Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Israel’s Mossad Abusing the Living and Dead

Middle East Online, June 29, 2010

A Mossad agent claiming to be Michael Bodenheimer, the grandson of a German Jewish Holocaust survivor, secured a German passport which he later used to enter the UAE where he was involved in the murder of Mahmoud al Mabhouh, notes James Zogby.

I am not easily shocked. I’ve been doing this work for too many years and I’ve seen too much to become outraged by bad behavior or acts of indecency or inhumanity. But two stories that recently came across my desk were so disgraceful, and in some ways dangerous, that I feel compelled to write about them. Both featured players in the Middle East crassly abusing the living and the dead.

The first of these involved Israel’s Mossad and a practice they used to secure a fraudulent passport for one of their agents who participated in the January 19, 2010 assassination of Mahmoud al Mabhouh in Dubai.

German law offers citizenship and a passport to the descendants of pre-World War II German Jewish citizens who were forced to flee the country to escape the horrors of the Holocaust. Taking advantage of this provision, a Mossad agent claiming to be Michael Bodenheimer, the grandson of a German Jewish survivor, secured a German passport which he later used to enter the UAE where he was involved in the murder of al Mabhouh.

A few weeks back the Jerusalem Post reported that the real Michael Bodenheimer, an Orthodox rabbi who emigrated from the United States to Israel, claimed that his identity had been stolen by the Mossad agent, and that he had “never asked for a German passport…[and] never had one”. The real Michael Bodenheimer and his family were, of course, concerned that their name was implicated in an assassination. More than just this abuse of one innocent citizen, there is the concern with the Mossad’s cavalier abuse of the German citizenship provision. Israel’s behavior in this regard is dangerous. It put the real Michael Bodenheimer at risk while casting suspicion on an entire class of people, Jews who have in the past, and who may in the future, seek German citizenship. As such, it callously exploits those who were murdered and the descendants of those who survived.

Then there are the recent revelations about the Iranian woman who was murdered in the demonstrations that erupted protesting last year’s Iranian elections. The woman, Neda Agha-Soltan, quickly became internationally recognized as a martyr and symbol of the “Green revolution”. Her face was used on CNN and BBC and plastered on the front pages of newspapers around the world where it appeared with the tagline “the Angel of Iran”. This photo was picked up by the Voice of America and spread to Iran where it appeared on posters and T-shirts.

The story is true, Neda Agha-Soltan was murdered, but the picture that spread virally is not of her. Careless journalism, to be kind, picked up the Facebook photo of one, Neda Soltani, a quite lovely Iranian teaching assistant and student of English Literature at Tehran University. Despite the mistaken identity, the photo stuck.

A piece on Foreign Policy’s website last week carefully traces not just the carelessness that lead to the mistaken identity, but more disturbingly the consequences for the living Neda who is the innocent victim of this error. As she sought to reclaim her identity and her face, the Iranian regime sought to exploit her situation, claiming that “Neda lives”, vainly arguing that the entire episode was a hoax – that no murder had been committed. When she went online demanding that her picture be taken down, she received threats and abusive responses from supporters of the revolt who argued that she was threatening to deny their cause the martyred “Angel of Iran”.

And when the parents of the murdered Neda attempted to replace the mistaken photo with that of their daughter, they found that neither their efforts nor the truth could compete with the “symbol”.

Fearing pressure from the regime, and frustrated by the loss of her identity, the living Neda has been forced to flee Iran and take refuge in Germany where she currently lives.

As disturbing as these stories are, equally troubling is the lack of attention they have received here in the United States. With the exception of the Foreign Policy piece, the story of Neda has received scant attention when compared with the coverage given to the use of the original photo last summer—while the Bodenheimer story has not been covered at all.

The lesson that emerges from all of this is when governments, media and movements abuse the living and dead to pursue their ends, truth and innocent people pay the price.

Dr. James Zogby is president of the Arab American Institute and author of the forthcoming book Arab Voices: What They Are Saying to Us And Why It Matters (Palgrave-Macmillan, October 2010). For comments or information, contact James Zogby.

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Death of Dr David Kelly: The damning new evidence that points to a cover-up by Tony Blair’s government

By Miles Goslett and Stephen Frost, Daily Mail/UK, June 26, 2010

The official story of Dr David Kelly is that he took his own life in an Oxfordshire wood by overdosing on painkillers and cutting his left wrist with a pruning knife.

He was said to be devastated after being unmasked as the source of the BBC’s claim that the Government had ‘sexed up’ the case for war in Iraq.

A subsequent official inquiry led by Lord Hutton into the circumstances leading to the death came to the unequivocal conclusion that Kelly committed suicide.

Yet suspicions of foul play still hang heavy over the death of the weapons expert whose body was found seven years ago next month in one of the most notorious episodes of Tony Blair’s premiership.

