Saturday, October 11, 2008

Saving Wall Street by Carlos Latuff

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Thirty Years' War in Afghanistan

By Robert Dreyfuss
The Nation

"Following on the heels of recent reports from British military and diplomatic circles that the war in Afghanistan can't be won, a new report from Tony Cordesman at the Center for Strategic and International Studies lay out in excruciatingly painful terms how bad the situation is. Cordesman, who is both a principled, hardline conservative and a true scholar and military expert, is probably the most prolific thinktank analyst in all of Washington. His analyses are all must-reads.

The only question is: Does the United States have the stomach for a Thirty Years' War against the Taliban? I doubt it, and I hope not. But Cordesman (and others) are right that that's what it would take to have a prayer of victory there.....

Cordesman's new report is called "Winning the War in Afghanistan," and it takes off from there:

The real war is political, ideological, and a struggle for the control of the political and economic sphere. It is also a war of attrition. ... We are running out of time. ... We currently are losing, and the trends have been consistent since 2004........"

Licence to kill

Jewish settler fanatics continue to kill and steal from Palestinians without censure from Israel

By Khaled Amayreh in the West Bank
Al-Ahram Weekly

".....In one incident, the head of a settlement council took part in an arson attack that Palestinians contend happened in full view of Israeli army troops.

"I think there is a sort of collusion between the army and the settlers. Do you believe that the mighty Israeli army can't control a few thugs who are terrorising Palestinian communities here?" asked Ibrahim Ahmed of Salem near Nablus.

"The world is often under the false impression that the settlers are a few unruly fanatics in an otherwise civilised society," Ahmed continued. "The truth of the matter, however, is that the settlers are a key tool of the Israeli state and army to terrorise and torment the Palestinians. It is the state and the army that give them money, housing, weapons and protection. So it is naïve to buy the claim that the settlers are acting against the will of the Israeli state and army."

Last week, a young Palestinian shepherd was found murdered next to a Jewish colony, also in the Nablus region. Eyewitnesses reported that they saw a white van chasing the 19-year-old man. The Israeli army denied that the boy was murdered by settlers, saying it was more likely that he was killed by unexploded ordnance left by the Israeli army......."

Murder Unto The Nations......

Celebrating criminality

In Israel, the murder of Palestinians and their mutilation is openly applauded at the highest levels. Is anyone in the West watching?

By Khaled Amayreh
Al-Ahram Weekly

"The tension in the audience was apparent last Saturday as it waited for Emanuel Rozin, presenter of the popular Israeli television Channel Two, to announce the channel's "man of the [Hebrew] year". To heighten the audience's suspense, Rozin listed the personality's achievements before announcing his name. Saleh Al-Naami looks into the man's cv.

"He's the man who has only done good deeds... He's the person who is famed for cutting off Palestinians' heads with a Japanese knife... He's the man who was born with a knife between his teeth... He's the head of Mossad, Meir Dagan!" The hall thundered with applause when Rozin announced Dagan as man of the year.

Rozin made sure to mention some of Dagan's "secret" achievements, especially the assassination of Hizbullah operations commander Imad Mughniyah, and providing the intelligence information that allowed the Israeli air force to bomb a research station in northeast Syria, among others. After announcing Dagan man of the year, the station broadcast a profile of him that addressed his achievements during his military service and as the head of Mossad.

All of Dagan's colleagues and acquaintances that were interviewed heaped praise on his creativity in killing Palestinians and Arabs. Retired General Yossi Ben Hanan, who was a colleague of Dagan's, was witness to his insistence on killing Palestinians himself once they were turned over to him. Ben Hanan praised his close friend effusively for this........."

Zero-sum thinking still

In the second of a four-part review of what comes after Bush, Azmi Bishara laments that the trope of "good versus evil" in US political culture will prevail for some time to come

By Azmi Bishara
Al-Ahram Weekly

"......For a brief period, conservatives and liberals were of one mind over their goals and the instruments to achieve them. These led to a string of disasters that, in turn, drove the two camps apart amidst a torrent of mutual recriminations. The collapse of the state in Iraq, the rise of the Iraqi resistance, regional and international revulsion at the consequences of American-led aggression, the failure of the so-called war against terrorism, the failure of the American war against the Lebanese resistance using Israeli instruments, severely eroded the US's international prestige and drove a wedge through American society. It was a necessity that forced Washington to change its policies, not an awakening of conscience. In like manner, it was political expedience that compelled the liberals to disassociate themselves from the neocons. From here it was a short road to the end of the phase of international and domestic tolerance of America's post-11 September delirium. All of which occurred before the Georgia experience and the resurgence of Russian nationalist policy......."

Robert Fisk's World: 'Collateral damage' or targeted killing, the effect is much the same

One grandfather lost all his sons and grandsons. His family line came to an end

By Robert Fisk

".....The repulsive Baath party archives of Saddam Hussein are the latest to find a place on my coffee table, all marked "Secret", unpublished – though they formed the basis for the old man's trial and for his depraved hanging by the Iraqi government more than two years ago. I reprint them now without excuse, for they have a bitter taste in the "new" Iraq and in the "new" Afghanistan about which we still fantasise as we send more Nato troops into Asia's greatest military graveyard.....

The patriarchal lineage – wherein all males carry their father's, grandfather's, and great-grandfather's names, sometimes back eight generations – enabled the secret police to trace the male line of entire families and thus to liquidate them all. Their womenfolk were tortured, many of them raped. The men were butchered. One grandfather lost all his sons and grandsons. His "treacherous" family line came to an end. The ruthlessness of Saddam's "Crimes Liaison Office" comes across in their surviving reports.......

And there follows a sheaf of files listing the accused families and their menfolk. Of the Al-Tayyar sub-tribe of the Abu Haideri tribe of Dujail, for example, there is a great grandfather called Abdullah with three children – Asad, Mohammed and Suheil – who themselves have nine children – Sabri, Ali, Nayif, Jasim, Hassan, Qadir, Kabsun, Yasin and Hani. Saddam's secret police fell upon their sons: Ammar, Abdel Salam, Qasim, Sahib, Sa'ad, another Qasim (son of Qadir), Hashim, Ali, a second Ali (son of Yassin) and Thamir.

All of the latter were executed on Saddam's orders.......

But now I ask a question. When US troops massacre Iraqi civilians in Haditha because their buddy has been murdered, what is the difference between their revenge and that of Saddam? When a Taliban attack on Nato forces in Afghanistan provokes a US air strike on a village and leaves women and children torn to pieces in the ruins – this now seems the inevitable result – what is the difference between those innocent deaths and the destruction of the families of Abdullah's grandchildren in Dujail?......."

International Jewish network condemns Israel and Zionism

Release, IJAN, 10 October 2008

"As Jews around the world observe the Jewish New Year, a new Jewish group honors the holiday by denouncing Israel and Zionism. The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) launches this week, with a month of actions and events in over eight countries and the release of its founding charter.

This growing network of Jews, with local network affiliates in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe, Israel, India, Morocco, Mexico and Argentina, was formed to join the struggle for justice in Palestine and the Middle East and challenge the Zionist censorship of Palestinian and other resistance to Zionism. IJAN seeks to rekindle a long Jewish tradition of participation in struggles for liberation and against exploitation and oppression.

