Saturday, June 9, 2012

Al-Jazeera Video: حديث الثورة - المباحثات الروسية الأميركية حول سوريا

"المباحثات الروسية الأميركية حول سوريا ووضع المراقبين
تقديم : فيروز الزياني
تاريخ البث : 2012/06/08
الضيوف :
ديفيد ساتر
عباس خلف
فواز جرجس

Have you heard of the American Task Force on Palestine?

A 'task force' that alleges to speak on behalf of Palestinians is nothing but a sham, says author.

By Ahmed Moor

"Cairo, Egypt - The Palestinians are in crisis. Their leaders are weak and self-interested. Opportunists work to fill the void.....

ATFP was built in the best tradition of the Ahmad Chalabi school of Diaspora governance. It is a Washington organisation designed to promote a particular line on Palestine.The group is tasked with feeding the State Department palatable fictions - like, "two states for two peoples". In return, organisation heads are invited to dinners with important people.

Ziad Asali, ATFP's president, recently attended a celebration of Israel's "independence" where he posed for friendly photos with Israel's ambassador to the United States. While Asali never had credibility among Palestinians, his recent night out secured his status as an object of derision......

Asali's complete disconnect from history, the current reality in Palestine, and his insensible behavioural norms underscore his alienation from Palestinian-Americans. But that should not come as a surprise. Despite his claims, he never represented the community......

At this moment it is easy to regard ATFP with contempt. But Asali is not the only party responsible for his embarrassing behaviour. Orengate or Asaligate or whatever is an indication of a broader failure among the Palestinians. Today, there is no credible leadership - not in Palestine and not in the Diaspora.

All Palestinians share in that failure. But Palestinian-Americans own more of it than anyone else.

The Palestinian Authority has been illegitimate for a long time. "Security coordination" with Israel has enabled the occupation forces to stymie some of the most potent and non-violent challenges to apartheid. Individually, Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad have been effective at protecting their roles as occupation intermediaries. Only recently, the Palestinian Authority decreed that Abbas is beyond criticism. Journalists have been jailed for refusing to heed the absurd edict. And activists have been jailed for issuing legitimate challenges to the unelected "leaders" in the West Bank.

The Hamas leadership is only marginally better - and only because the organisation does not actively coordinate its activities with the Israeli army. The legitimacy afforded by elections in 2006 has long since worn thin and fallen away. Attacks on non-Islamist groups, the restriction of commonsense freedoms, and a series of fundamentalist decrees have undermined the party's status among Palestinians.

In Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, refugees are besieged by unfriendly governments. The obstacles to their organisational coherence are formidable. In Lebanon and Syria, Palestinian camps have been attacked and razed by the state. In Jordan, refugees are being stripped of their citizenship.
Because so many others live in repressive environments, Palestinian-Americans and their counterparts in the Western countries have greater share of the responsibility. Often well-to-do, they have failed to do enough. And with no good reason.

The reality is that opportunists like Asali can only thrive in an environment that allows excessive self-regard to masquerade as actual achievement. If the ATFP has succeeded in selling a lie to members of the American establishment it is only because Palestinian-Americans have not actively and persistently spoken out. There is no Palestinian Authority here to guarantee the prominence of the Asali-Israeli line - only pervasive indifference.

But the environment is changing. Among young Palestinians the apathy - or fear of being marginalised - is gone. A new assuredness has taken their place. More than ever before they are speaking out.

Ziad Asali does not represent Palestinians or Palestinian-Americans. He does not represent me or anyone I know. And he never did.

But his blunder has presented us with a challenge. Our voice has been hijacked and manipulated. We allowed that to happen.
What will we do to take it back?"

We must face up to the harsh truths about Syria

Let's call a spade a spade: Kofi Annan’s peace plan has had its day, and it's time he said as much.

The Telegraph

"As Syria bleeds, diplomacy risks becoming an artful way of concealing harsh reality. The wearying circumlocutions of Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary general and author of the six-point peace plan, might serve as a prime illustration of this danger. Rather than admit the demonstrable failure of his proposal in the aftermath of Syria’s latest massacre, this pillar of global respectability prefers to tie himself in exquisitely dignified knots. “I’m not sure whether it is the plan that is dead,” intoned Mr Annan, “or it is implementation that is lacking.”

You have to have attended countless international conferences to produce obfuscation like that. Now is the moment to call a spade a spade: Mr Annan’s plan has had its day. At no stage did this sensible, well-intentioned blueprint alter the behaviour of President Bashar al-Assad – or the Syrian opposition. On the contrary, despite agreeing to respect a ceasefire from April 10 onwards (how hollow that sounds today), and formally accepting the Annan proposals more than two months ago, this pitiless tyrant has continued to torment his people. Mr Assad has recaptured major cities and weakened the rebel coalition with a ruthless offensive. As such, he is probably safer today than he was at the turn of the year.

Who now can doubt that his acceptance of the Annan plan was merely a cynical device to ward off international pressure? Russia and China, for their part, endorsed the proposal simply to cover their embarrassment over being the chief protectors of an odious regime. The Western powers, and Syria’s exasperated neighbours, signed up because they did not want to be seen to obstruct a chance for peace. For a while, everyone had an interest in backing Mr Annan and pretending that his ideas had traction.

Sadly, both Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, and William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, have yet to drop the act. Their verbal contortions on Thursday came close to the Annan league. America and Britain at least have the excuse that calling off the Annan effort is not within their gift: only the man himself can do that.......

That leaves one possible avenue. Every Arab country, with the possible exception of Iraq and Lebanon, wants to see the back of Mr Assad. Turkey, his most powerful neighbour, fervently desires his overthrow. These nations should be given all the encouragement and assistance they need to build Mr Assad’s opponents into a force powerful enough either to cause his downfall, or compel his allies to cast him overboard. For Qatar and Saudi Arabia – although not the West – that probably means arming and funding the rebels. For Turkey, the options include carving out a buffer zone along the Syrian border and becoming a hub for Mr Assad’s armed and civilian opponents.

Within Syria itself, millions clearly yearn to break the chains of tyranny. But others – particularly from the Alawite and Christian minorities – are understandably fearful of what that might entail. After 42 years of Alawite rule, any transfer of power to the Sunni majority would be inherently dangerous. As such, the opposition must be given a platform to reassure these minorities of their place in a post-Assad Syria. Once it becomes clear that the dictator’s foes are growing stronger, while all he offers is perpetual bloodshed, the scales might tip against him. But the harsh realities of today must first be faced."

Video purports to show Syria massacre aftermath

UN and amateur footage shows bloody sheets, human and animal remains, and a distraught woman in the deserted village of Mazraat al-Qubeir where 78 people were reportedly massacred.

The Telegraph

Al-Jazeera Video: UN monitors smell 'burnt flesh' in Syria's Qubayr

"UN observers in Syria who went to the massacre village of Al-Qubayr said they saw blood on the walls and were hit by a "stench of burnt flesh" but could not confirm how many died.