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Let’s take no orders to slash and burn from this G20 club

An institution dreamed up by finance ministers is trying to hand over the bill for the banking crisis to society’s poorest

Naomi Klein, The Guardian/UK, June 29, 2010

My city feels like a crime scene, and the criminals are all melting into the night, fleeing the scene. No, I’m not talking about the kids in black who smashed windows and burned cop cars on Saturday.

I’m talking about the heads of state who, on Sunday night, smashed social safety nets and burned good jobs in the middle of a recession. Faced with the effects of a crisis created by the world’s wealthiest and most privileged strata, they decided to stick the poorest and most vulnerable people in their countries with the bill.

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U.S. Congress Jumps to Israel’s ‘Self-’ Defense

By Stephen Zunes, Foreign Policy In Focus, June 25, 2010

Gaza FlotillaPosted as a complement to Stephen Zunes’s Foreign Policy in Focus piece Israel’s Dubious Investigation of Flotilla Attack.

In a letter to President Barack Obama date June 17, 329 out of 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives referred to Israel’s May 31 attack on a humanitarian aid flotilla in international waters, which resulted in the deaths of nine passengers and crew and injuries to scores of others, as an act of “self-defense” which they “strongly support.” Similarly, a June 21 Senate lettersigned by 87 out of 100 senators — went on record “fully” supporting what it called “Israel’s right to self-defense,” claiming that the widely supported effort to relieve critical shortages of food and medicine in the besieged Gaza Strip was simply part of a “clever tactical and diplomatic ploy” by “Israel’s opponents” to “challenge its international standing.”

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Lenin on Imperialism

Shaun Harkin, Socialist Worker, October 10, 2003

THE MARXIST approach to understanding war as a product of economic rivalries spilling over into political and military conflicts has long been dismissed as out of date, even by some people on the left. But the military occupation and corporate takeover of Iraq has put this view back at the center of discussion. SHAUN HARKIN explains why the Russian revolutionary Lenin and the theory that Lenin developed about the rise of imperialism–remains so relevant today.

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LENIN WROTE his influential pamphlet Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism in 1916, during the carnage of the First World War. Sometimes, imperialism is defined very broadly to mean the domination of weaker states by stronger ones. But empire building, colonialism and military competition have existed ever since states have existed.

By contrast, Lenin’s definition of imperialism was historically specific. For Lenin, imperialism was distinct because it represented–and was the product of–a new stage in the development of capitalism.

The internal composition of capitalism had changed dramatically in the years around the turn of the last century. Responding to competition and economic crisis, capitalism in the U.S., Germany, Britain, Japan and France tended to become more concentrated and dominated by massive monopolies.

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CIA director defends Iraqi killers contract

Morning Star Online, Monday 28 June 2010

by Tom Mellen

The CIA has defended its new $100 million (£66m) contract with a notorious mercenary outfit to protect US diplomats in Afghanistan.

In a rare television interview on Sunday, CIA director Leon Panetta confirmed that his agency had hired Xe Services – the company once known as Blackwater – to provide “protective security services” at US consulates in Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif.

Mr Panetta insisted that the US intelligence service did not have “much choice but to accept that contract” after Xe underbid other competitors “by about $26m.”

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Obama Slams ‘Obsession’ With Ending War in Afghanistan

Insists His Focus Is on Winning the War

by Jason Ditz,, June 27, 2010

Speaking today in the wake of the G20 Summit, President Barack Obama criticized what he called “a lot of obsession” about ending the war in Afghanistan and withdrawing some 100,000 American troops from the nation.

Obama insisted that instead of considering if and how the war will ever come to some sort of end, his “focus right now is how do we make sure that what we’re doing there is successful, given the incredible sacrifices.”

The US initially invaded Afghanistan in late 2001. The number of troops in the nation has rising precipitously since President Obama took office in 2009, inheriting a war with 30,000 troops and turning it into a war with 100,000 troops.

Obama’s comments reflect those he made earlier this week, disavowing his pledge to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in July of 2011. Now President Obama says that date is just the “beginning of a transition phase” and there is no particular timeline for leaving Afghanistan.

With the war increasingly unpopular, the president presented the 2011 drawdown date as a way to make his most recent escalation more palatable. With the surge troops now deployed, the date appears to have been discarded, and those still clamoring for some sort of end to the nearly decade-long war condemned for losing sight of some ill-defined victory.

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Israel prevents delivery of oxygen to hospitals

By Ma’an News Agency, Monday, June 28, 2010

Bethlehem – Ma’an – Seven oxygen machines donated to the Palestinain Authority by a Norwegian development agency were seized by Israeli officials en route to hospitals in the West Bank and Gaza, the Ramallah-based health ministry said.
The machines, the ministry said in a Thursday statement, were confiscated by Israeli officials who claimed that the generators attached “came under the category of possible use for non-medical purposes” if they were delivered to the southern Gaza governorates.

