Thursday, December 31, 2009

Western troops accused of executing 10 Afghan civilians, including children

Times Online

"American-led troops were accused yesterday of dragging innocent children from their beds and shooting them during a night raid that left ten people dead.

Afghan government investigators said that eight schoolchildren were killed, all but one of them from the same family. Locals said that some victims were handcuffed before being killed......

“The delegation concluded that a unit of international forces descended from a plane Sunday night into Ghazi Khan village in Narang district of the eastern province of Kunar and took ten people from three homes, eight of them school students in grades six, nine and ten, one of them a guest, the rest from the same family, and shot them dead,” a statement on President Karzai’s website said.

Assadullah Wafa, who led the investigation, said that US soldiers flew to Kunar from Kabul, suggesting that they were part of a special forces unit......"

The Arab Condition: From Bad to Worse, by Emad Hajjaj

The Years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009,....Tumble by.....
And The Arab Condition Gets Worse and Worse....
With No bottom in Sight.

Gaza Freedom March activists target Egypt's complicity

A Very Good Piece

By Sayed Dhansay, The Electronic Intifada, 31 December 2009
(Sayed Dhansay is a South African human rights activist and independent freelance writer. He volunteered for the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) in the Israeli-occupied West Bank in 2006 and is an organizer of the South African delegation for the Gaza Freedom March.)

"It was another eventful day here in Cairo at the inaugural Gaza Freedom March (GFM). On Tuesday night, organizers informed the 1,362-strong delegation that only 100 of them had been selected to travel to Gaza yesterday morning, Wednesday 30 December. After several hours of heated debate with organizers over whether this was an appropriate strategy, the meeting concluded without a consensus.

As of Tuesday night, only the South African, French, Canadian and Swedish delegations had decided to boycott the 100-person convoy. Although an incredibly tough decision to make, the groups adopted this principled stance because they felt that the offer was divisive and betrayed the very aim of the march -- to break the siege imposed on Gaza......

This morning, Thursday 31 December, hundreds of Gaza Freedom March participants left their various protest sites across Cairo and converged outside the Egyptian Museum of National History, one of the city's most visible and central landmarks. To avoid the detention and harassment experienced at the hands of Egyptian security forces over the last few days, delegates travelled clandestinely to the venue in small groups and pretended to be tourists. Despite these efforts, a hotel housing a large contingent of the march participants was barricaded early this morning by Egyptian police. Nobody was allowed to leave for several hours, causing many to miss the protest.

Outside the Egyptian National Museum, the hundreds of small groups waited for a secret signal and instantly swarmed together, forming one large group, and began marching down the road. This tactic had to be adopted because any large gathering of people before the march would have been broken up by police.

After marching for approximately 20 meters, hundreds of Egyptian riot police rushed toward the crowd and encircled them. In an effort to peacefully hold their ground, marchers sat on the ground. In what was a surprisingly heavy-handed response to foreigners, the police began pulling, beating and kicking protestors to get them out of the road.

While rows of riot police shoved the group from behind, police at the front and sides pushed back, causing panic and hundreds of individuals to fall to the ground. Several women were punched, kicked and dragged out of the road, while many elderly persons were pinned beneath others who had fallen on top of them. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries beyond a few bloody noses and people who had sustained cuts and bruises.

After approximately 15 minutes of this, police managed to corral the entire group into an area just off the road, where the protest continued peacefully for the rest of the day. Although unable to march, the group held a loud and emotional protest in support of those besieged in the Gaza Strip.

The crowd sang, chanted, hung flags and banners from trees and called on the Egyptian government to end its complicity in the siege imposed on the people of Gaza. Representatives of each of the dozens of countries present gave short but moving speeches, demonstrating the truly international show of solidarity for the people of Gaza in this march.

Haroon Wadee, an organizer of the South African delegation, highlighted the similarities between the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and the current struggle of the Palestinian people for their freedom and liberation. He recalled the famous quote of former South African President Nelson Mandela who said that "South Africa is not free until Palestine is free."

While it was deeply disappointing for the nearly 1,400 delegates who came from 43 countries that they could not physically be in Gaza today, this was a momentous and historic gathering of justice-loving people from every corner of the globe, united by their common desire to see Gaza free. On the eve of a new year, the crowd vowed to do everything in their power to make 2010 the year that the siege of Gaza is finally and forever broken."

Neither wars nor drones

By Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera's senior political analyst

".....Wars, classic or covert, undermine serious political settlements or solutions to problems, whether intra-national or inter-regional.

And neither wars or drones are right to tackle the problem of "terrorism".

Unless the Obama administration recognises that "counterterrorism" is first and foremost political and not military, it will repeat more of its predecessor's crimes and mistakes......"

Video: Only 100 of Intl. peace activists allowed entry into Gaza

Keep Up With The Latest From Ali Abunimah in Cairo

Gaza Freedom Marchers still at Tahrir Square.

People on streets of Cairo saying Free Gaza, Lift the siege.

Hedy Epstein is on the streets of Cairo calling for free Gaza #GFM

GFM marchers hang Palestine flag from pyramid

The Moral Cowardice Award: Karen Abu Zayd

By Angry Arab

"Yesterday, on Aljazeera's Bila Hudud, Karen Abu Zayd (the UNRWA's commissioner) was the guest. She was quite reprehensible: in what she said and what she did not say. Don't get me wrong. I was never a fan of this woman, and I know how appointment to the position of commissioner of UNRWA are made at the US Department of State. I knew Ambassador Eagleton (some) when he was appointed to that position, and he was less bad than Abu Zayd, for sure. The host, Ahmad Mansur, was livid with her: he kept telling her. This is the last day of your service in that position. What are you afraid of? Why are you so scared to speak against Israel? Why can't you say a word about the Egyptian wall around Gaza? And she was exactly that: cowardly in every sense of the word, but I was pleased for Arab viewers to watch this lousy leader--in theory--of an organization that in name speaks on behalf of the Palestinian refugees and cares for them. At one point, she was asked about taking Israel to an international court for war crimes. She said: there is no need for that, because Israel has already apologized for bombing UN buildings and expressed willingness to even pay for reconstruction. So according to this representative of the White Man among the natives, the only crime that can be pinned on Israel is that it bombed buildings of the UN in Gaza. Frustrated by her cowardice, Mansur repeated again, that she was scared and terrified to make the most basic and elementary form of criticisms of crimes against the refugees that UNRWA supposedly care for. Karen Abu Zayd is a disgrace to the position that she holds, and Joe Lieberman would not have been worse in that job than Karen Abu Zayd. When the history of the (victorious) Palestinian resistance movement will be written, her name should be added to the list of people who have been disgraceful in the history of the conflict. "

Al-Jazeera Video: Gaza's war of words - 28 December 2009

Part 1:

Part 2:

"A year has passed since Israel's 22 day war on Gaza, but the war of words continues.

Both sides have sophisticated media strategies, and as the message is ever more muddied, distilling the truth becomes yet more difficult.

Al-Jazeera looks at how the War of words between Israel and Hamas is waged. "

Al-Jazeera Video: Riz Khan - Holding Israel to account - 29 Dec 09

Part 1:

Part 2:

"In the year since the Gaza war, activists have stepped up their calls for sanctions on Israel. These include appeals to withdraw investments in Israel (divestment); to boycott Israeli goods and services, cultural institutions and universities; and to prosecute the top political and military leaders behind the war. But generally the diplomatic fallout of the war has been manageable for Israel, so what do the supporters of BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) hope to achieve?"

2009 in Perspective: Glenn Greenwald on the Five Wars US Is Fighting in Muslim Countries. (Transcript included)

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"As 2009 comes to a close, today we begin by taking a step back and putting this year of war in perspective. blogger Glenn Greenwald discusses US foreign policy, including the escalation of the war in Afghanistan, drone strikes on Pakistan, cruise missile attacks on Yemen, operations in Somalia, the ongoing operation in Iraq, and much more......"