While the government has denied responsibility, Martin Nesirky, a UN spokesman, said on Friday the observers saw armored vehicle tracks around the village and homes that were damaged by rockets, grenades and various weapons.

Al Jazeera's Tarek Bazley reports."

Egypt Transition on Brink of Collapse

By Sharif Abdel Kouddous

"As Egypt enters the final days of its so-called “transition,” the entire political process is on the verge of collapse.

The essential foundations of a post-Mubarak government that were supposed to have been lain over the past 16 months - the legislature, the presidency, the constitution - each suffer a crisis of legitimacy, the result of a military-managed transitional process so deformed that it barely make sense anymore.

Meanwhile, the lack of any semblance of reform within key state institutions - most notably the security forces, the judiciary and the media - was reconfirmed in the most dramatic of ways this month with the verdict in the trial of Hosni Mubarak, his sons and other top regime officials......

Every aspect of Egypt's transition has been badly mangled over the past 16 months and its legitimacy has been seriously called into question. Calls are growing for the entire process to be dumped in favor of a fresh start without the army at the helm. What is more likely to happen is that political elites will not come together to take on the military council, but instead pursue their own interests; band-aids will be used in a bid to save a decapitated political process and the country will stagger clumsily into another phase of uncertainty. For its part, the revolution will continue its struggle confined to where it first began: on the streets."

U.N. observers view signs of carnage in Syria massacre village

UNITED NATIONS Sat Jun 9, 2012

"(Reuters) - U.N. observers who on Friday visited the site of a reported massacre in a Syrian village saw indications that government forces had been there and traces of slaughter in some of the houses, the United Nations said.

United Nations monitors issued a statement on their visit to the Syrian hamlet of Mazraat al-Qubeir, where opposition activists say at least 78 people were massacred on Wednesday.

"Mazraat al-Qubeir was empty of its own residents and thus the observers were not able to talk to anyone who witnessed Wednesday's attack," the statement said.

It said armored-vehicle tracks were visible in the vicinity and some homes were damaged by rockets from armored vehicles, grenades and weapons ranging in caliber. Only the Syrian army has armored vehicles and heavy weapons.

"Inside some of the houses, blood was visible across the walls and floors," the statement said. "Fire was still burning outside houses and there was a strong stench of burnt flesh."......"

Egyptian women protesters sexually assaulted in Tahrir Square

Mob attacks small group calling for an end to sexual harassment as women continue to demand a 'new Egypt' post-Mubarak, Friday 8 June 2012

"A mob of hundreds of men assaulted women holding a march demanding an end to sexual harassment in Cairo, as attackers overwhelmed male supporters and molested several of the marchers in Tahrir Square.

Some victims said it appeared to have been an organised attempt to drive women out of demonstrations and trample the pro-democracy protest movement.

The attack on Friday follows a spate of smaller-scale assaults on women in Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the uprising that forced former president Hosni Mubarak to step down last year.

Earlier in the week, an Associated Press reporter witnessed around 200 men assault a woman who eventually fainted before others came to her aid....."

France: Exclude Syria’s Arms Supplier from Paris Arms Show

Companies Should Shun Russian Arms Exporter Rosoboronexport

June 9, 2012

"(Paris) – France should reconsider allowing Rosoboronexport, Russia’s state-owned arms trading company, to participate in Eurosatory, a major international arms show being held outside Paris from June 11 to 15, 2012. The arms show is “organized under the auspices” of the French Ministry of Defense.

Human Rights Watch has called for the United Nations Security Council to impose an arms embargo on Syria, and for Rosoboronexport in particular to stop supplying arms to Syria in light of compelling evidence that the Syrian army is responsible for crimes against humanity. On June 3, Human Rights Watch publicly called for governments and companies around the world to stop signing new contracts with arms suppliers such as Rosoboronexport that supply weapons to Syria........."

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

This is a brand new poll; it asks:

Do you believe that the Security Council is doing enough to resolve the Syrian crisis?

So far, 96% have said no.

Friday, June 8, 2012

When Are The Palestinians Going to Throw Out This Stooge?
Or Will They?
Do They Care About Anything Besides Filling Their Bellies?

I Have Lost Hope.

Al-Jazeera Video: Sherine Tadros reports from Tahrir Square

"Rallies are taking place across Egypt to put pressure on the country's military rulers. Protesters are demanding the former prime minister Ahmed Shafik be barred from running for President. In an attempt to appeal to the young vote, Shafik has said he will protect their freedoms. Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros reports from Tahrir Square."

UN's Syria monitors sift through debris of al-Qubair attack

Scenes of burned-out houses and charred human remains in village where up to 78 people were reportedly killed in cold blood

Ian Black
, Middle East editor, Friday 8 June 2012

"UN monitors on Friday entered for the first time the Syrian village where up to 78 people were reportedly killed in cold blood on Wednesday, the latest in a series of atrocities that have underlined the gravity of the escalating crisis.

The observers were met with scenes of burned-out houses, charred human remains and the clear impression that a "terrible crime" had occurred in Mazraat al-Qubair near Hama, according to a BBC correspondent following the UN team. On Thursday the monitors were fired at and their access blocked by Syrian forces.

"It is not hard to verify. As soon as you walk into the first house, you are hit by the stench of burnt flesh," reported Paul Danahar. "You can see that a terrible crime has taken place. Everything has been burnt, houses have been gutted. The most distressing scenes were at the house next door. I walked in and saw brains lying on the floor. There was a tablecloth covered in blood and flesh and someone had tried to mop the blood up by pushing it into the corner, but it seems they had given up because there was so much of it around."

In a video clip posted on the internet, a Syrian woman named Lathat calmly described how the hamlet had been attacked by "regime forces and Shabiha" (government militia) who killed children, including two of her daughters, with knives and axes. "The army came with the Shabiha with a tank," she said. "May God take revenge on Bashar al-Assad.".........

Bahrain police battle biggest protests in weeks

Tens of thousands take to streets after opposition calls for major rallies in support of prominent rights activist Nabeel Rajab, Friday 8 June 2012

"Riot police in Bahrain fired teargas and stun grenades on Friday as tens of thousands of protesters staged the biggest anti-government demonstrations in weeks in the divided Gulf nation.

Opposition groups called for major rallies after a prominent rights activist, Nabeel Rajab, was placed back in detention earlier this week on fresh charges linked to his posts on social media such as Twitter....."

On Assad's Doorstep

The revolution is finally coming to the once quiet, now tense streets of inner Damascus.

Foreign Policy

JUNE 7, 2012

".......But as Syria's periphery descends into chaos, observers may be missing a more subtle deterioration of Assad's authority at the center of his regime. The Syrian capital of Damascus, whose commercial center has been seen as immune from the nationwide unrest, is increasingly turning on the Assad regime -- and widening unrest in the heart of the city now appears to be only a matter of time.......

For 15 months, central Damascus has appeared a bastion of regime support in a sea of unrest. The lack of meaningful protests and violence, the busy cafes and bustling restaurants, and the sight of people apparently continuing their daily lives unaffected by the turmoil have played into the regime's narrative of enduring stability. In contrast to the capital's impoverished suburbs -- home to those most affected by state corruption, brutality, and mismanaged economic liberalization -- those living in the center profited from the last decade of Assad's rule, and did not turn on the regime in great numbers.........

