Saturday, October 13, 2007

Abbas' Thugs shoot dead two Palestinians, including 5-year-old boy

"Palestinian Authority security forces shot dead two Palestinians on Saturday, including a five-year-old boy, in the West Bank city of Qalqilyah.

According to local resident, security forces opened fire after a 22-year-old man refused to stop at a PA roadblock in the city. The 22-year-old man was killed, as was five-year-old Yazid Obid......"

David Horowitz: A Nazi mind with a Jewish face

Comment by Khalid Amayreh

".....In fact, the enormous mass murder during World War II couldn’t have happened had it not been for the solid infrastructure of hate that the Nazis created in the late 1920s and 1930s.

For example, in his book, Mein Kampf, or My Struggle, Hitler uses the main thesis of "The Jewish peril", which speaks of a Jewish conspiracy to control the world.

This is exactly, what many Nazi-minded Zionists are doing these days, with their explicit goal being to defame, vilify, demonize and dehumanize the world’s estimated 1.5 billion Muslims.....

In this context, David Horowitz, a notorious icon of Jewish Islamophobia, is embarking on venomous campaign to make American college students hate everything and anything Muslim and Islamic.

In a calculated effort to vilify Islam and generate support for further US military aggressions against Muslim countries, Horowitz is proclaiming an “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week” on dozens of American college campuses starting Oct. 22.

The very term “Islamo-fascism” is obviously very tendentious and scandalously inaccurate. In fact, one could argue with absolute certitude that the term is an inherent and eternal oxymoron, since Islam represents the ideological antithesis of fascism, a western concept based on authoritarianism, chauvinism, jingoism, bellicosity and militarism......

Of course, Jesus Christ, the messenger of love and charity, is the last thing on earth that would come to Horowitz’ mind as he prepares for his hate campaign against Muslims on American campuses.

His real goal is to prepare the psychological environment for more American wars against Muslims in order to allow Israel to complete its ethnic cleansing of Palestinians Muslims and Christians in both Israel and the West Bank......

Hence, it is not far fetched to expect that these Nazi-minded Jews, who actually are a cancer upon Judaism’s moral conscience and spiritual ideals, are trying to use America’s vast resources to wage open-ended war on Islam on Israel’s behalf.

Yesterday, it was Iraq. Now, they want to get the US government to invade and attack Iran. And then Syria…and God knows who is next?....

Finally, a word to Jews, especially conscientious Jews. Why don’t you speak up against these paragons of hate amongst you? Why don’t you proclaim your opposition to their Nazi-like ideology and behavior? Does a Nazi discourse become kosher or acceptable when promoted by Jews?....."

"This News is Brought to You With American Guidance"
By Hamed Najeeb

Al Gore's Peace Prize

It's As Ridiculous As If They'd Given Goebbels One in 1938


"Put this one up on the shelf of shame, right next to Henry Kissinger's, or the peace prize they gave to Kofi Annan and the entire UN in 2001, sandwiched between the UN's okay for the bombing of Serbia, the killing of untold numbers of Iraqis, many of them babies and children in the years of sanctions, and its greenlight for the bombing of Baghdad in 2003. In 1998 the Nobel crowd gave the prize to Medecins Sans Frontieres, whose co-founder Bernard Kouchner is now France's foreign secretary urging the bombing of Iran. Like Gore, Kouchner was a rabid advocate of the dismemberment of the former Yugoslavia and onslaughts on Serbia....."

Video: Occupiers' planes, choppers and pilots downed by the Iraqi Resistance

Video: Ex-general: Iraq `nightmare' for US

"ARLINGTON, Va. - The U.S. mission in Iraq is a "nightmare with no end in sight" because of political misjudgments after the fall of Saddam Hussein that continue today, a former chief of U.S.-led forces said Friday.

Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who commanded coalition troops for a year beginning June 2003, cast a wide net of blame for both political and military shortcomings in Iraq that helped open the way for the insurgency — such as disbanding the Saddam-era military and failing to cement ties with tribal leaders and quickly establish civilian government after Saddam was toppled.

He called current strategies — including the deployment of 30,000 additional forces earlier this year — a "desperate attempt" to make up for years of misguided policies in Iraq. "There is no question that America is living a nightmare with no end in sight," Sanchez told a group of journalists covering military affairs......

Sanchez went on to offer a pessimistic view on the current U.S. strategy against extremists will make lasting gains, but said a full-scale withdrawal also was not an option......."

Click Here to Watch Video

Formalizing Apartheid Masked as a Peace Initiative

by Neta Golan
and Mohammed Khatib

"Next month the US plans to host a regional meeting to discuss peace in the Middle East, or at least peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The maneuvering, deal making and negotiating about what will be on the table has been going on for some time. But the details of the agreement being discussed have been a well guarded secret but for the steady flow of leaks and trial balloons. Deciphering this information combined with facts on the ground, one can put together a clear outline of Israel's "next generous offer."

Political maneuvers can be spun to sound good if the details are kept vague, but when held to scrutiny it becomes obvious that the upcoming Israeli offer is not so generous. Like the Oslo Accords and the "disengagement" from Gaza, the peace process being cooked now is a move to consolidate Israeli control of all of historical Palestine while taking a large portion of the Palestinian population off Israel's hands. The devil is in the details that follow.......

Olmert, Bush, Blair and their accomplices in the "Quartet" have vast, sophisticated and boundlessly resourced PR machinery that, through unlimited access to an uncritical media, can put a compelling "peace spin" on an apartheid process. During the November meeting they will assure the world of their commitment to a Palestinian state (with the appropriate Abbas/Olmert/Bush photo ops). They will promise to commit millions of dollars, funding Palestinian "institution building" and humanitarian aid and arming troops in order to "keep the peace" inside the Bantustans. Arab states will normalize relations with Israel, strengthening the "moderates" of the entire region, thus softening the Arab street as a prerequisite for an American led strike on Iran.

Even the participants in the summit realize that the Israeli occupation is no longer sustainable in its current form. If we, the peace and justice community, manage to expose this latest maneuver for what it really is, Israel could be forced into fair negotiations for the first time.

For this to happen we must mobilize immediately. It is our job to educate the rest of the world about what these talks really mean and the truth about what is happening. The writing is literally on the wall and on the ground. It took many months if not years to expose the ugly truth behind the first "generous offer." Let's not make that mistake again. "

The sun sets early on the American Century

A Very Good Piece
by Philip S Golub
Le Monde Diplomatique

"The disastrous outcome of the invasion and occupation of Iraq has caused a crisis in the power elite of the United States deeper than that resulting from defeat in Vietnam 30 years ago. Ironically, it is the very coalition of ultra-nationalists and neo-conservatives that coalesced in the 1970s, seeking to reverse the Vietnam syndrome, restore US power and revive “the will to victory”, that has caused the present crisis.

There has been no sustained popular mass protest as there was during the Vietnam war, probably because of the underclass sociology of the US’s volunteer army and the fact that the war is being funded by foreign financial flows (although no one knows how long that can continue). However, at the elite level the war has fractured the national security establishment that has run the US for six decades. The unprecedented public critique in 2006 by several retired senior officers over the conduct of the war (1), plus recurrent signs of dissent in the intelligence agencies and the State Department, reflects a much wider trend in elite opinion and key state institutions......

For the US power elite, being on top of the world has been a habit for 60 years. Hegemony has been a way of life; empire, a state of being and of mind. The institutional realist critics of the Bush administration have no alternative conceptual framework for international relations, based on something other than force, the balance of power or strategic predominance. The present crisis and the deepening impact of global concerns will perhaps generate new impulses for cooperation and interdependence in future. Yet it is just as likely that US policy will be unpredictable: as all post-colonial experiences show, de-imperialisation is likely to be a long and possibly traumatic process."

Why the U.S. is a self-serving empire

Tariq Ali interviewed by
Femi Kassim
Compiled by Byron Tau

The McGill Tribune

"As a vocal critic of U.S. policy in general, do you think that the United States too often compromises with authoritarian regimes at the expense of supporting democratic movements?

The United States basically doesn't think like that. It thinks in terms of who serves its interests the best. If it's a democratic regime, they'll work with that; if it's a military regime, they'll work with that; if it's a monarchy isolated from its people, they'll work with that. There are all sorts of regimes they'll work with. They have one determinant: Is this helpful to us or not? I believe in increasing and enhancing democracy and democratic accountability on every level, but that is not the way of the world at the moment.....

One of your books is subtitled "The recolonization of Iraq." Can you explain this recolonization dynamic that you see in the current war in Iraq?