Gaza Freedom March

By Jean Athey

(Jean Athey is a retired grandmother of six who lives in Brookeville, MD. She is coordinator of Peace Action Montgomery, a local volunteer peace group in Montgomery County, MD.)

"We are in the Middle East, seeking a nonviolent solution to the blockade of Gaza. Free Gaza actions are occurring all over Cairo, and so the police, who are often in riot gear, have had a busy day—they show up wherever we go. They are incredibly young, maybe 18 or 19.

Typically, they surround us with moveable steel fences, which they line up behind and they watch us with what seems to be curiosity, not malice. However, their innocent appearance doesn't mean they won't become aggressive; police today were very rough with several Spanish protesters. As internationals, though, we have great protection not enjoyed by locals. Some Egyptians have joined in these protests, and we find their courage astounding.

This morning, I was at the U.S. Embassy with a group of about 40 other Americans. We went hoping to see the Ambassador, but instead we were surrounded by Egyptian police in riot gear and kept penned in for some five hours. The police told us that they did this at the behest of the American Embassy, but later the "political security officer" of the Embassy denied it. So, who is lying?....

Is this change we can believe in?

We ask our government to live by the words of our President and to help us end the illegal and immoral siege of Gaza."

‘The two-state solution is starting to look impractical’

By Jonathan Cook
December 31. 2009

"NAZARETH // The biggest effect for Israel’s 1.3 million Palestinian citizens of its assault on Gaza last winter has been to smash any remaining illusions that there is a future for the minority in a Jewish state, the community’s leaders have agreed.

They say that minority voters have almost completely abandoned Zionist parties, even left-wing ones, believing that none is really interested in a peaceful solution to the country’s conflict with the Palestinians..........

That view was shared by Mohammed Zeidan, director of the Arab Association for Human Rights, based in Nazareth. “We need a new way of dealing with Israel. The two-state solution is starting to look impractical and that has given a significant push to the idea that Palestinians inside Israel should be campaigning for a single state for both peoples.”

This new-found political confidence was manifest during the Gaza offensive, Mr Zeidan said, when Palestinian citizens held the biggest protests in their history. The largest, in the northern city of Sakhnin, drew a crowd of at least 100,000.

“There is much more certainty among the Palestinian public and leadership inside Israel that it has a right to speak out on pan-Palestinian issues,” he said. “Once, we tended to remain on the sidelines, waiting to take our political cues from the Palestinian leadership outside Israel. Now, the Palestinian Authority is seen to be damaging the popular consensus among Palestinians and people here are looking for their own answers.”

One Palestinian party, the National Democratic Assembly, even went so far as to call for the resignation of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, during the attack on Gaza after his Palestinian Authority was seen to be suppressing dissent in the West Bank.

Ms Zoubi, a NDA member, said: “It was clear that Israel would have had a much harder time dealing with the fallout from Gaza, including the Goldstone report, were it not for the silence of Mahmoud Abbas. He is facing a lot of anger and criticism from Palestinians inside Israel.”....."

Egypt's Steel Wall

Of Rumors and Gaza's Pesky Taxi Drivers


".....My father, as many in his generation, fought in the Egyptian army and the Palestinian Liberation Army. Following defeat in the war of 1967, he was hauled along wounded and dead Egyptian soldiers across Sinai, as well as on a floating army bridge over the Suez Canal under intense Israeli aerial bombardment. As a child, I once accompanied him on a journey to an impoverished neighborhood in Cairo to look for an Egyptian war buddy of his. When we found out that he was long dead, my father wept. Confused and scared among the ailing buildings, I too cried. Indeed, the bond between Egyptians and Palestinians is historical, everlasting, cemented in blood, sweat and tears.

Yes, everlasting, despite the responses of the Egyptian government to the more recent suffering of Palestinians in Gaza......

More recently, news of an enormous metal wall that Egypt erected at its border with Gaza has come to the fore. The Egyptian decision is both politically and financially loaded. Considering that the US – spurred on by Israel – has strived to develop ways to completely choke Gaza, one can safely conclude that the decision has not come solely from Egypt, though as a sovereign country the latter must still be held fully accountable. According to Press TV, Karen Abu Zaid, United Nations Relief and Works Agency Commissioner-General described the wall as more dangerous than the Bar Lev Line, which was built by Israel along the eastern coast of the Suez Canal following the capturing of the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt in 1967. The Egyptian wall is arguably more dangerous because it will increase the suffering of an already tormented civilian population.

But more than dangerous, it is also disheartening. Palestinians, including some in the Hamas government never cease to refer to Egypt and Egyptians as “Sister Egypt” and “Egyptian brethren”. Why then are Sister Egypt and the Egyptian brethren taking part in this injustice and allowing Israeli violence to perpetuate? Money? Political validation? Attempts at regional relevance and fear of dismissal if they dare defy Washington’s will?......"

U.S. Arms Feed Yemen's Gun Culture

By Thalif Deen

"UNITED NATIONS, Dec 30 (IPS) - When Yemen refused to vote in support of a U.S.-sponsored Security Council resolution against Iraq during the 1990-1991 Gulf War, a visibly angry U.S. delegate turned to the Yemeni diplomat and said: "That will be the last time you will ever vote against a U.S. resolution."

Washington's subsequent retaliation, in the aftermath of that negative vote, was predictable. The United States not only downgraded its relationship with Yemen but also cut off all military aid to a country once heavily armed with Soviet weapons.

But since that much-talked-about confrontation in the Security Council chamber, there has been a dramatic turnaround in the fluctuating love-hate relationship between the two countries........

William D. Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Initiative at the New York-based New America Foundation, cites press reports to suggest that Washington will rapidly ramp up U.S. military aid to Yemen over the next 18 months. The projected total, he said, is about 70 million dollars, or roughly the amount provided during the entire administration of former President George W. Bush.[Now that is" Change We Can Believe In!"]......

Hartung said the Obama administration "is essentially initiating a low-level war in Yemen with little or no public discussion about its potential consequences"."

Barack Obama, Interventionist and Ultimate Jihadi Hero

by Michael Scheuer, December 31, 2009

"....In his response to the al-Qaeda attack in Detroit, Obama echoed the identical analytic path blazed by his fellow interventionists George W. Bush and Bill Clinton....

....In a statement of less than a quarter-hour, then, Obama demonstrated how thoroughly he slicked Americans in the last presidential election. The "hope" he offered turns out to be not less but more war-causing interventionism framed by a secularist "moral compass" alien to most non-elite Americans; the "Yes we can" slogan has proven to refer to making Obama’s Washington the agent of forced Westernization from the Congo to Afghanistan, and from Burma to Iran; and the president’s much-touted "audacity" seems nothing more than Obama’s brass in continuing to reassuringly chant the Bush-Clinton-Bush lie to Americans that Islamists attack us because of our way of life not because of our interventionism.

And thus is how a great republic is being ruined by the littlest of arrogant and willful men."

Threats to Yemen prove America hasn't learned the lesson of history

Extraordinarily, the US is making exactly the same mistake as in Iraq and Afghanistan

A Good Comment
By Patrick Cockburn

".....I have always loved the country. It is physically very beautiful with cut stone villages perched on mountain tops on the sides of which are cut hundreds of terraces, making the country look like an exaggerated Tuscan landscape. Yemenis are intelligent, humorous, sociable and democratic, infinitely preferable as company to the arrogant and ignorant playboys of the Arab oil states in the rest of the Arabian Peninsula.....

Yemen is a mosaic of conflicting authorities, though this authority may be confined to a few villages. Larger communities include the Shia around Sanaa in the north of the country near Saada, with whom the government has been fighting a fierce little civil war. The unification of North and South Yemen in 1990 has never wholly gelled and the government is wary of southern secessionism. Its ability to buy off its opponents is also under threat as oil revenues fall, with the few oilfields beginning to run dry......

There is ominous use by American politicians and commentators of the phrase "failed state" in relation to Yemen, as if this some how legitimised foreign intervention. It is extraordinary that the US political elite has never taken on board that its greatest defeats have been in just such "failed states"', not least Lebanon in 1982, when 240 US Marines were blown up; Somalia in the early 1990s when the body of a US helicopter pilot was dragged through the streets; Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein; and Afghanistan after the supposed fall of the Taliban......

