Saturday, May 16, 2009

Netanyahu Visits The White House

By Bennis, Phyllis


Obama, who has strongly supported the idea of a two-state solution since his campaign, has yet to articulate whether or not he is actually prepared to spend some of his massive political capital to exert serious pressure on Israel towards that end - for example, by conditioning (even some) of the currently committed $30 billion in U.S. military aid to a complete Israeli settlement freeze in the West Bank. If he means it, this could be the moment. Netanyahu's campaign rejection of the two-state solution, his rejection of continuing the current Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy and instead limiting negotiations to economic issues, and his extreme racist Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman all serve to make a serious U.S. effort towards Israeli accountability not only timely, but less politically costly than ever.

But there are serious dangers ahead.

We still don't know for sure whether President Obama is indeed serious.

There are reports in the Israeli daily Ha'aretz that Obama sent an urgent message to Netanyahu just days before his visit, demanding that "Israel not surprise the U.S. with an Israeli military operation against Iran." If true, that would be a good sign. But it also gives credence to reports that Obama is considering creating a regional anti-Iran alliance - an extraordinarily dangerous proposal that will certainly escalate regional tensions - and wants to link that idea to an Israeli settlement freeze. That is, Obama may try to persuade Netanyahu to agree to a settlement freeze (implemented or not) as a necessary requirement to getting the Arab states on board a U.S.-Israeli anti-Iran alliance.

Al-Jazeera Video: Gaza's school children still struggle after war - 15 May 09

"Hamid al-Mallahi studies under a streetlight when it works, walks an hour or more to school and sleeps in a tent that could collapse at any moment.

More than four months after Israel's 22-day offensive on Gaza, life for the 14 year-old-is similar to that of thousands of other children still living in makeshift camps.

Al Jazeera's Casey Kauffman reports from Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza. "

Netanyahu Visits The White House

Change We Can Believe in for U.S.-Israeli Relations?

By Bennis, Phyllis

"....Obama's acceptance of mere words from Netanyahu, on the other hand, whether he "accepts" a settlement freeze or "agrees" to a new round of talks about talks with the Palestinians, and not imposing any conditions to make sure it happens, will indicate that so far, at least, U.S. support for Israeli occupation and apartheid remain intact.

And any "deal" that offers Israel any promise of U.S. support for or involvement in a military strike against Iran will undermine whatever small move towards justice might be possible from a settlement freeze or removal of roadblocks.

Lots to watch for. Stay tuned. "

Mother's Day with CodePink

The Free Gaza Movement

"This Mother's Day, CodePink Women for Peace held their second 24-hour vigil in front of the White House, where they honored all mothers and women who live where war is happening- where women are paying the price with their bodies, loved ones, homes, future. they wanted to recognize the price they pay and honor their courage and power, by standing with them in solidarity to not only tell their important stories but to model what women-centered community looks and acts like. We wanted to encourage other organizations and community groups around the country and the world to bring their stories to celebrate Julia Ward Howe's original call for Mother's Day.

The Free Gaza Movement was there to remind the world of the plight of Palestinian mothers and the need for action

Hazardous Waste Unto the Nations!

West Bank Becomes Waste Land

By Mel Frykberg

"RAMALLAH, May 15 (IPS/IFEJ) - Israel has found a cheap and easy way to get rid of its waste, much of it hazardous: dump it into the West Bank. A few Palestinians can be bought, the rest are in no position to complain.

"Israel has been dumping waste, including hazardous and toxic waste, into the West Bank for years as a cheaper and easier alternative to processing it properly in Israel at appropriate hazardous waste management sites," Palestinian Environmental Authority (PEA) deputy director Jamil Mtoor told IPS........"

Obama’s 48-Hour Makeover

President Departs From Last Vestiges of Change Mantra

"President Obama’s tenuous claim to the antiwar community was already unraveling long before he formally took office. Shortly after the election his national security team’s extremely hawkish makeup was drawing concern. Two days after his inauguration, he had backed off his campaign promise to have all US troops out of Iraq in 16 months. Still, his supporters could find some measure of solace in his halting of the military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay and his promises of a more transparent administration.

Or at least they used to be able to. In the past 48 hours the administration has backed off of the few scraps of significant policy revisions thrown to an electorate hungry for his campaign’s mantra of change. First, he overruled the Pentagon’s decision that undisclosed photos of detainee abuse could be released. Perplexingly, he insisted that the photos did not contain anything “particularly sensational,” before cautioning that making them public would imperil the troops and inflame anti-American opinion.

It was less than 48 hours later that the president confirmed that he was going to resume the military tribunals against detainees at Guantanamo Bay......"

The West awaits the return of friendly 'democrats' to Lebanon

The Hizbollah issue won’t go away any more than Hamas will go out of sight in Gaza

By Robert Fisk

"I went to take a look at Madeleine Albright the other day. She turned up in Beirut as part leader of the National Democratic Institute, one of those Washington gigs that checks up on the freedom of elections in dodgy countries....

But I wanted to see the woman who in 1996, when asked by CBS News if the price of half-a-million dead Iraqi children was worth the sanctions against Saddam Hussein, infamously replied: "We think the price is worth it." She was US ambassador to the United Nations at the time.....

Nevertheless, the Hizbollah issue won't go away any more than Hamas is going to slide out of sight in Gaza. Barack Obama might not be too worried if it does slip into power – since his envoys are clocking up frequent flyer miles to and from Damascus, they might be in a better position to influence the Hizbollah's Syrian allies.

But don't be too sure. One of the big mistakes of the Bush era was to demand democracy for the Palestinians and to approve of fair elections before realising that Hamas would win. And once the Palestinians had achieved that astonishing result, they had to be punished for it. (It was, I recall, the Ottawa Citizen which announced that the Palestinians should be "threatened with fresh elections".)

But most of my Lebanese colleagues, listening to Mrs Albright, came away with a deep suspicion: that if the Lebanese elections bring the friendly "democrats" back to power, the National Democratic Institute and its other poll-sniffers will announce a fair and free election. But if the Hizbollah and their allies move into power, it will suddenly be discovered that the Lebanese poll was "deeply flawed". And then, I suppose, we would all be "threatened with fresh elections". The price, I am sure, will be worth it."

