Saturday, August 21, 2010

Israel: New Peak in Arbitrary Razing of Palestinian Homes

Discriminatory Israeli Policies Demolish Village, Forcibly Displace West Bank Residents

August 19, 2010

"(Jerusalem) - The Israeli government should immediately stop the arbitrary destruction of Palestinian homes and other property in the West Bank and compensate the people it has displaced, Human Rights Watch said today. Israeli authorities destroyed 141 Palestinian homes and other buildings in July 2010, the largest number in any month since at least 2005, and have already carried out dozens of demolitions in August.

"While Israel is demolishing more and more Palestinian homes, it continues to subsidize the Jewish settlements nearby," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "Israel has flouted international law not only by supporting settlements on occupied territory, but also by erasing longstanding Palestinian communities next door."....."

Brazil and Venezuela: Two Turning Point Elections this Fall

Two elections in Latin America this fall will have decisive importance in the direction of economic and foreign policy for the coming decade.

By James Petras


The coming elections in Brazil and Venezuela will have a decisive impact on Latin American politics, economic policy and relations with the US throughout the second decade of this century. If Brazil “goes Right”, it will immeasurably strengthen US influence in the region,and eliminate an independent voice. Even as neither candidate will put a foot forward toward greater social justice, the election of Lula’s preferred candidate Dilma Rousseff will proceed toward greater Latin American integration and a relatively independent foreign economic policy. Her election will not open the door to any consequential structural changes.

A victory for the Venezuelan Socialists will strengthen Chavez’s resolve and ability to continue his social welfare polices and his anti-imperialist and pro-integration policies. Chavez’s strong stance in opposing US militarization, including the coup in Honduras and the military bases in Colombia, embolden center-left regimes to adopt a somewhat more moderate but principled position opposing militarization. Chavez’s socialist reforms in Venezuela serve as a pressure on center-left regimes to legislate social reforms, promote poverty programs and joint ventures, instead of following the neo-liberal policies of the pro-US hard Right. In Brazil the question is voting for the lesser evil, in Venezuela it is a question of voting for the greater good. "

The Hamas Taliban at it Again! This time closing an amusement park for holding "mixed" (men and women) parties!

شرطة "حماس" تغلق منتجعا ترفيهيا بدعوى تنظيم حفلات مختلطة


اغلقت الشرطة التابعة لحكومة حماس المقالة الجمعة منتجع "كريزي ووتر" الترفيهي في مدينة غزة بصورة مؤقتة بدعوى تنظيم اصحاب المكان حفلات مختلطة، كما علم لدى ادارة المنتجع.

وقال علاء الاعرج احد اصحاب المنتجع ان "عناصر من المباحث العامة قامت اليوم باغلاق المنتجع دون تسليمنا اي كتاب رسمي. لقد اكتفوا بتبليغنا شفهيا بان لديهم ملاحظات على الاختلاط و الحفلات التي يقيمها المنتجع".

وتابع "ابلغونا ان قرار الاغلاق لمدة ثلاثة ايام مبدئيا، لكننا نامل ان نتمكن من حل المسالة فالمنتجع يستقبل العائلات والحفلات التي نقدمها ثقافية وترفيهية".

واوضح الاعرج ان عناصر الشرطة المقالة "اخرجوا الزبائن من المنتجع وقت الافطار، وكان فيه اكثر من 150 شخصا بينهم جمعيات للايتام".

وافتتح المنتجع الذي يملكه خمسة مستثمرين و تقام فيه اسبوعيا حفلة موسيقية على الاقل غرب مدينة غزة قبل شهرين.

ولم يتسن الحصول على تعقيب من الحكومة التي تديرها حركة حماس التي تسيطر على قطاع غزة منذ منتصف 2007.


Any hope that a progressive voice from within Hamas could mediate against this torrent of reactionary policies has faded. I should not be surprised; Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood after all.

There was another item in the news today about Hamas collecting all arms in Gaza, not licensed by it. In other words, no armed resistance will be allowed unless Hamas decides it. This guarantees a clash with Islamic Jihad and other resistance factions.

Now I see why Israel encouraged the emergence of Hamas, when Gaza was occupied. It could not find a better reactionary force to keep the peace for it and prevent true liberation (socially, politically, culturally, economically, etc) of the Palestinians.

I thought that it would not come to this, but now I think Palestinians should work to, peacefully, bring down Hamas and show that this reactionary model will not work in Palestine.

The Question has been answered

[we have been discussing the "will they or wont they hit Iran?" for years. It is safe to say that Iran is safe now.]

Iranian and Russian engineers began loading fuel into Iran's first nuclear power plant on Saturday, a major milestone as Tehran forges ahead with its atomic program despite U.N. sanctions.

The weeklong operation to load uranium fuel into the reactor at the Bushehr power plant in southern Iran is the first step in starting up a facility the U.S. once hoped to prevent because of fears over Tehran's nuclear


Russia, which helped finish building the plant, has pledged to safeguard the site and prevent spent nuclear fuel from being shifted to a possible weapons program.

Iran's envoy to the UN nuclear watchdog, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said Thursday that any military attack against an operational nuclear power plant would be a direct violation of the UN charter. It also would likely provoke international outrage by possibly unleashing dangerous radiation.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Troops Punished After Refusing to Attend Evangelical Concert

After a day of training at Fort Eustis, Smith and other trainees were normally released to have personal time, but on May 13, Smith and dozens of others were "required" to march in formation to a concert headlined by an evangelical Christian rock band. Smith and about 80 others decided not to attend, even though they were obviously being "pressured" to do so. Smith and the others were sent back to their barracks on "lockdown," a punishment that Smith said withholds even basic freedoms like using their own electronics.

The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب: Justice in the kingdom of Horrors

The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب: Justice in the kingdom of Horrors: "'A Saudi judge has asked several hospitals in the country whether they could damage a man's spinal cord as punishment after he was convicte..."

المفاوضات المباشرة بداية الشهر المقبل

Good Puppy....
Now Sit!