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Oliver Stone: The US Has Launched Military Interventions and Political Coups Fifty-Five Times in Latin America

The critically-acclaimed director discusses his upcoming documentary, “South of the Border.”

AlterNet, June 26, 2010

Critically-acclaimed Hollywood Director Oliver Stone dropped by our studio for a Brave New Conversation, where I spoke with him about his latest documentary South of the Border, scheduled to be released in more than 30 countries this month. South of the Border begins by exploring the role that the corporate-owned mainstream media in the U.S. and Venezuela have played in shaping American’s perspectives on South America, beginning with clips of the attempted coup on Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. In the Brave New Conversation, Stone describes the South American press:

The press [in South America] is totally owned privately, and most of that press, unlike most Americans realize, is anti-reform. Anybody who comes along and wants to change anything is castigated in the press. Chavez is one example: They kill him every day. The press is vibrant, it’s oppositional, calls for his resignation, calls him a madman, and sometimes calls for an overthrow of the government. This is going on everyday and in America they say there’s censorship. We’re crazy; if we had a press like that, it’d be Fox News on steroids.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Eyewitness Report on Gaza Blockade: Countering Israeli Propaganda

Kenneth O'Keefe talks about the attack on the MV Mavi Marmara that was trying to run the blockade on Gaza.

Video Interview

Posted June 25, 2010

Part 1 of 3

Part 2 of 3

Part 3 of 3

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UN rights chief says torturers will face justice

Yahoo! News, June 26, 2010

UN human rights chief Navi Pillay, pictured in April 2010, on Friday warned torturers that they could not escape justice even if they might benefit from short term impunity.

GENEVA (AFP) – – UN human rights chief Navi Pillay on Friday warned torturers that they could not escape justice even if they might benefit from short term impunity.

“Torturers, and their superiors, need to hear the following message loud and clear: however powerful you are today, there is a strong chance that sooner or later you will be held to account for your inhumanity,” Pillay said.

“Torture is an extremely serious crime, and in certain circumstances can amount to a war crime, a crime against humanity or genocide,” she added in a statement to mark Saturday’s International Day for the Victims of Torture.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights urged governments, the United Nations and campaign groups “to ensure that this message is backed by firm action.”

“No one suspected of committing torture can benefit from an amnesty. That is a basic principle of international justice and a vital one,” Pillay added.

“I am concerned, however, that some states rigidly maintain amnesties that save torturers from being brought to justice, even though the regimes that employed them are long gone.

“As a result there are a number of well-established democracies that generally abide by the rule of law, and are proud to do so, which are in effect protecting torturers and denying justice,” said Pillay.

That often, as a result, denied their victims reparations.

The UN human rights chief noted that more people were being prosecuted for torture every year, including recent prosecutions in Chile and Argentina for cases dating back to the 1970s and 1980s.

She also highlighted the looming verdict in Cambodia’s war crimes tribunal on former Khmer Rouge prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, commonly known as ‘Duch’ which is due on July 26.

“There is one aspect of all this that should cause even the most ruthless and self-confident torturers to stop and think: in time, all regimes change, including the most entrenched and despotic.

“So even those who think their immunity from justice is ironclad can — and I hope increasingly will– eventually find themselves in court,” Pillay added.

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Fighting talk: The new propaganda

Journalism has become a linguistic battleground – and when reporters use terms such ‘spike in violence’ or ‘surge’ or ‘settler’, they are playing along with a pernicious game, argues Robert Fisk

The Independent/UK, June 21, 2010

Botch and learn: the  world's media await the arrival of the Gaza   flotilla that was stormed by the Israeli Navy

Botch and learn: the world’s media await the arrival of the Gaza flotilla that was stormed by the Israeli Navy

Following the latest in semantics on the news? Journalism and the Israeli government are in love again. It’s Islamic terror, Turkish terror, Hamas terror, Islamic Jihad terror, Hezbollah terror, activist terror, war on terror, Palestinian terror, Muslim terror, Iranian terror, Syrian terror, anti-Semitic terror…

But I am doing the Israelis an injustice. Their lexicon, and that of the White House – most of the time – and our reporters’ lexicon, is the same. Yes, let’s be fair to the Israelis. Their lexicon goes like this: Terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror.

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Afghanistan: Worse Than a Nightmare

By Bob Herbert, New York Times, June 25, 2010

President Obama can be applauded for his decisiveness in dispatching the chronically insubordinate Stanley McChrystal, but we are still left with a disaster of a war in Afghanistan that cannot be won and that the country as a whole will not support.