If you decide to occupy a country, change its government and put your own regime in power, that is essentially a process of colonization. Why I said "recolonization" is because Iraq was created as a British colony under a U.N. mandate, and I was explaining in the book that the Iraqis have a historical memory. They'd resisted the British and fought them off, and they would do the same to the United States, which is exactly what happened at a time when your so-called 'liberal interventionists' were insisting [the Americans] would be welcomed with sweets and flowers. That is why I used the recolonization formula-if you try to recolonize a country, you create a resistance, and that's exactly what's happening in Iraq. "

Michael Rubin: Neocon Bunting on Giuliani’s Dog and Pony Show

By Kurt Nimmo

"Astute political commentators realize Rudy Giuliani doesn’t stand a chance of becoming the next commander and decider guy, as that position is reserved for a Democrat, most likely Hillary Clinton. Our rulers are fond of the musical chairs process, selecting a Republican one term and a Democrat the next, providing the illusion we are throwing out the bums, when in fact we are voting for the same old globalist one-worlders. Thus Giuliani has nothing to lose by staffing his campaign with irredeemable neocons, most recently Michael Rubin and David Frum. “They join a staunchly neo-conservative team that includes Martin Kramer, an Israeli-American Shi’ism expert who wrote a book several years ago faulting the U.S. Middle East academic community for failing to anticipate the rise of al-Qaeda; Norman Podhoretz, a founder of the neo-conservative movement, who counsels a military strike to stop Iran from developing a nuclear program; Stephen Rosen, a Harvard University national security professor, and Peter Berkowitz, a law professor at George Mason University in Virginia,” notes the Jewish Telegraph Agency......

But it really does not matter. Not only will Giuliani not make the grade, but the next “president” will continue the neocon process, albeit this time around sans all the histrionic bravado, as the neolibs—separated at birth from the neocons—are as jazzed to make Muslims suffer, not specifically in the name of Israel but rather as part of a campaign to put heat on the hold-outs, those with ethical and cultural opposition to world banksterism, the IMF, GAT, World Bank, the NAFTAization of the world under the aegis of the money-makers ensconced in the City of London."

Reports: Abbas relinquishes the right of return

"NAZARETH, (PIC)-- The PA President Mahmoud Abbas has practically relinquished the Palestinian refugees' right of return during meetings with Israeli leaders, according to a close associate of Abbas.

The Israeli radio reported on Friday that a member of Palestinian negotiating team with the Israelis stated that the Palestinian side has accepted the Israeli offers that were made six years ago during the Taba conference and were rejected at the time by the them PA President Yaser Arafat.

According to the Israeli radio, their source mentioned the issue of the return of refugees pointing out that the Israelis should allow the return of refugees to the lands of the state of Palestine when it is established and to allow a symbolic number of them return to their homes in 1948 occupied Palestine.

In practice this means the abandonment of a cardinal Palestinian right which is the return of refugees to their homes.

The radio also quoted the same source as saying that the gap between Ehud Olmert's views and those of Mahmoud Abbas are not major but the Israeli negotiators are hesitant.

The PA Presidency has not denied this reports or others like it which indicate that the Rammallah PA government is giving up much of the Palestinian rights at the negotiating table."

Friday, October 12, 2007

Blair trying to bribe PA with economic promises

From Khalid Amayreh in occupied Hebron

".....The former British Prime Minister on Wednesday, 10 October, met with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah and reportedly discussed with him creating “economic incentives” that would be conducive to creating the right environment for advancing peace between the Palestinians and Israel .

In Hebron , Blair met with the Governor of Hebron Hussein al Araj and town’s mayor Khalid al Oseili, both appointed by Abbas. Hebron is considered a Hamas stronghold.

The two local officials briefed Blair on the political and economic situation in Hebron, the largest city in the West Bank, where hundreds of extremist Jewish settlers, backed by the Israeli army, routinely attack Arabs and vandalize their property......

Earlier, some Hebron businessmen and entrepreneurs accused Blair of seeking “to bribe the Palestinians into giving up the right of return in exchange of economic aide.” “This man is deceitful and duplicitous and can’t be trusted. Besides, he should have understood a long time ago, while he was Britain’s Prime Minister, that the problem in Palestine is this Nazi Jewish occupation which prevents normal economic activities,” said Abu Ahmed Qasrawi.

“How can we have normal economic activities in the West Bank when we are not allowed to travel on our own roads, when Israeli military roadblocks, manned by young, trigger-happy, Gestapo-like soldiers kill every semblance of normal life, economic and otherwise.?”......

In Hebron , Blair avoided reporters and refused to answer questions. Most Palestinian journalists and cameramen boycotted Blair’s visit to Hebron after PA crack police verbally assaulted reporters, threatening to smash their cameras. Eventually, a few foreign journalists, including this reporter, managed to enter Hebron City Hall, but were not allowed to ask questions......

Predictably, Blair is deeply despised in the occupied Palestinian territories as well as through the Arab-Muslim world for his close association with George Bush’s “war on terror,” which is widely viewed by Muslims as a western crusade against their own religion.

Blair is also hated for supporting Israel’s genocidal campaigns in Lebanon and Gaza which killed and maimed thousands of civilians and caused widespread damage to civilian infrastructure."

The Witch Will Be Back in the Middle East This Weekend

Jewish power dominates at 'Vanity Fair'

"It's a list of "the world's most powerful people," 100 of the bankers and media moguls, publishers and image makers who shape the lives of billions. It's an exclusive, insular club, one whose influence stretches around the globe but is concentrated strategically in the highest corridors of power.

More than half its members, at least by one count, are Jewish.

It's a list, in other words, that would have made earlier generations of Jews jump out of their skins, calling attention, as it does, to their disproportionate influence in finance and the media. Making matters worse, in the eyes of many, would no doubt be the identity of the group behind the list - not a pack of fringe anti-Semites but one of the most mainstream, glamorous publications on the newsstands.

Yet the list doesn't appear to have generated concern so far, instead drawing expressions of satisfaction and pride from the lone Jewish commentator who's responded in writing.

Published between ads for Chanel and Prada, Dior and Yves Saint Laurent, it's the 2007 version of "The Vanity Fair 100," the glossy American magazine's annual October ranking of the planet's most important people. Populated by a Cohen and a Rothschild, a Bloomberg and a Perelman, the list would seem to conform to all the traditional stereotypes about areas of Jewish overrepresentation......"

USA prepares 14-ton super bomb to blow up Iran's nuclear objects


"The USA may not only try to destroy the Iranian army and put an end to the nuclear program of Teheran. It may also turn Iran into a test ground for up-to-date weapons. The chairman of the Iran Policy Committee Advisory Council, the former deputy commander of the US Air Force headquarters, Retired Lieutenant-General Thomas McInerney, says that the key instrument to punish Iran is ready. He says the USA has a powerful 14-ton penetrative bomb capable of reaching targets deep under the surface (supposedly Iran’s nuclear objects). In his live appearance on the US TV channel Fox News the lieutenant-general explained that the bomb’s performance was even superior to the vacuum bomb Russia had previously tested. Iranian President Ahmadinejad should know that there is no target that the bomb can not hit, Thomas McInerney added.....

Major-General Alexander Vladimirov has considered US’s plan of an attack on Iran and now comments on it. He says that US Air Force aircrafts should first neutralize Iran’s anti-missile and anti-aircraft defense objects, then liquidate Iran’s air force, firing pads and destroy the army control system. The actions will help reduce US’s own losses and prevent response attacks on the US forces in Iraq and Israel, the Russian expert adds.

It is only after the above measures that Americans may start liquidating Iran’s nuclear objects, Alexander Vladimirov says. He is sure that such an American campaign will not have any time limits and will continue until Iranian targets are absolutely destroyed. If done this way, the USA will not need any surface operation in Iran at all, and Iran’s nuclear program will be completely destroyed."

The Mercenary State

The Killer Elites of Pakistan


".....Yet, even today there is no talk of adding Pakistan to the 'axis of evil.' Why is there no clamor in the United States or Israel to invade Waziristan, to attack Pakistan's nuclear facilities, to punish her for nuclear proliferation, or to launch covert operations to seize Pakistan's nuclear assets before they fall into the hands of Pakistani nationalists, the Taliban or al-Qaida? This is the Pakistani paradox.

This paradox has a simple explanation: simple but also indicative of the malaise that afflicts nearly all the Islamicate world. In Pakistan, the US effected regime change without a change of regime. There was no need for an invasion, no need to fire a shot, no need for covert operations. At the first American touch, almost overnight, a terrible beauty was born. Instantly, the US had drafted the Pakistani military, nay the Pakistani state, to wage war against Islamic 'extremists.' The US had gained an army: and Pakistan's military dictators had gained longevity.

The ease with which Pakistan's sovereignty was terminated, the speed of this transaction, and no less the completeness of the foreign take-over, speaks volumes about Pakistan's history, the nature of her ruling elites, the timbre of her 'national' institutions, and the alienation, degradation and dereliction of Pakistan's middle classes. Within a few years of her birth, the state was privatized by landlords, generals and bureaucrats: three factions created, nurtured and guided into positions of leadership by the British......

It is for Pakistanis now to seize this historical moment, to join the forward march of history. The historic changes underway in Latin America, and the new forms of resistance being forged in Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Palestine are delivering new hope, new ideas, and new inspiration to oppressed peoples everywhere. Global empires are too costly to be sustained anymore: that is the singular message that Iraqis and Afghans are delivering to the world......"