These killings will only strengthen the Taliban

By Patrick Cockburn

"It is astonishing to discover that the same small American unit, the US Marine Corps' Special Operations or MarSOC, has been responsible for all three of the worst incidents in Afghanistan in which civilians have been killed. Its members refer to themselves as "Taskforce Violence" and the Marines' own newspaper scathingly refers to the unit as "cowboys".

The US military commanders in Afghanistan must have known about MarSOC's reputation for disregarding the loss of life among Afghan civilians, yet for 10 days, they have flatly denied claims by villagers in the western Afghan province of Farah that more than 100 of their neighbours had been slaughtered by US air strikes.

Everything the US military has said about the air strikes on the three villages in Bala Boluk district on the evening of 4 May should be treated with suspicion – most probably hastily-concocted lies aimed at providing a cover story to conceal what really happened. Official mendacity of these proportions is comparable to anything that happened in Vietnam......"

Aipac's hidden persuaders

The Israel lobby is aiming to soften up US public opinion for an attack on Iran. Americans should resist its propaganda

Richard Silverstein, Friday 15 May 2009

"....A case in point is Iran. That bogey-nation was everywhere at the Aipac conference. Every keynote speech – if they weren't directly written by that group's staff – seemed unmistakably scripted and "on message", dedicated to the existential threat that Iran poses not just to Israel, but the entire world.....

Israel is in the midst of a massive diplomatic, political and intelligence campaign, both public and covert, that could lead – if those officials behind it have their way – towards a military strike on Iran. It is a war for the hearts and minds of Americans. Or you might call it the war before the war. In intelligence circles, this Israeli project is known as perception management and defined by the department of defence as........

The level of hubris necessary to pull this off is astonishing. Fresh off the dismissal of the Rosen-Weissman spy charges involving its own employees, Aipac is flexing its political muscle and reminding the world of its resurgence. It does this through a combination of manipulation, public lobbying and punishment of its enemies......."

McChrystal was Cheney's chief assassin

Press TV

"Seymour Hersh says that Dick Cheney headed a secret assassination wing and the head of the wing has just been named as the new commander in Afghanistan.

In an interview with GulfNews [Posted Here] on May 12, 2009 Pulitzer prize-winning American investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh, said that there is a special unit called the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) that does high-value targeting of men that are known to be involved in anti-American activities, or are believed to be planning such activities.

According to Hersh, the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) was headed by former US vice president Dick Cheney and the former head of JSOC, Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal who has just been named the new commander in charge of the war in Afghanistan......"

Readiness to Help the Empire, and Trying to Cut a Deal with The Great Satan? Back to the Future in Both Iraq and Afghanistan!

Iran to Host Summit with Afghan, Pakistan Presidents


"16/05/2009 Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will host a summit with his counterparts from Afghanistan and Pakistan in Tehran on May 19, his office said on Saturday. The Agenda of Tuesday’s talks wasn’t revealed.

The gathering comes less than three months after the three presidents met in Tehran for a regional economic summit, along with leaders from other neighboring states. The economic summit pledged to help rebuild war-shattered Afghanistan and the Gaza Strip."

حذار من التحالف مع اسرائيل

حذار من التحالف مع اسرائيل

عبد الباري عطوان

"عندما يؤكد بنيامين نتنياهو وجود تطابق في وجهات النظر بين العالم العربي واسرائيل حول الاخطار التي تمثلها ايران في المنطقة، في تصريحات نقلتها الاذاعة الاسرائيلية، وان القلق الاسرائيلي ـ العربي المشترك من طموحات ايران النووية 'ظاهرة جديدة' تتيح الفرصة لتعاون غير مسبوق بين اسرائيل والدول الاسلامية، فإن هذه التأكيدات تعكس انقلابا في المفاهيم الاستراتيجية في المنطقة، وتمهد لتحالف عربي ـ اسرائيلي في مواجهة ايران.
انتظرنا يومين لعلنا نسمع تكذيبا، او توضيحا لهذه التصريحات من العواصم العربية التي زارها نتنياهو، ونقصد القاهرة وعمان، ولكن دون جدوى، الامر الذي يجعلنا نأخذها على محمل الجد، ونتعامل معها كمؤشر يمكن ان يفسر لنا طبيعة الحراك الراهن في المنطقة، وزحمة الزيارات المتبادلة بين بعض زعمائها، وبدء حجيجهم الى واشنطن الذي سيُدشَّن بالزيارة التي سيقوم بها نتنياهو الاثنين المقبل، ثم بزيارتي الرئيسين المصري حسني مبارك والفلسطيني محمود عباس.
العواصم العربية، وعواصم دول محور الاعتدال على وجه الخصوص، لا تستقبل الرئيس الايراني احمدي نجاد، وان استقبلته لا نسمع، او نقرأ، بيانا مشتركا، يؤكد على تطابق وجهات النظر بين زعمائها والضيف الايراني المسلم حول الخطر الاسرائيلي على المنطقة، مثلما هو الحال مع نتنياهو. أليس هذا امرا غريبا ولافتا للنظر؟
سابعـا: استمرار اسرائيل في اجراء مناورات عسكرية ضخمة، من بينها التدرب على ضرب اهداف بعيدة مثل قصف قافلة الاسلحة المجهولة شمال بورسودان مرتين، وكذلك اهداف وهمية قرب جبل طارق، والتزود بالوقود في الجو في رحلتي الذهاب والاياب، وهي المسافة نفسها التي تفصل ايران عن الدولة العبرية، مضافا الى ذلك استخدام طائرات (ميغ 29) الروسية الصنع المشابهة لتلك الموجودة في سلاح الجو الايراني في هذه التدريبات.
ثامـنا: تهيئة الجبهة الداخلية الاسرائيلية لحرب شاملة، من خلال مناورات تشمل كل المناطق الاسرائيلية من اقصى الشمال الى اقصى الجنوب، تبدأ في الشهر المقبل، وهي الاولى من نوعها، حيث سيتم اعلان الاستنفار الكامل في المستشفيات والمؤسسات الخدمية الاخرى، وتوزيع كمامات واقية من الغاز والتدريبات على كيفية مواجهة حرب كيماوية او بيولوجية.
العرب سيكونون الخاسرين في الحالين، حال الحرب او السلام الامريكي ـ الايراني، ولكن ربما تكون الخسارة اقل، ماديا ومعنويا، اذا وقفوا في خندق دولة مسلمة، بحيث لا يكررون خطيئتهم التاريخية عندما وقفوا مع الاستعمارين الانكليزي والفرنسي ضد الامبراطورية العثمانية الاسلامية مما جعل الكثير من الاتراك يرددون عبارتهم الشهيرة 'عرب خيانات'.

