Saturday, September 3, 2011

Another video by the Savages of Syria

In Latakia
the Savage beast  : who is your teacher ?
Human : Dr Bashar Al-Assad
Savage beast : slap

Take the resistance and stick it you know where...

Al-Jazeera Video: NTC military chief defends his past

Al-Jazeera Video: WikiLeaks posts all US cables unredacted

Syria Protests September 2, 2011 : A Video Roundup

(More than 50 Videos!)

Activists protest for release of blogger

Al-Masry Al-Youm

"Dozens of activists staged a protest in front of the Journalists Syndicate to express their rejection of military trials for civilians.

They also called for the release of activists tried in military courts, particularly Mikel Nabil, who was sentenced to three years imprisonment for insulting the Armed Forces.

They also called for the release of Asmaa Mahfouz and Loay Nagaty. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces withdrew reports it had filed against both activists.

Nabil’s brother, Mark Nabil, said the protest calls for Mikel’s immediate release and added that the protests will continue until his release is obtained......"

The real reasons Turkey stopped the Mavi Marmara sailing to Gaza last June

(Cartoon by Carlos Latuff)

By Ali Abunimah

".......Although the Mavi Marmara was operated by the independent charity IHH, it seems highly likely that the decision to withdraw from the flotilla in June was taken at the suggestion of the Turkish government. The reasons given publicly for withdrawing the ship were “technical.”

We cannot know what private communications may have taken place, but in early June Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu publicly suggested that the flotilla organizers should “rethink” their plan to break the siege by sea. Whether the decision was at the behest of the Turkish government or not, it suited its needs at the time. Why?

At the time many observers – myself included – feared that Turkey was softening its stance toward Israel and seeking to “mend fences” without Turkey’s demands being met....."

The Forgotten Palestinians – Book Review

(The Forgotten Palestinians: A History of the Palestinians in Israel. Ilan Pappe. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2011)

By Khalil Nakhleh
Palestine Chronicle

"....This is an important book about the nearly 1.4 million “forgotten Palestinians” who are the remnants of the indigenous Palestinians who lived in the land of Palestine until it was decimated by the Zionist settler-colonial onslaught in 1947/1948, and who continue to live today within the artificially-created Jewish-Zionist state of Israel.

This is not a traditional book review. It is an interactive reading of Ilan’s book, where I deliberated virtually with him about the overall subject, during my careful reading of the book, which I utilize now as a stepping stone. However critical certain aspects of this reading may appear, it must be kept in mind that it’s coming from a friendly (not hostile) corner. I focus here only on few aspects.....

My conclusion from the above is crystal clear: the lesson that we should learn is to actively resist all attempts by the enemies of the Palestinian people, including the current Palestinian ruling elite structure, to fragment the Palestinian people and existence, and to re-institute and revive our struggle for a FREE, JUST, EQUAL, and DEMOCRATIC Homeland.

All Palestinians must read this book. All Jews—Zionists and anti-Zionists alike, who express concern about justice and human rights for the Palestinians, must read this book."

Liberating the Oil Contracts, by Dave Brown

Syrian exiles tell of life under Assad: 'They shoot us as if they're hunting'

Family flee home in Syrian city of Homs after eldest son is shot amid government crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators

Foreign staff in Cairo, Friday 2 September 2011

"....The Syrian-British couple and their three children were this week forced to flee their home in the Syrian city of Homs after their eldest son was shot amid a brutal government crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.

Fearing that the bullet wound would mark him out as an opposition activist, the family packed a few bags and left the only country the children have known.

Lifting his T-shirt to show two dressed wounds where the bullet passed through him, Danny, 22, explains how he was wounded.

It was Saturday night and Danny was standing in the street talking to a friend about getting food and medication into Hama – another city that has become a focus of dissent against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

A car drew up alongside the two men, and a passenger – believed to be a pro-government militiaman – opened fire.....

For the family, Danny's shooting was the last straw: wounded protesters have been dragged from their beds and arrested, so after a quick scan and five stitches on each wound, he discharged himself from hospital. Meanwhile, the rest of the family packed up their house. Jannah grabbed her laptop, Sammy took some colognes given to him by friends.

All of the family are adamant they will – one day – return to a democratic Syria. "People are not going to stop," Akram says. "We know that soon the country will be freed.""

CIA worked with Libya in terror suspect renditions, documents show

Documents found in the offices of former head of Libyan intelligence also reveal MI6 gave Gaddafi regime information on dissidents

David Batty and agencies, Saturday 3 September 2011

"The CIA worked closely with Muammar Gaddafi's intelligence services in the rendition of terrorist suspects including Abdel-Hakim Belhaj, the rebel commander in Tripoli, according to documents found in Tripoli.

The documents, found in the offices of the former head of Libyan intelligence Musa Kusa, also show that MI6 gave Gaddafi's regime information on Libyan dissidents living in the UK.

The files, uncovered by Human Rights Watch, provide details of the close relationship between western intelligence services, including MI6 and the CIA, and the ousted dictator's regime...."

A Lifetime of Resistance in Syria

by Sharif Abdel Kouddous
The Nation

"Haitham al-Maleh, an 81-year-old Syrian human rights lawyer, has spent most of his life struggling against autocracy in Syria and the last forty years battling the iron-fisted rule of Bashar al-Assad and his father before him, Hafez al-Assad.

I will live to see the Assad regime fall, just as sure as we are sitting here together,” Maleh said in an interview on a recent visit to Cairo. Tall, with a thick, white goatee, large aquiline nose and an easy confidence, Maleh speaks in a lively manner that belies his years.

His life story is one of relentless resistance to government repression in Syria.

Maleh was first arrested in 1951, at the age of 20, and held for three weeks, after he spoke out as a young lawyer calling for an independent judiciary. Undeterred, he continued to practice law, eventually rising to become a judge. In 1966, he was forced off the bench by the ruling Baath party for his vocal opposition to emergency laws that had had been put in place three years earlier, which effectively suspended most constitutional protections for citizens....

In July, the government lifted the travel ban on Maleh and several other prominent opposition figures. “I don’t know why,” Maleh says. “There is no ‘why’ in Syria. You cannot ask.” He immediately left the country, reuniting with his son for the first time in seven years. They traveled to Istanbul to attend an opposition gathering and embarked on a tour of Western Europe and the Middle East to garner support for the protesters in Syria and call on governments to condemn the Assad regime and sever diplomatic relations.

Official estimates put the death toll in Syria at more than 2,200 over the past five and a half months. Maleh believes the figures are much higher. “More than 3,000 people have been killed or disappeared and more that 25,000 have been arrested,” Maleh says.

Despite the Assad regime’s brutal crackdown and the personal threats to his life, Maleh plans to return to Syria in a few weeks to continue his life’s work. “We will be the winner,” he says with a smile. “This regime is going to hell.”"