Bob Herbert

No one in official Washington is leveling with the public about what is really going on. We hear a lot about counterinsurgency, the latest hot cocktail-hour topic among the BlackBerry-thumbing crowd. But there is no evidence at all that counterinsurgency will work in Afghanistan. It’s not working now. And even if we managed to put all the proper pieces together, the fiercest counterinsurgency advocates in the military will tell you that something on the order of 10 to 15 years of hard effort would be required for this strategy to bear significant fruit.

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Occupied Palestine: Good News and Bad

by Stephen Lendman, Dissident Voice, June 26th, 2010

First the good.

On June 22, the International Middle East Media Center reported that the UN Human Rights Council (that established the Goldstone Commission) approved “forming an international committee to probe the deadly Israeli” Flotilla attack, massacring and injuring dozens of nonviolent activists on board. Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak urged Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to shelve it, saying:

“We expressed our view that for the time being, as long as….new flotillas are in the preparation, it’s probably better to leave (an investigation) on the shelf for a certain time” – in other words, postpone it long enough to forget, letting Israel’s self-examination whitewash top officials’ culpability, a vain hope given world outrage, mushrooming toward universally branding Israel a pariah rogue state.

The Human Rights Council (HRC) said committee officials will include lawyers and international law and human rights experts, the body to present its findings in September.

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After the Bhopal Verdict

Critics of the Nuclear Liability Bill Regroup

Radha Surya, ZNet, June 24, 2010
Change Text Size a- | A+

It’s a true and tested tactic. Announce an investigation. Give the public the time and space it needs to get over its outrage. The political storm will subside. The limelight will forsake the activists and their sympathizers. After that it will be back to business as usual. The waiting game has stood the ruling coalition, the Congress-led UPA, in good stead on past occasions and enabled it to tide over turbulent times. And it was expected to save the situation when a white-hot wave of indignation swept across the country in the wake of the Bhopal court’s verdict in the Union Carbide case. No doubt the political establishment believed the government could return to carrying out Washington’s diktat or fulfilling the bidding of business magnates once calm had been restored.

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Release of Cuban prisoner of conscience is long overdue

Amnesty International, June 24, 2010

Darsi Ferrer was convicted on spurious charges of receiving   illegally obtained goods

Darsi Ferrer was convicted on spurious charges of receiving illegally obtained goods

© Private

The release of a Cuban prisoner of conscience who spent almost a year in pre-trial detention at a maximum security prison after organizing protests critical of the government is long overdue, Amnesty International has said.

Darsi Ferrer was convicted on Tuesday on spurious charges of receiving illegally obtained goods and “violence or intimidation against a state official”.

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Bertrand Russell on Israel and Palestinians

Lord Bertrand Russell, the great philospher of the twentieth century and a campaigner against nuclear weapons stood for the national rights of the Palestinian people. His statement made four decades ago is still true because the oppression of the Palestinain people continues and in many ways has worsened since then at the hands of the Zionists of Israel and America.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

ElBaradei leads Egypt anti-torture protest

Middle East Online, June 25, 2010

Powerful comeback for ElBaradei

Ex-IAEA chief carries on his ‘change’ campaign in Alexandria in protest against police brutality.

By Mona Salem – ALEXANDRIA

Mohamed ElBaradei, the ex-atomic watchdog chief turned Egyptian dissident, led thousands of protesters in the northern city of Alexandria on Friday demanding an end to police brutality.

ElBaradei emerged from the Muslim weekly prayers in Alexandria’s Sidi Gaber district to rapturous applause from a 4,000-strong crowd chanting “Change” and holding posters of 28-year-old Khaled Said who was allegedly killed this month at the hands of police officers.

ElBaradei, who had earlier visited Said’s family to offer condolences, struggled to move through the crowd as protesters rushed to reach him, some kissing his hands, others patting him on the back.

Hundreds of police and anti-riot forces surrounded the protesters, who represented several political groups including the pro-reform April 6 youth movement and the banned opposition Muslim Brotherhood, as well as prominent activists and opposition politicians and ordinary citizens.

Protesters held up signs reading: “Our condolences to Freedom” and “Long Live Egypt”. Others chanted “Down with (President Hosni) Mubarak”.

They demanded the ouster of Interior Minister Habib al-Adly, who they say has failed to bring to justice those accused of torture.

According to witnesses, Said was killed on June 6 when plainclothes policemen dragged him out of an Internet cafe and beat him to death on a busy Alexandria street.

Egypt’s interior ministry said he had died from asphyxiation after swallowing a bag of narcotics when approached by officers.

But rights groups have rejected the official account, and Said has since become a symbol for rights activists against police brutality, for which Egypt has been criticised at home and abroad.

Disturbing images of Said’s battered and bruised face have appeared on social networking websites, sparking public outcry and condemnation from local and international rights groups.

Opposition members and political activists have argued that the incident is proof that Egypt’s decades-old emergency law, which was renewed last month for a further two years, has created a legacy of police impunity.

