Tuesday, November 30, 2010

WikiLeaks exposé: Israel tried to coordinate Gaza war with Abbas

In diplomatic cable documenting 2009 meeting, Defense Minister Barak says Egypt, PA refuse to take over Gaza in case of Hamas defeat. 

Barak Ravid, Haaretz, Nov 28, 2010

Israel tried to coordinate the Gaza war with the Palestinian Authority, classified diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks said on Sunday, adding that both the PA and Egypt refused to take control of the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave.

Ehud Barak and Mahmoud Abbas AP 1.7.2008 Ehud Barak, right, and Mahmoud Abbas speaking during the 23rd congress of the Socialist International in Greece, July 1, 2008.
Photo by: AP

The whistle-blowing website obtained some 250,000 diplomatic cables between the U.S. and its allies, which Washington had urged the site not to publish.
In a June 2009 meeting between Defense Minister Ehud Barak and a U.S. congressional delegation, Barak claimed that the Israeli government “had consulted with Egypt and Fatah prior to Operation Cast Lead, asking if they were willing to assume control of Gaza once Israel defeated Hamas.”

“Not surprisingly,” Barak said in the meeting, Israel “received negative answers from both.”

While similar reports of such attempts to link the PA and Egypt to Israel’s war with Hamas had already surfaced in the past, the cable released by WikiLeaks on Sunday represents the first documented proof of such a move.

In the document, Barak also expressed his feeling that “the Palestinian Authority is weak and lacks self-confidence, and that Gen. Dayton’s training helps bolster confidence.”

The meeting which the cable documents took place just days before U.S. President Barack Obama’s Cairo speech, and a few weeks after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s first visit to the United States, a visit which revealed the deep differences between Obama and himself.

The cable also refers to what Barak describes as the debate within the Israeli cabinet in regards to a “development of a response to President Obama’s upcoming speech in Cairo.”

Egypt: Elections Marred as Opposition Barred from Polls

Violence, Arrests and Fraud Allegations Widespread

Human Rights Watch, November 29, 2010

Riot police form a line as opposition members and supporters gather to support their candidates for the upcoming elections.
© 2010 Reuters
The authorities promised that Egyptian civil society could monitor the elections without the need for international observers. Unfortunately the repeated exclusion of opposition representatives and independent monitors from polling stations, along with reports of violence and fraud suggest that citizens were not able to partake in free elections.
Joe Stork, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East division
(Cairo) – Elections to Egypt’s People’s Assembly on November 28, 2010, were marred by reports that opposition supporters were barred from polling stations and subjected to violence, Human Rights Watch said today. There were reports of numerous irregularities including arrests and harassment of journalists, denial of access for opposition candidate representatives to 30 polling stations visited by Human Rights Watch across the country and widespread allegations of voter fraud.

“The authorities promised that Egyptian civil society could monitor the elections without the need for international observers,” said Joe Stork, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East division. “Unfortunately the repeated exclusion of opposition representatives and independent monitors from polling stations, along with reports of violence and fraud suggest that citizens were not able to partake in free elections.”

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New WikiLeaks documents expose US foreign policy conspiracies

By David Walsh, wsws.org, 29 November 2010
The batch of 250,000 US classified documents released by WikiLeaks to several news outlets, some of whose content was made public Sunday, sheds new light on the sordid nature of American imperialist intrigue and conspiracy around the globe.

The WSWS will analyze the documents more thoroughly in a subsequent article, but “highlights” published by the Guardian and the New York Times are revealing.
The leaked material consists of classified cables from US embassies, some dispatched as recently as early 2010. The cables, most of which date from 2007-2010, contain US officials’ comments on foreign governments and leaders and speculation about the activities and maneuvers of the latter, as well as details about American foreign policy operations.

In a revelation that should surprise no one, the US State Department and American diplomacy in general turn out to be a vast nest of spies.

The Guardian explains that the WikiLeaks documents “reveal how the US uses its embassies as part of a global espionage network, with diplomats tasked to obtain not just information from the people they meet, but personal details, such as frequent flyer numbers, credit card details and even DNA material.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Yemeni President Pledged to Help US Cover Up Attacks

Saleh Promised to Take Credit for Attacks Carried Out by US Military 

by Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com, November 28, 2010

It is no secret that the US military has been launching attacks against targets inside Yemen for awhile now, but the depth of those attacks has been deliberately covered up by the US government, with the aid of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The revelation, in one of the new WikiLeaks diplomatic cables, reports that Saleh had agreed to claim that bombings against targets in the country were all Yemeni air strikes, and not American ones. This puts in question just how many of the putative Yemeni bombing strikes this year were really American ones.

Saleh was said to have expressed concerns about the number of civilians killed in the December 24 strike, which his government claimed credit for but which was carried out by the US. General Petraeus was said to have denied the reports of civilian deaths and the cable called Saleh uninformed.

Yet the Yemeni government continued to probe the attack and months after the cable they were forced to publicly apologize when it was revealed the attack had killed only two al-Qaeda members and 42 civilians.

Egypt’s discredited elections blighted by shadow of police violence

As Egypt goes to the polls today, allegations are multiplying of political torture and killings by a security service beyond the control of the courts 

Jack Shenker in Alexandria, The Observer, Nov 28, 2010

An Egyptian woman holds up portrait of a
Egyptian protesters hold up images of Khaled Said, who was found dead in Alexandria in June after posting an internet video apparently showing illicit police activity. Photograph: Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images

The Mahmoudia canal wends its way through some of Alexandria’s poorest quarters before eventually reaching the middle-class suburb of Somoha, where elegant blocks of flats abut the water’s edge and a rickety old footbridge connects one bank to the other.

It was here that 19-year-old Ahmed Shaaban’s body was found floating among the reeds, battered and bruised. The police say he drowned himself deliberately, though it is difficult to see how – the channel is so shallow it barely reaches one’s knees. A few days later, Shaaban’s uncle stood in front of a local journalist’s video camera and addressed Egypt‘s leader, Hosni Mubarak, directly. “You are at war with your own people,” he said softly. “Your gang is running loose killing citizens, and all you care about is the presidential chair.”

Something is rotten at the heart of Alexandria, one of the great metropolises of the ancient world and Egypt’s modern gateway to the Mediterranean. The country goes to the polls today to elect a new parliament in a ballot widely condemned by human rights groups as being blatantly rigged in favour of Mubarak’s ruling NDP party, and which has been marred by violent clashes on the street between government security services and opposition supporters.