د. عزمي بشارة في حديث الثورة: التطورات في سوريا واليمن وليبيا

Full Interview

Friday, September 2, 2011

As Turkey Freezes Israel Ties, Critics Decry "Whitewashed" U.N. Report on Gaza Flotilla, Blockade

"Turkey has downgraded diplomatic ties with Israel and frozen military co-operation ahead of a long-awaited United Nations report on Israel’s deadly attack on a Gaza-bound aid ship in 2010. The report accuses Israel of "excessive and unreasonable" force in its attack on the ship, Mavi Marmara — which killed nine people — and says Israel should issue a statement of regret and compensate the families of the dead as well as wounded passengers. But it also chides passengers aboard the Marmara and the other flotilla ships for what it calls a "reckless" attempt to breach Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. In a major development with broader implications, the U.N. report concludes that the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip is legal under international law. We speak with Norman Finkelstein, author of several books on the Israel Palestine conflict including, "This Time We Went Too Far: Truth & Consequences of the Gaza Invasion." We are also joined by Huwaida Arraf, one of the organizers of the Free Gaza movement. Both Arraf and Finkelstein blast the U.N. report, calling it a "whitewash" and "morally debased."...."

Al-Jazeera Video: Gaddafi spies infiltrated Libyan rebel army

"Al Jazeera has found evidence that some Gaddafi spies were operating among senior circles within the National Transitional Council and its army of rebels.

Jamal Elshayyal has our exclusive report."

Let the Plundering Begin! By Dave Brown

US troops did execute Iraqi civilians, leaked letter claims

WikiLeaks exposé casts doubt on American military's version of events in March 2006

By Donald Macintyre and Jerome Taylor
The Independent
Friday, 2 September 2011

"More than five years after the American military denied claims that its troops had executed at least 10 Iraqi civilians in cold blood, new evidence has emerged in a WikiLeaks diplomatic cable casting serious doubt on the US version of events.

A UN complaint contained in the latest batch of cables published by the whistle-blowing organisation suggests that in 2006 US troops killed at least 10 civilians, including five children and an elderly woman, in the central town of Ishaqi before ordering an air strike which destroyed the house where the alleged killings took place.

The incident is raised in a letter from Philip Alston, the UN rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. Mr Alston's letter to US officials, which went unanswered, challenges the American military version of events. It says that autopsies carried out in the nearby city of Tikrit showed the victims had been handcuffed and shot in the head. They included a woman in her 70s and a five-month-old......"

Israel Philharmonic Orchestra Proms disrupted by pro-Palestinian protest

BBC takes Israeli orchestra's performance off air after 'sustained audience disturbance' by pro-Palestinian campaigners

David Batty, Thursday 1 September 2011

"Protesters have disrupted a Proms performance by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall.

A live broadcast of the performance, which had gone ahead despite calls for a boycott by pro-Palestinian campaigners, was taken off air on Thursday night after protesters interrupted the concert at the London concert hall.

A BBC spokeswoman confirmed that the live broadcast had been taken off air on Radio 3 following the disruption....."

Turkey expels Israel's ambassador over Gaza flotilla row

The Turkish foreign minister says all military agreements are suspended after Israel refused to apologise for its flotilla raid

Associated Press, Friday 2 September 2011

"Turkey says it is expelling the Israeli ambassador and cutting military ties with Israel over the country's refusal to apologise for last year's deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla.

The foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said Turkey was downgrading diplomatic ties to the level of second secretary and the ambassador would leave Turkey by Wednesday.

Davutoglu also said Turkey was suspending all military agreements signed between the former allies, saying "it is time Israel pays a price" [No Kidding!]....."

Libya: Detainees left to suffocate in crowded metal containers

1 September 2011

"Pro al-Gaddafi forces left 19 detainees to die of suffocation while locked inside metal containers in the sweltering June heat in north-western Libya, Amnesty International has discovered.

Three survivors described how al-Gaddafi loyalists tortured them and then imprisoned them along with 26 others in two cramped cargo containers on 6 June at a construction site in al-Khums, 120 km east of Tripoli.

The detainees endured temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius and drank their own sweat and urine when the limited water supply ran out. Their captors shouted “rats, shut up”, ignoring their cries for help.

This is the first report of the June incident, because al-Khums was off-limits to independent reporting until it fell under the control of the National Transitional Council (NTC) on 21 August.

“This is obviously appalling and inhumane treatment of a group of people who were mostly civilians,” said Diana Eltahawy, North Africa Researcher at Amnesty International, who is currently in Libya.

It is a war crime for any party to a conflict to kill or torture prisoners...."

Zizek and Gaddafi: Living in the old world

A prominent European philosopher who argues that the Arab Spring is over simply can't fathom a new, hopeful world.

Hamid Dabashi

"....Zizek: out of touch

But strange that the (evidently Marxist) European philosopher had no concerns about those kinds of “suffocating” the revolution. On a previous occasion I have suggested that the distinguished European philosophers like Zizek who wish to say something about other parts of the world need to diversify among their native informers. But alas, Zizek seems not to have listened to my advice. “The losers,” he warns Europeans, “will be the pro-Western liberals, too weak - in spite of the CIA funding they are getting - to ‘promote democracy’, as well as the true agents of the spring events, the emerging secular left that has been trying to set up a network of civil society organisations, from trade unions to feminists”.

All these key confusions of Zizek - his “secular left” in particular is a giveaway - should warn him to start shopping around (with a proper credit card of course, for shoplifting is nihilistic) for better native informers. The ones he has now are no good. In a “worldless” world, filled with Absolute meanings of militant Islamists stealing revolutions like shoplifters, Zizek’s diagnosis is that “today’s left faces the problem of ‘determinate negation’: what new order should replace the old one after the uprising, when the sublime enthusiasm of the first moment is over?"

In this “worldless” world we have, it seems, a lack of organisation; yes indeed, party politics. Zizek mourns precisely where and what Saidj Mustapha celebrates. Zizek dismisses not just the UK shoplifters, the Muslim terrorists, and the Arab revolutions, but even the Spanish indignados.....

Is the Arab Spring half-full or half-empty?

Whence the difference between these two perspectives: the Arab intellectual morally invested and politically engaged, while his European counterpart morally aloof and politically pessimistic? One has everything to gain, a world to live; the other nothing to lose, having lost his world to worldlessness. The Algerian political scientist thrives on a visionary reading of a world that Zizek dismisses as already worldless. Why is Saidj Mustapha not afraid of a conspiracy between the Islamists and the generals? Why is Joseph Massad far more afraid of American neoliberals and neoconservatives than of Islamists? A world is unfolding right in front of Zizek’s eyes and he sees the world worldless, the Egyptian revolution suffocated, the Arab Spring lost. How and why is it that the Algerian intellectual celebrates precisely what the European philosopher mourns: the absence of party politics, the rise of a politics beyond clichés?

