Saturday, August 8, 2009

Al-Jazeera Video: Evicted Palestinian sleep rough in protest - 7 Aug 09

"The Hanouns, a Palestinian family evicted by Israeli authorities from their home in East Jerusalem, are protesting their eviction by sleeping on the street outside the house that was for decades their home.

Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland reports on the from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem, where the Hanouns are sleeping rough in protest. "

Real News Video: The Downing Street memo Pt.1

McGovern: "It's there in black and white - The intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy"

More at The Real News

"Ray McGovern talks with Paul Jay about the paper trail on the Iraq war, as revealed in the British "Downing Street memo". Part 2 coming soon!"

Breaking, Exciting and Unexpected News......Breaking, Exciting and Unexpected News.....

The Stooge Endorsed as Fatah Chief

"Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, has been re-elected as leader of the Fatah movement by delegates attending the party conference in Bethlehem.

Abbas, who stood unopposed for the position, was elected by consensus on Saturday through a show of hands from the 2,300 delegates attending the conference......."

Celebrate Now (or Else!)

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

Do you see Muslims in the West playing a positive role in defense of Muslim causes?

With over 4,000 responding, 59% said no.

"Breaking the Silence" or silencing the critics?

Louis Frankenthaler, The Electronic Intifada, 7 August 2009
(Louis Frankenthaler resides in West Jerusalem and works for an Israeli human rights organization, The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel.)

(left: Settlers in Hebron harass a cameraman from a Breaking the Silence tour of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, June 2008.)

""Breaking the Silence" is a member of the Israeli human rights, peace and social justice community. The group's only crime, so it seems, lies in its effort to offer an alternative ethical voice in a society that is arguably losing its way. Breaking the Silence provides a platform for soldiers to testify to acts of violence and other violations of Palestinian rights that they may have witnessed or taken part in during their service in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The group's most recent report details soldier testimonies that raised serious concerns about Israeli military behavior during the war on Gaza, "Operation Cast Lead." The publication is unique but it is only one example of many public statements, reports and legal advocacy in response to the prosecution of the war, which Israel consistently maintains was both moral and legal. Why then is the Israeli government waging a battle against this organization, trying to thwart its funding and, essentially, to shut it down?........"

3 Americans Held in Iran Are all Jews: Were They Spies?


"08/08/2009 While the American media coverage and international news agencies are content to indicate that three Americans detained by Iran after crossing the Iranian Iraqi border are tourists, lost hiking in Iraqi Kurdistan, "Israel National News" website has ensured that all three are Jews and journalists as well.

Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal were detained on the Iranian side of the border on July 31 for entering Iran illegally after allegedly hiking through the mountains from Iraq's Kurdistan region......

Josh Fattal is a researcher in the American Jewish center and works for the Jewish magazine "The Jewish Week". Sarah Shourd a writer and a contributor to New America Media, and one of Matador Pulse’s contributing writers.

Shane Bauer is the connoisseur of the region. He is a freelance journalist in several online news organizations, fluent in Arabic, and being installed in the Arab world, he covered news in Iraq and knows that country very well.

Having concealed their Judaism is doubtful and suggests they were on a mission of spying for the Israeli Mossad in particular.......

Moreover, the assertions of this journalist contradict the statements of the tourism police in the region of Iraqi Kurdistan. It shall have met the three Americans and have warned of their proximity to the Iranian border, BBC reported. "The tourism police in the region had asked them not to climb mountains because the Iranian border was very close," said Bechro Ahmad, the spokesman of the security of Iraqi Kurdistan, and concludes that "they crossed the border, despite warnings."........"

Al-Jazeera Cartoon: Balance of Power

Gaza's Kite Runners

By Ramzy Baroud
Palestine Chronicle

".....Born and raised in Nuseirat Refugee Camp in the Gaza Strip, I remember my first kite. It, like most kites, carried the colors of the flag. The kite was the work of my older brother, now a successful medic in the West Bank. He obliged before my incessant cries for a kite despite my father’s objections. But why should a father object to something so seemingly harmless? Simple......

During the Uprising’s summers, there would be dozens of kites, all red, black, green and white wavering atop the Israeli military camp and temporary detention center. The soldiers would often fly into a rage, storm the camp, seeking their target: children with kites. We could determine the location of the raid when all the kites from a particular location would fall from the sky in unison.......

....Out of nowhere, Israeli jeeps leapt into the open area, separating my house from the Martyrs Graveyard. Children ran in panic. Teargas grenades were lobbed in frenzy. Kites fell all around like wounded eagles. I too ran, in circles, without letting go of my kite......

It was because of this bittersweet memory, perhaps, that the news reports of Gaza’s children aiming for the world record on the number of kites flown stimulatingly in the same place, captured my attention. John Ging, the director of operations for the UN Relief and Works Agency assured reporters that the 5,000 children who gathered by the beach in northern Gaza, on July 30, have indeed broken the record. The previous record was set in Germany in 2008, and if the new feat is verified by Guinness, Gaza’s kids will have taken the lead with “flying colors”.

UN officials in Gaza, media reporters and others saw the kite flying event as an expression of innocence in a time when Gaza lives its harshest periods yet: suffocating siege, massacres, and collective humiliation. But the message was, of course, neither about kites, nor about world records. It was about the children of Gaza, in fact, Gaza itself, that tiny, subjugated, yet ever resilient, defiant, proud and somehow still hopeful place......"

Little has changed since the secretive days of the Suez crisis

It seems we really are going to have an Iraq inquiry. But I’m not holding my breath

By Robert Fisk

"......For his recent paper is a time capsule of the High Tory need to avoid – ever – a public inquiry into the Suez scandal. Yes, the predecessors of Mr Cameron's very own party were doing everything they could to prevent the shameful story of Britain's collusion with France and Israel to invade Egypt. No 10, it turns out, was busy destroying the secret documents of the agreement at Sèvres where the three powers concocted their outrageous act of aggression. Thanks only to the Israelis, we still have the Sèvres papers, the British copies of which Prime Minister Anthony Eden may well have personally burned.

Of course, it was Labour that was then demanding a public inquiry, not the Tories, although the parallels with the whimsical inquiry with which Sir John Chilcot threatens us – including the public appearance of Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara himself – are so ironic and fatuous that they will need no reference from me. Read Suez. Think Iraq........

The French didn't care much about their own Suez secrets – they had just suffered defeat in the Algerian war – but the British fear of Middle East inquiries never seemed to fade. "This is not the time for such (inquiry) decisions," Blair said of Iraq in 2006, while Lord Malloch-Brown (Foreign Office minister of state) came out with the old canard about the need for distance and perspective.

Well, it seems we really are going to have an inquiry this time round. But I'm not holding my breath for any revelations from the safe pairs of hands whom Gordon Brown has manoeuvred into position for Sir John Chilcot. Crossman on Suez is the best cure for optimism. "It means keeping out of the Middle East," he wrote, "and treating Arabs like adult Latin Americans, who don't want to be improved or democratised and who must be allowed to have what regimes they like."

And that's OUCH! from me."

Friday, August 7, 2009

قمع المرأة: مدخل لفتنة تنهينا ولا تنتهي

رسالة إلى الإخوة في حماس

A Great Article by Dr. Adel Samara

(If someone has the time to translate it into English, I would post it.)