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Pakistan: Repeal Blasphemy Laws

Legal Discrimination  Emboldens Extremists

Human Rights Watch, November 23, 2010

A police official takes the thumb print of Aasia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman who has been sentenced to death for blasphemy, on an affidavit stating her innocence after she was visited by the Governor of the Punjab Province Salman Taseer (R) at the central jail in Sheikhupura, Punjab Province, on November 20, 2010.
© 2010 Reuters
The Punjab provincial government is either in denial about threats to minorities or is following a policy of willful discrimination. Provincial law enforcement authorities need to put aside their prejudices and protect religious minorities who are clearly in serious danger from both the Taliban and sectarian militant groups historically supported by the state.
Ali Dayan Hasan, senior South Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch.
(New York) – Pakistan’s government should immediately introduce legislation to repeal the country’s blasphemy law and other discriminatory legislation, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should also take legal action against Islamist militant groups responsible for threats and violence against minorities and other vulnerable groups, Human Rights Watch said.

While international and Pakistani human rights groups have long called for the repeal of the blasphemy law, it has come under renewed scrutiny in recent weeks as a consequence of a death sentence imposed on November 8, 2010, on Aasia Bibi, an illiterate farmhand from Sheikhupura district in Punjab province. She was charged under the blasphemy law after a June 2009 altercation with fellow farm workers who refused to drink water she had touched, contending it was unclean because she was a Christian. She is the first woman in Pakistan’s history to be sentenced to death for blasphemy, though others have been charged and given lesser sentences.

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Robert Fisk: Oceans of blood and profits for the mongers of war

Robert Fisk, The Independent, Nov 27, 2010

PA  As casualties continue to mount in Afghanistan, so does the cost of war after nine years

Since there are now three conflicts in the greater Middle East; Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel/”Palestine” and maybe another Lebanese war in the offing, it might be a good idea to take a look at the cost of war. 
Not the human cost – 80 lives a day in Iraq, unknown numbers in Afghanistan, one a day in Israel/”Palestine” (for now) – but the financial one. I’m still obsessed by the Saudi claim for its money back after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990. Hadn’t Saudi Arabia, King Fahd reminded Saddam, financed his eight-year war against Iran to the tune of $25,734,469,885.80? For the custodian of the two holy places, Mecca and Medina, to have shelled out $25bn for Saddam to slaughter his fellow Muslims was pretty generous – although asking for that extra 80 cents was surely a bit greedy.

But then again, talking of rapacity, the Arabs spent $84bn underwriting the Anglo-American operation against Saddam in 1990-91 – three times what Fahd gave to Saddam for the Iran war – and the Saudi share alone came to $27.5bn. In all, the Arabs sustained a loss of $620bn because of the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait – almost all of which was paid over to the United States and its allies. Washington was complaining in August 1991 that Saudi Arabia and Kuwait still owed $7.5bn. Western wars in the Middle East, it seemed, could be fought for profit as well as victory. Maybe Iraq could have brought us more treasure if it hadn’t ended in disaster. At least it would help to have paid for America’s constant infusion of cash to Israel’s disastrous wars.

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Video: Frost over the World – Ilan Pappe

Israeli historian Ilan Pappe speaks

AlJazeera.net, November 27, 2010

The Israeli historian talks about the possibility of a one-state solution in the Middle East peace process. Plus, Mark Regev, Binyamin Netanyahu’s spokesman, talks about settlement building in the West Bank and the stalled Middle East peace negotiations. And actress Samantha Bond talks about playing Miss Moneypenny in the James Bond films and working alongside her husband in her new play, ‘An Ideal Husband’.

Paul C. Roberts: The Stench of American Hypocrisy, Part 2

By Paul Craig Roberts, Foreign Policy Journal, Nov 23, 2010

In a recent column, “The Stench of American Hypocrisy,” I noted that US public officials and media are on their high horse about the rule of law in Burma while the rule of law collapses unremarked in the US. Americans enjoy beating up other peoples for American sins. Indeed, hypocrisy has become the defining characteristic of the United States.
Hypocrisy in America is now so commonplace it is no longer noticed. Consider the pro-football star Michael Vick. In a recent game Vick scored 6 touchdowns, totally dominating the playing field. His performance brought new heights of adulation, causing National Public Radio to wonder if the sports public shouldn’t retain a tougher attitude toward a dog torturer who spent 1.5 years in prison for holding dog fights.

I certainly do not approve of mistreating animals. But where is the outrage over the US government’s torture of people? How can the government put a person in jail for torturing dogs but turn a blind eye to members of the government who tortured people?
Under both US and international law, torture of humans is a crime, but the federal judiciary turns a blind eye and even allows false confessions extracted by torture to be used in courts or military tribunals to send tortured people to more years in prison based on nothing but their coerced self-incrimination.

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Robert Fisk: The man who dares to take on Egypt’s brutal regime

Despite beatings and corruption, Ayman Nour still hopes for change. Ahead of new polls, our man meets him 

Robert Fisk, The Independent, Nov 25, 2010

Ayman Nour will continue the fight for democracy despite being beaten in jail

Ayman Nour touches his sideburns, just a shade grey beneath his black hair: not bad for a 45-year old, but not up to the standard of the absolutely uncompromisingly jet black hair of 82-year-old Egyptian President Hosni Moubarak, whose job – in theory at least – Dr Nour would like.

Mind you, being Mr Moubarak’s rival is not for amateurs. It’s cost Dr Nour more than four years in prison and here he is, on the eve of Egyptian parliamentary elections, sitting in Beirut – rather than Cairo – to express his disdain for the ‘moderate’, ‘pro-Western’ regime of America’s favourite Middle Eastern dictator (alongside King Abdullah of Jordan, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Bouteflika of Algeria, Ben Ali of Tunis, King Hassan of Morocco and the rest). So long live President Hosni Moubarak.

But how long? Dr Nour’s Ghad party – Ghad means ‘tomorrow’, which may never come – is not taking part in this weekend’s parliamentary elections which will, he feels sure, be as rigged as every election in Egypt since the early years of President Anwar Sadat. “I believe that what you are about to witness at the weekend is part tragedy, part comedy, a black comedy,” he says. “You want to go to Cairo on Saturday, Robert? You might just go there for fun.”

