Saturday, February 23, 2008

Nelson Barghouti to Israel's Rescue??

Ben-Eliezer: Israel must release Barghouti

"National infrastructure minister says strong Palestinian leader needed to conclude peace accord, recommends releasing jailed Tanzim head Marwan Barghouti; says Israelis ready for agreement with Syria.....

"Unfortunately, people relying on Abu Mazen (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) don't know what he is about. I respect him and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. They're good people, (they) understand, but I want to achieve results. Real results and the ability to conclude a deal are only possible (when you have) a strong leader across from you." Ben-Eliezer said.

And I believe that (this person) is sitting in Israeli jail. We must release Marwan Barghouti and I say this as the person who arrested him twice – once in '78 when I was the commander of Judea and Samaria and he was the head of the Fatah youth and the second time when I was defense minister," he added......"

West Bank protest over Hamas death


"Violent protests have erupted around a West Bank town after the death of an imam from Hamas in a Palestinian prison seemingly of a heart attack.

Imam Majd al-Barghouti, 42, died on Friday in a Ramallah prison, Palestinian security forces said. The death sparked protests around Kobar on Saturday, with two protesters wounded by Palestinian police gunfire, medical sources said.

Al-Barghouti, from Kobar village in the north of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, had been arrested last week.

Palestinian Authority (PA) forces of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, have arrested several Hamas members in the West Bank in recent months in their ongoing standoff with the group which controls the Gaza Strip.

Calls for investigation

The Barghouthi clan and residents of Kobar village issued a statement about the imam's death.

The PA was accused of "executing [Barghouthi] without reverting to the justice system and without any justification or right".

The clan then called on "all responsible parties in the committees of the [Palestinian] Legislative [Council] and human rights institutions to work on exposing the truth about what our son, [Majd al-Barghouthi] was subjected to and to try all those responsible for such a crime".

Members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) announced the formation of a "fact-finding committee" into the incident.

The PLC also said that political detention is illegal "whether in the West Bank or Gaza Strip" and promised to investigate al-Barghouthi's death "in order to prevent further suffering of the people".

The reference was to potential violence that could erupt as a result of the incident......"

The Real Story Behind Kosovo's Independence

Lessons in the Bi-Partisanship of Empire


"....And this brings us full circle. International law matters only when it is convenient for the US. So too are the cries for "humanitarian interventions." And despite the extremism of the Bush administration, this is hardly a uniquely Republican phenomenon. In a just world, there would be a humanitarian intervention against the US occupation of Iraq -- with its indiscriminate killings of civilians, torture chambers and widespread human rights violations. There certainly would have been such an intervention during the bipartisan slaughter, through bombs and sanctions, of Iraq's people over the past 18 years. But that's what you get when the cops and judges and prosecutors are the criminals. US policy has always operated on a worthy victim, unworthy victim system that is almost never primarily about saving the victims. Humanitarianism is the publicly offered justification for the action, seldom, if ever, the primary motivation. With Iraq, Bush wheeled out the humanitarian justification for the occupation--Saddam's brutality -- only after the WMD lies were thoroughly debunked. In Yugoslavia, Clinton used it right out of the gates. In both cases, it rang insincere.

If you are a victim who happens to share a common geography with US interests, international law is on your side as long as it is convenient. If not, well, tough. The UN is just a debate club anyway. Just ask the tens of thousands of Kurds who were slaughtered by Turkey with weapons sold to them by the Clinton administration during the 1990s. Or the Palestinians who live under the brutality of Israel's occupation. In some cases, the "victims" allegedly being protected by the US actually get bombed themselves, as was the case with President Clinton's "humanitarian" bombings of the north and south of Iraq once every three days in the late 1990s.

In the bigger picture, the Bush administration's quick recognition of an independent Kosovo has given us a powerful reminder of a fact that is too often overlooked these days: empire is bipartisan, as are the tactics and rhetoric and bombs used to defend and expand it."


From Desert Peace

"The puppet regime set up by Mahmoud Abbas in the occupied West Bank is worried… worried that the truth of the occupation and the reasons behind it might be leaking out to the West.

Abbas would like the West to believe that he is the legitimate leader of the Palestinian people…. trying desperately to hide the fact that he and the ‘government’ he (and Israel) set up is nothing more than a kapo regime established only to serve the interests of Israel, the occupier.

There have been many, within the West Bank, that have been exposing the collaborations between Abbas and Olmert, critical of the phoney ‘peace process’ that they have been conducting. One such person is a regular contributor to this Blog, a dear friend of mine named Khalid Amayreh. He just sent me the following….. I will keep you posted about developements regarding this matter.

The pen is a powerful weapon if used properly. Khalid has been using it properly to bring the truth to his readers… this is the ‘reward’ he is getting….

PA intelligence summons Palestinian journalist for interrogation

"Hebron, Israeli-occupied West Bank

23 February, 2008

The Palestinian Authority (PA) Mukhabarat or General Intelligence has summoned Palestinian journalist and writer Khalid Amayreh for interrogation, probably in connection to his work......""

More on Khalid Amayreh's e-mail and my comment, 10 posts down.

By Abdullah Darqawi

George Bush comforting John McCain by assuring him that a senile, drooling, near catatonic President, would be a vast improvement over the current Administration.

Latuff: Paramilitaries in Venezuela

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

An Israeli shell kills three Palestinians in Beit Hanoun

"Palestinian medical sources said that the three Palestinians have been reportedly killed after an Israeli shell hit them in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun.

Witnesses said that a land-to-land Israeli missile targeted the three young men to the east of Beit Hanoun city, leading to their instant death. The medics identified one of the killed as Talal Za'aneen, while the other two remained unidentified up to writing this report.

Local sources confirmed that those killed were civilians, who work for a Jordanian bank in Gaza.....

Israeli army killed more than 300 Palestinians, including dozens of civilians, over the past year.....

The Israeli army actions against Gaza, have gone unabated since June of last year, with an economic blockade in place and several killings of civilians, when the Islamist Hamas movement took over the coastal region. "

اعتصام في كنيسة القيامة بالقدس تضامناً مع غزة .. وحنّا يطالب برفع الحصار

"القدس المحتلة ـ المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام

نظم عدد كبير من سكان مدينة القدس المحتلة، في باحة كنيسة القيامة، اليوم السبت (23/2) اعتصاماً تضامنياً مع الشعب الفلسطيني المحاصر في قطاع غزة، رفعت خلالها الصلوات لنصرة الشعب الفلسطيني، وذلك بمناسبة اليوم العالمي لمواجهة الحصار.

وقال المطران عطا الله حنا رئيس أساقفة سبسطية للروم الأرثوذكس، في كلمة مؤثرة، ألقاها خلال الاعتصام اليوم السبت (23/2) "إننا في القدس الشريف نقف إلى جانب أهلنا في غزة ونطالب برفع الحصار الظالم الذي يتعرض له شعبنا هناك فالقدس تتضامن مع غزة في هذا النهار، كما أن غزة كانت دائماً وأبداً إلى جانب القدس المباركة المقدسة التي يدافع شعبنا عنها وعن مقدساتها حتى تحريرها".

وأضاف، "كل التضامن مع غزة التي تعاني من ظروف مأساوية وقاسية وعصيبة، فحصار غزة مستمر ومتواصل وهو يستهدف الحجر والبشر والشجر".

وقال "بأي حق يحاصر أكثر من مليون ونصف المليون خليقة في غزة، وبأي حق يمنعون من تلقي الكهرباء والغذاء والدواء، وما ذنب أطفال غزة لكي يعيشوا الحرمان من أبسط حقوق الطفولة، وما ذنب المرضى لكي يعانون ويتألمون ويحرمون من التطبيب والعلاج وبأي حق يعزل أهلنا في غزة وكأنهم مسجونون في سجن كبير. إننا نتمنى من كل ذي إرادة صالحة وضمير حي بأن يعمل من أجل رفع هذا الحصار الظالم، ونناشد أصدقائنا في كل مكان بأن يقوموا بواجبهم الإنساني تجاه شعبنا المحاصر في غزة".