Yemen has all the explosive ingredients of Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan. But the arch-hawk Senator Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, was happily confirming this week that the Green Berets and the US Special Forces are already there. He cited with approval an American official in Sanaa as telling him that, "Iraq was yesterday's war. Afghanistan is today's war. If you don't act pre-emptively Yemen will be tomorrow's war." In practice pre-emptive strikes are likely to bring a US military entanglement in Yemen even closer.......

Despite sectarian, ethnic and tribal loyalties in the countries where the US has intervened in the Middle East, they usually have a strong sense of national identity. Yemenis are highly conscious of their own nationality and their identity as Arabs.....

In Yemen the US is walking into the al-Qa'ida trap. Once there it will face the same dilemma it faces in Iraq and Afghanistan. It became impossible to exit these conflicts because the loss of face would be too great. Just as Washington saved banks and insurance giants from bankruptcy in 2008 because they were "too big to fail," so these wars become too important to lose because to do so would damage the US claim to be the sole superpower.....

...But the danger of claiming spurious victories is that such distortions of history make it impossible for the US to learn from past mistakes and instead it repeats them by fresh interventions in countries like Yemen."

Guardian Video: Egyptian police halt Gaza protest in Cairo

"Large numbers of Egyptian riot police blocked the demonstration near the Egyptian Museum in the city centre and contained the protesters by the side of the road.
Around 1,400 activists from 43 countries arrived in Egypt last week to commemorate the first anniversary of Israel's 2008 attack on Gaza
.", Thursday 31 December 2009

Eight Americans killed in Afghan blast were CIA agents

Four Canadian troops and a journalist also killed

The Guardian

"Eight American civilians who were killed in a suicide attack at a military base in ­eastern Afghanistan yesterday were CIA agents, US officials confirmed tonight.....

A senior State Department official said all of the victims are civilians. But that could include military contractors and US intelligence officials.....

The attacks rounded off a deadly year for US and Nato forces, by far the most deadly of eight years of war, with the number of US troops killed double last year's toll. This year 508 Nato troops were killed, up from 295 in 2008, according to, which tracks deaths in Afghanistan......

Khost province, where the US base is located, is close to the Pakistani border and is a Taliban stronghold......"

كفاية تطرح سيناريو الرئيس البديل



This is an important development. I will try to provide a brief translation later. If a reader is kind enough to translate it, I would be delighted to post the translation.

"محمود جمعة-القاهرة
قال المنسق العام لحركة كفاية عبد الحليم قنديل إن
الحركة ستبدأ مطلع العام 2010 سيناريو تصعيديا يستهدف تحريك المياه الراكدة في المجتمع المصري عبر دفع حركة تغيير حقيقية تطرح فكرة الرئيس البديل كمخرج شعبي للتصدي للسيناريو الرسمي المحكم للتوريث.

وأضاف قنديل للجزيرة نت أن طرح الرئيس البديل يتجاوز رفض التمديد والتوريث إلى مرحلة متقدمة لإنقاذ مصر التي تحولت إلى "عزبة" تملكها "عائلة" يمثلها رأس معلق يستند إلى قاعدة أمنية ضخمة ومتورمة بلا أي قواعد اجتماعية أو سياسية.

السيناريو البديل
وشدد قنديل على أن سيناريو الرئيس البديل يأتي ردا على سيناريو التوريث الذي ينوي النظام تنفيذه عبر الانتخابات المبتكرة على الطريقة المصرية، بعد أن أجرى تعديلات دستورية عام 2007 على المواد 76 و88 و179 جعلت الانتخابات بمثابة فيلم كارتوني حيث سيصوت النظام نيابة عن الناس، ويستبدل غالبية المعارضة الحالية عبر حصص موزعة على بعض أحزاب المعارضة مقابل أن يلعب هؤلاء دور الكومبارس في الانتخابات الرئاسية.

وحدد القيادي البارز في حركة كفاية ثلاث مراحل لتنفيذ سيناريو الرئيس البديل، تبدأ من إنشاء جمعية عمومية للشعب المصري تضم 500 شخصية من نواب المعارضة الحاليين والسابقين وقادة الأحزاب والحركات الاجتماعية والنقابية والطلابية والشخصيات العامة، بعدها تبدأ المرحلة الثانية بأن تنتخب هذه الجمعية رئيسا بديلا لها وليس مرشحا للانتخابات الرئاسية.

وأوضح قنديل أن هذا الرئيس البديل الشعبي يمكن أن يكون في صورة رئيس فرد أو في صورة مجلس رئاسي بديل أو في صورة رئيس بديل وحكومة ائتلاف وطني تبدأ معها المرحلة الثالثة وهي بدء حملة ضغط لجمع توكيلات بالملايين لهذا الرئيس البديل كنوع من الانتخابات الموازية تعقبها جملة من الاحتجاجات والاعتصامات التي تطالب بتنحية الرئيس الحالي.

وبرر منسق حركة كفاية اللجوء إلى هذا السيناريو بالتأكيد أن التوجه إلى الشعب سيقود حتما إلى إيقاظ فئة معتبرة منه، معتبرا أن "إيقاظ وعي مليون شخص من بين ثمانين مليونا أمر ممكن وسيقود إلى إحداث تغيير حقيقي وجوهري، لأن قوة الأمن الضخمة تستطيع قمع مئات الأفراد أما إذا تحول الأمر إلى الآلاف وعشرات الآلاف فسوف يتغير المشهد كلية".

واعتبر قنديل أن المدير العام السابق للوكالة الدولية للطاقة الذرية محمد البرادعي اقترب جدا من سيناريو الرئيس البديل عندما رفض الترشح عبر السيناريو الرسمي القائم أو عبر الأحزاب القائمة وإعلانه استعداده التحرك مع الناس من أجل تغيير الدستور.

ووصف قنديل موقف البرادعي بأنه خطوة كبيرة تجعله يقترب من أن يكون "سعد زغلول" آخر في حياة المصريين، مشيرا إلى أن مصر بحاجة إلى هذا النموذج للرئيس البديل في مرحلة انتقالية يتم خلالها تهيئة المناخ لانتخابات نزيهة.

وارتأى المعارض المصري البارز في إجراء الانتخابات البرلمانية قبل الانتخابات الرئاسية فرصة هائلة حيث يمكن للسخط الشعبي المتولد عن التزوير المتوقع للانتخابات البرلمانية أن يجد مجرى يمشي فيه بدلا من أن يتبدد في الفراغ.

واعترف قنديل بأن حركة كفاية لم تتحول بعد إلى حركة جماهيرية وأنها ما زالت حركة نخبوية وإن كانت اقتربت من أن تكون حركة جماهيرية بالمعنى وليس بالتنظيم لأنها أصبحت معروفة للجميع كونها عممت فكرة انتقاد الرئيس وجعلته كالماء والهواء، كما أنها كسرت حاجز الخوف وألهبت مشاعر الملايين القابعين في سبات عميق.

لكن قنديل اعتبر كفاية بمثابة الشرارة الأولى الملهمة والداعية لفكرة الرئيس البديل وهذا هو دور الكتيبة المتقدمة التي تقود حركة التغيير قبل أن يحدث الانفجار الشعبي أو الانزلاق إلى حكم عسكري يدخل مصر إلى حلقات مفرغة من الهيمنة الأميركية والإسرائيلية على النظام الحاكم التابع لهما، وهو ما يستوجب تحرير البلاد من هذا النظام، على حد قوله

Hamas foils Shin Bet attempt to locate Shalit

Press TV

"Hamas says it has foiled an attempt by Israeli agents who were trying to collect information on where Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is being held.

The head of Hamas' internal security service, Abu Abdullah, said the Shin Bet security service tried to gather intelligence through a cell of agents from the rival Fatah party, who once operated in the Gaza Strip.