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Obama’s Delusion: Palestine in 90 Days?

by Rannie Amiri, Global Research, Nov 26, 2010
“Appeasers believe that if you keep on throwing steaks to a tiger, the tiger will become a vegetarian.” – Heywood Broun
  Never in the history of United States-Israeli relations has an American president forsaken his country’s dignity and disavowed the principles of international law to the degree of President Obama.
The appalling set of proposals being offered to the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as incentives to jumpstart peace talks with the Palestinians—aborted as a result of renewed (illegal) Israeli settlement activity in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem—smack of appeasement and capitulation to Tel Aviv.
Under the proposed terms, if Israel agrees to a 90-day settlement freeze in the West Bank, the U.S. would agree to:
·         No longer pressure Israel to ease, curtail or halt settlement construction or expansion after the 90-day moratorium
“What is important—and the prime minister insists on this—that it be clear beyond any shadow of a doubt that this is the last freeze, there won't be an additional request, there won't be any American demands for freezes or other restrictions,” said National Security Advisor Uzi Arad to Israel’s Channel 2 TV.
·         Allow Israel to continue building housing units in East Jerusalem (and by definition, expel Palestinian residents from their homes to do so) during the three-month period
·         Provide Israel with a fleet of 20 advanced F-35 stealth fighters
Note: This is in addition to F-35s already pledged as part of a $30 billion military assistance package to Israel (meant to temper AIPAC objection to the planned $60 billion in U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia ).
·         Veto any attempt made by Palestinians to seek United Nations’ recognition of an independent state
To add to U.S. ignominy, Netanyahu demanded from its stalwart ally that all the above be put in writing before the cabinet would even consider it. Arad confirmed this was done.
President Obama is under the impression—or more aptly, delusion—that a comprehensive peace agreement can be reached during these 90 days, including delineating the borders of a Palestinian state.
Palestine in 90 days? 

Afghanistan: Digging in

By Sheldon Richman, The Future of Freedom FoundationNovember 26, 2010

President Obama once said withdrawal from Afghanistan would begin in July 2011 — maybe, conditions permitting. But then he backed off that date. Now NATO, echoing American officials, says security won’t be fully turned over to the Afghan government any earlier than the end of 2014 — again, maybe; the alliance has signed a long-term security agreement with the Afghan president. Allied troops thus will remain in Afghanistan — as occupiers always say — in a supporting role beyond 2014 and even 2015. Calling the December 31, 2014, an “aspirational goal,” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said, “It does not mean that all U.S. or coalition forces would necessarily be gone by that date.” 

Even before Obama backed off the 2011 timetable and before the NATO summit, Gen. David Petraeus had told Bob Woodward, “You have to recognize that I don’t think you win this war. I think you keep fighting. You have to stay after it. This is the kind of fight we’re in for the rest of our lives and probably our kids’ lives.” And Defense Secretary Robert Gates went even further, telling Woodward: “We’re not leaving Afghanistan prematurely. In fact, we’re not ever leaving at all.” 

Thus no one seems to take target dates or even aspirational goals very seriously. The U.S. national-security apparatus is planted in Afghanistan and appears in no hurry to leave. 

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Israel police under fire for abusing east Jerusalem children

The Raw Story, Nov 25, 2010
 Israel police under fire for abusing east Jerusalem children
JERUSALEM — Israeli police were accused of “flagrant violations” of the law Thursday over their harsh and at times violent treatment of Palestinian children suspected of stone-throwing in east Jerusalem.

The allegations were detailed in a letter sent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by a group of 60 Israeli professionals, among them experts in medicine, psychology, education, social work and law — all of whom work with children.

But Israel police flatly denied the allegations, with a spokesman telling AFP they “operate within the bounds of the law.”

The letter expresses concern about the growing number of testimonies submitted by Palestinian minors who have been arrested by police in occupied and annexed east Jerusalem, notably in the flashpoint neighborhood of Silwan.

“We are writing … to express our deep concerns about the physical and emotional welfare and proper development of children and young people in east Jerusalem in the light of police behavior during the investigation and arrest of minors in this area,” it said.

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The Incredible Shrinking Withdrawal Date From Afghanistan

By Tom Engelhardt, ZNet, Nov 25, 2010 
Source: TomDispatch
Going, going, gone!  You can almost hear the announcer’s voice throbbing with excitement, only we’re not talking about home runs here, but about the disappearing date on which, for the United States and its military, the Afghan War will officially end.

Practically speaking, the answer to when it will be over is: just this side of never.  If you take the word of our Afghan War commander, the secretary of defense, and top officials of the Obama administration and NATO, we’re not leaving any time soon. As with any clever time traveler, every date that’s set always contains a verbal escape hatch into the future.

In my 1950s childhood, there was a cheesy (if thrilling) sci-fi flick, The Incredible Shrinking Man, about a fellow who passed through a radioactive cloud in the Pacific Ocean and soon noticed that his suits were too big for him.  Next thing you knew, he was living in a doll house, holding off his pet cat, and fighting an ordinary spider transformed into a monster.  Finally, he disappeared entirely leaving behind only a sonorous voice to tell us that he had entered a universe where “the unbelievably small and the unbelievably vast eventually meet, like the closing of a gigantic circle.”

In recent weeks, without a radioactive cloud in sight, the date for serious drawdowns of American troops in Afghanistan has followed a similar path toward the vanishing point and is now threatening to disappear “over the horizon” (a place where, we are regularly told, American troops will lurk once they have finally handed their duties over to the Afghan forces they are training).

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Friday, November 26, 2010

PAKISTAN: Women have little to celebrate on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza, AHRC, Nov 25, 2010

Today, in recognition of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, it is incumbent upon the international community and the government of Pakistan to examine with greater concern the status and future of Pakistani women. This day may in some nations commemorate significant accomplishments for women’s rights and gender parity, but, in Pakistan, today must serve primarily as a reminder of how much Pakistan has yet to do to protect its women from gender-based violence and to ensure their safety.

In particular, this day should inspire consideration of the circumstances faced by women in Pakistan with regard to overwhelming barriers to legal access and assaults perpetrated by representatives of the state. For example, in a recent case a woman who received a stay order from court over a dispute on ownership of her house was picked up by policemen and their informers and taken to a private detention centre where she was gang raped for more than 50 days. The rape victim’s cases against the accused policemen and their henchmen were withdrawn due to the controversy of the geographical jurisdiction of the police. The medical report of the rape was not issued even after one month following the medical examination. The victim and her family are in hiding because of continuous police threats to withdraw the case. The deputy inspector generals of the two districts of Karachi metropolitan city refused to entertain the complaints of the victim on the grounds of jurisdiction.

