launch-pad for the invasion, was built by private contractors.

It is not just the military that has turned to the private sector, humanitarian agencies are dependent on PMFs in almost every war zone from Bosnia to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Which raises the next market the industry would like to see opened: peacekeeping. And the lobbying has already begun."

Welcome to Planet Gaza

A Great Piece
By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"....."Friendly" Palestinian Authority chairman Abbas - who meets his friend Bush next week in New York - only called it "oppressive". It was up to one of his ministers, Ashraf Ajami, to dare to use the crystal-clear words "collective punishment".

Voices of reason in Israel, such as Meretz (leftist political party) chairman Yossi Beilin, at least had the courage to denounce the plan as "foolish as well as dangerous".

University of Michigan professor and Informed Comment blogger Juan Cole has defined Gaza as "the worst outcome of Western colonialism anywhere in the world outside the Belgian Congo". And just like contemporary Belgium in relation to the Congo, Israel will never admit to what it has inflicted on Palestine.

No wonder Likud superstar Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu loves these Likudnik-style methods. It proves how the majority of Israel's political elite is still wallowing in the mire of Zeev Jabotinsky, a Zionist in love with fascism in 1930s Europe. This treatment of Palestinians bears all the elements of fascism: radical (Israeli) nationalism; racism (the demonization of Palestinians as a sub-race); colonialism; expansionism (the goal of Israel); a penchant for a military dictatorship (the preferred method for ruling Palestinians); and absolute indifference to the point of despising the (Arab) poor.

As much as peace and security for Israel are more than a just cause, the colonization and hardcore repression of the "friendly" West Bank and "hostile" Gaza are nothing but fascism. Professor Toni Negri, author of Empire and Multitudes, is one among throngs of top public intellectuals appalled that among so much cosmopolitanism at a global level, many Jews are simply not part of it, and are still attracted by "archaic and barbarian" ideologies such as Zionism.

Get me to my gulag on time
Planet Gaza may be our contemporary Congo - the heart of darkness, especially when taken in conjunction with that other heart of darkness, Iraq. There's nothing about a "Korea model" in Iraq - as much as Washington will try to keep an array of permanent military bases in Mesopotamia.

The logic of the US in Iraq is pure Planet Gaza. French geopolitical master Alain Joxe, in his book L'Empire du chaos, has been one of the few who have identified Palestine as the ultimate live textbook on urban repression - a "technical experiment" in the ultimate red zone carefully studied by the Pentagon, with all its known attributes (blast walls, checkpoints, pinpoint military incursions and "acquisition of targets", collective punishment, etc).

The Israeli wall penetrating the "friendly" West Bank like a dagger has been replicated by mini-walls in Baghdad. As much as Israeli armed settler/missionaries do their ethnic cleansing in slow motion in Palestine, mercenary Blackwater and their ilk do the dirty work in Iraq. "Friendly" West Bank Fatah and "hostile" Gaza Hamas are mirrored in Iraq by the "good" (Sunni tribes, collaborator Shi'ite parties Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, Da'wa, the Kurds) and the "bad" (Sunni guerrillas, al-Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers, the Shi'ite Mahdi Army).

Iraq is actually Planet Gaza redux. According to British polling organization ORB, no fewer than 1.2 million Iraqis may have died violent deaths, most of them caused directly or indirectly by the occupation, since 2003. That's close to the entire population of Gaza.

Invisibility is also part of the logic of Planet Gaza. Invisibility at least for US and Israeli exceptionalism - as both could not possibly assimilate the hard truth pointing to US and Israeli administrations killing loads of innocent Arab civilians. The "international community" - an antiseptic construct that basically means the US and western Europe - may not see it; autocratic, incompetent, corrupt Arab leaders may not see it; but the real world - public opinion in the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, Asia, Russia - sees Planet Gaza for what it is. It's not about "al-Qaeda". It's not about "Islamo-fascist terrorists". It's about fighting neocolonialism. It's about national liberation. And - barring any possibility of dialogue - it's about perennial blowback.

George W. Bush's Thug Nation

It’s said that over time Presidents – especially two-termers – imbue the nation with their personalities and priorities, for good or ill. If that’s true, it could help explain the small-minded mean-spiritedness that seems to be pervading the behavior of the United States these days, both at home and abroad.

By Robert Parry

"On a global level, the world reads about trigger-happy Blackwater “security contractors” mowing down civilians in Baghdad, the U.S. military killing unarmed people under loose “rules of engagement” in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and the CIA “rendering” suspected Islamists to secret prisons or to third-country dungeons where torture is practiced. Inside the United States, too, a police-state mentality is taking hold.

After more than six years of having dissent against President George W. Bush equated with disloyalty, police from Capitol Hill to college campuses are treating vocal disagreement as grounds for violently “taking down” citizens, while bouncers at campaign rallies hustle away prospective hecklers and police preemptively detain protesters or stick them in faraway “free-speech zones.”......"

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Crushing Protest Using U.S.-Built Bulldozers is Standard Zionist Policy.
This Was a 16-Year Old Palestinian Boy in Gaza, Crushed to Death on Thursday, September 20.
Eat Your Hearts Out, Nazis!

(AFP photo)

Surprise, Surprise......UN finds 40 new W. Bank roadblocks in two months

"Despite repeated promises to reduce the number of roadblocks in the West Bank, Israel has in fact added dozens of new ones, according to the United Nations.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak promised U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice this week to remove 24 roadblocks and consider additional alleviations of movement restrictions on the Palestinians. This followed a similar promise to alleviate movement restrictions that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

However, the number of roadblocks has now reached 572, an increase of 52 percent compared to 376 in August 2005, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). In the past two months alone, Israel put up 40 new roadblocks, OCHA said......"