Several protests have broken out around the country since Said’s death, demanding his alleged torturers be brought to justice.

The Alexandria demonstration also marked a powerful comeback for ElBaradei following weeks away from the public eye, amid criticism that his reform campaign had run out of steam.

Rarely are such numbers out in force in Egypt, where police does not tolerate large political gatherings.

“There were thousands of people, and thousands more in the streets near the mosque,” said Hassan Nafaa, the coordinator for the National Association for Change set up by ElBaradei to call for political reforms.

“If the protesters had been allowed to move even 500 metres (yards), thousands more would have joined,” he said after the protest.

“We gathered today to mourn the loss of Khaled Said and to mourn the fate of this nation,” he said.

ElBaradei, 68, has emerged as Egypt’s most high-profile reform champion since his retirement from the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency last year.

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Anti-Semitism – Zionist myth vs truth and reality

BY Alan Hart, Kanal48, March 15, 2010

Via: Redress.

There are two definitions of anti-Semitism in its Jewish context. One was born in real history and represents a truth. The other is part and parcel of Zionist mythology and was invented for the purpose of blackmailing non-Jewish Europeans and North Americans into refraining from criticizing Israel or, to be more precise, staying silent when its leaders resort to state terrorism and demonstrate in many ways their absolute contempt for international law.

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Exploiting hotel workers in Pakistan

M.T. , a Karachi-based writer who blogs at The Mob and the Multitude, reports on the struggle of hotel workers near Islamabad facing an anti-union attack.

Socialist Worker, June 23, 2010

Workers protest outside the Pearl Continental Hotel near   Islamabad

Workers protest outside the Pearl Continental Hotel near Islamabad

HOTEL WORKERS from a five-star hotel in Rawalpindi near Islamabad are on a hunger strike entering its third week after the hotel management summarily fired 350 employees and rejected negotiations with the workers’ union. The Hashoo group, which owns the Pearl Continental Hotel (PC), refuses to recognize the union even though it is legally recognized by Pakistan’s courts.

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Israeli Leaders Sued in Belgium for War Crimes

Baltimore Jewish Times, June 25, 2010

JTA Wire Service

A complaint was filed in Belgian court against 14 Israeli leaders for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak were among those charged with war crimes committed during the Gaza war in the winter of 2008-09, the French daily Le Monde reported. Former Gen. Matan Vilnai and other Israeli army leaders, politicians and intelligence officials also were included on the list.

Two lawyers representing 13 family members of victims of an Israeli army bombing of a mosque near the Jabaliya refugee camp during the war said they filed their complaints Wednesday in Brussels, according to reports.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Is Petraeus McChrystal’s Replacement or Obama’s?

By Paul Craig Roberts, Counterpunch, June 24, 2010

Our petulant president’s ego can’t handle a general letting off steam. Neither can any of the spoiled children who comprise “our” government in DC, the capital of the “superpower.”

Generals have to fight wars that civilians start, either from the incompetence of their diplomacy or the arrogance of their hubris. Generals have to get young troops killed because of the stupidity or ambition or corruption of civilian government officials.

All McChrystal did was to let off steam. A real president would have realized that and let it go.

Don’t get me wrong. McChrystal is a militarist, and I am pleased to see him gone.

However, McChrystal didn’t restart America’s aggression against Afghanistan. Obama did.

People elected Obama, because they were tired of Bush’s wars based on lies. So Obama gave us a new war in Pakistan and reignited the Afghan war. No one knows what these wars are about or why the bankrupt US government is wasting vast sums of money, which it has to borrow from foreigners, in order to murder the citizenry in two countries that have never done anything to us.

Just as Bush/Cheney and their criminal neocon government deceived the world that Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction” that threatened white people everywhere, Obama has conflated the Taliban with al Qaeda. Obama has sold the tale to white countries that unless the US determines how Afghanistan is ruled and by whom, white people are in danger of being exterminated by al Qaeda Taliban terrorists.

The most telling aspect of the McChrystal-Obama contretemps is that it has caused no one in the US government, or media, to ask why the US is still killing women and children in Afghanistan after 9 years. The US government is prepared for everyone except itself to be tried at the War Crimes Tribunal.

Fred Branfman writing in AlterNet on June 22 reminds us that unnumbered Iraqis were killed, maimed, tortured and displaced by an American invasion based on lies told by the highest officials in the American government. Yet, no one has been held accountable.

But Gen. McChrystal is held accountable for letting off steam.

Once the Roman senate, the legislative branch, collapsed, the caesars, the executive branch, became the captives of the military. Now with Gen. Petraeus once again moved to the fore as McChrystal’s replacement in Afghanistan, we have Obama elevating Petraeus to the Republican presidential nomination in the next election. Thus has Obama replaced himself with a man who will unify the military and executive branch.