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Amira Hass: IDF generals, not just soldiers, must answer questions on human shields

The Givati soldiers’ conviction essentially handed the post of chief of staff to Yoav Galant and bestowed legal immunity on political figures, in particular Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak.

By Amira Hass, Haaretz, Nov 24, 2010

The Givati Brigade soldiers who were tried and convicted of risking the life of a non-combatant Palestinian child are entitled to feel like victims. But why shouldn’t they feel patriotic pride? Their conviction essentially handed the post of chief of staff to Yoav Galant and bestowed legal immunity on political figures, in particular Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak.

They were just small cogs who were brainwashed about the might of the enemy. Look at the statements other soldiers made to the organization Breaking the Silence; some of them quickly realized their commanders had filled them with lies before the ground offensive on the Gaza Strip on January 3, 2009. But even if the two convicted Givati soldiers had the maturity and judgment to realize this wasn’t the heroic struggle for which they had been prepared, it’s clear they acted out of fear when they ordered a 9-year-old boy to open bags. They grew up in an atmosphere that one could do anything to the Palestinians in Gaza. They didn’t come up with that approach – they’re the lower rank soldiers that the system put under the spotlight.
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America: The Silence of a Nation (VIDEO) on Israeli Destruction of Gaza

Speech by Chris Hedges

Egypt: Systematic Crackdown Days Before Elections

Mass Arrests, Intimidation, Campaign Restrictions Make Fair Outcome Questionable

Human Rights Watch, November 24, 2010

Riot police form a line as opposition members and supporters gather to support their candidates for the upcoming elections.
© 2010 Reuters
The combination of restrictive laws, intimidation, and arbitrary arrests is making it extremely difficult for citizens to choose freely the people they want to represent them in parliament. Repression by the government makes free and fair elections extremely unlikely this weekend.
Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch
(Cairo) – Egypt has carried out mass arbitrary arrests, wholesale restrictions on public campaigning, and widespread intimidation of opposition candidates and activists in the weeks leading up to parliamentary elections on November 28, 2010, Human Rights Watch said today. In a report released today, Human Rights Watch argues that the repression makes free and fair elections unlikely.

The 24-page report, “Elections in Egypt, State of Permanent Emergency Incompatible with Free and Fair Vote,” documents the vague and subjective criteria in Egypt’s Political Parties Law that allow the government and ruling party to impede formation of new political parties. Egypt remains under an Emergency Law that since 1981 has given security officials free rein to prohibit or disperse election-related rallies, demonstrations, and public meetings, and to detain people indefinitely without charge. …

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

PAKISTAN: Women have little to celebrate on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza, AHRC, Nov 25, 2010

Today, in recognition of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, it is incumbent upon the international community and the government of Pakistan to examine with greater concern the status and future of Pakistani women. This day may in some nations commemorate significant accomplishments for women’s rights and gender parity, but, in Pakistan, today must serve primarily as a reminder of how much Pakistan has yet to do to protect its women from gender-based violence and to ensure their safety.

In particular, this day should inspire consideration of the circumstances faced by women in Pakistan with regard to overwhelming barriers to legal access and assaults perpetrated by representatives of the state. For example, in a recent case a woman who received a stay order from court over a dispute on ownership of her house was picked up by policemen and their informers and taken to a private detention centre where she was gang raped for more than 50 days. The rape victim’s cases against the accused policemen and their henchmen were withdrawn due to the controversy of the geographical jurisdiction of the police. The medical report of the rape was not issued even after one month following the medical examination. The victim and her family are in hiding because of continuous police threats to withdraw the case. The deputy inspector generals of the two districts of Karachi metropolitan city refused to entertain the complaints of the victim on the grounds of jurisdiction.

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G.M. TAMÁS: Telling the Truth about Class

By G.M. TAMÁS, gerlo.hu

One of the central questions of social theory has been the relationship between class and knowledge, and this has also been a crucial question in the history of socialism. Differences between people – acting and knowing subjects – may influence our view of the possibility of valid cognition. If there are irreconcilable discrepancies between people’s positions, going perhaps as far as incommensurability, then unified and rational knowledge resulting from a reasoned dialogue among persons is patently impossible. The Humean notion of ‘passions’, the Nietzschean notions of ‘resentment’ and ‘genealogy’, allude to the possible influence of such an incommensurability upon our ability to discover truth.

Class may be regarded as a problem either in epistemology or in the philosophy of history, but I think that this separation is unwarranted, since if we separate epistemology and philosophy of history (which is parallel to other such separations characteristic of bourgeois society itself) we cannot possibly avoid the rigidly-posed conundrum known as relativism. In speaking about class (and truth, and class and truth) we are the heirs of two socialist intellectual traditions, profoundly at variance with one another, although often intertwined politically and emotionally. I hope to show that, up to a point, such fusion and confusion is inevitable.

All versions of socialist endeavour can and should be classified into two principal kinds, one inaugurated by Rousseau, the other by Marx. The two have opposite visions of the social subject in need of liberation, and these visions have determined everything from rarefied epistemological positions concerning language and consciousness to social and political attitudes concerning wealth, culture, equality, sexuality and much else. It must be said at the outset that many, perhaps most socialists who have sincerely believed they were Marxists, have in fact been Rousseauists. Freud has eloquently described resistances to psychoanalysis; intuitive resistance to Marxism is no less widespread, even among socialists. It is emotionally and intellectually difficult to be a Marxist since it goes against the grain of moral indignation which is, of course, the main reason people become socialists.

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Morales says US remains “threat” in Latin America

Bolivian President Evo Morales
  World Bulletin,  23 November 2010 
Bolivian President Evo Morales on Monday urged Latin America to reject U.S. policies in region, calling them “pretexts for interventionism.”

Morales told a defense conference attended by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates that Washington remained a threat to regional peace and stability.

“Democracy, peace and security can only be guaranteed without interventionism, without hegemony,” Morales said, listing a series of charges against Washington ranging from coup-plotting to interference in the country.

All of them, Morales said, are or have been engaged in secret plans to overthrow the government in Bolivia or its Latin American neighbors.

“There have always been coups, but there are never any coups in the United States because there is no embassy of the United States in the United States,” Morales said.
Morales took particular aim at U.S. military operations in the region.

“Countries have a right to decide for themselves about their own democracy, for themselves about their own security,” Morales said, adding that “while we have interventionist attitudes for whatever pretext surely it is going to slow the liberation of the people.”