Lebanon Braces for a Turbulent Fall

The IDF, LAF and STL


"August has not seen a week without Lebanon making headlines. And mounting domestic and foreign pressures indicate the same may hold true in September.

The need for an unprecedented joint visit by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Beirut to stem nascent sectarian tensions; the outbreak of violence along the Lebanese-Israeli border; the killing of the leader of Fatah al-Islam—an al-Qaeda-inspired group operating in the shadows of the country’s Palestinian refugee camps; evidence presented by Hezbollah chief Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah backing claims that Israel was behind the February 2005 assassination of late Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri after elements in his group are now expected to be indicted for the murder; all point to the precarious situation the country finds itself....

Compounding these strains and the constant anxiety over what pretext Israel will use to launch another military assault on Lebanon is the expected fallout from the STL report, due to be released in the coming months. If it does overlook the telling signs of Israeli involvement in the plot to kill Hariri and fingers Hezbollah, the potential exists in Lebanon for sect to be pitted against sect, faction against faction, and coalition against coalition, sowing internal strife and leading to disarray in government—just as Israel intended.
Lebanon seems set for a turbulent fall."

Al-Jazeera Video: Desecration protest in Jerusalem

"Dozens of demonstrators in West Jerusalem have protested against the demolition of tombstones in the city's historic Muslim cemetery.

The protesters say hundreds of graves were desecrated. But city officials say they simply did away with fake tombstones, placed there to deter developers.

Nisreen El-Shamayleh has the story."

Real News Video with Transcript: CHINA AND THE "END OF THE END OF HISTORY"


More at The Real News

Obama Admin Claims End to Combat Operations in Iraq, But Iraqis See Same War Under a Different Name

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"The Obama administration says the last combat brigades have left Iraq. Is this the end of the Iraq war or just a rebranding of the US occupation? More than 50,000 troops remain in Iraq as well as 4,500 special operations forces and tens of thousands of private contractors. The US embassy in Baghdad is the largest in the world–the size of 80 football fields. We get a perspective on the so-called withdrawal rarely heard in the US media: that of two Iraqis, Raed Jarrar of Peace Action and Yanar Mohammed of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq...."

Israelis conducting covert maritime operations in Persian Gulf

By Wayne Madsen
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Aug 20, 2010, 00:16

"Chinese and Japanese intelligence agencies, which closely monitor events in the Persian Gulf due to the dependence of both countries on oil from the region, report that Israeli Navy commandos have recently been active in creating maritime incidents in the Gulf that could be blamed on Iran.

The five incidents that have Israel under the scrutiny of the intelligence services of China and Japan, the world’s second and third largest economic powers, respectively, are the “robbery” attacks on four merchant ships off Basra, Iraq on August 8 and the July 28 explosion on the Japanese supertanker MV M. Star in the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

Last month, the Israeli Navy deployed older U-209 and newer U-212 Dolphin-class diesel submarines, obtained from Germany, to the Persian Gulf. The submarines are known to have on board a number of Shayetet 13 naval commando squadrons trained to carry out sabotage against sea and shore targets.

On August 17, Japan’s NHK news network reported that the Voyage Data Recorder radar on board the M. Starspotted a small boat engaged in “suspicious movements” shortly before an explosion damaged the ship’s hull and injured one seaman. On August 4, a virtual unknown group called the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, said to be linked to “Al Qaeda,” claimed responsibility for the attack, but intelligence sources scoffed at the notion that such a group could have carried out such a stealth-like attack.

Japanese intelligence believes what damaged the M. Star was an underwater remotely-piloted drone, similar to the airborne variety used extensively by the United States and Israel in the Middle East......"

All Lies, All the Time

Your tax dollars at work

By Justin Raimondo

"I had to laugh when I saw the headline on "US Announces Second Fake End to Iraq War." Yes, I did indeed get a rush of déjà-vu as I listened to Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow solemnly describe "the end" of the "combat mission" in Iraq, and Richard Engel pontificate as the cameras zoomed in on the "last" convoy over the border to Kuwait. Occasionally, however, reality would intrude, as Rachel noted the broadcast could be interrupted at any time by a sudden attack, and there would be no time to explain to viewers what was happening. It was Olbermann who openly referred to Bush’s "Mission Accomplished" moment, and wondered if perhaps this wasn’t a re-run: I’ll bet he got in plenty of trouble for that little crack. As Engel interviewed a couple of disinterested looking grunts about their innermost thoughts at "this historic moment," I thought: from "shock and awe" to schlock and yawn.

This farcical "withdrawal," which amounts to merely increasing the number of mercenaries in the region, is a complete fabrication, motivated by pure politics and an infinite faith in the cluelessness of the Average Joe, who is too busy looking for a job to care....."

The management consultancy scam

"We were proud of the way we used to make things up as we went along", he says. "It's like robbing a bank but legal"

By Johann Hari
The Independent

"In the long fake boom of the Nineties and Noughties, we were sold a thousand scams. End government regulation of the financial system! Turn banks into casinos! Pay CEOs 500 times more than their staff! Bow, bow, bow before our mansion-dwelling overlords and the Total Efficiency they will bring! Yet from under the rubble left by these delusions, one of the greatest scams has skipped out unscathed, and it is now successfully selling itself as a solution to the fading of the boom-light. It is probably in your workplace now, or coming soon. Its name? Management consultancy.

There are now half a million management consultants in the world, and they all grumble that they face one question wherever they go: yes, but what is it that you actually do? They claim to be able to enter any organisation, watch its workers for a short period, and then – using graphs, algorithms, and a jargon that makes quantum physics look like Sesame Street – render it dramatically more efficient, for a fee. They are everywhere: in the US, AT&T (to pluck a random company) spent $500m on them in just five years, while the British state will soon be spending more on management consultants than on upgrading its nuclear weapons.

Yet the process of management consultancy has always been shrouded in priestly secrecy....."

Saudi judge asks hospital to paralyse criminal


"A Saudi judge has asked several hospitals in the country whether they could damage a man's spinal cord as punishment after he was convicted of attacking another man with a cleaver, leaving the victim paralysed.