Zizek mourns worldlessness, and designates absolute Meaning as the cause of terrorism. He does not see the world that is unfolding right before him as a hopeful, purposeful, worldly, life-affirming world. This is because, just like Gaddafi, Zizek is stuck in his old ways. He cannot believe his eyes, he cannot believe what is happening to him: that his world has ended, not the world; that he (embodying a European philosophy at the losing end of its dead certainties) lives a worldless world, not the world.

Zizek and Gaddafi are identical souls, sticking to the worlds they know, militantly, the world they are losing - defiant rebels banging at the Bab Aziziyeh compound of their habitat, a world that is either theirs or it will not exits: “Après moi, le déluge.” Barely begun, Zizek dismisses the Arab Spring and then mourns the loss of idealism among the shoplifters.

It is in fact the European philosopher himself that is the gravedigger of history, having nothing to see, nothing to say, nothing to celebrate, because this history is not his history, is not History, for History has always been His, and not anyone else’s....."

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Not Mightier than Ali Ferzat's Pen

As'ad Abu Khalil
The physical attack on Syrian Cartoonist Ali Farzat last week was an important moment in the history of the Syrian uprising. Farzat is not any cartoonist: He is probably one of the most gifted contemporary cartoonists in the Arab world and beyond. Farzat has always reminded me of Michel Foucault: Both study power not in its centralization or as a formal structure but in its diffusion and emanations. Farzat studies and mocks power in all aspects of our lives. People who think that Farzat attacks only the state or government have not seen his work. One of his most memorable works is a sketch of a man behind bars. But the bars are broken and the man does not leap to freedom. Farzat uses a few strokes and few words: yet the message is powerful and unmistakable. Farzat has worked for Kuwaiti newspapers and his mockery of Saddam’s regime were widely circulated although he was criticized by Syrian regime media, and even accused of “preparing” for the American invasion of Iraq.

Politically speaking, Farzat belongs to the liberal wing of the Syrian uprising: a wing that I have never been fond off. But the talent of Farzat is undeniable, and the cruelty of the attack on him by regime goons is also unmistakable. Farzat’s story was told by Sami Kulayb in a special episode of Aljazeerah Arabic TV show Ziyarah Khassah. Farzat’s work was largely banned in Syria until he met Bashar Assad in 1999 and the two befriended each other. His cartoons started to appear in Tishrin (a daily mouthpiece of the regime) but the security apparatus and the ministers could not put up with his sarcasm and mockery. The same newspaper later verbally attacked him and tried to implicate him with the worst conspiracies of Zionism. They called him conceited and arrogant, as if that diminishes his artistic talent.

Farzat was encouraged by the Bashar regime to publish one of the first independent publications during the short-lived Damascus Spring, a brief period of political and social debate encouraged by Assad the son when he assumed the presidency in 2000. I remember that I was eager to obtain the few available copies of Dumari: it was a satirical publication modeled after similar French publications. It was not sharp or effective or original, but it had the work of Farzat. Supporters of the regime spread rumors about him and point out some political positions he has taken (included some statements that were attributed to him in which he seemed to justify the American invasion of Iraq).

But the fact remains: Farzat’s work is most original. Unlike the work of Lebanese cartoonist, Pierre Sadiq (formerly of An-Nahar newspaper), Farzat is never direct or vulgar or obvious. He is deep in an art form that rarely knows depth. It can be said that Farzat’s work is dedicated to the demolishment of the dictator’s persona, and to the ways in which media are used to the benefit of the dictator. The picture of Farzat in his hospital bed will live and will be seen as one of those moments in revolutionary times (maybe like “The Death of Marat” by Jean-Louis David for the French Revolution). That the attackers targeted his fingers indicates how powerful those fingers are. It is possible that the regime is settling scores: there are no talents to speak of on the side of the regime (singers `Ali Ad-Dik or Muhammad Iskandar, the notorious Lebanese misogynistic singer, are on the side of the regime), while Farzat and the splendid singer, Asalah, represent the Syrian uprising. Years from now, people will still be talking about the art work of `Ali Farzat, while the Baath Party will be relegated to the footnotes of Syrian history.

After Gadafi who is next in Africa ?

Another tyrant from the Maghreb States, in the northern end of the African continent, has been ousted. Who is next? Will the winds of revolutionary change blow down to the Sub-Saharan African countries despite a considerable difference between the two Africas?

Once a feared man, Colonel Muammar El-Gaddafi, is finished as one teenage rebel told the international press after the fall of Tripoli. “He called us rats, now he is the real rat; where is he? He must be hiding inside a bunker.” No one can stop the people of Libya from celebrating.

The Brother Leader of Africa, the egomaniac who succeeded in buying his fame by dishing handouts to African leaders and tribal chiefs and making long rumbling crazy speeches, finally, has no man to defend him. Even the African Union (AU) which tried a bit in the beginning finally has no business with him.

The debate in Africa about Gaddafi is hot and will continue to be hot long after he is gone, but the fact remains: Libyan people kicked Gaddafi out. The mere military support from the West should not be construed to discredit their revolutionary achievement. The Libyans fought for six months, died and ultimately won. This is their victory.

People may make a lot of noise that the West is trying to get oil from Libya, but the truth is, Gaddafi was already exporting 80 per cent of Libyan oil to Europe, and had contracts with oil companies from six European nations. The likely thing to happen now is for France and Great Britain to squeeze Italy which enjoyed the lion’s share of Libyan oil; that’s it.
The West also may exercise some influence over Libyan affairs, especially in the areas of economic, foreign and security policies, but that will be the choice of Libyans themselves. We cannot teach them how to run their own country.

In 2004 Gaddafi himself caved in and decided to build relations with the West, starting with Washington when he denounced his dream for nuclear weapons, took responsibility for his past and paid large sums of money as compensation. He was no exception to other African leaders as some Africans may wish to think; he was just crazy!

Sympathisers to Gaddafi may point out several development projects he accomplished in his 42 years rule, but come on, with an income of $150 million a day in a country of about two-three million people, who would have failed to have at least five things to show off for?
Of course, sympathisers won’t tell you that he personally had more than $100 billion stashed in the West, not Libya or Africa, and was preparing his son, Seif Al-Islam, to inherit his chair because other Libyans were “rats.”

Gaddafi will be remembered not only as a man who killed thousands of Libyans, but also as a man who funded the murder of many Africans in Chad, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Burkina Faso in the name of “fighting against imperialism.” Let us not forget that in 1979 he unsuccessfully helped Ugandan savage, Idi Amin, to dodge the wrath of Tanzanians.
As we contemplate the demise of Gaddafi’s regime, the question is: who is next in Africa?
Today, Africa suffers from Gaddafism, a chronic pandemic in which a leader stays in power forever, thinking that he owns the people and the country; imprison and kills his opponents, plunders his country’s wealth, and prepares his children or cronies to take over after him. This is what is killing Africa!