Friday, May 15, 2009

From My Lai to Bala Baluk

Obama Picks Up Where Bush Left Off


".....The only difference between My Lai and Bala Baluk is the degree of savagery. In both cases the guilt can be traced directly back to the White House.

Obama believes that civilian casualties are an unavoidable part of achieving one's policy goals. The end justifies the means. He has strengthened the Bush policy, not repudiated it. So much for "change"."

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

Do you support an Arab-Israeli agreement against Iran?

With about 2,000 responding so far, 91% said no.

Heads in the Sand

The so-called Sunni Awakening, in which American forces formed tactical alliances with local sheikhs, has been credited with dampening the insurgency in much of Iraq. But new evidence suggests that the Sunnis were offering the same deal as early as 2004—one that was eagerly embraced by commanders on the ground, but rejected out of hand at the highest levels of the Bush administration.

by David Rose WEB EXCLUSIVE May 12, 2009

Vanity Fair

"....What the history books should also record, revealed here for the first time, is that the Sunni insurgents had offered to come to terms with the Americans 30 months earlier, in the summer of 2004, during secret talks with senior U.S. officials and military commanders. The Sunnis were gathered by an Iraqi named Talal al-Gaaod, a Sunni sheikh and wealthy businessman based in the Jordanian capital, Amman. The American officials included Jerry H. Jones, then a special assistant to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and later serving as an expert on transitional government to Rumsfeld’s successor, Robert Gates; the late ambassador Evan Galbraith, Rumsfeld’s special envoy to Europe; Colonel Mike Walker, the head of civil affairs for the Marine Corps in Iraq; and James Clad, then a counselor to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (which was seeking to foster economic development in Iraq) and later the Pentagon’s deputy assistant secretary for South and Southeast Asia. These men were desperate to pursue the Sunni contacts, and took serious risks with their own careers in order to do so. They were supported by officers close to the top of the U.S. military, including Lieutenant General James T. Conway, then the Marine Corps commander in Iraq and today the commandant of the Corps.

For a variety of reasons, some of them petty, some of them ideological, and some of them still obscure, these men were blocked by superiors in the State Department, the Pentagon, and the White House......."

New 'prisoner abuse' photographs emerge despite US bid to block publication

Graphic photographs of alleged prisoner abuse, thought to be among up to 2,000 images Barack Obama is trying to prevent from being released, emerged yesterday.

The Telegraph

"The shocking images of inmates in Iraq and Afghanistan were published just a day after the US president announced plans for a legal battle stop them ever being seen.

They risked provoking renewed hostility in the Middle East as Mr Obama attempts to build bridges with the Islamic world......"

Fire the Boss: Naomi Klein & Avi Lewis on “The Worker Control Solution from Buenos Aires to Chicago”

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"Shock Doctrine author Naomi Klein and Al Jazeera host Avi Lewis discuss the workers who are taking over their factories and plants rather than lose their jobs, some to owners who owe money to bailed-out banks. They also address the latest news in the nation’s global economic collapse amidst the White House and Democratic-led Congress’ rejection of single-payer healthcare...."

Argentine Journalist Sergio Ciancaglini on “Sin Patron: Stories from Argentina’s Worker-Run Factories”

"Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein documented the struggles of Argentine workers occupying their factories in the 2004 film The Take. We play an excerpt of the film and speak to Argentine journalist Sergio Ciancaglini, co-author of Sin Patrón: Stories from Argentina’s Worker-Run Factories...."

Al-Jazeera Video: Nakba remembered amid Gaza suffering - 15 May 09

"Palestinians have marked the occasion of the 1948 "catastrophe", or Nakba, when they fled their homes in the face of the establishment of Israel.

Al Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin reports from Gaza, where this year's commemorations have been overshadowed by the more recent destruction wrought by Israel's war on the territory. "

Real News Video with Pepe Escobar: Obama and Osama - McChrystal clear

The more it changes, the more the "war on terror" stays the same

More at The Real News

"No one really knows the fate of the man who was the reason for the Bush administration-proclaimed "war on terror". Some influential Pakistanis say the Americans don't know it. The Americans admit they don't know it. President George W. Bush wanted him dead or alive. No one really knows whether he's dead or alive. President Barack Obama says he and his organization remain the number one threat to the U.S. But even America's most media-savvy general admits his organization is not in Afghanistan anymore. Would that be reason enough for the U.S. to finally leave Afghanistan? On the contrary: now there's a new - counterinsurgent - top boot on the ground."

Nakba Denier seeks a ban on Nakba commemoration

"Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, and his extremist Yisrael Beiteinu Party, is seeking a ban on Arabs marking the Nakba day, which commemorates the year 1948 when more than 700.000 Palestinians were forced out of their homeland as Israel was being created.

Lieberman’s ultra orthodox party said it would propose the new legislations to the Knesset next week in order to ban the commemorations, and to impose a jail term that could reach up to 3 years on anyone who “violates the new law”.

During the elections, the Yisrael Beiteinu party called for a vote on conditioning citizenship with a pledge of loyalty to Israel as Jewish State.

Several Arab figures said that Lieberman’s is racist and aims at targeting the indigenous Arab and Palestinian population......"