وشارك في الاعتصام عدد من الأجانب المتواجدين في مدينة القدس والذين أعربوا عن تعاطفهم مع الشعب الفلسطيني."

The Super Saturday to end the Gaza Strip Siege:

Anna Goldman reports from Gaza Strip

"An international day for Gaza strip started today, Saturday the 23rd of Feb. Protests, actions, crowds, workshops, strikes are being carried out across Europe, Asia, Africa and the two Americas.

In Gaza strip, PCAS is still continuing its actions in Gaza. The 2nd action of today was launching a memorial for the siege victims whose number reached a hundred people.

Chairman of PCAS, Jamal N. El koudary and many Palestinian figures and officials participated in the action. Mr. Jameel El Majdlawi from the Popular Front, Basem Naim the health Minster in the resigned government.

Mr. El khoudary and the participating figures put the corner stone of the memorial mid of Gaza City.

Chairman of PCAS delivered a speech and said, "This memorial will be a witness of Israeli crimes perpetrated against the innocent civilians and patients.

He added that "health sector is being exposed to several crisis and people are dying in slow manner. The world is witnessing these crimes and no one says a word!"

Participating national speakers said that this siege must be lifted immediately. People of Gaza are only seeking freedom; they are not terrorists to be besieged.

Mr. El Majdalway, head of Popular Front in Gaza Strip said that these actions show that Palestinians are united.

Gaza Strip is suffering from severe shortages of medicines and supplies needed in the hospitals, as well as a shortage of food and basic materials.

These shortages affected the life of people and a sentenced most of patients to death."

Sayyed Nasrallah: Ready for Confrontation, New Victory


"23/02/2008 Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said that the decision of war and peace lies in the hands of the Israelis since 1948 and not in Hezbollah's hands. Sayyed Nasrallah was speaking at a huge ceremony to mark Resistance Week in Beirut's southern suburb. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in the Sayyed al-Shouhada'a complex and filled the area surrounding it....


Hezbollah's Secretary General said that third stage is titled "the stage of martyr Imad Moghniyeh's blood."
"The new phase focuses on developing the resistance on the operational level and opens new horizons. The escalation of operations has transformed, in the resistance's strategy, from a traditional guerrilla war into a new unprecedented fighting school; somewhere between guerrilla war and traditional armies' operations. The Islamic Resistance has become an institution where making programs, tactics and plans is not limited with an individual or a leader regardless of his stature. Hajj Radwan is the most prominent figure of this stage along with his brothers. Those who don't know Hajj Radwan, he was the mastermind of the first capturing operation after liberation and the complicated operation of (Elhanan) Tenenbaum which led to the release of many Lebanese and Palestinian detainees from Israeli jails. Since 2000, when all the people were celebrating liberation, Hajj Radwan was preparing to defend Lebanon against any possible war. We were the victors of the war (2206 war) because we have men, plans and readiness….In Israel there is a unanimous agreement that it lost the war. Using the word's of (Israel's first Prime Minister David) Ben-Gurion, that if Israel loses one war it will approach its end, one can understand that this is the situation. "Now the Israelis are threatening us with war. They threatened before Imad Moghniyeh's murder and after it. His murder is an unprecedented move." Sayyed Nasrallah said that Moghniyeh's killing was a clear sign that Israel was preparing a new war against Lebanon but said his troops stood ready for a new "victory". "We will kill you in the fields, we will kill you in the cities, we will fight you like you have never seen before," said Nasrallah, "Israel will be left without an army, and without an army Israel cannot exist." His eminence vowed to avenge the death of Hajj Radwan through the destruction of Israel, which he said was destined to disappear. "The disappearance of Israel is inevitable, it is Divine law." "The presence of Israel is but temporary and cannot go on in the region," Sayyed Nasrallah added. Sayyed Nasrallah thanked the Winograd commission for not holding Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert responsible for the failures in the 2006 war. "They lack political and military leaders. I have said that (Ariel) Sharon was the last Israeli king. All the others are nobody.".....


Sayyed Nasrallah said that martyr Moghniyeh has been killed in the framework of an open, preemptive and comprehensive war. Israel is preparing another war. "I regret to say that some parties in Lebanon have been reassuring each other that a new Israeli war will crush Hezbollah and the opposition. This is why they are not in a hurry to solve the crisis. Their American master refuses the (Arab) initiative and they do not comment......"

This Palestinian Stoning the IOF in the West Bank Better Watch it.....
Abbas The Collaborator Might Arrest Him and Have His Mukhabarat Torture Him For.....
Terrorism Against the Occupation!

EUROPE: Heading for a New Security Deal with Israel

"BRUSSELS, Feb 22 (IPS) - The European Union is considering new steps to deepen its cooperation on scientific research with Israel, despite admitting that previous funds earmarked for that purpose have gone to firms operating illegally in the Palestinian territories....."

An E-mail From Well-Known Palestinian Journalist Khalid Amayreh

Contributed by Fatima


"Hebron, Israeli-occupied West Bank

23 February, 2008

The Palestinian Authority (PA) Mukhabarat or General Intelligence has summoned Palestinian journalist and writer Khalid Amayreh for interrogation, probably in connection to his work.

Amayreh is a veteran Palestinian journalist and a vocal critic of the current “peace process” between the American-backed regime in Ramallah and Israel.

Amayreh said he received a written notification asking him to go to the Mukhabarat headquarters in Hebron for questioning pertaining to an undisclosed issue.

He is among a few Palestinian journalists who write in English to a global audience. His articles and columns are published on numerous websites, especially those critical of the Israeli apartheid regime and US policy toward the Palestinian plight.

The 50-year-old journalist obtained a BA degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a Master degree in the same field from the University of Southern Illinois at Carbondale in the United States.

Amayreh lately drafted a proposed truce between Israel and the Gaza-based Palestinian government in cooperation with Rabbi Menachem Froman.

According to the draft truce agreement, Israel would lift its 20-month blockade on the Gaza Strip and put an end to all assassinations and attacks, including artillery and aerial bombings of targets in Gaza in return for a total stoppage of the firing of homemade rockets and other projectiles on Israeli territory.

Israel has effectively rejected the truce initiative.

Similarly, some PA officials have voiced consternation about it, arguing that lifting the blockade on Gaza and stopping Israeli attacks would strengthen Hamas vis-à-vis the Ramallah-based regime."


My Comment:

This development is a cause of deep concern in light of the repeated news of illegal arrests, torture and execution of political activists and outspoken individuals by the thugs in the Ramallah Green Zone. Only yesterday Imam Barghouthi (42-years old) died at the hands of the Mukhabarat torturers in Ramallah after seven days of torture including savage beating and around the clock suspension from a ceiling or a window. Please see more details posted a few posts below about Imam Barghouthi.

Khalid Amayreh has been courageous and outspoken in his denunciations of both the brutal IOF occupation and the collaboration of the PA with this occupation. He has been one brave and loud voice that should not be silenced.

We should be very worried about the fact that he has been summoned by the Mukhabarat thugs. Will he also be tortured? Will he be silenced? Anything is possible in the West Bank under the joint terror of the IOF and the goons of the PA with the direction of US "security coordinator" Keith Dayton.

The Palestinians dare not speak the truth or else.

Debate over Israel and Palestine: One State or two?

A Good Article
By Kathleen Christison
Palestine Chronicle

"Michael Neumann makes a strong case against a single Palestinian-Jewish state as the solution for the conflict in Palestine-Israel in his “The One-State Illusion: More is Less” in the January 1-15, 2008 issue of the Counterpunch newsletter. But there are critical flaws in his argument.

Neumann correctly condemns the two-state solution as unjust because it “cements Zionist usurpation of Palestinian land,” perpetuating the existence of Israel as “a state based on racial supremacy.” His problem is that the one-state alternative to this racist two-state solution comes across to him as simply impractical. And why? Because . . . well, essentially because Israelis -- these Israelis whom he accuses of racism, land theft, and dispossession of the Palestinians -- simply couldn’t conceivably accept it. The notion, he says, “that Israel would concede a single state is laughable. . . . There is no chance at all they will accept a single state that gives the Palestinians anything remotely like their rights.”