Consider the following list of leaders and their years in power: Angolan Eduardo dos Santos (32), Equatorial Guinean Teodoro Nguema (32), Zimbabwean Robert Mugabe (31), Cameroonian Paul Biya (29), Ugandan Yoweri Museveni (25), Burkinabe Blaise Compaoré (24), Sudanese Omar al-Bashir (22), Chadian Idris Déby (21), and Congolese Denis Sassou Nguesso whose two terms total 27 years so far.

I don’t have to mention the leaders of Eritrea, Gambia and Ethiopia who have 18, 17 and 16 respectively. We also have those who in principle, inherited power from their fathers, such as Togolese Faure Gnassingbe and Gabonese Ali Bongo, each pair of the father-son presidency totaling 44 years so far.

Not done yet! We still have more, some of whom are seemingly preparing their sons to take over such as Senegalese Abdoulaye Wade and Ugandan Museveni, and Malawian Bingu wa Mutharika who wants his sibling to inherit him. How about those countries in which a group of “chosen elites” hide behind the ruling party’s image, ethnic groups or religious faiths, so as to rule others forever?

We may have plenty of Gaddafis, and undoubtedly, we need to get rid of them, if not today then tomorrow. We cannot afford to remain at the bottom of the world forever! Africans wake up! We don’t have to wait for the United Nations to send Nato to us!

Video: Noam Chomsky: 'As long they get the backing of dictators, it doesn't matter to western governments what Arab populations think'

The 19th century ... 2001 ... today. Noam Chomsky sees hegemonic powers showing extreme contempt for democracy – and acting in ways they know will increase terrorism

Noam Chomsky, Wednesday 31 August 2011

Amnesty International Decries Assad Regime’s "Brutal" Crackdown on Syrian Protesters

"The top legal official in the embattled Syrian city of Hama has defected to the opposition in protest of what he called crimes against humanity committed by security forces. Many of the incidents he has referred to are documented in a report released Wednesday by Amnesty International on the killing and torture of anti-government activists in Syria since the uprising began there in mid-March. Researchers documented that at least 88 people have died in Syrian prisons since March. In at least 52 of these cases there is evidence that torture or other ill-treatment caused or contributed to the deaths. We speak with Neil Sammonds, the Syria researcher for Amnesty International and one of the authors of the new report, "Deadly Detention: Deaths in Custody Amid Popular Protest in Syria."...."

Al-Jazeera Video: Gaddafi foreign minister speaks to Al Jazeera

"Al Jazeera has obtained an exclusive interview with Abdelati Obeidi, Muammar Gaddafi's foreign minister, who is being detained in the capital, Tripoli.

He was said to have been taken into custody at his farm in Janzour, a suburb west of Tripoli, on Tuesday.

Speaking under armed guard from a safehouse in the Libyan capital, Obeidi said he had given himself up to the National Transitional Council for his own safety.

Obeidi, who said he was being treated well, called on Gaddafi's forces to put an end to the bloodshed.

Al Jazeera's James Bays reports from Tripoli."

Al-Jazeera Video: Hama attorney general resigns

Al-Jazeera Video: Bahraini boy killed in protest

Real News Video:Palestinian Rights Absent from Israeli Protest Demands

Protesters from Israel's social mass protests, known as J14, publish an unofficial list of demands, excluding Palestinian citizens of Israel

More at The Real News

Good Dictators and Bad Dictators

By Reese Erlich

"Perhaps you are confused by U.S. policy towards Middle East dictators. The U.S. supports some, denounces others and launches missiles to overthrow another. Having reported from the region for over 25 years, I can explain what might otherwise seem to be an inconsistent U.S. policy.

There are good dictators and bad dictators. We support the good ones and denounce the bad ones, unless of course, we change our minds.

Take Muammar Qaddafi – please...."

Libya's Next Fight: The West

By Ramzy Baroud

Palestine Chronicle

"....Listening to upbeat statements by rebel military commanders, and optimistic assessments of NTC members, one gets the impression that the future of Libya is being entirely formulated by the new Libyan leadership. Arab media, lead by Al Jazeera, seemed at times to entirely neglect that there was a third and most powerful party involved in the battle between freedom-seeking Libyans and the obstinate dictator. It is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, whose decisive and financially costly military intervention was not charitable, nor was it a moral act. It was a politically and strategically calculated endeavor, with multifaceted objectives that simply cannot be scrutinized in one article.

However, one needs to follow the intense discussion under way in Western media to realize the nature of NATO's true intentions, their expectations and the bleak possibilities awaiting Libya if the new leadership doesn't quickly remove itself from this dangerous NATO alliance.

While Libyans fought against brutality, guided by a once distant hope of freedom, democracy and liberation from the grip of a clownish and delusional dictator, NATO calculations had nothing but a self-serving agenda in mind.....

Tuning back to Arabic media however, one is confronted with almost an entirely different discourse, one that refers to NATO as "friends," to whom the Libyan people are "grateful" and "indebted." Some pan-Arab TV channels have been more instrumental than others in introducing that faulty line of logic, which could ultimately bode terrible consequences for Syria, and eventually turn the Arab Spring into an infinite winter.

The Libya that inspired the world is capable of overcoming NATO's stratagems, if it becomes aware of NATO's true intentions in Libya and the desperate attempt to thwart or hijack Arab revolts."

The problem with Palestinian political leadership

A legitimacy deficit, a lack of smart tactics and a focus on power for power's sake are all barriers to Palestinian liberation


Ben White, Thursday 1 September 2011

"For a few months now, discussion of Palestine/Israel has focused on the looming UN vote on Palestinian statehood, but this is obscuring more fundamental problems in the Palestinian political arena – of which the forthcoming UN vote is a symptom.

In three critical areas, there are significant flaws hampering Palestinian political leadership.

The first is a legitimacy deficit. Both the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority and Hamas have, with the most generous interpretation, a minority mandate from the Palestinian people....

The second critical problem is a lack of creativity and strategic thinking when it comes to tactics. This has a number of root causes which are beyond the scope of this article but the main point is a marked inability to adapt to circumstances with regard to the kind of smart resistance most appropriate for confronting Israeli colonisation....

Fear of losing control over the course of events can be one factor inhibiting an openness to change – which brings us to the third problematic area: a focus on power for its own sake rather than for the achievement of a specific goal.

This criticism applies to both Fatah and Hamas, though the former has been guilty of it for a longer period of time and with more devastating consequences....

Encouragingly, many Palestinian civil society groups are demonstrating vision, creativity and integrity: from the BDS movement and Gaza Youth Break Out, to Stop the Wall and other grassroots popular initiatives.

Yet there is no significant parallel in the political sphere – a failing that is a real impediment to Palestinians realising their rights. Even putting aside the problems with the unilateral UN initiative, it is clear that much bigger challenges remain. "

Syrian city's attorney general resigns in protest at government crackdown

Adnan Muhammad al-Bakkour says he was asked to report that 'armed gangs' killed hundreds buried in mass graves in Hama

Nour Ali, Thursday 1 September 2011

"The attorney general of the embattled Syrian city of Hama has resigned in protest against crimes against the local population committed by security forces.