Abu Abdullah said that the Fatah operatives had rented a house and cars in eastern Gaza City and planned to kidnap a senior member of Hamas' military wing, the Izz a-Din a-Qassam Brigade, in order to transfer him to Israel.

"The cell's scheme was foiled at the last minute. They had a ready plan of action and it was very similar to the kidnapping of Muhawesh al-Kadi," Abu Abdullah added, recalling a senior Hamas official who was reportedly kidnapped by Israeli forces near his home in Rafah.

The report comes amid efforts by the Islamic movement to free four senior resistance figures held in Israeli prisons in exchange for Shalit. The German-mediated prisoner exchange negotiations have been at loggerheads over Tel Aviv's refusal to free the "heavyweight" Palestinian prisoners.

Israel has recently offered to release the men "Marwan Barghouti, Ahmed Sa'adat, Ibrahim Hamad and Abdullah Barghouti," on condition that the four be deported to the Gaza Strip or a third country.

Hamas on Tuesday dismissed media reports that it had turned down the Israeli proposal, stressing that the Palestinian resistance movement is still debating the issue."

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Welcome to Orwell’s World 2010

By John Pilger
As Great as Ever!
Information Clearing House

"....Behind much of this are the Israelis, who have long advised the Americans in both the Iraq and Afghanistan adventures. Ethnic-cleansing, wall-building, checkpoints, collective punishment and constant surveillance – these are claimed as Israeli innovations that have succeeded in stealing most of Palestine from its native people. And yet for all their suffering, the Palestinians have not been divided irrevocably and they endure as a nation against all odds.

The most telling forerunners of the Obama Plan, which the Nobel Peace Prize winner and his strange general and his PR men prefer we forget, are those that failed in Afghanistan itself. The British in the 19th century and the Soviets in the 20th century attempted to conquer that wild country by ethnic cleansing and were seen off, though after terrible bloodshed. Imperial cemeteries are their memorials. People power, sometimes baffling, often heroic, remains the seed beneath the snow, and invaders fear it.

“It was curious,” wrote Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-Four, “to think that the sky was the same for everybody, in Eurasia or Eastasia as well as here. And the people under the sky were also very much the same, everywhere, all over the world … people ignorant of one another’s existence, held apart by walls of hatred and lies, and yet almost exactly the same people who … were storing up in their hearts and bellies and muscles the power that would one day overturn the world.”"

Breaking News! The Rabbit Wants the US to Push the "Peace Process"....What New and Strategic Vision!

Syria's Assad Urges US to Be Active Mideast Peacemaker


"30/12/2009 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad called on the United States to play an active role in the Middle East peace process in talks with visiting US senators on Wednesday, SANA news agency reported.

"Washington and the international community must play an active role for peace and to put an end to occupation" of Arab land by Israel, Assad told the delegation led by Republican Senator Judd Gregg.

He also reiterated that Syria "wants a just and durable peace based on international resolutions that guarantee security and stability in the region," SANA reported......"

The Latest Non-Danish Non-Cartoon....

Do You Think That This Non-Cartoon Will Wake Up the So-Called "Umma"?
I Very Much Doubt it.

Back to Sleep Now!

Press Release: Gaza-Gaza Freedom March Steering Committee #GFM


Press Release

Gaza Freedom March Steering Committee

"Gaza 30.12.2009
Over the past week we, representatives of various civil society sectors in Gaza, have been humbled by the sacrifices that you, 1400 people, have made in order to come and support us in breaking the siege.
Despite our grave disappointment that we can not yet meet you all that we are still separated by this medieval siege we feel that your arrival in Cairo has already borne fruits. Your insistence to break the siege in order to be in solidarity with us has inspired many and shamed many others. Thanks to your presence with us, a network to break the siege and free Palestine has been established.
We support any decisions taken by the Gaza Freedom March Coordination Committee about the entry of just 100 of 1400 delegates into Gaza instead of all the delegates presently in Cairo. Obviously it is, as all previous decisions, a majority decision. We, at the Gaza- GFM Steering committee have reiterated our position, namely, that it is up to The Gaza Freedom March Coordination Committee in Cairo to decide. We initially felt that if representatives of all forty some countries can go to Gaza and join a march along Palestinians it would convey a very strong message to the world public opinion. Had they decided to go through with the Egyptian offer, we would have welcomed them in Gaza and deeply appreciated their solidarity.
The decision to send 100 delegates, however, seemed too divisive for the growing solidarity campaign with the Palestinian people. The unity of the global solidarity campaign is of utmost importance for us, the besieged Palestinians of Gaza. We have repeatedly argued that the march itself is not supposed to be only a symbolic gesture, but rather a part of a series of events which will lead to the end of the siege, once and for all. We want to intensify and continue building the solidarity campaign, not divide it.
We salute the GFM delegates and thank them for the tremendous amount of work they have been doing and whatever decision they came up with.

Gaza-GFM Steering Committee
Gaza "

Real News Video: Gaza Freedom March

Paul Jay talks to Sam Husseini in Cairo, Egypt

More at The Real News

EXCLUSIVE…Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters Speaks Out in Support of Gaza Freedom March, Blasts Israeli-Egyptian “Siege” of Gaza

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"In a Democracy Now! exclusive interview, British musician Roger Waters of the iconic rock band Pink Floyd speaks out about the Gaza Freedom March. “I actually would be very interested to hear what the President of the United States has to say about this nonviolent, democratic demonstration of ordinary people from forty-two countries all over the world,” says Waters. “They feel solidarity with their brothers and sisters, other human beings who are living in conditions that none of us would stand for, for a single second, in any of our countries.”......"

Gaza Freedom March Protests Continue in Cairo, Organizers Say Egypt Offer to Allow 100 into Gaza Not Sufficient

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

Don't Miss This Segment!

"Hundreds of activists with the Gaza Freedom March are staging continued demonstrations and sit-ins in Cairo to protest the Egyptian government’s refusal to allow them to cross the border into Gaza. Organizers say an offer by Egyptian authorities this morning to allow just 100 members of the group to go to Gaza was not sufficient. More than 1,300 people from over forty countries are in Cairo as part of the Gaza Freedom March. We go to Cairo to speak with Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada......

We go now to Cairo where we are joined on the telephone by Ali Abunimah, he is the co-founder of Eletronic Intifada and is taking part in the Gaza Freedom March. He is author of “One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse.”....."

Obama New Year's Eve, by Carlos Latuff

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

A decade of global crimes, but also crucial advances

US strategic defeat in Iraq, a discredited market model, China's rise and Latin American freedom offer hope for the world

Seumas Milne, Tuesday 29 December 2009

"....Of course, the positive dimensions of the events of this decade come with a heavy dose of qualifications. The US will remain the richest and overwhelmingly dominant global power, with a military presence in most countries in the world, for the foreseeable future. Its defeat in the Middle East, in any case partial, has been bought at huge human cost. It continues to wage the war on terror, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere. And the emerging global multipolarity brings its own risks of conflict......

But at least there is now more space for progressive movements and states to manoeuvre. The Washington consensus is gone and the post-Soviet new world order is mercifully no more. Who predicted that at the millennium? Meanwhile, citizens of the US and its allies have shown increasing reluctance to send their sons and daughters to die in neocolonial wars. With the re-emergence of other independent powers, American leaders might even see the advantage in a rules-based system of international relations.

Liberal commentators in the US have branded the past 10 years as a "lost decade" and a "big zero". They have certainly seen catastrophes and crimes on a wanton scale. But for most of the rest of the world, there have also been crucial advances."

Israel Rules

The Votes of the Morons will Prevail


"......In the second decade of the 21st century, America’s Zionist wars against Islam will expand. America’s wars on behalf of Israel’s territorial expansion will complete the bankruptcy of America. The Treasury’s bonds to finance the US government’s enormous deficits will lack for buyers. Therefore, the bonds will be monetized by the Federal Reserve. The result will be rising rates of inflation. The inflation will destroy the dollar as world reserve currency, and the US will no longer be able to pay for its imports. Shortages will appear, including food and gasoline, and “Superpower America” will find itself pressed to the wall as a third world country unable to pay its debts.