However, according to conversations with old acquaintances, businessmen, shopkeepers, middle-class professionals, and taxi drivers in the capital, the mood has markedly shifted away from the regime over the last couple of months. "Don't be fooled by the cafes and restaurants," an old friend, a businessman who once enthusiastically poured forth about the new possibilities opened up in the country under Assad, told me. He spoke of a city deeply on edge and increasingly hostile to the regime.

Another well-off, middle-class man launched into a tirade over the regime's incompetence and its willingness to push the country to civil war for the sake of preserving power. Syrians with the means to do so -- even including many who had previously made commitments to seeing the conflict through from within the country -- are now making plans to leave, and an exodus of middle-class professionals is expected come the end of the school year.

This hollowing-out of regime support in the capital, which is increasingly visible to visitors and residents alike, suggests the potential dawn of a new phase in Syria's long struggle. The decision by Damascene merchants to go on an unprecedented strike over recent days -- locking their stores shut or sitting outside and refusing to do business in response to the Houla killings -- marked an important escalation of local defiance. Previous calls for strikes, by contrast, had withered out unsuccessfully.......

But cracks in the support of former regime stalwarts are increasingly evident. Even one member of the parliamentary opposition -- dismissed by most of Syria's revolutionaries as regime stooges -- told me that "the regime is crumbling" and that change is now inevitable. "We want to keep the state but get rid of the regime," the parliamentarian said.

Foreign observers also think the Assad regime is on its way to collapse. "Everyone here, even the street cleaners, accept that Bashar can no longer be the driving force of the country," one diplomat in Damascus told me. "The regime is finished."............

Anti-regime protests are also fast approaching the very heart of power. Whereas they were once confined to the farthest suburbs of the capital -- the likes of Harasta and Douma -- they are spreading to districts like Midan and Kafr Sousa, just minutes from downtown Damascus. One Western diplomat who continues to live in the city center told me that the nightly mortar attacks and gunfire from the suburbs had increased noticeably in intensity over previous weeks.......

International sanctions are also beginning to bite.......

It is near impossible to truly gauge the balance of power in Damascus and Syria at large today. But the capital gives off the impression of a city on the brink. For many this brings a sense of deep foreboding. The emergence of widespread unrest in Damascus could prove fatal to the regime's lingering pretensions to legitimacy and control, likely provoking a brutal and bloody response. As one man, speaking with a sense of deep trepidation, told me: "We know that it will come our way in the end, of course." "

Part 2: Acclaimed New Film "5 Broken Cameras" Captures Palestinian Village’s Nonviolent Resistance

Democracy Now!

"The new documentary film, "5 Broken Cameras," tells the story of Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat, who got his first video camera to film his son growing up, but he went on to document the residents of his village Bil’in resisting the Israeli separation wall. Over the course of the film, one camera after another is smashed or shot as Burnat films his village’s resistance movement. Focused largely on the experience of Burnat and his family, the film explores the intersection of their life with Palestinian and Israeli politics. Emad Burnat and the film’s co-director, Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi, join us for part two of our look at the film. “Click here to watch part one of the interview.”:"

The Butcher of Damascus: All in a Day's Work; Another Day, Another Massacre.

The Butcher of Damascus: "All in a Day's Work; Another Day, Another Massacre."

Beyond Beirut, Islamists Advance

Attacks on bars and alcohol vendors are threatening Lebanon’s vibrant nightlife.

By Mona Alami

"BEIRUT, Jun 8, 2012 (IPS) - Cities in the North and South of Lebanon have witnessed a rise in the number of attacks targeting bars and alcohol vendors, a relatively new phenomenon in a country famous for its vibrant club scene......

For journalist Kassem Kassir, the incidents -- whether in the South or North -- are symptomatic of the growing Islamisation of Lebanese society.

"There is a rise in religiosity among both Shias and Sunnis, which is expressed in different ways depending on the region. The attacks have very different signatures in the North and South and are not necessarily the acts of organised factions," he said, though he acknowledged he has heard of the Amr Bil Maarouf wu Nahi al-Mounkar......"

Al-Jazeera Video: Video reportedly leaked from Syrian Army in Idlib

"A Video posted online by an activist is said to show Syrian soldiers mocking the dead.

They appear to be piling up corpses in a building in the town of al-Hammama in Idlib.

Activists say it was shot on March 21 this year.

Al Jazeera's Anita McNaught reports."

Guardian Video: Syria's Assad inhumane and illegitimate, says Ban Ki-moon

The UN secretary general condemns the Syrian government, saying Bashar al-Assad's regime has 'lost its fundamental humanity' and no longer has legitimacy. Ban Ki-moon warned the UN general assembly of the danger of imminent civil war in Syria. After Ban's address, Kofi Annan, the envoy he dispatched to Syria, conceded his peace plan was faltering, Friday 8 June 2012

Segregating Gazans has made them easier to demonise

Separating Israelis and Palestinians has broken the bonds between us, making Gazans easier to target in the Israeli press

Amira Hass, Friday 8 June 2012

".....The welcome astonishment with which such stories were received by my young editors told me yet again of how the strict policy of separation was bearing its fruits. Without any trace of ordinary human encounters left (since 2006 even Israeli journalists are barred from entering the Gaza Strip), Gazans have become abstract, almost extra-terrestrial, creatures. As such it is so much easier for officials, and some media mouthpieces, to stereotype and demonise. It is based on brusque and tawdry TV scenes, and makes Israeli video war-games, but with real fire, much easier."

Gaza live: a snapshot of life amid blockades and daily gunfire

The Guardian launches a 12-hour project to document life in Gaza, featuring families, fishermen and business people

Harriet Sherwood
The Guardian, Thursday 7 June 2012

".....Gaza has made many headlines in the past five years. But the experiences of ordinary people trying to go about their daily business are often obscured behind the frequent rockets, bombings, shootings and demolitions.

Now, in a unique venture for a mainstream news organisation, the Guardian is attempting to redress that. Over 12 hours, we will tell the stories from Gaza on our website, which we hope will draw a picture of life behind the fences and walls. Some of this material has been gathered over recent days, but much of it will be reported and published in real time during the course of the day.

A fisherman speaks of the Israeli warships which prevent him going beyond three nautical miles from the coast. A family preparing Friday lunch, the most important meal of the week, will describe living on food aid and without power for many hours a day. We will report from Gaza's biggest hospital on the challenges it faces. A businessman describes the catastrophic effect of the blockade on his small factory. We will look at life under daily gunfire in the buffer zone, how farmers are adapting to the export ban, and the rise of the tunnels industry.

We speak to children about their lives and hopes for the future. We will look at the prospects for a baby born today. We visit a zoo whose owner, unable to replace dead animals, has resorted to taxidermy. We meet a woman prevented from travelling to the West Bank to complete her Masters degree. We will listen to a sermon delivered at Friday prayers at Gaza's main mosque; we will interview a motorist about the fuel crisis. We plan to visit a yogurt factory destroyed – for the fourth time – in an air strike earlier this week.