Video Interview with Seymour Hersh: Dick Cheney headed a secret assassination wing that targeted America's enemies

Gulf News reporter Abbas Al Lawati sat down with investigative reporter Seymour Hersh at the Arab Media Forum.

EU obligated to prosecute war crime suspects

Daniel Machover and Adri Nieuwhof, The Electronic Intifada, 14 May 2009

".....Fair criminal trials in EU member states, especially if they result in convictions, could provide genuine deterrence and begin to provide justice for Palestinian victims of Israeli actions. The EU has a massive role in that regard. Instead of paying lip service to injustices inflicted upon the Palestinian people by issuing statements "deploring the loss of life" and promises to "follow closely investigations into alleged violations of international humanitarian law," EU countries would achieve much more by applying the rule of law to Israel, starting with making their laws match their obligations under the 1949 Geneva Conventions. After all, 60 years later there is little sign that the need for war crimes trials has reduced."

Israeli Organizations Call on Norway to Divest from the Israeli Occupation

The Free Gaza Movement

"Twenty different Israeli organizations send an appeal to the Norwegian people to withdraw Norwegian national pension fund’s investments in all Israeli and international corporations which are involved in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

“We, Israeli organizations …, call upon the Norwegian people to join us in our efforts and to stop investing in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.”

(see the full letter at:
In an unprecedented way, a wide array of Israeli civil society and grassroots organizations has sent a letter to the Norwegian Pension Fund, addressed to its Council on Ethics, urging it to support their efforts for a just peace and equality in Israel/Palestine by divesting from all companies involved in the Israeli occupation....."

Saving Israel From Itself

By John J. Mearsheimer

".....To avoid a direct confrontation with Washington, Netanyahu will probably change his rhetoric and talk favorably about two states. But that will not affect Israel’s actions. The never-ending peace process will go on, Israel will continue building settlements, and the Palestinians will remain locked up in a handful of impoverished enclaves in the West Bank and Gaza. Anticipating this outcome, Obama has told Congress to expect a clash with Israel.

This is not a fight Obama is likely to win, even though the United States is more powerful than Israel and most Americans favor creating a Palestinian state and bringing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to a close.

Look at the historical record. Since 1967, every American president has opposed settlement-building in the Occupied Territories. Yet no president has been able to put meaningful pressure on Israel to stop building settlements, much less dismantle them......."

Facelift delayed

Abbas's manoeuvres to stave off political death are impressing few.

By Khaled Amayreh in Ramallah
Al-Ahram Weekly

"Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has deferred discussion for the formation of a new government until Abbas returns from a tour that will take him to Jordan, Syria and Russia. These plans have been delayed due to undisclosed differences with his Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Earlier in the week, Abbas announced that a new government, to be headed by Fayyad, would be formed "in the next few hours". Reliable Palestinian sources told Al-Ahram Weekly that Abbas and Fayyad were at odds over the choice of proposed cabinet ministers.......

President Abbas is facing serious opposition within Fatah over failed peace talks with Israel. Fatah leaders at home and abroad have lambasted Abbas for trying to impose his supporters on the long overdue sixth Fatah congress. The convening of the congress has been postponed numerous times due to the absence of unity within the top Fatah hierarchy.

This week, Abbas abruptly dissolved the Preparation Committee in Amman after the latter refused to endorse a list of candidates submitted by Abbas but viewed by the "Arafatists" (followers of the late PA leader Yasser Arafat) as "compromisers and collaborators with Israel".

The dissolution by Abbas of the Preparatory Committee is already deepening the rift between the Palestinian leader's camp (often referred to as the Abbas-Dahlan camp) and veteran Fatah figures such as Farouk Qadoumi, Ahmed Qurei and Nasr Youssef......"

The subversion of liberation

When leaders in struggle confuse themselves with recognition of the rights of the people they claim to defend, everyone suffers, including the national cause.

A Great Piece
By Azmi Bishara
Al-Ahram Weekly

(I posted an Arabic version of this article which appeared on earlier)

"......How can we tell that we are faced with such a leadership? Quite easily. Such a leadership does things as the following:

- It wages armed resistance operations not with the aim of bringing victory into sight but in order to remain enough of a pest that the opposing side is forced to recognise that the source of the trouble is also the party capable of stopping it. In this context, sustaining a long-term grassroots-based underground movement is not important; in fact the very concept is marginalised. What counts is merely the ability to mount attacks, with no eye to strategy or cumulative affect, but with the sole purpose of driving home the message to the enemy: "If you want calm restored, you have to talk to our leadership."

- It is forever trying to persuade the international community that the key to solving the problem resides in the recognition of this leadership, and its stress on this point far exceeds its stress on the need to recognise the national rights of the people, to lift the occupation, to recognise the refugees' right to return, and to acknowledge such values as equality and the rejection of racism and Zionism. In fact, it becomes palpably clear that to this leadership the rights in question are not aims but rather bargaining chips to be played with the purpose of securing recognition.

- It constantly strives to prove that it can maintain order. But its actions in this regard are such that the people under its authority soon discover that the leadership which their sons had defended with their lives in the hope that it would eventually procure them their rights is now imposing security measures that are stricter and more violent than those meted out by the occupying power.

- The very leadership that attacks the enemy (in ways that sometimes incite racist hatreds against the enemy) bows and scrapes in order to win the admiration and approval of any foreign delegation, even when that delegation is not there to negotiate but to fire questions at the said leaders as though they were on trial.

It is not my purpose here to point a finger at any particular Palestinian or Arab leadership. All leaderships are prone to such lapses if they do not keep themselves in check or if the people whose interests they are meant to promote do not do so. It is dumfounding and dismaying to one who has experienced first hand life under a culture of persecution, and who has condemned and rejected that culture in solidarity with the targets of that persecution, to watch many of the representatives of the persecuted people scramble for the approval of the persecutors."

Fig Leaf, by Dave Brown

By Dave Brown, The Independent

Yes We Con, and Con, and......Obama to revive terror tribunals

Obama to revive terror tribunals

"Barack Obama will restart Bush-era military tribunals for a small number of Guantanamo detainees, reviving a fiercely disputed trial system he once denounced but with new legal protections for terror suspects, US officials said yesterday.