America has been brought low, both morally and economically, by its obeisance to the Israel Lobby. Even Jimmy Carter, a former President of the United States and Governor of Georgia recently had to apologize to the Israel Lobby for his honest criticisms of Israel’s inhumane treatment of the occupied Palestinians in order for his grandson to be able to run for a seat in the Georgia state senate.

This should tell the macho super-power American tough guys who really runs “their” country."

Next Stop: Yemen

The panty-bomber and US foreign policy

by Justin Raimondo, December 30, 2009

"The abortive efforts of the "panty-bomber" have inspired the War Party to focus on a new front in our ongoing and seemingly permanent "war on terrorism": Yemen, a godforsaken outpost of medievalism and sun-scorched desert on the northern shores of the Red Sea, is now taking center stage as al-Qaeda’s latest purported stronghold. Taking advantage of the outcry following the panty-bomber’s near-deadly escapade, the Yemeni government is calling on the US for yet more aid and assistance – in addition to the tens of millions already being pumped into that country – to fight "terrorism," and specifically al-Qaeda, which is said to have around 300 fighters hiding somewhere in Yemen’s isolated and virtually inaccessible outback......

Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia – nothing is beyond the scope of American ambitions to dominate the region, and apparently nothing short of a voter rebellion at home will deter Obama from this suicidal course. The war begun by Bush, and continued by Obama, is widening. As the showdown over Iran’s nonexistent nuclear weapons program proceeds – from draconian sanctions and American sponsorship of terrorist groups in Iranian Balochistan, to a proxy war in Yemen – the stage is being set for a new world war. Al Qaeda is the pretext – but Iran is the target. "

Ignoring 1.5 Million Besieged Gazans, Egypt Authorities’ Main Concern Is Shalit!


"30/12/2009 Forgetting or pretending to forget that there are over 11,000 Palestinian detainees in the Israeli prisons without mentioning that there are more than 1.5 million Gazans living in a big jail, Egyptian authorities seem to be concerned about one Israeli occupation soldier captured by the Palestinian resistance fighters!

Egyptian newspaper Al Masry al Youm quoted a source as saying that the emerging deal for Gilad Shalit’s release between Israel and Hamas is indeed a comprehensive one that would not only bring the captured Israeli occupation soldier home, but would also grant a normal life to Gaza's 1.5 million inhabitants.

Perhaps this was one of the things Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak discussed at their meeting Tuesday.

An Israeli government source insisted that "there is no connection between the issues," adding that he does not understand "on what basis the Egyptian Foreign Ministry says such things."

However, this is the first time Egypt has presented its two conditions for opening the border crossings and has linked the Shalit deal to the Palestinian reconciliation agreement. Though Israel has not publicly committed itself to lifting the blockade if Shalit is released,......"