"We intend to contribute to a growing international voice that challenges Zionism and its claim to speak on behalf of Jews worldwide; Israel and the Zionist ideology upon which it was built does not speak for us, nor does it reflect our vision of a just and safe world," says IJAN organizer Sara Kershnar. "The movement against Zionist apartheid must be as uncompromising as was the movement against South African apartheid. Anti-Zionism is part not only of the movement against racism but also the movement against war. We are convinced that we speak to a great unexpressed, in fact censored sentiment of support for this perspective, including among Jewish people."

IJAN distinguishes itself from Jewish and other peace groups that do not reject Zionism or the continuation of an exclusionary Jewish State. IJAN's charter states, "We commit ourselves wholeheartedly to the liberation of Palestine. We commit our hearts, minds and political energy to supporting the varied and vibrant resistance movement of the Palestinian people, the solidarity of individuals and organizations in every country and to confront the injustices for which the countries we live in are responsible. We unequivocally support the Palestinian right of return. We respond wholeheartedly to the call from Palestine for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel."

The International Jewish anti-Zionist Network is an independent organization that supports the indigenous Palestinian struggle and leadership. The IJAN Charter states, "The justice we work for must be built by those throughout Palestine, including Israel, and those in Palestinian refugee camps, whose struggle for self-determination can lead to equity and freedom for all who live there and in the surrounding lands.""

Friday, October 10, 2008

Anti-democratic nature of US capitalism is being exposed

Irish Times

"....THE SIMULTANEOUS unfolding of the US presidential campaign and unravelling of the financial markets presents one of those occasions where the political and economic systems starkly reveal their nature.

Passion about the campaign may not be universally shared but almost everybody can feel the anxiety from the foreclosure of a million homes, and concerns about jobs, savings and healthcare at risk.....

Financial liberalisation has effects well beyond the economy. It has long been understood that it is a powerful weapon against democracy. Free capital movement creates what some have called a "virtual parliament" of investors and lenders, who closely monitor government programmes and "vote" against them if they are considered irrational: for the benefit of people, rather than concentrated private power......."

Real News Video with Pepe Escobar: McCain and The Evil Empire

Pepe Escobar: McCain insists on demonizing Russia - he's not even listening to his own heroes

"At the second US presidential debate, Senator John McCain once again raised the specter of a renewed Cold War, displaying a very confrontational position towards Russia. Even Senator Barack Obama accused Russia of promoting "mischief around the world". McCain don't seem to be listening to his own heroes - certified Cold Warrior Henry Kissinger, who advises him, and counterinsurgency ace Gen. David Petraeus."

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

"Officer, this must be a mistake! I am not the proprietor of a brokerage firm; I am just an ordinary thief, I swear!"

By Emad Hajjaj (Abu Mahjoob)

Corruption blamed as cholera rips through Iraq

By Patrick Cockburn in Baghdad
Friday, 10 October 2008

"A deadly outbreak of cholera in Iraq is being blamed on a scandal involving corrupt officials who failed to sterilise the local drinking water because they were bribed to buy chlorine from Iran that was long past its expiration date.

The centre of the epidemic is in Babil province, south of Baghdad, in the marshy lands east of the Euphrates river, not far from the ruins of ancient Babylon. In Baghdad, where half the six million population has no access to clean drinking water, people are now drinking only bottled or boiled water.

The Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has appointed a commission of inquiry to find out why ineffective chlorine was being used. He is also refusing to release three officials under arrest despite demands from the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) to which they are linked. In the town of al-Madhatiya, in southern Babil, a councillor involved in buying the chlorine was reportedly released after militiamen connected to ISCI intimidated police into freeing him.....

The scandal is a reflection of the the way Iraqi politics works. The ruling parties monopolise jobs and contracts. It is impossible to find work at any level in most ministries without a letter of commendation from one of the parties in the government. The enormous Iraqi government apparatus, employing some two million people, is a patronage machine. There are now more state officials than under Saddam, but it is unable to supply electricity, food rations and clean water, despite Iraq's $80bn in accumulated oil revenues......"

Third-Party Blues

By Scott Ritter

"Ralph Nader is right: The two-party system is failing America. There isn’t time between now and Election Day to create a viable third-party candidate, and so the sad reality is one of two deeply flawed men, the byproduct of a deeply flawed political system, will serve as president for the next four or eight years....."

Afghan Peace Talks Widen US-UK Rift on War Policy

By Gareth Porter

"The beginning of political talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban revealed by press accounts this week is likely to deepen the rift that has just erupted in public between the United States and its British ally over the US commitment to an escalation of the war in Afghanistan.

According to a French diplomatic cable that leaked to a French magazine last week, Prime Minister Gordon Brown's government is looking for an exit strategy from Afghanistan rather than an endless war, and it sees a US escalation of the war as an alternative to a political settlement rather than as supporting such an outcome......."

The American Empire, RIP

The 'declinists' were right

By Justin Raimondo

"Part of the psychology of the Greenspan Bubble – a policy of bank credit expansion that distorted market signals and led to the over-valuation of certain assets, such as real estate – has been the vaunted overestimation of America's staying power as a global hegemon. Standing alongside the hubris that brought down the financial edifices of Bear Stearns and Goldman Sachs is the foreign policy corollary: the triumphalism of the neoconservatives, who imagined that American military power could solve all the world's problems: or, at least, most of our own. They sneered at the "declinists," like Paul Kennedy, who pointed to "imperial overstretch" as the cause of our impending economic and geopolitical demise......

Our own nemesis is the puffed-up pridefulness of our leaders, who thought they were gods, and believed, as one top official put it, that

"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Reality has caught up with the lords of the American empire, and all the frenzied attempts at "creating other new realities" are to little avail. Sure, future historians will indeed study these vaunted creatures, "history's actors" of the year 2008. Yet it won't be with any sense of admiration for their great achievements. They'll be studied as exemplars of failure on an unprecedented scale, economic suicide bombers whose spectacular demise shredded the global financial network – and triggered our own long slide into post-imperial senescence. "

انباء عن بناء معسكرات أمريكية سرية في الأردن لتدريب الجيش العراقي وقوات الامن الفلسطينية

انباء عن بناء معسكرات أمريكية سرية في الأردن لتدريب الجيش العراقي وقوات الامن الفلسطينية

"الناصرة ـ 'القدس العربي' ـ من زهير اندراوس: كشفت مصادر فلسطينية مطلعة للغاية أمس الخميس لصحيفة 'القدس العربي' أنّ الإدارة الأمريكية الحالية أقامت معسكرات تدريب وتأهيل عسكرية في المملكة الأردنية الهاشمية لتدريب الجيش العراقي التابع للحكومة العراقية، التي يرأسها نوري المالكي، ولقوات الأمن الفلسطينية التابعة للأجهزة الأمنية الفلسطينية، التي تعمل تحت إمرة الرئيس الفلسطيني محمود عبّاس.
وقالت المصادر، التي طلبت عدم الكشف عن اسمها لحساسية الموضوع، إن الأمريكيين قاموا ببناء معسكرات كبيرة للغاية في أحدى مناطق المملكة الهاشمية، حيث أقيمت مدينة عراقية، تتدرب فيها القوات العراقية، على عمليات الدهم والاجتياح والاعتقال لمواجهة المقاومة العراقية والانفلات الأمني الحاصل في العراق.
وزادت المصادر قائلة إنّ الأمريكيين أقاموا في نفس المكان معسكرات تدريب للقوات الفلسطينية حيث شيّدوا نموذجاً لمخيم لاجئين في الضفة الغربية المحتلة أو في قطاع غزة، ويقومون بتأهيل العناصر الفلسطينية وعددهم الآن يصل إلى 500 حتى 600 عنصر بين ضابط وجندي، بهدف أن يكونوا جاهزين لبسط السيادة الفلسطينية فيما إذا توصل الطرفان، الإسرائيلي والفلسطيني، إلى اتفاق حول نقل المسؤولية الأمنية للفلسطينيين، كما حصل في مدينة جنين وضواحيها.
وأكدت المصادر عينها أنّ تكاليف التدريبات الأمريكية للعراقيين والفلسطينيين وصلت إلى سبعة ملايين دولار، وأنّ التنسيق الفلسطيني يتم مع الجنرال كيث دايتون، منسق الإدارة الأمريكية للشؤون العسكرية في فلسطين، كما أنّ المشرفين على التدريب هم ضباط في المخابرات وفي الجيش الأردني. وزادت المصادر قائلة إنّ الأردنيين يمنعون وسائل الإعلام من القيام بتصوير المعسكرات أو الدخول إليها.
وأكدت المصادر إنّ الأردن يقوم حالياً بتدريب عناصر ينتمون للسلطة الفلسطينية في معسكر صحراوي غربي مدينة عمان، لكنها رفضت تسمية المعسكر وذكرت عدد المتدربين.وأفادت المصادر أنّ التدريب يجري بإشراف وتعاون مع ضباط أمريكيين.