Saudi Arabia enforces strict Islamic law and occasionally metes out punishments based on the ancient code of an eye-for-an-eye....The newspaper Okaz said the judge in northwestern Tabuk province, identified as Saoud bin Suleiman al-Youssef, asked at least two hospitals for a medical opinion on whether surgeons could render the attacker's spinal cord nonfunctional....

Amnesty International expressed concerns over the reports and said it was contacting Saudi authorities for details of the case."

US troops say goodbye to Iraq

Torture. Corruption. Civil war. America has certainly left its mark

By Robert Fisk

(Cartoon by Emad Hajjaj)

".....So we should not be taken in by the tomfoolery on the Kuwaiti border in the last few hours, the departure of the last "combat" troops from Iraq two weeks ahead of schedule. Nor by the infantile cries of "We won" from teenage soldiers, some of whom must have been 12-years-old when George W Bush sent his army off on this catastrophic Iraqi adventure. They are leaving behind 50,000 men and women – a third of the entire US occupation force – who will be attacked and who will still have to fight against the insurgency.

Yes, officially they are there to train the gunmen and militiamen and the poorest of the poor who have joined the new Iraqi army, whose own commander does not believe they will be ready to defend their country until 2020. But they will still be in occupation – for surely one of the the "American interests" they must defend is their own presence – along with the thousands of armed and indisciplined mercenaries, western and eastern, who are shooting their way around Iraq to safeguard our precious western diplomats and businessmen. So say it out loud: we are not leaving......"

'Israel tortures everywhere it goes'

Press TV Interview
With Franklin Lamb

"There is outrage around the world at an Israel soldier's posting of her pictures with handcuffed and blindfolded Palestinians. She terms these "trophy pictures."....

An Israeli rights group said the pictures were not exceptional and that they presented a norm in the Israel military. The Israeli Public Committee against Torture also believes these photos prove that the Israeli military treats Palestinians like objects, not humans.

Abergil took the photos during her military service in 2008. Press TV interviewed Franklin Lamb, an international lawyer in Beirut, about the issue. Following is a transcript of the interview.....

Press TV: Do you think that the cruelty reflected in these photos and the lack of conciseness is widespread in the Israeli military? Do you think this was a very individual isolated situation?

Lamb: What we see here is what we saw in Lebanon going back to 1982 and in 2006 - village houses which were taken over - and there is a cliche in Lebanon about Israeli soldiers. They have some problem because they go to the bathroom - they take their feces and they put it on mattresses and spread it on the walls. They use the same kind of racist language in Gaza about dogs.

There is a sickness in the Israeli army and other armies who are engaged in occupation and brutality, who are trained to despise their enemies. They practice despising supposed enemies. Everywhere they go they practice the same conduct. It is endemic. Should not the army investigate itself and clean up this kind of behavior? It is not the most moral army - it is arguably the least moral army. There has to be change. I should say the Israel army should go to square one and start training their soldiers to treat people as human beings....."

Surprise, Surprise (NOT): Direct talks 'to resume' next month


(Hanging tight to the only constant that matters to the stooge)

"Israeli and Palestinian officials are expected to be invited to meet in Washington next month for their first direct talks in a year and a half, according to media reports.

Formal announcements are anticipated from the US state department and the quartet of Middle East peace negotiators - the UN, Russia the EU and the United States - regarding developments later on Friday.

According to unnamed diplomatic sources quoted by Reuters news agency, the two sides could hold their first face-to-face meeting on September 2 in Washington DC......"

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Liberation Lingerie by Hamas


To: All Gaza Women.
August 19, 2010

This edict is to instruct all Gaza women about the proper, Hamas-approved, line of lingerie. This line of lingerie can only be bought from Hamas clothing stores; but remember that the proceeds go towards the liberation of the Palestinian people.


Any women found not wearing this approved lingerie, will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, with a maximum of 40 lashes. Be forewarned since the undercover agents of the Ministry of Virtue are snooping on you, even while you sleep.

Allahu Akbar.

'I would gladly kill Arabs - even slaughter them'

In new bid to defend publishing controversial images, former IDF soldier Eden Abergil writes on Facebook 'In war there are no rules.'

Contributed by W


"...."In war there are no rules," Abergil allegedly wrote on the wall of her profile page on the social network Facebook.....

"I can't allow Arab lovers to ruin the perfect life I lead," she allegedly wrote. "I am not sorry and I don’t regret it."

"I am in favor of a Jewish-Zionist State," she added. "I defend what has been rightfully mine for ages," she wrote....."

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question asked is:

Do you see the departure of US troops from Iraq at the present time as timely?

With over 1,000 responding so far, 78% said yes.



More at The Real News

Barriers Rise Between Ramadan Gatherings

By Mel Frykberg

"AZZUN ATMA, Occupied Northern West Bank, Aug 19, 2010 (IPS) - For seven years Majda Abdul Qader Sheikh, 38, has not been allowed to visit the home of her parents, just a few hundred metres from her house.

"I tried to get a special visitor's permit for a quick visit during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan but I was refused," says Sheikh, mother of seven children. "I have had no problems with the Israeli authorities, nor am I considered a security threat," she added.

Sheikh is not trying to leave the West Bank or even travel to another city. Instead she is trying to access another part of the Palestinian village Azzun Atma where she lives with her husband and children.

This agricultural village of 2,000 residents falls in Qalqilia district in the northern West Bank. It is one of more than 50 Palestinian communities, comprising 35,000 people, trapped in a "seam zone" and surrounded by Israeli settlements on three sides.

The seam zone is located between the Green Line (GL) -- Israel's internationally recognised border with the West Bank -- and Israel's separation barrier, supposedly built for "security reasons" in 2003. The barrier, comprising fences, ditches and walls, veers off the GL and cuts deeply into Palestinian territory......"

And the State, is It Loyal?

By Neve Gordon
Palestine Chronicle

"....A state that is loyal to its citizens does not discriminate between Jews and Arabs, does not expropriate land from Muslims and Christians, does not humiliate and trample on the lower classes, and does not brutally oppress the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. A state of this sort protects the rights of each and every citizen and, thus, will not need to demand loyalty because it will receive loyalty on a silver platter.

