Saturday, October 15, 2011

Massive Demonstration in the heart of Damascus

تشييع الشهيد الطفل ابراهيم محمد شيبان شهيد الشام الذي استشهد في جمعة احرار الجيش والتشييع من جامع الدقاق في حي الميدان 15 10 2011

Remember on this day in 1953 the Qibya massacre committed by Ariel Sharon and his unit

On this day 59 years ago, the massacre of "Qibya" led by Ariel Sharon, and the Israeli Occupation forces took place, killing 69 Palestinians, 2/3 being women and children. Forty-five houses, a school, and a mosque were destroyed in one night. This, of course, is just one of many massacres that have been perpetrated against the indigenous people of Palestine since 1948.

Al-Jazeera Video: Yemeni security forces fire on protesters

حصري: أسماء الأسرى المحررين في صفقة التبادل

قائمة الأسرى التي نشرتها حركة حماس

حصري: أسماء الأسرى المحررين في صفقة التبادل

Palestinian Prisoners: The Names Behind the Numbers


"While Israeli soldiers like Gilad Shalit become household names the moment they are captured, the names of thousands of Palestinian prisoners remain largely unknown during captivity and after they are freed. Al-Akhbar translated the names of Palestinians slated for release as part of the prisoner exchange deal struck between Israel and Hamas in October. The list of Arabic names was published by the Palestinian news agency Sama....

Al-Jazeera Video: Interview: Yemeni government forces shot protesters in the head

"Dr Tariq Noman, the chief surgeon at a field hospital in Sanaa, confirmed that they have received ten dead people and over 100 injured.
Noman said that most of the dead were killed by snipers in the head, the chest, and neck.
He added that the field hospital is still receiving injured and they expect the death toll to rise in the next few hours due to the bad injuries to the brain.

"The regime forces are preventing the injured and the ambulances from leaving Zubeiri street.""

Real News Video: Alleged Iranian Assassination Plot Appears an FBI Sting

Gareth Porter​: Evidence points to an FBI sting that creates rational for stepped up campaign against Iran

More at The Real News

The Iranian “Plot”


"First, a simple rule: utter absurdity in allegations leveled by the US government is no bar to a deferential hearing in our nation’s major conduits of official opinion....

There are two powers in the Middle East that most certainly do want war, or a deepening rift between the US and Iran – namely Saudi Arabia and Israel. And we should not forget the cultish Iranian MEK, beloved by many on Capitol Hill.

Iranian intelligence is famously efficient at hiding its tracks. Though many believe that it was the Iranians who blew up PanAm flight 103 in 1988 – in retaliation for the downing of an Iranian civilian airliner by the US Navy ship, the Vincennes – no convincing trail has ever come to light. Yet it is supposedly Iranian intelligence that wired $100,000 to the used car salesman, using a known Quds bank account.If the bid was a false flag operation mounted by the Saudis or Israelis, an open transfer of money would be one obvious tactic.

The US has made swift use of dubious “plots” in the not-so-distant past. In 1981 it flourished charges of a Libyan “hit squad” entering the US through the border tunnel between the Canadian town of Windsor to Detroit, with a plan to assassinate newly elected President Ronald Reagan. No evidence was ever offered for this accusation but it kindled animosities that culminated five years later with the US raid on Tripoli, aiming to assassinate Col Gaddafi in his compound.....

Absurdity, as noted above, is not a decisive factor. Once the DOJ launched its Complaint, the accusations are official and immune to reasoned demolition. Iran doesn’t want war with the US. But how far will the US go in its response, led as it is by a weak president entirely committed to using the “war on terror” to buttress his bid for reelection."

Egypt's deadly night: what really happened

Five days after the street violence in Egypt which left at least 26 people dead and hundreds injured, the debate over exactly what happened that night rages fiercely. The generals running the country deny that the army was responsible for the bloodshed. But those caught up in the clashes dispute the army's version of events. The following testimonies have been translated from Arabic, and edited for space and clarity.

For more information visit Maspero Testimonies (Arabic), whose volunteers helped find, record and translate the following accounts

Jack Shenker, Lisa Foreman and Paddy Allen, Friday 14 October 2011

Saudi Arabia detains human rights activist again

14 October 2011

"The Saudi Arabian authorities must immediately release a detained human rights activist if he is being held over his peaceful activism, Amnesty International said today.
Fadhel Maki al-Manasif, 26, was arrested on 2 October near the town of Safwa in the Eastern Province. He has had no access to a lawyer or been allowed visits from his family. Like many held in custody by the Saudi Arabian authorities, he is at risk of torture and other human rights violations.

The Saudi Arabian authorities seem determined to stamp out any form of dissent in the country,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Middle East and North Africa.

“Details of any charges Fadhel Maki al-Manasif faces must be disclosed. If he has been detained simply for his peaceful human rights work, he should be released immediately and unconditionally,” she said.

According to sources in Saudi Arabia, Fadhel Maki al-Manasif has been vocal in raising human rights concerns about the treatment of members of Saudi Arabia’s Sh’ia minority......."

Obama doubles down

By Stephen M. Walt

"....Put it all together, and it looks like the Administration is making a concerted campaign to ratchet up the pressure on Tehran. Countries like Britain, Saudi Arabia and France are going along with that program, and no doubt Israel is happy to see this development too. But so far other countries appear to be at best agnostic about the whole business, which is still the only sensible response in light of the paltry public evidence offered to date. And as I said yesterday, if Obama & co. can't produce some smoking gun support for their assertions, the backlash could be formidable.

More to the point: what's the endgame here? What is the positive purpose to be gained from this new campaign? If there really is hard and reliable evidence of a serious Iranian plot to bomb buildings in the United States and to kill foreign emissaries on our soil, then that's one thing. But if this turns out to be a much more ambiguous business -- either a rogue Iranian operation, a false flag scheme, or a case of FBI entrapment -- then what are we trying to accomplish by rolling out a seemingly well-orchestrated round of new accusations, especially when there's little chance of getting the sort of "crippling sanctions" that might actually alter Iran's behavior? Are we just trying to divert attention from other issues (the economy, the "Arab Spring," the failed diplomacy on Israel-Palestine, etc.), or is this somehow linked to the 2012 campaign?

Last point: as one would expect, Obama is already facing pressure from the right to do more. He's resisted their calls to attack Iran before, and if I had to bet I'd say he'll do so again. But the overall pattern of his presidency has been to accommodate hardline pressure on a variety of fronts...."

Legal questions follow Iran's 'bizarre plot'

Plot described by the US Attorney General sounds like a bad action movie, but why would he lie?

Hamid Dabashi

"....So the question ultimately boils down to this: What is the difference between a "lie" and a "faulty intelligence" - except perhaps for the legalese language game in which the legal profession thrives? This points to the calamity we face today - that in fact both the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States are ruled by lawyers.

The rule of the Ayatollahs in Iran is the rule of the jurists, of the Shia legal scholars, with their own peculiar penchant for Perso-Arabic legalese. Scarcely anyone, except for that profession, understands it. The Supreme Leader occupies the office of Vali-ye Faqih/The Master Jurist, established and theorised by the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini.

And lo and behold the same holds true in the United States, where from President Obama to Attorney General Eric Holder, people are ruled by lawyers - and their penchant for legalese Gobbledygook. Under this framework, officials can offer a used-car salesman with mismatched socks and misplaced keys as a star witness, just a few weeks after having provided legal justification for the assassination of an American citizen.

While the lawyers may find amusing or empowering their ability to manipulate words to get away with murder - the rest of humanity is at the receiving end of the dire consequences of what they say. The instant impact of Attorney General Eric Holder's announcement is that the right wing hawks in the US and Saudi Arabia are now salivating about this news and itching to attack Iran....."

فيديو يكشف حقيقة أحداث ماسبيرو ومن بدأ بالضرب وتعليق بلال فضل عليه

From Hossam El-Hamalawy

If you speak Arabic, you have to see this video!

Al-Jazeera Cartoon

The mass protesters facing the Arab dictators with a banner that reads, "It is Time to Go!"

The Arab dictators are asking, "Where do They (the protesters) Want to Go?"