We speak to an artist inspired by her local landscape, and a young woman who refuses to conform to conservative social pressures. We will visit the beach to witness families enjoying the afternoon sun, and we will attend a wedding celebration this evening.

This cannot be a comprehensive picture; rather it is a series of snapshots of life in Gaza. It will be accompanied by commentary and interviews providing a wider context, and it will be open for readers' comments......."

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Guardian Video: UN monitors yet to reach site of Syrian 'massacre'

A spokeswoman for the UN supervision mission in Syria says observers have been unable to enter al-Qubair, the village where opposition activists say at least 78 people were killed on Wednesday. The spokeswoman said monitors had been stopped at Syrian army checkpoints and by civilians, and they had received information from residents that the monitors' security would be at risk if they were to enter the village, Thursday 7 June 2012

Assad regime has lost humanity – UN

Secretary general condemns Syrian regime as details emerge of village massacre and deepening sectarian tension

Martin Chulov in Beirut, Thursday 7 June 2012

"The Syrian regime has "lost its fundamental humanity" and no longer has any legitimacy, Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, said on Thursday as he described a massacre of around 90 villagers as "shocking and sickening" and demanded that the killers be brought to account.

Using some of the strongest language yet to condemn the government of Bashar al-Assad, Ban said UN monitors were shot at trying to get to the scene of the massacre on Wednesday.

The massacre, in the hamlet of al-Qubair, near Syria's fourth city of Hama, comes less than three weeks after more than 100 people were killed in Houla – an event that has sharply increased sectarian tensions and appears to be sending the country sliding towards civil war.

A loyalist civilian militia known as the Shabiha was widely accused of carrying out the Houla killings. Witnesses to the massacre in al-Qubair insisted that the Shabiha, whose members are largely from the ruling Alawite sect, had again been responsible.... "

Message from Kafrnabel

You think you can fool us ? our blood is spilled like rivers and you are exchanging roles of good and evil. The whole world is lying and deceiving

UN monitors shot at trying to reach site of 'massacre' in Syria

The Independent

"The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told a General Assembly session today that monitors trying to access the site of an alleged massacre in Syria were shot at by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

Speaking at the start of a special UN General Assembly session he condemned the alleged massacre as "an unspeakable barbarity" and called again on Assad to implement international mediator Kofi Annan's six-point peace plan.

"Today's news reports of another massacre ... are shocking and sickening," he told the 193-nation assembly. "A village apparently surrounded by Syrian forces. The bodies of innocent civilians lying where they were, shot. Some allegedly burned or slashed with knives."

"We condemn this unspeakable barbarity and renew our determination to bring those responsible to account," he said....."

Five Broken Cameras: Home Videos Evolve Into Stirring Film on Palestinian Resistance to Israeli Wa

Democracy Now!

"The award-winning new documentary, "Five Broken Cameras," tells the story of a Palestinian farmer who got a video camera to record his son’s childhood, but ended up documenting the growth of the resistance movement to the Israeli separation wall in the West Bank village of Bil’in. The film shows the non-violent tactics used by residents of Bil’in as they join with international and Israeli activists to protest the wall’s construction and confront Israeli soldiers. We speak with the film’s directors Emad Burnat, a Palestinian, and Guy Davidi, an Israeli....."

Al-Jazeera Video: Syria: Rula Amin and Kristen Saloomey live from Beirut and New York

"Syria's opposition is blaming the government for another alleged massacre, which left scores of people dead in Hama province.

More than 80 people were killed on Wednesday in Hama's village of Qabeer.

UN observers trying to access the site say they are being blocked by the Syrian army.

It all comes as UN envoy Kofi Annan prepares to address the Security Council to try to salvage his Syrian peace plan.

Kristen Saloomey is live for us at UN headquarters in New York and Rula Amin is following developments from Beirut in Lebanon."

Al-Jazeera Video: Egyptians remember 'face of revolution'

"In Alexandria, thousands of people have marked the second anniversary of the death of a young man which helped galvanise protests against Hosni Mubarak.

Egyptian Khaled Said, 28, was beaten to death in Alexandria in June 2010 with his body barely recognisable.

The act of brutality let to the creation of an anti-torture Facebook page entitled "We are Khaled Said" which, in turn, helped crystallise Egypt's political movement which eventually toppled Mubarak from power.

Al Jazeera's Jamal Elshayyal reports from Alexandria."

Al-Jazeera Video: Reports of 'massacre' in Syrian village

"Activists say another massacre has taken place in Syria just days after nearly 100 people were killed in Houla.

This time, at least 86 people are said to have been killed by pro-Assad militias in and around al-Qubayr in Marzaf district in Hama province.

UN observers say they will head to the area on Thursday morning to investigate.

Al Jazeera's Tarek Bazley reports."

Al-Jazeera Video: Mousab Al-Hamadee speaks about the al-Qubayr massacre

"Opposition activists in Syria say that pro-government armed groups backed by security forces have killed scores of people in a village in Hama province. Mousab Al-Hamadee , an activist in Hama, told Al Jazeera the UN monitors are just watching as people die and bury their dead."

Al-Jazeera Video: Syrian activist speaks about al-Qubayr massacre

"Reports of another massacre in Syria where at least 86 people are said to have been killed in Hama. Al Jazeera speaks to Manhal Abu Bakar, an activist based in Hama."

Real News Video (with Transcript): Objective of US and Israeli Policy is Economic Warfare Against Iran

Gareth Porter: IAEA keeps Iran in "dock of global public opinion" while sanctions aim to weaken Iran as a regional power

More at The Real News

"Every third child in Gaza stunted by hunger": interview with renowned doctor Mads Gilbert

Sami Kishawi
The Electronic Intifada

Chicago, 7 June 2012

"For many people around the world, Israel’s three-week attack on the Gaza Strip in late 2008 and early 2009 provided a stark glimpse of the reality that Palestinians endure on a regular basis. It was a scene straight from a horror film, a cause for concern and outrage. For others, including Norwegian physician Mads Gilbert, it was a call to action, beckoning solidarity workers back to Gaza’s pockmarked streets.

Gilbert was all-too-familiar with the scene. A veteran anesthesiologist who had been deployed to help handle emergency medical situations in Palestine and in Lebanon, Gilbert instinctively made his way to Gaza City’s al-Shifa Hospital when the bombing began. His experiences, shared of course by the Palestinian physicians and hospital employees he sought to aid, are still today widely regarded as some of the most testing instances of solidarity work.

Although Israel’s air and land invasion of the Gaza Strip — known as Operation Cast Lead — happened three and a half years ago, its after-effects are still relevant today. Gaza’s infrastructure has yet to fully recover and no one has been held accountable over the hundreds of civilian casualties.

Gilbert’s eyewitness accounts are shared far and wide in order to shed light on these tragic consequences and to encourage others to remain steadfast in their solidarity work for Palestinian rights.