Yes, I too understand the importance of loyalty. But the appropriate chant is not ‘No citizenship without loyalty!’ but rather “Loyalty to every citizen!”"

Tales from the Northwest Frontier

by Philip Giraldi, August 19, 2010

"...Americans should be skeptical about anything being promoted by the government or the mainstream media. They should challenge every dollar being demanded by the Defense Department, the intelligence agencies, and by the Department of Homeland Security. Put an end to the American empire and its symbiotic military industrial complex and you can stop writing a blank check every year for the Pentagon, you can stop borrowing money to fund the wars, and you can take sensible steps to reduce the size of government. As the memory of the overhyped terrorist threat fades, you might even begin to restore some of those civil liberties that have been stripped away by the Patriot Acts, the Military Commissions Act, and the assertion of state secrets privilege.

America needs first of all to stop thinking of war like it is some kind of romantic novel or Hollywood production. Glamorizing and glorifying the young men and women fighting the desperate natives in the Hindu Kush will only result in many more dead and national bankruptcy. It is time to tell a different tale. If there is to be any healing, Americans must acknowledge that it has been the brutal and disastrous foreign and security policies that have driven virtually everything that ails the United States today."

Lebanese all-women ship aims for Gaza

"We have no arms and we will go to Gaza."

"The ship Mariam will leave for Cyprus on Sunday at 10pm (1900 GMT, 0500 AEST Monday) from the port of Tripoli" in north Lebanon, organiser Samar al-Hajj told reporters outside the port.

The Mariam, a Bolivian-flagged cargo ship originally named the Junia Star, plans to carry aid to Gaza in an bid to break the four-year siege of Gaza with 50 Lebanese and foreign women activists on board, including a local pop star.

The Naji al-Ali, another Lebanese boat organised by journalists and originally named Julia, has also announced it would sail to Gaza via Cyprus, but has not yet received clearance from Lebanese authorities.

Bassam Aramin's search for justice

On a hot August afternoon exactly three years ago Bassam Aramin was adamant that he did not want revenge for the death of his ten-year-old daughter, Abir, but justice. At the time, he added quietly: "I have to prove my daughter was killed: that is my problem."

Yesterday he had the satisfaction of knowing that his three-year fight to do just that had been vindicated by a judge's ruling that Abir Aramin had indeed been shot dead by a border policeman with a rubber bullet, that the killing was "totally unjustifiable" and that the state should pay her family compensation.

It had not been easy. Abir, described by teachers as a "lovely" model student, was fatally wounded in January 2007 as she walked down the street with her sister and two friends after buying sweets in a shop across the road from her school in the West Bank village of Anata at the end of a maths exam.

The dead girl's father spoke eight months later to The Independent after learning that police investigators had closed the file on his daughter's death without attributing blame for it.

Why WikiLeaks must be protected

The case of the Afghanistan war logs and the hounding of Julian Assange prove that there’s never been greater need to speak truth to power than today.

By John Pilger
New Statesman

"On 26 July, WikiLeaks released thousands of secret US military files on the war in Afghanistan. Cover-ups, a secret assassination unit and the killing of civilians are documented. In file after file, the brutalities echo the colonial past. From Malaya and Vietnam to Bloody Sunday and Basra, little has changed. The difference is that today there is an extraordinary way of knowing how faraway societies are routinely ravaged in our name. WikiLeaks has acquired records of six years of civilian killing in both Afghanistan and Iraq, of which those published in the Guardian are a fraction.

There is understandably hysteria on high, with demands that the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, be "hunted down" and "rendered". In Washington, I interviewed a senior official in the defence department and asked: "Can you give a guarantee that the editors of WikiLeaks and the editor-in-chief, who is not American, will not be subjected to the kind of manhunt that we read about in the media?" He replied: "It's not my position to give guarantees on anything."....

A duty to publish
On 16 August, the Guardian, citing Daniel Ellsberg, described the great Israeli whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu as "the pre-eminent hero of the nuclear age". Vanunu, who alerted the world to Israel's secret nuclear weapons, was kidnapped by the Israelis and incarcerated for 18 years after he was left unprotected by the Sunday Times, which had published the documents he supplied.....

The WikiLeaks revelations shame the dominant section of journalism, devoted merely to taking down what cynical and malign power tells it. This is state stenography, not journalism. Look on the WikiLeaks site and read a Ministry of Defence document that describes the "threat" of real journalism. And so it should be a threat. Having skilfully published the WikiLeaks exposé of a fraudulent war, the Guardian should now give its most powerful and unreserved editorial support to the protection of Assange and his colleagues, whose truth-telling is as important as any in my lifetime......"

Exclusive: Obama's pledge to close down Guantanamo is 'not even close'

Commander says camp will take months to shut – and he's still waiting for the order

By Robert Verkaik, Law Editor
The Independent

"Barack Obama's pledge to shut down Guantanamo Bay will not be honoured until at least a year after the President's self-imposed deadline – and may not be completed in his first administration.

The man in charge of the seven prison camps at the US naval base in Cuba is yet to receive direct orders to begin the transfer of prisoners so he can close the detention facilities.

In his first media interview since taking up the post three months ago, Admiral Jeffrey Harbeson said that even if President Obama implemented his order today it would take him six months to complete the job, a year after the January 2010 deadline imposed by the President when he signed the executive order in 2009....."

Poll: 'No' to US wars at all time high

Press TV

"A new opinion poll says the number of Americans opposed to the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is at an all time high.

The CNN opinion poll found that 62 percent of the American people now think that the war in Afghanistan neither can be won, nor should it be fought at all, the Press TV correspondent in Washington reported on Thursday.

The poll also found that 69 percent of the Americans are now opposed to the US war in Iraq and favored the US President Barack Obama's plan to withdraw 50,000 US troops from the country.

The poll, on the other hand, shows 30 percent of Americans support the wars.

About 50-thousand American soldiers will remain in the war-torn Iraq until the end of 2011 to help "train" Iraqi forces...."