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

Do you believe the American accusations of Iran that it planned to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington, D.C.?

With about 400 responding so far (it is very early), 63% said no.

Scottish actress Tilda Swinton to appear in next month Vogue wearing a Palestine scarf

Vogue Nov 2011.
The magazine put a note emphasising that the clothes, 'throughout' are Tilda's....

(Tilda" Swinton (born 5 November 1960) is a British actress known for both arthouse and mainstream films. She has appeared in a number of films including The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Burn After Reading, and was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance in The Deep End. She won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Michael Clayton.)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Real News Video: Palestinian Hunger Strike Continues Despite Israeli Prisoner Swap

Thousands are demanding better treatment of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and the release of prominent activists

More at The Real News

ليبيا: نظام جديد وممارسات قديمة

ليبيا: نظام جديد وممارسات قديمة
عبد الباري عطوان

"صحيفة 'الاندبندنت' البريطانية لخصت الوضع الراهن في 'ليبيا الجديدة' بنشر رسم كاريكاتيري في عددها الصادر الجمعة يتضمن ثلاث صور للعقيد الليبي معمر القذافي وهو ينهال ضربا وركلا لشخص مكبل اليدين، ويصرخ به مطالبا اياه بالاعتراف عن مكان 'المجرم القاتل محترف التعذيب وانتهاك حقوق الانسان ابن الحرام المدعو معمر القذافي'.
اللافت في الشخصيات الثلاث للعقيد القذافي في الرسم المذكور، ان احداها بملابس الجنرال الذي يلف ذراعه بعلم 'ليبيا الجديدة'، والثانية بملابس الميليشيا ويلف وسطه بالعلم نفسه،اما الثالثة فصاحبها يرتدي ملابس مدنية. وقال العنوان الرئيسي للكاريكاتير 'قابل الرئيس الجديد لليبيا'.

[Scroll down 9 posts to see the cartoon]
لا نعتقد ان رسام الكاريكاتير هذا كان من رجال القذافي، ونجزم بان الصحيفة لم تتلق فلساً واحداً من نظامه، كما ان انصار النظام الليبي الجديد لم يعثروا في ملفات واوراق المخابرات الليبية بعد اقتحام مدينة طرابلس على وثائق تدين رئيس تحريرها بتلقي 'اكرامية' شهرية من حاكم ليبيا وديكتاتورها السابق، وهي التهم التي تفنن حكام ليبيا الجدد في اطلاقها على كل من اختلف معهم في الرأي حول بعض الممارسات والتدخلات الاجنبية، ولم يختلف معهم على دموية النظام السابق وديكتاتوريته.
الثورة انطلقت في ليبيا، وحظيت بدعم عربي وعالمي لانها هدفت الى التخلص من نظام دموي، مارس القمع والتعذيب وانتهاك حقوق الانسان الليبي، وحوّل البلاد الى مزرعة له ولأبنائه والبطانة الصغيرة المحيطة به، ولكن عندما يمارس الحكام الجدد الممارسات نفسها، وربما بطرق ابشع، فإن من حقنا ان نرفع اصواتنا معارضين ومعترضين، نحن الذين عارضنا نظام القذافي عندما كان معظم من انقلبوا عليه، وانحازوا الى صفوف الثوار، وتولوا المناصب القيادية، يخدمونه ويبجلونه، ويحملون المباخر له، ويهتفون خلفه، بل ويبررون قمعه وارهابه.
المنظمات العالمية الغربية المهتمة بحقوق الانسان، مثل منظمة العفو الدولية (بريطانية)، وهيومان رايتس ووتش (امريكية)، نشرت تقارير 'موثقة' حول انتهاك قوات تابعة للحكم الليبي الجديد لحقوق الانسان ضد انصار النظام السابق، بما في ذلك قتلهم بعد تعذيبهم، واظهرت صوراً لهؤلاء وقد قتلوا برصاصة في الرأس وهم مقيدو اليدين خلف ظهورهم.
ففي تقرير اصدرته منظمة العفو الدولية في الاول من تشرين الاول/ اكتوبر الجاري جرى توثيق اعتقالات تعسفية لأفراد وأسر واطفال، شملت المئات من الاشخاص، سواء من منازلهم او عند نقاط التفتيش او من الشوارع، وتعرضوا للضرب واللكم والاهانات وهم معصوبو الاعين ومقيدو الايدي، وكذلك اطلاق النار على سيقانهم. وافاد الكثيرون ان اموالهم قد سرقت، وممتلكاتهم قد دمرت. وتعرض افارقة وليبيون سود للاعتقال التعسفي بسبب لون بشرتهم، ومثل هؤلاء نصف المعتقلين، وكذلك للضرب بالعصي واعقاب البنادق. واعترف الحراس بذلك، وارفقت المنظمة صورا توضح آثار التعذيب.
اما منظمة هيومان رايتس ووتش فقد تحدثت عن وقوع عشرات القتلى والجرحى من المدنيين بسبب غارات طائرات حلف الناتو، معظمهم من المدنيين.
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المراسلون الاجانب الذين يغطون الهجوم على مدينتي سرت وبني وليد آخر معاقل الزعيم الليبي المخلوع، يؤكدون ان المدينتين قد دمرتا بالكامل بعد حصارهما وقطع امدادات الماء والكهرباء عنهما لعدة اسابيع. وتحدثت تقارير منظمة الصليب الاحمر الدولي عن اوضاع كارثية داخل المستشفيات في المدينتين، حيث الجرحى يموتون لعدم وجود ابسط انواع الادوية والعناية الطبية اللازمة بفعل الحصار.
لا نتردد لحظة في ادانة النظام السابق ودمويته وممارسته كل انواع القمع والتعذيب ضد خصومه، بل وحتى المقابر الجماعية، ولكن من المفترض ان تكون ممارسة معارضيه الذين اطاحوا بحكمه النقيض عن ذلك تماماً، من حيث الابتعاد عن النزعات الثأرية والروح الانتقامية، والتحلي بأخلاق الاسلام في اكرام الاسرى، والاحتكام الى احكام القانون والعدالة.
تدمير المنازل ونهب محتوياتها، وترويع المدنيين الفارين من المدينتين، والحاق كل انواع الاهانة بهم، لانهم ينتمون الى قبيلة العقيد القذافي او قبائل متحالفة معه، او حكمت عليهم الاقدار والظروف بالعيش في المدينتين المحاصرتين، هذه الامور مدانة بأشد الكلمات واقواها، ولا تبشر بالخير لليبيا الجديدة، التي يتطلع اليها الليبيون والعالم بأسره، ليبيا النموذج في العدالة وحقوق الانسان والتحول الديمقراطي والقضاء المستقل والشفافية المطلقة.
لن نقع في خطيئة التعميم، ونضع كل الثوار في سلة واحدة، فهناك اناس بينهم يرفضون كل هذه الممارسات، ويدينونها مثلنا، ويرون فيها تشويهاً لصورة نظام المستقبل، ولكن هؤلاء ربما يكونون الاستثناء، ولم نسمع اصواتهم المعارضة، وان سمعناها فهي فخافتة، ضعيفة، خوفاً من الاغلبية ذات النزعات الثأرية المتعطشة للانتقام.
نشعر بالأسى والحزن عندما يتهم البعض من حكام ليبيا الجدد الاشقاء الموريتانيين والسودانيين الذين يقاتلون الى جانب انصار العقيد في سرت وبني وليد بالمرتزقة، وهي تهمة تتعارض مع كل القيم والاخلاق العربية، لانها تنزع صفة الانسانية عن هؤلاء لانهم اختاروا الخندق الخطأ في نظر بعض الثوار،عندما قاتلوا عن قناعة او عن ضلال، الى جانب زعيم عربي، وليس الى جانب قوات الناتو.
العرب الذين يقاتلون في سرت لا يفعلون ذلك من اجل كعكة نفطية مغرية، ولا من اجل عقود اعمار، ولا حتى من اجل حفنة من الفضة، لانهم يعلمون جيداً انهم سيواجهون الموت، وان معركتهم خاسرة لا محالة، فهم يقاتلون تحت راية نظام انهزم وانهار، ويواجهون ثواراً مدعومين من اقوى حلف في تاريخ البشرية.
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لا نفهم لماذا يصمت العالم على الغارات التي تشنها طائرات حلف الناتو على مدينتي سرت وبني وليد، فتدخل الناتو وطائراته جاء تحت شعار اقامة مناطق حظر جوي لحماية المدنيين من طائرات النظام السابق التي تريد تمزيقهم، ولا بد ان قادة هذا الحلف، السياسيين منهم قبل العسكريين، يعلمون جيداً ان نظام القذافي انهار وعاصمته سقطت في يد الثوار، وان الذين يقاتلون في سرت وبني وليد لا يملكون الطائرات ولا الدبابات، وانما مجموعة من القناصة اليائسين الذين يخوضون معركة كرامة شخصية لا اكثر ولا اقل، فلماذا تقصف الطائرات هؤلاء بشكل متواصل ولأكثر من اربعة اسابيع، ومن هم ضحايا هذا القصف اليسوا ليبيين وعرباً ومسلمين ايضاً، واذا كان الثوار استنجدوا بحلف الناتو لحمايتهم وارواحهم من المجزرة، فبمن يستنجد هؤلاء، ومن يستجيب لصرخات استغاثتهم؟ ثم لماذا لا يتم التعامل مع هؤلاء بطرق انسانية مثل الحصار والمفاوضات لحثهم على الاستسلام، او حتى ترك مهمة استعادة المدينتين لليبيين انفسهم بعد ان اصبح ميزان القوى على الارض لصالح الثوار وبفارق كبير، ولا يقارن مع المدافعين عن المدينتين؟.
قد يجادل البعض محقاً، بانه قد جرت مفاوضات، واعطاء مهلة للمدنيين للخروج، وللمقاتلين لتسليم انفسهم، ولكن هذه المفاوضات فشلت، ولكن المهلة كانت اياماً معدودة، والصحف الغربية تحدثت عن املاءات وليس مفاوضات، وتعاطٍ بغرور وعجرفة من قبل المفاوضين التابعين للنظام الليبي الجديد.
الربيع العربي كله لن يكون له اي قيمة اذا لم تتحول الدول العربية الى حكم القانون. فالثورات العربية قامت اساساً من اجل استعادة الانسان العربي لكرامته وسلامته وحقوقه الانسانية المشروعة، من خلال ازالة الانظمة الديكتاتورية، اي ان القاعدة هي حقوق الانسان والحريات التي صادرتها الديكتاتوريات، وليس اطاحة الديكتاتوريات واستمرار الانظمة الجديدة في تبني النهج نفسه.
ليبيا الجديدة يجب ان تقوم على اسس صلبة من التسامح والعدالة والاحترام الكامل لحقوق الانسان، فهذه هي ابرز ضرورات المصالحة الوطنية التي يمكن ان تقود البلاد الى بر الامان، والتغيير الديمقراطي المأمول.