اقتراح البحرين وترحيب عمرو موسى

اقتراح البحرين وترحيب عمرو موسى

رأي القدس

"ان ترحب حكومتا بريطانيا والولايات المتحدة باقتراح الشيخ خالد بن حمد آل خليفة وزير خارجية البحرين الذي دعا الى قيام تكتل اقليمي يضم العرب وتركيا واسرائيل وايران فهذا امر متوقع، ولكن ان يدافع السيد عمرو موسى امين عام الجامعة العربية عنه ويطالب بدراسته فهذا يعكس تطورا في مواقفه، وطريقة تفكيره، يستحقان التأمل والدراسة ايضا.
وربما يفيد تذكير امين عام الجامعة العربية بان وزير خارجية البحرين لم يتطرق مطلقا في اقتراحه الى تطبيق قرارات الشرعية الدولية والانسحابات الاسرائيلية من الاراضي المحتلة، او حتى مبادرة السلام العربية، وذهب الى ما هو اخطر من ذلك عندما رأى ان قيام هذا التجمع الاقليمي يمكن ان يساعد في حل المشاكل المعلقة التي أوحى بانها قديمة، ولا يجب ان تكون عنصر تعطيل في هذا الصدد.
السيد عمرو موسى يجب ان يكون حارسا امينا على القضايا العربية المصيرية، وقرارات القمم العربية الصادرة بشأنها، بحكم منصبه اولا، وما كان معروفا عنه من مواقف صلبة في هذا الخصوص، جعلت الغالبية العظمى من الشارع العربي ترحب بتعيينه في موقعه الحالي.
كنا نتمنى لو ان امين عام الجامعة العربية اصدر بيانا يعترض فيه على مقترح الوزير البحريني، ويعتبره خروجا عن الثوابت العربية وتشجيعا لاسرائيل على المضي في انتهاكاتها لقرارات الشرعية الدولية في بناء المستوطنات وتهويد القدس المحتلة، واقامة الحواجز العنصرية، وفرض حصار تجويعي على اشقاء عرب ومسلمين في فلسطين، او ان يبادر بدعوة وزراء خارجية الدول العربية لاجتماع طارئ لمناقشة هذه السابقة البحرينية، وبحث انعكاساتها السلبية على المنطقة والامة العربية، ولكن ما نتمناه شيء، وما يريده امين عام الجامعة هو شيء آخر مختلف تماما.
وزير خارجية البحرين لم يطلق اقتراحه هذا من فراغ، وانما نتيجة تنسيق مسبق مع بعض القوى الغربية وربما العربية ايضا، بهدف اختبار ردود الفعل العربية، والتمهيد للحلف السني اليهودي في مواجهة ايران الشيعية الذي تعد له الولايات المتحدة لدعم اي ضربات توجهها بشكل مباشر، او من خلال اسرائيل، في المستقبل القريب لتدمير البرنامج النووي الايراني.

Israel's own religious fanatics

The problem with any country fashioned along religious lines is that moderates get buried under rocks and a stream of abuse

Seth Freedman, Friday October 10 2008

"......When I likened the wanton destruction I witnessed in Nil'in to a pogrom, I was hauled over the coals by my detractors for the language I employed. A few months on, and it appears that the word is enjoying something of a renaissance: Ehud Olmert using it to describe a wave of settler attacks on Arab villages, and – last night – at least three MKs calling the Yom Kippur war in Akko a pogrom, albeit from polar opposite sides of the spectrum.......

The local police chief described the incident as a "deliberate provocation" by the driver, while saying precious little about the decision by his assailants to resort to hurling rocks and bottles to express their displeasure. But in that case, why don't the police end the nationwide tradition of bike-riding on Yom Kippur, if such acts are deemed to be a provocation to those adhering to religious law? The answer's pretty clear, and gives the lie to any claim that Israel is any more tolerant than its peers in the Arab world.

There is much to be said for respecting others' religions and customs, but at the same time "your freedom ends where my nose begins" cannot – and must not – be allowed to extend to a national scale. When that happens, and when the state apparatus fails to condemn such behaviour, then the game is well and truly up. And all the screams of "pogrom" in the world won't cover up who the true Cossacks are in such a case. "

Fighting talk is self-defeating

As the generals say there is no military solution, Obama and McCain should cut the rhetoric and get real about Afghanistan

Simon Tisdall, Thursday October 09 2008

"John McCain talks a lot about victory. But his personal experience of military action encompasses only defeat. McCain's war was Vietnam, where he served courageously as a US navy pilot. Even so, he spent most of his time there in a prisoner of war camp. And as the world well knows, America's south-east Asian adventure ended in calamity.

A generation or two later, the lessons of history stubbornly unlearnt, the US is drifting into another Asian quagmire, this time in Afghanistan. Like Vietnam, the conflict is ideological – confronting communism then, confronting radical Salafi or Wahhabi Islam now.

This latest American war is also being fought asymmetrically; that is to say, highly-trained troops using the very latest military technology against highly-motivated irregular guerrilla bands. The US is propping up an ineffective and corrupt regime in Kabul, as was once the case in Saigon......"

New brushstrokes on Egypt's canvas

The internet, ham-fisted censorship and an outspoken young generation are combining to redraw the media landscape

Jack Shenker, Thursday October 09 2008

"......The big news has been the presidential pardon of the controversial editor and outspoken regime critic Ibrahim Eissa, who sits at the helm of al-Dostour newspaper. This phenomenally popular daily has been a constant thorn in the government's side since it reopened in 2005 – seven years after being shut down for publishing an Islamist statement. In August last year, as whispers regarding Hosni Mubarak's health swirled through the streets, Eissa had the mendacity to write:

The president in Egypt is a god and gods don't get sick. Thus, President Mubarak, those surrounding him, and the hypocrites hide his illness and leave the country prey to rumours. It is not a serious illness. It's just old age. But the Egyptian people are entitled to know if the president is down with something as minor as the flu.

In an Orwellian doublespeak world where the president declares his belief in press freedom to be "unshakeable" and promises that no journalist will go to jail for doing their job, that paragraph was enough to land Eissa in court, where he was accused of single-handedly undermining international confidence in Egypt's stability and wiping $350m off the stock market.