Blackwater: Shadow Army

The Nation's Jeremy Scahill describes the rise of Blackwater USA, the world's most powerful mercenary army.

Olmert: We Have Our Own Karzai

The ‘Osloization’ of the Palestinian Left

A Good Piece

By Majda Hassan
Special to

"The Osloization of the Palestinian Left is now complete. The opportunistic and unprincipled position taken by the right-wing “Left” of the PLO vis-à-vis the current standoff between Hamas and Fatah is yet another indication of the Left’s inexorable deterioration which followed its’ implicit acceptance of the Oslo accords—despite its alleged opposition to that agreement. In fact, the People’s Party never opposed the accords, but rather legitimized them by its acceptance of ministerial positions in almost every government formed since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority.

Judging by statements and analyses presented by the main Left organizations and individuals, one could conclude that, in spite of its rich revolutionary tradition, the Left has been hijacked by right-wing cabals, whose interest is intertwined with that of the political elite of Oslo. Although I fail to understand how a nation can have elections under the boot of a brutal occupying power, I still naively thought that the Palestinian Left, and liberal forces for that matter, would seize the unique opportunity which arose as a result of that democratic process in January 2006 and support and strengthen it. The long held slogans of “from and for the masses” and “long live the people” turned out to be hollow......

The Palestinian Left has a historical mission that it has not lived up to; a mission that should take resistance and democracy as the two torches which will lead to freedom. Alas, it has failed miserably and what is left of the Left is just rhetoric that has nothing to do with the rich legacy of the historical leaders and fighters that radicalized the concept of struggle, not only locally, but also internationally. This Left has not been able to adapt to the new realities which face the Palestinian people. A “new” Left is, therefore, necessary; a Left that is completely free of the Oslo legacy; one that can provide a democratic alternative to the two-state industry. This “new” Left must, together with other popular forces of resistance, strategize and build on international solidarity and boycott campaigns, in a united front, to confront the Zionist and imperialist onslaught. Is there a way of reaching the ears of the Left in Palestine? Alas, the signs are not that encouraging."

بشارة: "حماس" تواجه مؤامرة لتقليص هامش المناورة أمامها بين المقاومة والسلطة

"الدوحة - المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام

قال المفكر الفلسطيني الدكتور عزمي بشارة إن الشعب الفلسطيني شعب مسيّس وذو تجربة سياسية، وإن الحصار المفروض عليه قد يؤدي إلى رد فعل حقيقية تجعله يوحد صفوفه ويقلب القضية.

وأضاف، في تصريح أدلى به في برنامج "ما وراء الخبر" الذي بثته قناة الجزيرة الفضائية: "إن حركة حماس، والتي هي حركة منتخبة ولم تعترف الولايات المتحدة بها، تواجه مؤامرة لتقلص هامش المناورة أمامها بين المقاومة والبقاء في السلطة، وذلك في أعقاب القرارات الإسرائيلية الأخيرة، بشأن اعتبار قطاع غزة كيانا معادياً، علاوة على دعم وزيرة الخارجية الأمريكية، غونداليزا رايس، لهذا القرار، وتأكيدها أن الولايات المتحدة أيضاً تعتبر حركة حماس كياناً معادياً".

وأشار بشارة، وهو نائب سابق في البرلمان الصهيوني قدّم استقالته احتجاجاً على سياسة الاحتلال ويقيم خارج الأراضي الفلسطينية المحتلة إلى أن "هدف المؤامرة على حركة حماس هو جعل هامش المناورة أمام حركة حماس يقل ويضيق تدريجياً، بين بقائها في السلطة ومطالبتها باحترام اتفاقيات السلطة من جهة، وبين المقاومة من جهة أخرى". مشيراً في الوقت نفسه أن حركة حماس "لن تقف في وجه المقاومة ولن تستطيع أن تلتزم بالاتفاقيات الموقعة".

وأضاف أنه يتعين على حركة حماس، انطلاقاً من كون الشعب الفلسطيني يرفض الاحتلال، ويطالب بالقدس وعودة اللاجئين، "أن تجد الطريق المناسب، حتى لو عن طريق التخلي عن السلطة"، كما قال.

كما لفت بشارة النظر إلى أن الحصار المفروض على الشعب الفلسطيني، وبدل أن يشغل الإنسان الفلسطيني بقضايا مثل الماء والوقود، "قد يؤدي إلى انفجار، وتوحد الشعب الفلسطيني ضد إسرائيل".

وفي السياق ذاته؛ نوه إلى أن الشعب الفلسطيني، والذي هو شعب مسيس وذو تجربة سياسية طويلة، "قد يوحد صفوفه ويقلب القضية، ما يؤدي إلى رد فعل حقيقية، خاصة في ظل ممارسات الاحتلال في الضفة الغربية، علاوة على أنه لم يتبق لدى إسرائيل ما تعطيه للسلطة الفلسطينية".

وردا على السؤال: "هل تعتقد أنه أن لهذه الخطوة انعكاسات في المدى القريب على المستوى السياسي؟"، أجاب بشارة "يجب أن يكون للسلطة الفلسطينية موقف واضح، ولا تكفي تصريحات الإدانة، يجب اتخاذ خطوات عملية ورص الصفوف وتوحيدها الآن في وجه مخطط يستهدف كافة الشعب الفلسطيني". "

There We Go Again.....secret negotiations between Fatah and Hamas to end political stalemate

What is Ahmad Youssef Smoking Anyway?