Israeli sources: Hamas linked prisoner swap to moving headquarters to Cairo

Al-Masry Al-Youm

"Egypt will allow the vice president of Hamas' political bureau, Moussa Abu Marzouk, to move from Damascus to Cairo and stay in a permanent villa there, described as the "luxury" part of the prisoner swap consummated last week between Israel and Hamas, Israeli sources have revealed.

The deal, which will free Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit captured by Hamas in 2006 in exchange for the release of 1027 Palestinian prisoners, also includes transferring Hamas' headquarters from Syria to Egypt, the same sources added. Egyptian sources, though, could not confirm if this is true....."

Al-Jazeera Video: Rula Amin on Syria's Friday demonstrations

Al-Jazeera Video: Al Jazeera speaks to Louay Safi on Syria

"Al Jazeera speaks to Louay Safi, chair of the political office of the Syrian National Council - a coalition of opposition groups.
Safi comments on UN human rights chief Navi Pillay's warning of a "looming civil war" in Syria."

Real News Video: Will US Stay in Iraq To Protect Oil Interest?

Antonia Juhasz: Debate about Iraq exit continues as China gives US oil companies cover

More at The Real News

The Prisoner Swap

by Phyllis Bennis

".....That arrangement has been bandied about for years. The fact that it now appears imminent (though its success cannot be claimed till all the prisoners walk out of jail) reflects two seemingly contradictory realities. Israel, the occupying power, continues to control the lives of the occupied Palestinian population, and new regional and international conditions are challenging Israel in dramatic ways....

The question now remains whether the deal will go through, whether 1023 Palestinian families and one Israeli family, plus all the millions on both sides waiting, waiting….will finally see their loved ones go free."

Will the Washington Bomb Plot Force Obama into War with Iran?

By Tony Karon

If the conception of the plot was hokey, the tradecraft — communications by phone, money wired from a Quds Force bank account — wasn't worthy of the name.

"You can't make this stuff up," said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. But unfortunately, since the Iraq invasion, much of the international community is unlikely to easily accept claims made by Washington against rival states whose regimes it would like to be rid of.

Still, even though the plot was thwarted, it could yet provoke an escalation, or even a confrontation, between the U.S. and Iran. The poisoning of the atmosphere will, in all likelihood, further dim the already diminished hopes for any diplomatic progress on the nuclear standoff. And if the Administration fails to win support for a significant escalation of sanctions or other form of punishment for the Tehran regime after presenting evidence of the latest allegations of Iranian malfeasance, the ball will land back in Obama's court. Having made the case that Iran crossed a red line, he will be under pressure to act — or risk entering a highly polarized election season haunted by a "soft on Iran" charge."

Petraeus’s CIA Fuels Iran Murder Plot

by Ray McGovern, October 14, 2011

What to Watch For

If Petraeus finds it useful politically to conjure up more "evidence" of nefarious Iranian behavior in Iraq and/or Afghanistan, Lebanon or Syria, he will. And if he claims to see signs of ominous Iranian intentions regarding nuclear weapons, watch out.

Honest CIA analysts, like the ones who concluded that Iran had stopped working on a nuclear weapon in late 2003 and had not resumed that work, are in short supply, and most have families to support and mortgages to pay. Petraeus is quite capable of marginalizing them, or even forcing them to quit. I have watched this happen to a number of intelligence officials under a few of Petraeus’s predecessors.

More malleable careerists can be found in any organization, and promoted, so long as they are willing to tell more ominous — if disingenuous — stories that may make more sense to the average American than the latest tale of the Iranian-American-used-car-salesman-Mexican-drug-cartel-plot.

This can get very dangerous in a hurry. Israel’s leaders would require but the flimsiest of nihil obstat to encourage them to provoke hostilities with Iran. Netanyahu and his colleagues would expect the Obamas, Holders, and Petraeuses of this world to be willing to "fix the intelligence and facts" (à la Iraq) to "justify" such an attack.

The Israeli leaders would risk sucking the United States into the kind of war with Iran that, short of a massive commitment of resources or a few tactical nuclear weapons, the U.S. and Israel could almost surely not win. It would be the kind of war that would make Iraq and Afghanistan look like minor skirmishes."

The ‘Terrorist’ Who Couldn’t Think Straight

(Cartoon by Carlos Latuff)

Iranian 'terrorist' plot unravels


By Justin Raimondo

"Would Iran recruit a used car salesman with a memory problem to conduct assassinations in the US? This is a question you have to ask yourself when evaluating the alleged Iranian "terrorist" plot supposedly uncovered by Attorney General Eric Holder the other day.....

Less than 24 hours after Holder’s press conference, the whole fantasy began to unravel under closer scrutiny....

But as Ayn Rand once said: "Don’t bother to question a fallacy, ask yourself only what it accomplishes." The idea is to target Iran as the next al-Qaeda: with the late unlamented Osama bin Laden out of the picture, the US has to find a replacement – and quick! – in order to justify its decade-long post-9/11 rampage across the Middle East and much of the rest of the world. What’s a war without an enemy? Iran has always been the War Party’s ultimate Middle Eastern target, and now they are making their move....

Which non-Iranian intelligence agencies and/or terrorist organizations would stand to gain from such a confrontation? I can think of two: the Israelis and al-Qaeda. The former, after all, have been agitating for war quite openly; and as for al-Qaeda, those vultures are likely to be found circling over any Middle Eastern battlefield.