Apparently this is the bottom line: if Israel opposes the idea of a single state, then a single state simply must be an impossible dream, not worth mentioning and certainly not worth struggling for. The case Neumann puts forth is ultimately an argument for the notion that might makes right. Israel has the power to impose its will and the power to avoid unpleasant concessions, and so one state in which Israel would “give up the reason for its existence” is unthinkable......

His pessimism is understandable. It is obviously much more difficult to imagine militant religious zealots among Israeli settlers listening to moral appeals about the injustice they have inflicted on Palestinians than it ever was to imagine white racists in South Africa giving up their sinecures and their power. But it is just as difficult to imagine those religious zealots conceding anything to a separate Palestinian state. Which makes the two-state solution just as impracticable and unlikely as one state. And since we are all advocating the near-impossible, why not advocate the more just impossibility?

If we discard justice, one wonders where we are left with respect to other critical issues. What use, for instance, is there in ending Israel’s occupation at all? If we care only about practicality and not justice, there is no particular reason for Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories. Bush likes the occupation; all the Democratic presidential candidates and even more so the Republican candidates like it; Israel, of course, loves it. The same question applies to other issues. What except the promise of justice fueled past struggles against oppressive but seemingly immovable systems? Justice may ultimately be the only, or at least the primary, reason for pursuing any political cause. For this reason, discussion and advocacy of all alternative solutions to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict must continue."

The new invasion of Iraq

(Click on graphic to enlarge)

Up to 10,000 Turkish troops launch an incursion which threatens to destabilise the country's only peaceful region

By Patrick Cockburn
The Independent

"A new crisis has exploded in Iraq after Turkish troops, supported by attack planes and Cobra helicopters, yesterday launched a major ground offensive into Iraqi Kurdistan.

The invading Turkish soldiers are in pursuit of Kurdish guerrillas hiding in the mountains. They are seeking to destroy the camps of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) along the border between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan. "Thousands of troops have crossed the border and thousands more are waiting at the border to join them if necessary," said a Turkish military source.....

But the escalating Turkish attacks are destabilising the Kurdish region of Iraq which is the one peaceful part of the country and has visibly benefited from the US invasion.

The Iraqi Kurds are America's closest allies in Iraq and the only Iraqi community to support fully the US occupation. The president of the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government, Massoud Barzani, said recently he felt let down by the failure of the Iraqi government in Baghdad to stop Turkish bombing raids on Iraqi territory.

The incursion is embarrassing for the US, which tried to avert it, because the American military provides intelligence to the Turkish armed forces about the location of the camps of Turkish Kurd fighters. Immediately before the operation began, the Turkish Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdogan, called President George Bush to warn him.

The US and the Iraqi government are eager to play down the extent of the invasion.....

But since last year Turkey has succeeded, by making limited incursions into Kurdistan, in establishing a de facto right to intervene militarily in Kurdistan whenever it feels like it......"

British soldiers accused of executing civilians

Lawyers say battle may have ended in 'atrocious episode' of torture and killing

Richard Norton-Taylor
The Guardian, Saturday February 23 2008

"Ambushed by fighters of the Mahdi army, the soldiers of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment attacked with everything they had, from bayonets to tank shells.

The fierce gunfight became known as the Battle for Danny Boy, the name British troops gave to a junction on Route 6, just south of Amara on the road to Basra.

If allegations made yesterday are true, the battle on May 14 2004 also led to the torture and execution of up to 20 Iraqi civilians, some of whom were mutilated before they died. It may be that British soldiers and officers covered up "one of the most atrocious episodes in British army history," lawyer Martyn Day said yesterday.

Allegations of mistreatment of Iraqi civilians at Camp Abu Naji, the British base near Amara, were first reported in the Guardian a month after the battle. Military police were asked to investigate and cleared the soldiers of any wrongdoing......

The two lawyers said yesterday they had asked the MoD for copies of the army's medical logs, photographs and the military police report into the incident. The ministry, they said, refused to hand them over."

'I heard the terrible sound of someone being choked'

The witness statements of the five Iraqis were signed in Istanbul where Martyn Day and Phil Shiner interviewed them over a period of four days last month

"They [the soldiers] put me on a similar type of chair as before and I heard a sound of chains from behind me ... Immediately after this someone placed a rope around my neck.

I thought they were going to hang me by pushing the chair from underneath me and I said the shahada prayer which Muslims say just before they die, remembered my family and cried ... Suddenly without warning I heard a very loud scream from about two metres behind my right shoulder ...

It was a series of screams of a person who appeared to be in excruciating pain. They were not screams of terror but more of pain ... This was followed by the pouring of water and the sound of buckets or something like that and I heard a chair being dropped. I smelt blood and then heard the sound of mopping"......"

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Myth of the Surge

Hoping to turn enemies into allies, U.S. forces are arming Iraqis who fought with the insurgents. But it's already starting to backfire. A report from the front lines of the new Iraq

Rolling Stone

"....All told, the U.S. is now backing more than 600,000 Iraqi men in the security sector — more than half the number Saddam had at the height of his power. With the ISVs in place, the Americans are now arming both sides in the civil war. "Iraqi solutions for Iraqi problems," as U.S. strategists like to say. David Kilcullen, the counterinsurgency adviser to Gen. Petraeus, calls it "balancing competing armed interest groups.".....

....But such political maneuvers don't really matter in Iraq. Here, street politics trump any illusory laws passed in the safety of the Green Zone. As the Awakening gains power, Al Qaeda lies dormant throughout Baghdad, the Mahdi Army and other Shiite forces prepare for the next battle, and political assassinations and suicide bombings are an almost daily occurrence. The violence, Arkan says, is getting worse again.

"The situation won't get better," he says softly. An officer of the Iraqi National Police, a man charged with bringing peace to his country, he has been reduced to hiding in his van, unable to speak openly in the very neighborhood he patrols. Thanks to the surge, both the Shiites and the Sunnis now have weapons and legitimacy. And what can come of that, Arkan asks, except more fighting?....."


My Comment:

The American strategy is the adaptation of Kissinger's strategy during the Iran-Iraq war to Iraq itself. Kissinger stated that the US goal was to have Iran and Iraq slaughter each other. He said that anytime either side was near collapse, the US would step in and prop it up so that it would stay in the fight.

Precisely the same strategy is at work within Iraq: have the Sunnis and Shiites slaughter each other. When the Sunnis were about to be overwhelmed by the US-supported Shiite militias and death squads, the US moved in to capitalize on the Sunni predicament and to arm the Sunnis. Love for the Sunnis? Of course not; the US wants the Sunnis back on their feet to fight the Shiites (whom the US also arms and trains.)

How can the Iraqis be so stupid not to see through this? After being used to fight Iran for years and losing about a million soldiers (both sides), you would think that they would have learned by now! Unbelievable!

Who said that the US was losing? Are you kidding!

Israel is lying to the world about Gaza

Palestinian child shot dead by IOF troops during an incursion into Deir al-Balah on 19 Feb. 2008

Comment by Khalid Amayreh in Occupied E. Jerusalem

"For the past few weeks, I made strenuous efforts to reach a dignified ceasefire in the Gaza Strip in coordination with some peace-minded Jews. Our goal was to save lives and prevent further escalation, and give the starved and thoroughly-tormented people of Gaza a respite from daily killings and bombings by the Israeli occupation army.

Our efforts bore some fruit, and the Palestinian authorities in Gaza assured us of their willingness to reciprocate any genuine Israeli measure toward lifting the harsh blockade and putting an end to daily Israeli atrocities which have killed and maimed thousands of Palestinians, the vast bulk of whom are innocent civilians.

Even the western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) regime in Ramallah voiced a certain readiness to get involved and accept a prospective balanced agreement that would restore a semblance of calm and normality of life to the Gaza Strip....

Last week, I personally challenged the Israeli government to prove to Israeli public and to the world at large that the problem lied in the firing of the Qassam projectiles, not in the criminal blockade and daily hideous crimes perpetrated by a nuclear power against a tormented and helpless people who can hardly find the means to feed their starving children.