The President suspended the tribunals within hours of taking office in January, ordering a review but stopping short of abandoning George Bush's strategy of prosecuting suspected terrorists......"

The Little King Abdullah bin Hussein II .....
Acting as a Broker......
To Sell What is Left of Palestine.....
Just as His Great Grandfather Abdullah bin Hussein I Did.....

It is in the Hashemite Blood!

مشعل يرفض حكومة يرأسها فياض ويقول إن الاستعجال بتشكيلها استجابة لمطلب أمريكي

مشعل يرفض حكومة يرأسها فياض ويقول إن الاستعجال بتشكيلها استجابة لمطلب أمريكي

"دمشق- رفض رئيس المكتب السياسي لحركة حماس خالد مشعل تشكيل حكومة فلسطينية برئاسة سلام فياض وقال إن الاستعجال بتشكيل حكومة برئاسته، رغم وجود جولات حوار يوم السبت في القاهرة سببه الاستجابة لمطلب أمريكي.

وقال مشعل في كلمة له في مخيم اليرموك في دمشق ليل الخميس الجمعة: حماس ترفض أي حكومة فلسطينية يرأسها سلام فياض.

وأضاف: إن الاستعجال خارجي أوصله الأمريكان إلى جماعة السلطة في رام الله، خاصة أن حكومة فياض مرحب بها عند الأمريكان ومن خلالها فقط يعطى المال.
وأضاف مشعل في كلمته: حكومة فياض ارتكبت جرائم بحق الوطن، فهي لاحقت المقاومة ونزعت سلاحها وعملت على تفكيك المجوعات العسكرية من جميع القوى.

وتابع: حكومة فياض ترتكب جرائم في الضفة من خلال ملاحقة المناضلين والعمل الخيري والمؤسسات الاجتماعية والخيرية وملاحقة القيادات السياسية وأعادت بناء الأجهزة الأمنية على أساس نفعي بعيدا عن فتح وجميع القوى.

وأكد مشعل أن أي حكومة لا تستند إلى الشرعية مرفوضة لدينا، وكل حكومة تأتي بأوامر خارجية غير مقبولة.
وحذر مشعل من خداع نتنياهو من خلال تغيير شكلي في سلوكه تكون نتيجته أن ندخل في مرحلة تقطيع الوقت بالعودة إلى المفاوضات بلا طائل.
كما حذر من اصطناع عدو اسمه إيران.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Al-Jazeera Cartoon

The "Change" President!

The Impotent President

(Cartoon by Khalil Bendib)

Who Runs America?


"What do you suppose it is like to be elected president of the United States only to find that your power is restricted to the service of powerful interest groups?

A president who does a good job for the ruling interest groups is paid off with remunerative corporate directorships, outrageous speaking fees, and a lucrative book contract. If he is young when he assumes office, like Bill Clinton and Obama, it means a long life of luxurious leisure.

Fighting the special interests doesn’t pay and doesn’t succeed......"

Is TV news one-sidedly in support of Israel?

Sut Jhally: On film Peace, Propaganda & The Promised Land: US Media & The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

More at The Real News

"Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land is a film that provides a comparison of U.S. and international media coverage of the crisis in the Middle East, zeroing in on how structural distortions in U.S. coverage have reinforced false perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This pivotal documentary exposes how the foreign policy interests of American political elites--oil, and a need to have a secure military base in the region, among others--work in combination with Israeli public relations strategies to exercise a powerful influence over how news from the region is reported."

Real News Video: Peace, Propaganda & The Promised Land

US Media & The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

A 1 hr., 19 min. film.

More at The Real News

The Writing on the Wall for Obama’s ‘Af-Pak’ Vietnam

By Tony Karon
(Cartoon by Khalil Bendib)

"There was something almost painful about watching President Barack Obama last week reprising a track from his predecessor’s Greatest Hits when he hosted the leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Just like Bush, Obama invited us to suspend well-grounded disbelief and imagine that Hamid Karzai and Asif Ali Zardari have the intent, much less the capability, to wage a successful war against the Taliban. Then again, there had been something painful even earlier about watching Obama proclaim Afghanistan as “the right war” and expanding the U.S. footprint there, reprising the Soviet experience of maintaining an islet of modernity in the capital while the countryside burns.

It requires a spectacular leap of faith in a kind of superheroic American exceptionalism to imagine that the invasion of Afghanistan that occurred in November 2001 will end any differently from any previous invasion of that country. And it takes an elaborate exercise in self-delusion to avoid recognizing that the Taliban crisis in Pakistan is an effect of the war in Afghanistan, rather than a cause — and that Pakistan’s turmoil is unlikely to end before the U.S. winds down its campaign next door......"

Spiritual journey cannot help but have political overtones

Jonathan Cook

The National
May 14. 2009

".....Before he arrived in the region, the Pope declared that he was coming as a “pilgrim of peace”, with his staff accentuating that his role would be spiritual rather than political.

In truth, however, Pope Benedict’s visit was mired in politics the moment he agreed, at the invitation of Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, to step into this conflict-torn region.....

As the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, recently complained: “At the roadblocks, even priestly garb doesn’t help.”

And finally, the Vatican has been seeking Israel’s agreement for more than a decade to return to its control major sites of pilgrimage, including Mount Tabor and the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth.

But Israel could not control the message completely. On his one-day trip to Bethlehem and the Aida refugee camp yesterday, the Pope did acknowledge Palestinian suffering and the destruction of Gaza, even if he blamed it vaguely on “the turmoil that has afflicted this land for decades”.

He lamented the difficulties Palestinians face in reaching their holy places in Jerusalem, though he appeared to justify the restrictions on Israel’s “serious security concerns”.

And he criticised the building of a wall around Bethlehem, while attributing its construction to the “stalemate” in relations between Israelis and Palestinians."

Covering up Israel's Gaza crimes with UN help

A Very Good Comment

By Hasan Abu Nimah, The Electronic Intifada, 13 May 2009

"In my last article, I considered how UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon might handle the inquiry into Israeli attacks on UN facilities in the occupied Gaza Strip last winter. I hoped for the best but feared the worst given press reports that Ban had been told by the United States not to publish the report in full lest that harm the "peace process."