Even though I don't like Baha Boukhari's seriously biased cartoons, I like this one on occasion of the Eid. Best wishes to all our Muslim Brothers and Sisters.

Slum Fights: The Pentagon Plans for a New 100 Years' War

by Nick Turse and Tom Engelhardt

".....Duane Schattle doesn't mince words. "The cities are the problem," he says. A retired Marine infantry lieutenant colonel who worked on urban warfare issues at the Pentagon in the late 1990s, he now serves as director of the Joint Urban Operations Office at U.S. Joint Forces Command. He sees the war in the streets of Iraq's cities as the prototype for tomorrow's battlespace. "This is the next fight," he warns. "The future of warfare is what we see now."

He isn't alone. "We think urban is the future," says James Lasswell, a retired colonel who now heads the Office of Science and Technology at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory. "Everything worth fighting for is in the urban environment." And Wayne Michael Hall, a retired Army brigadier general and the senior intelligence advisor in Schattle's operation, has a similar assessment, "We will be fighting in urban terrain for the next hundred years."......"

Opening a new front

Today's announcement of a new resistance group in Iraq is a landmark in the armed campaign against the US occupation.

By Seumas Milne
The Guardian

"Today's announcement on al-Jazeera TV of the launch of a Political Council of the Iraqi Resistance, which brings together the main non-al-Qaida Islamist groups in the Sunni areas, is likely to prove a landmark in the emergence of a coherent leadership for the armed campaign against the US occupation.

The new front, first reported in the Guardian in July, has published a 14-point programme, declaring the armed resistance against illegal foreign occupation to be the legitimate representatives of the Iraqi people; rejecting as null and void all constitutional arrangements and laws passed under the occupation; calling for the establishment of an interim government and the defence of Iraq's territorial integrity; and rejecting sectarianism and attacks on "the innocent"....."

LEBANON: Palestinians return to desolate, dangerous camp

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

"NAHR AL-BARED, 12 October 2007 (IRIN) - The first Palestinian families displaced by 15 weeks of intense fighting between the army and Islamist militants that left much of north Lebanon’s Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in ruins have begun returning home to start rebuilding their lives.

“I never imagined I would have to leave my home again,” said 80-year-old Mahmoud Nimr Abdou as he boarded the bus carrying the first refugees home from neighbouring Beddawi camp, where the majority of the up to 40,000 people displaced from Nahr al-Bared have been living in cramped conditions. “I will kiss the ground when I return.”....

Accusations of looting

Asaad accused the army of looting houses in Nahr al-Bared, an accusation backed up by international volunteers from the non-profit group Nabaa, who accompanied the refugees home yesterday.

“I have seen fridges with shrapnel damage for sale in the market in Tripoli,” said Asaad. “I’ve been going to the same market for years and I’ve never seen so many fridges or cookers for sale. My neighbour told me she saw her furniture for sale there.”......"


Salute the "army" that excels in serving tea to IOF invaders and in systematically destroying the refugee camp (from a distance) and then looting it; what cowards!

A reign of terror which history has chosen to neglect

By Robert Fisk

".....Turkey's reign of terror against the Armenian people was an attempt to destroy the Armenian race. While the Turks spoke publicly of the need to "resettle" their Armenian population – as the Germans were to speak later of the Jews of Europe – the true intentions of Enver Pasha's Committee of Union and Progress in Constantinople were quite clear.

On 15 September 1915, for example (and a carbon of this document exists), Talaat Pasha, the Turkish Interior minister, cabled an instruction to his prefect in Aleppo about what he should do with the tens of thousands of Armenians in his city. "You have already been informed that the government... has decided to destroy completely all the indicated persons living in Turkey... Their existence must be terminated, however tragic the measures taken may be, and no regard must be paid to either age or sex, or to any scruples of conscience."

These words are almost identical to those used by Himmler to his SS killers in 1941......"

General Petraeus in his labyrinth

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"General David Petraeus, media-hungry US supreme commander in Iraq doubling as Pentagon counterinsurgency messiah, will continue to be the key pawn in the current, breathless demonization-of-Iran campaign, whose target is to manufacture consent for an American attack against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) inside Iran.

Petraeus's latest is that Iran's ambassador to Baghdad, Hassan Kazemi-Qomi, "is" a member of the elite al-Quds force of the IRGC, now upgraded by Washington to the status of "terrorist organization".

In - what else - a remix of the lead up towards war on Iraq, Petraeus even has his own Kurdish version of Ahmad Chalabi. According to Rozhnama, a credible, independent daily paper published in Sulaymaniah, in Iraqi Kurdistan, he is "a special and informed source belonging to an Iranian opposition group".....

So what we have is basically a situation of Kurdish PKK guerrillas attacking Turkey from bases in Iraqi Kurdistan, and PJAK guerrillas attacking Iran also from bases in Iraqi Kurdistan. As early as six months ago United Press International was reporting that "the Bush administration was actively courting PKK leaders and Iranian opposition groups based in Iraq to stir up trouble inside Iran"......

This correspondent has witnessed it live in Baghdad. What Iraqis fear most is not "ghost" al-Quds forces (bundled up in the magma known as "the Iranians") or even al-Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers' suicide bombers (widely referred to as "the Wahhabis"). Ultimate fear means a convoy of gleaming SUVs with tinted windows, lights frantically flashing, sirens wailing, masked, beefed up guys in khaki clothing with their high-tech weapons scanning the sidewalks. They are referred to by a universally comprehensible term, even in Arabic: "mafia"......"

Nonviolent resistance a means, not the end

A Very Good Article
Ben White, The Electronic Intifada, Oct 12, 2007

".....The first problem is that the article does not do justice to the rich tradition and contemporary practice of nonviolent resistance, or popular struggle, in Palestine. The first intifada and the protests in Bil'in are cited, but the Palestinians draw on a far deeper reservoir of experience, dating at least as far back as the 1936 Revolt against British occupation and creeping Zionist colonization. As writer Mazin Qumsiyeh has noted, part of the Revolt included "a conference of 150 delegates representing all sectors of the population calls for a general strike and refusal to pay taxes to the British occupation authorities." [2]

Whether under the British, Jordanians or Israelis, Palestinians have always frustrated their would-be overlords with non-cooperation and resistance. The first intifada is rightly seen as a watershed moment, when, as one nonviolence expert has estimated, around 85 percent of resistance was of the nonviolent form, including "commercial boycotts, labour strikes, demonstrative funerals, the hoisting of Palestinian flags, the resignation of tax collectors, and many types of political noncooperation." [3].....

Stephan shows that she is indeed aware of how, post-Oslo, the newly formed PA channeled resistance into cooperation, and dynamic struggle into corruption and personal advancement. It is not quite correct, however, to describe this as a result of the PLO's inability to achieve gains at "the negotiating table." The agreements on paper and the PA's subsequent disinterest in "mobilizing people to challenge the economic, political, and military pillars underlying the occupation" were intrinsically related, representing capitulation first in word then in deed.

The PA's lack of support for popular struggle at the official level is reflected in a general apathy amongst a middle-upper class, who are financially prospering and do not wish to rock the boat. This is to be sharply distinguished from the multitude of jobless, hungry, and exhausted Palestinians, whose "apathy" towards popular struggle is the outcome sought by the cumulative effect of the Israeli occupation's siege, humiliations and life-draining injustices......

Not only do nonviolent actions get no or minimal coverage, but when Israeli occupation forces retaliate with violence, and even deadly force, the international outcry barely rises above a whimpered plea for "restraint." In the first month of the second intifada, 141 Palestinians were killed even before Palestinian resistance groups had begun serious militarized self-defense. [5] Or recall the massacre in Rafah in May 2004, when Israeli helicopters fired on a peaceful march. [6] Despite the chaotic, bloody aftermath being captured on film, the most the "deeply troubled" US State Department could muster was an expression of "concern." [7]......

But seen in this light, the essence of Palestinian popular struggle is directly contrary to the methods of Abbas and Fayyad -- the way of diplomatic privileges, backroom compromises and appeasement of Washington and Tel Aviv. Their track record has been to muzzle the collectively expressed desires of their people, from Oslo to the boycott of the elected Hamas government. Additionally, just as popular struggle has nothing in common with the Abbas-Fayyad regime, so too the November "peace conference" has little to do with securing Palestinian self-determination....."

By Mike Luckovich

By Tom Toles

Pakistani army accused of killing 55 civilians

Contributed by Fatima

Staff and agencies
Thursday October 11, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

"A tribal leader today accused Pakistani forces of killing more than 50 civilians in the worst clashes near the Afghan border for years.
Maulana Nek Zaman, a local MP for Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, a hardline religious party, said innocent people were killed in air strikes.

"We know that the army killed 55 innocent people, and they included women and children," Mr Zaman told the Associated Press.

"We know it because we buried them."......"

