Saturday, March 21, 2009

Canada can't muzzle me

To ban me from the country for my views on Afghanistan is absurd, hypocritical, and in vain

George Galloway
The Guardian, Saturday 21 March 2009

"The Canadian immigration minister Jason Kenney gazetted in the Sun yesterday morning that I was to be excluded from his country because of my views on Afghanistan. That's the way the rightwing, last-ditch dead-enders of Bushism in Ottawa conduct their business.....

But what are my views on Afghanistan which the Canadian government does not want its people to hear? I've never been to Afghanistan, nor have I ever met a Taliban, but my first impression into the parliamentary vellum on the subject was more than two decades ago. At the time the fathers of the Taliban were "freedom fighters", paraded at US Republican and British Tory conferences. Who knows, maybe even the Canadian right extolled these god-fearing opponents of communism. I did not, however.....

To ban a five-times elected British MP from addressing public events or keeping appointments with television and radio programmes is a serious matter. Kenney's "spokesman" told the Sun, "Galloway's not coming in ... end of story." Alas for him, it's not. Canada remains a free country governed by law and my friends are even now seeking a judicial review. And there are other ways I can address those Canadians who wish to hear me......"

Canada Bars Galloway over Gaza Support


"21/03/2009 British lawmaker George Galloway has been blocked from visiting Canada because of his “support of Hamas movement,” which is banned in the country, the Canadian immigration minister's office said Friday.....

In a comment piece published in Britain's Guardian newspaper, Galloway described the ban as "absurd, hypocritical, and in vain" because his allies in the country were seeking a judicial review. "And there are other ways I can address those Canadians who wish to hear me," he wrote.

Galloway was to give a speech at a public forum, Resisting War from Gaza to Kandahar, in Toronto at the end of the month, but has been denied entry over his opposition to Canadian troops in Afghanistan, said Britain's Sun newspaper.

"From coast to coast, minister Kenney notwithstanding, I will be heard -- one way or another and all right thinking Canadians, whether they agree with me over the wisdom of sending troops to Afghanistan or not, will oppose this outrageous decision."

“This has further vindicated the anti-war movement’s contention that unjust wars abroad will end up consuming the very liberties that make us who we are. This may be a rather desperate election ploy by a conservative government reaching the end of line, or by a minister who has not cottoned on to the fact that the George Bush era is over.”......"

The crimes we witnessed in Gaza

Radhika Sainath writing from Los Angeles, US, Live from Palestine, 20 March 2009

Huwaida Arraf, Radhika Sainath, with filmmaker Adam Shapiro, interview Khaled Abed Rabu outside his demolished home in eastern Jabaliya.

"Two days after Israel ended its 22-day invasion of the Gaza Strip, a friend and former clinical law professor in Jerusalem, Huwaida Arraf, asked me: "What do you think about organizing an emergency legal delegation to Gaza?" A small committee formed and we quickly put a call out for participants. Dozens of attorneys and law students from across the nation expressed their interest in traveling to Gaza to investigate the circumstances that led to massive Palestinian casualties, and to determine, what, if any, violations of international law occurred.

A week later, eight National Lawyers Guild members and a documentary filmmaker landed in Egypt. We crossed into Gaza through the Rafah land crossing on 2 February 2009. Minutes after Palestinian officials stamped our passports, we were startled by a loud explosion. "Don't worry," said one of the officials, unflinching. "They're only bombing the tunnels. It's normal here." Though all of us had experience working or traveling in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), none of us were prepared for what we saw......."

Trouble brewing in Jerusalem

If Israeli authorities demolish homes in Silwan and evict families in Sheikh Jarrah they risk a violent uprising by local residents

Seth Freedman, Friday 20 March 2009

"Either side of Jerusalem's Old City walls, a storm is brewing, threatening to engulf residents the length and breadth of the region. If the Israeli authorities make good on their promise to demolish homes in Silwan and evict families in Sheikh Jarrah, locals swear that Israel will be drenched with blood and tears, rather than with the Biblical blend of milk and honey said to flow through the Holy Land.......

The desperate residents of Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah meet intransigence when confronting the Israeli authorities, and indifference when appealing to foreign governments to intervene on their behalf. With no one else to turn to, warnings of a violent uprising don't sound like mere idle talk. According to the local activists I met, the final grains of sand are about to fall to the bottom of the hourglass. If sympathy is not shown to their cause, and if ethics fail to trump ethnic rivalry, the backlash could be swift, sharp, and just around the corner."

Friday, March 20, 2009


Dead Palestinian babies and bombed mosques - IDF fashion 2009

"......Dead babies, mothers weeping on their children's graves, a gun aimed at a child and bombed-out mosques - these are a few examples of the images Israel Defense Forces soldiers design these days to print on shirts they order to mark the end of training, or of field duty. The slogans accompanying the drawings are not exactly anemic either: A T-shirt for infantry snipers bears the inscription "Better use Durex," next to a picture of a dead Palestinian baby, with his weeping mother and a teddy bear beside him. A sharpshooter's T-shirt from the Givati Brigade's Shaked battalion shows a pregnant Palestinian woman with a bull's-eye superimposed on her belly, with the slogan, in English, "1 shot, 2 kills." A "graduation" shirt for those who have completed another snipers course depicts a Palestinian baby, who grows into a combative boy and then an armed adult, with the inscription, "No matter how it begins, we'll put an end to it."......"

The Lobby Falters

John Mearsheimer
London Review of Books

".....Freeman’s remarkable statement has shot all around the world and been read by countless individuals. This isn’t good for the lobby, which would have preferred to kill Freeman’s appointment without leaving any fingerprints. But Freeman will continue to speak out about Israel and the lobby, and maybe some of his natural allies inside the Beltway will eventually join him. Slowly but steadily, space is being opened up in the United States to talk honestly about Israel."

Why Morocco Cut Ties with Iran

The Middle East's Jittery Monarchies

A Good Piece

".....It seemed unusual for this North African nation—far removed from the troubles plaguing Gaza and Israel, Iraq and Afghanistan—to sever ties with a distant country like Iran. So why did it do so? According to Rabat, it was over an Iranian official who questioned Bahrain’s “sovereignty,” and the “threat” posed to Morocco’s stability by Tehran’s alleged attempts to spread Shia Islam there.

These apparently unrelated grievances put forth by the Moroccan government are indicative of the anxiety and pressure many Middle Eastern monarchies are increasingly feeling these days (especially in the aftermath of the Gaza war). In order to deflect attention away from the (il)legitimacy of their rule, the old canard of “Persian” interference is once again being employed.......

But what underlies Morocco’s and other Arab countries’ paranoia of Shia Muslims?

The answer can be found in both modern and ancient Islamic history. It was Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979 which deposed fellow monarch, and many would say tyrant, Shah Reza Pahlavi. It is therefore perceived that Shia Muslims (always conflated with Iranians), have an inherent tendency to overthrow ‘the established order.’.......

The Kingdom of Morocco cut diplomatic ties with Iran because a kindred monarchy that subjugates and controls its citizens through a family-run security apparatus was challenged, both from within and abroad, and this was deemed unacceptable. Iran did not question the sovereignty of Bahrain but did implicitly question the legitimacy of the Al-Khalifa’s to govern based on policies that exclude the participation of a majority of its citizens. As Egypt’s dictator Hosni Mubarak has done, King Mohammad VI of Morocco—the self-appointed “Commander of the Faithful”— raised the Shia bogeyman for his own domestic purposes.