Israeli abuse pictures 'common'

By Andrew Wander

"Israeli soldiers are routinely taking degrading photographs of dead and captured Palestinians and posting them on the internet, human rights groups have said.

The claims come a day after the Israeli military attempted to quell controversy over photographs showing a female soldierposing provocativelywith blindfolded Palestinian detainees.
The Israeli military said on Monday that the pictures were "disgraceful" and insisted that the incident was in "total opposition" to the army's "ethical code".

But on Tuesday an Israeli rights group released a fresh batch of photographs [see post below], apparently showing Israeli troops posing with dead, wounded and captured Palestinians, which they said cast doubt on the official line that such incidents are rare.

Breaking the Silence, an organisation that collects testimony from former soldiers, posted a folder on the internet containing nine pictures obtained from army veterans.....

Rights activists say that the phenomenon of taking so-called 'souvenir pictures' is widespread within the Israeli military.

"We released these because it seemed as if the IDF was presenting the pictures that came out yesterday as a one-off case," Mikhael Manekin, a campaigner from Breaking the Silence, told Al Jazeera.

"Pictures of soldiers with detainees are highly normative. The soldiers themselves aren't even embarrassed about these pictures, which shows how normative they are."

Meanwhile, Israeli human rights group B'tselem said testimony from Palestinians corroborates anecdotal evidence that such pictures are not unusual....."

Rotten apples, huh?!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

IDF soldiers suspected of theft from Gaza flotilla ship

At least four soldiers being detained on suspicion of stealing and selling laptops belonging to activists aboard the Mavi Marmara ship, Israeli media report.

Read more

U.S. support for Israel is decreasing, new poll shows

American support for Israel is waning, a poll presented to senior Israeli officials in Jerusalem last week revealed.

One of the questions that the poll presented was "Does the U.S. need to support Israel?" In August of 2009, 63% of Americans polled said that the U.S. does need to support Israel. In June of this year, 58% of respondents shared the same view; by July only 51% of respondents said the U.S. needed to support Israel.

Another question posed by the pole was "Is the Israeli government committed to peace with the Palestinians?" In December of 2007, 66% of respondents said that the government, then led by Ehud Olmert, was committed to peace with the Palestinians. In June of 2009, a month after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the White House, only 46% of Americans said they believed the Netanyahu government was committed to peace.

Read more-Haaretz

Israel jails father of child filmed protesting arrest

HEBRON (Ma'an) -- The father of a new-famous child who was filmed begging Israeli forces to release his dad from detention has been sentenced to three months in prison plus a fine, relatives said Wednesday.

Footage of Fadil Al-Jabari's four-year-old son Khalid sobbing at the sight of his father being dragged away sparked outrage. "You dog, give me my dad. I want daddy. I want daddy. Give me my dad," Khalid cried.

Fadil was charged with obstructing an arrest and striking an officer, both charges that he denied. Khalid's uncle was sentenced along with his father, also for three months, family members told Ma'an.

According to his grandmother, Khalid still asks when his father is coming home and has become agitated, fighting with his younger sister.

Rabbi Yosef: No to 3rd generation phones

New school year – new regulations: Senior rabbis in the haredi-Sephardic public, headed by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, urged yeshiva students to avoid electronic and cellular devices that allow watching movies or surfing the internet.

In notice published on Thursday, the rabbis claimed these were "street debauchedness" that must be rejected in favor of the yeshiva and studying at the seminary.

"We heard of small, new devices that let you watch movies and surf the internet, heaven forbid, and reach all sorts of foul places – in one instant a man can stumble and fall, heaven forbid, to the bottom of the pit," read the notice.

"Therefore," the rabbis added, "We urge to keep as far away from these
dangerous devices as possible, keep restraint and beware."

Hamas bans Gaza's lingerie displays. Is This Hamas' Real Battle??


"Hamas has demanded that shops in Gaza stop displaying female lingerie, the latest in a series of new rules imposed in the name of "public morality".

The most popular lingerie shop in Gaza has been told not to display bras, underwear or nightdresses, even inside the shop.

The lingerie display rule comes after Hamas banned women from smoking shisha on beaches or riding on motorbikes. [What is next Hamas? Music, poetry, thinking,..., breathing??]

Al Jazeera's Nicole Johnston reports from the Gaza Strip."

The transformation of Latin America is a global advance

The radical tide is about to be put to the test in Brazil and Venezuela. If support holds, it will have lessons for all of us

By Seumas Milne, Wednesday 18 August 2010

"Nearly two centuries after it won nominal independence and Washington declared it a backyard, Latin America is standing up. The tide of progressive change that has swept the continent for the past decade has brought to power a string of social democratic and radical socialist governments that have attacked social and racial privilege, rejected neoliberal orthodoxy and challenged imperial domination of the region.
Its significance is often underestimated or trivialised in Europe and North America. But along with the rise of China, the economic crash of 2008 and the demonstration of the limits of US power in the "war on terror", the emergence of an independent Latin America is one of a handful of developments reshaping the global order. From Ecuador to Brazil, Bolivia to Argentina, elected leaders have turned away from the IMF, taken back resources from corporate control, boosted regional integration and carved out independent alliances across the world.....

But direct military intervention looks implausible for the foreseeable future. If the political and social movements that have driven the continent's transformation can maintain their momentum and support, they won't only be laying the foundation of an independent Latin America, but new forms of socialist politics declared an impossibility in the modern era. Two decades after we were told there was no alternative, another world is being created."

Wikipedia editing courses launched by Zionist groups

Two Israeli groups set up training courses in Wikipedia editing with aims to 'show the other side' over borders and culture

Rachel Shabi in Jerusalem and Jemima Kiss, Wednesday 18 August 2010

"Since the earliest days of the worldwide web, the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has seen its rhetorical counterpart fought out on the talkboards and chatrooms of the internet.
Now two Israeli groups seeking to gain the upper hand in the online debate have launched a course in "Zionist editing" for Wikipedia, the online reference site.