"Bethlehem – Ma'an exclusive - The political adviser to the de facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, told Ma'an on Thursday that Fatah and Hamas have engaged in a secret dialogue, in an attempt to break the current political deadlock.

Ahmad Youssef also revealed the details of draft solutions drawn up by various Arab mediators, negotiating between the two sides.

"The conditions are now better for the two sides to accept Arab interventions and there are efforts and the willingness by Fatah and the presidency to deal with them," he told Ma'an.

He also added that there are factions within the Fatah movement and the presidency that are more willing than ever to accept mediation.

"Reconciliation will be achieved after all institutions and security sites are turned back to the Palestinian authority, and the Cairo and the Mecca agreements are implemented. We will hand over everything on condition we sit around the negotiating table so as to restructure several issues, specifically the security file," he said.

Truce with Israel

Youssef said that Hamas is ready for a long-term truce with Israel, adding that Hamas was ready to commit the Palestinian parties to the ceasefire if in turn Israel committed itself to opening the crossings.

But he threatened to use "all means" in response to Israeli attacks, the continued blockade of the Gaza Strip and the world's indifference to the suffering of the Palestinians.

"We have received communications from religious institutions and Jewish rabbis to try to maintain a truce for six months in exchange for keeping the crossings open," he said.

Youssef said that contact between Hamas, religious institutions and Jewish rabbis may play a prominent role in the solution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He claimed that the rabbis have a strong relationship with the Israeli Defense Ministry and they are trying to contact Hamas to set up a meeting in the Gaza Strip. "

With friends like these...

By Sami Moubayed
Al-Ahram Weekly

"The Syrians are disappointed with the synchronised silence of the Arab world over the latest Israeli aerial invasion of Syria, which took place on 6 September. They complained to the UN Security Council on 11 September. The Syrians are equally disgusted with the stream of accusations -- all of which they insist are false -- that are coming out of the US media, claiming that the Syrian village of Tal Abyad was being used to host nuclear weapons from North Korea. Other US media reports say that the Israeli jets hit a shipment of arms bound from Iran to Hizbullah in South Lebanon. In an interview with CBS, President Bashar Al-Assad insisted that Hizbullah does not receive arms from the Syrians. The Syrians have long been saying that they are not interested in nuclear weapons, and never miss an opportunity to call for a nuclear-free Middle East that applies -- first and foremost -- to Israel......

With regard to the accusation that the attack targeted a shipment of Iranian arms bound for Lebanon, that also is highly questionable. If the Israelis had any proof of that, they would have made it headline news, taken photographs of the wreckage and shown them on CNN. The fact that they had no footage -- and were incredibly silent about the entire ordeal -- means that they were embarrassed about something. They went into Syria, with a target in mind, and either did not find it or found something completely different that made them look silly in the international community. States after all are bound by the UN Charter. They are not supposed to violate their neighbour's airspace unless they have very convincing evidence that they can display to the entire world, justifying their actions. The Israelis did not have that. When one intrudes into another country's airspace, with no valid reason, then this is considered an act of aggression. It gives Syria the right to strike back. Bashar Al-Jaafari, Syria's ambassador to the UN, told the BBC Arabic service: "The Syrian response is yet to come." His colleague in Washington, Ambassador Emad Mustafa, added, "Israel will not be permitted to do whatever it wants without paying a price." Nobody can blame the Syrians if they strike back. It was the Israelis who escalated the crisis, not Damascus. "

Calling Israel's bluff

Washington's purported peace conference could be bad news for Abbas

By Khaled Amayreh
Al-Ahram Weekly

"The Palestinian Authority (PA) is warning Israel that it will seek reconciliation with Hamas if the upcoming American-sponsored conference in Washington fails to produce a breakthrough towards ending the 40-year-old Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.....

It is also unclear whether threats to boycott the conference and resume the "dialogue" with Hamas are genuine or just an expression of frustration stemming from a growing impression on Abbas's part that Israel is not really serious about reaching a just and durable peace that would enable the Palestinians to get rid of the Israeli military occupation.

"Many people within Abbas's immediate circle believe that if Israel and the US don't deliver, the Palestinian leadership will be absolved from any commitment or undertaking vis-à-vis Hamas," said Al-Masri.

"It is ironic that the failure of the conference will be good news for Palestinian national unity, and vice versa. In other words, the Palestinians would have to choose between a successful conference, whatever that means in real terms, or restoration of at least a semblance of national unity."......"

Refugees in their own land: 2m Iraqis forced to flee their homes

· Many move several times in search of safety and jobs
· Ethnic map redrawn, says Red Crescent report

Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington
Thursday September 20, 2007
The Guardian

"Nearly two million Iraqis have become refugees in their own land in the past year, redrawing the ethnic and sectarian map of Baghdad and other cities, a report by the Iraqi Red Crescent said yesterday.
In Baghdad alone, nearly a million people have fled their homes.

Last month saw the sharpest rise so far in the numbers of Iraqis forced to abandon their homes - 71.1%.

The forced migration raises questions about claims from the Bush administration that the civilian protection plan at the core of its war strategy is making Iraq safer for Iraqis.

Instead, data compiled by Red Crescent staff and volunteers in Iraq's 18 provinces suggests many Iraqis have failed to find real safety or sustainable living conditions after being forced to leave their homes. Some families have been uprooted twice or even three times in search of safety, affordable housing, functioning water and electricity, adequate schools, and jobs........"

Video Clip: Bush inartfully suggests Saddam killed Mandela. What a Moron!