I still challenge the Israeli government to accept a truce in Gaza. The ball is in your court.....

Finally, the EU and other countries, should watch Israeli behavior very closely. The reason for that is that Israel is awaiting impatiently the opportune time to gang up on Gaza and commit crimes against humanity there.

Stopping the Qassams would be the declared pretext, but And the real goal is to give the Israeli army and public a psychological rehabilitation from the botched war with Hizbullah 20 months ago. Well, can’t Israelis get rehabilitated without shedding Palestinian blood?

Another possible motive is to try to decapitate Hamas in one full swoop in order to eliminate the last-remaining credible opposition to the liquidation of the Palestinian cause.

In any case, this would be wishful thinking. Assassinations, after all, have always failed to coerce a people into submission."

Avian Flu? No!

Abbas’s Mukhabarat tortures Palestinian man to death on Israel’s behalf

By Yasser al Rimawi

"Occupied Ramallah, (PIC)-- A middle-aged Palestinian man from a village near Ramallah has died, apparently of severe bodily torture at the hands of the PA Mukhabarat or General Intelligence.

According to family sources, Majd Abdul Aziz al Barghouthi, 42, died Friday after he was subjected for seven days to severe physical torture at the Mukhabarat dungeons in Ramallah.

A relative told this reporter that Barghouthi, an imam at the local Mosque of the village of Kobar, near Ramallah, was rushed to hospital Friday afternoon after he lost consciousness. “He was in a critical condition as a result of harsh beating, burns, and other forms of torture,” said Muhammed al Barghouthi.

“Signs of torture and burns were all over his body.”

Al-Barghouthi’s body was transferred to the Abu Dis forensic institute for an autopsy to determine the exact causes of death.

Back in the village of Kobar, mosques began reciting Quranic verses through loudspeakers as locals expressed their indignation with the PA. One villager contacted by telephone described the Abbas’ government as “slaves of Israel and the CIA.” “They are murdering their own people in order to please America and Israel,” said Hassan al Barghouthi, a distant relative of the deceased.

Majd al Barghouthi was arrested at his home last week, and has ever since been subjected to severe torture until his death Friday evening. Al-Barghouthi is a relative of Marwan Barghouthi, the imprisoned Fatah leader.

It is not clear if Israeli torturers or Shin Beth agents took part in the torture. Since the summer of 2006, when Hamas carried out a countercoup against CIA-backed Fatah forces, headed by former Fatah Gaza strongman Muhammed Dahlan, there has been a close cooperation and coordination between Israel and PA security agencies.

The cooperation is supervised by an American general by the name of Keith Dayton."

The EU Should Be Proud of Its Financing of Abbas' Mukhabarat, Torture Chambers and Death Squads

Israeli Spin For War: IAEA: Iran not complying with nuclear program inspection. Judith Miller, Where Are You? Report to Duty Immediately!

"Iran is still not complying sufficiently with nuclear inspectors sent to examine their nuclear energy programs, according to a report released by the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) on Friday.

The report states that Iran has carried out a series of experiments associated with the production of nuclear weapons, high velocity explosives, and uranium enrichment. Teheran has also reportedly carried out simulations of warhead detonations and tests involving Polonium 210, a material used to develop nuclear weapons.

IAEA chief Mohamed El-Baradei writes in the report that some of the data they received on Iran's activities came from countries that were interested in increasing IAEA scrutiny of Iran's nuclear program.

Teheran has stated that the data in question, which includes documents, is fabricated......"

Israel ignores peace

Despite offers of a ceasefire from Hamas, Israel looks set on a full-blown attack on Gaza that could seriously backfire

By Khaled Amayreh in Ramallah
Al-Ahram Weekly

".....Hamas's predictions to this effect are not without warrant. Israeli leaders, particularly the manifestly hawkish Defence Minister Ehud Barak, have been promising for some time that Israel will embark on a "huge military move" against Hamas in the near future. Western intelligence sources have also been speaking of a probable Israeli onslaught on Hizbullah as part of Israel's overall efforts to restore its army's deterrent value, especially in the wake of the Winograd Report that admitted Israel's defeat in its war on Lebanon in 2006.

The Ramallah regime of Mahmoud Abbas, while saying publicly it is against an all-out Israeli attack on Gaza, seems inclined to stand aside if military action would lead to the decimation of the Hamas government. Abbas and his Fatah aides realise there is no way to recover Gaza save by defeating Hamas and that this goal can only be achieved by Israel. Abbas also realises that appearing to work in cahoots with Israel would expose the PA as a quisling entity.

From Israel's point of view, a decisive campaign in Gaza, whatever that means in real terms, is increasingly desirable, especially for Barak. The former Israeli prime minister, who is trying to endear himself to the Jewish Israeli public for electioneering purposes, would like to project himself as the "leader" who was able to defeat Hamas.

Another important goal Barak hopes to achieve is to use Palestinian division to convince or even bully Abbas into accepting a scandalously dismal "peace deal" on Israeli terms. Consequently, it is probable that Israel will not agree to any ceasefire proposal forthcoming from Hamas.

Indeed, more likely is that Israel will continue to provoke Hamas and other Palestinian factions to continue firing homemade projectiles from Gaza onto Israeli settlements in the vicinity. Needless to say, Israel's main method of provocation is murdering civilians, including children, and creating outrage throughout Gaza.

In this strategy Israel that can always bank on blanket US support, despite its brutal intent and actions. Yet the decimation of Hamas is unlikely to lead to stability, neither in Palestine nor in the region. Added to provocation of the killing of Imad Mughniyah and Israel's standoff with Hizbullah, an attack on Gaza could trigger a far wider war."

Beyond despair

Israel and Fatah are pushing Gazans over the edge, with no help from Egypt in sight

By Saleh Al-Naami
Al-Ahram Weekly

"......Omar Shaaban, a prominent economist, holds that the present situation is proof that opening the border with Egypt was a solution to the critical economic situation in Gaza. The solution, he says, lies in opening the borders officially and publicly, so that commercial trade functions between Gaza and Egypt via the Rafah crossing, though this cannot replace economic ties between Gaza and Israel. "The Palestinians are not currently able to run their national economy without a connection to the Israeli economy," he told the Weekly.

Yet all indicators suggest that there is no solution on the horizon, at least not in the near future. The Hamas delegation led by Mahmoud Al-Zahar that recently met with Egyptian security officials in Arish did not succeed in reaching an agreement on organising commercial trade between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Despite the optimistic statements of Hamas leaders following the meeting, trusted sources told the Weekly that the meeting did not result in progress on any issue, for the Egyptian officials insisted on tying any change in the situation on the border to domestic Palestinian agreement on the crossing issue. That will not happen any time soon because of the gaping chasm between the position of Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas......"

PLC: Fayyad's decision to sell Palestinian lands to non-Palestinians unlawful

"GAZA, (PIC)-- Dr. Ahmad Bahar, deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), said that the PLC have passed an act which makes all decisions taken by the "illegitimate government of Salam Fayyad" pertaining to the sale of Palestinian land to non-Palestinians, null and void.

He described Fayyad's decisions as "illegitimate decisions taken by an illegitimate government."

He also said that the PLC's act also extends to all illegitimate, non-patriotic decisions taken by Fayyad's government.

The PLC's act, which was passed during its second extraordinary session between 19-21 February 2008, considers any laws or decisions taken by the Fayyad government null and void and are not legally binding, because the Fayyad government is itself illegitimate that does not have the backing of the PLC.

The PLC expressed concern that Fayyad's decision to allow the sale of Palestinian land to non-Palestinians will give the Israelis a loophole to acquire Palestinian land for settlements with Palestinian "official" help.

The PLC held the PA President Mahmoud Abbas, Salam Fayyad and his government responsible for any harm caused by such irresponsible decisions."