هكذا نُفشل جدار مبارك

هكذا نُفشل جدار مبارك
رشاد أبوشاور

"لم يعد هناك شّك أن نظام مبارك حليف للإدارة الأمريكيّة والكيان الصهيوني في الحرب على الشعب الفلسطيني، والتي تستهدف تركيعه، ودفعه للقبول بتصفية قضيته، والتخلّي عن المقاومة نهائيا، والقبول بكّل ما يُفرض عليه بخنوع وذلّة واستكانة.
لعلّ منافقي مبارك وطاقم حكمه، من القيادات الفلسطينيّة المختلفة، يدركون الآن، وبخّاصة بعد الشروع في تنفيذ الجدار الفولاذي الإلكتروني التحت أرضي، والذي يلتف حول عنق قطاع غزّة بهدف خنق مليون ونصف المليون فلسطيني، يدركون أن نظام مبارك وريث نظام كامب ديفد أشدّ لؤما وتآمرا على الشعب الفلسطيني، وأبعد خطرا من سلفه السادات، وأن ما يفعله لا يقصد به خنق حماس، ولكنه يستهدف الشعب الفلسطيني كلّه، والقضية الفلسطينيّة جوهر الصراع وعنوانه مع الكيان الصهيوني والإدارات الأمريكيّة المتلاحقة التي تتوارث العداء لشعبنا وأمتنا.
لا يمكن لقطاع غزّة حتى وهو يحكم من قبل حماس أن يتهدد الأمن (الوطني) المصري، فحماس منهكة بمتطلبات عيش المليون ونصف فلسطيني المحاصرين، وبالتهديدات من العدو الصهيوني، ومن الصراعات الفلسطينيّة الداخلية التي لم تنته في القطاع والضفّة.
صحيح أن حماس امتداد لحركة الاخوان المسلمين، ولكنها ليست ذراعهم المسلّحة في الوطن العربي، وهذا لا ينفي دعم الاخوان المسلمين في العالم (لجهادها) المسلّح على أرض فلسطين، وهذا الدور برأيهم امتداد لمشاركتهم في الدفاع عن فلسطين عام 1948.
حماس ـ وهذا ليس دفاعا عنها، بل إنه نقد لها ـ تنتظر من أوربة والإدارة الأمريكيّة أن تحاوراها، بعد أن توقفّت عن المقاومة العمليّة، و..أعلنت أنها مع دولة فلسطينيّة في حدود الـ67، فهل في هذا الطرح تطرّف؟! أليس هذا هو الاعتدال المطلوب أمريكيّا، و(مصريّا)، وعربيّا رسميّا؟!
ادعاءات نظام كامب ديفد بأن الجدار الفولاذي الإلكتروني الذي تشرف على تنفيذه شركات أمريكيّة وفرنسيّة و(إسرائيليّة) أمر سيادي، ضحده رجال قانون يتمتعون بالكفاءة والمصداقية ومحبة وطنهم مصر، يتقدمهم الدكتور (عبد الله الأشعل)، الذي كتب مقالة قانونيّة ردّ فيها على ادعاءات النظام المصري، وكشف لاقانونيتها، لأن السيادة لا يجب أن تشكّل اعتداء على الجوار، دولة أو كيانا، والجدار يتهدد حياة الجوار ـ غزّة، وهذا ليس من السيادة في شيء.
نظام كامب ديفد أدى منذ خرج على قضايا الأمة دورا تآمريّا، ودوره التآمري الإجرامي في تدمير العراق يجب أن لا يُنسى، فهو قاد مؤتمر القمّة المزوّر، واستصدر قرارات وزّعت على الملوك والرؤساء باللغة الإنكليزيّة ـ كما أرسلتها إدارة بوش الإبن ـ وفرضت على المؤتمرين، فأفشلت السعي العربي للمصالحة، وبررت الحرب العدوانيّة التدميريّة على العراق.
فرض نظام مبارك على الرئيس عرفات توقيع اتفاقيّة القاهرة، وتطاول مبارك على عرفات بكلمات بذيئة مبتذلة غير لائقة، عندما تردد الرئيس عرفات في التوقيع على الإتفاقيّة المجحفة، وقد بلغت تلك العبارات آذان ملايين الفلسطينيين والعرب!
هذا هو خطاب نظام كامب ديفد، وتلكم هي ثقافته السياسيّة وأخلاقيّاته.
عمل نظام كامب ديفد على تحريض شعب مصر على الشعب الفلسطيني، بعد أن دهم فلسطينيّون قطاع غزّة الحواجز وعبروا إلى أهلهم في مصر، الذين استقبلوهم بالأحضان، وهو ما أرعب نظام الحكم الذي يخشى من عودة فلسطين لتكون قضيّة مصريّة.
شدد نظام كامب ديفد الخناق على أهلنا في قطاع غزّة قبل استحواذ حماس على السلطة، فبوابة رفح لم تكن مفتوحة أمام الفلسطينيين للعلاج والدراسة وتمكين الموظفين العاملين في الخليج من العودة إلى عملهم.
أين السيادة عندما يفرض نظام كامب ديفد على الفلسطينيين القبول بالكاميرات (الإسرائيليّة) التي تصوّرهم حتى وهم في (الحمامات) يقضون حاجاتهم؟ اين السيادة وهو يفرض على الفلسطينيين القبول بالمراقبين الأوروبيين؟
أين هي السيادة والأمن المصري لم يُسمح له بزيادة عدد أفراده للوقوف على الحدود المصرية الفلسطينيّة (الغزيّة)
إلاّ بعد أن تحرّك الفلسطينيون واقتلعوا البوّابات الفولاذيّة؟!
أين هي سيادة (مصر) في حرمان جيش مصر من الانتشار في سيناء؟!
اين هي سيادة مصر في ظل سيطرة محطّات المراقبة الأمريكيّة في سيناء، والتي تخترق بعيونها الإلكترونيّة أحشاء مصر؟!
سيادة مصر تحققت عندما رفض الفلسطينيّون في قطاع غزّة أن يخضعوا لإدارة دوليّة بإشراف الأمم المتحدة، في أعقاب انسحاب قوّات الاحتلال الصهيونيّة، وفشل العدوان الثلاثي على مصر عام 56.
أهلنا في قطاع غزّة هدموا كل المؤسسات التي أقيمت، وكنسوا المواقع الدوليّة، وأعلنوا أنهم سيعودون كما كانوا قبل العدوان الثلاثي لإدارة مصر العربيّة بقيادة جمال عبد الناصر.
عندها قرر جمال عبد الناصر أن تعود الإدارة المصريّة بكامل أطقمها، وتعبر إلى غزّة، وعندما سأله حاكم القطاع السابق اللواء العجرودي : كيف نتحدى القرار الدولي يا ريّس؟
اجابه (الريّس) جمال عبد الناصر: أهل غزّة مسحوا القرار الدولي بأقدامهم.
هذا هو الشعب الذي يحاصره نظام حكم فاقد لأبسط شروط السيادة، بلا وزن عربيّا ودوليّا، نظام حكم بائس يشغل الأمة بلعبة (فطبول)، بينما مصر تتداعى فقرا وبطالةً وفوضى ونهبا.
التظاهرات على الحدود المصريّة الفلسطينيّة لن تجدي مع هذا النظام الوقح والفاجر. والبيانات والمناشدات الأخويّة لن تغيّر موقفه، فهذه طبيعته، وهذا دوره.
لا بدّ أن تتحوّل معركة مواجهة جدار كامب مبارك الذي سيحكم الحصار على أهلنا في غزّة، إلى معركة لكّل شعبنا، وجماهير أمتنا، في كل مكان.
وحتى يتحقق هذا الأمر، لا بدّ من أن تشارك كل القوى في غزّة في إدارة هذه المعركة، فلا تبقى وقفا على حماس.
أعود لتكرار بعض ما اجتهدت به سابقا، فأقول: لتشكّل قيادة وطنيّة موحدة تدير أوضاع أهلنا في القطاع، معيشيّا، وأمنيا، و.. توّحد قوّات المقاومة لتكون جاهزة للدفاع عن القطاع بقيادة واحدة.
لا ضرورة أبدا لبقاء ما يسمّى بالوزارة (المُقالة)، فالقيادة الوطنية أهّم، وهي ستفوّت الفرصة على نظام كامب ديفد وغيره، مّمن يُحكمون الحصارعلى القطاع، بحجة هيمنة حماس، وليبق ممثلو حماس في المجلس التشريعي.
ولتكن هذه مقدمة للانتقال للعمل في الضفّة مع كافة قوى المقاومة، للتصدي للاستيطان، وتوسيع عملية المقاومة الشعبيّة التي تخاض في بلعين ونعلين .
إنني أرى أن المقاومة المسلحّة في الضفّة لكنس الحواجز، والرّد على المستوطنين وتكبيدهم الخسائر المُكلفة، ستكون مقدمّة لمرحلة آتية لا ريب، تتأسس على انتصارات ميدانيّة، دون استعجال في عمليّات غير مدروسة تجّر علينا خسارات فادحة.
الكيان الصهيوني متورط بفضائح مدويّة، تتقدمها حربه على القطاع، واستخدامه للأسلحة المحرمة دوليا، وثبوت انتزاعه أعضاء من أجساد شهدائنا، والمحاكم التي بدأت تترصّد تحركات قادته في العواصم الأوربيّة بعد تقرير غولدستون، وهو ما يحتّم علينا أن نرسم استراتيجيّة تمكننا من هزيمة الاحتلال في الضفة والقدس، وإنقاذ شعبنا في غزّة من الحصار، بوحدتنا الوطنيّة ميدانيا، وهذا سيعني العودة بقضيتنا لأحضان أمتنا، واستعادة شعبنا لدوره وهيبته، و.. بداية نصرنا التاريخي الكبير الذي سيتوّج بتحرير وطننا فلسطين...
نحن لن نكون وحدنا، فمن انتصروا في لبنان انتصارين كبيرين هم اخوتنا ورفاقنا في السلاح. ومن يقاتلون في العراق هم أهلنا، ومعركتنا جميعا واحدة، وجوهرها فلسطين وإن كانت عناوينها كثيرة...
الرهان على كسر حصارغزّة، وبقاء الحال على حاله إضاعة للوقت، وانتظار لتنفيذ حكم الموت الذي يدبّره وينفذه أعداء شعبنا، وفي مقدمتهم نظام مبارك...
هرمون الحب يحد من عوارض التوحد

Activists reject Egypt's Gaza offer


"Members of an international group gathered in Cairo to protest against the siege of Gaza have rejected an Egyptian offer to allow 100 of them entry into the Palestinian territory.

Organisers of the Gaza Freedom March (GFM), which is comprised of 1,300 people from 42 different countries, declined the offer on Wednesday, saying "we refuse to whitewash the siege of Gaza".

Egyptian authorities had initially said the group would not be allowed to cross the border, citing security reasons and a "sensitive situation"......

March organisers had called the Egyptian government's concession a "partial victory" but said the offer was not sufficient.

Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the Electronic Intifada and a participant in the march, posted to his blog, saying that "it's not enough and the pressure and protests should be kept up".

"However, getting 100 or 1,300 into Gaza does not end the siege by itself. This is not about getting some or even all into Gaza, its building global support and pressure to end the siege of Gaza," he said......

A separate aid convoy, which had been trying to reach Gaza by way of Jordan's Red Sea port of Aqaba, has meanwhile agreed to travel via Syria instead. The Viva Palestina convoy, carrying 210 lorries full of humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza, crossed into Syria on Tuesday after spending five days in Jordan, negotiating with the Egyptian consul there.
It is now expected to set sail from the Syrian port of Latakia to the Egyptian port of El Arish on the Mediterranean, and then cross through Rafah into Gaza from there......"

Gaza Freedom Marchers Reject Egyptian Offer to Let Just 100 Enter Gaza

After three days of vigils and demonstrations in downtown Cairo, Suzanne Mubarak’s offer to allow just 100 of 1,300 delegates to enter Gaza was rejected by the Gaza Freedom March.
Coordinating Committee as well as many of the larger contingents – including those from France, Scotland, Canada, South Africa, Sweden and New York State (U.S.).

“We flatly reject Egypt’s offer of a token gesture. We refuse to whitewash the siege of Gaza. Our group will continue working to get all 1362 marchers into Gaza as one step towards the ultimate goal for the complete end of the siege and the liberation of Palestine” said Ziyaad Lunat a member of the march Coordinating Committee.

Gaza Freedom March Update

Contributed by: Greta Berlin

The Gaza Freedom March was thrown into disarray today after a surprise announcement by the Egyptian government that it would allow 100 march participants to travel to the Gaza Strip early on Wednesday morning. The decision was reportedly as a result of a direct request from Egyptian first lady Suzanne Mubarak to the Egyptian foreign ministry following intense lobbying by marchers and organizers over the last three days.

Organisers had two hours within which to accept or decline the offer, and the impossible task of deciding which 100 delegates to send. The quota amounts to a mere 7% of the more than 1,300 people who are registered for the march. After consultation with local organizers in the besieged Gaza Strip, the international steering committee decided that sending 100 delegates as a symbolic show of support was better than having nobody arrive in Gaza.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Egypt brings riot police to protect US embassy from US citizen peace delegation #GFM #Gaza


Standoff continues. Egypt brings reinforcements. US relies on Egyptian police repression to prevent its citizens gaining access to their own representatives.