Israel’s war on Gaza, and the complicity of the Arab world’s U.S.-backed monarchs and dictators in it, exposed the cavernous divide between them and the people they rule. To divert attention away from the ill-effects their own subservience has wrought, they believe redirecting this hostile energy onto Iran, fomenting historical Arab-Persian animosity, hyping sectarianism and scapegoating Shia Muslims will afford them some breathing room. Similar tactics are also evident in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

But the walls are fast closing in. All the above actions are the hallmarks of evaporating authority. By undertaking such desperate measures, these Mideast leaders are telling us the days of monarchy and perpetual dictatorship are coming to an end."

Five for Palestine

A campaing to Raise Awareness and demand equitable US policy towards Palestine.
Join in and help this grass roots effort.

Soldier says rabbis pushed "religious war" in Gaza


"JERUSALEM, March 20 (Reuters) - Rabbis in the Israeli army told battlefield troops in January's Gaza offensive that they were fighting a "religious war" against gentiles, according to one army commander's account published on Friday.

"Their message was very clear: we are the Jewish people, we came to this land by a miracle, God brought us back to this land and now we need to fight to expel the gentiles who are interfering with our conquest of this holy land," he said.

The account by Ram, a pseudonym to shield the soldier's identity, was published by the left-leaning Haaretz newspaper in the second day of revelations that have rocked the Israeli military. ( "Shooting and Crying, 2009")......"

Palestinian Doctor, Peace Advocate Recounts Israeli Attack on Home that Killed 3 Daughters, Niece

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"Palestinian gynecologist and peace advocate Dr. Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish speaks to Democracy Now! producer Anjali Kamat and Jacquie Soohen of Big Noise Films in his home in Jabaliya, Gaza, where Israeli shells killed three of his daughters and a niece two months ago. Walking through his daughters’ room, he points out the remnants from the attack: blood stained walls, books, clothes, hand-drawn pictures, gaping holes that were once windows, burned out bits of computers, twisted pieces of metal, destroyed cupboards, shattered glass, and shrapnel.

We turn now to one of the better known tragedies from Israel’s war on Gaza, a tragedy that partly unfolded live on Israeli television. Dr. Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish is a well-known Gazan gynecologist and peace advocate who has worked in Israeli hospitals for several years. He speaks fluent Hebrew and during the war he was a rare Palestinian voice on Israeli television and radio, giving daily accounts of life and death inside Gaza.

But the ambulances never reached the doctor’s home, which was surrounded by Israeli tanks. It was too late to save his three daughters, 21-year old Bessan, 15-year old Mayar, 13-year old Aya, and his niece Nour, aged 14, who were all killed instantly by the shells....."

Israel Promises Internal Probe After Soldiers Describe Civilian Killings, Lax Rules of Engagement in Gaza Attack

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"The Israeli Military Advocate General has for the first time called for criminal inquiries into the conduct of Israeli troops in Gaza. The request came in response to soldiers’ testimonies that described loose rules of engagement, troops firing on unarmed civilians, and troops intentionally vandalizing property during the three-week assault on Gaza. We speak to Gaza-based journalist Amira Hass of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz...."


Contributed by Ali

"The Obama Deception is a hard-hitting film that completely destroys the myth that Barack Obama is working for the best interests of the American people.

The Obama phenomenon is a hoax carefully crafted by the captains of the New World Order. He is being pushed as savior in an attempt to con the American people into accepting global slavery.

We have reached a critical juncture in the New World Order's plans. It's not about Left or Right: it's about a One World Government. The international banks plan to loot the people of the United States and turn them into slaves on a Global Plantation.

Covered in this film: who Obama works for, what lies he has told, and his real agenda. If you want to know the facts and cut through all the hype, this is the film for you.

Watch the Obama Deception and learn how:

- Obama is continuing the process of transforming America into something that resembles Nazi Germany, with forced National Service, domestic civilian spies, warrantless wiretaps, the destruction of the Second Amendment, FEMA camps and Martial Law.

- Obama's handlers are openly announcing the creation of a new Bank of the World that will dominate every nation on earth through carbon taxes and military force.

- International bankers purposefully engineered the worldwide financial meltdown to bankrupt the nations of the planet and bring in World Government.

- Obama plans to loot the middle class, destroy pensions and federalize the states so that the population is completely dependent on the Central Government.

- The Elite are using Obama to pacify the public so they can usher in the North American Union by stealth, launch a new Cold War and continue the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The information contained in this film is vital to the future of the Republic and to freedom worldwide. President Barack Obama is only the tool of a larger agenda. Until all are made aware, humanity will remain captive to the masters of the New World Order. "


avec la participation de plusieurs associations de la Campagne Boycott Israel

Réalisation : l’équipe vidéo "PALESTINE VIVRA"

Travel bans violate freedom of movement

Adri Nieuwhof and Jeff Handmaker, The Electronic Intifada, 19 March 2009

"Despite international media attention and considerable diplomatic pressure from the Netherlands, Israel did not allow the general director of the Palestinian organization Al-Haq, Shawan Jabarin, to travel to the Netherlands to receive the prestigious Dutch Geuzenpenning award for human rights defenders on 13 March 2009. Israel's travel ban on Jabarin and other human rights defenders on the basis of secret evidence violates principles for a fair trial and the basic human right of free movement, resembling the behavior of the apartheid regime in South Africa.

Al-Haq is an independent, Palestinian non-governmental human rights organization based in the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Ramallah. The Geuzenpenning honors the historic resistance group, the Geuzen, who fought the occupying German army in the Netherlands during the Second World War. The Geuzenpenning award keeps alive the ideals of resisting oppression and promoting and maintaining democracy as well as heightening awareness in the Netherlands and globally of all forms of dictatorship, discrimination and racism........"

Report: 23 emergency service personnel killed during "Cast Lead"

Report, Al Mezan, 19 March 2009

Palestinian medical members inspect the damage of the Red Crescent al-Quds hospital, after it was bombed by Israel, Gaza City, 17 January 2009.

"Al Mezan Center for Human Rights published an English-language version of the report "The Targeting of Medical Centers, Ambulance Teams and Civil Defense Teams during the Israeli Offensive 'Operation Cast Lead' against the Gaza Strip." This report reviews the systematic targeting of medical centers, ambulance teams and civil defense teams and the obstruction of their work between the period of 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009. The report also presents material and human losses sustained by the emergency services during this period.

The report demonstrates that 23 emergency service personnel were killed, 17 of whom were on duty at the time, and 50 emergency service personnel were injured during the offensive. In addition, 39 ambulances, emergency vehicles, field hospitals and civil defense vehicles were damaged or destroyed. A number of health premises, ambulance and emergency centers and civil defense premises were damaged or destroyed....."

Download the full report [PDF]

Obama congratulates Iran on New Year

Press TV

"US President Barack Obama has congratulated Iran on the occasion of Nowruz, promising to seek a 'new beginning' with the Islamic Republic...."

Happy New Year!

Gaza offensive possible 'war crime'


"The United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories has said Israel's military offensive on Gaza "would seem to constitute a war crime of the greatest magnitude under international law".