The protracted legal drama that followed finally came to an end this week, when Mubarak used the occasion of Armed Forces Day to publicly revoke Eissa's two-month prison sentence, a sentence which Eissa had warned would "open the gates of hell for the Egyptian press." The blogosphere was underwhelmed by the president's generosity. "Mubarak is most misericordious and most merciful, is He not?" commented a particularly earnest fan.......

Despite the bitter setbacks faced by journalists across different formats trying to expose injustice and improbity at the heart of the Arab world's largest country, the government's suffocating grip on the media here is slowly weakening. There is nothing linear about this process: writers and activists whose work is channelled through the net are routinely rounded up; the explosion of foreign satellite channels in recent years has been accompanied by police raids on programme-makers; the rise of independent ownership within the Egyptian newspaper industry is undermined by court cases against non-compliant editors......"

Jewish extremists attempt pogrom against Arabs in Akka

From Khalid Amayreh in Occupied East Jerusalem

"Hundreds of religious Jewish extremists and hooligans laid siege to and assaulted an Arab family home in downtown Akka Wednesday night, triggering widespread riots in the mixed Arab-Jewish coastal city in northern Palestine.

The Jews accused the Arab family of “violating the sanctity of Yom Kippur” by way of driving their car.

Eyewitnesses and police sources reported that dozens of vehicles and businesses were damaged after police forces violently repressed hundreds of local Arab youths who had attempted to free the besieged Arab family.

Arab sources in Akka said Jewish hooligans attacked “and may have tried to lynch” the Ahmed Sha’aban family which lives in the predominantly Jewish neighborhood of Porla in the eastern suburbs of the city.

“The extremists, hundreds of them wanted to make sure that we, Muslims, observe the Yom Kippur and not conduct our life as usual. Next time, they will demand that we convert to Judaism, or leave,” said Jamal Adham, who was attacked and slightly injured by the extremists.......

Abbas Zkoor, an Arab member of the Israeli Knesset urged the Police to protect Israeli Arab citizens from Jewish fanatics especially during Jewish holidays.

Zkoor was quoted as charging that for years, young Jews have gathered at city entrances on Yom Kippur and stoned passing Arab cars, endangering the lives of the passengers........"

History lessons: Galbraith's 'The Great Crash 1929' is still essential reading today

By Stephen Foley
Friday, 10 October 2008
The Independent

"The late John Kenneth Galbraith attributed the longevity of his book The Great Crash 1929 – published in 1955 and never since out of print – to the tendency of history to threaten a repeat. "Each time it has been about to pass from bookstores," he wrote in a later foreword, "another speculative episode – another bubble or the ensuing misfortune – has stirred interest in the history of this, the great modern case of boom and collapse, which led on to an unforgiving depression."

So here we are again. The financial crisis that has engulfed credit markets over the past year has finally crashed into the public consciousness, and the question of whether the US is headed for a second Great Depression is now a staple of bar-room debate. Little wonder, this has pushed the old Keynesian economist's book back into the Amazon charts.

Almost 80 years ago, a financial crisis led directly to an economic catastrophe. The Great Crash 1929 sets out the five routes by which one became the other. Not all have direct parallels today, but some do. All these years later, Galbraith's book is still essential reading.....

The bad distribution of income.....

The bad corporate structure......

The bad banking structure......

The dubious state of the foreign balance......

Poor state of economic intelligence.......

....Not today. For all the parallels, it is different this time [COMMENT: famous last words?]."

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Time for Mordechai Vanunu is Now

Unrepentant and Unbreakable


"As the world awaits the announcement of this year’s recipient(s) of the Nobel Peace Prize, there is no doubt 2008 has been witness to a call to war.

The pressure exerted by Israel in goading the United States to attack Iran has been relentless, and thankfully, resisted up to now. In this context, is there any better person to receive the Peace Prize than the man who initially exposed the Middle East’s first—and only—nuclear power over two decades ago?......"

Real News Video: Markets continue to unravel

James Gailbraith on what needs to be done about the financial crisis

"The world financial markets plunged again on Wednesday despite the fact that the US Federal Reserve and other central banks synchronized an interest rate cut. Wall St. speculators sold off in the last half hour dropping the Dow 190 points. TRNN spoke to Dr. James K. Galbraith who said that markets will continue to unravel unless the mortgage crisis is stabilized and people are stable in their homes."

(click on cartoon to enlarge)

Hoping to Topple the Apartheid Wall.....
A Novel Solution!

By Baha Boukhari

Hamas is as Firm as a Rubber Band! That, You Can Count On...

Hamas accepts extending Abbas' presidency for additional six months

"In contradicting frequent statements by Hamas leaders regarding their rejection to extending the presidency of Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas delegates participating in the first day of the Cairo dialog said that the movement accepts extending Abbas' presidency for additional six months, the Palestine News Agency reported.

The agreement is part of an Egyptian reconciliation plan which aims at achieving a comprehensive Palestinian reconciliation in order to end the ongoing rift between Hamas and Fateh movements. The agreement is considered part of an Egyptian Road Map Plan but is still not finalized and further meetings are needed to achieve a comprehensive deal.

Part of this plan is concessions from both Hamas and Fateh movements in order to form a unity government [there we go again with "unity government" !], reform the security devices, and resolve several other issues such as the Rafah terminal an extending the term of Abbas in office.

Some of the main points of the new deal are:

Allowing Abbas to remain in office for additional six months that could be renewed if needed.

Hamas agrees on the Quartet's conditions regarding organizing the Rafah terminal and allowing Abbas' security forces to be deployed there.

An agreement to form a unity government which is not a government of technocrats, and Hamas would participate in the government with a strong presence that allows the movement to participate in decision making and grants it an active ability in governmental and political sectors.

The new government should be in charge of reforming and rebuilding the security devices.

Reforming the PLO will be postponed until after the new legislative and presidential elections.

Senior sources reported that the main points of the plan were presented to Hamas during the talks which started yesterday morning and is expected to last for three days.

Egypt hosted meetings with eleven Palestinian factions before holding a meeting with Hamas and all factions agreed on the necessity of forming a government run by independent figures and is capable of breaking the siege and running the daily affairs.

They also agreed on the importance of unifying all Palestinian authority institutions and preparing for new presidential and legislative elections in addition to reforming the Palestinian Liberation Organization to include all factions and to hold elections for the Palestinian National Council.

Egypt will present a detailed document which includes all the points of agreement to be discussed in the comprehensive meeting which will be held in Cairo and will include all factions depending on the results of talks between Hamas and Egyptian officials. "

COMMENT: I am afraid that Hamas will be outmaneuvered, cornered and led to slaughter in Cairo. Hamas should have never trusted the Pharaoh to supposedly "mediate." The Pharaoh is not an objective mediator, he is an integral part of the USraeli axis!

Just as Hamas was suckered and outsmarted by USrael and its agent, the Pharaoh, after toppling the ghetto walls at Rafah last January, I am afraid that Hamas does not have the strategic vision to successfully navigate this, even more treacherous phase.

The goal of USrael and all of the Arab regimes, without exception, is to end Hamas. Hamas thinks that it is clever, by going along, one step at a time!

Wall Street: A new Iraq War

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"The Wall Street US$810 billion - and counting - bailout is being interpreted by millions of angry Americans as no less than a class struggle weapon of mass destruction. It may cost US taxpayers over $2 trillion after real interest payments are added. Whoever is elected will inherit this toxic mess - which includes the biggest fiscal and foreign deficits in US history and no control of monetary policy. Yes, this bailout is a second Iraq war....."