In choosing between these two as the likely culprit, I’ll await fresh evidence before making a final judgment. I would note, however, that al-Qaeda isn’t in very good shape these days, with their top leadership mostly dead, and their ranks scattered and demoralized.

The Israelis, on the other hand, have both the means and the motivation: they are desperate to provoke a war between the US and Iran, and have been for years. Moreover, there are elements of Netanyahu’s government who would stop at nothing to achieve this end. Remember that Avigdor Lieberman is the Foreign Minister, and controls a good chunk of the Israeli national security bureaucracy: his extremist party, the successor to the infamous Kach movement, which wants to deport all Arabs and create a "Greater Israel," is the electoral expression of the radical "settler" movement, which is now defying the Israeli army and carrying out terrorist attacks within Israel. In Weimar Israel, the extremists are on the rise – and they have their supporters within the establishment and the government itself, including the intelligence services.

Analysts often point, almost by default, to the option of attributing the alleged plot to a "rogue faction" of the Iranian government, but it’s just as likely – if not more likely – that this "rogue faction" is Israeli. It wouldn’t be the first time the Israelis have been strongly suspected of carrying out extensive covert activities in the US.....

In any case, what you need to know about this case is that it’s one-hundred percent baloney, from start to finish. It’s the crudest sort of war propaganda, the kind that insults the intelligence of the audience it is supposed to convince – and that, too, is a clue to its provenance."

Meet the New Boss, by Dave Brown

Egypt military court ‘toying with life’ of jailed blogger

Amnesty International
13 October 2011

"Amnesty International today urged Egypt’s military leadership to immediately and unconditionally release a jailed blogger after the military appeals court in Cairo ordered a retrial of his case.

Maikel Nabil Sanad, a 26-year-old blogger, is in very poor health after spending 52 days on hunger strike to protest against his imprisonment.

Amnesty International considers him to be a prisoner of conscience following his arrest and sentencing earlier this year to three years in prison for his writings about protests in Egypt and criticizing the armed forces.

“Maikel Nabil Sanad’s trial has been rife with flaws and unnecessary delays, and the decision of the appeals court for a retrial brings him back to square one, cruelly toying with his life,” said Amnesty International.

The charges against him must be dropped and he should be released immediately and unconditionally. He should never have been tried in the first place, let alone before a military court.

“Forcing him to face the same unfair proceedings all over again is especially cruel given the frail state of his health.”....."

Journalists demand resignation of information minister in wake of Maspero

Al-Masry Al-Youm

"....In a statement handed out during the march, the group accused Minister of Information Osama Heikal of having “primary responsibility” for “prejudiced” media that “incited sectarian violence against peaceful demonstrators.”

State media have come under heavy criticism for their coverage of the Maspero violence, with accusations that it deliberately stoked anti-Christian sentiment by falsely announcing that three soldiers had been killed by Coptic protesters.

The minister of “misinformation” had “humiliated” the Egyptian army when state media broadcast an appeal for help to protect the army from peaceful protesters, because “it made the army – which is supposed to protect the country – appear as if it can’t protect itself,” said the group.

The group also accused Heikal of hiding videos showing army armored personnel carriers running over protesters, as well as soldiers firing into the crowd using live ammunition.

Olfat Abd Rabo, a journalist, said she had taken part in Sunday’s demonstration and had seen people being killed with live ammunition. “The disgusting media announced on TV that the army was coming under attack at the same time as the peaceful protesters were being crushed and killed....."

VIDEO – Maspero Massacre مذبحة ماسبيرو

From Hossam El-Hamalawy

Al-Jazeera Video: Egyptian activists accuse military of killing Maspero protesters

مؤتمر صحفي رداً على أكاذيب العسكر

Al-Masry Al-Youm
Via Hossam El-Hamalawy

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Al-Jazeera Video: Palestinian political prisoners languish in Israel's prisons

"Israel has agreed to release 1,027 Palestinian political prisoners in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli army soldier captured by the Palestinian resistance group Hamas in 2006.

However, thousands of Palestinians remain incarcerated in Israeli prisons.

In June, Israeli PM Binyamin Natanyahu announced tougher restrictions on Palestinian prisoners. These restrictions include limited access to books and clothes, as well as expanded periods of solitary confinement.

To protest against the restrictions, hundreds of Palestinian prisoners have gone on hunger strike. Recently, Palestinians living in the occupied territories have joined the protest.

Al Jazeera's Charles Stratford reports from Ramallah."