د. عادل سمارة

"وصلني كغيري بيان المؤسسات والأطر النسوية بشأن قرار فرض لبس الجلباب على المحاميات...الخ في قطاع غزة. فأولاً، إن صح ما في البيان، وثانياً لست من المعنيين بما ورد في البيان من عبارات مثل "حكومة مقالة"، "ومخالفة دستورية" و "مخالفة تنظيم مهنة المحاماة"، و "التناقض مع وثيقة الاستقلال"...الخ.
قد يكون دافعي للكتابة هو حماية المقاومة بما هي الطريق الوحيد للحق في الوجود وليس فقط للحفاظ على المشروع الوطني، لأن المشروع الوطني اقل بكثير من الحق في الوجود، ولأن الحق في الوجود يشتمل حرية الأشخاص فردا فرداً. صحيح ان المقاومة هي في الأساس ضد الاحتلال، ولكن حين يسيطر شخص على آخر، تضيع المقاومة ضد الاحتلال ليصبح الحق في الوجود هو هدف من يخضع للاضطهاد.
لذا، ليس المهم هنا المفاضلة بين المقاوم والتسوية، لأن هذا ما قام به الناس في الانتخابات الأخيرة التي مهما قبل فيها من غزل، هي انتخابات تحت نير الاحتلال، ديمقراطية ممنوحة من الاحتلال! وهي هديتنا المسمومة إلى شعب العراق العربي لينتخب تحت المذبحة الاحتلالية، ولكل شعب تحت الاحتلال.
ما يهم مختلف تماماً. فمن حيث المبدأ، هل انتخب الناس حركة حماس لغرض سياسي أم انتخبوها لكي تتحكم حتى في دواخل الأسرة، وشخص المرأة وربما الرجل؟ وهل كان أصلاً قرار حماس دخول الانتخابات عملا مقاوماً، أم خطوة للتساوق مع أوسلو؟ ولو كان لي أن اقول رايي، فأنا لم أنتخب في حياتي قط، ولكنني ايدت حماس، خارج الانتخابات، لأجل المقاومة.
ما هو مناخ دخول الانتخابات اصلا غير أن ما أرادته اميركا والكيان وهو إدخال كل طرف وحتى فرد فلسطيني في مطهر التسوية، وبعد مجرد الدخول، يتم تقييده ومعاقبته وقتله إن أمكن. ما أُريد من حماس هو فقط دخول الانتخابات، وبعدها يجب أن تنتهي حماس!. وكلنا يعرف ما كان بعد ذلك وحتى اليوم.
السؤال الأساسي الذي يشغلني متعلق بالحريات الفردية، لا بل الشخصية. من الذي يحق له التدخل في لباس امرأة، حتى زوجته؟ لماذا يقرر لها هذا اللباس أو ذاك؟ فما بالك بمن يتدخل في لباس نساء أخريات؟ كيف يمكن السماح لرجل أن يسأل ابنتي أو زوجتي : لماذا تلبسين هذا؟ لماذا يحق له النظر إليها وتقييم لباسها؟ من اين اتى بهذا القدر من استصدار حق الاعتداء؟ قد يكون لكل إنسان حق نصح الآخر بالكتابة او الحديث أو اي أمر آخر. أما إصدار قرارات ملزمة للآخرين دون استشارتهم ومثلا التصويت على ذلك، والأهم والأصح ترك الحريات للناس.
كيف اصدق أن من يراقب ملابس سيدة ، لا يفكر بأبعد من ذلك مستخدما الدين الذي لا نص فيه على هذا أو غيره. لست مشرعاً ولا هذا مجالي، ولكنني اؤمن أن شخصي أنا حر فيه، ولا إنسان له حق التدخل في شخصي، ومن يتدخل في الشكل يتدخل في العقل. ومن الذي أكد له انه أكثر علما ووعيا من غيره في ذلك الغير حتى يضع لغيره حدود شكله؟ وحتى لو كان اوعى، كيف له أن يرغم الآخر بقبول ما يراه هو لغيره؟ أليست إدانتنا للاستشراق بأنه يصوغنا كما يرانا هو؟ فماذا نسمي هذا الذي يحصل حين يعيد الرجل صوغ المرأة على الصورة التي يريد!
وإذا كان من يصدر هذا القرار منطلقاً من قناعة ما وربما حكمة ما، هل يدري كيف ستحمل هذا القرار مجموعات من الشباب الذين يتمنون التحكم بالآخرين معتقدين أنهم يحملون رؤوساً ملآى بالحكمة؟ وكيف سيعاملوا النساء؟
كنت ممن تمنوا لو أن حماس في غزة، دعت إلى مؤتمر عام لمناقشة آليات الحكم، والتنمية، وإدارة الموارد المحدودة، وفتح فرص التشغيل، وإشراك النساء على قدم المساواة، وتشكيل لجان لقراءة الاحتلال بسياساتنه ومخططاته ومشاريعه ل 2020 و 2050، وارتباطه بالمركز المعولم وتغلغله في القطريات العربية وخاصة التي تفرض الحجاب والاحتجاب...الخ هذا قبل الدمار، اما بعده فاصبحت إدارة الحياة بحاجة أكثر لمؤتمر شعبي عام من الجنسين، ونظراً لوجود الحصار كان يمكن تشكيل لجنة من الخبراء والأمناء لدراسة ملفات الفاسدين وانتزاع ما سرقوا لستر حياة الأسر المستورة التي ربما لا تلبس نسائها الحجاب لأنها لا تملك ثمنه. أو نشر ثقافة تجاوز الاستهلاك، الاستهلاك الواعي، والوعي بالاستهلاك، لا سيما من منتجات الدول المعادية لشعبنا ولأمتنا، خاصة في ظروف الحصار القاتل. هذا قليل مما كان يجب أن يحصل ولم يحصل!! بل ما يحصل كما يبدو هو الاستفراد بالنساء كمستضعفات. ثم يبدأ القول، إن النساء اللاتي يرفضن هذا القرار هن متغربنات سافرات وحتى "نُشَّزا"! أما والنساء هن المستضعفات، فهل يقضي الدين باستضعاف الضعيف[1]؟ كيف كان للسيدة فاطمة الزهراء أن تفرض على الإمام علي أن لا يتزوج عليها، فهل كان سيتدخل في لباسها؟ لماذا اختراع معارك صغيرة للتشاغل والانتصار فيها؟ وهناك معارك كبرى عديدة يمكن الانتصار فيها. يمكن دخول معركة التنمية والتعليم الحقيقي والثقافة والانتاج ...الخ.
يكون العمل ثورياً حين يفكك أجهزة الدولة بما هي قمعية ويفتح المجال لمائة زهرة كي تتقتح. فالوصول إلى قلعة الحكم يجب ان يكون تضحية من أجل الناس. أما أن يكون من أجل وضع عدادات على أنفاس النساء فهذا في منتهى الغرابة.
قد تتمكن هذه القيادة من فرض هذا وغيره، وما النتيجة؟ فتنة مستدامة، سيبقى هناك من يرفض ويعارض ويُقتل ويُذبح، وستسقط الضحايا بتنوعاتها، وسيكون هذا على حساب المقاومة والتنمية والبناء والحريات، وسيجيء يوم يتوقف هذا، ولكن بعد ان يصبح البلد يباباً حتى بالمقارنة مع يباب اليوم! وبلا قدرة على المقاومة، فما لزوم ذلك، فهل يخسر الاحتلال والدول العربية القطرية والغرب الراسمالي ام يكسبوا!
هل حماس في غزة أكملت كل ما هو مطلوب وبقي شعر المرأة؟
إذا لم تستشر قيادة حماس، القوى الأخرى في غزة، فهل يمكنها الزعم أنها قد غيرت ما كان قبلها؟ أم أنننا انتقلنا من تفرَّد فريق التسوية والفساد والبحث عن دولة وعد بها بوش سفاح التاريخ المهووس بالقتل، إلى تفرد فريق الأُصولية ؟ لقد دافعنا كثيراً ضد تهمة الأصولية والسلفية وضد من روجوا للغرب وحتى للكيان ...الخ فماذ نقول لهم اليوم؟ وكان دفاعنا أملاً في رغبة في تغير ما! لكن الوضع لم يبق حتى كما كان.
وحتى لو تم التراجع عن هذا القرار، يبقى مُداناً لأن مجرد التفكير فيه يشكل بادرة خطيرة على مستقبل داكن.
لماذا يُقاس الإنسان بلباسه؟ ولماذا يُنصب البعض أنفسهم وكلاء على غيرهم؟ لو كان الله معنياً باللباس وإخفاء العورات والملكية الخاصة لولد الإنسان بلباس كامل. اي أن الأصل في الإنسان العري النظيف، وبعدها يلبس ليتقي الطبيعة وليس أعين الآخرين.
لو كان الانضباط الأخلاقي بكمية اذرع القماش، لما عرفت البشرية كل أنواع البغاء إلا حيت هيمن نمط الانتاج الراسمالي وحده. فهل خلت مجتمعات العالم الثالث ومنها العربية من البغاء في الألفيتين الماضيتين؟ هل اكتشفنا هذا من علاقتتنا بالغرب؟ ما يضبط الإنسان وينظم علاقته بالآخرين هي قناعته أولاً. ثم لماذا لا نقرأ ولا نرحل لنرى أن المجتمعات الصناعية الغربية ليست شوارع بغاء على الأرصفة كما يصور المعاقون نفسياً الذين يثرثرون حول هذا فيشوهون عقول البسطاء؟
كان بوسع حماس أن تفكر في تشكيل مثلث التحالف التاريخي في غزة ليضم المسلمين والاشتراكيين والقوميين لتشكيل كتلة وطنية تقاوم وتبني، وخاصة أن غزة تحت الاحتلال والدمار والفقر والحصار. فلو كانت غزة بقعة وهابية نفطية، لكان هناك ما يبين اسباب الانغلاق السلفي الذي يمول نفسه. أما أن نشحذ من كل ذي مال مهما كان مصدر ماله، ومن ثم نفرض على الناس حتى ما يلبسونه؟ وماذا عن عقولهم؟ هل نقيم محاكم تفتيش لما قد يكونوا فكروا به؟
لقد استبشرنا خيراً حين تزايد الدعم أو حتى التعاطف العالمي (الشعبي طبعا) معنا، لنطلع عليه الآن بمشروع وضع الكلبشات على جسد المرأة. فما الذي نقوله لجورج جالاوي، ولغيره؟ لماذا هذا الإصرار على تجنيد العالم لاحتقارنا؟ أكل هذا كي ترضى الوهابية؟ وهل الأنظمة التي تقيد حرية النساء "فالحة" إلى هذا الحد؟ ولو كانت كذلك، لماذا نرى كل يوم محاكم وعقوبات على الاغتصاب والبغاء ,,,الخ.
مثل هذا القرار، يدفع كثيرين للانحياز والتخارج إلى الغرب، ويجعل من السهل عليهم تجنيد غيرهم لذلك. وبعدها نأتي للقول: هؤلاء متغربنون وعملاء...الخ.
ولكن، إذا كانت المقاومة قد تحولت لتقاوم حريات الناس، فمن المتوقع أن ينحرف الناس سياسياً دفاعاً عن رؤوسهم، ومن المستفيد؟ ليس فقط الاحتلال بل كذلك الذين ينشغلون في فرض القوة والسيطرة على المجتمع وهي آليات تحول دون اي تقدم اجتماعي وثقافي، وبالتالي لا يريد الاحتلال أفضل من مجتمع يعتقل فيه الرجال النساء! نصف الشعب يقاوم النصف الآخر الذي يضطهده ، وليس شرطاً كيف؟
أعرف أن كثيرين، وخاصة من أهل التسوية، واللبرالية سيستغلوا مقالة كهذه، ولكن الرائد لا يكذب أهله. لا بد من وقفة للدفاع عن الإنسان لأن ذلك حقه علينا. لا بد من نقلة وعي لمن لا يريد الوعي، أو على الأقل تجريده من سلاح إضافي لم يكن بيده وليس من حقه.
قد يصح لنا القول، إن عالم العولمة والعالمية لن يسمح لأحد أن يغلق على نفسه ابوابه، فإما أن تتحدى العالم بما لديك من قوة، وأهمها حق الإنسان، وإما أن يدخل عليك العالم بالقوة المتعددة، وليست العسكرية وحدها.
لا يمكن لثقافة إلغاء حق المواطن أن تواكب العصر. ولا يمكن للسلاح الذي قد يهزم المحتل والمستعمِر أن يهزم المواطن، ناهيك عن أن رفعه ضد المواطن، ضد شخص المواطن هو مدخل للانتحار الجماعي، واستدعاء للاستعمار بأشكال عدة ذات يوم قادم! هذا بدل أن نقول كان الاستعمار هنا ذات يوم مضى!
إن قرارات من هذا الطراز هي الهدية المثلى للكثير من القوى المهزومة والمأزومة والمرتبطة بالعدو الثلاثي التي هي ضد المقاومة، لتجعل من هذه القضية وغيرها جسراً للتكفير بكافة أنواع المقاومة، وهذا ما سيخلق لها جمهوراً رغم إفلاسها. فهل هذا ما ترجوه قيادة حركة حماس وكوادرها؟ نتمتى لا!!!