Kill The Media; by Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

The PA Thugs Torturing More Palestinians to Death in Their EU-Financed Dungeons......

Investigation demanded after prisoner dies in PA custody

Report, PCHR (Palestinian Centre for Human Rights), 8 October 2008

"The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) calls on the Attorney-General of the Palestinian Authority to disclose the circumstances of the death of Shadi Mohammed Mohammed Shaheen, from the town of al-Bireh in the West Bank, who died on 29 September 2008 while in police custody in the city of Jericho. PCHR also demands a full investigation into the death, with the results publicly published.

Twenty-seven-year-old Shaheen was originally detained by a Palestinian military court order. On 8 March of this year he was summoned by the General Intelligence Service (GIS) in Ramallah, and was interrogated regarding charges of committing "crimes that endanger the safety of internal homeland security." Shaheen was detained by the GIS until 15 June 2008, when he was transferred to the Palestinian Police Rehabilitation and Discipline Center in Jericho, after an arrest warrant had been issued by the military prosecution.

At approximately 3:00pm on Monday, 29 September, Shaheen's brother, Ashraf, received a phone call from a police officer who informed him that Shaheen was seriously ill. Ashraf immediately went to see his brother, and he was informed that Shaheen had just died at Jericho Hospital. Shaheen's family stated that he had been interrogated about firing at the house of former PA Minister of Information, Nabeel Amru........"

In search of a winning strategy

"On occasion of Yom Kippur, Ron Ben-Yishai examines Israel’s struggle against Arab ‘resistance’
....The problem is that all of the above – the temporary lull we secured and the impressive defense buildup – are still no guarantee that the State of Israel can cope with the growing stratetigic threat on its very existence.

What we lack today is a winning strategy. Such strategy would enable us to successfully cope with the “slow destruction” strategy used by Iran, Syria, and radical Islamic elements to undermine Israel’s staying power and ultimately wipe it off the map. Hizbullah, which utilized this strategy with a great degree of success during the Second Lebanon War, gave it its name: Muqauma (“Resistance” in Arabic.)

In its current format, the Muqauma identifies three Israeli vulnerabilities: The civilian home front, the Israeli public’s sensitivity to civilian causalities and even more so to IDF casualties, and the sensitivity of our political leaders to international public opinion and to the pressures exerted by bereaved families, captives’ families, and the media......

All of the above does not aim to prompt Israel’s surrender at once, but rather, to exhaust it time after time, round by round, until it collapses on its own.....

This strategy was not devised by an ingenious Islamic planner. It emerged out of trial and error since the 1970s: The Katyusha rockets and infiltrations from Lebanon, and later the fighting in the South Lebanese security zone; the missiles fired at Israel in the First Gulf War; the intifadas; and the latest upgrade – the Second Lebanon War......"

Muqawama, Hezbollah’s Winning Strategy during Leb. War


"09/10/2008 Two Years and few months have passed on the Second Lebanon War and the Israeli army, officials, military analysts and media are still trying to figure out what really happened during that war and still trying to find out the gaps that led to the defeat of the most powerful army in the Middle East, which was used to be called “the undefeatable army”.

In his latest analysis, and not the last, Israeli journalist Ron Ben-Yishai wrote an interesting analysis in the Israeli electronic site “Ynet” on Thursday under the title “In Search of a Winning Strategy”, in which he started with the Israeli defeat in Yom Kippur in 1973 and ended with the Second Lebanon War in 2006.......

Ben- Yishai concludes his report saying, “What’s amazing is that after so many years of contending with the Muqawama, the IDF, other security branches, and Israel’s political leadership have been unable to formulate a strategy and an arsenal of means that would enable us to win.” "

EGYPT: Anger Approaches Boiling Point

By Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani

"CAIRO, Oct 9 (IPS) - Public disaffection with the government appears to have reached an all-time high.

"There's no denying that popular anger towards the government is rising across the board," Nabil Abdel-Fattah, assistant director at the semi-official Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies told IPS. "The political friction has become palpable."

A rockslide last month that killed scores of people in a Cairo shantytown became another provocation for rising anger. It was a disaster for which many held the state indirectly responsible.

More than 100 people were killed when a rockslide in eastern Cairo Sep. 6 flattened dozens of makeshift homes in the densely populated shantytown Dweiqa. The government bore no direct blame for the disaster, but the incident threw a spotlight on the state's long-standing inability to cope with the proliferation of "informal" -- and often structurally unsound -- housing in and around the sprawling capital......

According to Hamadeen Sabahi, founder of the leftist Karama opposition party, there are currently ten million Egyptians -- to whom the government doesn't provide any services -- living in shantytowns like Duweiqa. If the problem isn't solved, he said, "it will eventually lead to a spontaneous, popular explosion." .......

In early August, senior NDP member and business magnate Mamdouh Ismail was acquitted of manslaughter for the death of more that a thousand people in 2006, when a ferry he owned sank in the Red Sea. The verdict was greeted with public outrage, particularly among relatives of the victims who saw the decision as proof that Egypt's corporate and governmental elite stand outside the law.........

"These incidents have re-ignited the long-simmering issue of coupling business interests with authority, and how this practice inevitably leads to the spread of government corruption," said Abd al-Fattah.

All the while, the government's failure to protect the public from rapidly increasing inflation -- which continues to soar month-on-month -- has also fed frustration. Rising food costs were felt with particular acuteness in the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, when Muslim families traditionally break daylong fasts with generous meals.

According to some estimates, as many as 40 percent of Egypt's 80 million people already live around or under the poverty line, meaning they survive on a dollar a day or less.......

Sabahi went on, however, to say that many Egyptians were also fed up with a political opposition seemingly incapable of challenging the status quo. Although Egypt's parliament is dominated by the NDP, roughly a fifth of the seats in the assembly are held by independent and opposition MPs.

"People may have lost all faith in the government, but they have hardly granted it to the opposition either," said Sabahi. "The government has failed across the board, but the opposition, too, has failed to rally public discontent and bring about political change." ........

"People are angry, yes," said Abd al-Fattah. "And, notably, both in the independent press and in everyday conversation, people no longer seem to be afraid of expressing this anger." "

Israeli Bestseller Breaks National Taboo

Idea of a Jewish people invented, says historian

by Jonathan Cook

"No one is more surprised than Shlomo Sand that his latest academic work has spent 19 weeks on Israel's bestseller list – and that success has come to the history professor despite his book challenging Israel's biggest taboo.

Dr. Sand argues that the idea of a Jewish nation – whose need for a safe haven was originally used to justify the founding of the state of Israel – is a myth invented little more than a century ago.

An expert on European history at Tel Aviv University, Dr. Sand drew on extensive historical and archaeological research to support not only this claim but several more – all equally controversial.

In addition, he argues that the Jews were never exiled from the Holy Land, that most of today's Jews have no historical connection to the land called Israel and that the only political solution to the country's conflict with the Palestinians is to abolish the Jewish state.

The success of When and How Was the Jewish People Invented? looks likely to be repeated around the world. A French edition, launched last month, is selling so fast that it has already had three print runs........

The problem with the teaching of history in Israel, Dr. Sand said, dates to a decision in the 1930s to separate history into two disciplines: general history and Jewish history. Jewish history was assumed to need its own field of study because Jewish experience was considered unique.

"There's no Jewish department of politics or sociology at the universities. Only history is taught in this way, and it has allowed specialists in Jewish history to live in a very insular and conservative world where they are not touched by modern developments in historical research.