نشمّ رائحة حرب ايرانية

نشمّ رائحة حرب ايرانية
عبد الباري عطوان

"ندرك جيداً ان ايران ليست سويسرا، ولكن من المؤكد ايضاً ان الولايات المتحدة الامريكية ليست 'الام تريزا'.. نقول ذلك بمناسبة ما كشفته الادارة الامريكية يوم امس الاول عن مؤامرة مفترضة تقف خلفها الحكومة الايرانية، تستهدف اغتيال السفير السعودي في واشنطن وتفجير السفارتين السعودية والاسرائيلية في واشنطن.
التفاصيل التي اذاعتها الادارة الامريكية عن المؤامرة هذه ما زالت محدودة، بل ومرتبكة، فهناك حديث عن تورط شخصين ايرانيين احدهما يحمل الجنسية الامريكية، وتعاون مع مافيا مكسيكية لتهريب المخدرات، في عملية الاعداد والتنفيذ، وإشارات غامضة عن استخدام اسلحة.
لا نبرئ ايران من الاعداد لتنفيذ هجمات ضد السفارتين السعودية والاسرائيلية في واشنطن او غيرها، ولكننا في الوقت نفسه نتردد كثيراً في الثقة في اي من الروايات الامريكية، بعد ان لدغنا من جحورها اكثر من مرة، وجاءت هذه اللدغات قاتلة، ولا يمكن ان ننسى 'الفبركات' حول اسلحة الدمار العراقية، وشراء نظام الرئيس العراقي السابق صدام حسين شحنات يورانيوم من النيجر، وعلاقته بتنظيم القاعدة واحداث الحادي عشر من ايلول (سبتمبر)، وملف توني بلير رئيس وزراء بريطانيا والحليف الاوثق لادارة الرئيس بوش، حول تجهيز اسلحة الدمار الشامل العراقية في غضون 45 دقيقة.
نشم رائحة حرب، او بالاحرى عمليات تمهيد للحرب في اكثر مناطق العالم اشتعالاً، ونقصد بذلك منطقة الخليج العربي، فتلقف اوروبا للاتهامات الامريكية لايران، والمبالغة في خطورتها، يؤكدان ظنوننا هذه. فليس سراً ان المملكة العربية السعودية تخشى من القدرات العسكرية والنفوذ السياسي الايراني المتصاعد، فالعاهل السعودي الملك عبد الله بن عبد العزيز طالب الادارة الامريكية بقطع رأس الافعى الايراني بأسرع وقت ممكن، واتهمت حكومته ايران قبل اسبوع بمحاولة زعزعة استقرار المملكة من خلال وقوفها خلف مظاهرات للأقلية الشيعية في المنطقة الشرقية، ادت الى مهاجمة مخفر واصابة 13 من جنود الشرطة.
لا نعرف ما اذا كانت ادارة الرئيس اوباما التي تتهاوى شعبيتها قبل اقل من عام من بدء الانتخابات الرئاسية الامريكية، ستتجاوب مع الرغبة السعودية الخليجية في قطع رأس الافعى الايراني بالسرعة المطلـــــوبة، ولكن ما نعرفه ان ايران استغلت انشغال واشنطن وحلفائها العرب طوال الاشهر التسعة الماضية بالربيع العربي لكي تضاعف جهودها لتخصيب اليورانيوم بدرجات عالية تؤهلها، حسب خبراء غربيين لانتاج اسلحة نووية في غضون ستة اشهر، اذا لم تكن قد انتجتها فعلاً.
' ' '
ما يقلق واشنطن ايضاً 'الفيتو المزدوج' الذي استخدمته كل من روسيا والصين في مجلس الامن الدولي ضد مشروع فرنسي ـ بريطاني لفرض عقوبات على سورية، حليفة ايران الاساسية في المنطقة العربية، وهو 'فيتو' قلب كل الحسابات الاستراتيجية رأساً على عقب، واعطى النظام السوري فسحة من الوقت لالتقاط الانفاس، بل وزيادة قبضته الامنية في التعاطي مع المعارضة الشعبية التي تطالب بإسقاطه.
الصين وروسيا من ابرز شركاء ايران التجاريين، وتتطلعان الى تعزيز وجودهما في منطقة الخليج، حيث ثلثا احتياطات النفط في العالم، ومخزون الثروات المالية الهائلة التي تقدر بتريليونات الدولارات على شكل صناديق استثمار سيادية او عوائد نفطية سنوية، تقدر بحوالى 600 مليار دولار، وهناك دراسات تؤكد ان الحرب في ليبيا التي يلعب فيها حلف الناتو الدور الابرز، هي ابرز اوجه التنافس الامريكي ـ الصيني على احتياطات النفط وعائداته في القارة الافريقية.
حلف الناتو يوشك ان ينجز مهمته في ليبيا، فنظام العقيد معمر القذافي لم يعد في السلطة، وآخر مواقعه في مدينتي سرت وبني وليد تترنح، وباتت على وشك السقوط في ايدي الثوار الليبيين، وهناك اعتقاد راسخ لدى بعض المراقبين، ونحن من بينهم، بأن دور حلف الناتو وضرباته في ليبيا، ونجاحه في تغيير النظام فيها، هو 'بروفة' لتكرار السيناريو نفسه في طهران، اي الاقتصار على القصف الجوي والصاروخي دون التورط في حرب برية.
ولا نستبعد ان تكون موافقة اسرائيل المفاجئة على صفقة تبادل الاسرى مع حركة 'حماس' (الف اسير فلسطيني مقابل الافراج عن الجندي جلعاد شاليط) وبوساطة مصرية، تصب في هذا السيناريو، لان اسرائيل قد تكون جزءاً او مساهماً في اي هجوم امريكي على ايران، وهذا لو حدث سيهدد حياة الجندي شاليط حتماً، لان حركة 'حماس' مثل 'حزب الله' في لبنان، احدى الاذرع الضاربة لايران في المنطقة العربية.
عملية 'شيطنة' ايران من قبل الولايات المتحدة بدأت قبل سنوات، ولكنها دخلت مرحلة جدية بعد تغلغل النفوذ الايراني في العراق، على حساب الوجود الامريكي، وتصاعد دورها في دعم طالبان وربما 'القاعدة' ايضاً في افغانستان، وتلويحها بتحريك الخلايا الشيعية النائمة والحية الموالية لها في منطقة الخليج والسعودية.
وزير الدفاع الامريكي ليون بانيتا زار فلسطين المحتلة ومصر وبعض دول الخليج في الاسبوعين الماضيين، واكد في تصريحات صحافية ان الهدف من جولته منع اسرائيل من شن هجوم على ايران لتدمير قدراتها النووية، فهل كانت هذه التصريحات غطاء لخطة امريكية لضرب ايران بالاشتراك مع دول الخليج والسعودية على وجه الخصوص، بمعزل عن اي دور اسرائيلي يمكن ان يحرج الشركاء الخليجيين؟
' ' '
نحن نطرح تساؤلات، ولا نملك اجابات قاطعة عليها، لكن الامر المؤكد ان منطقة الخليج ستكون مسرحاً لواحدة من حربين، واحدة باردة، واخرى ساخنة، وربما الاثنتين معاً، بحيث تمهد الاولى 'الباردة' للثانية 'الساخنة'. وفي كل الاحوال سترتفع اسعار النفط، وسترتفع بموازاتها حدة التوتر في المنطقة الخليجية.
العقيد معمر القذافي ارسل فريقاً لاغتيال العاهل السعودي، ولم تتحرك واشنطن ولندن وباريس ضده، بل عومل معاملة الاصدقاء الحميمين، وجرى فرش السجاد الاحمر لابنه المعتصم في البيت الابيض ووزارة الخارجية الامريكيين، وكذلك لابنه سيف في لندن وباريس. فلماذا تتحرك هذه العواصم وبشراسة بسبب مؤامرة مفترضة لاغتيال سفير سعودي (عادل الجبير) وتبدأ بالتحريض والتصعيد على غرار الحملة التي سبقت الاطاحة بالرئيس العراقي صدام حسين ونظامه؟
الاسابيع والاشهر المقبلة ستجيب على جميع علامات الاستفهام هذه او معظمها، وما علينا الا الانتظار، وليس لنا اي خيار آخر غيره، وان كنا نتمنى ان تزودنا واشنطن بأدلة دامغة عن هذه المؤامرة، وان لا تتهرب من طلباتنا مع غيرنا هذه ، مثلما تهربت من مثيلاتها بشأن اغتيال زعيم تنظيم القاعدة وكيفية اخفاء جثته، والاستمرار في اعتقال زوجاته وابنائه حتى هذه اللحظة، لمنع ظهور الحقائق كاملة، او رواية اخرى غير الرواية الامريكية الوحيدة التي سمعناها.
لا نجادل مطلقاً بان اي محاولة لتفجير السفارة السعودية او اغتيال سفيرها هي عمل اجرامي ارهابي مدان، ويجب ان يعاقب من يقدم عليه بأشد العقوبات، لانه ابشع انواع البلطجة وانتهاك للأعراف والمعاهدات الدولية، واعلان حرب في نهاية المطاف، ولكن ما نجادل فيه، ونطالب به، هو ان لا تنجر المنطقة العربية الى حرب اخرى، يستشهد فيها مئات الآلاف، وتتبدد ثرواتها، ويتهدد استقرارها، بناء على 'اكذوبة' اخرى.

Real News Video: Workers Strike Across Egypt

Lina Attalah: From bus drivers to university teachers, workers are striking for economic and political demands

More at The Real News

Israel increases use of bullets, tear gas against journalists

Jillian Kestler-D'Amours
The Electronic Intifada

"JERUSALEM (IPS) - As media freedoms throughout the occupied West Bank and Gaza continue to decline, human rights groups are urging that powerful governments put pressure on Israeli and Palestinian security forces [They are partners in crime!] to respect and facilitate the ability of journalists to do their work.

“We need international interference,” says Riham Abu Aita, public relations officer at the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA). “The biggest challenge is the Israeli occupation forces because 80 percent of the violations are committed by them......"

'Invisible Hand’ Playing With Sectarian Fire


By Cam McGrath

"CAIRO, Oct 13, 2011 (IPS) - Violent clashes in Cairo that left at least 25 Egyptians dead and over 300 injured on Sunday have deepened suspicions that unseen forces are manipulating the country's sectarian divisions for political gain.

The clashes broke out after about 2,000 protesters, mostly minority Coptic Christians, attempted to stage a sit-in outside the state television building in downtown Cairo to protest against a recent attack on a church in southern Egypt by Muslims. Demonstrators said they were assaulted by "thugs" armed with sticks, then by soldiers who they claim fired overhead with live ammunition, then into the crowd.

Video taken at the scene
shows soldiers beating demonstrators and army vehicles ploughing through the crowd at high speed, killing and injuring protesters. The violence spread as the demonstrators responded by pelting soldiers with rocks, and torching several military vehicles and private cars. Thousands of local residents reportedly joined the street battle after state media framed the clashes with a sectarian hue.....

An invisible hand is seen funding "counter-revolutionary" political groups, dispatching armed thugs to disrupt peaceful demonstrations, and infiltrating protests to direct them towards violent or destructive ends. More nefariously, it is purported to have orchestrated a string of attacks on Egypt's Coptic Christian community, which makes up about 10 percent of the population.....

Political analyst Hassan Nafaa maintains that certain elements have a vested interest in destabilising the country. He says security officials, politicians and businessmen who grew fat under the former regime stand to lose their wealth and face indictment. Meanwhile, regional neighbours Israel, Iran and Saudi Arabia have reservations about a strong Egypt.....

Just last week, loyalists of Hosni Mubarak's now-defunct political party warned of "extreme violence" if Egypt passes legislation that would prevent members of the former regime from participating in politics for at least five years.