Cairo now: pro Palestine demonstration outside Journalists Syndicate #GFM #Gaza

Gaza's border must be opened NOW

Pam Rasmussen, The Electronic Intifada, 29 December 2009

"This time is clearly different.

I have traveled to Gaza twice this year, in groups ranging from 40 to 60 persons, and although there was a lot of behind-the-scenes work involved in "greasing the wheels" with the Egyptian authorities, we pretty much sailed in. CODEPINK (the group that organized both of my previous trips) developed a well-earned reputation for being able to pull just the right levers to open the doors to the isolated enclave of Gaza

But too many months have gone by with no change in the crippling isolation of Gaza imposed by Israel and Egypt, and it was time to risk our privileged access to take our efforts to break the siege up a notch. Our numbers had to be massive enough to threaten the jailers' growing complacence and broad enough to send the message that this is a global movement that won't stop until the Palestinian people are given the freedom and justice they deserve. Thus, this time CODEPINK allied with a number of other organizations around the world, and the number of participants quickly ballooned to more than 1,300 from 43 countries. ....our message is also unapologetically political: the borders must be opened, to everyone, all the time. NOW.

We have obviously accomplished our objective. The jailers have taken notice and are running scared. So scared that we not only have been denied entry into Gaza, we have been threatened with arrest and deportation if we so much as carry a sign or gather in groups of more than six. Our reservation with a facility in downtown Cairo for an orientation meeting for delegates was canceled at the government's order, and requests to hold educational workshops instead were refused. In an even more audacious move that was aided and abetted by participants' own governments, consulate representatives were called to a meeting and apparently instructed to warn their residents not to come. In Spain, that warning was echoed in a news release. In Canada, individuals registered for the march or who had participated in past delegations received emails from their embassies. In Portugal, one marcher was called on his personal cell phone!.......

As I write this, we are still being refused entry to Gaza, and even permission to travel to al-Arish and Rafah on the border. Thirty-eight of our marchers tried to get to al-Arish on their own, but 30 were then put under house arrest in their hotel and eight were detained at the bus station. Every peaceful vigil or protest we staged was met with an "iron wall" -- and sometimes, by violence.

When the French contingent of about 450 persons asked for help from their embassy, and occupied the grounds of the building in protest when initial promises negotiated with the Egyptian government were reneged, they were surrounded by heavily-armed and helmeted riot police and refused permission to leave -- even for food or to use a toilet. At the time of this writing, their "occupation" is going on 48 hours now......

Meanwhile, it's a truism that controversy attracts media coverage. Our missions to Gaza have been ignored by the mainstream media in the past, but this time, Egypt's defensive and angry response attracted the attention of such mainstream media pillars as the BBC, the Associated Press, Newsweek and The New York Times. I am a communications professional, and Egypt has violated a tenet of Public Relations 101: The more you protest, the guiltier you look."

Egypt's bigger problem

The Pharaoh Receiving His Instructions.

By Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera's senior political analyst

"The ongoing tragicomedy on the Gaza Egypt borders will not have a happy ending.

A year after Israel's war left Gaza in ruins, Egypt is hampering international aid convoys from entering this impoverished refuge camp of 1.5 million and is erecting an 'iron wall' under the guise of preserving its national security and sovereignty.

But it could be doing the opposite.

As Egypt distances itself from the problems of Gaza as if it were a strategic liability, instead of championing the humanitarian and political cause of occupied Gaza, it is arguably missing an opportunity to regain its long lost regional leverage.

Over the last several years, Egypt has seen its role greatly diminished. The regime's preoccupation with its own stability and succession and the rise of regional powers, like Iran and Turkey, against the backdrop of unprecedented foreign military intervention in the region, have all shoved Egypt to the sidelines......"

من حسني مبارك إلى شعب مصر

شعر أحمد فؤاد نجم

"ياشعبي حبيبي ياروحي يابيبي
ياحاطك في جيبي يابن الحلال

ياشعبي ياشاطر ياجابر خواطر
ياساكن مقابر وصابر وعال

ياواكل سمومك يابايع هدومك
ياحامل همومك وشايل جبال

ياشعبي اللي نايم وسارح وهايم
وفي الفقر عايم وحاله ده حال

احبك محشش مفرفش مطنش
ودايخ مدروخ واخر انسطال

احبك مكبر دماغك مخدر
ممشي امورك كده باتكال

واحب اللي ينصب واحب اللي يكدب
واحب اللي ينهب ويسرق تلال

واحب اللي شايف وعارف وخايف
وبالع لسانه وكاتم ماقال

واحب اللي قافل عيونه المغفل
واحب البهايم واحب البغال

واحب اللي راضي واحب اللي فاضي
واحب اللي عايز يربي العيال

واحب اللي يائس واحب اللي بائس
واحب اللي محبط وشايف محال

واحبك تسافر وتبعد تهاجر
وتبعت فلوسك دولار او ريال

واحبك تطبل تهلل تهبل
عشان مطش كوره وفيلم ومقال

واحبك تأيد تعضض تمجد
توافق تنافق وتلحس نعال البغال

تحضر نشادر تجمع كوادر
تلمع وتقمع تظبط مجال

لكن لو تفكر تخطط تقرر
تشغل مخك وتفتح جدال

وتبدأ تشاكل وتعمل مشاكل
وتنكش مسائل وتسأل سؤال

وعايز تنور وعايز تطور
وتعمللي روحك مفرد رجال

ساعتها حجيبك لايمكن اسيبك
وراح تبقى عبره وتصبح مثال

حبهدل جنابك وأذل اللي جابك
وحيكون عذابك ده فوق الاحتمال

وامرمط سعادتك واهزأ سيادتك
واخلي كرامتك في حالة هزال

وتلبس قضيه وتصبح رزيه
وباقي حياتك تعيش في انعزال

حتقبل ححبك حترفض حلبك
حتطلع حتنزل حجيبلك جمااااال

Winding Our Way to Gaza

Freedom Marching in Circles

(Emily Ratner is an organizer and mediamaker based in New Orleans. In June she traveled to Gaza with a New Orleans delegation.)


"Yesterday we joined the people of Gaza, the people of all of Palestine, and allies around the world in remembering the anniversary of the inhuman and illegal Israeli attacks that stole the lives of more than 1,400 mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons last December and January. And, in a manner far too appropriately suited to remembering an unfathomably vicious massacre and the preposterous silence of the American and Egyptian governments, we freedom marched in circles throughout the streets of Cairo.

The Egyptian government has revoked the contracts for the buses that would take us one step closer on our journey to Gaza and has forbidden us from leaving Cairo. Military police have torn down our small hand-written cards tied to the Kasr al Nil Bridge, following the Israelis' lead in trying to disappear the names and numbers of Gaza's martyrs. Candles meant to float along the Nile in remembrance are still in their boxes, their hundreds of distributors never permitted to board the feluccas (river boats) waiting just beyond overwhelming security forces. We regroup, circle again, and find another path to remembering and reminding, another way through the many checkpoints and the impossible border ahead.......

And so we freedom march in circles, planning, dodging, regrouping, often failing, sometimes succeeding, and then circling again. Joining our friends in Gaza for the Freedom March on December 31st is possibly nothing more than a dream now, but in these long days we take lessons from our Palestinian mentors, who have walked far more treacherous circles than ours. And we march with them in Cairo and in dozens of cities across the globe as we demand that the Israeli, American, and Egyptian governments listen to the people of the world and set Gaza free."

Egypt Denies Gaza Freedom March Access to Border, Hundreds Protest in Cairo

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"In Egypt, hundreds of solidarity activists from around the world are being prevented by the Egyptian government from entering Gaza. Dubbed the Gaza Freedom March, organizers were planning to cross the border last Sunday to commemorate the first anniversary of Israel’s assault on Gaza that killed 1,400 Palestinians and thirteen Israelis. We get a report...."