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Why Burma is not Iraq

While Western leaders pay lip service to democracy in Burma, they won't intervene. Perhaps it's just as well

By Ramzy Baroud
Al-Ahram Weekly

".....Humanitarian imperialism has proved more destructive than the injustices it supposedly eradicates. But expect none of that in the case of Burma, because intervention does not serve the interests of the influential parties -- not the West's, or China's, or Russia's. We may see a few sentimental meetings between Aung San Suu Kyi and representatives of the generals, and perhaps a few gestures of goodwill by the latter, at the behest of China and the West. But they will bring no sweeping reforms, nor meaningful democracy or human rights. These can only be achieved by the people of Burma, their monks, civil society activists, and by ordinary people.

If Iraq has been a lesson of any worth it is that the Burmese are much better off without American bombing raids or British napalm in the name of intervention. True reforms and democracy can only come from within, from the closed fists of the determined dispossessed. Indeed, Burma is not Iraq, and Thank God for that."

Pearls for coal

There is little chance of Israel and the PA bridging divisions ahead of the US-sponsored peace summit

By Khaled Amayreh from occupied East Jerusalem
Al-Ahram Weekly

"......Olmert has been heaping praise on Abbas, insisting that "for the first time, there is a Palestinian leadership that wants to reach peace with Israel based on two states living side by side in security and where Israel will be a Jewish state." The Israeli premier has described Abbas as "consistent and systematic... against terrorism and ready for serious dialogue with Israel".

Such praise, coming from a man known among Palestinians more for deceitfulness than rectitude, has been met with apprehension, fuelling rumours that Abbas will compromise over Jerusalem and the right of return, the two issues that, more than any other, define the Palestinian- Israeli conflict.

Salman Abu Sitta, a prominent advocate of the Palestinian right to return to the homeland as anchored in UN Resolution 149, this week warned Abbas against "dealing lightly with the right of return".

"We are aware of the pressure you are facing to abandon Palestinian constants," Abu Sitta wrote in an open letter addressed to Abbas this week. "But what has drawn our attention more than anything else are Israel's attempts to redefine the idea of the two-state solution. Israel now wants mutual recognition of a national homeland for the Jews and, on what is left of the land, Palestine, a national homeland for Palestinians."......"

Shortly before Ernesto Che Guevara's disappearance from public life in 1966, and on his way to Algeria, he stopped in Cairo, where he was warmly received by former president Gamal Abdel-Nasser...
(Courtesy of Al-Ahram Weekly)

The Words of Chief-Negotiator-for-Life and Chief Palestinian Buffoon Saeb Erekat

""If Mr. Olmert and Mr. Abbas reach the agreement on the end game, they'll be the most important persons in this holy land since Jesus walked the streets of Jerusalem,".....

OK.....Whatever you say, chief clown!

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

Do you see the partition of Iraq as:

a) Solving the Iraqi Crisis?

b) The beginning of fragmentation of the region?

c) Other?

With about 10,000 people responding, 88% said (b).

Mideast Conference and the Illusive Peace

The Palestinian people are desperate for having peace with justice, but they are afraid the conference will lead only to protracted negotiations rather than the end of occupation.

A Very Good Piece
By Dr. Hasan Afif El-Hasan
Special to

"Until recently, Palestinian Authority (PA) officials including Abbas had been expressing reservations about the US sponsored November peace conference. Despite the repeated warnings that Abbas may not attend the conference unless certain conditions are met, he and the so called Arab moderates will not turn the invitation down. They are desperate for any action on the Palestinian issue and they have no control over events on the ground. Abbas government which is wholly dependent on the Americans, politically and financially, is not in a position to rebuff its main supporter, the US. And besides, the conference will be the only game in town.....

Abbas turns to consultation from Israeli and American officials not on how to end the Israeli occupation, but on how to defeat the Palestinian resistance. On August 19, 2007, Ha’aretz newspaper revealed a secret only the Israelis know. Ranny Lovenstein, an Israeli government official doubles as a consultant for Prime Minister Fayyad. Among his latest contributions to Abbas and Fayyad government was a plan on how to defeat Hamas in the next Palestinian elections, according to Ha’aretz....

The Palestinians will be served better if they assemble a new negotiating team that does not include any of those who negotiated and defended the Oslo accords. The Palestinians should not expand the concept of having “leaders for life” to include having “negotiators for life” despite their incompetence.....

If Arafat who was supported by all Palestinians in the occupied lands failed to produce an acceptable peace with justice agreement because he was restrained by Oslo agreements, Abbas failure today is certain because he is not only restrained by Oslo agreements. He is also restrained by his alliance with Israel against a large segment of his own constituency. The Palestinians should ask if Abbas has plan B in case of failure. If he does not have such a plan, I propose one. Abbas should admit that he failed, apologize to the Palestinians for putting all his eggs in the US-Israeli basket and ask the Palestinians to replace him and his team."

No, the US Is Not Winning in Anbar

By William S. Lind

This article sheds light on the declining U.S. casualties in Iraq.

".....I have to reply, not so fast, John. I have no doubt the situation General Kelly found in Anbar Province is much quieter than it was just a short time ago. That means fewer casualties, for which we are all thankful. But in the inherent complexity of a Fourth Generation situation, it does not mean we are winning. If we put the improved situation in Anbar in context, we quickly see there is less to it than first meets the eye.

That context begins with the fact that Anbar is quieter primarily because of what al-Qaeda did, namely alienating its base, not what we did. We enabled the local Sunnis to turn on al-Qaeda by ceasing or at least diminishing our attacks on the local population. But if al-Qaeda had not blundered, the situation would be about what it had been since the real war started. We have not found a silver bullet for 4GW.....

The fact that some Sunni tribes have turned on al-Qaeda does not mean they like us. It just means we have for the moment become the #2 enemy instead of #1, or perhaps #3, with the Shi'ites ranking ahead of us. Some think the Sunnis are just getting whatever they can from us as they prepare for another, more bitter round of the Sunni vs. Shi'ite civil war.

But the biggest reason for saying "not so fast" is that the reduction of violence in Anbar does not necessary point toward the rise of a state in the now-stateless region of Mesopotamia. As I have argued repeatedly in this column and elsewhere, we can only win in Iraq if a new state emerges there. Far from pointing toward that, our new working relationship with some Sunni sheiks points away from it......

If we have not enjoyed fighting the 20% of the Iraqi population that is Sunni, how much pleasure will we find in fighting the 60% that is Shi'ite? Of course, an American attack on Iran will only intensify our war with Iraq's Shi'ites.

So no, we are not winning in Iraq. The only meaningful definition of "winning" is seeing the re-emergence of a real Iraqi state, and by that standard we are no closer to victory than we ever were. Nor can I see anything on the horizon that could move us closer to such a victory, other than a complete American withdrawal, which begins to look as unlikely under Hillary as under George. All we see on the horizon of Anbar province, sadly, is another mirage."

Claims of a turning point in Iraq are just wishful thinking

In spite of the impact of the surge and US-armed Sunni groups, resistance is bound to continue until the occupiers leave

Seumas Milne
Thursday October 11, 2007
The Guardian

".....Supporters of the Iraq war have consistently underestimated the resistance campaign, which has in the words of a Brigades statement this week demonstrated that a "self-sufficient movement" can "destabilise the most powerful opponents". It's hardly surprising that more US troops and better tactics would have at least a temporary impact on the resistance. But the idea that it's about to fall into an American embrace because of an occupation-sponsored vigilante movement is as preposterous as the pretence that a prime minister who says he cannot "move a single company without coalition approval" is in charge of an independent democratic government. The tragedy is that the price being paid to win Iraq's independence is so horrifically high."

Arms sales: How the US is not winning friends

By Zia Mian
Asia Times

"The United States sells death and destruction as a fundamental instrument of its foreign policy. It sees arms sales as a way of making and keeping strategic friends and tying countries more directly to US military planning and operations.

At its simplest, as Lt Gen Jeffrey B Kohler, director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, told the New York Times in 2006, the United States likes arms deals because “it gives us access and influence and builds friendships”. South Asia has been an important arena for this effort, and it teaches some lessons the United States should not ignore......"

EU quiet over Israeli land expropriation

Israel's settlement building has been met with little protest by the so-called "international community": The Israeli settlement of Har Homar near Jerusalem is expanded on land confiscated from Palestinian owners in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, April 2006.

By David Cronin, The Electronic Intifada, Oct 10, 2007

"BRUSSELS, Oct 10 (IPS) - Representatives of the European Union's two most powerful institutions remained silent this week on new efforts by Israel to expropriate Palestinian villages, triggering accusations that the bloc's Middle East policy suffers from double standards.

During a 10 October debate in Brussels, speakers from the Portuguese government, which holds the Union's rotating presidency, and the European Commission did not refer directly to the Israeli order to seize control of four Arab villages located between East Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Jericho.

Their reticence drew angry response from some members of the European Parliament, the EU's only directly-elected body.

"As Palestinians see all hope of a viable Palestinian state disappear before their eyes, what is the EU going to do?" asked Chris Davies, a British Liberal MEP. "You know very well it will do nothing, except mouth a few words. There will be no tangible action."......"