Refugees expect little from Fatah

By Nisreen El-Shamayleh in Amman, Jordan

"As Fatah convenes its long-awaited sixth general conference in Bethlehem, some Palestinian refugees in Jordan say they are not expecting anything positive to emerge from the movement that once represented them.

Fatah was originally established by Yasser Arafat, the late Palestinian president, with a charter that called for armed struggle against Israel.

But decades later, many refugees believe that the movement's original mandate has been distorted by Western and Israeli pressure to transform it into a 'peace partner'.

Many say that a series of concessions have led to a drop in the movement's popularity in the camps and some I spoke with said they were not at all interested in the conference.

They believe the Palestinian Authority (PA) had long ago sidestepped its responsibilities and that Fatah will likely not address issues related to refugees at the Bethlehem meeting......

'Exactly like Israel'

Other refugees in the alleyways which criss-cross the al-Baqaa camp say they have no confidence that their voices are being heard by Mahmoud Abbas, the Fatah leader and Palestinian president.

"Fatah doesn't represent me. The mere mention of Fatah is exactly like the mere mention of Israel," says Raddad Abu Zirr, who is originally from the Gaza Strip......

Distrust in leadership

Jordan's Palestinian refugee camps used to be a stronghold for Fatah fighters but that mood has changed......

A new revolution

Shaker al-Jawhari, the editor-in-chief of the al-Mustaqbal Arabic electronic newspaper and a former Fatah member, says that frustrated Palestinians will soon start to take matters into their own hands.

"Compromising on the Palestinian people's right to resistance is exactly what will ignite a new resistance revolution, especially at a time when the Israeli community is witnessing more radicalism and refusing to give Palestinians any rights.".....

As the delegates meet in the West Bank many refugees who still live in temporary camps some 44 years after Fatah was created and 20 years after it last convened, are left wondering just what Fatah has done for them."

No Comment.

By Emad Hajjaj

The Buffoon: Saeb Erakat: You Bet.