Yesha Council, representing the Jewish settler movement, and the rightwing Israel Sheli (My I srael) movement, ran their first workshop this week in Jerusalem, teaching participants how to rewrite and revise some of the most hotly disputed pages of the online reference site....

And on Wikipedia, they believe that there is much work to do.
Take the page on Israel, for a start: "The map of Israel is portrayed without the Golan heights or Judea and Samaria," said Bennett, referring to the annexed Syrian territory and the West Bank area occupied by Israel in 1967.....

The organisiers of the Wikipedia courses, are already planning a competition to find the "Best Zionist editor", with a prize of a hot-air balloon trip over Israel....."

The Best Time of My Life! By Emad Hajjaj.

Israel Places Order For 20 F-35s; U.S. Picks Up The Tab

Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak approved an order for 20 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters in a deal valued at around $2.75 billion, according to Haaretz. The Israeli Air Force expects to take delivery of the first aircraft in 2015. The article quotes Barak saying the F-35 costs $96 million a copy. The entire deal will be funded by American military aid. To sweeten terms of the deal, Lockheed Martin agreed to buy more component parts for the JSF from Israeli firms; at a price of around $4 billion.

Chickenfeed for the Soul

A 15-Minute Sop for Refugees


"At 3:02 p.m. on August 17 Lebanon’s Parliament began its deliberation on granting basic civil rights to its Palestinian refugees and within four minutes agreed to alter article 50 of Lebanon’s 1964 labor law to theoretically make it easier for Palestinian refugees to obtain a work permit and a job. There was no discussion of other draft bills to grant Palestinian refugees elementary civil rights, and fifteen minutes later, by 3:17 p.m. Parliament had agreed on the next bill involving excavating for oil, which may bring millions to some well placed members. Many MP’s hadn’t studied either bill.

Thus did the bell ring on Round One of the fight in Lebanon for elementary civil rights for Palestinians refugees....

The mild gesture Lebanon made on August 17 will not grant Palestinian refugees here their internationally mandated civil rights. Not by a long shot. Perhaps the most that can be said in Lebanon’s favor is that it took a first tentative step. Hopefully, symbolically it will break the stereotype against Palestinians a bit and show the public that the sky did not fall in by yesterday’s gesture and will ease the stress concerning granting some meaningful civil rights.

As the Lebanese like to say, “step by step.” For the quarter million Palestinian refugees stuck in squalor in Lebanon’s 12 camps and the 75,000 in the 42 ‘gatherings’, the cause of civil rights in Lebanon endures and the dream of returning to Palestine is alive."

As GOP and Some Top Dems Unite in Opposing NY Islamic Community Center, a Roundtable Discussion with Mother of 9/11 Victim, Rabbi, Muslim Lawmaker and

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"We spend the hour on the controversy around the proposed construction of an Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan, which has turned into a national issue. Opposition to the center first started among fringe, right-wing blogs but has swept into the mainstream, with some Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, coming out against it. Republicans have vowed to make the controversy a campaign issue in the fall. We host a roundtable with four guests: Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress; Rabbi Irwin Kula of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership; Islamic scholar John Esposito of Georgetown University; and Talat Hamdani, whose son Salman died on 9/11 in the attacks on the World Trade Center....."

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story - Barack Obama and US Muslims

"Last week, Barack Obama, the US president, communicated his support for the building of a mosque two blocks away from Ground Zero in New York, saying: "Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country." This seemed harmless enough until he found out that over two-thirds of the US disagreed with him. Chastened, Obama went off-message to control the political damage, saying: "I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque." On this episode of Inside Story we ask: How much of an impact are upcoming elections having on Obama and are Muslims in the US being treated fairly?"


Minqi Li: Wave of strikes for higher wages could become a political movement

More at The Real News

Mosque-Issippi Burning

By Amy Goodman

"Salman Hamdani died on Sept. 11, 2001. The 23-year-old research assistant at Rockefeller University had a degree in biochemistry. He was also a trained emergency medical technician and a cadet with the New York Police Department. But he never made it to work that day. Hamdani, a Muslim-American, was among that day’s first responders. He raced to Ground Zero to save others. His selfless act cost him his life.

Hamdani was later praised by President George W. Bush as a hero and mentioned by name in the USA Patriot Act. But that was not how he was portrayed in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.....

Hate breeds violence. Marginalizing an entire population, an entire religion, is not good for our country. It endangers Muslims within America, and provokes animosity toward America around the world.

When I asked Daisy Khan, executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, which is a partner in the proposed community center, if she feared for herself, for her children or for Muslims in New York, she replied, “I’m afraid for my country.”"

Cordoba House: The Acid Test

Liberty against the lynch mob: which side are you on?

by Justin Raimondo, August 18, 2010

"It’s hard to believe that a national campaign led by lunatics has taken off with such momentum, but then again, it looks like we’re still living in Bizarro World, where the values we upheld before 9/11 have been hideously inverted. So what else can we expect?

The cable news channels have been consumed with the “Ground Zero mosque” 24/7, to the virtual exclusion of all else: it’s an ‘issue” made for them, and they’re eating it up. I’m soooo glad we don’t have anything else to worry about: that the economy is just rolling merrily along, people are not losing their homes, and everything is just hunky-dory in the good ol’ US of A, land of peace and plenty. Why else would our “leaders” in both parties be commenting on what, in a rational society, would not even come up for discussion? ...."

Brutal Arab security forces offer hope

Security forces in the Arab world, and the glorified thugs they attract, do not prove the might of regimes, but their weakness

Nesrine Malik, Wednesday 18 August 2010

"......Like Napoleon's dogs in Animal Farm, the glorified thugs that form the lower ranks patrol neighbourhoods and arbitrarily persecute and impound sometimes on a whim, and other times with strict instructions from above. Their mandate is so generous, their remit so unregulated that incidents of abuse are common, with members acting out their own personal agenda.

Not only ambiguous in nature, they are abundant in number, with only slightly varying job descriptions. The state is so bloated, and there are so many different types of security concerns, that these bodies develop to handle them on an ad hoc basis and then flourish. It's a scattergun approach. Anything from the publication of a book of poems to student union elections can be seen as a threat to the government.