Book review: "Married to Another Man"

Sonja Karkar, The Electronic Intifada, Oct 11, 2007

"Dr. Ghada Karmi's latest book Married to Another Man: Israel's Dilemma in Palestine opens with the problem European Zionists faced over a century ago when they first mooted the idea of a Jewish state in Palestine. They found then that there was already a well-established Palestinian society existing in the land they wished to claim as their own. Hence the message sent back to Vienna by the two rabbis who made the discovery: "The bride is beautiful, but she is married to another man."

It is the essence of "Israel's dilemma": how to effect the disappearance of the ever-present Palestinians so that a purely Jewish state can exist on Palestinian land? The Zionist program of ethnic cleansing that has been going on since Israel's creation has not solved the problem. Neither has the living hell of occupation......"

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

“Tempo of Attack Planning” Increases for U.S. Military Strikes on Iran

by Larry Everest

Global Research, October 10, 2007

".....Hersh’s revelations are the latest (and most comprehensive) in a growing wave of reports on a gathering momentum toward a U.S. military confrontation—and very possibly war—with Iran. (Go to for previous Revolution alerts and coverage.) “There has been a significant increase in the tempo of attack planning,” Hersh sums up. One recently retired CIA official told him, “They’re moving everybody to the Iran desk... It’s just like the fall of 2002” (before the U.S. launched war on Iraq).

The latest indication of this acceleration includes a New York Times report (9/30) that “Freedom Watch,” a new lobbying group with close ties to the White House, plans to raise $200 million to launch a campaign targeting Iran, among other things. And there are reports that Vice President Cheney’s office is directing an anti-Iran propaganda offensive by a constellation of government institutions, right-wing organizations, think tanks, political figures, and media. According to Britain’s Telegraph (9/30/07), “American diplomats have been ordered to compile a dossier detailing Iran’s violations of international law that some fear could be used to justify military strikes against the Islamic republic’s nuclear programme.”

The Telegraph also reports there was recently a conference aimed at the U.S. Air Force coordinating “with military leaders from the Gulf to train and prepare Arab air forces for a possible war with Iran.”......"

The US plans new military presence in Lebanon including big air installation close by Syrian border

An important story on which Franklin Lamb reported in CounterPunch on May 30 and which was posted on this blog.

Here is an excerpt from Lamb's original story:

"...According to Washington observers watching developments, the base has been pushed by elements in the office of the US Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the urging of Israeli operative Elliot Abrams. AIPAC can be expected to do the necessary work in Congress and with House Foreign Affairs, Appropriations, Intelligence, and Armed Service committees hermetically sealed by stalwarts of the Israel Lobby, it can be expected that it will be added as a rider to an unsuspecting House bill coming along.

"We need to get this base built as quickly as possible as a forward thrust point against Al Qaeda and other (read Hezbollah) terrorists", according to AIPAC staffer Rachael Cohen. Asked if Israel will offer training and advisors to the Lebanese army, Ms. Cohen replied, "we will see what we will see, Lebanon, smezzanon its not about them, its about stopping the terrorists stupid!""

Now DEBKAfile is saying that building the base has started:

"The air base, according to DEBKAfile’s military sources, will be located at Kleiat in northern Lebanon roughly 75 air miles from Damascus, which these days doubles as a shared Syrian-Iranian military hub and Tehran’s eastern Mediterranean forward base. The American air installation will also lie 22 air miles from Tartous, Syria’s main naval base and the Russian Mediterranean fleet’s command center. And the aircraft posted there will be minutes away from the joint Syrian-Iranian arms and missiles industries at Homs and Hamma.

DEBKAfile’s source report the Bush administration’s drastic change of policy on Lebanon was settled in consultations at the Pentagon and National Security Council after the talks the chief of the US Central Command Adm. William Fallon held with Lebanese government heads on July 29.

This new direction was confirmed after the Israeli air raid over Syria of Sept. 6.

It brings the American military back to Lebanon after a 25-year absence. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan pulled US troops out of the country after Syrian military intelligence orchestrated terrorist bombing attacks on the US embassy and Marines headquarters in Beirut, which left more than 300 soldiers, diplomats and CIA agents dead.

The first stage of construction will reactivate the small defunct air base at Kleiat as a joint US-Lebanese venture. Prime minister Fouad Siniora will explain that the four months of bloody fighting to crush the Fatah al-Islam revolt in the northern Nahar al-Bared camp demonstrated how badly the Lebanese army needs an operational air base in the region. US Air Force engineers and technicians have begun work on the new air field. At a later stage, it will be expanded for American military use."

As 250 Killed in Clashes Near Afghan Border British-Pakistani Author Tariq Ali on Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Ongoing U.S. Role in Regional Turmoil

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"AMY GOODMAN: The Pakistani military continues to bomb villages along the Afghan border, bringing the death toll to 250 after four days of clashes. The villages lie within Pakistan’s federally administered tribal areas, which the White House described as a “safe haven” for al-Qaeda in its National Strategy for Homeland Security released Tuesday.

Pakistan’s military ruler, key US ally, Pervez Musharraf, swept most of the votes in Saturday’s presidential election, which was boycotted by the opposition. Eight years after seizing power in a coup, General Musharraf might have won the votes, but his victory is not yet complete. He has to wait until the Supreme Court confirms the legality of his re-election bid, given that he’s still the army chief.

In his election, if it’s confirmed, General Musharraf has promised to shed his military uniform, transition to civilian rule, and, in a US-brokered deal, share power with the exiled former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. But General Musharraf and his policies have generated a maelstrom of opposition from a broad spectrum of the Pakistani population. He acknowledged his precarious base of support in a speech after Saturday's election.....

AMY GOODMAN: Tariq Ali is an acclaimed British-Pakistani historian, novelist, political campaigner and commentator, one of the editors of the New Left Review and the author of a dozen books on South Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, Islamic history, empire and resistance. His book on the 1979 military coup in Pakistan has been adapted for the stage and opens in New York next week. It’s called The Leopard and the Fox: A Pakistani Tragedy. Tariq Ali was in Pakistan this summer, joins us from our firehouse studios. Welcome to Democracy Now!.....

TARIQ ALI: Well, I mean, the same president who is talking like this is now engaged in negotiations with the Taliban, because his own power doesn’t extend beyond Kabul. And that’s during the daytime. And everyone knows that Afghanistan is in a very unstable situation. And, Amy, one reason for this, one big reason for this, is that when the Taliban were toppled after 9/11, within Afghanistan -- one has to be clear about this -- there were large numbers of Afghans who were very happy, because they didn’t like them, but they were hoping that change would come and there would be a social infrastructure in their country and they would be able to breathe. This never happened. No money was spent on creating institutions for the ordinary Afghan people. Instead, Karzai and his cronies built themselves gigantic villas in the heart of Kabul, just taking land which belonged to anyone else. And while these large villas were being constructed, NATO troops were guarding them. You know, it costs $5,000 -- that's all -- to build a home for a poor family of four or five people. Very few of these homes were ever built. And so, people began to get completely alienated.

Karzai's brother, his younger brother, Wali Ahmed Karzai, is well known in Afghanistan and Pakistan as one of the largest traders in heroin and gunrunning. It’s very, very well-known. And this is a guy who can’t control his own brother, and then he has the nerve to come and talk like this in the White House....."

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)
By Khalil Bendib

المصري: سنرفض أي اتفاق يتم التنازل فيه عن ثوابت الشعب الفلسطيني عملياً وليس نظرياً

حذّر فريق عباس من التوقيع على مثل هذه الاتفاقات

"غزة - المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام

حذرت حركة المقاومة الإسلامية "حماس" من أن تقود جولة المفاوضات التي بدأت بين لجنتي المفاوضات الفلسطينية والصهيونية إلى "مزيد من التنازل عن الثوابت الفلسطينية"، وشدد على أن "حماس" سترفض أي اتفاقية تنتج عن هذه اللقاءات عملياً وليس نظرياً.

وشن مشير المصري عضو المجلس التشريعي عن كتلة "التغيير والإصلاح"، هجوما لاذعاً على عناصر لجنة المفاوضات من الطرف الفلسطيني، وحذرهم من مغبة الإقدام على توقيع أي اتفاقية تمس بالثوابت الفلسطينية.

وقال: "طالما أن صائب عريقات وياسر عبد ربه وأحمد قريع هم من يمثلون الشعب الفلسطيني في هذه المفاوضات، فإن النتائج ستكون كارثية، فياسر عبد ربه هو من تخلى عن خمسة ملايين لاجئ فلسطيني ممن يطالبون بحق العودة في اتفاقية جنيف، وصائب عريقات الذي جربه الفلسطينيون مدة 12 عاما مفاوضا لم يكن يعرف حتى جغرافية قطاع غزة، وأحمد قريع المتورط في علاقته في بناء الجدار العازل، كل هذا يوحي بأن جريمة كبرى ستقع".

وأكد المصري أن "حماس" لن تعترف بأي اتفاقية تصدر عن هؤلاء تمس بالثوابت الفلسطينية، وقال: "نحذر هؤلاء من الإقدام على توقيع أي اتفاقية يتم التنازل فيها عن الثوابت الفلسطينية، ونؤكد أننا سنرفضها عملياً وليس نظرياً".