By Angry Arab

""“I am proud,” said Saeb Erekat, a senior aide of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president and Fatah’s leader. “Are we fighting? You bet! Are we screaming at each other? You bet!”" And after a pause he added: Are we planning to assassinate the critics of Dahlan? You bet. Are we stealing the money of the Palestinian people? You bet. Are we collaborating with Israel in its occupation of Palestine? You bet. Are we covering up the assassination of Arafat? You bet. Am I the biggest baffoon ever produced on the Palestinian stage since Ahmad Shuqayri? You bet. Do we lie to the Palestinian people? You bet. Do I offer to shine the shoes of Israeli leaders? You bet. Are we proud of Muhammad Dahlan's gangs when they fled in their underwears from Gaza? You bet. Is Abu Mazen the chief puppet for the US/Israel? You bet. Do the Palestinian people make fun of me when I speak and yell? You bet. Do we prostrate to Arab oil princes? You bet. Is the Fath conference the mother of all jokes? You bet. "

Real News Video with Pepe Escobar: Iran/China and the New Silk Road

Pepe Escobar revisits the New Great Game, Part 4

More at The Real News

"After 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq, the Chinese leadership was more than ready to counteract the US advancement in Eurasia - and turn it on its head. In the second part of this report, Pepe Escobar analyzes what's at stake at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and what really matters for emerging global power China and regional power Iran: the Asian Energy Security Grid and the re-emergence of the fabled Silk Road, now as a vehicle for energy security as well as trade."

Books That Counter Our "Training" To Make War

By John Pilger

"These are extraordinary times. Flag-wrapped coffins of 18-year-old soldiers killed in a failed, illegal and vengeful invasion are paraded along a Wiltshire high street. Victory in Afghanistan is at hand, says the satirical Gordon Brown. On the BBC's Newsnight, the heroic Afghan MP Malalai Joya, tries, in her limited English, to tell the British public that her people are being blown to bits in their name: 140 villagers, mostly children, in her own Farah Province. No parade for them. No names and faces for them. The suppression of the suffering of Britain's and America's colonial victims is an article of media faith, a tradition so ingrained that it requires no instructions......

Kurt Vonnegut's equally black and brave and hilarious Slaughterhouse Five is my other favourite war book......"

Will Venezuelan Destabilization Follow the Honduran Coup?

by Stephen Lendman
Global Research, August 7, 2009

"After ten and a half years in office, Hugo Chavez is very savvy about America's intentions. On January 17, even before Obama's inauguration, he said "Barack Obama has the 'stench' of his predecessor as US president and was at risk of being killed if he tries to change the American 'empire.' "

He added that frayed ties with Washington were unlikely to improve despite the departure of Bush, the man he called the 'devil.' Now there's a new "devil" with his fingerprints all over the June 28 Honduran coup. More on that below......

Will Chavez Now Be Targeted?

Throughout his tenure, numerous attempts were made to destabilize his government, discredit his leadership and policies, oust him in the aborted April 2002 coup, and again in the failed August 2004 recall referendum. In addition, Chavez and others claim assassination schemes were hatched, the latest one forcing him to cancel his June 1 El Salvador trip to attend President Mauricio Funes' inauguration......

For the past ten and a half years, Washington and Venezuelan oligarchs have targeted Chavez relentlessly and won't let up while he's in office. Whether the Honduran coup signals stepped up efforts ahead remains to be seen. Perhaps so given Washington's regional history of intolerance of democracies that place national interests above America's. Chavez explained it well saying Obama "risk(s) being killed if he challenges the American empire." So far, there's not a hint of it in sight."

Playing Politics With a Ghost

By Scott Ritter

"Now that the remains of Navy Lt. Cmdr. Scott Speicher have been recovered from Iraq, Sen. Pat Roberts and other politicians will have to stop shamelessly exploiting his disappearance to sell their war agenda....."

Crippled academia unable to recover in Gaza

Rami Almeghari writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine, 6 August 2009

"More than six months after Israel's winter invasion of Gaza, a number of partially or largely damaged universities await reconstruction. Raw materials essential for rebuilding are unavailable in Gaza primarily because of Israel's 26-month blockade of the tiny territory. Coupled with the wide-scale destruction from Israel's 22-day onslaught, the siege has crippled most aspects of public life for Gaza's 1.5 million residents.

In late December 2008, Israeli operated, American-made F-16 jets bombed Gaza's Islamic University. The university's laboratories and several buildings were destroyed.

Dr. Kamalin Shaath, President of the Islamic University, explained that "The buildings are still demolished, all we did was remove the rubble. We are looking forward to beginning the reconstruction."

In addition to the universities, an American school in northern Gaza was totally destroyed by Israel. Moreover, several schools run by the UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) across Gaza were damaged by Israeli shelling. As the new academic year approaches, the third under Israel's siege, Gaza's universities and schools remain in desperate need of reconstruction."

Chavez: Israeli FM Lieberman a ‘Mafia Boss’


"07/08/2009 Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has harsh words for Israel and its foreign minister after a diplomat suggested last month that Hezbollah has established cells in his country. Chavez heatedly denies the resistance group is operating in Venezuela, something his government has already rejected.

In a speech Thursday, Chavez noted that Israeli police have recommended Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman be indicted for a string of alleged corruption offenses. Chavez called Lieberman a "mafia boss"......"

Prison Toughens Palestinian Women

By Jon Elmer

"BETHLEHEM, Aug 7 (IPS) - In her office at the Bethlehem women's counselling centre, Khawla Al-Azraq recounts her memories from Israeli prison as vividly as if they were yesterday: the routine physical and psychological abuse, the nightly room searches, the hunger strikes and other collective actions in protest against their conditions, and the intense study sessions with her fellow prisoners......

The latest Palestinian Centre for Human Rights weekly report cites 214 arrests, including two children, during at least 21 Israeli army incursions into the West Bank in the seven days ending Jul. 29.

"Like any human community, there are contradictions," says Al-Azraq. "But there is a common thread in the experience in prison that gives us strength, a common goal, a common purpose. We are joined together in struggle, so our shared experiences only make us stronger." "

Ellsberg's Hiroshima Remembrance

By Daniel Ellsberg
August 6, 2009

"Editor’s Note: Sixty-four years ago, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing about 70,000 on that day (with a similar number dying from the bomb’s effects by the end of 1945).

While the attack sped the Japanese surrender, it also ushered in a new age of total warfare that has cast a shadow over the future of mankind, as Daniel Ellsberg notes in this personal remembrance, which is the start of a nuclear memoir that the famed Pentagon Papers whistleblower plans to publish in segments.......

I have believed for a long time that official secrecy and deceptions about our nuclear weapons posture and policies and their possible consequences have threatened the survival of the human species.

To understand the urgency of radical changes in our nuclear policies that may truly move the world toward abolition of nuclear weapons, we need a new understanding of the real history of the nuclear age.

Using the new opportunities offered by the Internet — drawing attention to newly declassified documents and to some realities still concealedI plan over the next year, before the 65th anniversary of Hiroshima, to do my part in unveiling this hidden history. "

CNN Poll: US Support for Afghan War Plummeting

Support for War Reaches New Low

by Jason Ditz, August 06, 2009

"Following July’s record death tolls, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp poll shows that US popular support for the war is also at an all-time low, with 54 percent of respondents opposed to the ongoing war and 41 percent in favor.

This was a monumental change from the May version of the same poll. which showed 50 percent in favor of the war and only 48 percent against. President Obama has made escalating the war the centerpiece of his foreign policy campaign......."

The Return of the Bomb

Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Just the beginning …?

by Justin Raimondo, August 07, 2009

"......"Today, a poll by Quinnipiac University found that 61% of Americans felt the attack was "the right thing" while only 22% believe it was wrong. Somewhat encouraging, however, was that the willingness to question the attack was significantly larger among younger people, with people between the ages of 18-34 split roughly down the middle about whether the killings were acceptable."

Whether Americans are moral monsters, inured to the horror of mass murder on an unimaginable scale, or just garden variety ignoramuses – the article goes on to note "In the US, it is still common for school children to be taught that the nuclear attack saved millions of lives" – is a question I’d rather not confront today, having answered it before to decidedly mixed reactions. ........