The Pharaoh Had to Obey USraeli Orders!

Al-Jazeera Video: Riz Khan - Gaza's Open Wounds - 28 Dec 2009

Part 1:

Part 2:

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story - Gaza Under Siege - 28 Dec 2009

"For over two years Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza's 1.5 million inhabitants. The blockade includes bans on materials needed to reconstruct the region after the israeli bombing of 2008-9. 80% of the population of Gaza survives on food aid. Inside story asks what motives are behind the restrictions? And what is the human cost?"

Egyptian Security Forces Detain Gaza Freedom Marchers in el-Arish and shut down Gaza Memorial in Cairo

Medea Benjamin 
 Egypt (18) 956-1919
Ann Wright Egypt (19) 508-1493
Ziyaad Lunat 
 Roaming +351938349206

"As Gaza Freedom Marchers continue to push the Egyptian Government to allow us to leave Cairo for El Arish, they are beginning to push back. This morning at 7am Freedom Marchers met at the garage where we were expecting to board buses headed to El Arish. Instead we were met by a large group of soldiers who turned every bus and taxi away. Until we reached a large crowd, the authorities were forceful, pushing peaceful demonstrators and trying to prevent the filming of the situation.

Some of the Freedom Marchers then went to the French Embassy to offer to support to the 300 French delegates who had camped out at the embassy overnight following a dramatic die-in on the road that stopped traffic and lasted several hours......

"We're saddened that the Egyptian authorities have blocked our participants' freedom of movement and interfered with a peaceful commemoration of the dead," said Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK, one of the March's organizers.

Benjamin added that the Gaza Freedom March participants are continuing to urge the Egyptian government to allow them to proceed to Gaza. They visited the Arab League asking for support, various foreign embassies and the Presidential Palance to deliver an appeal to President Mubarak. They are calling their supporters around the world to contact Egyptian embassies and urge them to free the marchers and allow them to proceed to Gaza."

If you are in the US, please call 202-895-5400 and ask for Omar Youssef.
If you are elsewhere, you may find Egyptian consulate contact info here:

Hip-hop Kindles Hopes in Destroyed Refugee Camp

By Ray Smith

"NAHR AL-BARED (North Lebanon), Dec 29 (IPS) - The hip-hop beats ringing through the muddy, unlit streets of this burnt-out Palestinian refugee camp seem incongruous. But the rhymes are camp-grown - and courageous.

"I'm carrying worries / From inside a destroyed camp / I'm preparing an attack / Words that keep turning in my head / Nahr al-Bared is fenced-in with iron bars / In the newspapers they speak about suffering / Every word makes sense".

Farhan Abu Siyam, 21, is Nahr al-Bared's first and only rapper. Going by the name of MC Tamarrod (which translates as MC Rebellion), he grew up in the Palestinian refugee camps of Nahr al-Bared and Bourj al-Barajneh.......

Palestinian youth do not see a future in Lebanon and see emigration as a way out. When a delegation from donor states recently visited Nahr al-Bared, the residents of the temporary housing units did not ask them for more aid, but for visas allowing them to emigrate.

In Nahr al-Bared the slow reconstruction and the continued presence of the LAF have led to widespread unemployment......"

The silent cleric who holds the key to Iran's future

Iranian politics do not run on the supposedly Western principle of majority rule

By Robert Fisk

"We like to believe – and newspapers and television like us to believe – that the battle for Iran is being fought on the streets of Tehran, of Isfahan, of Najafabad. Untrue.

The future of the nation is being decided in Qom, among the clerical leaders of Iranian Shia Islam; and one of the most influential of them – perhaps the closest of all the ayatollahs to President Ahmadinejad – is silent.

Just why Mohammed Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi, a member of the Assembly of Experts – the clerics who choose the "Supreme Leader" of Iran – should refrain from comment at such a critical and violent period of the Islamic Republic's history, is unclear......"

Some in the US already see Arab state as 'tomorrow's target'

Washington has quietly been supplying military equipment, intelligence and training to Yemeni forces

By Patrick Cockburn

"......Joseph Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, admitted yesterday that the growing US presence in Yemen includes Special Operations, Green Berets and intelligence. In 2009, the Pentagon provided Yemen with $67m (£42m) in overt counter-terrorism assistance; officials have proposed expanding that in 2010.

Mr Lieberman, who recently visited Sanaa, said a US official there told him that "Iraq was yesterday's war. Afghanistan is today's war. If we don't act pre-emptively, Yemen will be tomorrow's war."

The Yemeni government will do what it can to show willing to the US in pursuit of al-Qa'ida. But the threat to its own existence comes from various directions: first, the civil war it is fighting with Shia revivalists – who it claims are backed by Iran – in the northern province of Saada; then secessionism in the south sparked by discontent over the outcome of Yemeni unification in 1990 and the civil war that followed; and finally a growing economic crisis as Yemen's small oilfields, which provide revenue, are running out.

Pressure from the US to pursue al-Qa'ida will be one extra strain on a government which has been unable to cope with these multiple crises."

لا سيادة لمصر../ د.عبد الستار قاسم

Dr. Abdul-Sattar Qassem

"يظهر علينا مسؤولون مصريون يتحدثون عن سيادة مصر في كل مرة تشتاق فيه غزة للغذاء. وسيادة مصر لا تحظى بالأهمية والتأكيد إلا في وجه أهل غزة الذين لا أطماع لهم في أرض مصر، ولا يجيشون من أجل احتلال القاهرة، ولا مأرب لهم في مصر سوى شراء الغذاء ومختلف الاحتياجات المعيشية
وواضح أن الجهات المعنية لا تحاول البوح بالحقيقة، وهي أن مصر لا سيادة لها على سيناء، وأن كل الحديث عن السيادة المصرية والأمن القومي المصري ليس إلا للتضليل والتعمية.

هناك من هو متواطئ مع النظام المصري فيؤيده فيما يقول وما ينفذ من سياسات، وهناك من يعرف الحقيقة ولا يريد أن يتكلم لأسباب متباينة. الحقيقة أن مصر ليست صاحبة السيادة على سيناء، ولا تستطيع أن تقرر بمفردها بخصوص أي عمل استراتيجي أو تكتيكي دون الرجوع لإسرائيل وأمريكا.

مصر تتمتع بحكم ذاتي على سيناء وفق اتفاقيات كامب ديفيد لعام 1979، وهو حكم ذاتي شبيه بالحكم الذاتي الذي تمارسه السلطة الفلسطينية، ويقتصر على إدارة الشؤون المدنية للناس

“Shalit Deal a Slap in the Face for Abbas; a Great Achievement for Hamas”


"29/12/2009 Closing the Shalit deal will be a great achievement for Hamas but it will not bring down Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Shin Bet security chief Yuval Diskin said Monday.

Speaking to Israeli ambassadors gathered at the Foreign Ministry, Diskin said the Shin Bet security service does not believe a third intifada is about to break out in the territories at this stage. "The Shalit deal would be a slap in the face for Abbas and a great public opinion achievement for Hamas," Diskin said. He was answering Dorit Shavit, the Israeli Foreign Ministry's Deputy Director General for Latin America, who asked how the Shalit deal would effect Abbas' status.

"But on the other hand, Abbas realizes this is going to happen and is preparing himself for it. In any case, it won't topple him," he said.

Diskin did not refer to the release of Palestinian detainees in exchange for Shalit, but hinted at his position on releasing the former Fatah secretary in the occupied West Bank, Marwan Barghouti. "Barghouti was the spirit behind the second intifada, not Arafat as people tend to think," he said. "The problem is that the intifada spun out of his control."

Diskin spoke about the present situation in the Palestinian Authority and the shaky relations between Hamas and Fatah. The West Bank and Gaza Strip are more divided today than ever before, he said.

"Abbas is weak but there is no substitute for him at this stage. Abbas painted himself into a corner because he thought the Americans would bring him everything he wanted on a silver platter, and if there's no one to extract him from that corner he may really resign," he said......."