من جهة أخرى؛ اتهم المصري من أسماهم بـ "فلول التيار الانقلابي"، بالعمل على خلط الأوراق في غزة، وقال: "هناك محاولة من فلول التيار الانقلابي لخلط الأوراق في الساحة الفلسطينية وإعادة الفلتان الأمني، والأخطر من ذلك هو الإقدام على جرائم غير مسبوقة من خلال التفجير عبر عبوات ناسفة، والتي أوضحت التحقيقات أن قيادات فتحاوية تقف وراء هذا التخطيط، وبالتالي نحن نحذر هذا الفريق من مغبة الاستمرار في هذه السياسة". "

The alleged "US support" to Lebanon during the war


"10/10/2007 Right after the capture of the two Israeli soldiers in July 2006, US president George W. Bush came up with the initiative to back Israel by holding Hezbollah responsible, and gave Israel the right to launch its war "because it's a sovereign nation that has the right to defend itself."

On his visit to the US, the head of the Future parliamentary bloc and key February 14 figure MP Saad Hariri criticized what he called "Syrian and Iranian money" in Lebanon and praised Washington for "defending Lebanon during the 2006 Israeli aggression against Lebanon."

However, one of the aspects of the US support to Lebanon was revealed by more than one Israeli and US sources. A new Israeli book that was published recently under the title "Detainees in Lebanon", revealed that the decision to go to war against Lebanon was coordinated with the Americans. The book says US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had called up Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert before the latter began the security cabinet session in which the decision of war was taken.

The Israeli Daily Yediot Aharonot also said that Israel had requested the US administration eight weeks to crush Hezbollah, on condition that Washington gives Tel Aviv political cover to thwart all international initiatives for a ceasefire. After deliberating with his National Security advisers and senior Pentagon officials, Bush Okayed the Israeli request in a secret letter. Bush gave Israel weeks and months to finish the job. Based on the request, Washington refused all calls for a ceasefire, even for humanitarian aids. Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, described what was happening in Lebanon as the ***** of the new Middle East.

Moreover, the US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton admitted in an interview with Yediot Aharonot that the US had kept Israel from stopping the war so as to crush Hezbollah. Washington did not only back Israel politically. When the Israeli army and airforce ran out of ammunition, the US established an air bridge and even compensated to shortage with smart bombs, cluster bombs and bunker buster bombs, like those used to destroy residential buildings in Beirut's southern suburb. "

U.S.-led Iraq coalition withering fast

"Britain's decision to bring half of its 5,000 soldiers home from Iraq by spring is the latest blow to the U.S.-led coalition. The alliance is crumbling, and fast: excluding Americans, the multinational force was once 50,000 strong — by mid-2008, it will be down to 7,000....."

Egyptian bloggers expose horror of police torture

They're posting graphic videos from cell phone cameras and hoping for reform

"Even through a grainy Internet video, the injuries to 13-year-old Mohamed Mamdouh Abdel Aziz are clear: His scrawny frame is tattooed with bruises and burn marks, and his torso is a patchwork of bandages.

The video, which soared across the Egyptian blogosphere in August allegedly showed the boy hours before he died from his injuries, and not long after he was released by police in the town of Mansoura, 75 miles north of Cairo; he had been arrested him for stealing a few bags of tea a week earlier, local media reported.

The explicit 13-minute clip is the latest of some dozen amateur videos - mostly from cell phone cameras - that have surfaced on blogs within the past year, showing systematic torture in Egyptian police stations. The videos have thrust a once rarely mentioned subject onto the front pages of Cairo newspapers......"

While the Puppet Abbas Runs Around in Circles, From Meeting to Meeting...Israeli army orders confiscation of Palestinian land in West Bank

· Seizure would allow huge expansion of settlements
· Move seen as rush to make changes before US summit

Conal Urquhart in Jerusalem
Wednesday October 10, 2007
The Guardian

"The Israeli army has ordered the seizure of Palestinian land surrounding four West Bank villages apparently in order to hugely expand settlements around Jerusalem, it emerged yesterday.

The confiscation happened as Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met to prepare the ground for a meeting hosted by President George Bush in the United States aimed at reviving a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

However, critics said the confiscation of land suggested that Israel was imposing its own solution on the Palestinians through building roads, barriers and settlements that would render a Palestinian state unviable......."

Iran, the Inflatable Bogey

By Dr. Trita Parsi

"I’m delighted and honored to welcome Dr. Trita Parsi as a guest columnist at Rootless Cosmopolitan. Following the escalating tension between Iran and the West over the past two years, I’ve found Trita to be a singular voice of sanity in the proverbial world gone mad. As both a scholar and as president of the National Iranian-American Council, he has dedicated himself to promoting dialogue and peace, and he had a particularly important role in bringing to light the 2003 proposal sent from the leadership in Tehran to the Bush Administration, offering a grand bargain in which Iran would address all U.S. concerns — a proposal that was sharply rebuffed by the Bush Administration, under the sway of neocons determined to prevent any rapprochement between the U.S. and Iran......."--- Tony Karon

"Benjamin Netanyahu would like Americans and Israelis to believe that it’s 1938 all over again: Iran, he tells us, is Nazi Germany; President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is Hitler. And, of course, that means that anyone who advocates diplomacy and engagement with Tehran is simply reprising the tragic appeasement politics of Neville Chamberlain, even as the clock ticks towards catastrophe.

The 1938 analogy is entirely fallacious, but no less powerful because of it – by at once terrifying people and negating the alternatives to confrontation, it paints war as a necessary evil forced on the West by a foe as deranged and implacable as Hitler was.......

Today, Israel is facing a similar situation, but with one big difference. Iran is far more powerful than it was in 1996, while the power of the U.S. to impose its will in the Middle East has diminished considerably. The difficulties confronting the U.S. in Iraq and technological progress in Iran’s nuclear program may compel Washington to recognize that its best interests lie in a grand bargain with Tehran. But the general view in Israel today is the notion that such negotiations must be prevented, because all potential outcomes of a U.S.-Iran negotiation are perceived to be less optimal for Israel than the status quo of intense U.S.-Iran enmity that threatens to boil over into a military clash. "

Al-Qaeda: Sort of Like the Energizer Bunny

By Kurt Nimmo

"......Meanwhile, we are expected to believe the Israeli-intelligence connected SITE Institute “hacked into an Al-Qaeda server and was monitoring it for a year for information on suicide bombers and spy codes,” as apparently the “al-Qaeda” IT guys are stumbling buffoons. “When the server turned up a new Osama bin Laden video ahead of its official release last month, SITE told two members of the Bush administration so that they could prepare for the release,” writes Nick Farrell for the Inquirer. “Although they told them on the condition that their hack remained secret, within an hour the site had been visited by 16 Intelligence Agencies and two telly channels,” obviously catching the “al-Qaeda” geeks by surprise, as usual.

If you believe any of this, I have a bridge for sale.

More likely, the server is owned by Mossad, the CIA, MI-6, or some amalgamation, that is if it existed at all. We are expected to believe SITE, run by the daughter of an executed Israeli spy, is miffed about the betrayal when in fact it was set-up that way, the “al-Qaeda” server doubling as a grab bag for the corporate media, never shy when it comes to propagating thickheaded neocon lies, designed to provide pretext for the “clash of civilizations,” that it to say providing an excuse for a “civilization” with no shortage of weapons of mass destruction to invade small defenseless countries, kill thousands people—in the case of Iraq, well over a million—and wreck their stuff, like water treatment plants and hospitals.

Once again, on the loose serial murderers, politely called “neoconservatives,” are playing the masses, although the masses, by and large, are not paying too much attention, what with Britney losing her kids to K-Fed, etc. Of course, this lack of attention is dangerous indeed, as it may precipitate another “catastrophic catalyzing event… like a new Pearl Harbor,” if only to rally the masses that are, by nature, clueless but most surely allergic to back-to-back two minute hate sessions and much prefer to be left alone to Dance with the Stars and fancy an Extreme Makeover of their own."

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

By Tom Toles

No argument, Bush is the Great Uniter. He united all of the Arabs and 90% of the rest of the World against the United States.

Oil, Israel, and America: The Root Cause of the Crisis

By Scott Ritter

".....In the “Power Equation” that gets factored into national security decision making here in the United States, fossil fuels play a dominant role. America’s interest in dominating the Middle Eastern region is driven almost exclusively by the energy resources of that region. Iran’s situation is further exacerbated by the reality that Iranian oil and gas represent a critical part of the future economic growth of the world’s two largest expanding economies, namely China and India. By leveraging its control over Iranian energy production, as well as the other major centers of fossil fuel production in the Middle east and Central Asia, the United States is positioning itself to be able to control the pace of economic expansion in China and India, a capability deemed vital when it comes to the national security posture of the United States in relation to these two nations and the rest of the world.

In short, there are many factors involved in what one might term the “root cause” of Iranian-US animosity. But the reality is all of the points of friction between Iran and the US could be readily resolved with viable diplomacy save two: Israel’s current level of unflinching hostility towards Iran, and America’s addiction to global energy resources. These two factors guarantee that there will be tension between Iran and the United States for some time to come, and place blame for the continuation of tension firmly on the side of the United States."