In an online video posted by activists, a man who identifies himself as Adnan Muhammad al-Bakkour said he was standing down because of the continued suppression of peaceful protests against the regime of the president, Bashar al-Assad.

According to Bakkour, 72 prisoners were killed in Hama's central prison on 31 July at the start of a three-day assault on the city on the eve of Ramadan.

Bakkour said a further 420 people had been buried in mass graves in public parks by security forces and loyalists, which he was then asked to report as having been killed by "armed gangs". He said that around 320 people had died under torture.

"I, Judge Adnan Muhammad al-Bakkour, Hama province attorney general, declare that I have resigned in protest at the savage regime's practices against peaceful demonstrators," he said......."

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Syrian official resigns over crackdown

An attorney general in the central Syrian city has resigned from his post, in protest of what he called repression exercised by the Syrian regime.

Adnan al-Bakkour, speaking in a video footage posted on the internet on Wednesday, claimed to have witnessed over 70 executions and hundreds of civilians tortured while held in custody at Hama central prison last July.
Al-Bakkour said that he had been exposed to over 420 victims in mass graves by security forces, the arrests of peaceful protesters, the torture of prisoners by security services, and the demolition of homes.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, al-Bakkour denied the regime's claim that he was kidnapped by "armed gangs" and was forced to read his resignation. He went on to say that he was in a safe place defended by protesters.
His video release came on the same day security forces made further arrests in the city of Houle, about 12 miles from Homs, where the authorities sparked anger as they returned the bodies of 13 people arrested in early August.
The Local Coordination Committees, grouping activists on the ground, said security forces set fire to the homes of two men in Houle and threatened to arrest their wives and children if they did not surrender.

In the village of Aqrab, security forces burned down another house and carried out searches and arrests, "terrorising" residents at the start of the Eid holidays, which follow the holy month of Ramadan, the committees said.
They said that in Hama province, opposition figure Mustafa Rostom was arrested from his home by military intelligence agents and was prevented from taking medicines with him although he has health problems.
Elsewhere in the province, tanks were deployed in Al-Qussur and security forces massed in Al-Hader, according to the Committees. More widespread arrests were carried out.

The Britain-based Observatory said 360 civilians and 113 members of the security forces and army were killed in protests during the just-ended Muslim fasting month.

The civilians included 25 people under 18, 14 women and 28 who died in detention or under torture, the Observatory said, mainly in the central province of Homs.

Bahrain: 14 year old teenager killed during protest

Another boy is taken away by tyrant Arab regime.

A 14-year-old Bahraini boy has died after being hit by a tear gas canister during clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces, the Gulf kingdom’s main Shia opposition group al-Wefaq has said.

Activists blamed the police for the death of Ali Jawad Ahmad, who was among the protesters in the oil hub area of Sitra on Wednesday. A police official told the state news agency BNA that the incident was being investigated, without saying how the boy was injured.
Bahrain has been in turmoil for the past few months since protests by the dominant Shia community broke out, demanding great freedom and political rights.More than 30 people have been killed since the protests began in February inspired by other uprisings across the Arab world.
More than 70 per cent of Bahrain’s population is Shia but claim widespread discrimination by the ruling al-Khalifa Sunni dynasty. Small scale clashes between police and mostly Shia demonstrators have become a near nightly event in the tense Gulf nation since authorities lifted emergency rule in June.
Bahraini authorities released more than 140 detainees, including two former members of Parliament who belong to the oppositionl Al-Wefaq, and a prominent opposition lawyer.The measure – at the occasion of Ramadan – was menat to diminish tension. The two former MP’s  resigned from Parliament in February over the killing of pro-reform protesters..Former Al Wefaq MPs Matar Matar and Jawad Fairuz were “tortured” while in the custody of Bahraini national security forces, Matar said.

Secret files: US officials aided Gaddafi

Al Jazeera uncovers evidence that influential Americans tried to help the now-deposed Libyan leader cling to power.


Jamal Elshayyal

"Al Jazeera news producer Jamal Elshayyal recently gained access to the Tripoli headquarter of Libya's intelligence agency. Among the documents scattered throughout the demolished building were secret files indicating that influential Americans advised Muammar Gaddafi since the beginning of the Libyan uprising. Here is his account of the discovery....

I found what appeared to be the minutes of a meeting between senior Libyan officials – Abubakr Alzleitny and Mohammed Ahmed Ismail – and David Welch, former assistant secretary of state under George W Bush. Welch was the man who brokered the deal to restore diplomatic relations between the US and Libya in 2008.

Welch now works for Bechtel, a multinational American company with billion-dollar construction deals across the Middle East. The documents record that, on August 2, 2011, David Welch met with Gaddafi's officials at the Four Seasons Hotel in Cairo, just a few blocks from the US embassy.

During that meeting Welch advised Gaddafi's team on how to win the propaganda war, suggesting several "confidence-building measures", according to the documents. The documents appear to indicate that an influential US political personality was advising Gaddafi on how to beat the US and NATO.

Minutes of this meeting record his advice on how to undermine Libya's rebel movement, with the potential assistance of foreign intelligence agencies, including Israel...."

Al-Jazeera Video: Calls to fire top Egypt prosecutor

"Egyptian activists have launched a campaign demanding the sacking of Abdel Meguid Mahmoud, the prosecutor general.

They say Mahmoud has been slow on delivering justice, particularly in cases related to the 18-day uprising, that deposed former President Hosni Mubarak but in which more than 800 people were killed.

Although he led the post-revolution anti-corruption campaign including putting Mubarak and his sons in the dock, his independence and integrity are being questioned.

Al Jazeera's Rawya Rageh reports from Cairo."

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story - Algeria - Libya relations

Al-Jazeera Video: My brother was 'tortured and killed' in Syria

"Hazem al-Hallak is the brother of one of the 88 people Amnesty International says have died in Syrian prisons since March.

He says his brother, Sakher, had his eyes gouged, rope marks on his hands, mutilated genitals and marks of electric shots. "

Al-Jazeera Video: Rights group alleges deadly torture in Syria jails

In new Egypt, foreign policy not just for diplomats


Al-Masry Al-Youm

"...Egyptians long unable to display their hostility to Egypt's perceived passive and often complacent ties with Israel under former president Hosni Mubarak were showing they were no longer afraid to vent their frustration in public.

The generals ruling Egypt since Mubarak's overthrow in February are faced with a dilemma to pursue a more assertive policy towards Israel in line with public opinion, while still protecting the integrity of a peace treaty that gives them billions of dollars in US aid.....

The protests have dwindled and the Israeli flag flies again over the embassy on a sidestreet near the Nile's western bank.