Richard Falk calls the Israeli attacks a "massive assault on a densely populated urbanised setting", with the civilian population subjected to "an inhumane form of warfare that kills, maims and inflicts mental harm".

His findings were written in a report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday.....

Criminal tribunal urged

Falk suggested the UN Security Council might set up an ad hoc criminal tribunal to establish accountability for war crimes in Gaza, noting Israel has not signed the Rome statutes establishing the International Criminal Court.

He was refused entry into Israel two weeks before the offensive started, preventing him from a planned mission to Gaza. In the report, he said the refusal had set an "unfortunate precedent" for treatment of a special rapporteur.

Speaking to Al Jazeera from Santa Barbara, California, Falk said he is not optimistic that his report will lead to concrete action.

"There is a lack of political will on the part of several major governments," he said.

"There has all along been a pervasive double standard with respect to the implementation of international criminal law.

"It has been applied to non-Western countries in the south and has exempted actors associated with Europe, North America and, generally, the north."......"

Collapse in Iraqi oil price shatters hope of recovery

Government relents and allows foreign-owned companies a majority stake in projects to boost production

By Patrick Cockburn

"......In a desperate bid to raise production, Mr Shahristani gave foreign companies a major concession this week; they will now be able to take a majority stake in projects to develop oil and gas fields, from which they could be entitled to retain 75 per cent of the profits. He said an investment of $50bn (£35bn) was needed to raise daily output to six million barrels by 2014......[COMMENT: Mission Accomplished, Indeed!]......"

Israel's dirty secrets in Gaza

Army veterans reveal how they gunned down innocent Palestinian families and destroyed homes and farms

By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem

A woman cries in front of a destroyed home January 22, 2009 in a neighbourhood heavily damaged by Israeli troops outside of Gaza City, Gaza Strip.

"Israel was last night confronting a major challenge over the conduct of its 22-day military offensive in Gaza after testimonies by its own soldiers revealed that troops were allowed and, in some cases, even ordered to shoot unarmed Palestinian civilians.

The testimonies – the first of their kind to emerge from inside the military – are at marked variance with official claims that the military made strenuous efforts to avoid civilian casualties and tend to corroborate Palestinian accusations that troops used indiscriminate and disproportionate firepower in civilian areas during the operation. In one of the testimonies shedding harsh new light on what the soldiers say were the permissive rules of engagement for Operation Cast Lead, one soldier describes how an officer ordered the shooting of an elderly woman 100 metres from a house commandeered by troops......

In their own words: Soldiers' stories

Squad leader Aviv

"At the beginning the directive was to enter a house with an armoured vehicle, to break the door down, to start shooting inside and to ascend floor by floor and – I call it murder – to go from floor to floor and to shoot at everyone we identify. In the beginning I asked myself how could this make sense? Higher-ups said it is permissible because everyone left in the city [Gaza City] is culpable because they didn't run away. This frightened me a bit. I tried to influence it as much as possible, despite my low rank, to change it. In the end the directive was to go into a house, switch on loudspeakers and tell them 'you have five minutes to run away and whoever doesn't will be killed'."......."

As they did Ozymandias, the dunes will reclaim the soaring folly of Dubai

This off-the-shelf city state, built on laundering the profits of oil, drugs, arms and western aid, stands on the brink

Simon Jenkins
The Guardian, Friday 20 March 2009

"....When prices go up, buildings go up. When prices come down, buildings tend to stay up. Until recently visitors to Dubai returned gasping. This was truly a city designed from start to finish by autocrats and architects. It was the last word in iconic overkill, a festival of egotism with humanity denied. It was an architectural chorus line of towers, each shouting louder and kicking higher. People were ants.....

Just as visitors to the Middle East see half-built, mostly abandoned concrete housing blocks and barracks littering the landscape of Syria and Jordan, so the towers of Dubai will become casualties not of human greed but of architectural folly. Their lifts and services, expensive to maintain, will collapse. Their colossal facades will shed glass. Sand will drift round their trunkless legs. Animals will inhabit their basements.

Thousands of residential properties, if occupied at all, will be squatted by a migratory poor, like the hotel towers of the Spanish littoral or Corbusier's blockhouses of Chandigarh in India. Refugees will colonise the camps where Indian workers have lived as they built Dubai. Gangs will seize the gated estates and random anarchy will rule the soulless boulevards.

If it is lucky Dubai will at least be a refuge from the political cataclysms that could engulf countries such as Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. But mostly the dunes will reclaim the place. In centuries to come, tourists will share with Ozymandias the message: "Look on my works ye mighty and despair." With Shelley they will see how, "round the decay /Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare /The lone and level sands stretch far away.""

جرائم الحرب.. أفكار حول معنى المحاكمة

Another Great Piece by Azmi Bishara

عزمي بشارة

Note: An English version of this article appeared on Al-Ahram Weekly and was posted here.

تستند كل هذه الحالات إلى إرادة دول قوية للمحاسبة، كما تقوم على قدرة دول قوية ذات سيادة قادرة ليس فقط على وضع القانون بل أيضا على تنفيذه حين تشاء.

وبهذا المعنى فإن التفكير في القانون الدولي بمفهوم سيادة القانون في دولة ذات سيادة، هو تفكير خاطئ من أساسه. فالقانون الدولي ليس سيّدا ولا يُطبَّق كأنه في دولة ذات سيادة تمتد على مساحة العالم، ولا وجود لسلطة تنفيذية تطبقه سوى الدول القوية. أي أنه لا يستوي بدون سياسة ومصالح سياسية وأهداف سياسية.

وليست هنالك مساواة أمام القانون الدولي بموجب مبدأ المساواة أمام القانون المتبع في الدول الديمقراطية، لا نظريا ولا عمليا. من هنا نتابع فنقول:

1- تدعي إسرائيل منذ عقود أنها تتعرض لجرائم ضد مدنييها في خضم سياساتها الاحتلالية والمقاومة الفلسطينية ضدها. وتسمى هذه الجرائم بلغتها "إرهابا".

ولكننا لم نشهد في يوم من الأيام توجها إسرائيليا للقضاء الدولي. وذلك من قبل الدولة الوحيدة التي قامت بقرار من الأمم المتحدة، أو بموجب ما يحب العرب أن يسموه "الشرعية الدولية". وقد اقتصت الأجهزة الأمنية الإسرائيلية ممن أرادت، وحتى في إطار عمليات انتقامية نفذتها في أوروبا الغربية ذاتها، على أرض دول صديقة لها. وعلى هذا درجت الولايات المتحدة في "حربها على الإرهاب" على الساحة الدولية. وغيرها دول كثيرة.

وليس صدفة أنه في حالة غزة مؤخرا، وبدرجة أقل في حالة الجرائم التي ارتكبتها إسرائيل في لبنان، تصر المجتمعات والشعوب العربية، وليس الدول على التوجه إلى المحاكم. وينشط في ذلك حقوقيون ونشطاء اتحادات وتنظيمات مدنية، لأن الشعوب العربية تعيش شعورا عميقا بالذل والهوان. وهي تدرك أن دولها عاجزة عن أخذ حقها
ولا يتوقف الرأي العام العربي عند التفاصيل والتفسيرات، بل هنالك شعور عميق بالظلم يرافقه شعور بعجز الأنظمة. ومن هنا ترتفع التوقعات الشعبية ممن أخذوا على عاتقهم الاقتصاص من المسؤولين الإسرائيليين بالقانون الجنائي إن كان وطنيا في دول منفردة أو دوليا
وما زال القانون الدولي بموجب هذا التقليد، وبموجب الواقع الدولي لا يحاسب دولة غربية، خاصة إذا خرجت منتصرة من الحرب. فلم يحاكم أميركي واحد بتهمة ارتكاب جرائم حرب لا في فيتنام ولا في العراق ولا غيرها.