They range from the official formal outfits such as the powerful and omnipresent mukhabarat in Egypt and Jordan, to the more makeshift organisations such as the mutawwa (the "volunteers" of the religious police in Saudi Arabia) who haul errant members of the public into trucks for misdemeanours as minor as flamboyant haircuts.

In Egypt, in a resourceful example of security outsourcing, local men masquerading as concerned citizens in inner city neighbourhoods are recruited to snoop, spy and sometimes aggressively quash agitators.....

If anything, the omnipresence of security forces in the Arab world does not prove the might of governments, but their weakness. Far from being a depressing phenomenon, it is an indication that the will of the people, even after all these years of targeted crackdowns, is still not suppressed. As long as an uneasy "security" is imposed from above, the agents of fear cannot afford to rest easy."

الذين لا يشعرون بالحرج!../

رشاد أبوشاور

إنهم لا يشعرون بالحرج، وهم قد صعّدوا، وصعدوا عاليا، فطالبوا بمرجعية، ووقف الاستيطان، وباعتراف الكيان الصهيوني بالحدود، أي حدود الدولة، والتي هي حدود ال67.. وتحديد وقت المفاوضات!

أمريكا لم تمنحهم مظلة للهبوط، أو تسهيل القفز عن الشجرة، فبقوا فوق الشجرة، وداخوا من الانتظار، فبدأوا بإطلاق الصراخ: الحقونا.. نحن علينا ضغوط.. نحن مضغوطون، نحن في حالة انضغاط، الضغوط تزداد!.. نحن نغرق تحت الضغوط.. انضغطنا فهبطنا.. قدّروا ما تحملناه من ضغوط. انظروا إلى صائب كيف آلت حالته بعد ازدياد الضغوط عليه! صحيح أنه يواصل الظهور أمام الكاميرات بتمام عافيته، بوجه يتفجّر عافية من أثر الصيام والسجود و.. سهر الليالي فوق الشجرة في هذا الشهر الفضيل!
ستستأنف المفاوضات المباشرة، مهما كان بيان الرباعيّة، ورغم أن الاستيطان يستشري هذه الأيّام عمدا، تحديا للرباعية، واستباقا لبيانها، واستهتارا بجماعة المفاوضات حياة.
هل توقفت المفاوضات سرّا وعلنا؟

تضيّع القضيّة في عتمة( الطريق) الذي اختاره مفاوضون منذ البداية أداروا الظهر لشعبنا، وما زالوا يراهنون على ( شيء) ما من ( أميركا).. يشبه أن يكون ( دولة).. حتى وإن لم تكن الدولة على الأرض.. فالمهم أن تكون لها رئاسة، وحكومة، و..سجون، وأجهزة، وعلاقات حسنة مع أمريكا التي تريد من ( الجماعة) العودة للمفاوضات المباشرة.. لتباشر مرحلة جديدة من أعمالها في أمكنة غير بعيدة عن فلسطين التي تريدها هادئة، ساكتة، لتتفرغ لمآربها.. و( الجماعة) والله يعرفون ما يفعلون، وما يقترفون!

الرهان على أمريكا حرث في البحر../

علي جرادات

هكذا كانت التوقعات والآمال مع بداية عهد إدارة أوباما، خاصة بعد ما أبداه خطاب الرئيس الأمريكي الجديد من اعتدال شكلي وظاهري في التعامل مع ملفات المنطقة، وفي المقدمة الصراع العربي الإسرائيلي، وجوهره القضية الفلسطينية، غير أنه لم يمضِ زمن طويل حتى جرى تبديد تلك التوقعات والآمال، بعد أن استدارت إدارة الرئيس أوباما استدارة كاملة عما بشرت به من رؤى وسياسات جديدة. ففي الشهور الأخيرة، عادت وقائع السياسة الخارجية الأمريكية، والشرق أوسطية منها تحديداً، إلى اعتماد ذات القواعد التي ارتكزت إليها سياسة المحافظين الجدد، إن لم تكن أشد سفوراً في بعض أوجهها ومحطاتها، وخاصة فيما يخص الملف الفلسطيني. ويبرهن على ذلك ما جرى من إعادة للنظر في تسليح الجيشين اللبناني والتركي، واشتراط هذا التسليح بعدم الاعتراض على العدوانية الإسرائيلية، حتى لو ارتكبت جريمة حرب نالت ما نالت من الإدانة الدولية، على المستويين الرسمي والشعبي، كتلك المجزرة التي تعرضت لها سفينة مرمرة التركية.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Air crash near Bushehr, drones slam into reactor dome


This is from the Israeli DEBKAfile, so read with caution. However, as I said before there is something fishy going on concerning Bushehr. Stay tuned during the next few days.

"Two mysterious incidents are reported by debkafile in the run-up to the fueling-up of Iran's first nuclear reactor Saturday, Aug. 21. Tuesday, an Iranian F4 Phantom fighter jet was claimed by Tehran to have crashed 6 kilometers north of the Bushehr nuclear reactor in southern Iran. debkafile's military sources report it was shot down by Russian-made TOR-M1 air-missile defense batteries guarding the reactor. Aug.1, three unidentified drones slammed into its dome killing five people....."

Is Canada passing information on its citizens to Israel?

Yves Engler, The Electronic Intifada, 17 August 2010

(Yves Engler's most recent book is Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid. He will be on tour in Ontario with the book in early October.)

" On 7 April, Freda Guttman, a 76-year-old Jewish Montrealer, received a visit from agents of the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS). She slammed the door on them so it's not clear if the visit was related to her role in Tadamon!, a Middle East solidarity collective, or her friendship with Canadian activist (and occasional contributor to The Electronic Intifada) Stefan Christoff. A tall, mild-mannered 29-year-old, Christoff has been one of Montreal's most effective grassroots activists for the past decade. Involved with various issues recently he's devoted himself to Palestinian solidarity work, including the highly successful Artists Against Apartheid (AAA) campaign. Over the past three years AAA has organized a dozen concerts and in February they brought together 500 Quebec artists in support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign, which supporters of Israel view as a major threat......