Yet critics of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which has ruled Egypt since removing Mubarak in February, suspect the identity behind the invisible hand may lie within the military council itself. They highlight the incongruity of entrusting the fate of Egypt's revolution to an institution whose leaders were hand-picked by Mubarak to protect his regime.

Even before Sunday's clashes, described as the worst violence in Egypt since Mubarak's ouster last February, many observers suspected the generals were exploiting the country's continuing unrest to delay promised elections and other reforms while they consolidated power. State television's skewed coverage of the clashes only heightened their suspicions.

During the clashes, state news anchors whipped up sectarian sentiment by claiming armed Copts had killed several soldiers (later found to be untrue) and by urging citizens to take to the streets to "protect the army from the Copts." Soon afterwards, bands of Muslim men carrying weapons were seen roaming Cairo streets and assaulting Christians.

Egypt's information minister blamed the inflammatory news reports on overly emotional anchors. However, one state television employee told IPS that all news reports at state channels are fastidiously reviewed by SCAF monitors and even live news broadcasts are tightly scripted.

"How is it that the SCAF allowed state TV to broadcast these lies, while two private satellite channels streaming live video of the clashes were shut down?" asks Maged Naguib, a Copt who was caught up in the violence.

He believes Egypt’s generals are intent on staying in power and have borrowed a dark chapter from Mubarak's playbook. The ex-dictator is reported to have stoked simmering Muslim-Christian tensions, and may even have staged various incidents, to give the impression that without his authoritarian rule the country would descend into a bloody chaos.

"It's clear the SCAF is playing some of the politics of the old regime," remarks Nafaa. "But to play with the sectarian issue would be a very dangerous game." "

The Supreme Council of Armed Liars

From Hossam El-Hamalawy

Here is What Actually Happened:

The occupy Iran Fast and Furious plot (extended)

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"That Mecca of counter-revolution and hatred for the Arab Spring - also known as the House of Saud - can hardly believe their luck. It's Christmas in October - as the United States government has just handed it the perfect gift; in the excited words of US Attorney General Eric Holder, "A deadly plot directed by factions of the Iranian government to assassinate a foreign ambassador on US soil with explosives."....

Cui bono?

Once again; why now? The plot has allegedly been known for months. President Barack Obama was briefed about it in June. King Abdullah was briefed about it in mid-September. So why now? It's back to the usual suspects.

The neo-conservatives. Factions of the industrial-military complex. Right-wing, bat-shit crazy Republicans and their media shills. The Israel lobby. The House of Saud - now painted as a "victim" of the "evil" Iranians, when it has in fact been conducting the fierce counter-revolution that has destroyed any possibility of an Arab Spring in the Persian Gulf - the invasion and repression of Bahrain included.

The plot is very handy to divert attention from Saudi Arabia as the beneficiary of a multi-billionaire US weapons sale. And also very handy to divert attention from Holder himself......

Washington wants to "unite the world" against Iran ("world" meaning the North Atlantic Treaty Organization - NATO) and is graphically threatening to take Iran to the United Nations Security Council - all over again.

So let's anxiously wait for a hushed R2P ("responsibility to protect") resolution ordering NATO to establish a no-fly zone over every House of Saud prince across the world. A resolution which would be interpreted as a NATO mandate to bomb Iran into regime change. Now that's a script you can believe in. "

'Arab spring' revolutions fail to provide greater press freedom

The Guardian

"The fall of repressive regimes in north Africa and the Middle East, in the so-called Arab spring, has failed to usher in greater press freedom, according to a global media organisation.

A report by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) says "little progress" has been made in legislating to protect the freedom of the press in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

"Promises of change have... brought little improvement in terms of media freedoms," it says.

The report also points to the continuing press clampdowns in countries where revolts have failed to dislodge repressive regimes.

It says that in Syria a "media blackout helped obscure the full extent of the regime's brutal crackdown." In Yemen, it said that "journalists were deliberately targeted in March as state-orchestrated violence erupted in response to calls demanding President Saleh step down."

And in Bahrain, the authorities - "with help from their Saudi neighbours, have systematically hunted down, imprisoned and reportedly tortured bloggers and freedom of expression activists who participated in pro-reform demonstrations earlier in the year."...."

Saudi Arabia: Stop Arbitrary Arrests of Shia

Arbitrary Detentions Spark Clashes in Eastern Province

Human Rights Watch
October 11, 2011

"(Beirut) – Clashes in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Provinceshow the urgent need for Saudi officials to stop arbitrary arrests of peaceful protesters, relatives of wanted persons, and human rights activists, Human Rights Watch said today.

Interior Ministry officials said that the clashes, which broke out in ‘Awwamiyya, a Shia town, on October 3, 2011, and continued into the next day, injured 11 security personnel and three citizens, two of them women. Sources on the ground told Human Rights Watch that the likely trigger was the arrest on October 2 of two elderly residents of ‘Awwamiyya – Hasan Al Zayid, in his 70s, and Sa’id al-‘Abd al-‘Al, in his 60s – to pressure their sons to give themselves up to the police. The sons were wanted in connection with peaceful demonstrations from February to June in the Eastern Province.

Seizing the elderly and infirm father of a wanted man to force him to surrender is thuggish through and through,” said Christoph Wilcke, senior Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Even more so when the state was pursuing the man for nothing more than peaceful activism.”......"

Declaration of a Bantustan in Palestine

If the PLO's UN statehood bid succeeds, it will lead to increased Israel control, not real independence.

Haidar Eid
(An associate professor at Al-Aqsa University in Gaza)


"....Just as the Oslo Accords signified the end of popular non-violent resistance of the first intifada, this declaration of independence has a similar goal, namely ending the growing international support for the Palestinian cause since Israel’s 2008-2009 winter onslaught on Gaza and its attack on the Freedom Flotilla last May.Yet it falls short of providing Palestinians with the minimal protection and security from any future Israeli attacks and atrocities. The invasion and siege of Gaza was a product of Oslo. Before the Oslo Accords were signed Israel never used its full arsenal of F-16s, phosphorous bombs, and DIME weapons to attack refugee camps in the Gaza and the West Bank. Over 1,200 Palestinians were killed from 1987-1993 during the first intifada. Israel eclipsed that number during its three-week invasion in 2009; it managed to brutally kill more than 1,443 in Gaza alone. This does not include the victims of Israel’s siege in place since 2006, which has been marked by closures and repeated Israeli attacks before the invasion of Gaza and since.

Ultimately, what this intended “declaration of independence” offers the Palestinian people is a mirage, an “independent homeland” that is a Bantustan-in-disguise. Although it is recognised by so many friendly countries, it stops short of providing Palestinians freedom and liberation. Critical debate - as opposed to one that is biased and demagogic - requires scrutiny of the distortions of history through ideological misrepresentations. What needs to be addressed is an historical human vision of the Palestinian and Jewish questions, a vision that never denies the rights of a people, that guarantees complete equality, and abolishes apartheid - instead of recognising a new Bantustan 17 years after the fall of apartheid in South Africa."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

This bizarre plot goes against all that is known of Iran's intelligence service

By Patrick Cockburn

"The claim that Iran employed a used-car salesman with a conviction for cheque fraud to hire Mexican gangsters to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington goes against all that is known of Iran's highly sophisticated intelligence service.

The confident announcement of this bizarre plot by the US Attorney General Eric Holder sounds alarmingly similar to Secretary of State Colin Powell's notorious claim before the UN in 2003 that the US possessed irrefutable evidence Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction....

In Iraq, the US and Britain were always seeing Iran's hidden hand supporting their opponents, but they could never quite prove it. It was also true, to a degree never appreciated in the US, that Washington and Tehran were at one in getting rid of Saddam Hussein and installing a Shia government. There were points in common and a struggle for influence. The same has been true in Afghanistan, where Iran was delighted to see the anti-Shia Taliban overthrown in 2001....."

VIDEO – Maspero ماسبيرو

From Hossam El-Hamalawy

The fast and furious plot to occupy Iran

Tehran would have to be terminally foolish to try to snuff out an ambassador on US soil, author says.