وينطبق هذا على كافة جرائم الاستعمار بأشكاله الأقدم، والاستعمار الصهيوني الأحدث. كما ينطبق على الدول الكبرى مثل الصين، التي ترفض أن تُطبَّق عليها مثل هذه القوانين
2- يعني خضوع حركة تحرر للقانون الدولي الشكلاني أنها تضحي بالمضامين التحررية لصالح شكليات قانونية ليست لديها حتى القدرة على تنفيذها، أي أنها تضحي بالحق الطبيعي في التحرر وضرورة تأسيسه على قوة قادرة على تحقيقه والدفاع عنه لصالح مبادئ قانون دولي لم تعدّ من أجلها، وليست لديها القدرة على التحكم بها. وهي على أية حال تصبح غير قادرة أصلا على تنفيذها حالما تنازلت عن عناصر قوتها هي.
القانون الدولي يعترف بدول. أما حركات التحرر فلا يعترف بها. وإذا اعترف بها دون أن تحصل مكانة وسيادة الدولة، فسوف يلقي عليها واجبات الدول دون الحقوق التي تتمتع بها الدول. لأن الواجبات يفرضها الآخرون، أما الحقوق فيجب أن يفرضها صاحب الحق، أو يكون رهينة لمشيئة الآخرين
هنا ننتقل إلى النقطة الأخيرة. لا تستحق المحاكم الدولية الذهاب إليها في الظرف الدولي الراهن، الذي يساوي في أفضل الحالات بين المجرم والضحية وغالبا ما يلوم الضحية، إذا كان هذا الذهاب مرهونا بالتنازل عن مواقف سياسية تمنح شرعية لإسرائيل أو يتم فيها التنازل عن حقوق المقاومة والتحرر
وحين انتقلت الدول العربية إلى التسوية ومبادرات السلام، نشأ انطباع أن هنالك تناقضا بين اتهام حكام إسرائيل بأنهم مجرمون وبين صنع السلام معهم.

ولذلك نلاحظ أن الرسميين العرب إذا ذكروا الجرائم فإنما يذكرونها بخجل وتحفظ بالعربية، ولكن يصعب عليهم إبداء الموقف من مجرم الحرب في سلوكهم. فمن يُتَّهم بجريمة حرب لا يندفع موجهو التهمة لاعتباره شريك سلام بعد حرب لبنان، ناهيك عن عدم اتخاذ حتى المسافة الجسدية اللازمة رصانة حين التعامل مع من يعتبرهم القادة مجرمي حرب، لو صح أنهم يعتبرونهم فعلا مجرمين وأن هذا الأمر يهمهم.

وطبعا هذا السلوك العربي المزدوج لا يساعد كثيرا على الحلبة القضائية، فلا يصح عند اتهام مسؤول بجريمة حرب أن يرافق الاتهام أخبار مكثفة عن زيارات ومصافحات واستقبالات ومؤتمرات سلام. فالعالم ليس غبيا، وهو يبحث باستمرار عن شاهد كفيل لإسرائيل.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

No pretences

Israel now has what is being called the most rightist government in its history

By Khaled Amayreh in occupied East Jerusalem
Al-Ahram Weekly

"......Al-Ahram Weekly asked veteran Israeli journalist Roni Shakeid why Netanyahu was allowing the extremist parties to hold him hostage to their whims and parochial political and ideological outlooks.

"Because he has no choice due to the indecisive outcome of the Israeli elections."

Shakeid said it was unlikely that the upcoming Netanyahu government would last for a long time. "All I can tell you is that there is going to be a lot of instability, a lot of crises and a lot of violence."

This means we are all going to have a turbulent summer, especially with a government staffed with certified war criminals such as Moshe Yaalon who thinks that the best way to make peace with the Palestinians is by killing them. Yaalon is most likely to become Israel's next defence minister."

New US thinking

A Very Good Article
By Azmi Bishara
Al-Ahram Weekly

Note: An Arabic version of this article appeared on Al-Jazeera site, which was posted here.

"We had thought that the train of events from the Israeli invasion of Lebanon to its invasion of Gaza, the impression these events created in people's minds and the growing disillusionment with forces favouring the current settlement process offered sufficient inspiration and impetus to revise official Arab approaches to that process. However, one remains compelled to wonder just how prepared the forces opposed to this approach are to seize the historic opportunity to put an end to that process, rather than to succumb to the current drive to contain them. After all, the US and its allies in the East and West are haunted by this very spectre -- the fear of losing the settlement legacy -- for which reason they have been waging a sustained diplomatic assault on the region since the Sharm El-Sheikh conference on the reconstruction of Gaza......"

Preparing for Civil Unrest in America

Legislation to Establish Internment Camps on US Military Bases

A Feature Report
by Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, March 18, 2009

"The Economic and Social Crisis

The financial meltdown has unleashed a latent and emergent social crisis across the United States.

What is at stake is the fraudulent confiscation of lifelong savings and pension funds, the appropriation of tax revenues to finance the trillion dollar "bank bailouts", which ultimately serve to line the pockets of the richest people in America.

This economic crisis is in large part the result of financial manipulation and outright fraud to the detriment of entire populations, to a renewed wave of corporate bankruptcies, mass unemployment and poverty.

The criminalization of the global financial system, characterized by a "Shadow Banking" network has resulted in the centralization of bank power and an unprecedented concentration of private wealth.

Obama's "economic stimulus" package and budget proposals contribute to a further process of concentration and centralization of bank power, the cumulative effects of which will eventually resul in large scale corporate bankruptcies, a new wave of foreclosures not to mention fiscal collapse and the downfall of State social programs. (For further details see Michel Chossudovsky, America's Fiscal Collapse, Global Research, March 2, 2009).

The cumulative decline of real economic activity backlashes on employment and wages, which in turn leads to a collapse in purchaisng power. The proposed "solution" under the Obama administration contributes to exacerbating rather than alleviating social inequalities and the process of wealth concentration.

The Protest Movement

When people across America, whose lives have been shattered and destroyed, come to realize the true face of the global "free market" system, the legitimacy of the Wall Street, the Federal Reserve and the US administration will be challenged. A latent protest movement directed against the seat of economic and political power is unfolding.

How this process will occur is hard to predict. All sectors of American society are potentially affected: wage earners, small, medium and even large businesses, farmers, professionals, federal, State and municipal employees, students, teachers, health workers, and unemployed. Protests will initially emerge from these various sectors. There is, however, at this stage, no organized national resistance movement directed against the administration's economic and financial agenda.

Obama's populist rhetoric conceals the true nature of macro-economic policy. Acting on behalf of Wall Street, the administration's economic package, which includes close to a trillion dollar "aid" package for the financial services industry, coupled with massive austerity measures, contributes to precipitating America into a bottomless crisis.