Unfortunately, the worst fears were fully justified as Ban published and sent to the Security Council only a 27-page summary of the 184-page document submitted to him by a board of inquiry led by a former head of Amnesty International.

Moreover, Ban rejected a key recommendation that there be a full independent investigation into numerous killings and injuries caused to UN personnel and Palestinian civilians during the Israeli assault.......

It is not only Palestinians who are the victims of such outrageous and immoral actions, but the last vestiges of credibility of the UN itself. I hold -- as do most Palestinians -- enormous admiration and respect for the work of UNRWA and its personnel who remained under Israeli bombardment in Gaza risking their lives along with the communities they serve. These UN personnel also deserve better; they too are betrayed by the cowardice of those above them."

TV documentary: TO GAZA WITH LOVE

The Free Gaza Movement

"This is the story of some forty campaigners from twelve different countries who went on board of two boats in the summer of 2008 in order to break the Gaza siege for the first time from the sea. DRAMA-COURAGE and everything in between.

3 episodes each episode repeated daily with Episode 1 on the 17th May Episode 2 on the 18th and Episode 3 on the 19th.

Channel: Press TV, available on cable and satellite, more info on and

Filmed by Aki Nawaz
Produced by Aki Nawaz and Yvonne Ridley

Times daily -all GMT time- FROM 17TH MAY

20:32 "

Israel Expanding 'Beautifully' In Jerusalem

By Jerrold Kessel and Pierre Klochendler

"JERUSALEM, May 14 (IPS) - Even as Pope Benedict XVI tries his best during his current Holy Land visit to pay reverence to the attachment of all three monotheistic faiths to Jerusalem, on the ground a less lofty imprint is already furthering Israeli control over the Holy City in a way that could threaten the claims of all but Jews to Jerusalem......."

'Impolite' Questions for Gen. Myers

Ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern posed some pointed -- or "impolite" -- questions to Gen. Richard Myers about torture.

By Ray McGovern
May 13, 2009

"Tuesday evening offered an unusual opportunity to question the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (2001-2005), Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, at an alumni club dinner......

In attendance was a reporter from the Washington Post, but his note-taking was confined to computing whether he should take the Post’s buyout, or try to hang around for the newspaper’s inevitable funeral in a couple of years. (So don’t bother looking for a print story on the Myers event.)

As we departed, the Post-man gave me what he seemed to think was the ultimate compliment — I should have been a journalist, he said.

I told him thanks just the same — that my experience has been that, unless they promise not to ask “ugly” questions, journalists of the Fawning Corporate Media (FCM) do not get to hang around long enough to qualify for a meager 401k — much less an eventual buyout.

At least I was consistent, retaining with such groups an unblemished winning-no-friends-and-influencing-no-people record, originally set three years ago when I had a chance to ask an “ugly” question or two of Donald Rumsfeld."

Change We Can Believe In?? Oh....Yeah!

Gazabama Cartoon by Khalil Bendib

Generals Pressed Obama to Block Photo Release.
Is President's Reverse Meant to Avoid Bad Press During Egypt Visit?

"President Obama’s sudden reversal of the Pentagon’s decision to release photos of detainee abuse came, it has been reported, after several top generals including Gen. Petraeus and Gen. Odierno cautioned that they believed the release would cost American lives.

The President’s explanation during today’s press conference was certainly perplexing. He simultaneously argued that the photos didn’t contain anything “particularly sensational” and that releasing them would “further inflame anti-American opinion.” The ACLU has condemned the move, saying it was “profoundly inconsistent with the promise of transparency that President Obama has made time after time.”....."

How Do You Spell Puppet? M-A-L-I-K-I, of Course!

Officials Expect Maliki to Reverse Stance on US Troops Staying in Cities
Statements "for Public Consumption"

"The issue of the US intention to keep troops in Iraq’s cities in spite of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) requiring that they leave by the end of June and despite opposition from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is much ado about nothing, officials insist.

US and Iraqi officials are now saying that Maliki’s statements are meant “for public consumption,” and that he is “fully aware of the need for a US presence in those places.” US military officials have been saying for months that the deadline was unlikely to be met, but the dramatic increase in violence across the nation [which happened by pure coincidence, I am sure] over the past two months has added to speculation that the US might ultimately keep significant numbers of troops in several cities, including the capital of Baghdad......."

ترقيع السياسة الخارجية الأميركية

عبد الستار قاسم

مما لمست حتى الآن من أقوال أوباما وتصريحاته أرى أنه يتطلع نحو التغيير في النهج، لكنه لا يملك رؤية أو فلسفة متكاملة متماسكة حول العلاقات الخارجية للولايات المتحدة.

إنه غير مرتاح لما تمخض عن سياسة بوش من نتائج، ومن ارتفاع منسوب الكراهية للولايات المتحدة، وهو يحاول صناعة انطباعات جديدة، ويحاول أن يوصل رسالة لكل الأمم بأنه يختلف عن سلفه، وأن الوقت كفيل بإثبات ذلك.

تقديري أن أوباما ليس صاحب رؤية، لكنه يملك قدرة على التعامل مع كل ملف عمليا ومعالجته بقدر الإمكان من زاويتين: زاوية علمية تقوم على تفكير ومنهجية علمية، وزاوية مصالح الولايات المتحدة التي تنسجم في الغالب مع الطمع والاستئثار والاستغلال.

سيحاول التوفيق بين هذين الأمرين، إلا من بعض الملفات التي لا يقدر عليها أو لا يرغب فيها. فمثلا أرى أنه غير راغب في نسيان الملف النووي الإيراني، وهو غير قادر على تنفيذ رؤيته بحل الدولتين فيما يتعلق بالقضية الفلسطينية.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"Liberal" Media an example

Comment by Zarathustra
FOX news is exactly what it says it is : A right wing, conservative, war mongering, xenophobic, sensationalist, racist, anti third world, Christian fundamentalist media outlet. They never hide who they are, and are proud of their own agenda and are always consistent in their views.