Associated Press writers Jennifer Loven and Anne Gearan write (June 23) about the “admired and tightly disciplined Gen. David Petraeus,” the “architect of the Iraq war turnaround,” who is “once again to take hands-on leadership of a troubled war effort.”

Petraeus is an evolved form of general. He “won” in Iraq by paying protection money to the Sunnis who were effectively resisting the US occupation. Petraeus figured out that it was far cheaper and more efficient to put the Sunnis on the US military payroll and to pay them to stop fighting, which is how the war between the Sunnis and the Americans ended. To keep the Americans out of the ongoing large scale sectarian violence that continues to slaughter Iraqis, the US military was confined to remote bases.

If history is a guide, the Afghans will also accept Petraeus’ protection money, and Petraeus has just enough time to buy the Afghan war before the next presidential election.

The Afghans will, of course, take the money and wait us out, just as the Iraqis are doing.

All of this drama is playing out despite the continuing lack of any valid reason for the American invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. The Washington idiots, trying to dictate how Iraq and Afghanistan are governed, are destroying constitutional government in the United States. In our hubris to determine how Iraq and Afghanistan are ruled, we are losing our own government.

Paul Craig Roberts was an editor of the Wall Street Journal and an Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. His latest book, HOW THE ECONOMY WAS LOST, has just been published by CounterPunch/AK Press. He can be reached at:

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Connecting the Zionist Dots

By Gilad Atzmon, Information Clearing House, June 24, 2010

A few weeks ago the Jewish Chronicle published a list of Jewish MPs in the UK parliament. It named 24 in total, encompassing 12 Conservatives, 10 Labour, and two Liberal Democrats. Author and peace activist Stuart Littlewood elaborated on these figures and presented the following analysis:

“The Jewish population in the UK is 280,000 or 0.46 per cent. There are 650 seats in the House of Commons so, as a proportion, Jewish entitlement is only three seats. The conclusion is pretty obvious. With 24 seats, Jews are eight times over-represented. Which means, of course, that other groups must be under-represented, including Muslims…If Muslims, for instance, were over-represented to the same extent as the Jews (i.e. eight times) they’d have 200 seats. All hell would break loose.”

A question must be raised here. Why are Jews overwhelmingly over-represented in the British parliament, in British and American political pressure groups, in political fundraising and in the media?

Haim Saban, the Israeli-American, multibillionaire media mogul offers the answer. The New Yorker reported this week that at a conference last fall, Saban described his pro-Israeli formula, outlining “three ways to be influential in American politics…make donations to political parties, establish think tanks, and control media outlets.”

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

UN raises questions on Israeli plan on Gaza siege

UN raises questions on Israeli plan on Gaza siege
UN official called the blockade “absurd, counterproductive and illegal”, citing elements in Israel’s easing plan.

World Bulletin, 23 June 2010

The head of the United Nations’ Palestinian refugee agency said on Wednesday the fine print of Israel’s pledge to ease its Gaza blockade raised questions about how effective it would prove to be.

Under international pressure over a deadly Israeli raid on a relief aid flotilla bound for Gaza that killed nine Turkish activists, Israel last week announced it would ease the siege on Gaza.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office released few details about the possible changes in its three-year-old blockade, and it was not clear whether any firm decisions had been made.

But, the announcement did not specify how procedures for the import of commercial goods would change or list any specific products, saying only that cabinet ministers would decide in the coming days how to implement the new policy.

The siege has prevented Gaza from rebuilding after Israel’s deadly assault in the territory last year.

There was no mention in the statement of any change in other damaging aspects of the blockade, like bans on exports or allowing in raw materials used in industrial production.

Filippo Grandi, commissioner-general of the refugee agency known as UNRWA, called the blockade “absurd, counterproductive and illegal” and cited elements in Israel’s easing plan that left unclear how it would be fully implemented.

“They’re talking about items that will be allowed for certain times and not other times, depending on who the consignee is. So it’s still very complicated,” he told reporters in Beirut. “We have seen some broad statements of how they will do it but the devil is in the detail. We have to see how this will be done and we haven’t seen it yet.

“We’ve seen many times declarations and statements,” Grandi added. “But now we want to see facts … Believe me, it’s very urgent, because the conditions are very bad on the ground.”

Human rights groups and other critics slam the siege as collective punishment of Gaza’s 1.5 million Palestinians.

Grandi called for Gaza’s land crossings to be opened.

UNRWA has said Israel must reopen the Karni cargo terminal on Gaza’s northeast boundary that is large enough to allow industrial-scale shipments of cement, building materials and aid. Instead, trucks are now routed to a narrower crossing.

Israel’s naval blockade will also remain in force.


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Three Things You Missed in Rolling Stone’s McChrystal Profile

by Tom Andrews,, June 23, 2010

Unfortunately, President Obama missed an opportunity today to not only replace an out-of-control general but an out-of-control and failing strategy in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, mainstream media continue to miss the most serious story contained in the now famous Rolling Stone profile.