"Orwellian Solution" to the Great Depression: Curbing Civil Unrest

At this particular juncture, there is no economic recovery program in sight. The Washington-Wall Street consensus prevails. There are no policies, no alternatives formulated from within the political and economic system. .

What is the way out? How will the US government face an impending social catastrophe?

The solution is to curb social unrest. The chosen avenue, inherited from the outgoing Bush administration is the reinforcement of the Homeland Security apparatus and the militarization of civilian State institutions.

The outgoing administration has laid the groundwork. Various pieces of "anti-terrorist" legislation (including the Patriot Acts) and presidential directives have been put in place since 2001, largely using the pretext of the "Global War on Terrorism."

Homeland Security's Internment Camps......"

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

On the sixth anniversary of the invasion, do you think that Iraq is better off today?

With over 2,000 responding so far, 92% said no.

Tariq Ali on a People’s Victory in Pakistan, Obama’s Escalation of Afghanistan War, and 6 Years of US Occupation in Iraq

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"Pakistani British author Tariq Ali, author of the The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power, reacts to the Pakistani government’s reinstatement of dismissed Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry following massive public outcry. Ali also talks about what he calls President Obama’s “inexplicable” expansion of the US occupation of Afghanistan and reflects on the sixth anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq...."

As Economy Reels, Tariq Ali Calls for “Reimagining Socialism”

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"The British author Tariq Ali weighs in on the economic crisis with an appeal to reject the taboos on discussing socialism in the United States. Ali says the popular movements in South America provide a model for US activists to follow in pushing for changes such as socialized healthcare....."

Al-Jazeera Video: Gaza family tells of Israeli shooting - 19 Mar 09

"A family in Zeitoun in the north of the Gaza Strip have come forward to tell how Israeli snipers shot at them as they were marshalled from a building during the war on Gaza.

Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel-Hamid has their story. "

Real News Video: Historic power shift in El Salvador

Journalist leads former guerrilla army to left´s first presidential victory in country´s history

"Just over 17 years since the 1992 Peace Accords brought an end to El Salvador's vicious civil war, the country has seen its first peaceful transfer of power. V for victory hand signs and red flags were paraded throughout the country's streets as the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, FMLN, won the presidency; thereby bringing to an end 20 straight years of rule by the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance, ARENA. El Salvador will be governed from the left for the first time since gaining its independence from Spain in 1821. The face of the victory was that of former television journalist Mauricio Funes, a political newcomer and the first FMLN leader to not have fought in the country's horrific 12-year civil war."

US spills Afghan war into Pakistan

By M K Bhadrakumar
Asia Times

"Expanding a covert war into Pakistani territory, as proposed in Washington's new Afghan war plan, will derail any potential political dialogue and rightly inflame the Pakistani public. There is now a growing regional perception that President Barack Obama's administration lacks any clear-headed strategy in the war. Political chaos in Kabul and Islamabad is only making matters worse....."

Burn, Balochistan, burn

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"Somebody needs to tell United States President Barack Obama that a strong government in Kabul capable of overseeing its provinces and porous borders is a pipe dream, and that Western allies have no interest in participating in the US's new front in the Pakistani province of Balochistan. The best solution for Afghanistan remains China's: a UN peacekeeping force, largely composed of Muslim soldiers...."

Israelis Using 'Excessive' Force Against Protesters

By Mel Frykberg

"RAMALLAH, Mar 19 (IPS) - The critical wounding of a U.S. activist has highlighted the excessive use of force by Israeli forces. The activist, Tristan Anderson, 38, was shot in the head by Israeli soldiers during a protest against Israel's separation barrier in the Palestinian West Bank last week. He remains in intensive care in Tel Hashomer Hospital in Tel Aviv.

Anderson was one of approximately 400 international, Palestinian and Israeli protestors taking part in a demonstration in the village of Ni'ilin, near the central West Bank city Ramallah, when he was hit by a teargas canister.

Since Israel's devastating three-week war on Gaza, human rights organisations and activists have accused the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) of using indiscriminate violence and testing new weapons on unarmed protestors.

The teargas canister which hit Anderson is a new variety being used by the IDF, and is particularly lethal if fired directly at protestors. The gas canister can travel over 400 metres. It does not make a noise when fired, or emit a smoke tail, and has a propeller for mid-air acceleration. A combination of velocity and silence increases the danger it poses.

Witnesses gave testimonies to the media and to human rights organisations that they saw Israeli soldiers aiming at Anderson before they shot the canister from a distance of about 60 metres. It hit him directly on the forehead. The impact of the canister caused severe damage to the right eye, and Anderson has had to undergo critical brain surgery.

Israeli soldiers continued to fire teargas canisters towards the wounded man and the people surrounding him as he lay critically injured on the ground and Palestinian medics tried to give him first aid. Later, a Palestinian ambulance trying to rush Anderson to hospital was blocked at least five minutes by Israeli soldiers. Only after other foreigners engaged the soldiers in heated debate did they allow the ambulance to pass.

Anderson was then delayed another 15 minutes while an Israel ambulance was called, because Palestinian ambulances are not allowed to cross into Israeli territory without special permit........."

Our South Africa Moment Has Arrived

By Omar Barghouti
(This article is based on a presentation he recently gave at Canadian universities as part of Israeli Apartheid Week).

Palestine Chronicle

"As Israel shifts steadily to the fanatic, racist right, as the latest parliamentary election results have shown, Palestinians under its control are increasingly being brutalized by its escalating colonial and apartheid policies, designed to push them out of their homeland to make a self-fulfilling prophecy out of the old Zionist canard of “a land without a people.” In parallel, international civil society, according to numerous indicators, is reaching a turning point in its view of Israel as a pariah state acting above the law of nations and in its effective action, accordingly, to penalize and ostracize it as it did to apartheid South Africa.

Palestinian communities in Jerusalem, Jaffa, Hebron, the Jordan Valley and the Naqab (Negev), among others, have been recently subjected to some of the worst, ongoing Israeli campaigns of gradual ethnic cleansing intended to “Judaize” their space....."

Who Said Nearly 50 Years Ago that Israel was an Apartheid State?

By Ronnie Kasrils
(Ronnie Kasrils is South Africa’s Minister of Intelligence. This article was based on Mr. Kasrils’ address at “Israel Apartheid Week”, South Africa, delivered on Feb. 28, 2009)
Palestine Chronicle

"At the onset of international 'Israel Apartheid Week' in solidarity with the embattled Palestinian people, I want to start by quoting a South African who emphatically stated as far back as 1963 that "Israel is an apartheid state." Those were not the words of Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Tutu or Joe Slovo, but were uttered by none other than the architect of apartheid itself, racist Prime Minister, Dr. Hendrik Verwoerd.

He was irked by the criticism of apartheid policy and Harold Macmillan’s “Winds of Change” speech , in contrast to the West’s unconditional support for Zionist Israel.

To be sure Verwoerd was correct. Both states preached and implemented a policy based on racial ethnicity; the sole claim of Jews in Israel and whites in South Africa to exclusive citizenship......."