"In a press conference this morning, President Bush tried to assert that Saddam’s brutal rule over Iraq wiped the country clean of potential democratic reformers — individuals who may have possessed leadership skills like former South African President Nelson Mandela. In doing so, Bush inartfully suggested Saddam killed Mandela:

I thought an interesting comment was made — somebody said to me, I heard somebody say, “Now, where’s Mandela?” Well, Mandela’s dead because Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas.

For the record, Nelson Mandela is still alive while Saddam Hussein is dead. Watch it...."

Teen crushed by Israeli bulldozer in Gaza

"GAZA CITY (AFP) - A 16-year-old Palestinian boy was killed on Thursday after being run over by an Israeli army bulldozer during a military incursion in the Gaza Strip, medics and witnesses said.

Mahmud Kayed was run over by the bulldozer when it lurched towards a group of youths throwing rocks at the vehicle during the army incursion in the Al-Bureij refugee camp, they said......

Israeli bulldozers were ripping up farmland in the area, while soldiers were going house to house searching for militants and weapons, they said......

Families Cannot Sue Firm for Israel Deaths

"NEW YORK - The parents of Rachel Corrie, the US peace activist who was crushed to death four years ago in the then Israeli-occupied Gaza as she was protesting against the demolition of Palestinian homes, have been refused permission to sue the company which made the bulldozer that killed her.

On Monday a federal appeals court ruled that Caterpillar Inc, the Illinois-based company that has supplied several bulldozers used by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) in house demolitions in the occupied territories, could not be sued as to do so would bring the judiciary into conflict with the executive branch of the US government.

A panel of three judges argued that the legal action could not have gone to trial “without implicitly questioning, and even condemning, United States foreign policy towards Israel”.

Corrie was killed on March 16 2003 by a 60-tonne Caterpillar D9 bulldozer in Rafah, Gaza, as she was attempting to prevent the home of a Palestinian pharmacist being razed. She was wearing a fluorescent orange vest and according to witnesses in full view of the bulldozer operator.......

Caterpillar, with supporting evidence from the US government, argued that the machines had been paid for by the Pentagon as part of the government’s military aid to Israel......."

Is Israel preparing for a new attack or not?

Al-Manar special - Hasan Hijazi - Translated

"20/09/2007 Is Israel preparing for a new attack or not? A question that became valid after a sequence of pacification letters being sent by Israel to Syria. Indeed, Israeli jets breached Syrian sovereignty after several pacification letters coinciding with broader Israeli maneuvers in the occupied Golan Heights, after they were previously shifted to center and south Palestine.

Are they really pacification letters or new tricks hiding an Israeli aggression against Syria? Before the Israeli breach of Syrian airspace, the Israeli government sent several pacification letters to Damascus one of which was delivered by EU foreign policy Chief Javier Solana on the same day Israel violated Syria's airspace.

Today, Israel is still sending pacification letters to Syria to reassure it that the Israeli army broad maneuvering in the Golan Heights since Tuesday doesn't hide aggressive intentions against Damascus but aims at preventing more tensions, according to Maarif newspaper. What causes suspicion is that Israel had announced a transfer of its maneuvering from Golan to central and southern regions in order to relieve tensions as well as send pacification letters to Syria. However Israel returned to maneuvering in the Golan again.

The military pacification letter was complementary to the letters sent by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Israeli president Shemon Perez. It aims at absorbing the Syrian reaction to the Israeli breach. Bringing the maneuvering back to the Golan Heights may indirectly signal to Israel's readiness to deal with any Syrian reaction, as promised. Haaretz newspaper had mentioned that the Israeli army remains relatively on high alert in the Golan area fearing the dangers of a Syrian response.
Yo'af Limor, an Israeli military correspondent said that tension with Syria is ongoing because nobody knows how president al-Assad will decide to respond. "He will surely respond through similar attacks to that of Buenos Iris and London and the attempt to shoot down Al-A'l jet 20 years ago. All this causes pressure among Israelis.
Israeli media and academic communities accused Olmert of being behind leaks to foreign press which talked about several scenarios to what was called "the aerial operation inside Syrian territories" in an attempt to exploit the incident in order to raise his population which caved in following the July defeat in Lebanon. "

Whatever Happened to Palestine?

Justice Forgotten


".......Palestine stands as a challenge to the anti-war movement in this country. The Palestinian situation is a monstrous humanitarian catastrophe, of literally breathtaking scope. Until the anti-war movement begins to seek justice for the Palestinians and not merely some vague, undefined, and highly politicized "peace," it will never be respected throughout the world. Only when it honestly begins to protest injustice perpetrated against all peoples in the world regardless of their ethnicity and religion -- whether they are Palestinians, Iraqis, Israelis, Americans, or anyone else -- will the world look to Americans as a decent people. Until that day comes, the world can expect global injustice to deepen. The unfolding catastrophe created by U.S. policies will only worsen, wars will be endless, peace will never be achieved."