Michael Hastings’ piece is about more than an adolescent general and his buddies’ school-yard shenanigans in Kabul and Paris. It was about a failing strategy in Afghanistan and the disconnect between how the administration portrays the war in public and the reality of how the war is actually being waged.

Here are three points in the Rolling Stone article that contradict what the White House has presented to Congress and the American people about the war in Afghanistan:

“Instead of beginning to withdraw troops next year, as Obama promised, the military hopes to ramp up its counterinsurgency campaign even further.” A senior military official stationed in Afghanistan told Hastings: “There’s a possibility we could ask for another surge of US forces next summer if we see success here.”

Continues >>

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Don’t Let the McChrystal Frenzy Obscure the Dirty Truth About Afghanistan

While we’ll be treated to plenty of blather about the McChrystal incident, the most important part of the story is largely being ignored by the corporate media.

Joshua Holland, AlterNet, June 23, 2010

US commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal speaks during a press briefing with White House spokesman Robert Gibbs (rear) at the White House in Washington, DC. McChrystal said Monday there was intelligence Iran was guilty of some “malign” activity in the country, but added that most of its role was legitimate.

It should come as no surprise that General Stanley McChrystal’s return to Washington to explain a series of derogatory comments he and his staff made about the White House has ignited a media frenzy.

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Exclusive: Leaked documents show PA undermined Turkey’s push for UN flotilla probe

Asa Winstanley, The Electronic Intifada, 22 June 2010

A document sent to Ibrahim Khraishi, Palestinian Authority representative at the UN in Geneva, proves that the PA attempted to undermine Turkey’s push for a UN Human Rights Council investigation in to Israel’s attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla (Patrick Bertschmann/UN Photo)

The Palestinian Authority attempted to neutralize a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution condemning Israel’s deadly attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, leaked UN and Palestinian Authority documents obtained by The Electronic Intifada show. Israel’s 31 May attack killed nine Turkish citizens, including a dual US-Turkish citizen, and injured dozens of others aboard theTurkey, Mavi Marmara in international waters.

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Ahmad Sa’adat Greets the US Social Forum

Ahmad Sa’adat,, June 22, 2010


June 2010

Ramon Prison – Isolation Section

To the US Social Forum:

I greet you from inside the walls of the prisons of the occupation, with the voice of thousands of Palestinian and Arab political prisoners. On behalf of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement, the Palestinian national movement, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, I carry our salutes to the US Social Forum, this coming together of movements of oppressed peoples to organize and stand together against racism, colonialism, oppression and imperialism.

Continues >>

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Swedish dockers block Israeli cargo in Gaza protest

Middle East Online, June 23, 2010

Swedish solidarity with Freedom Flotilla victims

Dock workers union launches week-long blockade of cargo to and from Israel to protest raid on aid flotilla.

STOCKHOLM – The Swedish Dock Workers Union on Wednesday launched a week-long blockade of cargo to and from Israel to protest the Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla last month, a union representative said.

The blockade, which also applies to Israeli ships, was launched “because of the assault on the Ship to Gaza (flotilla), that we supported before they took off … and the blockade of the Gaza strip, which affects the civilian population,” union spokesman Rolf Axelsson said.

The dock workers’ protest was to take place in all unionised Swedish ports, and ends at midnight (2200 GMT) on June 29.

Union chairman Bjoern A. Borg added the union called for an international investigation into the May 31 raid that killed nine pro-Palestinian activists.

He said the dock workers believed Israel’s easing of its Gaza blockade, announced on Sunday, was insufficient.

Eleven Swedes, including crime writer Henning Mankell, took part in the flotilla and were briefly taken into Israeli custody.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Amira Haas: Who will be punished for killing civilians in the Gaza war?

The decision to indict Staff Sgt. S. for killing two women during last year’s war in Gaza has caused a stir. But his lawyer will rightly ask, Why him, and not all the others who killed civilians?

By Amira Hass, Haaretz/Israel, June 21, 2010

Why was Staff Sgt. S., out of all the Israel Defense Forces’ soldiers and officers, chosen to stand trial for killing two women in the Gaza Strip on January 4, 2009, the first day of Israel’s ground incursion there? The IDF killed 34 armed men that same day. Was S. chosen because he was the only one who killed civilians?

Gaza war A cloud of smoke billows over Gaza after an Israel Defense Forces strike during the 2009 war.
Photo by: AP / Archive

Should his lawyer argue that he is being scapegoated, he can safely rely on the following statistics: The IDF also killed 80 other civilians that day by close-range shooting, artillery fire, aerial fire and naval fire. Among them were six women and 29 children under the age of 16. Just go to B’Tselem’s website and read the list: a 7-year-old boy, a 1-year-old girl, another 1-year-old girl, a 3-year-old boy, a 13-year-old girl.