But critics say Egypt's government came out looking weak from the worst crisis with its neighbor since Mubarak's overthrow because it flip-flopped on a threat to recall its ambassador from Tel Aviv.....

In Mubarak's Egypt, ties with Israel were often treated as a security concern with criticism kept under a tight lid but this latest episode points that public opinion is here to stay and is likely to play a role that was previously sidelined....

Whether the public has any ability to change the rules of the game and not just complicate the picture for decision-makers will depend on how well and fast they organise.

"Eventually, not immediately, public opinion could be a game-changer if it is sustained and if it takes shape in some form of an institutionalized way," Fishere added. "That would be a more democratic regime.""

Egypt: Revolution in Motion

Iran makes a u-turn on Syria

By Kaveh L Afrasiabi
Asia Times

"Iran has adjusted its policy by referring to the "legitimate demands" of protesters in Syria and the need for the embattled regime of Bashar al-Assad to respect "people's right to elect and achieve freedom". This places Tehran in league with Turkey and other regional powers pushing for democratic reform, but now the danger is that Assad might survive.....

Behind Tehran's decision to alter its approach to the Syrian political crisis are a number of important regional as well as internal considerations. As masters of survival who have successfully weathered the torrents of war, armed opposition and mass protests over the past 32 years, the leaders of the Islamic Republic are political pragmatists who rarely allow the rather thick lens of ideology or dogma to obliterate their grasp of political dynamics. They prefer to be ahead rather than behind political curves.

In essence, that means a dualistic approach toward Syria from now on, one track being in league with Turkey and other regional powers pushing for democratic reform, the other still in sync with alliance politics dictating discrete support for Assad's regime and opposing any Libyan-style foreign intervention.

According to various media reports in Iran, last week's Tehran visit by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, was an important catalyst in shifting Iran's policy away from a blind support for Assad and in favor of a more nuanced approach that emphasizes genuine political reforms.

There are those in Tehran who think that Iran has decided to move closer to its Arab neighbors in the Persian Gulf by distancing itself from the moribund Assad regime, which may experience serious cracks in its political, administrative and military institutions in the immediate future as a result of the growing mass discontent.

In turn, this raises a fundamental question: how valuable is Syria's alliance to Iran today, and is it worth risking a major cognitive dissonance, in light of Iran's overt support for the Arab Spring?

Indeed, the instant result of Iran's new approach toward Syria is that it closes the previous gap, between Iran's support for political transformations in other parts of the Arab world and Iran's non-support for the similar process underway in Syria, thus allowing Tehran to declare that it pursues a consistent and logical policy with respect to the current Middle East upheavals....."

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Algeria sends the West a message by taking in Gaddafi's brood

Neighbour thinks the Libyan revolution gathered Western support because the land is so rich in oil

By Robert Fisk
Wednesday, 31 August 2011

".....But there are darker, bloodier contacts between the two countries' security services, which have used torture, political killing and massacre to assert their will over their people; the Algerians many times passed on the fruit of their "anti-terrorist" experience to Gaddafi's mukhabarat. The Algerian tale contained more bloodbaths – 150,000 deaths, mostly civilians, scarcely measures up to the fewer tortures and murders in Gaddafi's Libya – but both governments knew that to retain power meant wielding terrible power.

Besides, Algeria does not intend to be a second Libya. The country is freer and marginally more democratic than it was in the dreadful 1990s. But it believes – not without reason – that the Libyan revolution gathered Western support because Gaddafi's land is so rich in oil.

Algeria itself possesses the eighth-largest natural gas reserves in the world and is the fourth-largest gas exporter. Beneath its deserts lie 12.5 billion barrels of oil reserves and 27 per cent of current oil exports are bought by the United States. Algerians are well aware that if Libya's national export was potatoes, the West would no more have intervened than it would have invaded Iraq if Saddam Hussein's principal resource was asparagus.

So if anyone else challenges the rule of the pouvoir, it is not going to collapse in a "democratic" spring. Taking in Gaddafi's wife and brood was a gesture aimed more at the West than at the remains of the tyrant's élite in Libya."

Syria’s surge of deaths in detention revealed

By Amnesty International

30 August 2011

"At least 88 people are believed to have died in detention in Syria during five months of bloody repression of pro-reform protests, a new Amnesty International report reveals today.

Deadly detention: Deaths in custody amid popular protest in Syria documents reported deaths in custody between April and mid-August in the wake of sweeping arrests.

The 88 deaths represented a significant escalation in the number of deaths following arrest in Syria. In recent years Amnesty International has typically recorded around five deaths in custody per year in Syria.

These deaths behind bars are reaching massive proportions, and appear to be an extension of the same brutal disdain for life that we are seeing daily on the streets of Syria,” said Neil Sammonds, Amnesty International’s researcher on Syria.

The accounts of torture we have received are horrific. We believe the Syrian government to be systematically persecuting its own people on a vast scale.”

The victims recorded in the report were all swept up in arrests after Syrians took to the streets en masse from March this year. All male, the victims include 10 children, some as young as 13.

All the victims are believed to have been detained because they were involved, or suspected of being involved, in the pro-reform protests.

In at least 52 of these cases there is evidence that torture or other ill-treatment caused or contributed to the deaths.

Amnesty International has seen video clips of 45 of the cases – taken by relatives, activists or other individuals – and has asked independent forensic pathologists to review a number of these.
Injuries on many of the victims’ corpses indicate that they may have suffered horrendous beatings and other abuses. Signs indicating torture include burns, blunt force injuries, whipping marks and slashes.

Most of the cases in the report occurred in Homs and Dera’a governorates, which have seen major protests. Deaths in detention have also been reported in five other governorates, namely Damascus and Rif Damashq, Idlib, Hama and Aleppo.

Thirteen-year-old Hamza Ali al-Khateeb disappeared on 29 April during protests against the siege of Dera’a, and was later found dead with apparent blunt force injuries and a severed penis.

One video clip seen by Amnesty International shows the body of Tariq Ziad Abd al-Qadr from Homs, which was returned to his family on 16 June. His injuries included pulled-out hair, marks to the neck and penis possibly caused by electric shocks, an apparent cigarette burn, whipping marks, stab wounds and burns.

The body of Dr Sakher Hallak, who ran an eating disorders clinic in Aleppo, was discovered by the side of a road a few days after his arrest on 25 May. Sources told Amnesty International that his injuries included broken ribs, arms and fingers, gouged eyes and mutilated genitals.

Amnesty International is not aware of any independent investigation having been carried out into the causes of death in any of the cases in the report.

Amnesty International has called on the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court, to impose an arms embargo on Syria and to implement an asset freeze against President Bashar al-Assad and his senior associates.

“Taken in the context of the widespread and systematic violations taking place in Syria, we believe that these deaths in custody may include crimes against humanity,” said Neil Sammonds.

“The response from the Security Council has been utterly inadequate so far, but it is not too late for them to take firm and legally binding action.”