To free Iraq, resistance must bridge the sectarian divide

As anti-occupation leaders recognise, the US could still exploit their divisions in an effort to offset its strategic defeat

Seumas Milne
The Guardian, Thursday 19 March 2009

"In a last-ditch attempt to rescue some wafer of credibility from the west's most catastrophic war of modern times, the story is taking hold in Britain and the US that after six years of horror Iraq is finally coming good. So quickly has this spin become accepted truth that politicians and pundits now regularly insist that if only General Petraeus is allowed to work his surge magic on Afghanistan, all could be well in that benighted land as well. One recent report in the Sunday Telegraph even claimed that the 4,000 British troops still in Basra are regarded as "heroes and liberators" by Iraqis now that their £8bn mission has at last been "accomplished".....

There is no question that the US has suffered a strategic defeat in Iraq. Far from turning the country into a forward base for the transformation of the region on western lines, it became a global demonstration of the limits of American military power. But the failure of the resistance to bridge the sectarian divide and become a truly national movement is, as Abu Yahya acknowledges, an achilles heel that could yet allow the US to salvage long-term gains from the wreckage. If Iraq is to regain its sovereignty and control of its resources, and the US is to leave the country altogether, that weakness will have to be overcome."

حرب لا صمدنا فيها ولا تصدَّينا

فهمي هويدي

في حرب الأفكار نحن لا صمدنا ولا تصدينا، وإنما استسلمنا بسرعة غريبة، جعلت أغلب الصحف العربية تحمل إلينا كل صباح أنباء انكسارنا وهزيمتنا.

"في الرابع من يناير/كانون الثاني الماضي نشرت أوبزرفر البريطانية تقريرا لم ننتبه إليه في حينه، ذكر أنه مع بداية الحرب على غزة بادرت الحكومة الإسرائيلية إلى إنشاء إدارة خاصة للتأثير على وسائل الإعلام المختلفة، رأسها السفير الإسرائيلي السابق لدى الأمم المتحدة دان جيلرمان، وعاونه في مهمته ممثلون عن وزارتي الخارجية والدفاع ومكتب رئيس الوزراء إضافة إلى الأجهزة الأمنية التابعة للجيش والشرطة.

أضافت الصحيفة أنه ما إن بدأت الحرب حتى بادر فيض من الدبلوماسيين ومجموعات الضغط والمدونات الإلكترونية ومختلف العناصر المؤيدة لإسرائيل بإغراق وسائل الإعلام المختلفة بسلسلة من "الرسائل" التي تمت بلورتها بدقة مسبقا. وكان هدف الجميع هو تبرير الموقف الإسرائيلي والدفاع عنه.
وللتذكير فقط فإن إعلامنا وبعض مسؤولينا هم الذين لم يكفوا طول الوقت عن ترديد الادعاء الذي أثبت المقالان اللذان أشرت إليهما كذبه، والقاضي بأن حماس هي التي خرقت التهدئة، وهم من شدد من الحملة على حماس بأكثر مما تضامنوا معها في مواجهة العدو الإسرائيلي، وهم من ظلوا يوحون بأن حماس أداة في يد إيران وجزء من المشروع "الفارسي"، حتى إن مسؤولا مصريا ذهب في تصديقه لهذه الدسيسة إلى حد ادعائه أن إيران بوجودها المزعوم في غزة أصبحت ترابط على الحدود المصرية!
خذ مثلا مصطلح "التهدئة" الذي أشرت إليه في مقال سابق. إذ استخدم في مطالبة المقاومة بتجميد حقها في الدفاع عن نفسها في مواجهة الاحتلال، ومن ثم وقف إطلاق الصواريخ ضد العدو، مقابل فك الحصار عن قطاع غزة، ولأن المصطلح لا أصل له في القانون ولا في الأعراف الدبلوماسية، فقد عملت إسرائيل على "تفصيله" في ضوء موازين القوة الراهنة، بحيث تصبح التهدئة واجبا يلزم المقاومة الفلسطينية وحدها ولا يلزمها هي في شيء، باعتبارها الطرف الأقوى عسكريا. وكانت النتيجة أن صورايخ المقاومة سكتت في حين استمر الحصار وتواصلت عمليات التصفية التي قامت بها إسرائيل في القطاع.

المدهش في الأمر أن فصائل المقاومة حين قالت إنها لا تقبل بالالتزام بالتهدئة في ظل استمرار الحصار والعدوان، فإن بعض العواصم والأبواق العربية توجهت إليها باللوم والاتهام.
خذ أيضا مصطلح "وقف تهريب السلاح" إلى غزة، وهي الدعوة التي أطلقتها إسرائيل مؤخرا، وحركت لأجلها الدول الغربية التي استنفرت لهذه الغاية، وتنافست في إرسال سفنها وبوارجها لمراقبة مختلف المنافذ التي يمكن أن يصل منها السلاح إلى القطاع. وهي دعوة خبيثة لا نفهم كيف مررتها العواصم العربية وسكتت عليها. ووجه الخبث فيها واضح. ذلك أنها تعني حرمان المقاومة الفلسطينية من حقها في الدفاع عن نفسها لتحرير الأرض المحتلة، الذي كفلته لها كافة المواثيق والاتفاقات الدولية. ثم إنها تخدع الجميع موحية لهم بأن المشكلة في فلسطين هي تهريب السلاح وليس الاحتلال الذي اضطر الناس إلى الحصول على السلاح بكل السبل لمقاومته.
خذ أيضا مسألة "المجتمع الدولي" الذي دعا أبو مازن إلى ضرورة استجلاب موافقته على أي حكومة وطنية تتشكل في فلسطين، ويلحق به مصطلح "الشرعية الدولية". وكل منهما لا يخلو من رنين جذاب، لكنه عند تفكيكه لا يعدو أن يكون إرادة أميركية تحركها المصالح والحسابات الإسرائيلية. (للعلم فإن حق مقاومة الاحتلال بكل السبل يستند إلى الشرعية الدولية وكذلك قرار محكمة العدل الدولية ببطلان إقامة الجدار والمستوطنات في الأرض المحتلة. وقد أورد عدد أول فبراير/شباط من مجلة "لومند دبلوماتيك" قائمة بـ٣٥ قرارا لمجلس الأمن والجمعية العامة انتهكتها إسرائيل أو رفضتها). هذان المصطلحان يفقدان حجتيهما وهيبتيهما حينما نكتشف أنهما يشكلان غطاء للمطالب الإسرائيلية في الاعتراف بها وبمنع المقاومة والإقرار بالتنازلات التي سبق تقديمها لإسرائيل. ومن حقنا في هذه الحالة أن نطالب بتنفيد كل قرارات الشرعية الدولية الأخرى، بغير انتقاء أو استعباط.
لقد هزمت نظمنا في الفعل، وحظها في القول كما رأيت، الأمر الذي يحولها من ظاهرة صوتية إلى ظاهرة جغرافية لا أكثر

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

An Interview with UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk

Israel Guilty of War Crimes; Palestinians are Winning the Legitimacy War

The Alternative Information Center

"Professor Richard Falk is the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. He is world-renowned as an authority on international law and has authored and co-authored 20 books. Recently, Professor Falk has focused much of his attention on the Israeli massacres in Gaza, alleging that Israel's actions are constitutive of both violations of the laws of war and indicative of crimes against humanity. This is the transcript of a phone interview with him from his home in Santa Barbara, California.

Can you begin by explaining the reasons why you believe that Israel is guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity?......"