Mads Gilbert spoke to The Electronic Intifada contributor Sami Kishawi....."

علي فرزات: الكاريكاتير ابن الميدان

"استعادت أصابعه عافيتها تماما، ومضى يرسم بين جموع هائلة بمعرض في الدوحة، التي زارها مؤخرا، وهو الذي تعود ذلك منذ زمن طويل أن يضيء عتمات حواري دمشق مرة بفوانيس تزيل شبح الظلمة والقمع عبر صحيفته "الدومري" وأخرى بكاريكاتيرات ساخرة تهز الدكتاتور من علي كرسيه.

من نافذته المطلة على جموع الساخرين والثائرين بدمشق، كان يطالعهم ويخلدهم مناضلين وهاتفين لحرية معتقله في أقبية الزنازين، وفي قاعات قصر فاره مرَغ علي فزات صورة صاحبه كثيرا، في كاريكاتير شهير يعاين وجه الدكتاتور الشاحب، وهو يطالع يوم الجمعة الرهيب ويشيح وجهه خوفا من إيقاع الثائرين على صوت الحرية.

سخرية لاذعة
غادر علي فرزات دمشق إلى الكويت، حيث كان صديقه الشهيد ناجي العلي يهز بريشته عروشا، وثورة خانت خطها، ولكن في صحيفة مغايرة هي "الوطن"، بينما كان حنظلة يحتل صفحة "القبس" الأخيرة. وفي منفاه الذي خرج اليه -تحت رغبة محبيه في سوريا- لدى فرزات كثير من الحنين يكفي ليفجره سخرية لاذعة لنظام يتداعى

فرزات: عندما أرى طفلا في العاشرة يموت من أجلي وأجل حربتي فإنني أعتبر ثقافتي وفني ليست شيئا أمام هذا الطفل، فهو يعلمني الثقافة منذ البداية

Mubarak Has Never Left, by Emad Hajjaj

U.N. monitors try to verify new Syria massacre

"(Reuters) - U.N. monitors tried on Thursday to reach a village where activists say Syrian troops and militiamen loyal to President Bashar al-Assad massacred at least 78 villagers, hours before a divided U.N. Security Council discusses Syria.

If confirmed, the killings at Mazraat al-Qubeir, near Hama, will pile pressure on world powers to act, but they have been paralyzed by divisions pitting Western and most Arab states against Assad's defenders in Russia, China and Iran.

U.N. monitors based in Hama set out for Mazraat al-Qubeir but activists said an army checkpoint had turned them back. "We have dispatched a patrol which is trying to get access there," said Sausan Ghosheh, a spokeswoman for the U.N. observers.

Several activists told Reuters that up to 40 women and children were among the dead when the village in central Syria was shelled on Wednesday before fighters moved in and shot and stabbed dozens of people to death......."

Syria accused of massacring 100

Women and children said to be among the dead as pro-Assad forces allegedly storm a small village near the city of Hama

Ian Black, Middle East editor
The Guardian, Wednesday 6 June 2012

"Syria's government was accused on Wednesday of carrying out a new massacre in a small village near the central city of Hama, with an opposition group claiming 100 people, including many women and children, had been killed.

"We have 100 deaths in the village of al-Qubair, among them 20 women and 20 children," said Mohammed Sermini, spokesman for the Syrian National Council, who accused the regime of being behind the incident.

The news looked certain to fuel a bitter debate about the increasingly bloody Syrian crisis and to underline the limits of what a deeply divided international community can achieve.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said the massacre was carried out at a farm by pro-regime shabiha militiamen armed with guns and knives after regular troops had shelled the area.

Reports and images of the incident spread rapidly on Twitter and other social networks but were impossible to verify independently given the lack of media access to much of Syria.

Online pictures showed charred corpses lying amid rubble and a dead child who had apparently been shot in the face.

The Local Co-ordination Committees (LCC), an activist network, had earlier reported shelling in al-Qubair and neighbouring Maazarif, with "dozens martyred and wounded." The villages are about 12 miles from Hama.

Opposition activists said women and children were among the dead when al-Qubair came under heavy tank fire before shabiha fighters moved in on the ground and shot and stabbed dozens of people to death. The LCC counted 78 victims, 35 of whom were said to be from one family.

"Qubair was stormed with very heavy and random gunfire, houses were broken into and the residents were killed, some with knives," said a Hama-based source. "There are also burnt bodies."........."

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Assad Regime commits another massacre near Hamma

78 reported killed , including 20 women and 20 children.

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

Do you support the use of force in Syria under Chapter 7 of the UN?

With over 1,800 responding, 80% said yes.

Time to consider military options in Syria

By Roula Khalaf
Financial Times

"The Houla massacre has whipped up a new wave of outrage at the brutality of Syria’s dictatorship. More Syrian envoys were kicked out of western capitals, more financial sanctions slapped on the regime in Damascus, and more furious calls for a political transition from Bashar al-Assad issued. So what? Mr Assad is no closer to ceding power than he was a year ago, when the rebellion against him was already raging.

Houla embodies the daily tragedy of Syria over the past 14 months while the world stumbles from one failed policy to another. Before Houla there was Baba Amr and Dera’a, to cite but a few places ravaged by regime forces. It would be unfair to say that western powers have not tried to put an end to Syria’s plight, using all diplomatic means available. The removal of Mr Assad, after all, would yield significant strategic gain by weakening Iran, Syria’s main ally.........

Joseph Stiglitz on Occupy Wall Street & Why US-Europe Austerity Will Only Weaken Economic Recovery

"As European leaders scramble to address the sovereign debt crisis, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz argues the austerity measures pushed by Germany, the United States and international creditors are only "going to make the countries weaker and weaker." If European economies contract, Stiglitz predicts that "our economy [will] go down further into the hole. ... Those policies then increase the probability of our weak economy tipping over into recession." Stiglitz’s new book is "The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers our Future."....."

Joseph Stiglitz on "The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers our Future"

Democracy Now!

"Several months before Occupy Wall Street, the Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz wrote, "Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%," an article for Vanity Fair. He returns to the subject in his new book looking at how inequality is now greater in the United States than any other industrialized nation. He notes, that the six heirs of the Wal-Mart fortune command wealth equivalent to the entire bottom 30 percent of American society. "It’s a comment both on how well off the top are and how poor the bottom are," Stiglitz says. "It’s really emblematic of the divide that has gotten much worse in our society." On Tuesday, Bloomberg News reported that pay for the top CEOs on Wall Street increased by more than 20 percent last year. Meanwhile, census data shows nearly one in two Americans, or 150 million people, have fallen into poverty or could be classified as low-income. "The United States is the country in the world with the highest level of inequality [of the advanced industrial countries] and it’s getting worse," Stiglitz says. "What’s even more disturbing is we’ve [also] become the country with the least equality of opportunity."....."