“How can there be peace if there are U.S. military bases?” he asked, referring to a U.S. deal with Colombia that would give American forces greater access to Colombian military bases as part of its anti-drug effort. The agreement has been in limbo since a Colombian court suspended it in August.

Morales accused the United States of being behind efforts to undermine the socialist governments of Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Honduras, where a coup unseated the president and democracy was not restored until the end of his term.

“With the United States we are 3-1,” Morales joked.

The Specter of Defeat Haunts Lisbon

Eric Margolis, LewRockwell.com, Nov 23, 2010
According to the US government, 41.8 million Americans now receive food stamps. Meanwhile, Washington is spending $7 billion monthly on its nine-year old occupation of Afghanistan, not to mention billions more on trying to build an obedient Afghan army and to pay of Pakistani politicians and general.

Last weekend, the US and its NATO allies met in Lisbon to try to hammer out a contradictory strategy that will keep western troops in Afghanistan indefinitely while assuaging public opinion in North America and Europe that wants the war to end. Most observers failed to note the historical irony that in the 1960’s and 70’s, Portugal had waged a long, debilitating colonial war to preserve its crumbling African empire that ended up nearly bankrupting the mother nation and ending for good its imperial pretensions. 

All the platitudes, doubletalk, synthetic optimism and fudging at the NATO summit could not conceal the fact that for all their soldiers, fighter aircraft, heavy bombers, tanks, helicopter gunships, armies of mercenaries, and wizardly electronic gear, the western powers are being slowly beaten by a bunch of lightly-armed Afghan farmers and mountain tribesmen. 

President Barack Obama again painfully showed he is not fully in charge of US foreign policy. His pledge to begin withdrawing some US troops from Afghanistan next July has been scornfully contradicted by US generals and resurgent Congressional Republicans. 

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Bribing Israel: Enhancing the Swag

By Phyllis Bennis, ZNet, Nov 24, 2010

Phyllis Bennis’s ZSpace Page

The breathless will-they-won’t-they coverage wasn’t quite as extreme this time, but there’s still been way more attention paid to the latest U.S. “settlement freeze” offer to Netanyahu than it deserves. What’s supposed to be the main point of it all – new negotiations leading to something remotely resembling a just, lasting and comprehensive peace – is simply not on the agenda of either Israel or the U.S.

The actual bribe – oh, sorry, I meant to say “incentives” – being offered to Israel this time around isn’t insignificant, of course. Among other things it will massively escalate the offensive capacity and reach of Israel’s air force, already by far the most powerful in the region. The offer starts with 20 brand-new state-of-the-art F-35 Joint Strike Fighter planes – three billion dollars worth. That’s $3 billion on top of the almost $3 billion of military aid already paid to Israel this year. According to the influential Israeli daily Ha’aretz, it will double the number of the F-35 stealth bombers that the U.S. will send to Israel – Tel Aviv had already ordered 20 using the “normal” military aid to Israel, now they’re being offered 20 more free of charge.

F-35 Stealth Bombers free of charge to Israel, that is – this offer will cost U.S. taxpayers $3 billion more, money that could instead pay for 600,000 new green jobs here at home.

Then there’s the guarantee that the U.S. will veto any effort in the United Nations aimed at winning Security Council recognition of a Palestinian state. And the promise to prevent any UN effort to hold Israel accountable for possible war crimes in Gaza, such as moving the Goldstone Report forward in the Council, and potentially moving the investigation to the International Criminal Court. From what we know of the offer (the final language is not yet settled – at least publicly) it will also include a broad commitment to automatically veto essentially any UN resolution that Israel claims undermines its already precarious international legitimacy.

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Nato, The World Police Force

By Fidel Castro, ZNet, Nov 24, 2010

Fidel Castro’s ZSpace Page

Many people feel nauseous when they hear the name of that organization.

On Friday, November 19 in Lisbon, Portugal, the 28 members of that aggressive institution, engendered by the United States, decided to create something that they cynically call “the new NATO”.

NATO was born after WW II as an instrument of the Cold War unleashed by imperialism against the USSR, the country that paid for the victory over Nazism with tens of millions of lives and colossal destruction.

Against the USSR, the United States mobilized, along with a goodly portion of the European population, the far right and all the neo-fascist dregs of Europe, brimming with hatred and ready to gain the upper hand for the errors committed by the very leaders of the USSR after the death of Lenin.

With enormous sacrifice, the Soviet people were able to keep nuclear parity and to support the struggle for the national liberation of numerous peoples against the efforts of the European states to maintain the colonial system which had been imposed by force throughout the centuries; states that, in the post-war period, became allies of the Yankees who assumed command of the counter-revolution in the world.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Rep. Kucinich: Fake Taliban Leader, Fake Elections, Fake Deadline, Real Trouble

Rep. Dennis Kucinich
Rep. Dennis Kucinich
U.S. House Representative

The Huffington Post, November 23, 2010

The war in Afghanistan is taking place in a netherworld where facts and common sense have no place. Elections are fake. Our deadline to withdraw is a fake. Now, we learn that a fake Taliban leader has been leading us to believe that NATO was facilitating high-level talks between Taliban leadership and the corrupt Afghan central government we’re propping up. It was truly amazing that our government said we were negotiating with high-level Taliban leadership while at the same time we were stepping up air strikes to wipe them out.

Evidence abounds that the Karzai regime in Kabul is among the most corrupt in the world. President Karzai rules through crony capitalism. He works to protect his cronies rather than the Afghan people. Our tax dollars are going to the Karzai family and its supporters to buy villas in Dubai. We know that our tax dollars fund both sides of the conflict. We know that our ‘allies’ pay the enemy not to attack our troops and that they also may be bribing insurgents to attack our troops. We also know that U.S. tax dollars fund Afghan warlords. NATO officials have become so skilled in self-deception that a senior NATO official recently claimed that Kabul is safer for children than most western cities. Meanwhile those who continue to advocate for the war apply the dark arts of public relations to manufacture support for a war which is neither winnable, nor moral nor sane. It is time for Congress to start asking General Petraeus some direct questions.

The War in Afghanistan is longer than any other war America has ever fought. It has cost U.S. taxpayers more than a trillion dollars. More than 1300 Americans have died, thousands more wounded. Countless innocent Afghan civilians have died.

The only real thing about this war is the dead and wounded soldiers and civilians, the wasted tax dollars and the mounting evidence telling us to get out.