No, Lieberman’s finger is not yet on the nuclear trigger, but I wouldn’t rule it out in the future – the near future. And if the US persists in avoiding a confrontation with Iran, or in drawing out the "negotiating" process beyond the limits of tolerability as defined by Tel Aviv, the possibility that the Israelis will act, and trump Truman’s war crimes, cannot be credibly denied.

If they ever did go ahead and drop the bomb on Tehran, whatever blowback they had to endure could be written off as the inevitable price of survival – and the price, as I’ve said, isn’t likely to be very high. I doubt whether even this gross act of mass murder would provoke Washington to do very much more than express outrage – without, however, cutting off so much as a dime of the billions in aid we ship to Israel every year. The "special relationship," you can rest assured, would endure – and, soon enough, we’d be hearing the same sort of rationalization we are now hearing on the anniversary of Truman’s crime against humanity. It was necessary to bring the Iranians to heel, Israel had no choice, it was kill or be killed – failure to act on the Israelis’ part would have amounted to committing national suicide. I can hear it now......."

Irving Moskowitz's bingo madness

How an American gambling mogul is forcing a showdown between the Obama administration and Israel over settlements

Richard Silverstein, Thursday 6 August 2009

(Left: Irving Moskowitz)

"......One of Moskowitz's favourite charities, to which he has given at least $5m, is American Friends of Ateret Cohanim, which runs a prominent East Jerusalem yeshiva. More importantly, its mission calls for rebuilding the Holy Temple and re-instituting animal sacrifices from the time of King David. The yeshiva trains those who would become priests if such a temple were ever built. If any of this came to fruition, it would likely ignite a holy war between Jews and Muslims.

I have urged the IRS to revoke the non-profit status of these entities. By granting tax-exempt status to the groups and their donations, the US taxpayer becomes an indirect subsidiser of the occupation. Denying non-profit status would strike a major blow against the American Jewish funding pipeline, which advances the most noxious projects of the extremist settler movement......."

Recovery, by Martin Rowson

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

US 'to be blamed' in case of Israeli strike on Iran: Bolton

Press TV

"The former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton says that Washington should support Tel Aviv if it decides to attack Iran, since it will be 'blamed for it anyway'.

The worst outcome of an Israeli attack on Iran would be its failure to halt Tehran's nuclear program, Bolton said in an interview with Russia Today on Thursday.

"I personally believe the US should assist Israel, I think if Israel does attack, the United States is going to be blamed for it anyway," he said.

Bolton, however, described the Obama administration's relationship with Israel as "probably as bad as any since the Suez Canal crisis of 1956," saying that Washington's pressure on Tel Aviv has "complicated" the decision to "use military force".

Earlier this week in an interview with Fox News, when Bolton was asked if Israel is likely to take unilateral steps against Iran, he said, "I don't think Israel has really made a decision. But I think if you look at the history, Israel has not been afraid to take preemptive military action when it has seen an existential threat to ... Israel."

"It destroyed the Osirak reactor outside Baghdad in 1981. It destroyed a North Korean reactor in Syria in September 2007," he added......"

Divisions rock Fatah conference


"The first Fatah party conference in 20 years has been extended amid infighting between delegates.

The meeting of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' movement in Bethlehem was scheduled to end on Thursday after resolving disputes over how to vote for a new leadership.

But it has been extended into the weekend after some reformists walked out of the conference on Wednesday after Abbas was accused of manipulating their choice of delegates.

There have also been widespread calls for a full report on how party funds have been spent over the last two decades [Don't they know that you never ask the Mafia these kinds of questions?]......"

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Smoke, mirrors and acrimony: The 2009 Fatah congress

Sousan Hammad, The Electronic Intifada, 6 August 2009
(Sousan Hammad is a journalist based in the West Bank city of Ramallah.)

".....But if there is one thing for which Fatah can be counted on, it is exemplary power and its capacity to intimidate -- in this case with the trappings of totalitarianism as defined by the single party and the suppression of all opposition.......

....As Abbas waited for his turn to read from what seemed like an inevitable 60-page speech, a man walked around the aisles handing out cheaply-made, Fatah-branded kuffiyehs (the traditional checkered scarf) to delegates and journalists. He insisted everybody wear it for the cameras.

The spectacle proceeded with an affectedly dramatic speech by former prime minister Ahmed Qureia, who partially owns al-Quds Cement, a company that has sold cement to Israel for the construction of Israel's illegal wall in the West Bank......

Despite Palestine's statelessness, Abbas mentioned how he has been improving security for the state. Upon hearing this, Mohamed Edwan (Head Press Officer to the PA who happened to sit beside me) shook his head and said, "This is a police state, not a state of security."

It is already difficult to see the purpose of such ceremonies, but when Abbas' very own communicator dismisses what he says as a falsehood, how can we expect Fatah's central committee, political agenda and electoral decision-making bodies to act in unison with party members....."

Slogans, Meaningless Slogans.......
Worn out Symbols.......
And Plenty of Crooks.......
At the First Public Meeting of the Mafia in 20 years!

Celebrate Now (or Else!)

(I have one of these Palestinian scarfs. But after seeing all these charlatans wearing the obligatory scarf, which is apparently handed out to all attendees, I refuse to wear one of them from now on.)

المؤتمر السادس لفتح إلى أين؟

"ما ظهر من خلافات داخل اللجنة المركزية والمجلس الثوري لحركة فتح في أثناء التحضير للمؤتمر السادس الذي طال غيابه وتغييبه يدّل دلالةً واضحةً على أن الحركة أمام تطورات ستقرّر مصيرها في أكثر من اتّجاه. ولهذا حقّ القول الذي تردّد عند استشهاد ياسر عرفات: فتح إلى أين؟
في الساحة الفلسطينية، بل في كل ساحة في أي بلد، يجب أن يُكشف عن السياسة وراء كل خلاف مهما بدا في الظاهر صراعًا شخصيا، أو نزاعا على سلطة، أو زعامة أو قيادة
عمد محمود عباس الذي تزعم الصراع ضد ياسر عرفات إلى الاستمساك بكل الصلاحيات التي استبقاها الرئيس عرفات في يده، وإلى إنكار كل الصلاحيات التي أراد سابقًا أن ينزعها منه, مما يؤكد أن الخلاف لم يكن ضد فردية عرفات، وإنما لأجل تنفيذ سياسات معينة
القدومي ألقى من موقعه باعتباره من أصل القيادة التاريخية لفتح جمرة ملتهبة في ضمير المؤتمر السادس، وبين يدَيْ فتح والفصائل الفلسطينية وكل من خطب في وداع عرفات وهو يقول لن يذهب دمك هدرًا
الذين قبلوا المشاركة في مؤتمر غير شرعي سينهون فتح ويرتكبون خطيئة عمرهم إذا مررّوا لمحمود عبّاس أن يكون رئيسًا لفتح أو أمينها العام، أو أعطوه أيّة ميزة على اللجنة المركزية, علمًا بأنه سيفرض نفسه عضوًا فيها بلا انتخاب

White House Beer, by Khalil Bendib

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Real News Video with Pepe Escobar: Iran/China and the New Silk Road

Pepe Escobar revisits the New Great Game, Part 3

More at The Real News

"After 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq, the Chinese leadership was more than ready to counteract the US advancement in Eurasia - and turn it on its head. In the second part of this report, Pepe Escobar analyzes what's at stake at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and what really matters for emerging global power China and regional power Iran: the Asian Energy Security Grid and the re-emergence of the fabled Silk Road, now as a vehicle for energy security as well as trade."

UN Address: Dialogue on the Responsibility to Protect

By Noam Chomsky

Address to the United Nations General Assembly Thematic Dialogue on the Responsibility to Protect, the United Nations, New York, 23 July 2009

"The discussions about Responsibility to Protect (R2P), or its cousin "humanitarian intervention," are regularly disturbed by the rattling of a skeleton in the closet: history, to the present moment.