Another Victim of Israel, by Carlos Latuff

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Israel's American Chattel

The Charles Freeman Ordeal and the Decline of American Power


".....While conservatives dream these dreams, China’s premier, Wen Jiabao, expressed on Friday, March 13, his fears that the US Treasury’s credit is not good and that his country’s $1 trillion investment in American debt is endangered. Premier Wen said, “We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.”

Contrast Premier Wen’s concern with the optimism coming out of the Obama administration and what remains of Wall Street.

Then exercise Charles Freeman’s independent thinking and make up your own mind. Is America a superpower, or is America a rapidly declining country destroyed by gratuitous wars and shyster banksters? "

Bedouin Villages Left in the Dark Ages

A Baby's Power Struggle with Israel


El-Bat, Israel

"Little Ashimah Abu Sbieh’s life hangs by a thread -- or more specifically, an electricity cable that runs from a noisy diesel-powered generator in the family’s backyard. Should the generator’s engine fail, she could die within minutes.

Ashimah suffers from a rare genetic condition that means her brain fails to tell her lungs to work. Without the assistance of an electric inhalator, she would simply stop breathing....

The desperate plight of Ashimah’s parents is shared by thousands of other Bedouin families caring for chronically sick relatives who live in communities to which Israel refuses to supply electricity, said Wasim Abas of Physicians for Human Rights in Israel.

The organisation’s latest report, titled “Sentenced to Darkness”, calls the state’s denial of essential services, including running water and electricity, to 83,000 Bedouin in the southern Negev desert, “bureaucratic evil”......."

Public Outcry Forces Lawmakers to Say They’ll Recoup Millions in AIG Bonuses, But Why Not the Billions in Taxpayer Bailout Funds?

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have responded to growing public outrage with a pledge to recoup million-dollar bonuses paid out by the bailed-out insurance giant AIG. But the hundreds of millions of dollars in bonus money pales to the billions used to bail out AIG a second time. We speak to consumer advocate Ralph Nader and economist Robert Kuttner, co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect. Kuttner says, “I think [Treasury Secretary Timothy] Geithner is probably gone within sixty days, because he has become a liability to the administration.”......"

Al-Jazeera Video: War on Gaza relived on stage - 18 March 2009

"While Palestinian leaders have been slowly edging towards reconciliation, its people are still dealing with the aftermath of Israel's latest offensive on Gaza.

A group of actors in the West Bank have staged a play which focuses on the injustices of the war.

Nour Odeh reports on how Israel's war on Gaza is likely to live long in the minds of Palestinians. "

Al-Jazeera Video with Robert Fisk: Inside Story - Netanyahu's choice - 17 March 09

Part 1:

Part 2:

"Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister-designate and leader of the Likud party, has signed a coalition deal with the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party. Avigdor Lieberman, Yisrael Beiteinu's leader, would become foreign minister.Is the new Israeli government on a collision course with the Obama administration's goals of seeking a Palestinian state? "

EU representative donates 36 vehicles to the Palestinian police

"Representative of the European Commission, Mr. Christian Berger, handed the Deputy Chief of the Palestinian Civilian Police (PCP), Brig. Jihad Al Musaimy, keys to 36 VW Crafter vans, as part of a 5 Million Euro grant to the Palestinian Authority....

In a speech during the ceremony, Al Musaimy stated that the new vehicles will significantly help the police provide services to the public in different parts of the West Bank.

On his part, Berger said that the civil police managed to prove that it is a professional force capable of serving the Palestinian society. [as can be clearly seen in the photos]

He added that the EU will continue to support the Palestinian police and will help in creating a police force capable of protecting the residents and serving the law........."

War On Terror Within: The End of Jewish History

A Great Piece
By Gilad Atzmon

"The issue I am going to discuss today is probably the most important thing I’ve ever had to say about Israeli brutality and contemporary Jewish identity. I assume that I could have shaped my thought into a wide-ranging book or an analytical academic text but instead, I will do the very opposite, I will make it as short and as simple as possible......

If there is an end to history, the Holocaust religion embodies the very end of Jewish history. In the light of the Holocaust religion the “Father” and the “Son” unite at last. At least in the case of Israel and Zionism they bond into an amalgam of genocidal ideology and reality. In the light of the Holocaust religion and its epic survival ethos the Jewish State considers itself legitimated in dropping white phosphorus on women and children who they have caged in an inescapable open-air prison. Sadly enough, the crimes committed by the Jewish State are done on behalf of the Jewish people and in the name of their troubled history of persecution. The Holocaust religion brings to life what seems to be the ultimate possible form of insular brutal incarnation.

Historically Jews have shunned many Gods, they dropped Jehovah, they dumped Marx, some have never followed Zionism. But in the light of the Holocaust religion, while bearing in mind the scenes from Gaza, Jenin and Lebanon, the Jew may have to continue in the tradition and drop “the Jew”. He will have to accept that his newly formed father-figure was formed in his own shape. More concerning is the devastating fact that the new father is proved to be a call to kill. Seemingly, the new father is the ultimate evil God of them all.

I wonder how many Jews will be courageous enough to shun their esoteric newly formed father-figure. Will they be courageous enough to join the rest of humanity adopting a universal ethical discourse? Whether the Jew drops “The Jew”, only time will tell. Just to remove any doubt, I did drop my “Jew” a long time ago and I am doing fine."

The Real AIG Conspiracy

by Prof. Michael Hudson
Global Research, March 18, 2009

"......There are two questions that one always must ask when a political operation is being launched. First, qui bono? Who benefits? And second, why now? In my experience, timing almost always is the key to figuring out the dynamics at work.

Regarding qui bono, what does Sen. Schumer, Rep. Frank, Pres. Obama and other Wall Street sponsors gain from this public outcry? For starters, it depicts them as hard taskmasters of the banking and financial sector, not its lobbyists carrying water for one giveaway after another. So the AIG kafuffle has muddied the water about where their political loyalties really lie. It enables them to strike a misleading pose – and hence to pose as "honest brokers" next time they dishonestly give away the next few trillion dollars to their major sponsors and campaign contributors......"

Another round of Ahmadineboom

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"With the reformist bloc split ahead of Iran's presidential elections on June 12, the road to victory now seems clear for incumbent Mahmud Ahmadinejad, who has just launched a charm offensive to calm the hardcore ayatollahs in Qom and upstage his only likely rival. The word in Tehran is that an Ahmadinejad second term would solidify all of Iran's fundamentalist factions. Hawks in Israel are already polishing their bombs...."

Durban II: no-show is slap in face of victims of apartheid

Arjan El Fassed, The Electronic Intifada, 17 March 2009

"More and more Western countries are either announcing their boycott or are threatening to boycott Durban II, a United Nations conference scheduled for April to review progress made since the World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) held in Durban, South Africa in 2001, nicknamed Durban I......

Perhaps in September 2001, the world was not yet ready to accept the notion that Israel is in fact practicing apartheid. But ever more observers are coming to precisely that conclusion.....

Israel worked hard to influence its allies to stay away from the forthcoming review conference. However, this is not the first time that it has done so. The first two conferences of 1978 and 1983 took strong positions against apartheid and are credited by observers as having contributed greatly to end apartheid in South Africa....."