"I've been criticized in Israel for writing about Jewish history when European history is my specialty. But a book like this needed a historian who is familiar with the standard concepts of historical inquiry used by academia in the rest of the world.""

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Imbecilic Tedium

The Debate in Nashville


"The presidential campaign plummeted into imbecilic tedium last night in Nashville as Barack Obama and John McCain faced off in the second debate. The encounter took place against the vivid backdrop of economic catastrophe, the obvious failure of the $700 billion bailout to turn the tide, Tuesday's market averages hurtling into the abyss, a paralyzing credit freeze, the prospect of savage deflation and prolonged world depression.

Scant intimations of these disasters penetrated the walls of the Belmont University auditorium.....

Both men once again bravely declared they would not allow another Holocaust to happen. Both pledged constancy to Israel. Both men said that an Iran with nuclear weapons was unacceptable. Brokaw could have asked them for their reactions to outgoing Israeli prime minister Olmert's stunning disclosure in an interview with the Hebrew-language newspaper Yediot Aharonot that he thinks Israel is on a totally misguided course, should " actually withdraw from almost all the territories, if not from all the territories", agree to the division of Jerusalem and give Syria back the Golan Heights.

Brokaw didn't, though he did raise the recent British assessments from Kabul saying the West's war is lost. This elicited scant reaction from Obama who continued to pledge higher US troops levels in Afghanistan plus forays into Pakistan, whatever the opinion of Pakistan's government might be. Will anyone ask the Democratic candidate how he feels about stoking up a replication of the Iraq disaster......."

Zionist Islamophobia by Khalil Bendib

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

FEMA sources confirm coming martial law

Wayne Madsen Report (in full)
Posted by Evelyn

"(FEMA) sources that the Bush administration is putting the final touches on a plan that would see martial law declared in the United States with various scenarios anticipated as triggers. The triggers include a continuing economic collapse with massive social unrest, bank closures resulting in violence against financial institutions, and another fraudulent presidential election that would result in rioting in major cities and campuses around the country.

In addition, Army Corps of Engineer sources report that the assignment of the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team (BCT) to the Northern Command's U.S. Army North is to augment FEMA and federal law enforcement in the imposition of traffic controls, crowd control, curfews, enhanced border and port security, and neighborhood patrols in the event a national emergency being declared. The BCT was assigned to duties in Iraq before being assigned to the Northern Command.

On April 3, 2008, WMR reported on a highly-classified document regarding the martial law scenario: WMR has learned from knowledgeable sources within the US financial community that an alarming confidential and limited distribution document is circulating among senior members of Congress and their senior staff members that is warning of a bleak future for the United States if it does not quickly get its financial house in order. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is among those who have reportedly read the document. The document is being called the "C & R" document because it reportedly states that if the United States defaults on loans and debt underwriting from China, Japan, and Russia, all of which are propping up the United States government financially, and the United States unilaterally cancels the debts, America can expect a war that will have disastrous results for the United States and the world. "Conflict" is the "C word" in the document. The other scenario is that the federal government will be forced to drastically raise taxes in order to pay off debts to foreign countries to the point that the American people will react with a popular revolution against the government. "Revolution" is the document's "R word."

How to Train Death Squads and Quash Revolutions from San Salvador to Iraq

Released by Wikileaks a sensitive 219 page US military counterinsurgency manual.

Global Research, October 8, 2008

"Wikileaks has released a sensitive 219 page US military counterinsurgency manual. The manual, Foreign Internal Defense Tactics Techniques and Procedures for Special Forces (1994, 2004), may be critically described as "what we learned about running death squads and propping up corrupt government in Latin America and how to apply it to other places". Its contents are both history defining for Latin America and, given the continued role of US Special Forces in the suppression of insurgencies, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, history making.
The leaked manual, which has been verified with military sources, is the official US Special Forces doctrine for Foreign Internal Defense or FID.

FID operations are designed to prop up "friendly" governments facing popular revolution or guerilla insurgency. FID interventions are often covert or quasi-covert due to the unpopular nature of the governments being supported ("In formulating a realistic policy for the use of advisors, the commander must carefully gauge the psychological climate of the HN [Host Nation] and the United States.")

The manual directly advocates training paramilitaries, pervasive surveillance, censorship, press control and restrictions on labor unions & political parties. It directly advocates warrantless searches, detainment without charge and (under varying circumstances) the suspension of habeas corpus. It directly advocates employing terrorists or prosecuting individuals for terrorism who are not terrorists, running false flag operations and concealing human rights abuses from journalists. And it repeatedly advocates the use of subterfuge and "psychological operations" (propaganda) to make these and other "population & resource control" measures more palatable.

The content has been particularly informed by the long United States involvement in El Salvador. ........"

A Plague Upon the White House

By Robert Scheer

"I am not a conventionally religious man, or even a very superstitious one, but I do wish George Bush would stop asking God to bless America. Every time he does, we seem to be visited with another plague, suggesting divine wrath over our president’s evil ways. How else to explain the persistent calamity that has marked this administration?....."

Nilin village resists Israel's land confiscation

Report, The Electronic Intifada, 7 October 2008

"NILIN, WEST BANK (IRIN) - As the olive harvest gets under way in the West Bank, residents of the Palestinian town of Nilin say much of their land, where their trees are, is off limits because of Israel's wall.

According to estimates by residents, some 5,000 olive trees sit on 270 hectares between the path of the wall and the border of the West Bank with Israel, known as the Green Line.

"People depend on this land, especially because they have already lost so much," said Hindi Misleh, an activist in the village.

The village, Misleh said, lost over 4,000 hectares of land to Israel in the 1948 war and then another 800 to Israeli settlements which started to pop up around Nilin in the 1980s.

"Every year the settlers took more land," he said......."

Jordan: Torture in Prisons Routine and Widespread

Reforms Fail to Tackle Abuse, Impunity Persists

Human Rights Watch

"......The 95-page report, “Torture and Impunity in Jordan’s Prisons: Reforms Fail to Tackle Widespread Abuse,” documents credible allegations of ill-treatment, often amounting to torture, from 66 out of 110 prisoners interviewed at random in 2007 and 2008, and in each of the seven of Jordan’s 10 prisons visited. Human Rights Watch’s evidence suggests that five prison directors personally participated in torturing detainees.

“Torture in Jordan’s prison system is widespread even two years after King Abdullah called for reforms to stop it once and for all,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The mechanisms for preventing torture by holding torturers accountable are simply not working.”

The most common forms of torture include beatings with cables and sticks and the suspension by the wrists from metal grates for hours at a time, during which guards flog a defenseless prisoner. Prison guards also torture prisoners for perceived infractions of prison rules. Human Rights Watch found evidence that at times Islamists accused or convicted of crimes against national security (Tanzimat) were punished en masse........."

U.S.-based rights group accuses Jordan of torture in state prisons

"A New York-based human rights group accused Jordan's security services Wednesday of carrying out widespread torture in the country's jails.

The Human Rights Watch report comes a year after the UN special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak, said he found evidence of systematic abuse in at least two Jordanian detention facilities but did not believe torture was widespread in the country.

"Torture in Jordan's prison system is widespread, even two years after King Abdullah II called for reforms to stop it once and for all," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director for Human Rights Watch......."