The close ties between Canadian and Israeli intelligence agencies -- strengthened with the recent border security agreement -- means that some of the information CSIS collects on pro-Palestinian Canadians is probably passed on to their Israeli counterparts. In 2003, Stefan Christoff was barred by Israel's interior ministry from entering the occupied Palestinian territories. Was that decision based upon information from CSIS?

As Palestinian solidarity activism further challenges Canada's pro-Israeli establishment, CSIS harassment will likely increase. The way to deal with these threats is to expose them and to build a broad movement that makes them ineffective."

Al-Jazeera Cartoon

The Carrot....
And the Stick!

Racist Universities?

New Rules Favor Former IDF Soldiers


"Measures designed to benefit Jewish school-leavers applying for places in Israeli higher education at the cost of their Arab counterparts have been criticised by lawyers and human rights groups.

The new initiatives are viewed as part of an ongoing drive by right-wing politicians in Israel to demand “loyalty” from the country’s large minority population of Arab citizens.

Critics have termed the measures, including a programme to provide financial aid exclusively to students who have served in the Israeli army, a form of “covert discrimination”.

While most Jews are conscripted into the military, Israel’s Arab citizens are generally barred from serving....."

Real News Video with Transcript: IS ISRAEL AN APARTHEID STATE?

Journalist Jonathan Cook and Israeli human rights lawyer Michael Sfard on apartheid & Israel

More at The Real News

"Renowned Nezareth-based journalist Jonathan Cook says not only is Israel's control of the West Bank based on an apartheid system of segregation but also the system inside Israel proper. One of the top Israeli human rights lawyers, Michael Sfard, disagrees. In a Tel Aviv interview with The Real News' Lia Tarachansky he talks about his conclusion that Israeli control in the West Bank is now only moving towards an apartheid-like system based on the dual legal systems that Israeli settlers and Palestinians get subjected to. He describes that if an Israeli settler and a Palestinian were to be arrested for the same crime, they would be judged, investigated, and convicted in separate legal systems....."

The Guns of August: Lowering the Flag on the American Century

by Chalmers Johnson

".....So where are we this August of 2010, with guns blazing in one war in Afghanistan even as we try to extricate ourselves from another in Iraq? Where are we, as we impose sanctions on Iran and North Korea (and threaten worse), while sending our latest wonder weapons, pilotless drones armed with bombs and missiles, into Pakistan's tribal borderlands, Yemen, and who knows where else, tasked with endless "targeted killings" which, in blunter times, used to be called assassinations? Where exactly are we, as we continue to garrison much of the globe even as our country finds itself incapable of paying for basic services?

I wish I had a crystal ball to peer into and see what historians will make of our own guns of August in 2060. The fog of war, after all, is just a stand-in for what might be called "the fog of the future," the inability of humans to peer with any accuracy far into the world to come. Let me nonetheless try to offer a few glimpses of what that foggy landscape some years ahead might reveal, and even hazard a few predictions about what possibilities await still-imperial America...."

UN Humanitarian Chief John Holmes: The Magnitude of the Pakistan Floods is Unprecedented

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"The United Nations is warning millions of Pakistanis are at risk of deadly water-borne diseases more than two weeks since Pakistan’s worst-ever flooding began. The World Health Organization says around six million people—over half of them children—face the threat of cholera and dysentery, as well as typhoid and hepatitis. The flooding has killed over 1,600 people and displaced 20 million—nearly twelve percent of Pakistan’s population. We speak to UN Humanitarian Chief John Holmes and Pakistani analyst Mosharraf Zaidi....."

Israel should not keep its history behind lock and key

By Jonathan Cook

"History may be written by the victors, as Winston Churchill is said to have observed, but the opening up of archives can threaten a nation every bit as much as the unearthing of mass graves.

That danger explains a decision quietly taken last month by Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, to extend by an additional 20 years the country’s 50-year rule for the release of sensitive documents.

The new 70-year disclosure rule is the government’s response to Israeli journalists who have been seeking through Israel’s courts to gain access to documents that should already be declassified, especially those concerning the 1948 war, which established Israel, and the 1956 Suez crisis.

The state’s chief archivist says many of the documents “are not fit for public viewing” and raise doubts about Israel’s “adherence to international law”, while the government warns that greater transparency will “damage foreign relations”....."

What if Beethoven was Born in Saudi Arabia?

Listen to this movement of Beethoven's seventh symphony (my favorite) and ponder the question, what if Beethoven was born in Saudi Arabia, where music is "Haram"?

Do you still have any doubts as to why Arabs are still living in the dark ages?

Gaza's record-breaking children

Vittorio Arrigoni writing from occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine, 16 August 2010

"Gaza's kids truly are record-breakers. They survived Israel's 2008-09 winter invasion and every day they put up with a state of war during a so-called ceasefire. Smeared in blood, they've crawled through the rubble of shelled buildings, taking care of younger siblings, and tending to languishing parents, often emerging from under the remains of their own beds.

More than half of Gaza's population are children. Though none of them has ever voted for Hamas, they're the designated targets of Israel's military operations and more generally, of the siege imposed upon Gaza. They're resilient children, standing up against a multitude of ailments and obstacles. According to a recent report of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, 52 percent of Gaza's children are anemic and suffer from serious nutritional problems due to the insufficiency of phosphorous, calcium and zinc in their food. The rate of respiratory illnesses they suffer is also cause for concern.

Gaza's children suffer from psychological disorders, the consequence of enduring Israel's attacks and siege....

Unlike the basketballs used in Rafah, the kites flown over Beit Lahiya were not industrially produced, but handmade by those same children who then released them into the sky. Some were brightly decorated, while many proudly wore the colors of the Palestinian flag. It was like a scream of resistance in visual form, flying in front of the Israeli surveillance towers only a few hundred meters away.

After the kite flying event was officially registered as a new Guinness world record, an Israeli warship appeared on the horizon, slowly advancing towards the coast of Beit Lahiya. It was a cruel reminder that recreation time was over."