Scahill: America’s Failed War of Attrition in Afghanistan

Jeremy Scahill
Jeremy Scahill, a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute, is the author of the bestselling Blackwater…
Jeremy Scahill, The Nation, Nov 22, 2010

At the end of the NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal this weekend, the leadership of the Afghan Taliban issued a statement characterizing the alliance’s adoption of a loose timeline for a 2014 end to combat operations as “good news” for Afghans and “a sign of failure for the American government.” At the summit, President Barack Obama said that 2011 will begin “a transition to full Afghan lead” in security operations, while the Taliban declared: “In the past nine years, the invaders could not establish any system of governance in Kabul and they will never be able to do so in future.”

How brutal raids are sabotaging the political strategy the US claims to support in Afghanistan.

In an address marking the start of the Muslim holiday, Aid-al-Adha, the reclusive Taliban leader declares, “The enemy is retreating and facing siege in all parts of the country day in and day out.”

How brutal raids are sabotaging the political strategy the US claims to support in Afghanistan.

While Obama claimed that the US and its allies are “breaking the Taliban’s momentum,” the reality on the ground tells a different story. Despite increased Special Operations Forces raids and, under Gen. David Petraeus, a return to regular US-led airstrikes, the insurgency in Afghanistan is spreading and growing stronger. “By killing Taliban leaders the war will not come to an end,” said the Taliban’s former foreign minister, Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil, in an interview at his home in Kabul. “On the contrary, things get worse which will give birth to more leaders.”

Former and current Taliban leaders say that they have seen a swelling in the Taliban ranks since 9-11. In part, they say, this can be attributed to a widely held perception that the Karzai government is corrupt and illegitimate and that Afghans—primarily ethnic Pashtuns—want foreign occupation forces out. “We are only fighting to make foreigners leave Afghanistan,” a new Taliban commander in Kunduz told me during my recent trip to the country. “We don’t want to fight after the withdrawal of foreigners, but as long as there are foreigners, we won’t talk to Karzai.”

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Conversations with Fidel Castro: The Dangers of a Nuclear War

by Fidel Castro Ruz and Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, Nov 13, 2010

Introductory NoteFrom October 12 to 15, 2010, I had extensive and detailed discussions with Fidel Castro in Havana, pertaining to the dangers of nuclear war, the global economic crisis and the nature of the New World Order. These meetings resulted in a wide-ranging and fruitful interview. 
  The first part of this interview published by Global Research and Cuba Debate focuses on the dangers of nuclear war. 

The World is at a dangerous crossroads. We have reached a critical turning point in our history. 

This interview with Fidel Castro provides an understanding of the nature of modern warfare: Were a military operation to be launched against the Islamic Republic of Iran, the US and its allies would be unable to win a conventional war, with the possibility that this war could evolve towards a nuclear war.
The details of ongoing war preparations in relation to Iran have been withheld from the public eye. 

How to confront the diabolical and absurd proposition put forth by the US administration that using tactical nuclear weapons against Iran will  “make the World a safer place”? 

A central concept put forth by Fidel Castro in the interview is the ‘Battle of Ideas”. The leader of the Cuban Revolution believes that only a far-reaching “Battle of Ideas” could  change the course of World history. The  objective is to prevent the unthinkable, a nuclear war which threatens to destroy life on earth.
The corporate media is involved in acts of camouflage. The devastating impacts of a nuclear war are either trivialized or not mentioned. Against this backdrop, Fidel’s message to the World must be heard;  people across the land, nationally and internationally, should understand the gravity of the present situation and act forcefully at all levels of society to reverse the tide of war. 

The “Battle of Ideas” is part of a revolutionary process. Against a barrage of media disinformation, Fidel Castro’s resolve is to spread the word far and wide, to inform world public opinion, to “make the impossible possible”, to thwart a military adventure which in the real sense of the word threatens the future of humanity. 

When a US sponsored nuclear war becomes an “instrument of peace”, condoned and accepted by the World’s institutions and the highest authority including the United Nations, there is no turning back: human society has indelibly been precipitated headlong onto the path of self-destruction.
Fidel’s “Battle of Ideas” must be translated into a worldwide movement. People must mobilize against this diabolical military agenda.

This war can be prevented if people pressure their governments and elected representatives, organize at the local level in towns, villages and municipalities, spread the word, inform their fellow citizens regarding the implications of a thermonuclear war, initiate debate and discussion within the armed forces. 

What is required is a mass movement of people which forcefully challenges the legitimacy of war, a global people’s movement which criminalizes war.
In his October 15 speech, Fidel Castro warned the World on the dangers of nuclear war:
There would be “collateral damage”, as the American political and military leaders always affirm, to justify the deaths of innocent people. In a nuclear war the “collateral damage” would be the life of all humanity. Let us have the courage to proclaim that all nuclear or conventional weapons, everything that is used to make war, must disappear!”
The “Battle of Ideas” consists in confronting the war criminals in high office, in breaking the US-led consensus in favor of a global war, in changing the mindset of hundreds of millions of people, in abolishing nuclear weapons.  In essence, the “Battle of Ideas” consists in restoring the truth and establishing the foundations of World peace. 

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Ralph Nader: Obamabush

Ralph Nader, Counterpunch, Nov 23, 2010

After nearly two years out, I can imagine George W. Bush writing his successor the following letter:

Dear President Obama:

As you know I’ve been peddling my book Decision Points and while doing interviews, people ask me what I think of the job you’re doing. My answer is the same: He deserves to make decisions without criticism from me. It’s a tough enough job as it is.
But their inquiries did prompt me to write you to privately express my continual admiration for the job you are doing. Amazing! I say “privately” because making my sentiments public would not do either of us any good, if you know what I mean.

First, I can scarcely believe my good fortune as to how your foreign and military policies—“continuity” was the word used recently by my good friend, Joe Lieberman—has protected my legacy. More than protected, you’ve proven yourself just as able—and I may say sometimes even more so—to “kick ass” as my Daddy used to say.

My pleasant surprise is darn near limitless. Your Justice Department has not pursued any actions against my people—not to mention Dick Cheney and I—that the civil liberties and human rights crowd keep baying for you to do.