Closing NGOs underming Abu Mazen government

From our West Bank Correspondent, Conflicts Forum, October 8, 2007

".....Fadwa Eshaer, a director at the ministry argues that NGOs like Al-Wurud bring with them an Islamist agenda. “We need to build a state,” she says. “We do not need funds from Syria or Iran that will destroy our society. We do not need violence. We don’t need such NGOs which nurture an extreme Islamist agenda.” But Eshaer failed to detail exactly what Islamist agenda a bread-baking NGO like Al-Wurud promotes — or how supporting poor families by providing food packages promotes violence or “nurtures an extreme Islamist agenda.”.....

Mu’een Barghouthi, a lawyer and researcher in the centre freely states that the NGO closings are connected to the events that took place in the Gaza Strip in mid-June. Reports compiled by the research department at the centre show that since the rift between the West Bank and Gaza there has been a deterioration in human rights on many levels, including freedom of speech, educational and health opportunities. Barghouthi notes that Hamas’s strength has been in its ability to provide social services at a time that the Palestinian Authority had failed to do so. So the question is: is Fatah fighting extremism — or undermining its own credibility? And who will carry out the task of providing bread for the convent school of Birzeit?"

Getting Israel's Blessing First: Want Access to U.S. Market? Use Israeli Components in Your Products! Lobby? What Lobby?

Egypt and Israel sign deal easing access to U.S. market

"Egypt and Israel signed an agreement on Tuesday making it easier for Egyptian-based companies to win exemption from duties and quotas when
exporting goods to the United States

Egyptian and Israeli ministers agreed to cut to 10.5 percent from 11.7 percent the minimum proportion of Israeli components in goods which are eligible for the exemptions, Egyptian Trade and Industry Minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid told a news conference.

They also agreed to ask U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab to extend the special market access arrangements to companies based in eight provinces south of Cairo, he added....."

Hamas urges all parties to boycott the autumn conference

"GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement has called on all concerned parties to boycott he autumn conference called for by US president George Bush in November in the light of Israeli premier Ehud Olmert's statements.

Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, one of the Hamas's spokesmen in the Gaza Strip, said in a press release that Olmert's statement that concluding an agreement with the Palestinians was still remote and filled with obstacles meant that the IOA was not ready to give any political price for the Palestinian people.

The IOA would only offer carefully worded, unbinding political statements that are hollow of any concrete content, he elaborated.

The spokesman said that in the light of such political maneuvering on the part of the IOA, Hamas calls on the PA leadership to reconsider its position on participation in that conference because such participation would mean an involvement in the attempted liquidation of the Palestine cause.

Abu Zuhri also asked all concerned Arab countries to boycott he autumn conference and to adopt decisive stands in defense of the Palestine cause in face of liquidation."

Che lives

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

".....As much as Spartacus throughout history became the icon of all global wars fought by slaves against their masters, Che in only four decades is the undisputed global icon of all wars fought by rebellious peoples who believe in hope against injustice and who believe another, less cruel world is possible.

He's not only "Che-sus" - more popular than Jesus in a way John Lennon himself wouldn't dream of. He is revered by Bengalis in Kolkatta, Palestinians in Gaza, Egyptian lawyers, Uzbek dissidents, Afghan exiles, Kiwi backpackers, Russian soccer players, Syrian computer wizards, the Pumas (the Argentine rugby team), Cuban chess masters, Brazilian motorcycle gangs, Iraqi sharpshooters. In His name, everything is permitted. Last week Che's daughters were invited by an Iranian university just for them to learn he was being hailed as an anti-communist religious leader. In Bolivia - where in 1967 he hoped to be spearheading guerrilla columns towards Peru and Argentina - he's no less than Saint Che, or San Ernesto de La Higuera, and his story, via crucis, is transmitted by sacred oral tradition from peasant to peasant......

The Cuban ambassador to Bolivia, Rafael Dausa Cespedes, swears "this land is blessed by the blood of Che". And by his lessons as well, one might add. There are 2,180 doctors and 119 teachers from Cuba currently working in Bolivia - by request of President Evo Morales. The ambassador stresses Cuba does not want oil or mineral concessions from Bolivia - unlike other world powers. Even Argentines are crossing the border to have their eye operations performed by skilled Cuban doctors - for whom poetic justice is sweet to the ears: before becoming a revolutionary wanderer, Che was a doctor himself.....

Evo is doing now what Che wanted to do 40 years ago - and it goes way beyond a Marxist revolution. No wonder a portrait of Che hangs in Evo's presidential office in La Paz. Evo is a truly indigenous son of the land. His massive support base is not only Bolivian, but reaches across Latin America. He is forcing the white elites still with a conquistador mentality to confront their pitiful record in terms of exploiting, humiliating and plundering the riches of South America's indigenous populations. And the white, exploitative elites are of course terrified of facing a slow but inevitable redistribution of wealth.....

Che would immediately smile, smoking a pipe, at how Evo and Hugo Chavez in Venezuela are demonized to kingdom come for nationalizing oil and gas and using the extra cash for much-needed investment in health and education and to accelerate the dreaded redistribution of wealth. Who profits? Instead of Corporate America or Corporate Europe, it's the "indios de mierda" derided by racists - the poor indigenous and mestizos in Venezuela and Bolivia......

So what Che symbolizes now, mostly in Latin America but also in the troubled Middle East, is the pure essence of all 1960s dreams of radical change. And it's even more irresistible when sprinkled with a sense of style. The man was a lover of poetry. A new book launched in Argentina, El Cuaderno Verde del Che (Che's Green Book) is an anthology of 69 poems by, among others, Pablo Neruda, Nicolas Guillen and Cesar Vallejo, copied by Che in the Bolivian jungle. The book was found by three Bolivian officers and a CIA agent in Che's backpack, a few hours before he was killed.

When you have brains, balls, good looks, true compassion and style your only way is up - towards a worldwide moral and political high ground. For all the young at heart in the world, Che lives - forever, and so does the example he set. The fight for social justice is an eternal flame. Hasta la victoria, siempre."

سياسة طحن الماء ومؤتمر الخريف

A Very Good Article (Arabic)

عبد الستار قاسم

ما يجري من نشاطات مستمرة وحثيثة أشبه ما يكون بطحن الماء. هناك رذاذ يتطاير لكننا لا نرى طحينا من أي نوع. تدور الأيام، وتلف العجلات، لكن الحمْل كاذب، والطحين بعيد المنال. مرت أربعون سنة على احتلال عام 1967، وذات المشهد يتكرر ويتجدد بأشكال وألوان مختلفة، لكنه يبقى في جوهره واحدا.
واضح أن أميركا وإسرائيل تتسليان، وتلهيان العرب وبالتحديد الفلسطينيين بالوعود البراقة التي لا تحمل غير اللمعان. إنهما تطبخان الحجارة الصلدة، ويجلس العرب بعيدا ينتظرون الطبق اللذيذ؛ والانتظار يطول.
وإذا كانت أميركا تحقق نجاحا بطحن الماء، فإنه من الغباء السياسي أن تجرب أسلوبا آخر. العرب لا يتمردون، ولا يتذمرون، ويشاركون في ترتيب المؤتمرات ويشجعون أحيانا على عقدها، وهم راغبون في صناعة الوَهَم لأنفسهم وشعوبهم.

ترى أميركا وإسرائيل أن سقف المطالب العربية يهبط مع الزمن، وما هو مطلوب عربيا الآن لن يكون هو المطلوب بعد عام أو بعد غد. أطلق العرب عام 1967 "اللاآت الثلاث"، لكنهم لم يصبروا حتى قبلوا قرار مجلس الأمن رقم 242 الذي يدعو إلى اعتراف متبادل بين دول المنطقة.

أصروا على عدم التفاوض المباشر مع إسرائيل، لكنهم ذهبوا بعباءاتهم العربية إلى مدريد عام 1991؛ وقالوا إنهم لن يعترفوا أبدا بإسرائيل، فإذا بهم يتسابقون على الاعتراف.

فإذا كانت سيرة العرب هي عدم الصمود، وعدم الإصرار على الموقف والدفاع عنه، والقبول اليوم بما كان مرفوضا بالأمس، فلماذا تقدم أميركا وإسرائيل لهم شيئا؟.
وصل الحد بالقيادة الفلسطينية إلى توظيف أجهزة أمنية لملاحقة من يسمون الإرهابيين، وإلى الافتخار بإنجازات السلطة في تفكيك خلايا المقاومة وضبط مواقع تصنيع المتفجرات.

اللقاءات أصبحت متواصلة مع القيادات الإسرائيلية، ونشاطات التطبيع أصبحت مألوفة على مختلف المستويات الثقافية والاجتماعية والسياسية والاقتصادية. فإذا كان بالإمكان وصول السقف الفلسطيني إلى هذا الحد من الهبوط، فإنه يبقى قابلا للمزيد من الانخفاض.