Amnesty International has compiled the names of more than 1,800 people reported to have died since pro-reform protests began. Thousands of others have been arrested, with many held incommunicado at unknown locations at risk of torture or death."

Click Here to Download Report (pdf)

Bahrain's contribution to the Arab Spring

The Bahraini government used the spectre of sectarian violence to justify their crackdown on peaceful protesters.


Lamis Andoni

"....The misrepresentations of events in Bahrain further deepened the Sunni-Shia divide - as Shias in Lebanon and Iraq, for example, have become bitter over the lack of coverage of what they view as Shia grievances in Bahrain.

Al-Manar television, run by the Lebanese Shia Hezbollah movement, as well as some Iraqi (Shia) stations - were the only channels that gave considerable coverage to the protests in Bahrain. The polarised coverage only served to further confuse public opinion, nurturing the sectarian beast.

The excellent Al Jazeera English documentary Shouting in the Dark, chronicling the heroic struggle of the Bahraini people and the harrowing clampdown, ought to open minds and hearts and send shock waves across the Arab world and the world at large.

But without real coverage and open debate in the Arab-speaking media about the reality of the situation in Bahrain there will be little change. It is wrong and unacceptable to paint the Bahraini opposition with a sectarian brush - while at the same time ignoring the fact that the regime used sectarian politics to consolidate its grip and prevent change. The Bahraini regime's policies, more than anything else, created sectarian reactions and pushed a segment of the people towards Iran. Repression is not the solution.

In fact, the people of Bahrain have given the regime several chances to reform, but repression will only drive people towards endorsing more radical demands of overthrowing the regime.

Although Bahrain is a young country, its history has shown that repression did not prevent the struggle for political freedoms to resume. It is about time that Arabs stood unequivocally with the Bahraini people who contributed to the Arab Spring, even as the Arab Spring failed them."

Israeli military arms settlers in preparation for Palestinian protests

West Bank settlers are given training before protests predicted to coincide with a Palestinian petition for UN recognition

Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem, Tuesday 30 August 2011

"The Israeli military is arming and training West Bank settlers in preparation for mass protests by Palestinians that it expects to erupt around the time that the UN is asked to recognise a Palestinian state, according to a leaked document.

Teargas and stun grenades are being distributed and training sessions held with settlement security teams, according to the document obtained by Haaretz.

The army has also drawn lines on maps around Jewish settlements close to Palestinian villages to guide troops, police and settlement security chiefs. Protesters who breach the first line will be subject to teargas and other methods of crowd dispersal. If a second "red line" is crossed, soldiers will be permitted to open fire at protesters' legs....."

Algeria's regime: out on a limb that looks set to fall

By giving the Gaddafi family refuge, Algeria's gerontocracy is putting itself on the wrong side of history

Brian Whitaker, Tuesday 30 August 2011

"....That leaves Algeria out on a limb, increasingly identified with the forces of counter-revolution. Not only has it so far failed to recognise the Libyan NTC, but it is now openly providing refuge for members of the Gaddafi family.

Welcoming the Gaddafis, according to Algeria's ambassador at the UN, was nothing more than a humanitarian gesture, in line with the traditions of desert hospitality – but we don't have to look very far to see the politics behind it.

What happened to the Tunisian, Egyptian and Libyan regimes could easily have been the fate of the Algerian regime, too. In January, as the Tunisian uprising gathered pace, Algeria also experienced widespread disturbances – and for very similar reasons. Regular protests were still continuing on a smaller scale at the end of March.....

This suggests it's only a matter of time before the regime follows its neighbours into oblivion. Possibly Algerian leaders are hoping to keep revolutionary fervour at bay by creating difficulties for the transitional government in Libya next door but, if so, they could be making a big mistake.

As smarter approach is to accept the inevitable in Libya, as Morocco has cheerfully done, and not draw attention to their hankering for the past."

Al-Jazeera Video: 'Several killed' in Syria protests

Al-Jazeera Video: Gazan students restricted from study abroad

"A group of Palestinian students who have won scholarships to study abroad should be getting ready for the new experience.

Instead, they are stuck at home in Gaza because their government [Hamas] will not let them leave.

Al Jazeera's Stafanie Dekker reports from Gaza."

Protests before Defense Ministry demand blogger's release

Al-Masry Al-Youm

"A movement called ‘No to Military Tribunals’ on Monday staged protests before the Defense Ministry to demand the release of Mikel Nabil, a blogger who was sentenced to three years in prison for insulting the military council.

“My son has been on hunger strike for a week,” said Nabil’s father Sanad. “He said he won’t drink water or take his medicines as of Tuesday.”

Nabil has served five months of his parison sentence so far, and is waiting for the court to decide his appeal on 20 September.

Saad Eddin Ibrahim, member of the Revolution Protection Council, expressed his rejection of trying civilians before military courts, and requested the immediate release of Nabil.

The Justice and Equality Movement called on the military council to release Nabil and all Islamist prisoners-of-conscience because they were “unjustly convicted before the revolution.”"

Change We Can Believe in?? Military Trials on the Rise After Mubarak

By Cam McGrath

"CAIRO, Aug 30, 2011 (IPS) - Amr El-Beheiry’s trial in a military court lasted just five minutes. The 33-year- old Egyptian was arrested on Feb. 26 and sentenced without a lawyer present to five years in prison for breaking curfew and assaulting a public official during a demonstration in Cairo.

He is just one of thousands of civilians tried in military courts since the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) assumed power in February during the uprising that toppled dictator Hosni Mubarak. The special courts, which often group dozens of defendants together before a military judge, are notorious for their quick and severe sentences. Defendants are regularly denied access to legal counsel and verdicts cannot be appealed.

Mubarak used such intrinsically unfair trials
against citizens who challenged his regime: Islamists, disobedient workers, and various political opponents. Egypt’s military rulers appear to have borrowed from the ex-dictator’s playbook.

"Military trials are a tool in the SCAF’s hand," says lawyer Ahmed Ragheb, executive director of the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre. "They are using military courts because they provide more control than civil courts, which have independent judges and legal accountability."

According to Ragheb, over 12,000 Egyptians have been sentenced in military courts in the last six months. By comparison, less than 2,000 civilians were tried in military courts during Mubarak’s 30-year rule.

"Unfortunately, military trials have become the norm and civil trials the exception," Ragheb told IPS....."

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

This brand new poll asks:

Do you support the composition of the Syrian Transitional National Council?

With about 400 responding so far, 72% said yes.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Al-Jazeera Video: Leaked UN report outlines plan for Libya

"A leaked document apparently detailing United Nations preparations for its role in post-Gaddafi Libya reveals plans for the world body to deploy military observers and police officers to the North African country.

The document was obtained and published by Inner City Press, the UN watchdog website.

Al Jazeera spoke to Matthew Russell Lee, a journalist who runs the Inner City Press."