Throughout history, there have been a few principles of international affairs that apply quite generally. One is the maxim of Thucydides that the strong do as they wish, while the weak suffer as they must. A corollary is what Ian Brownlie calls "the hegemonial approach to law-making": the voice of the powerful sets precedents.

Another principle derives from Adam Smith's account of policy-making in England: the "principal architects" of policy -- in his day the "merchants and manufacturers" -- make sure that their own interests are "most peculiarly attended to" however "grievous" the effect on others, including the people of England -- but far more so, those who were subjected to "the savage injustice of the Europeans," particularly in conquered India, Smith's own prime concern........"

Israeli rabbis ban marriage for Jewish ‘untouchables’

350,000 immigrants classed as ‘without religion’

by Jonathan Cook
Global Research, August 6, 2009

"Two immigrants from the former Soviet Union staged a very public wedding in the streets of central Tel Aviv this week to highlight the plight of hundreds of thousands of Jews barred from lawfully marrying in Israel.

Nico Tarosyan and Olga Samosvatov chose to tie the knot in a special ceremony on Tuesday -- watched by family, friends and curious passers-by -- after Orthodox rabbis had denied them the right to wed.

The rabbinate says that Mr Tarosyan cannot prove he is Jewish according to its strict standards and therefore should not marry Ms Samosvatov, who is considered a proper Jew.

Mr Tarosyan, aged 34, who moved to Israel from Moscow in 1995, called his treatment by the rabbis “humiliating”.

In Russia we were hated because we were Jews and here in Israel we are discriminated against as Russians,” he said........"

This is how the PA treats Palestinian journalists

By Khalid Amayreh in Bethlehem

"The Palestinian Authority (PA) doesn’t stop surprising us with its boundless stupidity and foolish behaviors.

On 4 August, I, like many other journalists, decided to travel to Bethlehem to cover Fatah’s much-heralded and long-awaited Sixth conference. Security was tight and thousands of policemen had been deployed all over the traditional birthplace of Jesus. This generated a lot of consternation among the locals who had to walk long distances to reach their homes and businesses......

This episode on the part of PA security apparatus is not an expression of malicious ill will on the part of security officials. It is rather an expression of ignorance and stupidity. But ignorance is no excuse as Palestinian national interests won’t be served by ignorant security officials who erroneously think that persecuting and humiliating journalists enhance security and makes “the state!!” more feared and respected. In fact, a state that is feared is usually not respected. Respect is often the anti-thesis of fear.

Of course, I am not going to be intimidated by this childish conduct on the part of the PA security apparatus. Our mission as journalists is more paramount than wasting time and energy dealing with stupid distractions......."

“Israel Wages War of Nerves against Iran and Hezbollah”


"06/08/2009 “This week's reports by The Times of London give the impression that Israel is raising the bar in the war of nerves against Iran and Hezbollah,” Israeli newspaper Haaretz said in a report published on Thursday.

On Monday Times reported that Iran had completed its nuclear research program, and that its progress toward building a nuclear bomb depends only on the decision of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei. The following day, it warned of the danger of escalation between Israel and Hezbollah on the border with occupied Plaestine.

Both articles were written by the paper's foreign news editor, Richard Beeston, who was in Israel last week.

The report on Iran's nuclear program is based on anonymous "Western" intelligence sources. But at a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee briefing on Tuesday, the head of the Military Intelligence research brigade, Brig. Gen. Yossi Baidatz, used almost identical terms to those of The Times, Haaretz said.......

According to Haaretz, the possibility of a confrontation with Hezbollah as a direct result of an Israeli strike appears in every Western assessment of potential developments in the region. But The Times also reported on another, aspect of the conflict, one which had already been hinted at in an Israeli newspaper......."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"The New Equation: Tel Aviv in Response to an Attack on Dahiya"


".....The Times of London reported on Wednesday that the resistance group Hezbollah has stockpiled 40,000 rockets near the border with occupied Palestine and is training its resistance fighters to use missiles capable of striking Tel Aviv.

According to the report, resistance fighters are now being trained in the use of both long-range ground-to-ground missiles as well as anti-aircraft missiles to use against Israel.

Israel, the United Nations and Hezbollah itself have all said that the resistance group is stronger today than it was during the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

While the northern front has been relatively quiet since the 2006 conflict, Deputy GOC Northern Command Alon Friedman told The Times that the peace could "explode at any minute."

This report comes a day after Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak warned that its government considers the Lebanese government responsible for any deterioration of the security situation along the northern border.

Last month, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah said his resistance group will not hesitate to attack Tel Aviv should Israel strike the movement's stronghold in Beirut in the Southern Suburb.

Speaking at a closed-door session, Sayyed Nasrallah warned that "the equation had changed" in its method of resistance against Israel and threatened to attack Tel Aviv should the Israeli army bomb the southern suburbs of Beirut, as it did during the 2006 war......"

Hezbollah stockpiles 40,000 rockets near Israel border

Times Online

".....Hezbollah’s rearming is in the name of resistance against Israel. The real reason, however, probably has more to do with its ally Iran. If Israel carries out its threat to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, the main retaliation is likely to come from Hezbollah in Lebanon.....

.....Israel said that Hezbollah’s acquisition of advanced anti-aircraft missiles could prompt a military response to destroy the systems. Israeli warnings relayed to Syria appear to have forestalled the entry of the SA8 system into Lebanon, the sources said.....

Hezbollah officials refused to provide details on its military build-up but they did not deny that they were prepared for another war.

“Hezbollah today is in a better condition than it was in July 2006,” said Sheikh Naim Qassem, Hezbollah’s deputy leader, in an interview with The Times. “And if the Israelis think they will cause more damage against us, they know that we also can inflict more damage on them.”"

In Explosive Allegations, Ex-Employees Link Blackwater Founder to Murder, Threats

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"In sworn statements, two ex-employees claim Blackwater’s owner, Erik Prince, murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. One also charged Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe.” We speak with investigative journalist and bestselling author Jeremy Scahill, who broke the story for The Nation magazine......"

Change We Can Believe in? Oh.......Yeah.Obama Pentagon Plans Speeding Up 'Bunker Buster' Bomb


"WASHINGTON - The US military said on Monday it wants to speed up production plans for an enormous "bunker buster" bomb, amid international concern over underground nuclear sites in Iran and North Korea......

The weapon, weighing in at 30,000 pounds (13,600 kilograms) and carrying 5,300 pounds (2,400 kilograms) of explosives, would be delivered by the radar-evading B-2 Stealth bomber.

The MOP, believed capable of blasting through 200 feet (60 meters) of reinforced concrete, is seen as a potential weapon against nuclear facilities in Iran and North Korea that are mostly buried underground......."

Real News Video with Pepe Escobar: Iran/Russia - a deadly embrace Pt2

Pepe Escobar revisits the New Great Game

More at The Real News

"The Bush administration has tried everything to drive a wedge between Iran and Russia - to no avail. The Obama administration now has to deal with some pretty established facts on the ground. In the first part of this report, Pepe Escobar analyzes the implications of the complex relationship between close allies Iran and Russia, articulated in three fronts: nuclear, energy security and weapons."

Feud between Emanuel and Netanyahu heats up

A Special Report
By Wayne Madsen
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Aug 5, 2009, 00:22

"......Warning shot by Netanyahu fired at Obama

Recent information obtained by WMR from U.S. intelligence sources points to the current false birth certificate controversy as merely a “warning shot” being fired across Obama’s bow by the Netanyahu government. Netanyahu’s government has been caught leaking “intelligence” on Obama’s history to neocon news media with the caveat that it is based on bona fide Israeli intelligence reports.