Real News Video : Incitement Against Refugees leads to Racist Attacks in Israel

After weeks of violence, incitement against African refugees living in Israel’s poorest neighborhoods led to a race riot and a wave of protests

More at The Real News

Video: Palestine footballer Mahmoud Sarsak’s mother speaks out as jailed son’s condition grows desperate

By Ali Abunimah

"As his condition grows ever more desperate, the mother of jailed, hunger-striking Palestinian footballer Mahmoud Sarsak has appealed for his release and safe return home
Sarsak, a star Palestinian footballer, was arrested by Israeli occupation forces three years ago at Erez checkpoint as he traveled from his home in Gaza to a match in the West Bank’s Balata refugee camp. He has been held without charge or trial ever since...."

Tahrir Square: Round Two

By Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani

"CAIRO, Jun 6, 2012 (IPS) - The long-awaited verdict in Egypt's 'trial of the century' - a life sentence for ousted president Hosni Mubarak and acquittals for most other defendants - has brought the people back to Cairo's Tahrir Square. The controversial court rulings come at a time of extraordinary domestic political upheaval, with Egypt's first free presidential runoff only ten days away.

"The contentious Mubarak verdict has aggravated an already tense political situation," Mohamed Sami, head of the nationalist Karama ('Dignity') Party, told IPS. "Egypt's short-term political future will likely be determined by the scope and intensity of the coming wave of demonstrations."....."

Palestinian footballer's hunger strike sparks fears for his life

Doctors warn that Mahmoud Sarsak, 25, is risking death or permanent damage with 80-day protest to end detention

Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem, Tuesday 5 June 2012

"A former member of the Palestinian national football team remains on hunger strike over his imprisonment by Israel without charge, or trial, despite an agreement that was reached last month in order to end a mass protest by Palestinian prisoners.

Mahmoud Sarsak, 25, has refused food for 80 days, since 19 March. He began his hunger strike after his "administrative detention" order was renewed for the sixth time.

He was arrested in July 2009 while on his way from his home in Gaza to a national contest in the West Bank.
Sarsak is due to be visited for the first time on Wednesday by a doctor from Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) – an Israeli organisation – following legal submissions. A PHR spokeswoman said although Sarsak may be taking fluids and supplements, "every day that this goes on he is at risk of death or permanent damage"......"

In Syria, foreign intervention will only shed more blood

The US and its Gulf allies are already fuelling sectarian conflict in their proxy war with Iran. The fallout could be disastrous

Seumas Milne, Tuesday 5 June 2012

"As Syria descends deeper into civil war and human misery, pressure for yet another western military intervention in the Arab world is growing. Last week, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, declared that the US might take the "military option" in Syria if it was "asked to do so". Barack Obama's Republican rival Mitt Romney is meanwhile demanding that the US government arm the Syrian opposition......"

Israel: The injustice and secrecy surrounding administrative detention

Amnesty International
6 June 2012

"Israel must release all Palestinians held under long-standing administrative detention laws or charge and try them promptly and fairly, Amnesty International said in a new report.

'Starved of justice: Palestinians detained without trial by Israel’ documents human rights violations associated with administrative detention – a relic of British control of the area that permits detention without charge or trial on indefinitely renewable military orders.The report also calls on Israel to stop using these measures to suppress the legitimate and peaceful activities of activists in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.It urges the immediate and unconditional release prisoners of conscience held just for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly.

Administrative detainees – like many other Palestinian prisoners – have been subjected to violations such as the use of torture and other ill-treatment during interrogation, as well as cruel and degrading treatment during their detention, sometimes as punishment for hunger strikes or other protests. In addition, administrative detainees and their families must live with the uncertainty of not knowing how long they will be deprived of their liberty and the injustice of not knowing exactly why they are being detained.

Like other Palestinian prisoners, they have also faced bans on family visits, forcible transfer or deportation and solitary confinement.These practices contravene Israel’s obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law. Israel has a duty to uphold due process and fair trial rights, and to take effective action to end torture and other ill-treatment of detainees......

Israel has used its system of administrative detention – intended as an exceptional measure against people posing an extreme and imminent danger to security – to trample on the human rights of detainees for decades. It is a relic that should be put out to pasture.”....."

Click Here to Download Report (pdf)

Khaled Said: 2nd anniversary of the first flower that bloomed in Egypt’s garden

Bikya Masr

"CAIRO: Wednesday marks the second anniversary of the murder of Khaled Said, the young man whose death at the hands of police in Alexandria on June 6, 2010, was a major catalyst behind the 2011 uprising that toppled imprisoned Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.

“Two years ago today Khaled only had few hours to live,” wrote the We all Khaled Said Facebook page in its commemorating his anniversary.

“Two years ago thousands of young Egyptians didn’t care for politics or about their rights and two years ago we decided to come together to bring our brother justice,” the page added. The Facebook page that is liked by over two million people was instrumental in uniting young Egyptians ahead of the January 25 protests.

Said, born in 1982, was killed on June 6, 2010, when he was beaten to death by two plainclothes police officers at an Internet cafe in Alexandria.

Said was attacked as a result of posting videos that exposed police corruption.

He was openly beaten in the streets next to the Internet cafe where he was picked up from.

A photo of Said’s dead body that showed the marks of torture was published on the Internet and almost immediately went viral, gaining hundreds of thousands of supporters for change in Egypt.
“Today is the anniversary of the first flower that bloomed in Egypt’s garden.”"

Emad Hajjaj on the Egyptian Elections

Re-shaping Palestinian national identity

New directions for Palestinian leadership will be shaped by grassroots and nonprofit initiatives.

By Ben White

"Cambridge, England - Despite the frozen 'peace process' - or perhaps in part because of it - there have been a number of interesting developments in the Palestinian political scene in recent years. This includes the emergence of new youth-based groups and actions, as well as a growth in coordination between Palestinians on both sides of the 'Green Line'. With this context in mind, a new initiative by BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights is instructive for the direction of the conversation amongst Palestinian activists. The Ongoing Nakba Education Centre (ONEC) was launched this month by the Bethlehem-based non-profit organisation, boasting a websiteand Education Centre. At the heart of the project is the participatory website which, in the words of BADIL's Rich Wiles, "uses multi-media tools to build a significant advocacy resource".

The site, which is still in an early stage of development, will depend on contributions in order to document stories of Palestinian displacement, using photographs, short films, audio recordings - and covering everything from "photo stories of demolitions" to "oral history interviews".The emphasis is on an ongoing project that, while obviously not being able to highlight every story, will grow as a resource that provides networking opportunities for Palestinians and non-

Palestinians working in the field. Nor is there any need to be a 'professional'; BADIL say they will take unedited media to turn into content for the site.Najwa Darwish, Director of BADIL, feels like there is something unique about the 'Ongoing Nakba' project.....

What these various activities have in common is a total disconnect with the strategies and discourse promoted by Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad of 'negotiations', 'reform' and 'economic peace'. The practical efforts on the ground, small as they might seem by themselves, are indicative of a broader paradigm shift that is taking place. These new directions are still only found at the level of the grassroots and not-for-profits, and it will take some time for it to impact at the level of political leadership. ONEC symbolises a shift that is well underway, one that can only breathe hope into the Palestinian struggle for decolonisation and equality."