Visiting the Torture Museum

Barbarism Then and Now

by Karen J. Greenberg
(Executive Director of the Center on Law and Security at the NYU School of Law)

".....Someday, our children may travel to Washington and somewhere near the Smithsonian and the Holocaust Museum, perhaps they, like the Czechs and other Europeans, will be able to visit their own official torture museum. There, a step from the Potomac River, they will be able to view strange instruments for inflicting pain and perhaps even watch horrifying videos of torture happening. And they may wonder how we ever faltered so miserably when it came to a war that was supposed to be on terror, but ended up adopting the worst traditions of terror in the Age of Barbarism Lite."

IRAQ: In Tatters Beneath a Surge of Claims

Analysis by Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail

"BAGHDAD, Feb 22 (IPS) - What the U.S. has been calling the success of a "surge", many Iraqis see as evidence of catastrophe. Where U.S. forces point to peace and calm, local Iraqis find an eerie silence.

And when U.S. forces speak of a reduction in violence, many Iraqis simply do not know what they are talking about.

Hundreds died in a series of explosions in Baghdad last month. This was despite the strongest ever security measures taken by the U.S. military, riding the "surge" in security forces and their activities......

The arrest of some Sahwa members is indication of U.S. military doubts about the loyalties of some of these Sahwa fighters. Shia political parties and militias already accuse them of being resistance fighters in disguise. Many believe that large numbers of Sahwa forces are resistance fighters simply riding the "surge"......

The Sahwa strategy has brought down the number of U.S. casualties – for now. But the U.S. strategy seems to have done less for Iraq than for its own forces. "

Limited options for US in Pakistan

By M K Bhadrakumar
Asia Times

"The George W Bush administration lost no time reiterating its support of President Pervez Musharraf following the February 18 parliamentary elections. There is bipartisan consensus in Washington that in the given circumstances, the United States has very little leeway other than depending on Musharraf and the Pakistani military....

Unsurprisingly, taking all factors into account, the Bush administration has concluded that Musharraf is a "known factor" and it is prudent to depend on him to lead Pakistan through the difficult period ahead. This approach has serious limitations insofar as in the medium and long term it is only a democratically elected government that can effectively counter militancy and terrorism. But, then, the Bush administration simply does not have the luxury of taking a long-term perspective.

A failure in Afghanistan would be a severe setback to NATO's aspirations to emerge as a global political organization. It will impact on the US's trans-Atlantic leadership role. Those who clamor for the Bush administration to review its decision to back Musharraf overlook the great urgency of the situation......"

The Global Day to end Gaza Siege Organized and Arranged By PCAS

"Actions of Global Day to end the Siege of Gaza Popular Committee Against Siege(PCAS), Website:

The 23rd of February 2008, Saturday, is the Global day of Actions to end the inhuman Siege imposed on 1.5 million civilians in Gaza Strip.

Around 30 countries across Europe, Asia, Africa and the two Americas will be taking part in the action protests.

The participating Countries will be as the follows:

France, UK, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Spain, Canada, USA, Russia, Romania, Scotland, Iralnd, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Morocco, Mauritania, South Africa, Algeria, Libya, Turkey, Norway, the Sudan, Egypt, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Israel, West Bank, Gaza strip.

-The actions will be of several sorts, such as protests, songs, workshops and conferences. All these actions will be done in the capitals and some other vital cities.

-At the Evening of 23rd February, the participating countries will be switching the lights off in solidarity and sympathy of smashed people of Gaza for 30 minutes.

-A letter submitted by PCAS on behalf of besieged Gazans will be handed to the American and Israeli embassies and European Union in the participating countries.

Actions of Gaza Strip:

Commercial Strike from 9- 11 Am (Gaza time).
launching a memorial for Siege victims west of Gaza City, 11 am to
Protests from Al Katiba Square to the United Nation. (UNSCO Office, Western of Gaza City)- 10-30 to 11 AM

-Protests and Actions in some Gazan universities and Colleges (the Central meeting will be in the Community College for Technology and Applied Science, 11-30 to 12

PCAS's delegation will be visiting families of Siege victims and patients in Gaza's hospitals.

Actions of the West Bank:

Protests will be in Ramallah, Hebron and Nablus where a letter from Gaza will be handed to American embassy, United Nation and European Union.

Actions of Israel:

Telavaiv , Neqav and some other Arab Cities

The Participating Countries....."

From Lebanon with Hate: The Dark Maid from Marjayoun

By Franklin Lamb - Marjayoun, Lebanon

""The difference, my dear Christian friends, between Israel and the Arab world is quite simply the difference between civilization and barbarism. It's the difference between good and evil and this is what we're witnessing in the Arabic and Islamic world. I am angry. They have no SOUL! They are dead set on killing and destruction. And in the name of something they call "Allah," which is very different from the God we believe in, because our God is the God of love." - Brigitte Gabriel, speaking at John Hagee's Christians United for Israel Convention, July 27, 2007.

One imagines that all Americans, and people from every part of the globe and of sundry faiths, are touched emotionally upon encountering the natural beauty of the northern Biblical Holy Land that is South Lebanon. With its rugged vegetation-covered hills and valleys and more than 500 picturesque villages, many quite ancient and populated by warm, devout, and peaceful people, the area is hypnotic.

So it is for this observer, visiting Marjayoun ("meadow of springs" in Arabic), one of Lebanon's most stunning towns and the home of the historic Cathedral of Saint Peter as well as beautiful historic mosques. A lovely, modest, bucolic town of roughly 2,300 residents in winter and 3,500 in summer, Marjayoun sits majestically on a hill facing Mount Hermon to the east, Beaufort Castle, the 1,000-year old Crusader Castle above the Litani River and overlooking Mount Amel (jabal amel) to the west. Marjayoun's fertile plains, some of the richest in the Middle East, extend southward into the Galilee and Syria's Golan Heights.

Shia and Sunni Muslims, Greek Orthodox and Maronite Christians, and Greek Catholics had lived in Marjayoun, mainly in peace, for more than ten centuries until the invading Israeli forces in 1978 installed near the town center its proxy militia, the so-called South Lebanon Army (SLA).....

Preaching her repellent idea of patriotism and American values, while condemning nearly 20 percent of humanity as subhuman, Brigitte Gabriel appears oblivious to the fact that she is among the last people who should be lecturing America on subjects as patriotism and loyalty to one's country given her intense collaboration with Israel during and since its occupation of Lebanon.

If anyone is a terrorist sympathizer—if anyone is disloyal to her country for religious or ideological reasons—surely it is Brigitte Gabriel, the Dark Maid from Marjayoun.

Her former neighbors could be forgiven for thinking that perhaps she suffers from a virulent form of Stockholm Syndrome, wherein she identifies with and supports decades of Israeli terrorism against her country, her people, and her religion.

Her message of hate, ridicule, and incitement to action against Islam is akin to shouting Fire! in a crowded theatre, and constitutes egregious and condemnable hate speech. Her rantings are fundamentally un-American, un-Lebanese, and un-Christian. Her campaign should be vigorously rejected by all people of good-will, including those seeking simplistic explanations and solutions for the consequences of a catastrophic Bush Administration Middle East policy, which has caused so much death, destruction and desperation across the region."

Today's Gulf Arabs

Brussels: New court to try Israel for war crimes

Civil court established by human rights organizations to begin operations in Belgium Friday. First issue on the agenda: Israel's alleged war crimes in Lebanon, Gaza

"A new civil court founded in Belgium by human rights organizations will convene for the first time Friday evening and discuss war crimes Israel had allegedly committee during the Second Lebanon War and war crimes the groups claim it is currently committing in the Gaza Strip.

Over the past year, human rights groups, in cooperation with Arab and European intellectuals, have been working on establishing the new court, which will be tasked with addressing different issues related to human rights violations and war crimes.

The first matter on the court's agenda will be Israel's operations in the Gaza Strip. Human rights organizations, as well as the victims of these alleged crimes, will appear before the court. The court has also invited Israeli representatives to attend the hearing and respond to the accusations....."

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The results of this poll really surprised me.

The question is:

Do you support the Turkish army entering northern Iraq to fight armed Kurds?

With over 500 responding so far, 61% said yes.

The History of The Empire is a History of Torture

Now, in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Baghram,...