B’Tselem is careful to differentiate between Palestinians who “took part in the hostilities” and Palestinians who “did not take part in the hostilities.” Its list of fatalities states: “Farah Amar Fuad al-Hilu, 1-year-old resident of Gaza City, killed on 04.01.2009 in Gaza City, by live ammunition. Did not participate in hostilities. Additional information: Killed while she fled from her house with her family after her grandfather (Fuad al-Hilu, 62) was shot by soldiers who entered the house.” The grandfather also did not participate in hostilities.

Or perhaps S. was chosen because Riyeh Abu Hajaj, 64, and Majda Abu Hajaj, 37, a mother and daughter, were the only ones killed while carrying a white flag that January 4? No. Matar, 17, and Mohammed, 16, were also killed. They were shot from an IDF position in a nearby house as they pushed a cart carrying the wounded and dead of the Abu Halima family, who were hit by a white phosphorous bomb that penetrated their home in northern
Beit Lahiya. Five members of the family were killed on the spot, including a 1-year-old girl. Another young woman would die of her injuries a few weeks later.

The news that Staff Sgt. S. would stand trial created something of a stir for a day. The military advocate general was praised. So was B’Tselem, and rightly so, for giving the army testimony about the Abu Hajaj killings that its field investigators, Palestinian residents of Gaza, had gathered. Palestinian organizations gathered similar
material, while Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both published detailed reports about slain civilians. Everything is accessible on their websites. But we in Israel do not believe the gentiles, so let us focus only on B’Tselem.

B’Tselem also gave the army dozens of statements about the killing of other civilians who “did not take part in the hostilities.” So why was Staff Sgt. S. chosen, rather than any of the others? Did someone from his unit violate the code of solidarity among soldiers for the sake of a higher code? This is indeed most likely to happen
in the ground forces: All the witnesses who spoke to Breaking the Silence activists i.e., those who were shaken by something that happened came from the ground troops; they were the ones who saw the destruction, and the human beings, with their own eyes.

“The amount of destruction there was incomprehensible,” said one soldier. “You go through the neighborhoods there and you can’t identify anything. No stone is left unturned. You see rows of fields, hothouses, orchards, and it’s all in ruins. Everything is completely destroyed. You see a pink room with a poster of Barbie, and a shell that went through a meter and a half below it.”

But the breakdown of casualties shows that those killed by direct fire where the soldier who shoots sees those he is shooting with his own eyes are a tiny minority. At the request of Haaretz, the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza analyzed the breakdown of casualties according to the type of fire. It found that 80 were killed by rifle fire, 13 by machine guns and 134 by artillery fire. It is unclear whether the 11 killed by flechette shells (shells filled with metal darts) are or are not included in the latter figure.

Undoubtedly, these are estimates, with margins of error. Around 1,400 Palestinians were killed in Operation Cast Lead; at least 1,000 most of them civilians were killed from the air, by bombs dropped from planes or missiles fired from other airborne
vehicles. To the soldiers responsible for the launches, they looked like characters prancing around on a computer screen.

B’Tselem and Haaretz, as well as the gentile organizations that need not be considered, all documented incidents of aerial killing. The IDF acknowledged two errors (the killing of 22 members of the a-Diya family in Zeitun with a single bomb, and the killing of seven people who were removing oxygen tanks from a metalworking shop, which on the computer screens looked like Grad missiles).

“One characteristic of the recent IDF attack on Gaza is the large number of families that lost many members at one stroke, most of them in their homes, during Israeli bombings: Ba’alousha, Bannar, Sultan, Abu Halima, Salha, Barbakh, Shurrab, Abu Eisha,
Ghayan, al-Najjar, Abed-Rabo, Azzam, Jebara, El Astel, Haddad, Quran, Nasser, al-Alul, Dib, Samouni,” Haaretz wrote in February 2009. Are there no sergeants involved in those cases who ought to be investigated? Or is it that in these cases, an investigation would
have to target people of higher rank than a mere staff sergeant?

The disclosure that Staff Sgt. S. will be tried created something of a stir. The military advocate general won praise. But S.’s attorney will rightly ask: Out of all the testimonies and reports, he is the only one you found?

And what of the commanders’ attitudes, as described by those interviewed by Breaking the Silence: “When the company commander and the battalion commander tell you ‘yalla,
shoot,’ soldiers will not restrain themselves. They wait for this day to have the fun of shooting and feeling the power in your hands.” What of the battalion commander’s speech “the night before the ground incursion”: “He said that it’s not going to be easy.
He defined the goals of the operation: 2,000 dead terrorists.”

And if this was the operation’s objective, perhaps we should investigate the supreme commander Defense Minister Ehud Barak about the gap between the objective and the result?

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