واضح أن الرهان على الزمن من ناحية الإسرائيليين والأميركيين رابح جدا، وأن المزيد من الرهان يأتي، تاريخيا، بنتائج إيجابية. وبات واضحا تماما أمام الإسرائيليين أن ما يرفضه الفلسطينيون اليوم يقبلونه غدا، وأنه من سلامة التكتيك أن يطرحوا أفكارا جديدة باستمرار ليتراجعوا عنها بعدما يقبلها الفلسطينيون.
وإذا كانت الحالة كما هي عليه من تراجعات، فالاعتماد على الزمن يصبح ركنا أساسيا في السياسة الأميركية والإسرائيلية؛ وإذا كان طحن الماء يلهي العرب والفلسطينيين ويعطيهم مبررا أمام شعوبهم للاستمرار في الجري وراء المبادرات والمؤتمرات فإن الماء كثير.

اعتادت أميركا وإسرائيل على العرب وهم يعودون إلى تجربة ما جربوه من قبل وبنفس الطريقة وعلى ذات الدرب الذي فشل. العرب وبالتحديد الفلسطينيون يكررون تجربة التجارب الفاشلة، ويخلقون لأنفسهم الذرائع والمبررات التي تجمّل أعمالهم أمام شعوبهم.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Why the Annapolis conference will be another fiasco

Comment By Khalid Amayreh

"....The refugee problem shouldn’t be viewed as just another issue that can be overcome or diluted via political maneuvering or behind-the-scene deal.

And Israel would be utterly mistaken in thinking that Abbas and his unconstitutional junta-like government are capable of enforcing a deal unacceptable to the majority of the Palestinian people.

The Palestinian people do want peace, but they are not willing to capitulate to Zionist colonialist ambitions and then call that “peace” or “breakthrough.” The lessons of the Oslo experiment have opened our eyes to Israeli tricks and ill will.....

Today, there is a consensus in Israel that the vast bulk of these colonies, which embody the Israeli policy of apartheid, land theft and ethnic cleansing, must be incorporated to Israel.

In practical terms, this means that the remaining Palestinian territory would be an archipelago of scattered towns and villages, lacking territorial continuity and utterly devoid of any viability.

So, one would wonder what kind of a “state” would such a deformed entity make?....

I know that Mahmoud Abbas is not smart enough to understand the historical and strategic implications of lending such a recognition to Israel, which implies, at least from the Israeli perspective, a recognition of the legality and morality of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, not only in the past, but in the future as well.

This is why Palestinians, wherever they happen to be, must send an unmistakable message to Abbas to clarify this matter to the Palestinian people immediately since there can be no stupidity and no treason more outrageous than recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, let alone a state for the Jews.....

I know my prognosis of the situation in Palestine makes many people uneasy. However, it is important to be honest and not be duped by false hopes based on wishful thinking and illogical reasoning....."

A Must Watch Video:The Israel Lobby. Portrait of a Great Taboo

The Power of the Israel Lobby in the United States

"Tegenlicht, a documentary program by the Dutch public broadcast organization VPRO, allows several interesting opinion makers to speak on the future of the American and Israel relationship and the reception of John Mearsheimers and Steve Walts article "The Israel Lobby and US foreign policy."

Includes interviews with John Mearsheimer, former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell, Lawrence Wilkerson, cofounder of the Christians United for Israel lobbying group John Hagee, neoconservative Richard Perle and historian Tony Judt express their views in Marije Meermans and William de Bruijns documentary. "

Che's legacy looms larger than ever

It's been 40 years since the militant revolutionary was executed in a Bolivian schoolhouse. To leftist governments across Latin America, he's still a beloved icon.

"LA HIGUERA, Bolivia — It was a long fight, but the Cubans have finally conquered this forlorn Andean hamlet, four decades after Ernesto "Che" Guevara was executed in the adobe schoolhouse here.

Cuban physicians provide healthcare, Cuban educators oversee literacy classes, and the Cuban-donated library features Che-as-superhero comic books. A monumental bust of the beret-topped revolutionary who helped Fidel Castro seize power in Cuba dominates the central plaza.

"Great men like Che never die," said Ubanis Ramirez, one of hundreds of Cuban doctors and teachers imported by leftist Bolivian President Evo Morales, whose office features a likeness of Guevara crafted from coca leaves. "His lesson is with us always."

Sympathizers from across the globe will make the trek to this remote corner of Bolivia this week to mark the 40th anniversary of the capture and killing of Guevara, militant leftist icon and global brand, the radical chic face adorning countless T-shirts, posters, album covers and tattoos....."

Israeli president congratulates Musharraf on re-election

"JERUSALEM, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- Israeli President Shimon Peres has offered his congratulations for the re-election of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, Israeli Government Press Office said on Monday.

In a letter the Israeli president wrote to his Pakistani counterpart on Sunday, Peres said that "although we do not have formal relations, I would like to convey my best wishes on your election as President of Pakistan for a second term."....."

Akiva Eldar to Amy Goodman: Ninety years later, the Arabs are completing what Balfour started. And .. this is the best news that we had in 90 years

".....AKIVA ELDAR: You know, in November, we are going to celebrate ninety years of the Balfour Declaration, which was the first most important document offering a Jewish state to the Jewish people, a state in Israel. I think that the Arab League declaration ninety years later is closing the circle that started, because the Balfour war -- the Balfour Declaration started actually another round of violence, because the Arabs didn’t -- were not willing to accept the idea of a Jewish state. Ninety years later, the Arabs are completing what Balfour started. And I think that this is the best news that we had in ninety years. And I think it is not only stupid, I think it is criminal to miss this opportunity. And I hope that the generations who will come will not regret this.

AMY GOODMAN: Akiva Eldar, the chief diplomatic columnist and senior analyst for the Israeli daily newspaper Ha’aretz. He is co-author of a new book published on the fortieth anniversary of Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. It's called Lords of the Land: The Settlers and the State of Israel. We interviewed Akiva Eldar when he came into our studio. "

Politics of fear

Osamah Khalil, The Electronic Intifada, Oct 8, 2007

".....The ongoing preparations for the upcoming November "meeting" offer further proof of this delusional strategy. To appease US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert hold frequent talks in order to produce a "framework" of "principles" for negotiation. [4] Although his presidency was hailed and supported by the US and Israel, after more than eighteen months in power Abbas has yet to yield any tangible results. This includes a year in office during which the ATFP (the American Task Force on Palestine) concedes that Abbas and Fatah held "uncontested power," but have been "systematically undermined by Israel." [5] Nor will this situation change. In fact, Abbas has already been scolded by Rice that a "timeline" for "settling core issues" and creating an independent Palestinian state will not be achieved at the "meeting." [6] It is, however, an opportunity for Israel and the US to wrench even greater concessions from the Palestinians and any Arab states foolish enough to participate in this farce. Their reward for attending is a photo-op with President Bush and their own copy of another inevitably obsolete document......

Although the ATFP is correct to assert that Palestinian-Americans have a right and a duty to engage in the American political process, the cost of entry is not their dignity or souls. Unlike the ATFP, Palestinians understand the difference between getting their "hands a bit dirty" through activism and building institutions, and sullying them by associating with thugs, collaborators, and corrupt and inept politicians. [22] Participating in the American political system does not require you to fawn over Rice or other dignitaries and parrot their rhetoric in the vain hope that they will deign to reward the Palestinians with a state. Nor does it necessitate that you praise Abbas as a man of "personal and political courage." [23] No truly independent nation has emerged because its population was supplicant and subservient, nor should that be the criteria for the Palestinians......"

Secularism and Islamism in the Arab world

By Sukant Chandan, Conflicts Forum, October 7, 2007

"Secularism in the political leadership in the Arab world has had a very short life-span if put into historical context. It became a dominant political current for a few decades in the latter half of the twentieth century, and today is seeing a near complete collapse in political movements struggling for independence and development in the region. Different Islamic leaders have been the main political inspiration for Arabs in their liberation movements. Salahuddin al-Ayoub, more popularly known as Saladin, who liberated Jerusalem from the Crusaders in the twelfth century is probably the Islamic leader most widely known outside of the region. Saladin’s legacy remains a profound source of inspiration for Arabs, especially so for radical Islamists who not only see the parallels with today’s military invasions and occupations, but directly employ this history in their political agitation in their fight against what they consider as the modern-day Crusaders. More recently, Political Islam was at the forefront of the fight against colonialism in the twentieth century. There are examples of movements and leaders from every Arab country, but some of the more well-known include Sheikh Izz al-Din Qassam, after who Hamas have named their armed wing. Sheikh Al-Qassam was killed by the British colonialists in Palestine in an armed confrontation; his death sparked what some call the First Palestinian Intifada from 1936 to ‘39. In Iraq Shia Islamists united with their Sunni counterparts against the British colonialists in 1920, a popular uprising from which one of biggest present-day Iraqi Islamist insurgent groups, the ‘Brigades of the 1920 Revolution,’ takes their name. Shia Islamism in Iraq can also be linked to the emergence of the Lebanese Hezbollah....."