West Bank villagers pushed away from their valley

Dr. Marcy Newman, The Electronic Intifada, 17 March 2009
( Dr. Marcy Newman is Associate Professor of English at An Najah National University in Nablus, Palestine. Her writing may be found at

"......To be sure, this latest phase in the ethnic cleansing of Aqraba is not unique to the West Bank nor to the part of historic Palestine that is now considered Israel. This week saw the destruction of two Palestinian homes and 100 olive trees in the Negev town of Beer Seba, now given the Hebraized name of Beersheva. In the West Bank, from Qalqiliya to Hebron to East Jerusalem, families await the status of the orders for their homes to be demolished. But while there is a great deal of attention paid to the impending destruction of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, there is little if any media attention or support for families in small villages like Aqraba. In the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, Palestinians flock to the demonstration tent set up to show solidarity, but there has been no such solidarity presence in Aqraba. Israel's colonial divide-and-rule policy continues to fragment the people in ways that separate them physically by its system of checkpoints and permits. But this is not about the occupation of the West Bank. Indeed, these same methods were used to confiscate large land tracts during the 1948 catastrophe. It is an ongoing Nakba that requires learning the lessons of history by not submitting to the divisions imposed by the colonial regime. "

Why Avigdor Lieberman is the worst thing that could happen to the Middle East

World Focus: I can identify Lieberman's language with the language of Messrs Mladic and Karadzic and Milosevic

By Robert Fisk

"Only days after they were groaning with fury at the Israeli lobby's success in hounding the outspoken Charles Freeman away from his proposed intelligence job for President Obama, the Arabs now have to contend with an Israeli Foreign Minister whose – let us speak frankly – racist comments about Palestinian loyalty tests have brought into the new Netanyahu cabinet one of the most unpleasant politicians in the Middle East.....and now the Israelis have exalted a man, Avigdor Lieberman, who out-Sharons even Ariel Sharon.

A few Palestinians expressed their cruel delight that at last the West will see the "true face" of Israel. I've heard that one before – when Sharon became prime minister – and the usual nonsense will be trotted out that only a "hard-line extremist" can make the compromises necessary for a deal with the Palestinians.

This kind of self-delusion is a Middle East disease. The fact is that the Israeli Prime Minister-to-be has made it perfectly clear there will be no two-state solution; and he has planted a tree on Golan to show the Syrians they will not get it back. And now he's brought into the cabinet a man who sees even the Arabs of Israel as second-class citizens......
Lady Hillary will have to greet him warmly at the State Department. Who knows, he might even suggest to her that she imposes a loyalty test for American minorities as well – which would mean demanding an oath of faithfulness from Barack himself. The horizon goes on forever.......
I covered the bloodbath of Bosnia in the early Nineties and I can identify Lieberman's language – of executions, of drownings, of hell and loyalty oaths – with the language of Messrs Mladic and Karadzic and Milosevic.
Lady Hillary and her boss should pull out a few books on the war in ex-Yugoslavia if they want to understand who they are now dealing with. "Unhelpful" will not be the appropriate response."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Abbas: Hamas-Fatah Talks Doomed to Fail


"17/03/2009 The Egyptian-mediated reconciliation talks between the rival Palestinian factions appear to be on the brink of collapse, Palestinian sources told Ynet on Tuesday.

According to the sources, Fatah and Hamas remain in disagreement over the establishment of a unity government, elections, and the make up of the security forces and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).

In light of the disputes, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has estimated that the negotiations, being held in Cairo, will fail......

Palestinian sources said that any flexibility displayed by Hamas should be attributed to the pressure to begin the reconstruction efforts in Gaza. "

Israel's national security aide barred from U.S.

Uzi Arad, who is expected to serve as national security adviser in the next Israeli government, has been barred from entering the United States for nearly two years on the grounds that he is an intelligence risk.

Mr. Arad, a former member and director of intelligence for the Mossad, Israel's spy service, is mentioned in the indictment of Lawrence Franklin, a former Pentagon analyst who pleaded guilty in 2005 to providing classified information about Iran in a conversation with two employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). cont

Obama and the Empire

Will He Sell Himself Into His Own Defeat?


"Various people have asked recently, “What are the implications of the global economic crisis for US policies in the Middle East, and will Middle East countries lean more or less toward the US as they suffer their own economic crises?” Not simple questions, but here, presented very briefly, are our first shots at them......

So the conclusion that one comes to if this second scenario turns out to be true is that we are facing a very dangerous period in world history. There are indeed forces in both the United States and Israel that want a clash of civilizations and are definitely not against further wars, and these forces are powerful. Obviously, the first nation to be affected by implementation of this scenario would be Iran. At this point it is impossible to know whether Obama will want to, or be able to, prevent these forces from dominating future US policies throughout the Middle East."

There We Go Again.....
Another Arab "Summit"....

By Emad Hajjaj

Justice for Rachel, justice for the Palestinians

Cindy and Craig Corrie, The Electronic Intifada, 16 March 2009

(Cindy and Craig Corrie are the parents of Rachel Corrie, who was killed by the Israeli army while protecting a Palestinian doctor's home from being demolished on 16 March 2003.)

Rachel Corrie and another international activist defending a Palestinian home shortly before Corrie was killed by the Israeli army bulldozer. (International Solidarity Movement)

"We thank all who continue to remember Rachel and who, on this sixth anniversary of her stand in Gaza, renew their own commitments to human rights, justice and peace in the Middle East. The tributes and actions in her memory are a source of inspiration to us and to others.....

Despite the pain, we have once again felt privileged to enter briefly into the lives of Rachel's Palestinian friends in Gaza. We are moved by their resilience and heartened by their song, dance and laughter amidst the tears. Rachel wrote in 2003, "I am nevertheless amazed at their strength in being able to defend such a large degree of their humanity -- laughter, generosity, family time -- against the incredible horror occurring in their lives ... I am also discovering a degree of strength and the basic ability for humans to remain human in the direst of circumstances ... I think the word is dignity." On this sixth anniversary of Rachel's killing, we echo her sentiments. "

Ensuring maximum casualties in Gaza

Eva Bartlett, The Electronic Intifada, 16 March 2009

".....The dart bomb attacks came the morning after invading Israeli soldiers killed 35-year-old paramedic Arafa Abd al-Dayem. Along with another medic and ambulance driver, Abd al-Dayem was targeted by the lethal darts just after 10:10am on 4 January while trying to aide civilians already attacked by Israeli forces in northern Gaza's Beit Lahia area. Within two hours of being shredded by multiple razor-sharp darts, Arafa Abd al-Dayem died as a result of slashes to his lungs, limbs and internal organs......."

Project Life: World Orphan Rehabilitation Program

Written by Janet Zimmerman

"The horrendous crimes that were perpetrated by Israel have left hundreds of families destitute. Many are faced with no other option but to live in one of the many tent camps scattered throughout the rubbles of Gaza. These tents offer only limited protection from the elements, and those who live in them are given nothing but blankets and an inadequate food supply. The children that live here suffer from malnutrition and trauma. Their childlike dreams have turned into nightmares......

Project Life is a non-profit organization, and therefore we need your help. Your contribution will help cover the children's expenses, so please donate today and help restore these children's lost lives. Your generous donation is a step towards aiding the children of Gaza whose childhoods were stolen for a reason they never committed. They were the only losers out of this fierce and deadly war, and our humanity urges us to intervene and bring them out of this mayhem. This is your opportunity to contribute in the efforts to help save the Palestinian children. It cannot be done without you.

For more information, please take a look at our website:


Janet Zimmerman, Representative"