Pepe Escobar

"....FBI Director Robert Mueller insisted the Iran-masterminded terror plot “reads like the pages of a Hollywood script”. It does. And quite a sloppy script at that. Fast and Furious duo Paul Walker/Vin Diesel wouldn’t be caught dead near it....

Predictably, the proverbial torrent of US “officials” came out with guns blazing, spinning everything in sight. An alarmed Pentagon will be increasing surveillance over the Quds Force and “Iran’s actions” in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf. Former US ambassadors stated that, “it’s an attack on the United States to attack this ambassador”. Washington is about to impose even more sanctions against Iran; and Washington is urgently taking the matter to the UN Security Council.

What next? A R2P (“responsibility to protect”) resolution ordering NATO to protect every House of Saud minion across the world by bombing Iran into regime change?....

As for the Washington mantra that “Iran has been insinuating itself into many of the struggles in the Middle East”, that’s undiluted Saudi propaganda. In fact it’s the House of Saud who’s been conducting the fierce counter-revolution that has smashed any possibility of an Arab Spring in the Persian Gulf - from the invasion and repression of Bahrain to the rash pre-emption of protests inside Saudi Arabia’s Shia-dominated eastern provinces.

The whole thing smells like a flimsy pretext for a casus belli. The timing of the announcement couldn’t be more suspicious. White House national security advisor Thomas E. Donilon briefed King Abdullah of the plot no less than two weeks ago, in a three-hour meeting in Riyadh. Meanwhile the US government has been carrying not plots, but targeted assassinations of US citizens, as in the Anwar al-Awlaki case.....

So how to bury Fast and Furious, the economic abyss, the 10 years of war in Afghanistan, the increasing allure of Occupy Wall Street - not to mention the Saudi role in smashing the spirit of the Arab Spring? By uncovering a good ol’ al-Qaeda style plot on US soil, on top of it conducted by “evil” Iran. Al-Qaeda and Tehran sharing top billing; not even Cheney and Rumsfeld in their heyday could come up with something like this. Long live GWOT (the global war on terror). And long live the neo-con spirit; remember, real men go to Tehran - and the road starts now. "

Al-Jazeera Video: Preparing for Palestinian prisoners' homecoming

"Al Jazeera's Nicole Johnston visits a Gazan family preparing the return of their daughter Wafa el-Bes, a Palestinian woman who has been in jail for the past 6 years."

Al-Jazeera Video: Interview with Mohammad Marandi

"Al Jazeera's Jane Dutton speaks to Mohammad Marandi, political analyst at the University of Tehran about an alleged Iranian plot targeting a Saudi envoy to the US. "

Real News Video: Egyptians Chant "Muslims Christians Are One" as Military Viciously Attacks Protest

TRNN Report: Angry protesters call for overthrow of the Egyptian military regime as many are killed by Army


More at The Real News

Real News Video: Prisoner swap deal agreed between Israel and Hamas

EuroNews: Gilad Shalit is set to be freed in an historic swap deal which will see around 1,000 Palestinian prisoners released

More at The Real News

Torched Mosque, by Khalil Bendib

The Price of Torching Mosques

Burning Rage

By Jonathan Cook

"Jewish far-right groups responsible for a series of arson attacks on West Bank mosques over the past year broke dangerous ground last week when they turned their attention for the first time to holy places inside Israel. A mosque was torched, followed days later by an attack on Muslim and Christian graves.

In each case the settlers left their calling card – the words “Price tag”, indicating an act of revenge – scrawled on their handiwork.

None of the recent attacks against Palestinians has led to prosecutions. The so-called “Jewish division” of the Shin Bet secret police, which is charged with solving such crimes, is known to be more than half-hearted about pursuing investigations. Like many state institutions, including the army, its ranks are filled with settlers....

Netanyahu and the settlers hope to subdue Palestinians with the establishment of a Greater Israel. But as the conflagration of mosques suggests, they may ultimately achieve the opposite. By reminding Palestinians on either side of the Green Line of their common fate, Israel may yet unleash a force too powerful to control. The price tag – this time demanded by Palestinians – will be high indeed for the Jewish supremacists."

Silencing Occupy Wall Street and criticism of Israel through demonization

By Ali Abunimah

"Paul Krugman has a great column today on the “panicked” reaction of the country’s plutocrats to the Occupy Wall Street protests that are spreading across the country. The protests, he writes, “have already elicited a remarkably hysterical reaction from Wall Street, the super-rich in general, and politicians and pundits who reliably serve the interests of the wealthiest hundredth of a percent.”

What struck me though was his description of the tactics used to demonize perfectly rational and sensible critiques of the disastrous way the economy is run for the benefit of a tiny number of people:
The tactics Krugman describes struck a real chord with me – they are exactly like the tactics US-based anti-Palestinian groups are using in their campaign against so-called “delegitimization” of Israel. A “delegitimizer” you may recall is anyone who questions Israel or calls for an end to its occupation, apartheid and other crimes against Palestinians and other Arabs, in short the entire Palestinian rights and solidarity movement.

Like Wall Street’s Masters of the Universe, Israel’s anti-Palestinian supporters have no morally defensible message, no positive case to make, no way to justify the US giving billions of dollars each year to a colonial apartheid state while basic services for Americans are slashed. So their only resort is to attack and demonize all who call for common sense: ending Israel’s special treatment and working for full equal rights and decolonization based on universal human rights principles – just what the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement calls for....."

US Arms Bahrain While Decrying Russian Weapons in Syria

(Cartoon by Carlos Latuff)

by Thalif Deen

"UNITED NATIONS - Peeved at Russia's Security Council veto derailing a Western- sponsored resolution against Syria last week, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice implicitly accused the Russians of protecting the beleaguered government of President Bashar al-Assad primarily to safeguard their lucrative arms market in the Middle Eastern country.

But around the same time, the United States was evaluating a 53- million-dollar weapons contract with Bahrain, where political unrest has claimed the lives of 34 people, mostly civilians, at least 1,400 others have been arrested, and more than 3,600 dismissed from their jobs for participating in street demonstrations demanding a democratic government.

"The U.S. government appears hypocritical when it condemns the use of force against Syrian protestors but condones similar behaviour in Bahrain," Dr. Natalie J. Goldring, a senior fellow with the Center for Peace and Security Studies in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, told IPS...."

The Myth of American Exceptionalism

The idea that the United States is uniquely virtuous may be comforting to Americans. Too bad it's not true.

By Stephen M. Walt

"Over the last two centuries, prominent Americans have described the United States as an "empire of liberty," a "shining city on a hill," the "last best hope of Earth," the "leader of the free world," and the "indispensable nation." These enduring tropes explain why all presidential candidates feel compelled to offer ritualistic paeans to America's greatness and why President Barack Obama landed in hot water -- most recently, from Mitt Romney -- for saying that while he believed in "American exceptionalism," it was no different from "British exceptionalism," "Greek exceptionalism," or any other country's brand of patriotic chest-thumping.

Most statements of "American exceptionalism" presume that America's values, political system, and history are unique and worthy of universal admiration. They also imply that the United States is both destined and entitled to play a distinct and positive role on the world stage.

The only thing wrong with this self-congratulatory portrait of America's global role is that it is mostly a myth....."

Iranian Terror Plot: Fake, Fake, Fake

Not even good propaganda

by Justin Raimondo, October 12, 2011

"Fake, fake, fake – I’m talking about the latest anti-Iranian propaganda coming out of Washington, which claims the Iranian Revolutionary Guards were involved in a “plot” to take out the Saudi ambassador to the US and blow up both the Saudi and Israeli embassies. The narrative reads like a formulaic melodrama: two Iranians, one a naturalized US citizen, purportedly approached someone they thought was a member of a Mexican drug cartel – according to the indictment [.pdf], it was a “sophisticated” drug cartel, not the plebeian sort – and proposed paying him $1.5 million to murder Adel al Jubeir, the Kingdom’s ambassador in Washington – oh, and by the way, the Iranians supposedly said, “Are you guys any good with explosives?”