Al-Jazeera Video: 'Defections' in Syrian army reported

Gaddifi's son reported killed

Sky News

"Rebel commanders say Khamis Gaddafi, one of Colonel Gaddafi's most feared sons, has been killed in an air strike south of Tripoli. He is said to have been in an armoured Toyota Land Cruiser when it was reportedly blasted by a missile apparently from a NATO Apache helicopter.

Sky's chief correspondent Stuart Ramsay, who is at the scene, said a man claiming to be Khamis's bodyguard confirmed that he had died in the vehicle.

The explosion incinerated the 4x4 and was so intense it set nearby trees on fire, Ramsay reports......"

For Syria, what is 'left'?

The brutal crackdown of the past five months cannot be excused by Syria's resistance credentials.

By Bassam Haddad

"...However, the five-month-long protests against the regime in Syria, and the brutal response that left more than 2,000 Syrians dead and many thousands more injured or imprisoned, should leave no ambiguity. One wonders how these brutal policies by the Syrian regime will bring about salvation/freedom/liberation from Israel’s own racist and brutal policies; how they will stop home demolitions, population transfer schemes, and illegal Jewish-only racist settlements? How will these policies roll back the hypocritical policies of the United States in the region, its devastation of Iraq, and its support of Israel’s apartheid policies and of the remaining Arab dictatorships that partake in this anti-resistance camp?

If one’s opposition to imperialism were based on a political position and not on principle, it might be more understandable, even if patently unprincipled, to stand by the Syrian regime. But this would be akin to Israelis or Israel supporters who personally object to the racist policies of Israel, but somehow justify their support for Israel as it stands. The irony is that these Israeli leftists are chastised by the aformentioned part of the pro-resistance left precisely for abandoning anything smacking of leftism.

Where is the principle in all this? While this question may indeed be naïve, it is directed here to those who claim to take positions on principle, and on principle alone. The Syrian regime has long passed the threshold when those who prioritise resistance must return again to principle. As with hyper-nationalism - i.e., “my country right or wrong” - unfettered exhibitions of loyalty to the Syrian regime have no place. If one opposes imperialism on principle, than one must oppose the Syrian regime’s crushing of the protesters on principle. Whatever resistance credentials the Syrian regime possessed withered when it started killing its own people at a rate of approximately one hundred per week (for the last five months)....."

Breaking News: Gaddafi's wife and three children in Algeria

"Muammar Gaddafi's wife, two of his sons and his daughters have entered Algeria, according to the Algerian foreign ministry.

"The wife of Muammar Gaddafi, Safia, his daughter Aisha, and sons Hannibal and Mohammed, accompanied by their children, entered Algeria at 08:45am local time [0745GMT] through the Algeria-Libyan border," the ministry said in a statement on Monday published by the APS news agency.

However, it gave no information on the toppled Libyan leader, whose whereabouts has remained a mystery since rebels seized control of most of Tripoli, the Libyan capital, last week."

A liberated Libya remains haunted

A new Libyan government should devise policies that benefit the Libyan people, instead of avenging Gaddafi's legacy.

By Marwan Bishara

"In order for Libya to liberate itself from four decades of the Gaddafi rule, it must also free itself from his persona.

Gaddafi no longer presents a political or even a tribal weight in the country. He’s more of a nuisance, a security challenge; a background noise that will go away sooner rather than later.

A liberated Libya 2011 is no occupied Iraq 2003. Contrary to certain sensationalist estimates, Gaddafi cannot seriously fight back long-term with a gold- or dollars-financed insurgency. The old man is finished, and neither he nor his family will be able to mount any serious challenge to reborn Libya.....

Libya can’t afford a mentality of revenge and retaliation, or an uprooting process similar to de-Ba’athification in Iraq. Its national reconstruction begins not with bricks, but with its peoples’ reconciliation.

Only after they join forces to strengthen the national, legal and territorial infrastructure of a new pluralistic and diverse Libya should the various political trends - liberal, conservative or Islamist - underline their different visions for running their promising country.

These brave Libyans who proved they can’t be daunted by Gaddafi’s violence shouldn’t be haunted by his legacy."

Al-Jazeera Video: Zeina Khodr reports the latest from southern Tripoli

Al-Jazeera Video: HRW reports abuses against civilians in Libya

From Ali Ferzat

Syrian opposition delegation to visit Egypt in September

Al-Masry Al-Youm

"Syrian opposition figures plan to visit Egypt next month to meet with Egyptian political players and Al-Azhar leaders, members of the Syrian community in Egypt announced Sunday.

The visit, organized by the Syrian Community Assembly, would start on 8 September. It aims to brief Egyptians on the situation Syria and introduce them to the opposition's vision of Syria's future, the group's statement said.

Syrians look forward to a larger Egyptian role in supporting peoples' aspirations for civil states and freedoms, the statement said.

It said the visiting delegation will discuss ways to garner support for the Syrian opposition in its bid to remove the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

The delegation also hopes to meet with members of Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr.

Fahad al-Masry, political and media adviser for the assembly, said it chose Cairo as its starting point because of Egypt's political significance in the region.

Masry said the visit will conclude on 13 September with a march to the Arab League’s headquarters to protest the stance of Secretary General Nabil al-Araby on the situation in Syria. The protesters will demand a more active role for Arab states in supporting the Syrian people....."

The Election March of the Trolls

By Chris Hedges

August 29,2011

"....The trolls dominate or have neutralized every major institution in the country on behalf of their corporate paymasters. The press, education, Wall Street, labor and our political parties are managed by trolls or have been destroyed by them. Sometimes these trolls speak like liberals. Sometimes they speak like conservatives. Sometimes they are secular. Sometimes they are Christians. But the language they use is a cover for the relentless march toward a totalitarian capitalism and a kingdom where the trolls, if not the rest of us, live happily ever after. Rick Perry and John Boehner overtly make war on Social Security. Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi say they would like to save Social Security but are sadly powerless before the decisions of a congressional super committee they helped form. The result, of course, is the same. We get to choose the rhetoric and manner in which we are deceived and disempowered. Nothing more."

Special treatment gives Israeli mobsters free access to US soil: WikiLeaks

By Ali Abunimah

"Known Israeli organized crime bosses are able to travel freely to the United States, unlike counterparts from Italy, China and Central America, because the State Department has failed to apply US law to them.

It appears that at least one prominent Israeli crime family member was able to reach the United States with a specific intent to commit murder, as a result of this exemption.

This revelation comes in a May 2009 cable from the US Embassy in Tel Aviv titled “Israel: A Promised Land for Organized Crime?”

The cable, which was released by Wikileaks on 26 August, details the growing alarm of American officials that “Organized crime in Israel now has global reach, with direct impact inside the United States.”

Israel, according to the cable, is a world center of money laundering, drug trafficking, and trafficking in women for prostitution; and Israeli crime families operate international criminal syndicates involved in gambling, credit card and technology fraud spanning the globe....."