Overseas, all I see are five stars. You are roaring in Afghanistan, dispatching our great special forces into Yemen, saying, like me, that you’ll go anywhere in the world to kill those terrorists. When you said you would assassinate American citizens abroad suspected of “terrorism”—that news came over the radio during breakfast when I was eating my shredded wheat and I almost choked with amazement. You got cajones, buddy. I was hesitant about crossing the border into Pakistan—but you, man, are blasting away. Even Dick, who would never say it publically, told me he is impressed.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Taliban Leader in Secret Talks Was an Impostor

By Dexter Filkins and Calotta Gall, The New York Times, Nov 22, 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan — For months, the secret talks unfolding between Taliban and Afghan leaders to end the war appeared to be showing promise, if only because of the appearance of a certain insurgent leader at one end of the table: Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, one of the most senior commanders in the Taliban movement.

But now, it turns out, Mr. Mansour was apparently not Mr. Mansour at all. In an episode that could have been lifted from a spy novel, United States and Afghan officials now say the Afghan man was an impostor, and high-level discussions conducted with the assistance of NATO appear to have achieved little.

“It’s not him,” said a Western diplomat in Kabul intimately involved in the discussions. “And we gave him a lot of money.”

American officials confirmed Monday that they had given up hope that the Afghan was Mr. Mansour, or even a member of the Taliban leadership.

NATO and Afghan officials said they held three meetings with the man, who traveled from in Pakistan, where Taliban leaders have taken refuge.

The fake Taliban leader even met with President Hamid Karzai, having been flown to Kabul on a NATO aircraft and ushered into the presidential palace, officials said.

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Chris Hedges: Power and the Tiny Acts of Rebellion

By Chris Hedges, TruthDig.com,  Nov 22, 2010
AP / Jeff Widener

There is no hope left for achieving significant reform or restoring our democracy through established mechanisms of power. The electoral process has been hijacked by corporations. The judiciary has been corrupted and bought. The press shuts out the most important voices in the country and feeds us the banal and the absurd. Universities prostitute themselves for corporate dollars. Labor unions are marginal and ineffectual forces. The economy is in the hands of corporate swindlers and speculators. And the public, enchanted by electronic hallucinations, remains passive and supine. We have no tools left within the power structure in our fight to halt unchecked corporate pillage.

The liberal class, which Barack Obama represents, was never endowed with much vision or courage, but it did occasionally respond when pressured by popular democratic movements. This was how we got the New Deal, civil rights legislation and the array of consumer legislation pushed through by Ralph Nader and his allies in the Democratic Party. The complete surrendering of power, however, to corporate interests means that those of us who seek nonviolent yet profound change have no one within the power elite we can trust for support. The corporate coup has ossified the structures of power. It has obliterated all checks on corporate malfeasance. It has left us stripped of the tools of mass organization that once nudged the system forward toward justice.

Obama knows where power lies and serves these centers of power. The tragedy—if tragedy is the right word—is that Obama, after selling his soul to corporations, has been discarded. Corporate power doesn’t need brand Obama anymore. They have found new brands in the tea party, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. Obama has been abandoned by those who once bundled contributions for him by the millions of dollars. Obama and the Democratic Party will, I expect, spend the next two years being even more obsequious to corporate power. Obama clearly loves the pomp and privilege of statecraft that much. But I am not sure it will work.

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Chalmers Johnson, Visionary Scholar on Empire and Decline of America Passes Away

With one word, “blowback,” Chalmers Johnson explained the folly of empire in the modern age.

By John Nichols, The Nation, Nov 22, 2010
With one word, “blowback,” Chalmers Johnson explained the folly of empire in the modern age.

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September11, 2001, true American patriots—as opposed to the jingoists and profiteers whose madness and greed would steer a republic to ruin—needed a new language for a new age.

They got it from Johnson. His 2000 book, Blowback,: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (Macmillan), he took an old espionage term—which referred to the violent, unintended consequences of covert (and sometimes not so covert) operations that are suffered even by superpowers such as the United States—became an essential text for those who sought to explain the attacks and to forge sounder and more responsible foreign policies for the furture.

Johnson, who has died at age 79, was no liberal idealist. He was the an old Asian hand who had chaired the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of California-Berkeley from 1967 to 1972 and then served as president and co-founder of the Japan Policy Research Institute. In other words, he was a man of the world who knew how the world worked. And what he tried to explain, to political leaders and citizens, was that the old ways of empire building (and maintaining) no longer worked in an age of instant communications, jet travel and doomsday weaponry.

“In Blowback, I set out to explain why we are hated around the world,” Johnson explained in Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic, another of his series of three books on imperialism and empire, which became best sellers in the period after the 9-11 attacks. “The concept ‘blowback’ does not just mean retaliation for things our government has done to and in foreign countries. It refers to retaliation for the numerous illegal operations we have carried out abroad that were kept totally secret from the American public. This means that when the retaliation comes—as it did so spectacularly on September 11, 2001—the American public is unable to put the events in context. So they tend to support acts intended to lash out against the perpetrators, thereby most commonly preparing the ground for yet another cycle of blowback. In the first book in this trilogy, I tried to provide some of the historical background for understanding the dilemmas we as a nation confront today, although I focused more on Asia—the area of my academic training—than on the Middle East.”

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Pakistan Agrees to Expanded CIA Presence in Quetta

CIA Ground Teams to Operate in Major Western City

by Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com, November 21, 2010
Pakistan’s government may have rejected US calls to expand the CIA drone strike program into the western province of Balochistan, but that does not mean that they are going to keep the US spy agency out of the region.
Rather Pakistan officials are now confirming that the government agreed to a “compromise” that would allow a significant increase in the number of CIA ground teams operating in the Balochistan capital city of Quetta, one of Pakistan’s largest cities and also where the US believes Afghan Taliban leadership are located.

So far US officials have only confirmed the demand for more drone strikes, which have already dramatically increased in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The attacks have sparked growing anti-US sentiment across Pakistan, and expanding the attacks outside of the tribal areas would likely do much more to harm the credibility of the Zardari government.

This is doubly so if US missiles started falling on Quetta, a city of nearly a million people. Pakistani officials have also expressed concern about the US eagerness to start attacking this city, particularly after strikes in the more sparsely populated tribal areas have proven so unreliable.

George Galloway blasts Ottawa for its policies on Israel and Afghanistan

By IRWIN BLOCK, The Gazette,  November 18, 2010
Former British MP George Galloway lived up to his “controversial” reputation last night with a blistering attack on the Canadian government, its failed attempt to “muzzle” him, and its policies on Israel and Afghanistan.

Galloway kicked off his extemporaneous speech to 400 people at the Universite du Quebec a Montreal by thanking Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney for the “ridiculous ban” Canada imposed on him last year, based on Galloway’s alleged support for terrorism.