The real issue, WMR is informed, is the distinct possibility that Obama has been in possession of a passport or passports in addition to his U.S. passport, all stemming from his past post-undergraduate and possible pre-graduate work for Business International Corporation, Inc., a non-official cover “business research” firm in Manhattan that operated on behalf of the CIA. Obama wrote for a few Business International Corporation publications as far as his “official” record is concerned.

Obama has apparently gotten tough with the Netanyahu government, telling the Israeli prime minister that he will not be told what to do by Netanyahu or Israel. That toughness has earned Obama a place at the top of Netanyahu’s political hit list......."

What if Obama's Middle East Strategy Failed?

By Khalid Amayreh
Palestine Think Tank
(Cartoon by Khalil Bendib)

".....However, there are those who are not willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt, not only because they keep hearing nearly daily statements from Washington asserting America’s "iron-clad" commitment to Israeli security, but also because Israel is effectively flying in the face of Obama and telling him "do what you may, we are not going to heed your calls."

Indeed, the systematic savaging by Israel of the Palestinians, especially in the Gaza Strip, as well as the unmitigated theft of Arab land in the West Bank, should be a clarion proof, if a proof was needed, that peace and Israel are an eternal oxymoron.......

And what would be the repercussions and ramifications in case Obama’s entire strategy in the Middle East failed to materialize, mainly as a result of Israeli intransigence and arrogance of power, and also because of America’s perceived unwillingness to exert pressure on Israel to give up the spoils of the 1967 war?

These and other questions were put to three Palestinian intellectuals who have extensive knowledge of the American foreign policy in the Middle East.

"I don’t see any genuine difference between Obama and former US President Bush…" Qassem believes.

"Carbon-copy of Bush"

Abdul Sattar Qassem is a professor of political science at al-Najah National University in Nablus in the Northern West Bank. He is also a prolific writer and political activist who has been imprisoned by Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) a number of times due to his outspoken criticisms of the “peace process” with Israel.

He told Islamonline that he had no doubt that the entire Obama strategy would fail.......

Qassem's views are generally shared by Haider Eid, an English Lecturer at al-Aqsa University in Gaza.

He argues that it is naïve to pin any hope for achieving a just and durable peace on Obama.

"I believe that Obama’s efforts will meet a clarion failure, not only because of the Israeli refusal to end the occupation, and the mounting Nazi-like trends in the Israeli Jewish society, but also because of the conspicuous absence of the political will on the part of official Arab regimes."......"

U-turn puts Hezbollah in the driving seat

By Sami Moubayed
Asia Times

"The opportunistic head of Lebanon's Progressive Socialist Party, Walid Jumblatt, has again switched sides, this time turning his back on the United States-backed March 14 Coalition to support the Syrian-backed, Hezbollah-led opposition. A full party defection would hand Hezbollah a majority in parliament, casting serious doubt on Saad Hariri's future as premier....."

Banking Bandits Get Their Reward

By Robert Scheer

"everybody must know that the top banking executives responsible for our economic meltdown have no shame. Otherwise they would not have dared give themselves such hefty bonuses as a deeply perverse reward for actions that caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs and homes......"

"Beiruti in Jaffa, Yafawi in Beirut": Shafiq al-Hout's story in his own words

Tribute, The Electronic Intifada, 4 August 2009

"On Sunday, 2 August 2009, the celebrated journalist and founding member of the Palestine Liberation Organization Shafiq al-Hout passed away in Beirut, Lebanon at the age of 77. The following is part of Shafiq's story as told to me as part of an oral history project conducted in Beirut in 1999. The project aimed to develop appropriate material for teaching English to Palestinian refugee children based on oral history interviews with five Palestinians old enough to remember their lives in Palestine before the 1948 dispossession. Shafiq was most enthusiastic about participating in the project, explaining, "They want to erase Palestine from the memory of the new generation, and anything I can do to fight that, I will be more than happy." Shafiq not only agreed to be interviewed, but suggested other Palestinians from his generation for the project, and in some instances helped arranged meetings with them. Tears would well in Shafiq's eyes when he spoke of his life in his home city of Jaffa and of the experience of being dispossessed from his country, and the story of his grandfather's death in exile. Shafiq al-Hout was passionate, emotional, critical and a fierce fighter for the Palestinian cause and people. While we are shedding tears over his loss, we must also follow the road to return, a path from which he never wavered. -- Mayssoun Sukarieh, Beirut, Lebanon

Traumatised Children Struggle to Rise Again

By Mel Frykberg

"BREJ, Gaza, Aug 5 (IPS) - Tens of thousands of children in Gaza are still suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following Israel's three-week bombing December- January.

Several crisis counselling teams run by international organisations and NGOs have been carrying out intervention programmes aimed at helping Gaza's most vulnerable put the pieces of their lives back together.

But these groups warn that while there has been some improvement in the collective psyche of Gaza's children, the long-term effects of war are now beginning to show, and unless the rights of Gazans are respected, the next generation's future will be hard to predict......"

Opposition Equated With Terrorists

By Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa Al-Omrani

"CAIRO, Aug 4 (IPS) - The Egyptian government is now accusing the Muslim Brotherhood of links to Palestinian resistance groups and of establishing "global networks". Recent months have seen a host of government accusations - which critics say are fabricated - against opposition groups it claims have ties with Hamas, Hizbullah, and the ever-elusive Al-Qaeda.......

Ibrahim Mansour, executive editor of independent daily Al-Dustour says the campaign specifically targets Brotherhood members who have been outspoken critics of Egypt's position during Israel's recent assault on the Gaza Strip.

Over the course of the three-week assault from December 2008 into January this year, Egypt kept its border with the Hamas-run territory tightly sealed, effectively preventing the delivery of desperately needed humanitarian aid. According to critics, the decision amounted to tacit support for Israel's war on Hamas.

"All the Brotherhood leaders that had been vocal critics of Egypt's closed- border policy at the time have since been arrested or charged," Mansour told IPS. "Those arrested had also been active in organising humanitarian aid donations to Gaza's besieged population during and after the assault."......"

Droning On

Remote-controlled mayhem does not win wars.

By William S. Lind

"When TAC asked me for a piece on military drones, I had to consider which variety of drone was most important: the drone aircraft, the drones who operate the aircraft, or the drones back in the Pentagon who think drive-by shootings can win wars......

In contrast, John Boyd argued that for winning wars, people are most important, ideas come second, and hardware comes third. The Pentagon stints our people to feed its hardware programs, while the pursuit of technological solutions to every problem stifles creative thinking about tactics and doctrine. The American military promotion system washes out the combat leaders, who tend to have rough edges, in favor of bureaucrats and managers who can run big weapons programs and testify smoothly before Congress. In pursuit of the foxfire of victory through technology, America has forgotten the basics of war.

While the Predator and other drones in the air are killing Taliban, the drones in the Pentagon are killing us."

The Silence of the Sheep

by William S. Lind, August 05, 2009

".....But even if President Obama were himself a man of depth and wisdom, an administration is much more than one man. Most of the Obama administration’s leading figures are merely second- and third-stringers from the Clinton administration, resurrected as zombies (starting with Hillary herself). I don’t know of a single strategist among the lot. Most are playing at government, just as little girls play house.

If there is one among the lot who can think beyond the end of his nose – Jim Jones, has the cat got your tongue? – he would do well to quote Col. Reese’s words to the president:

"We now have an Iraqi government that has gained its balance and thinks it knows how to ride the bike in the race. … Our hand on the back of the seat is holding them back and causing resentment. We need to let go before we both tumble to the ground."

With a thud that will be heard around the world."