Palestinian Capitalists, NGOs, and USA Coup

Many Coup d'etats

A Landmark Article
By Dr. Adel Samara
Occupied Ramallah

"As occupied and settled by settler colonial white invaders, Palestine never enjoyed any form of independence. The first success of the Jewish settler colonial invasion took place in 1948 and the second in 1967 which conquered the rest of the country. In both, 1948 and 1967 invasions, the Zionist Ashkenazi Regime (ZAR) was financed, armed and trained, but also used, by the core capitalist ruling classes, a fact that proves that the aggression against Palestine is that of the core capitalist ruling classes[1] since the first ambush until the coming large scale war.
The British colonization of Palestine (1917), aimed at enabling the settlers to disintegrate Palestine in geographic, social, economic and class aspects. What remains in common among Palestinians, after being evicted from their Homeland is the national/political issue, or in other words, to struggle, an area in which the capitalist class did not participate.
During the long march of Palestinian resistance against the Jewish settlers and the British colonialism since the first imperialist war (1914-1919), the contribution of Palestinian capitalism to the struggle, was nearly zero[2].
It is more evident through the last, but long and continuous wave of Palestinian resistance against the occupation in 1967, that  capitalists are either collaborates, sub-contractors to Israeli capital, or being busy looking for feasible niches to invest, what I once called "to invest according to possible ceilings, i.e. areas or sectors which are either neglected by Zionist capital or not competing with it[3] ". At its best, capital was busy in its own affairs, not in the national cause. This assures the fact that, Palestinian bourgeoisie is a passive local capitalist class, but not a "nationalist" capitalist class as some naïve Marxists prefer to call.
Moreover, Palestinian capitalists were never a source of financing to the resistance movement, i.e. PLO. This is one of the reasons for PLO's dependency on Arab regimes whose goal was to weaken its revolutionary spirit aiming to block its influence from spreading to Arab masses. This form of dependency on the ruling classes, and not alliance with Arab masses, was a pre-emptive step to oblige PLO, as a 'consumerist' resistance movement to depend on enemies' money, i.e. the capitalist donors, a route that ended in co-optation of PLO.

A Long Series of Coups

The last conflict in Gaza was called a coup d'etat against what is called al-Shariya[4]- the legitimacy while it is an internal conflict over power in an occupied areas. The mere struggle for power under a settler colonial occupation is, in itself, a mutual coup from all participatory groups at the cost of the national cause.
Coup is not limited to military action. Any deviation from the cause, ideology, or goal is some form of a coup. Let's go back to the long series of internal Palestinian coup- d'etats.
Depending on money on the one hand, and money from an enemy, a class enemy (Arab rulers) or national enemy (ruling classes in the core capitalist countries) on the other, is in itself a coup d'etat against the national people's cause, i.e. the liberation of Palestine.
The assassination of Yousif Urabi, the real founder of Fath, in Damascus 1965 was a very early indication that this form of resistance leadership has a personal or elite's agenda, not a liberation project.  It is a proof that this leadership was motivated by power, not liberation of Palestine.
The earliest dangerous coup, which highly supports the above analysis, was PLO leadership strategy of not interfering in the so-called ‘internal affairs of Arab regimes’. This is despite the fact that these regimes deeply interfered in all Palestinian affairs on the one hand, and more importantly, the mere existence of these regimes was in parallel with and in harmony, and even for the service of the ZAR in Palestine.[5]
Another devastating coup was PLO's declaration of a state in Algeria (15 November 1988) including the free recognition of the ZAR.[6] This declaration is a termination of the liberation of Palestine and Palestinian right of return (ROR).
Since 1967, ZAR was looking since 1967 for an alternative of PLO, to its program. In 1991, I wrote that if the PLO recognizes ZAR, it is, in fact, adapting its program according to ZAR conditions in an obvious coup d'etat.[7]
The coup d'etat of declaration of independence in Algeria (1988) was the “mother’ who bred the coup d'etat of Oslo Accords which were designed and supported by:
1- Most of PLO groups, especially its bureaucratic capitalist leadership "al-Shariyia" , the legitimacy.
2- Most of Palestinian capitalist factions, i.e. the financial capitalism in Diaspora, and the local sub-contractors.[8]
3- Three Palestinian intellectual currents: renegade communist-leftists, liberal westernized intellectuals, and PLO intellectuals who devoted themselves to support al-Shariyia which replaced Palestine.
It should be noted that Oslo was a turning point for the Palestinian capitalists who started dealing with internal politics motivated by catching the chance of ‘milking’ the society.[9] The most recent ‘milking’ of society is the new cabinet whose plan was devoted for the parasitic private sector. It should be noted that most members of the current emergency cabinet are from these factions, i.e. sub-contractors, finance capitalists who came after Oslo Accords and pay little or nothing for main local companies which still sub-contact to their Israeli ‘mother’ companies, followers of the World Bank and IMF destructive prescriptions, and NGOs' managers who are also capitalists through invisible income.
Hamas falls into a coup d'etat as well. Hamas' participation in the 2006 elections was the real coup d'etat by Hamas. The United States, Israel and their Arab rulers' alliance encouraged Hamas to participate in the elections. Their goal was to put as many Palestinians as possible under the umbrella of the Oslo Accords. If a conflict were to follow the elections between Hamas and Fateh, it will serve the goal of these allies whose goal is the termination of Palestinian rights. Hamas strives, until today, to maintain its position as a resistance movement, which is good and hopefully will continue.
Then, comes the international gradual coup d'etat, against Hamas after its victory in the 2006 elections. It is crystallized in the boycotting of Hamas by the donors, and Fateh’s refusal to participate in a coalition government. Hamas’ ministers were without power in a state without institutions. All employees of Palestinian Authority (PA) were followers of Fateh and followed its orders and policy. That left Hamas minister without staff. This coup d'etat was a policy to gradually kill Hamas. That is why the armed conflict that took place in Gaza ended with an upper hand of Hamas.
The chief, but smooth and not costly, coup d'etat took place in the West Bank (WB) after Hamas domination of Gaza, was the creation of an emergency cabinet. The United States, Israel and their Arab allies got the chance to demoralize and terminate the popularity of both, Fateh and Hamas, or the termination of al-Shariyia and al-Qadassah for the benefit of the compradoric and parasitic private sector. They made Gaza a concentration camp. The WB became under an emergency cabinet composed of members who are, NGOized, capitalists, pro IMF and World Bank and Americanzed, i.e. a counter revolution (CR) cabinet.
      It is Important to note that this current were dreaming to hold power before, but they lacked social base and a political party. In fact, even the popular classes are now without a party.[10] But now, since the PA chairman fell totally into the hands of the CR, and because he is the leader of Fateh, Fateh supporter became, directly or indirectly the carrier of the new regime, the CR. Briefly speaking, Hamas is in a crisis and Fateh as well. While the CR failed to gain, but little seats in 2006 elections, despite spending millions of dollars, it jumped now easily to power.
      It will be too difficult for the good Fateh people to recover the situation. The well financed CR will tell every body: that in order to maintain your position, you must support the new regime. The income of each employee, from the minister to the door keeper, will depend on the money of CR regime.
This coalition is, in fact, armed by a global media coverage (from Ramallah to the CNN) which attack Hamas and show that it as repressive, fundamentalist , anti-women…etc. In the WB, no one has the power or the courage to say a single word against the PA. When Hamas arrests or interrogates anyone, the media will call it “Hamas kidnap …", while in the WB, there is no news at all about repression.[11] It is given a lot of money and weapons to maintain its rule. The CR is the first government or a group of Palestinian politicians that denounced the military struggle openly.[12] It is the most open supporter to the private sector that exaggerates its role, while this sector is mainly a comprador and/or sub- contractor to the Israeli colonial capital.