That ruling, overturned by a Federal Court judge, has turned Galloway’s books into bestsellers, Galloway boasted. It also extended his fame so his current tour of Canada includes 10 speeches and scores of media interviews.

That ban was based on Galloway’s role in shipping five convoys of humanitarian aid to the Health Ministry in the Hamas ruled Gaza Strip.

“I am not now nor have I ever been a supporter of Hamas,” Galloway said, adding that he had always opposed terrorism.

But since Hamas is the democratically elected government of 1.6 million Palestinians in Gaza, Galloway said he had no choice but to deal with it to channel that aid.
He described the Israeli-Palestinian dispute as “the centre of the confrontation between the Muslim and non-Muslim world.”

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Robert Fisk: An American bribe that stinks of appeasement

The Independent, Nov 20, 2010

Hillary Clinton meets the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah last year  
Getty Images: Hillary Clinton meets the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah last year 
In any other country, the current American bribe to Israel, and the latter’s reluctance to accept it, in return for even a temporary end to the theft of somebody else’s property would be regarded as preposterous. Three billion dollars’ worth of fighter bombers in return for a temporary freeze in West Bank colonisation for a mere 90 days? Not including East Jerusalem – so goodbye to the last chance of the east of the holy city for a Palestinian capital – and, if Benjamin Netanyahu so wishes, a rip-roaring continuation of settlement on Arab land. In the ordinary sane world in which we think we live, there is only one word for Barack Obama’s offer: appeasement. Usually, our lords and masters use that word with disdain and disgust.

Anyone who panders to injustice by one people against another people is called an appeaser. Anyone who prefers peace at any price, let alone a $3bn bribe to the guilty party – is an appeaser. Anyone who will not risk the consequences of standing up for international morality against territorial greed is an appeaser. Those of us who did not want to invade Afghanistan were condemned as appeasers. Those of us who did not want to invade Iraq were vilified as appeasers. Yet that is precisely what Obama has done in his pathetic, unbelievable effort to plead with Netanyahu for just 90 days of submission to international law. Obama is an appeaser.

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Eric Margolis, ericmargolis.com, November 19, 2010

Amazing as it sounds, NATO, the world’s most powerful military alliance, may be losing the only war the 61-year old pact every fought. All its soldiers, heavy bombers, tanks, helicopter gunships, armies of mercenaries, and electronic gear are being beaten by a bunch of lightly-armed Afghan farmers and mountain tribesmen.

This weekend in Lisbon, NATO’s 28 members face deepening differences over the Afghanistan War as public opinion in the United States, Canada and Europe continue to turn against the conflict.

President Barack Obama again painfully showed he is not fully in charge of US foreign policy.   His pledge to begin withdrawing some US troops from Afghanistan next July has been brazenly – even scornfully –  contradicted by US generals and strongly opposed by resurgent Congressional Republicans.  Hardly anyone believes the president’s withdrawal  date.

Obama is fresh from groveling before Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.  He pleaded with Israel’s leader to impose a short, token freeze on settlement building in exchange for a multi-billion dollar bribe from Washington of advanced US F-35 stealth warplanes, promises of UN vetoes, and raising the value of US arms stockpiled for Israel’s use to $1 billion. Rarely has a US president crawled so low.

Israel will likely take Obama’s bribe, with more sweeteners,  but not before rubbing his face in the dirt to show who really runs US Mideast policy and as a warning not to mess with Israel. The last US president to challenge Israel’s colonization of the West Bank, George H. W. Bush, was ousted in 1992 after one term.

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

4 Common Myths about the War on Terrorism

by Reese Erlich, CommonDreams.org, Nov 19, 2010
I’m finishing up a 25-city book tour that took me from New York and Chicago to Elizabethtown, PA, and Spearfish, SD. I met with college students, farmers and laid-off workers. Most people in the US now oppose the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but I found a lot of confusion about the War on Terrorism.

Here are four of the more commonly asked questions:

1. Isn’t it true that while not all Muslims are terrorists, all terrorists are Muslims?

Well, just asking the question reveals a lot about how those in power have manipulated our concept of terrorism.

To begin, I point out that plenty of non-Muslims have carried out terrorist acts. Here’s a partial list.
  • Timothy McVeigh was convicted of detonating a truck bomb in front of the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995, which resulted in 168 deaths. He was Catholic.
  • In 1994 Baruch Goldstein, a Jewish-American Israeli settler in the West Bank city of Hebron opened fire on Muslim worshippers, killing 29 and wounding 150. He died at the scene, and his grave later became a pilgrimage site for extremists in Israel.
  • Murderers of abortion doctors in the US frequently carry out their crimes in the name of evangelical Christianity.
  • In 2010, in a protest against federal government policies, Joseph Stack flew a plane into an Austin building housing IRS offices. He came from a Christian background and ranted against all religion.
I understand if you didn’t think of those examples right away. We’ve been conditioned to think of terrorists as foreigners, or people trained by foreigners, preferably dark skinned people with a grudge against the West. But a white guy with a bomb trying to kill civilians for political purposes is still a terrorist.

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Implications of the “Chosen People” Myth

Goyim Were Born Only to Serve Us” 

by Gary Leupp, Dissident Voice,  November 19th, 2010
Goyim [non-Jews] were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world; only to serve the people of Israel.
— Israeli rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Shas party spiritual leader, Oct. 11, 2010
The Shas Party is a mainstream Israeli political party founded in 1984 by ultra-Orthodox Sephardic Jews. The name is an acronym for  Shomrei Torah Sephardim or “Observant Sepharadim.” (Sepharadim are for the most part Jews tracing their ancestry to the Iberian Peninsula, as opposed to the Ashkenazim who trace theirs to Germany, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. They are sometimes grouped together with the Mizrahim who have lived for centuries in the Arab Middle East, Iran and Uzbekistan.)

The party holds 11 seats in the Israeli Knesset (parliament). Its first leader, Rabbi Yitzhak Peretz, served as a interior minister in the 1980s. Its current spiritual leader, 90 year old Rabbi  Ovadia Yosef, holds no political position but four Shas members now hold posts (including interior minister) in the cabinet of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

It is an anti-intellectural, religiously fundamentalist party. Like many groups in the U.S., and many prominent U.S. politicians, it rejects (and misrepresents) evolutionary theory, a pillar of modern science. One of its TV campaign ads bore the message, “One old Sepharadi lady kissing a Torah book with a tear in her eye is worth more than 40 university professors who tell us we are descended from monkeys.”

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