Soldiers in Vietnam use the waterboarding technique on an uncooperative enemy suspect near Da Nang in 1968 to try to obtain information from him (UPI photo)

A picture of a “water detail,” reportedly taken in May, 1901, in Sual, the Philippines. “It is a terrible torture,” one soldier wrote

Blair risks ending up as one more crusader in the Levantine ditch

Europe has never been unified, and its history is littered with the failed ambitions of those who would wear the crown

Simon Jenkins
The Guardian, Friday February 22 2008

"The headline read, "Stop Blair: ambition to lead Europe hits fierce opposition". Forget the opposition, I wondered, what about the ambition? We thought Blair hated Europe, loathed its summits and preferred the Anglo-American camaraderie of Camp David.

As Jane Austen said of bachelors, a statesman is always in need of a dinner, not to mention a title and a motorcade. Besides, "leader of Europe" has an irresistible ring. It is a sure bet that, were Blair to be dragged protesting to the throne, he would not demur the crown.

To which there is only one sensible answer. Has the man never read history? His professed ambition is one that invariably ends in tears. Europe has never tolerated being led. It is a continent of cats, not dogs. Diversity is its glory, cantankerousness its defence. It is not a family or a community but a marketplace, a cultural entrepôt. Those who have sought its unity, even as a political metaphor, have come to grief.....

That overreaching also has a pattern. It seeks to control the Near East and it seeks to conquer Russia. All champions of Europe have met their fate on the roads to Moscow or Jerusalem. It is uncanny that Blair's two great failures in foreign policy - which surely disqualify him as a leader - involved alienating Russia and the Muslim world......"

Plane speaking

By Steve Bell, The Guardian

British troops executed 20 captives in southern Iraq, say lawyers

"British troops may have executed up to 20 captives in southern Iraq in 2004, human rights lawyers claimed today.

A dossier of evidence from men taken captive after a gun battle near the Iraqi town of Majat-al-Kabir in May 2004 also suggested soldiers tortured and mutilated captives.

Lawyers for five Iraqis today issued detailed witness statements, photographs of corpses and death certificates of the men who died. The allegations first emerged within weeks of the incident and have since been investigated by the Royal Military Police.

The claims, which the Ministry of Defence denies, are among the most serious yet levelled against British soldiers who served in Iraq.

Solicitor Phil Shiner said: "There is the clearest evidence available of systematic abuse and systematic failings at the very highest levels of politicians, the civil service and the military."

He added: "Until we as a nation face up to this evidence we cannot hope for the fundamental reforms required to ensure these things can never happen again.

"We do not want to be talked about in the same vein as the Japanese in the second world war or the Americans at My Lai, but unless we stand up and say as a nation that this cannot happen in our name, that is where we seem to be headed."......"

The killing of Imad Moughniya

By Raid Khoury, Electronic Lebanon, 22 February 2008

"....What we know for sure is the pro-Israel, mainstream US media which accepts the Israeli narrative as the basis for all its coverage of the Middle East cannot be relied upon for an accurate and reliable portrayal of Moughniya or Hizballah. We also know Moughniya was an effective commander of a lightly-armed civilian militia that waged a successful guerilla campaign against a much stronger and brutal enemy army and won. It's also safe to assume that his role and importance has been greatly exaggerated by all sides for different reasons. The killing of Moughniya and its surrounding circumstances is obviously a serious security blow to Hizballah, but while it has provided Hizballah's enemies some momentary satisfaction, it is unlikely to diminish its operational capability in the future.

The most unrealistic and misleading aspects of news coverage of Lebanon, Palestine, and the Arab-Israeli conflict in general is the focus on single individuals or groups as the root cause of conflict, and the characterization of all of Israel's enemies as terrorists. The same approach has been applied in covering Hamas and other Palestinian resistance factions in occupied Palestine. All these organizations were products of the Israeli occupation and they were created to resist and thus enjoy widespread popular support. To continue to reduce such groups and their leaders to nothing more than crazed terrorists is not only false and counterproductive, but, in its dismissal of the vast majority of Lebanese and Palestinians as murderers and supporters of terrorism, is also racist.

The Arab-Israeli conflict will continue for the foreseeable future. According to reports, Imad Moughniya has already been replaced, and in short time, the media will find another shadowy, intriguing figure to focus its attention on while continuing to ignore the prevailing conditions that inevitably gives rise to both legitimate acts of resistance, and terrorism. Israel continues to occupy Palestine, the Syrian Golan Heights, and parts of Lebanon. It is holding over 11,000 kidnapped Palestinians, and several Lebanese in jail. It is arguably committing a form genocide in Gaza, and it recently launched an attack on Syria. It continues to deny the Palestinians their inalienable right of return and may be preparing for its next military adventure. It is only within this context of ongoing warfare that people like Moughniya will come to be known, and can be understood."

And Satan Said: 'Recite the Names of the People You Killed.'

By Allan Nairn

"The other day a Chilean journalist asked whether the Spanish Guatemala genocide prosecution was mainly "symbolic," but I said that it was more than that since international arrest warrants had been issued. (Re. the prosecution see postings of February 5, 7, and 9, 2008).

What neither of us knew was that as we were speaking one of the defendants had just died, and that the International Herald Tribune/ AP headline would read: "Former Guatemalan police director wanted in Spain for crimes against humanity dies" (International Herald Tribune website, February 18, 2008).

Though that only begins to ping the surface of the lake of blood that is his legacy, it is not a bad summing-up of the life of Col. German Chupina, torturer, rapist, murderer, and steward of the American Chamber of Commerce in Guatemala (AMCHAM).....

That's one small benefit of trying to enforce the murder laws, even in a world that doesn't yet want to. Sometimes the proceeding makes chroniclers feel free to call things by their proper names.....

Yesterday's Haaretz tells the story of Israeli Gen. Doron Almog who, in 2005, cowered in a plane for two hours on the tarmac at London's Heathrow airport and thereby "escaped arrest for alleged war crimes ... because U.K. police feared an arrest would spark a shootout with Israeli security officials..." ( Haaretz Service, "Report: IDF general dodged U.K. arrest as police feared shootout," Haaretz, February 20, 2008.)

He wasn't such a shrinking violet when he allegedly lobbed flesh-shredding flechette shells at Gaza civilians or was smashing 50 homes there, but its different when you're not playing on your home court, and there's real law enforcement, with guns.

As it happened, this outbreak of law enforcement was unexpected, and quickly contained. Citizens had complained, a local British court had issued a warrant, the cops went to do their job, and after the general had returned to Israel -- where the cops had no job to do -- the British Foreign Office apologized profusely.

The general deplaned.

Tony Blair recently went to the trouble of commenting that a similar contemplated British case against Avi Dichter, Israel's Public Security Minister, was "utter nonsense" (The case concerns a "targeted killing" that killed the target's wife and three children, among others. Dichter last year threatened Palestinians with a "Nakba" -- cataclysm -- if they kept remembering their 1948 Nakba), an interesting remark by Blair, a man now tasked by the Quartet as an honest broker on Israel-Palestine, and who backed an Iraq invasion that his own Foreign Office's deputy legal adviser called "a crime of aggression" (which is prosecutable)......"

94% of applications for construction permits are rejected by Israel

"The Israeli Peace Now Movement released data on the Israeli policies regarding denying construction permits for Palestinians living in area C, which is under full Israeli Control, and revealed that 94% of construction permit applications filed by the Palestinians are rejected by the so-called Civil Administration Office, which is under the control of the Israeli Army.

The report revealed that while Israel only accepted to grant licenses to nearly 91 Palestinians houses in the period between 2000 and 2004, at least 18472 houses were built for the settlers living in West Bank settlements.

Under the Oslo agreement, area “C” is “temporarily” under full Israeli control, security and civil control.

The Movement revealed that in the period between 2000 and 2007 94% of construction licensing applications were rejected by the “Civil Administration Office”.

Also, data collected by Peace Now indicated that the Civil Administration is demolishing one-third of the Palestinian houses built without permits while in the Jewish settlements less than 7% of the illegal constructions are demolished......"