The key to understanding just how fake this story is can be found in the New York Times report, which informs us:

“For the entire operation, the government’s confidential sources were monitored and guided by federal law enforcement agents, Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District, said in the news conference. ‘So no explosives were actually ever placed anywhere,’ he said, ‘and no one was actually in ever in any danger.’”

Translation: the whole thing is phony from beginning to end....

The Americans are already backing away from the assertion that the Iranian government is directly responsible for the actions of these two individuals, averring that top Iranian officials didn’t “necessarily” know what was going on. As the details of this case become known, Holder’s story is going to start unraveling like a substandard sweater – and you can read all about that unraveling right here, at…."

A Nobel for the Arab Spring

Tawakul Karman's acquisition of a Nobel Peace Prize helps legitimise protest as valid resistance in Arab world.

Larbi Sadiki

"The shared Nobel Peace Prize given to human rights activist Tawakul Karman is rightly deserved. It's more deserved than the award given to Obama in 2009. Partly, it is an accolade for the entire Arab Spring and its unsung heroes. Partly, it recognises the revolutionary kudos of woman power in the advent of the Arab Spring.

However, there are a few legitimate questions that must be posed. In particular, to what extent does the award understate the power of the powerless?

Where there is a will…

The 32-year-old Yemeni female activist name literally means "determined" and "endowed with resolve, initiative and will". And Tawakul lives up to her name. This perhaps explains why a petite female Islamist mother of three has been steadfast in her non-violent activism and tenacity, sustaining a sit-in since the eruption of the Yemeni protest movement several months ago. Yemeni friends describe her as audacious, courageous, street smart, sagacious, gracious and down to earth.

Probably what makes Tawakul stand out is her healthy position towards dogma. Although ideologically an Islamist, in practise she favours a brand of civic politics that champions equal protection for all even under secular arrangements.

And perhaps this is the ideal type of Islamist politician that the Arab Spring needs right now for mature democratic fruition - a visionary woman from the reform and Muslim Brotherhood-linked al-Islah party.....

This particular Nobel expands the politics of recognition to a single female individual as well as to an entire movement. But ambiguity is inevitable. For, this recognition through the naming of a single actor oddly enough restricts this very recognition by 'fixing' it in a single person.

The elan of moral protest in the case of the Arab Spring is that it has persistently lacked a Che, a Khomeini or an Aung San Suu Kyi. The gain is the plurality embodied in a broad movement driven by ideals not mortals or ideologies.

There are thousands of voices from within the Arab Spring that carry on the moral flame of protest against corrupt and authoritarian political elites. They are all Tawakul. The nobility of the struggle waged by all these free Arabs is not up for grabs.

Nobel or no Nobel, the march for Arab freedom shall stay the course as Bouazizi, Tawakul and others keep on displaying...."

Assad's Alawites: An entrenched community

Nir Rosen spends time deep inside Syria's pro-regime Alawite community.

By Nir Rosen

This is the second of a two-part series by Al Jazeera special correspondent Nir Rosen. Catch up with the first chapter here: Assad's Alawites: The guardians of the throne.

".....Poor Sunnis and poor Alawites had everything in common and could have had the same grievances, but the regime had succeeded in entrenching these sectarian divisions at the expense of common social problems......"

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

Does the exchange of prisoners (between Hamas and Israel) represent a victory for the Palestinians?

With over 800 responding so far, 86% said yes.

ميزان القوى والبحث عن دولة فلسطينية


ميزان القوى الجديد
تشهد المنطقة العربية الإسلامية الآن ميزان قوى جديدا، وهو ليس لصالح إسرائيل، أو على الأقل، لم يعد لصالح إسرائيل كما كان في السابق. وإسرائيل تعرف الآن أن الحرب لم تعد نزهة، واحتمال خسارتها لحرب قادمة وارد جدا. فهل يبقى الفلسطينيون ضمن ميزان القوى القديم، أم عليهم أن يخرجوا من الشرنقة ليروا عالما مختلفا الآن؟

من يعمل ضمن ميزان قوى قديم يفضل البقاء في الماضي، ولا يحاول أن يستفيد من المعطيات الجديدة والمتغيرات. والصحيح أنه إذا ارادت السلطة الفلسطينية الاستمرار في المفاوضات فإن عليها أن تجلس على طاولة مفاوضات حقيقية ضمن ميزان القوى الجديد. هذا يتطلب تغيير التحالفات، أو على الأقل إعادة ترتيب علاقاتها بطريقة يدخل فيها ميزان القوى الجديد ضمن معادلة التفاوض.

أما إذا أرادت البقاء ضمن الماضي، فسيبقى الفلسطينيون يدورون في حلقة مفرغة. صحيح أن الانتقال إلى تحالفات جديدة مكلف وسيخسر الفلسطينيون معونات مالية ومساعدات، لكن الوطن أسمى من أن يكون موضوعا للمساومات. الحاضر دائما أقوى من الذي كان، ومن يصر على البقاء في الماضي إنما يصر على البقاء مهزوما خلف الأمم

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Al-Jazeera Video: Marwan Bishara on Hamas Israel prisoners swap

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story - Is the promise of democracy fading in Egypt?


Gilad Shalit exchange deal could boost both Hamas and Israeli government

Sensational agreement may see as many as 1,000 Palestinian prisoners freed in exchange for Israeli soldier captured in 2006

Ian Black, Middle East editor, Tuesday 11 October 2011

"...The deal to free the sergeant, sealed on Tuesday, is a sensational agreement with the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which controls Gaza but is shunned as a terrorist organisation by Israel.

Though there were not full details on the Palestinians Israel would agree to free in return, it would almost certainly involve members of the PLO as well as Hamas.

Reuters quoted one source as saying it could be as many as 1,000.

Caution is in order: this is not the first time a breakthrough in the case has been reported and experience suggests that premature publicity can prove fatal....

Hamas has been feeling uncomfortable due to the turmoil in Syria, its main base outside the Gaza Strip, so a mass release of its men from Israeli jails would be popular with its own supporters and a significant boost to its credibility and legitimacy....."

Cairo witnesses blame security forces for bloodshed at Coptic march

Four witnesses give their accounts of the violence that left 26 people dead and 500 injured after a march by Coptic Christians

Haroon Siddique, Tuesday 11 October 2011

"Eyewitness testimonies have been emerging that contradict the official accounts of the violence at a march of Coptic Christians in Cairo that left 26 dead and more than 500 injured.

Egyptian state television initially blamed the bloodshed on protesters, who it said had attacked security forces. There were also attempts to portray the violence as sectarian in nature.

But more and more people who were caught up in the violence have been coming forward to point the finger of blame squarely at the security forces, who they say employed brutal tactics to suppress the protest.

Here is the testimony of four people who were involved....."

Syria's opposition must face the regime alone

...........The Heads of The Syrian Mafia.........

Assad's government has warned countries not to recognise the National Council, but this revolution is by and for Syrians alone

Fadwa al-Hatem, Tuesday 11 October 2011

"Syria's foreign minister, Walid Mouallem, has been warning of stern measures against any country that recognises the newly formed opposition National Council. The fact that the foreign minister is now directly referring to "this illegitimate council" (as he calls it) shows how seriously the Syrian regime is starting to take the opposition. While the regime's official narrative, ridiculous as it is, could at first afford to ignore the reality on the ground, this is no longer the case....

All this means that Assad will see the region burn before he gives up power, and he has allies who are prepared to do the same in order to ensure that he stays. The loss of Syria from Iran's sphere of influence would severely weaken her, and would be a major blow for Hezbollah, which relies on supplies coming in through Syria, rather than by sea. So Assad must stay at all costs, otherwise the whole necklace will come apart.....

Interestingly, Medvedev also hinted that Russia would not interfere if the Syrian people chose to remove Assad. He is right, as there is not a lot that he, or any of Assad's allies, can do if crowds waving Syrian flags start storming the president's residence. At the same time, there is nothing – apart from unilateral sanctions and condemnation – that anybody can do to help the protesters. But this is not a bad thing. The nascent Syrian opposition is trying to step up to its responsibilities and the internal dialogue still mostly favours a peaceful revolution – for the time being. This is a revolution that is by Syrians, for Syrians, and the Syrian people must now face their president and his regime alone."