The ‘Patriotic’ Spy

Larry Franklin revises history – his own

by Justin Raimondo, August 05, 2009

"The AIPAC spy scandal was a big setback for Israel’s lobby in the U.S., despite its ambiguous outcome. Yes, the espionage charges against AIPAC officials Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman were eventually dropped – after every effort to obstruct justice and "graymail" the government was made on the defendants’ behalf – yet just the fact that Israel’s spy ring in Washington was indicted and exposed to public view was and is a major setback for them, and they aren’t about to let it go.

After all, the most powerful lobby in Washington had its offices raided by the FBI not once, but twice, and its name was dragged through a years-long and quite drawn-out process during which the mask began to slip and the true face of AIPAC – as an agent of a foreign government – was there for all to see. Not only that, but the true face of that government as not necessarily a friendly one – indeed, in this instance, as an adversary of the U.S. – was revealed......."

The hidden truth behind drug company profits

Ring-fencing medical knowledge is one of the great grotesqueries of our age

By Johann Hari
The Independent

"This is the story of one of the great unspoken scandals of our times. Today, the people across the world who most need life-saving medicine are being prevented from producing it. Here's the latest example: factories across the poor world are desperate to start producing their own cheaper Tamiflu to protect their populations – but they are being sternly told not to. Why? So rich drug companies can protect their patents – and profits. There is an alternative to this sick system, but we are choosing to ignore it.

To understand this tale, we have to start with an apparent mystery. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has been correctly warning for months that if swine flu spreads to the poorest parts of the world, it could cull hundreds of thousands of people – or more. Yet they have also been telling the governments of the poor world not to go ahead and produce as much Tamiflu – the only drug we have to reduce the symptoms, and potentially save lives – as they possibly can......"

Legitimising Lieberman

Israel's aggressively far-right foreign minister epitomises deeply ingrained trends – what was once outlawed is now acceptable

Antony Lerman, Tuesday 4 August 2009

"Avigdor Lieberman is no aberration in Israel's polity. His aggressive rightwing Zionist rhetoric, racist demonisation of Palestinians and Arab-Israelis, shameless political populism and the tide of corruption allegations now close to engulfing him are all depressingly and dangerously familiar features of a broken system. The immigrant from Moldova has brilliantly exploited and contributed to the fracturing of politics in the state – but anyone who thinks his removal from the governmental scene will signal some sea change is sadly mistaken. The trends Lieberman represents and epitomises are deeply ingrained. Netanyahu is midwife and child of them, too......"

Jordan Backs Effort for Arab Concessions. Treason Runs Deep in the Hashemite Blood; it is in Their DNA.


"05/08/2009 Jordan's foreign minister strongly backed the Obama administration's efforts to garner confidence-building measures toward the Zionist entity from Arab states Tuesday, bolstering the US approach in the face of public opposition from other Arab leaders.

Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh stressed that Jordan is "committed to creating the right atmosphere" and supporting the "vision" of the US, which wants to see conditions for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations toward a two-state solution set by gestures from Arab states and the Zionist entity.

In a meeting with reporters, Judeh said reports of remarks he made Monday appearing to criticize such steps had been inaccurate......"

UK Calls for a “New Beginning” with Syria


"05/08/2009 A junior minister with the British foreign office urged Syria on Tuesday to use its influence with Hamas and Hezbollah to stop what he called “violence” against the Zionist entity and help create the climate for a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Ivan Lewis, the deputy British Foreign Office minister, called for a "new beginning" with Syria and said Damascus should be encouraged to change policies, despite its alliance with Iran and support for the Palestinian Hamas and Lebanese Hezbollah resistance groups.

Lewis spoke in Damascus after talks with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem. He is on a three-day visit to Syria and is scheduled to travel to Lebanon next......"

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Just Like Fatah of Earlier Days; it is Déjà Vu All Over Again: Hamas's foreign policy

Acceptance versus recognition

A Hamas spokesman wants Barack Obama to talk to him

The Economist

HAMAS is very close on recognition of Israel,” says Ahmed Yousef, the Islamist movement’s deputy foreign minister, speaking from the top floor of a high-rise building in Gaza City. “We show all sorts of ideological flexibility on this.” That does not, alas, mean he can unequivocally accept the three conditions the Quartet (the United States, the European Union, the UN and Russia) laid down three years ago if Hamas is to join international negotiations. But he comes close to doing so, sounding almost desperate to stretch the semantic elastic to satisfy the doubters. It is a formulation that sticks closely to the enunciations of both Khaled Meshaal, the movement’s Syria-based leader, and Ismail Haniyeh, its prime minister in Gaza.

Hamas “honours” all previous agreements of the Palestine Liberation Organisation [with Israel], which include recognition, provided the other side abides by all its reciprocal promises. Hamas is ready to extend its present “unilateral ceasefire” if the other side formally agrees to one: not exactly the Quartet’s demand for a definitive disavowal of violence. And when it comes to recognising Israel, “the issue is not Israel’s right to exist. We know Israel is there. It’s not a matter of recognition.” The distinction, it seems, is a semantic but nonetheless ticklish one: between acceptance and recognition. Some diplomats draw an analogy with the Irish republicans of Sinn Fein, who engaged in negotiations with Britain over Northern Ireland after disavowing violence, but still refused to accept the province’s legitimacy as part of the United Kingdom.

Mustering his arguments, Mr Yousef repeatedly insists on Hamas’s eagerness to jump into the diplomatic fray. Again echoing Mr Meshaal, he pins fresh hope on Barack Obama, copiously praising his Cairo speech to the Muslim world in June. “In general it was excellent,” he says. “I do believe he’s sincere. But is he ready to walk the way he talks?” Or will he succumb to “pressure from Christian fundamentalists and the Jewish lobby? We wait for facts on the ground.” Mr Yousef also lauds George Mitchell, Mr Obama’s special envoy. Mr Mitchell, incidentally, was largely responsible for drawing in Sinn Fein.

“Let us sit down and talk. It’s unfair to place preconditions,” says Mr Yousef, citing a string of UN resolutions which, he says, Israel has flouted over the years without being barred from negotiation as a result. “[The Israelis] deceive the world community by saying Hamas does not recognise Israel. We have said we accept a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders—that is 20% of the land of Palestine. Fatah [formally] recognised Israel but what did it get [in return]? We have even offered a hudna [truce] of 10-20 years, to build confidence, to make a better climate.” Perhaps, suggests Mr Yousef, the two sides could agree to an immediate ceasefire for a year, to build on today’s “period of quietness”.

In any event, if Hamas is to follow suit, a number of other issues must first be tackled, says Mr Yousef. Israel, he says, must lift its cruel siege of Gaza. The building of Jewish settlements on the West Bank must stop. There must be an exchange of prisoners between Israel and the Palestinians. And Mr Obama must then call an international conference.

Mr Obama must also “boost the Egyptians to go ahead with national reconciliation between the Palestinians.”“We should blame ourselves as well as others for failing to achieve national reconciliation.” Mr Yousef promises that Hamas, which won the Palestinians’ last general election, in 2006, would gracefully bow out of office if it were to lose next time round, maybe early next year. “We accept the peaceful rotation of power.”

Repeating Hamas’s argument that any Israeli-Palestinian deal should be put to all Palestinians in a referendum, including those in the diaspora, he insists that if people chose a two-state solution, “Hamas would not object”, even though it would still prefer a single state for “all the Abrahamic faiths, maybe a Holy Land federation…we leave it to the next generation to decide what kind of [arrangement]”.

Like most Hamas officials, he breezily dismisses the movement’s charter, with its anti-Semitic slurs and its chilling calls for the Jewish state’s violent destruction. It is “not an important document—we don’t use it. Why should we change it when we never use it?” If Hamas wanted to show good will as part of its campaign to enter negotiations, the junking—or drastic editing—of its blood-curdling charter would be a telling token of intent. "