Israel’s unjust justice system

Comment by Khalid Amayreh in Occupied E. Jerusalem

".....Abraham Burg, the former Speaker of the Israeli Knesset noted that “today’s Israel rests on foundations of oppression and injustice.”

In his recent book, Defeating Hitler,” Burg argues that Germany in the 1930s was ripe for fascism because of its social paranoia and its social philosophy. And both of these conditions, he says, are present in Israel.

But if Israel is a Nazi state “in the making” or going through the penultimate step of becoming a fully-fledged Nazi entity, then its justice system, an inherent oxymoron in itself, should be viewed as at least a quasi Nazi Justice system......

I am not a terrorist. I am the elected Speaker of the Palestinian Parliament. My people elected me in an election that Israel and the United States as well as the rest of the international community approved. So, why are you holding us? What crime have we committed? Or do you consider our being non-Jews a grand felony? Shame on your justice system. Shame on your court. Shame on your country.”

Obviously, Dweik has much more to say about a state which calls itself democratic while in truth it has the morality of a thief, the mentality of a murderer and the face of evil.

On Wednesday, 20 February, Dweik’s incarceration was extended on instructions from Israel’s main domestic security agency, the Shin Beth, which argued that Dweik constituted a threat to the survival and security of Israel.

Well, the last time this logic was heard was in Nazi Germany prior to and during the Second World War. Then the gurus of Nazism also argued that Jews constituted an existential threat to the security and survival of the motherland.

Is history reproducing itself?"

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Iron Dome system found to be helpless against Qassams

Contributed by Lucia in Spain

"Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was surprised to learn last Sunday that the Iron Dome defense system, which was approved last year and was supposed to protect Israel's citizens against Qassam rockets, is not capable of alleviating the distress of Sderot inhabitants. "Recent tests found the system to be effective against rockets fired from more than four kilometers away, but not against those fired from closer range," Haaretz noted that same day in its lead story. Because Sderot is less than two kilometers from Beit Hanun, from which the rockets are being fired, Iron Dome will be helpless against them.

The upshot is that the prime minister, who just two months ago declared that "we will not fortify ourselves to death," was compelled to approve recommendations to fortify 8,000 homes in Sderot and the communities of the "Gaza envelope," to the tune of NIS 300 million......."

Inside Track: NATO’s West Bank Nightmare

by Ted Galen Carpenter
(vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute)

"Washington is sending up a trial balloon about stationing NATO troops as peacekeepers on the West Bank. The Jerusalem Post reports that former NATO supreme commander General James Jones, now the Bush administration’s special envoy to the Middle East, is floating the idea to various European countries.

It is a spectacularly bad idea. If there is a silver lining to Jones’s initiative, it is that U.S. policy makers are at least not contemplating including American troops in such a force.....

The United States discovered that reality to its sorrow in Lebanon during the 1980s. American troops initially intervened as part of an accord to enable Israeli forces to end their siege of West Beirut....Soon a U.S. battleship began shelling hostile Muslim villages, and American troops engaged in skirmishes with Muslim militias. Those actions led to retaliation, and the spiral of violence culminated in the truck bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 Marines......"

The Water Cure

A picture of a “water detail,” reportedly taken in May, 1901, in Sual, the Philippines. “It is a terrible torture,” one soldier wrote.

Annals of American History

Debating torture and counterinsurgency—a century ago.

by Paul Kramer
The New Yorker

"Many Americans were puzzled by the news, in 1902, that United States soldiers were torturing Filipinos with water. The United States, throughout its emergence as a world power, had spoken the language of liberation, rescue, and freedom. This was the language that, when coupled with expanding military and commercial ambitions, had helped launch two very different wars. The first had been in 1898, against Spain, whose remaining empire was crumbling in the face of popular revolts in two of its colonies, Cuba and the Philippines. The brief campaign was pitched to the American public in terms of freedom and national honor (the U.S.S. Maine had blown up mysteriously in Havana Harbor), rather than of sugar and naval bases, and resulted in a formally independent Cuba.

The Americans were not done liberating. Rising trade in East Asia suggested to imperialists that the Philippines, Spain’s largest colony, might serve as an effective “stepping stone” to China’s markets......

As early as April 16, 1902, the New York World described the “American Public” sitting down to eat its breakfast with a newspaper full of Philippine atrocities:

It sips its coffee and reads of its soldiers administering the “water cure” to rebels; of how water with handfuls of salt thrown in to make it more efficacious, is forced down the throats of the patients until their bodies become distended to the point of bursting; of how our soldiers then jump on the distended bodies to force the water out quickly so that the “treatment” can begin all over again. The American Public takes another sip of its coffee and remarks, “How very unpleasant!”

But where is that vast national outburst of astounded horror which an old-fashioned America would have predicted at the reading of such news?” the World asked. “Is it lost somewhere in the 8,000 miles that divide us from the scenes of these abominations? Is it led astray by the darker skins of the alien race among which these abominations are perpetrated? Or is it rotted away by that inevitable demoralization which the wrong-doing of a great nation must inflict on the consciences of the least of its citizens?”

Responding to the verdict in the Glenn court-martial, Judge Advocate General Davis had suggested that the question it implicitly posed—how much was global power worth in other people’s pain?—was one no moral nation could legitimately ask. As the investigation of the water cure ended and the memory of faraway torture faded, Americans answered it with their silence."

The U.S. embassy in Belgrade burns after masked attackers broke into the building and set an office on fire at the end of a massive protest against Western-backed Kosovo independence, in the Serbian capital, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2008. More than 150,000 Serbs gathered at the rally vowing to retake the territory which is viewed as Serbia's religious and national heartland.
(AP Photo)


LEBANON: This Assassination Could Change the Region

Analysis by Mona Alami

BEIRUT, Feb 21 (IPS) - For many in the Middle East, politics is essentially a matter of converging interests -- and the life and death of Imad Fares Moughnieh is no exception. His assassination in Syria has resonated across the borders of Lebanon, Syria and Iran.

".....The assassination of Moughnieh in a country known for its impenetrable intelligence apparatuses raises many questions. According to Saad Ghorayeb, Moughnieh, who has managed to thwart U.S. and Israeli intelligence for more than 20 years, probably relied very little on traditional security networks. "Only a chosen few, whether in Syria or Lebanon, knew his true identity. Syria being the weakest link, the security breach must have occurred high up in Syrian intelligence hierarchy.".....

According to Saad-Ghorayeb, Nasrallah's speech was significant in terms of pointing the blame. "Sayyed Hassan (Nasrallah) accused the factions who supported Israel in the July war -- perhaps hinting at Arab countries -- of collaboration in the Moughnieh killing," says the analyst. "This type of operation could not have been engineered by a single intelligence agency, acting alone, and was perhaps the result of a joint effort between different countries." The place of the assassination are also of considerable importance, says the analyst, especially since Nasrallah hinted that since "Mougnieh's killing took place outside the natural battlefield," so too would Hezbollah's retaliation.

"A Hezbollah leading figure was killed in Damascus, which makes the implications certainly regional. The presence and intervention of Iranian foreign minister Manoucher Mottaki at the Moughnieh funeral also underlines Iranian support to Nasrallah's stance and any action he might undertake in the future," says Saad Ghorayeb. He believes that in the event of a military intervention, the conflict will, this time, most likely be regional.

More speculation continues to fuel conspiracy theories in Beirut. The official Syrian news agency, SANA, reports that Syria denied Iranian claims that the two countries would conduct a joint probe into the assassination of the top Hezbollah commander. This contradicts Iranian deputy foreign minister Ali Reza Sheikh Attar's announcement of a joint investigation earlier.

What motivated Syria's change of heart? Who killed Imad Moughnieh? The answers to these two questions will undoubtedly shape future events in the region."

Cheer Up Palestinians! The EU is Coming Up With More Money For.......Crackdown and Prisons!

EU advisers to PA police seek $221 million for training, prisons

"European Union advisers to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' police force are seeking a $221 million infusion of funds to step up training and expand prisons as part of a Western-backed security crackdown.