A Party for the Regime
But, this is not the end of the story. It seems that the CR is trying to copy the experience of many Arab regimes, i.e. to hold power first and to build or design its own party around itself. That is why the CR published a manifesto entitled "Muntada Falasteen" calling intellectuals, activists, merchants…etc to join its membership. It is ironic to know that some renegade leftists are founders while others have started joining this party.
Since it compromises the ROR, denounces military struggle, supports capitalists, and private sector which normalizes with the enemy through creating a joint Israeli-Palestinian business council[13], the CR is not quite sure that Fateh people will continue to support its program. Even if that happened, they want to be more solid. They might go for new elections with a joint PLO list. The CR, however, still wants its own party.[14]  

 A Comprador local Capital doesn't Deserves to Rule
The traditional Marxist analysis that the bourgeois of each country fights to protect its national market is not applicable in the case of the WB and Gaza Strip due to its subjugation to a settler colonial occupation on the one hand, and the parasitic/compradoric role of the local bourgeoisie[15]  in Palestine. This theory is applicable on the national and productive bourgeoisie which industrializes its country and that is the reason why it fought to maintain the local market for its own products. The Palestinian bourgeoisie never liberated the country nor industrialized it. Its investments are concentrated in housing, services and sub-contracts with the colonial capital. These capitalists took nearly free the privileges of communications company[16], financial market…etc. These investments are not productive. It is in the infrastructure which, in fact, consolidates dependency and made the de-linking from the ZAR's economy harder and more costly. A capitalism which accepts Self -Rule, does not fight for national liberation and independence, and is satisfied with a trickle-down share, doesn't deserve to rule. The CR is inheriting the same role of PLO leadership which was ‘donated’ a rent for its recognition of the AZR, in addition to supporting it to stay in power. At the same time, the CR launched an open war against Hamas, i.e. replacing al-Shariyia and al-Qadasah.
            The most dangerous coup of the CR raises the main question in a very urgent manner. What is the alternative, and where do we go from here? It is the same question which was discussed in the leftist circles following Oslo Accords. The practical choice for the left at that time was to re-order itself as an opposition to the new dependent compromising regime, to divide its work into two levels, the open one for the well known old cadres and the underground one for the secret members who must continue military struggle, albeit not in a large scale so as to let people practice some normal and productive life.
        Unfortunately, lefts leaders choose al-Shariyia, albeit in a smooth and gradual manner. The result is that the left melted and most of its good cadres left their organizations, while its right wingers made a u-turn towards the NGOs. As a matter of fact the big loser of Oslo accords was the left. The left deteriorated to the extent that when some people think of building a historical block (HB), the ex-leftists are not included.
            While Hamas still in the resistance camp, a position which offers it a great credit by the masses, Hamas is either unwilling or unable to initiate a HB alliance, a mission that is still in need for a strong and deeply rooted movement to achieve. Some attempts have been made, but not producing yet.
            This political stagnation gave others the chance to initiate more destructive plans. All these plans are "fruits" of the coup. One of them is the last agreement of frame between Abbas and Olmert at the beginning of September[17], another is the new elections.
            According to results of poll centers which are owned or managed by normalizers, NGOs, and western imperialist media offices, the Fateh will defeat Hamas. Many good friends are aware of these polls. It might be right despite of the fact that their expectations for the last elections were far from the real results. But the harsh media campaign is working against Hamas, as well as the siege, and the preaching of the imperialist propaganda, culture, media and ideology agents that Hamas doesn't have food to feed the people, why shouldn't Hamas leave the stage…etc? As if the core of the conflict is the availability of some sacks of flour.
            This question pushes us back to the mistake of participation in any elections under the ZAR occupation and the sponsorship of imperialist enemies. If there will be any elections, they will designed to breed a compromising council. The western capitalism which sucks the blood of hundreds of nations is not a credible observer. That is why, in the last elections, if Hamas had failed, western observers would have allowed the repeat of the elections to throw Hamas in the sea of Oslo. This doesn't block the possibility that al-Shariyia and its allies might consider outlawing Hamas.
            Even if Hamas and other resistance groups will succeed, what is the meaning of that, at least after the experience of the last two years?
            I think that we shouldn't be consumed in dealing with this issue. As long as we fall to be busy in the issue of ‘democracy’ under a settler colonial regime, we are in fact playing into the hand of the multi-enemy camp.
            Our goal is to defeat the occupation, the liberation of Palestine, the work for the socialist future of Palestine and Arab Homeland, for a Jewish and other many minorities living an equal life with us in a socialist country. While this is a long-term project, but all black, tiny, false democratic, compromising, normalizing, capitalist motivated solutions, are in fact obstacles delaying more and more the long waiting, but real, solution. "