Click Here to Read the Human Rights Watch Report

Have No Illusions

About Obama

By Justin Raimondo

".......As the campaign progressed, however, it soon became all too obvious that a candidate raised up by the "antiwar" wing of the Democratic Party was and is a committed interventionist – and, not only that, but one who is still maintaining some of the hoariest old clichés of interventionist dogma, such as the apparently intrinsic aggressiveness that animates the Russian elite, the supposed centrality of Israel's security to our policy in the Middle East, and the moral imperative of "humanitarian" interventionism, starting in Darfur and ending God knows where.

His speech to the AIPAC conference was, perhaps, the low point of his campaign: the pandering, once started, didn't stop. Of course, we had been warned when, early on, he declared an attack on Iran wasn't "off the table," and his reiteration of this stance in front of Israel's amen corner – he would, he averred, do "everything, and I mean everything" to stop Iran from going nuclear – was hardly composed to offer us any solace........"

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

Will the global financial crisis speed up US withdrawal from Iraq?

With about 6,000 responding so far, 67% said yes.

اعدامات همجية وحشية في 'العراق الجديد'

اعدامات همجية وحشية في 'العراق الجديد'

رأي القدس

لا نريد تكرار الحديث عن الثمن الباهظ الذي دفعه العراقيون من امنهم وسلامتهم ووحدة تراب بلادهم ثمنا لهذه الخدعة الامريكية الكبرى، فالارقام والحقائق باتت معروفة، ولكن الجديد الذي يشيب له شعر الرأس، هو ما كشفه الصحافي البريطاني روبرت فيسك في تقرير له نشره في صحيفة 'الاندبندنت'، حول الاعدامات التي تنفذها حكومة السيد نوري المالكي الديمقراطية في زنزانة في مقر المخابرات العراقية السابق في الكاظمية، بطرق وحشية، تتواضع امامها بكل خجل اعدامات النظام السابق المماثلة.
السيد فيسك تحدث عن غرفة الاعدامات هذه الضيقة، والطرق البدائية التي تستخدم لتنفيذ الاعدام في المتهمين، ومعظمهم من رجال المقاومة العراقية، وعرب آخرون انخرطوا في صفوفها، حيث يضطر الجلادون الى اعادة العملية نفسها اكثر من مرة، اما لطول الحبل، او لنجاح الشخص المحكوم في الوقوف على الارض على رؤوس اصابعه، مما اضطرهم الى تكسير البلاط في الغرفة وحفر حفرة اعمق، ومع ذلك فشلت عمليات الاعدام في شنق المتهمين، مما دفعهم الى اطلاق الرصاص عليهم.
حكومة السيد المالكي الديمقراطية المدعومة من الامبراطورية الامريكية رمز الحضارة وقائدة العالم الحر، لا تجيد حتى تنفيذ عقوبات الاعدام بشكل لائق وانساني بالضحايا، الذين غالبا ما تدينهم محاكمات شكلية ليست لها علاقة حقيقية بالقانون والاجراءات المتبعة.
شاهدنا كيف لفقت هذه الحكومة، بتشجيع امريكي محاكمات سريعة، تستند الى تهم يصعب اثباتها، للرئيس العراقي الراحل صدام حسين ومجموعة من رفاقه، وتابعنا عبر شاشات التلفزة الطريقة الوحشية لتنفيذ عقوبة الاعدام شنقا به، والاهانات التي تعرض لها من قبل الجلادين وهو يتوجه الى حبل المشنقة رافعا الرأس باباء وشمم، في مشهد سيظل راسخا في التاريخ العربي والاسلامي لقرون مقبلة.
ولم يكن مفاجئا ان اكثر من قاض استقالوا من منصبهم، وطلبوا اعفاءهم من الاشتراك في هذه المحاكمات المسرحية، الامر الذي اضطر حكومة المالكي الى الاتيان بقضاة غير مؤهلين قانونيا بالقدر الكافي لاصدار عقوبة الاعدام في حق الرئيس العراقي ورفاقه، وتنفيذها بأسرع وقت ممكن، بطرق همجية، حتى ان رأس الراحل برزان التكريتي شقيق الرئيس صدام انفصل عن جسده بعد التنفيذ الهمجي والوحشي للحكم.
لا نعتقد ان حكومة المالكي، وكل المؤيدين لها سيتهمون السيد فيسك بانه بعثي من انصار الحكم السابق، يؤيد المجازر الجماعية، او ان صحيفته تلقت اموالا من الرئيس صدام ومخابراته مثلما فعلوا، ويفعلون حاليا، بسبب تقريره الخطير هذا الذي يدينهم ويدين الطريقة الطائفية التي يديرون فيها البلاد حاليا

Real News Video with Pepe Escobar: "That one" moment reveals McCain's dark side

Pepe Escobar: "That one" moment shows McCain's contempt for Obama

"Senior Editor Paul Jay spoke to Real News Analyst Pepe Escobar after the debate to get his reaction. Pepe believes that the election is all but over and he identifies the "that one" moment as the defining moment of the debate and a clear illustration of the contempt which McCain harbors for Obama."

Real News Video: Obama, McCain and the Empire

Chalmers Johnson: No president has stood up to the military-industrial complex (Part 4)

"In Part 4 of his series of interviews with Chalmers Johnson, Senior Editor Paul Jay asks the renowned author to weigh-in on the two presidential hopefuls in the upcoming US election. Chalmers shares his skepticism about the real power that any president has over the conduct of the US on the world stage, before critiquing the visions and advisory teams being unveiled by both Obama and McCain."

Real News Video with Pepe Escobar: The Iraq war hits Wall Street

At almost $1 trillion, and counting, the Wall Street bailout will cost taxpayers as much as the Iraq war

"Barack Obama squandered the chance to lead with an alternative plan to the Wall Street bailout. Instead both Obama and McCain pushed for a plan that's not only deeply unpopular but potentially as costly as a new Iraq war. Too busy slinging mud at each other, both campaigns are ignoring the enormous significance and wide-ranging repercussions of the financial crisis, which British scholar John Gray defines as the US equivalent of the fall of the Soviet Union."

Israel: wedded to war?

Far from learning the lessons of past conflict, the country's military seem ever more willing to resort to brute force

Ben White, Tuesday October 07 2008

"For Israel, the aftermath of the 2006 Lebanon war was all about questions. What mistakes were made, and who made them? What could be done to restore the Israeli military's "deterrence" after a widely perceived defeat? In general, what lessons could be learned from the confrontation with Hizbullah in order that next time, there would be no question of failure?

Unfortunately, it seems that entirely the wrong kinds of conclusions are being reached, at least in the military hierarchy and among the policy shaping thinktanks. On Friday, Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper published comments made by
Israeli general Gadi Eisenkot, head of the army's northern command. Eisenkot took the opportunity to share the principles shaping plans for a future war.

The general promised "disproportionate" force to destroy entire villages identified as sources of Hizbullah rocket fire, the reasoning being that they are "not civilian villages" but rather "military bases" – the kind of reasoning that can land you in a war crimes tribunal........"

Our leaders are impotent to tame the beast: this crisis is one of democracy

Politicians' limitations have been laid bare during these tumultuous weeks. If ever they can assert strength, it is now

Jonathan Freedland
The Guardian, Wednesday October 8 2008

".....Now that impotence is on clear display and it is spreading alarm around the world. For people desperately want someone to get a grip. The left has been warning for years that corporations now enjoy more power than nation states, but never has it been clearer than it is now. The realisation is dawning that this is not just a financial or economic crisis, but a democratic crisis - the people and their representatives have little or no control over what affects them directly.

The solution is surely for governments to realise that if they are weak, the high priests of high finance are even weaker. The politicians should provide the help the banks need, but with the tightest of strings attached, regulating finance so closely that it can never again gorge itself the way it has these past few years.