The cost estimate is 10 times the $22 million committed so far under the EU's police training program, EU officials in the region said on Thursday...."

EU resolution lambastes Israel over Gaza policy

"European Union lawmakers urged Israel on Thursday not to inflict "collective punishment" on Gaza's population, saying its isolation of the territory had failed and its actions were endangering civilians.

They urged Israel to lift a blockade which has cut supplies to the 1.5 million people living in Gaza, run by the Islamist group Hamas, and let in aid and essential goods and services.

"The policy of isolation of the Gaza strip has failed at both the political and humanitarian level," the European Parliament said in an adopted resolution.

"The civilian population should be exempt from any military action and any collective punishment."

Israeli air strikes and ground incursions into the Gaza Strip have killed some 300 Palestinians in the past year, including dozens of civilians, but have failed to prevent rocket fire, which killed two Israelis in the same period.

"The European Parliament calls on Israel to cease military actions killing and endangering civilians, and extrajudicial targeted killings," the resolution said....."

Nobel Peace Laureate Says US Trying to Stall Cluster Bomb Agreement

"Wellington, New Zealand - Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams accused the United States on Wednesday of trying to stall negotiations on an international agreement to ban cluster bombs - without even attending talks on the treaty.

Delegates from more than 120 countries are negotiating a convention in New Zealand that would ban the use, production, trade and storage of cluster bombs that cause unacceptable harm to civilians.

The talks, first launched by Austria, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Peru and the Vatican last year, aim to define which cluster bomb weapons are acceptable and which should be banned.

Williams, a delegate to the talks, said the U.S. was seeking exemptions from the treaty for many cluster weapons, a 10-year delay to any treaty coming into force, and the right for non-cluster munition states to work in coalition with cluster bomb users.

The United States was not represented at the negotiations, and Williams accused its allies of making the demands on its behalf. “The U.S. has put pressure on states to do these things,” she told The Associated Press......"

Fidel Steps Aside

Cuba Changed History


".....Fidel was the father of modern Cuba. Think of the thousands of Cuban names etched in honor rolls throughout the world in science, medicine, sports, art, film, literature and music. Cuban doctors saved lives in Pakistan, Vietnam, throughout Africa the Middle East and Latin America.

Under Castro, a nation without strategic resources changed history in southern Africa. In 1987-8, Cuban troops in Angola defeated the apartheid South Africa forces and thus forced the opening that allowed Nelson Mandela to become President. A Cuban tank unit fought in the 1973 Middle East war. Castro's ideological sons now serve as elected presidents of several Latin American countries ; more distant relative govern other countries--ones the US used to control.

The US isolated Cuba in the 1960s. Now, Cuba relates to the rest of the hemisphere -- save for the United States. Castro also changed the United States by exporting his enemies -- to his larger enemy. In turn, Cuban-Americans in Florida, especially in the 2000 elections, changed US destiny."

Uncertainty on terror's 'central front'

By Jim Lobe
Asia Times

"Washington appears unsure whether Pakistan's election results are a setback to US strategic interests or an advance. Embattled President Pervez Musharraf is looking much less "indispensable" as an ally in the US's "war on terror". At the same time, close cooperation with the Pakistani military - which retired general Musharraf commanded until last fall - remains essential....."

Barak to Assad: We'll escalate fight against Hizbullah.
Barak stressed that Jerusalem expected Damascus to take a different stance against Hizbullah, as a goodwill gesture for future peace negotiations between the two countries

مصر تتمسك بإشراف "حماس" على المعابر رغم اعتراض إسرائيل

"كتب محمد عطية (المصريون): : بتاريخ 20 - 2 - 2008
كشفت تقارير صحفية إسرائيلية عن تقدم اللواء عمر سليمان مدير المخابرات المصرية بعرض على إسرائيل بأن تتولى حركة "حماس" الإشراف على معبر رفح الحدودي، وهو ما قوبل برفض عاموس جلعاد ممثل وزارة الدفاع الإسرائيلية خلال اجتماعهما الأخير بالقاهرة لمناقشة قضية الإشراف على المعابر.
وأفادت صحيفة "يديعوت أحرونوت" على موقعها الإلكتروني أمس، أن خلافا شهدته المناقشات التي جرت الأحد الماضي بين سليمان وجلعاد حول مسألة الإشراف على الجانب الفلسطيني من الحدود، مشيرة إلى أن "إصرار" مصر على تولي "حماس" الإشراف على المعابر الحدودية يقابله رفض إسرائيل بدعوى اعتبارها "كيانا إرهابيا".

Israeli Army Launches Wartime Television Studio


"21/02/2008 As part of the Israeli army's efforts to implement the lessons learned after the Second Lebanon War, an independent military broadcast studio was launched on Wednesday in the hopes of providing an effective means of relaying crucial information to the Israel's settlers during a time of national crisis......"

Barak: We'll Escalate Fight against Hezbollah, Hamas


"21/02/2008 Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak conveyed a message to Syria during his visit to Turkey earlier this month, stating that Israel might escalate its military battle against Hezbollah and Hamas, the London-based newspaper al-Hayat reported Thursday.

According to the report, Barak stressed that Jerusalem expected Damascus to take a different stance against Hezbollah, as a goodwill gesture for future settlement negotiations between the two countries.

The Israeli defense minister warned Syria to refrain from supporting Hezbollah should a conflict erupt between Israel and the Islamic resistance movement, if Damascus is interested in future negotiations with Israel.

Barak conveyed these messages through Turkish President Abdullah Gul days before Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah threatened Israel with an "open war" worldwide if it wanted that kind of wars, in response to the assassination of the organization's senior commander Imad Moghniyeh in a car explosion in Damascus.

According to the report, during his meetings in Ankara, Barak tried to learn of the Turkish response should Israel launch a wide-scale operation in the Gaza Strip. He also sought to found an international force in the Gaza Strip which would include Turkey, Qatar, Malaysia and Jordan, in order to guarantee the cessation of rocket attacks from that area and in order to supervise the border.


Meanwhile, Israeli army Chief of General Staff Gabi Ashkenazi warned the army on Wednesday to be ready for a new conflagration in the region. "There are dangers to our survival on the horizon and great challenges to Israeli security. The IDF needs to ensure a rapid victory in any conflict and I cannot guarantee that we won't need to act in the near future," Ashkenazi said at a graduation ceremony for a ground forces officers training course at the Officer Training School near Mitzpe Ramon.

The Israeli army chief said the army's job was and remained to serve as "a safety net" for the continued existence and success of the State of Israel.

Also attending the ceremony was Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who told the soldiers that the lessons of the Second Lebanon War had been internalized, and that Israel was now better prepared for any conflict.

"The lessons of the war are being implemented at all levels of command in the IDF: in the branches, corps, commands and the departments of the General Staff," Olmert said. "Unprecedented resources today allow the IDF to train more, prepare better for a time of trouble, and train commanders and fighters at all levels in the best possible manner and for all scenarios." "

Israel extends closure of Palestinian offices in E. Jerusalem

"Israel is keeping Palestinian institutions in east Jerusalem shut tight, despite its pledge to reopen them under a recently revived peace blueprint, Palestinian officials said Thursday.

This month, the officials said, Israel renewed its order to close a leading Palestinian think tank known as Orient House, the city 's Arab Chamber of Commerce and other symbolic buildings that are a rallying point for the Palestinians' claims to Jerusalem's eastern sector as capital of a future state....."

Beware Turks Carrying Secret Love Letters

Barak to Assad: We'll escalate fight against Hizbullah

"London-based al-Hayat newspaper reports defense minister conveyed message to Syrian president through Turkish president, calling on Damascus not to intervene in military battle against Lebanese, Palestinian groups if it seeks future peace negotiations.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak conveyed a message to Syria during his visit to Turkey earlier this month, stating that Israel might escalate its military battle against Hizbullah and Hamas, the London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Hayat reported Thursday.

According to the report, Barak stressed that Jerusalem expected Damascus to take a different stance against Hizbullah, as a goodwill gesture for future peace negotiations between the two countries......"