The Ghost of War Over the Middle East
By Naser Jafari

On the banking liquidity "crisis"
By Steve Bell, The Guardian

Bomb kills deputy and threatens to topple Lebanese government

A Lousy Report From Lebanon
By Robert Fisk

".....Only a few weeks ago, Walid Jumblatt called me after Ghanem's predecessor was murdered. "Two more to go, Robert," Walid said. And so, tonight, it is one......

There will be few in this country last night – and today – and tomorrow – who will not see Ghanem's murder as another attempt by the Syrians to destroy any form of freedom in this little country. There will be equally little proof that shows Syria to blame......"

The Crushing of Fallujah

The mass propaganda media has taught the US public to believe that the extermination of thousands of Iraqi citizens is in their best interests: they can sleep sound, as long as 'our boys' kill them 'over there'.

Almost the entire population of Iraq is opposed to the US military and its puppet regime--yet the media refer to the patriots defending their country from the imperial invaders as--'insurgents' minimizing the significance of a nation-wide patriotic liberation movement.

By James Petras

"I am reading William Shirer's Berlin Diary, a journalist's account of Nazi political propaganda during the 1930's, as I watch the US 'news' reports of the violent assault on Fallujah. The US mass media 'reports', the style, content and especially the language echo their Nazi predecessor of 70 years ago to an uncanny degree. Coincidence? Of course! In both instances we have imperialist armies conquering countries, leveling cities and slaughtering civilians--and the mass media, private in form, state appendages in practice, disseminate the most outrageous lies, in defense and praise of the conquering 'storm troopers'--call them SS or Marines. Both in Nazi Germany and contemporary US, we are told by the mass media that the invading armies are "freeing the country" of "foreign fighters", "armed terrorists", who are preventing "the people" from going about their everyday lives. Yet we know that of the 1,000 prisoners there are only 4 foreigners (3 Iranians and 1 Arab); Iraqi hospitals report less than 10% of foreign fighters. In other words over 90% of the fighters are Iraqis--most of who were born, educated, and raised families in the cities in which they are fighting......."

Bush, Iran and Israel's hidden hand

Former CIA analysts Kathleen and Bill Christison argue that a US and/or Israeli attack on Iran to bring about regime change and strengthen US and Israeli dominion over the Middle East is likely to take place before the Bush administration leaves office unless a concerted effort is made to impeach Bush and Cheney.

By Kathleen and Bill Christison

"The internet is loaded these days with reports of the inevitability of a US, or a US-Israeli, attack on Iran. Some writers allege that the attack is imminent. Others, including the writers of this article, argue only that the attack will happen sometime before January 2009, when the Bush administration leaves office. Many of these stories have by now been picked up by the mainstream media. In fact, it is probably safe to say that today a majority of the traditionally cautious and so-called respectable foreign policy experts in the US think it is at least possible that Bush will attack Iran before he leaves office......"

Hamas supporters tortured by West Bank security forces

Report, PCHR, Sep 20, 2007

"PCHR is deeply concerned by the continuation of detentions by Palestinian security forces in the West Bank against Hamas activists and supporters, and interrogating them on their relationship with Hamas and the Interior Ministry Executive Force. In addition, they are coerced into signing commitments to cut off their ties with Hamas. The Centre is also concerned by the continuation of torture and abuse against the detainees and their families, as well as the physical and psychological pressure exerted on them to maintain silence......."

Shoot and cry: Liberal Zionism's dilemma

Ben White, The Electronic Intifada, Sep 20, 2007

"Liberal Zionists desperately wish to "acknowledge" and embrace the Palestinian "feeling" of suffering and dispossession, yet at the same time, help to solidify the Zionist mythology that was, and is, used to justify the Palestinians' dispossession. Perhaps it is not quite strictly accurate to call it a "dilemma," since for the Zionist -- liberal or otherwise -- there is no doubt when it comes to the crunch question of whether to support or oppose the ongoing colonization of Palestine and the dispossession of its people......."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Condoleezza Rice: saleswoman of lies

From Khalid Amayreh in occupied East Jerusalem

".......The black lady is likely to receive a negative reply from the inherently deceitful Israeli leaders even if “yes” will be their answer. Successive Israeli governments promised hundreds of time to relax the draconian punitive sanctions against the helpless Palestinians. However, on the ground nothing has changed as every Palestinian traveler and motorist would tell.

It is very difficult to expect the Israeli leadership to take Rice seriously in their hearts. After all, the woman who stands at the helm of American diplomacy has been here numerous times and it could be said that her accumulative achievements so far amount to a monumental zero.