افاق الثورات العربية مع الدكتور عزمي بشارة - الحلقة الثالثة

افاق الثورات العربية مع الدكتور عزمي بشارة - الحلقة الثالثة

This is a more complete video than the one I posted earlier today.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Al-Jazeera Video: Syrian Kurds flee to Iraq for safety

"A growing number of Syrian-Kurds are heading to neighbouring Iraq to escape the cycle of violence.

The Iraqi government has set up a camp in the country's semi-autonomous Kurdish north to cater for about 2,000 refugees, who hope to return to a new Syria with equal rights.

Many of them say they are army defectors who opted to flee when they were ordered to shoot at civilians.

Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf reports from the Domez Refugee Camp."

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story - Is Syria's conflict being fought in Lebanon?

"Around 15 people have been killed and more than 40 others injured in recent fighting in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli - a large city that sits on a very porous border just 130km from the Syrian capital Damascus. A ceasefire is now in place and although there is no armed presence in the streets but the guns and the fighters have not gone away."

Al-Jazeera Video: ما وراء الخبر - القمة الروسية الاوروبية والملف السوري

"قراءة في نتائج القمة الروسية الاوروبية فيما يتعلق بالملف السوري
تقديم عبد القادر عياض
تاريخ البث 2012/06/04
الضيوف :
مروان بشارة
ليونيد سوكيانين

Real News Video : Protests Turn Into Occupations Throughout Egypt

For the fourth consecutive day, Egyptians protesting the exoneration of key regime figures have settled into sit-ins

More at The Real News

Emad Hajjaj on the Butcher of Damascus

Finkelstein renews attack on BDS “cult,” calls Palestinians who pursue their rights “criminal”

By Ali Abunimah

"Earlier this year Norman Finkelstein gave a notorious interview to Frank Barat in which Finkelstein attacked the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement as a “cult,” accused prominent Palestinians of lying about their goals – which he characterized as the destruction of Israel – and demanded that Palestinians recognize Israel, effectively, as a Jewish state.

Finkelstein was apparently so disturbed by the negative reactions to this interview (although they were entirely postive among many Zionist fanatics) that he tried unsuccessfully to scrub the video from the Internet.

I wrote a detailed rebuttal to Finkelstein’s poor arguments in an Al Jazeera article titled “Finkelstein, BDS and the destruction of Israel.”....

Finkelstein renews attack in Democracy Now interview

In an interview today on Democracy Now – looking relaxed and rested – Finkelstein renewed his attack on Palestinians and their quest for their rights in even more strident terms, leaving no doubt where he stands.....

There you have it, Palestinians. If you continue to insist on rights for all Palestinians, you are committing a crime.

As for Democracy Now, will it allow Palestinians an opportunity to respond to Finkelstein’s misleading attacks?"

Egyptian women: 'They were doing better under Mubarak'

In Egypt, women were at the forefront of the Arab spring, but in the new regime their rights are being eroded

Nabila Ramdani, Monday 4 June 2012

"If you were to read a first draft of last year's Egyptian revolution, it would probably be written by a woman. The uprisings that spread across the country from late January were originally chronicled by prolific female writers such as Nawara Negm, who used everything from internet blogs to appearances on Al Jazeera to spread information to the outside world. "Freedom is only for those who are ready to die," was her mantra, although the protesters' tactics proved less extreme. Civil disobedience, marches and strikes were preferred to violence, with the number of women in Cairo's Tahrir ("liberation") Square peaking at around 50%.

How dispiriting, then, a year and a half on, to see a highly politicised female population relegated to near-onlookers during Egypt's first bona fide presidential election race.

In Cairo today, there is no longer a sense of a traditionally patriarchal society yielding to the democratic spirit of the Arab Spring. Instead, the hundreds of thousands of women who contributed so much to the downfall of President Hosni Mubarak find themselves marginalised, if not ignored.....

As in 2011, women played a crucial role in the 1919 revolution against British rule, but found themselves sidelined by the nationalist Wafd party after Egypt was granted nominal independence in 1922. The foiled legacy of Huda Shaarawi, who launched the Egyptian feminist movement a year later by publicly removing her veil, continues. Asmaa Mahfouz, a 26-year-old activist, is now referred to as the "Leader" of the Arab spring revolt because she uploaded a video in February 2011 calling for men to join her and her protesting sisters. What the frustrating narrative of Asmaa and thousands like her prove is that Egyptian women are deemed fit to inspire and mobilise, but not to assert themselves in the political process."

Hosni Mubarak is in jail – but little has changed for Egypt

As long as powerful players remain in their positions the birth pangs of the revolution are set to be painful and protracted

Magdi Abdelhadi, Monday 4 June 2012

"For the first time in Egypt's history the pharaoh is behind bars. But the joy was not unalloyed. Some of his most powerful henchmen, the backbone of his police state, were acquitted of killing the protesters and are now free. That's why Tahrir Square in Cairo and other cities have erupted in anger.

What also infuriated the public was that Mubarak was found guilty not of what he did, but rather of what he did not do. That's how seemingly preposterous (but apparently technically correct) the verdict is. The former president was proven guilty of something like "serious dereliction of duty": he failed to stop the killing of protesters........

Now as the Muslim Brotherhood appears poised to rule the country, the same disinformation machine is portraying them as agents of foreign powers that include, bizarrely, in one swoop America, Iran, Qatar and Israel. The crassness of the allegations betrays panic, but works well where large swaths of the population are either illiterate or politically unaware.

These people have been in government for so long and appear to be psychologically incapable of conceiving of themselves shorn of power and influence. They will stop at nothing. However, sooner or later (it may be in a few months or a few years, yet the momentum for change is unstoppable) they will find themselves forced to hand over the levers of state to a new elite.

Will they do so quietly and peacefully? They will most certainly drag their feet, using existing Mubarak era laws to thwart change. One thing is sure, though: they will not go without a fight....."

The high price of 'dark fusion'

The US government can already detain citizens as enemy combatants; now it wants to deploy propaganda across the country.

By Mark LeVine

"Irvine, CA - It was the height of the dot-com boom in the United States, but the bubble that fuelled the Clinton years wasn't fooling the American military. The top strategic planners of the day were still worried about potential threats to the US in the still young post-Cold War era - not despite, but because of the rapid spread of a still poorly understood globalisation.

Projecting ahead to the year 2020, the military planners and dozens of major corporations who were involved in the research argued that globalisation was making the world a more dangerous place precisely because it would widen the gap "between 'haves' and 'have-nots'" . This situation demanded that the US establish a "full spectrum dominance" over literally every plane of human existence - under and on the sea, on land, in the air and even in space......

Yet at some point, gung-ho, ignorance-is-bliss patriotism, large scale imprisonment, foreign wars, even 1,000 TV channels and high speed internet won't keep people off the streets - especially in the wake of the worst recession in 70 years and a decade filled with multiple wars. And thus, the Occupy movement burst to life: inspired by the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt and ultimately sparked by the same underlying global neoliberal system that has concentrated wealth and power and increasingly criminalised dissent everywhere.