The "liberal" media that FOX news attacks (ABC , CNN , NPR...etc) is far more sinister and dangerous and deceptive in my view. They are wolves in sheep's clothes, their reporting on many issues especially the ones about the middle east is plainly atrocious. This morning I came across this headline from CNN:  "Young Lebanon bomb victim faces uncertain future" , I was intrigued and I clicked on the link
to see what the article is all about and to my not so surprise, it was exactly as sinister and deceptive
of an article as I have read in a while.

They start off the article describing the plight of "Muhammad Hajj Moussa" who lost both legs 3 years ago to a cluster bomb in south Lebanon. The reporter mentions "War was raging in southern Lebanon at the time." ... No mention of what that "war" was, no mention on between who and who no mention on where the cluster bomb came from , no question on who broke "the cease fire". Reading the article you are led to believe that maybe Aliens were responsible for the war, or maybe Lebanese themselves , since the Lebanese civil war is mentioned later in passing. But not a single mention of any of Israel's countless campaigns, invasions , occupations and attacks on Lebanon over the past decades.

The Doctor  treating the patients goes on and says "Instead, Lebanon's repeated outbreaks of violence keep bringing in new victims of conflict. "Many of our patients come from South Lebanon and are just like Muhammad, sometimes worse," says Singer. People working in mine-contaminated fields -- agricultural laborers, shepherds -- are frequent victims, he says. "

Again those mines and cluster bombs grow in the fields of south Lebanon just like strawberries do. They are there just accept it and move on.

Under the false pretense of reporting about the victim suffering, CNN's editors consciously PROTECT the identity of perpetrators of Muhammad's suffering. No mention of Israel, it's bombing campaign that destroyed everything in south Lebanon and Southern suburb of Beirut killing over 1300 people mostly civilians and the millions of cluster bombs dropped by Israel in the last 48 hours of the it's campaign as the cease fire was getting negotiated (where
Israel still refuses to give Lebanon map of the cluster bombs 3 years after dropping millions of them)

Israel is mentioned once in passing "Paradoxically, he says the Israeli army's withdrawal from southern Lebanon, in May 2000, led to a spike in mine accidents"
Again the reader is left with no answer to what Israel's role was and still is in the premise of this article.

FOX news does not acknowledge the existence of victims such as Muhammad and does not pretend that it cares. CNN tries to show that they care when in reality they have done a greater disservice to Muhammad and all the victims of Israeli war crimes by painting a vague, incomplete , dishonest and murky picture of their situation. Which is worse  I ask you ?

Change We Can Believe in?? No Way! Gen. McChrystal and Afghanistan

Drone Strikes Will Continue

(Cartoon by Carlos Latuff)

"The choice of Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal to become the new U.S. commander in Afghanistan has been hailed by Defence Secretary Robert Gates and national news media as ushering in a new unconventional approach to counterinsurgency.

But McChrystal’s background sends a very different message from the one claimed by Gates and the news media. His long specialisation in counter-terrorism operations suggests an officer who is likely to have more interest in targeted killings than in the kind of politically sensitive counterinsurgency programmes that the Obama administration has said it intends to carry out.....

W. Patrick Lang, formerly the defence intelligence officer for the Middle East, suggested in his blog Monday that the McChrystal nomination "sounds like a paradigm shift in which Obama’s policy of destroying the leadership of al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan takes priority over everything else".

The choice of McChrystal certainly appears to signal the administration’s readiness to continue Special Operations forces raids and airstrikes that is generating growing opposition by Afghans to the U.S. military presence. "

Pipelineistan in Conflict

Blue Gold, Turkmen Bashes, and Asian Grids

By Pepe Escobar

"As Barack Obama heads into his second hundred days in office, let's head for the big picture ourselves, the ultimate global plot line, the tumultuous rush towards a new, polycentric world order. In its first hundred days, the Obama presidency introduced us to a brand new acronym, OCO for Overseas Contingency Operations, formerly known as GWOT (as in Global War on Terror). Use either name, or anything else you want, and what you're really talking about is what's happening on the immense energy battlefield that extends from Iran to the Pacific Ocean. It's there that the Liquid War for the control of Eurasia takes place...."

Real News Video: US Pakistan policy is floundering

Aijaz Ahmad Part 2: US must work with regional states and pull out of Afghanistan to find Pakistan solution

More at The Real News

VIDEO: Pakistani President: Osama Bin Laden: "We Knew He was Your Operator"

US-Latin American Relations in a Time of Rising Militarism, Protectionism and Pillage

by Prof James Petras
Global Research, May 13, 2009

"One of the most striking aspect of contemporary US-Latin American relations is the profound divergence between the hopes, expectations and positive image of the Obama regime and the policies, strategies and practices which are being pursued. Many so-called progressive North American commentators and not a few Latin American writers have ignored the most elementary features of US foreign policy, and focused exclusively on the highly deceptive rhetoric of "change" and "new beginnings." A serious understanding of US foreign policy toward Latin America requires a discussion of the main objectives of the Obama regime, the global priorities of imperial policy in times of multiple wars and world depression.

US tactics and strategy toward the region becomes relevant, only if we take account of the recent historical, economic and political changes in Latin America and the evolving political alignments......"

The Pope is welcomed, but….

By Khalid Amayreh in occupied East Jerusalem

"As hospitality is a key Arab-Muslim character, the Pope of the Vatican, Benedict XVI, should be accorded all the respect he deserves as the religious leader of hundreds of millions of Roman Catholics, many of them stand alongside Muslims in rejecting the criminal policies and practices of the Israeli state.

The recent genocidal blitz against the effectively imprisoned and thoroughly starved people of Gaza is only one example of Israeli criminality, a criminality that can be compared with the evil deeds of the worst offenders in history.

I understand that the Vatican often refrains from calling the spade a spade for a variety of reasons. We are talking after all about a unique religious-political entity that is expected to satisfy and please a whole spectrum of people with different, even discordant, political orientations.