Democracy has to assert itself once more - and tame this beast."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I Hope You Filthy Oil Sheikhs Sink Down, Faster and Faster.....
Not One Tear!

Two Hamas legislators call for prosecuting Abbas after his term ends

"Hama legislators of the Change and Reform Bloc, Dr. Salim Salama, called for detaining president Mahmoud Abbas after his term in office ends on January 8, 2009. Legislator Ismail Al Ashqar of Hamas said that after January 9, Abbas will be regarded as an ordinary citizen and should be “prosecuted for his coup against the Palestinian legitimacy”, the Palestine News ( reported.

Legislator Salama said during a parallel PLC session in Gaza and in Ramallah that the basic Palestinian law does not allow renewing Abbas’ term in office.

Meanwhile, Al Ashqar stated that starting on January 9, Abbas should be considered ordinary resident and should be prosecuted in a court of law for what he described as the “coup against legitimacy and attacks against the residents”, the psnews added.

Al Ashqar accused Abbas of cutting the salaries of government employees and of collaborating with the occupation through “fruitless negotiations with Israel”."

COMMENT: It is much more than that! He should be tried for treason, giving aid and comfort to the enemy, targeting and killing resistance fighters, direct coordination with and working for the IOF, conspiring with the CIA to overthrow the elected Palestinian government, arbitrary arrests, torture and murder of political prisoners, shutting down the press and freedom of expression, establishing the basis for a police state, without the state, holding secret "negotiations" with the enemy to sell out Palestinian rights, advocating Israel as a "Jewish homeland," besieging and starving 1.5 million Palestinians, and much, much more!

Try the bastard and convict him; don't wait another day!

Syria plays hardball with the Saudis

By Sami Moubayed
Asia Times

"Saudi Arabia's refusal to denounce the deadly September 27 attack in Syria has enflamed relations between Damascus and Riyadh. The Syrians believe the Saudis, furious over defeat in Beirut and Syria's diplomatic successes, are now financing radicals in Lebanon to strike at both Hezbollah and Syria - a move that could set the region ablaze......"

Syria marks 35th anniversary of Yom Kippur War with call for peace

"Syrian military leaders marked the 35th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War Monday by saying that Syria was interested in peace, not war, the official Syrian news agency SANA reported.

"In their speeches, military leaders spoke about the just and comprehensive peace that Syria hopes for," SANA said.

Both Syria and Egypt consider the Yom Kippur War a victory over Israel, even though it ended with Israel still holding the land they ostensibly went to war to regain......"

Israeli security officials: Time running out on Shalit deal

"Security officials have warned that the time for making a deal for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit is running out. The officials told Haaretz that the more time that passes, the more things can go wrong and the greater the danger that an opportunity will be missed to bring Shalit home.

Talks are to open Tuesday in Cairo between Hamas and Fatah, mediated by the Egyptians, with an Egyptian-proposed package deal on the agenda that would include the release of Shalit......

Officials said that as far as they know, no option now exists for a military option to release Shalit. Referring to the kidnapping, an official said, "there was a failure, and now the price has to be paid, even if it means releasing terrorists who are murderers."......."


By Eric Margolis

"For those who savor historical irony, the Soviet Empire collapsed in the years 1989-1991 because of an implosion of its economy brought on by a ruinous arms race with the United States and the heavy costs of occupying Afghanistan.

Seventeen years later came the turn of the world’s other great imperial power, the United States. Lethally bloated by runaway debt, and burdened by 50% of the world’s military spending, the house of cards known as the US economy finally collapsed......"

Brits Say: We Can't Win in Afghan

By Robert Dreyfuss
The Nation

"For all the talk about Afghanistan being the "right war," and with both Obama and McCain insisting that they want to send thousands of additional US forces there, our British allies have let the camel, so to speak, out of the bag. Meanwhile, more and more information is coming out to confirm that the government of Afghanistan is negotiating with (gasp!) the Taliban. This is important stuff......."

الشعب المصري يتضامن مع المحاصرين

الشعب المصري يتضامن مع المحاصرين

رأي القدس

"اعتقلت سلطات الامن المصرية اكثر من عشرين ناشطا سياسيا امس، بينهم السيد مجدي حسين زعيم حزب 'العمل' المجمد كانوا يحتجون على الحصار المفروض على قطاع غزة امام بوابة صلاح الدين الحدودية في مدينة رفح، مما يعني ان المواطن المصري ممنوع من امرين اساسيين، الاول هو الوصول الى حدوده مع القطاع او التجول في سيناء، لان هؤلاء المحتجين وصلوا من خلال طرق جانبية لتجاوز حواجز الامن المصري، والثاني انه بات محظورا على ابناء الشعب المصري اظهار اي نوع من التضامن مع اشقاء لهم محاصرين في الجانب الآخر من الحدود في قطاع غزة.
عمليات التدمير والقاء الغازات السامة داخل انفاق رفح لاغلاقها وقتل من فيها دون اي انذار مسبق، تتم تحت نظر مراقبين امريكيين، مثلما كشفت الصحف الامريكية والاسرائيلية، حيث جرى تدمير 42 نفقا بمشاركة خبراء امريكيين حضروا خصيصا لاداء هذه المهمة غير الانسانية.
ومن المفارقة ان الحكومة المصرية تعتبر اي اجتياح للحدود المصرية من قبل الفلسطينيين الجوعى انتهاكا صارخا للسيادة المصرية، وتعديا سافرا على كرامة مصر الوطنية، ولكنها لا ترى في وجود خبراء امريكيين يفجرون انفاقا ويتفحصون الحدود، ويتأكدون من احكام الحصار على ابناء قطاع غزة اي انتهاك للسيادة او الكرامة الوطنية.
ونذهب الى ما هو ابعد من ذلك ونقول ان مفهوم مصر لسيادتها وكرامتها الوطنية فيه العديد من الثقوب والعيوب الفاضحة، فكيف يستقيم الحديث عن السيادة في ظل عدم قدرة الحكومة المصرية على ارسال جندي امن واحد الى سيناء دون التشاور مسبقا مع الاسرائيليين، وهو تشاور ينتهي دائما برفض الطرف الاسرائيلي الحازم في هذا الشأن.
النشطاء المصريون الذين تجاوزوا الحواجز الامنية ونجحوا في الوصول الى بوابة صلاح الدين، بعد ان تكبدوا الكثير من المعاناة في السير في الصحراء عبر طرق ملتوية، انما يؤكدون اصالة الشعب المصري وعمق انتماءاته العربية والاسلامية، ومدى ايمانه بقضايا الامة، وتضامنه المطلق مع اشقائه المحاصرين المجوعين المعتقلين في سجن كبير، اسمه قطاع غزة."

Hamas says Abbas must step aside


"The Palestinian group Hamas that governs Gaza says it will stop recognising Mahmoud Abbas as the Palestinian president in three months.

Hamas, citing a Palestinian law, said one of its own leaders must fill the top post after Abbas's tenure officially expires on January 8.

The announcement came after Hamas legislators voted on a resolution in Gaza City on Monday, a move seen as at attempt to step up pressure on Abbas and his Fatah party ahead of talks brokered by Egypt over a power-sharing deal between the rival camps.......

But a loophole in the law, which Fatah is relying on, suggests that Abbas's term could be extended another year if it were deemed to be in the "national interest".

Abbas was elected president in January 2005 but a year later Hamas defeated his movement by a landslide in parliamentary elections in Gaza........"