Full spectrum propaganda

In Tunisia and Egypt, the "secret" or "security" police were infamous for ensuring that regime propaganda was put out as truth, and worse, for spying on citizens and abductions and long-term detention of anyone deemed a threat to the state. And yet now, as these countries struggle to create states that will be less inclined to inflict these practices on their citizens, the United States is moving in the direction they are trying to leave behind.

There are three new and interrelated threats to fundamental freedoms that are directly related to the ongoing war on terror; they involve attempts to permit the US government to deploy propaganda inside the United States, to increase the ability to spy on American citizens and to detain Americans indefinitely without trial for involvement in what until now have been constitutionally protected activities......"

The Syrian 'Massacre of the Innocents'

Regardless of which side is to blame, it must not distract from the tragic reality of those who lost their lives.

By Hamid Dabashi


".....Any government, first and foremost, must both represent and protect its citizens. That is the very raison d'être of any government. The ruling regime in Syria does neither. The Assad regime was buried along with those holy innocents.

Yes there are many foreign elements who are abusing the Syrian uprising to their advantage: The Americans, the NATO countries, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iran, even the morally and politically bankrupt al-Qaeda they say. But the final triumph of Syrian people is the defeat of all these treacheries.

The terms of engagement with the future of democracy in our world are not any longer merely politcial but in fact entirely ethical. The discourse must and is radically shifting from the politics of power to an ethics of defiance. This defiance is identical in its opposition to NATO military intervention anywhere from Afghanistan to Libya, with its own civilian (including children) casualties, as it is to the corrupt and degenerate regimes that rule over our people's life, liberty, and destiny.

We are given a false choice to make between a bloody ruling regime in Syria or the horrid Taliban in Afghanistan, and the even bloodier NATO intervention in one or the other. The choice must begin with the facts on the ground, and now buried in graves, facts staring humanity in the eye, and we must never allow any story, any narrative, any spin, any version, whether by the murderous ruling regime in Syria, or by the even more treacherous militarism of NATO, or by the ghastly opportunism of Russia or the Islamic Republic of Iran to gloss over those innocent bodies. Not just the Syrian regime, its "opposition", NATO, ad nauseam - but the entirety of humanity is accountable to that murderous scene. "

Monday, June 4, 2012

City on the Edge of Darkness

Damascus Sweats Fear from Every Pore


"Damascus feels like a city expecting the worst to happen and seeing no way to avoid it. War is spreading across the country and is unlikely to spare the capital. Rebels speak of stepping up attacks in the city and could easily do so in the next few weeks.

I spent the last week in Damascus and the atmosphere reminds me of Beirut in 1975 at the start of the 15-year civil war. Again and again in conversations, people realistically laid out for me the nasty things that are all too likely to happen, but few were able to produce plausible ideas on how disaster might be averted.....

If the Western powers are not going to go to war in Syria, and can’t get the Turks to do their dirty work for them, then they should push for reform and power-sharing that leaves a modified version of the Assad regime in place. This would be difficult for the Russians to oppose and would relieve the fears of Iran. The alternative may be a long war that will tear Syria apart."

Sacrificing Mubarak to Save His Regime

The Charade is Over



".......Meanwhile, the MB’s candidate in the runoff, Dr. Mursi, announced that if he were elected president, he would form an independent investigative commission headed by a senior judge with impeccable credentials in order to gather evidence and retry Mubarak and his cronies. On the other hand, most Egyptian groups in support of the revolution see the imminent dangers that would result in a fulool comeback. They have announced their support for a presidential team to consist of the MB’s Mursi as president, and Dr. Abdelmoneim Abol Fotouh and Hamdein Sabahi, the runner-ups in the first round, as vice presidents. There have also been strong calls to have Dr. Mohammad Elbaradei, the former head of the UN Atomic Agency included in this team and serve as Prime Minister.

The three candidates representing different constituencies within the revolutionary groups (Mursi, Sabahi, and Abol Fotouh) received more than 15 million votes in the first round or about 65 percent of the total votes cast. It’s now up to the MB to rise to the challenge and unite all pro-revolution Egyptians. If such a presidential slate can be formed, it would be next to impossible for the fulool candidate to win. Only through such unity and a firm determination to overcome the petty differences -compared to what is at stake- can the Egyptians claim back their popular revolt. One of the most remarkable and peaceful revolutions in the history of the world."

Mubarak Sentenced to Life Term in Egypt, But Protests Erupt as Sons, Aides Avoid Convictions

Democracy Now!

"Protests have erupted across Egypt following the sentencing of ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and other former regime officials. On Saturday, an Egyptian court gave Mubarak and his former interior minister, Habib al-Adly, life in prison for failing to stop the killing of unarmed demonstrators during the protests that ended Mubarak’s nearly 30-year rule. However, the court dismissed corruption charges against Mubarak and his sons, Alaa and Gamal, on technical grounds. The court also acquitted six former police chiefs for their roles during the uprising when 840 protesters were killed and more than 6,000 injured. No one was found guilty of actually ordering the killing of protesters. The verdicts sparked demonstrations across the country, with tens of thousands rallying in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and in other cities. We go to Cairo to speak with Heba Morayef, a Middle East and North Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch who closely monitored the Mubarark trial....."

Norman Finkelstein: Waning Jewish-American Support for Israel Boosts Chances for Middle East Peace

Democracy Now!

"Well over a year into the Arab Spring, the author and scholar Norman Finkelstein argues that there is a new, albeit quieter awakening happening here in the United States that could provide a major boost to the winds of change in the Middle East. In his new book, "Knowing Too Much: Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel is Coming to an End," Finkelstein contends that American Jewish support for the Israeli government is undergoing a major shift. After decades of staunch backing for Israel that began with the 1967 war through the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, to the repression of two Palestinian intifadas, Finkelstein says that a new generation of American Jews are no longer adopting reflexive support for the state that speaks in their name. With this shift in American Jewish opinion, Finkelstein sees a new opportunity for achieving a just Middle East peace......"

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story - Have Egyptians been denied full justice?

"Egyptians have returned to Tahrir Square a day after Hosni Mubarak, the former president, was sentenced to life in prison for not doing enough to stop the killing of almost 1,000 protesters during last year's revolution. Many protesters feel those who died and their families have been denied justice. What does this mean for Egyptians? Guests: Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, Abdallah Al-Ashaal, Shadi Hamid."

Schools Plant Seeds of Sectarianism

By Mona Alami

"BEIRUT - Though most Lebanese take great pride in their national education system, deep sectarian rifts in public schools have made it impossible to ignore the political and religious fragmentation of society or its long-term impacts on youth....."

Iranophobia and Obama the cyber-warrior

By Kaveh L Afrasiabi
Asia Times

"News that United States President Barack Obama orchestrated the Stuxnet cyber-attack on Iran's nuclear facilities while offering an olive branch exposes his imperialist tendencies. The revelation adds to insecurities engendered by the recent Flame virus, and is fueling the belief in Tehran that rampant Iranophobia makes diplomatic engagement a futile exercise...."