The Israelis know what they are doing. Their meetings with Rice showed consistently that she was a weak diplomat who shakes and cringes when reminded, in one way or the other, of the “Jewish power” and the Zionist stranglehold on the Bush’s administration, Congress and media. Weak and clueless whenever affronted by Israeli and Jewish circles, Rice would normally resort to babbling the same old platitudes about the proverbial two states living side by side in peace, etc., and etc., and etc.

To cover up for her failure and powerlessness with the Israelis, the former Kremlinologist would rather insolently lecture the hopelessly weak Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on the need to meet Israeli demands, including fighting “terror.”

Moreover, Rice would not hesitate to insult a clearly gullible Abbas by telling him that the real contention is not really between Israel, the criminal occupier, and the Palestinian people, its enduring victims, but rather between Israel and the Palestinian forces of peace on the one hand, and Hamas and the forces of extremism on the other.

Not withstanding, the main problem actually lies not with Rice’s weakness and pliancy when confronted by the Zionists. After all, which American official has not been weak and subservient to the Jewish lobbies.

The real problem lies squarely with these naïve, gullible, and utterly impotent Arab leaders who, despite a thousand slaps on their ugly faces, continue to give these paragons of mendacity and deception the benefit of the doubt.

Even a small child will stop believing his own father if he makes a promise but fails to fulfill it a few times. But successive American administrations, deceitful and nefarious as they are, have always adopted mendacity and deception as their modus operandi in dealing with Arab and Muslim causes.

Well, what makes Mahmoud Abbas, who says he represents “Palestinian legitimacy,” think that Rice and her wicked boss, George Bush, the Fuhrer of our time, will suddenly start producing miracles as he approaches the lame-duck phase of his second and final term of office?

What makes Abbas think that the American administration which for the past seven years utterly failed to get Israel to remove even a single roadblock in the West Bank will now be able or indeed willing to force the Judeo-fascist regime in occupied Palestine to give up Jerusalem and allow millions of tormented refugees to return home?

Will Bush, who a few years ago assured Israel’s legendary terrorist and certified war criminal, Ariel Sharon, that the Zionist state could keep the settlements intact, now change his mind and decide to become an honest follower of Jesus Christ or a believer of “right over might”?

The truth of the matter, which one doesn’t have to be a great political expert to digest, is that neither Bush, nor Rice, nor their cohorts, will change their skins, let alone their evil hearts.

Indeed, an administration that has invaded and destroyed a sovereign country based on lies and fabrications and killed or caused the death of nearly a million Iraqi civilians can’t be trusted to bring justice to the Palestinian people.

This is why it is imperative that Palestinians realize now, not tomorrow, that the upcoming “peace” conference will meet the same failure and same fiasco that the numerous past “peace” meetings and conferences met.

The Prophet Muhammed said “a believer shouldn’t be bitten from the same snake hole twice.” But we, Palestinians and Arabs, have been bitten by the American snake numerous times and every time its venom penetrates our veins, we seek to convince ourselves that maybe the treacherous serpent would morph into a meek pigeon the next time.

In short, the real problem lies with our naivety, stupidity and gullibility, not with Israel’s and America’s wickedness, deceptiveness and criminality. As the legendary Arab poet Zuheir Ibn Abi Sulma said more than 1450 years ago, “he who doesn’t respect himself, shall not be respected by others.” The golden adage is as relevant now as ever."

Here's to you, Condoleezza Rice

By Laila El-Haddad

"Firstly, a blessed and joyous Ramadan to everyone. I only wish it was so joyous an occasion for my friends and family in Gaza.

Today Israel officially announced Hamas a "hostile entity" (although that sort of had me confused-is this to say they were of "friendly entity" status before??). And made the decision to cut fuel and electricity, once again.

But fear not, country folk. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice confirmed reassuringly that the U.S. "would not abandon the innocent Palestinians". Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni also said that Israel will continue to supply Gaza's humanitarian needs, just not "all the needs that are more than the humanitarian".

... except for fuel. Oh, and electricity. So don't worry, people of Gaza, you won't starve (remember: you are on a diet). You will get to eat your (cold) Ramadan iftars,-only in the dark, and of course no water to wash down that meal (or your clothes, for that matter) since the pumps are driven by electricity. And no gas to heat your food or houses with come winter. And you'll have to consume what you get quickly, since the refrigerators (both yours and the supermarket's) won't work without power. And don't even THINK about getting sick-prevention is your best insurance policy now. Hospital ICUs will have to be powered by generators. Kidney dialysis? Start writing a will. Baby formula? Breastfeed. Vaccinations? Stay home from school.

"Civilian levers" is what the Israeli cabinet has mockingly decided to call these "measures" of collective punishment. No doubt this sick euphemism was the brain-child of the ever-reliable Dov Weisglass, of "the Gaza diet" fame.

And remember, you are the "innocent Palestinians" stuck in the middle of all of this.

Now how about some thank you notes to Condi? Its Ramadan, after all, the month of mercy, forgiveness and thanks."

While the Stooge Abbas Was Cheering for Israel: UN chief: Cutting off fuel to Gaza is violation of international law

"United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Israel on Wednesday to
reconsider its decision to declare the Gaza Strip an enemy entity, warning that any cutoff of vital services would violate international law and punish the already suffering civilian population.

In one of his toughest statements aimed at Israel since taking the reins of the UN on January 1, Ban said he was very concerned at the Israeli government's declaration earlier Wednesday and its announced intent to interrupt essential services such as electricity and fuel to the civilian population.

"Such a step would be contrary to Israel's obligations towards the civilian population under international humanitarian and human rights law," he said.

"I call for Israel to reconsider this decision," the secretary-general said in a statement read by UN spokeswoman Michele Montas......"