However, it is only fair and just to expect the Pope to denounce, politely but strongly, acts and behaviors that Jesus Christ would have denounced. And, undoubtedly, Palestine is, as always, the ultimate test for the moral consistency of states and entities, including the Vatican......."

Families Down to a Meal a Day

By Erin Cunningham

"GAZA CITY, May 13 (IPS) - Um Abdullah cannot remember the last time she was able to feed meat to her eight children. She does know that for the past week the single meal she cooked for them each day consisted only of lentils. And that on one day, she had received aid coupons from the United Nations, which she subsequently sold to buy tomatoes and eggplant at the local market.....

She uses it to cook beans or lentils, sometimes vegetables, for her children. "For nine months, we haven't had meat or chicken. My refrigerator is empty, our lives are empty," Kaloub says. "It wasn't paradise before the siege, but it was better. At least we had something." "

Who Does Not Target the Media

By Mel Frykberg

"RAMALLAH, May 13 (IPS) - Palestinian journalists in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip continue to be arrested and harassed by the respective security forces of the divided Palestinian leadership. And from Israel, a belated freedom has come to cover Gaza, but amidst other concerns.....

The Israeli authorities also declared a two-mile closed military zone from Gaza's border into Israeli territory, preventing hundreds of foreign journalists encamped on surrounding hills from effectively covering what was happening.

Instead, media coverage was left to Palestinian journalists and the few foreign correspondents who had managed to enter the coastal territory before the ban took effect.

However, even after the FPA's court victory a disagreement between the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) over negative coverage of the war further delayed the entrance of journalists.

A compromise thereafter allowed in a limited number of foreign journalists, approved by the IDF, several of whom were embedded with Israeli forces.

But, a media monitoring organisation said, this was too little too late....."

Obama Picks Egypt

A Good Piece

By Rannie Amiri
Palestine Chronicle

".....Much of the debate prior to choosing Egypt likely revolved around its atrocious human rights record under President Hosni Mubarak. Since the assassination of his predecessor President Anwar Sadat in 1981, Mubarak has ruled under the provisions of Emergency Law. These statutes allow for the indefinite detention of any citizen without charge or trial, prohibit public gatherings and demonstrations, permit media censorship, and place numerous restrictions on freedom of expression.

Emergency Law has been used by the Mubarak regime, of course, to suppress any political opposition or dissent, whether from organized groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, or from individuals like human rights activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim, presidential electoral challenger Ayman Nour, or pro-Palestinian bloggers (including Philip Rizk and Diaa Eddin Gad among others)......

What should have given Obama pause is not Egypt’s lack of civil liberties, but rather Mubarak’s utter complicity in the 2008-2009 Israeli assault on Gaza and how this will be perceived in the Muslim world.

Mubarak’s decision to keep the critical Rafah border crossing with Gaza closed, thus preventing the vital transfer of humanitarian supplies into the territory and the sick, wounded and starving out, was widely condemned throughout the Middle East (if not by the pro-U.S. governments in the region).

The impact of the cruel, callous and inhumane posture adopted by the Egyptian government in abetting the 18-month siege and subsequent 22-day offensive on the Arab psyche should not be discounted. This war led to more than 1,400 deaths – the vast majority of whom were civilians and 300 of them children – and 5,300 injured. It saw the use of white phosphorus against the innocent, wanton destruction of civilian infrastructure and deliberate targeting of United Nations relief facilities......"

Lebanon's Path from Perdition to Redemption?

By Franklin Lamb - Al Buss Palestinian Refugee Camp, Lebanon
Palestine Chronicle

"....Interviews with representatives of Lebanon’s political parties, as they make final preparations to get out the vote, reveal general agreement that for Palestinians here, decades of living in exile are made worse by the continuing discrimination found in Lebanon’s laws.

Most agree that for Palestinians waiting to return to their homes in Palestine, life is now a daily struggle for survival and fundamental Parliamentary redress is long overdue A common response to inquiries from Party operative is: “We ourselves want to help the Palestinians but we have partners in government and we need to be sensitive to their wishes”. This could be about to change after the June 7th election....."

The New Neocons

The left wing of the War Party raises its ugly head

by Justin Raimondo, May 13, 2009

"...... When Bill Clinton was in power, Weekly Standard editor William Kristol organized an ad hoc think-tank/advocacy group known as the Project for a New American Century, which ceaselessly agitated for war with Iraq and a policy of "regime change" throughout the Middle East. In coordination with like-minded folks over at the American Enterprise Institute, publications such as the Weekly Standard and National Review, plus influential columnists such as Charles Krauthammer and Max Boot, the neocons led the charge as we careened into the Iraqi quagmire. It took them a good decade, but in the end they succeeded: both major political parties are now committed to their program of endless military intervention in the Middle East, with the only differences being tactical.......

The establishment is facing a popular uprising on several fronts, and foreign policy is no exception. There is a general, though inchoate, rebellion against the idea that we have to intervene all over the world, especially given our present economic straits. The Iraq war has soured a new generation on the idea of America as a world-savior, as Vietnam did the previous one, and the left-neocons pushing the Af-Pak war are facing an uphill fight in the long run, although they may hold the temporary advantage of serving under a popular president.

It’s early yet, and already voices are being raised – on the Left as well as the anti-Obama Right – against the widening of the Afghan war and the incursions into Pakistan. Yet the War Party has one big advantage......"

Rare Video Interview with Sheikh Naim Qassem, Deputy Secretary-General of Hizbollah

Financial Times

Sheikh Naim Qassem, in a rare interview, reveals that Hizbollah offers broad support to Hamas.

Cairo is the wrong choice for Obama

By choosing the corrupt Egyptian regime as his Middle Eastern host, Obama risks undermining his message of change

Chris Phillips, Tuesday 12 May 2009

"......This will prompt fears of Washington opting for pragmatism over principle. At his inauguration, Obama told "those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent" that "we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist". Yet Mubarak has done no such unclenching. No positive reforms have been made and Egypt remains authoritarian. Even in the short time that Obama has been in office hundreds of people have been held without trial following the Gaza war protests......."