Friday, September 30, 2011

U.S.-Pakistan relations: Watershed or Waterloo?

 Raoof Hasan, The International News,  September 29, 2011 

The inherent artificiality of US-Pakistan relations was bound to assert itself as it has now. After a spate of bellicose statements from the US military hierarchy directly targeting the military and the ISI, it was the COAS who showed the grit to defend Pakistan’s legitimate strategic interests. The responsibility for doing so rested on the shoulders of the political leadership, but they constitute an important component of the problem that Pakistan is faced with today.

The US is losing the war in Afghanistan just like all previous invaders have. It has lost wars in the past that it started with intentions of stamping its illegitimate hegemony on various regions. In the process, it destabilised the world causing untold mayhem and impoverished millions of people who are still struggling to cope. Since the initiation of wars by the US has been part of a jaundiced but unchanging strategy of cultivating strife to keep its arms industry going and to physically occupy all sources of energy, there has been no let up in its scope or intensity, and there will not be any. Region after region has been mercilessly subjected to US brutality.

Continues >>

PAKISTAN: Teachers are taking over the responsibilities of the mullahs and turning educational institutions into seminaries

AHRC, September 30, 2011
The misuse of blasphemy laws are no longer the prerogative of religious bigots or fundamentalists. It is now being used in every section of society, particularly members of the teaching staff who are eager to contribute in pushing the country towards a religious intolerant state. Indeed, the enthusiasm of the educational staff in this instance was so high that they accused a student of a minority community of blasphemy without following the basic concepts of the ethics of imparting education.

These ethics are being violated when the secrecy of examination papers are dishonoured. When an examiner asks a question of a student if he or she is not satisfied with the student’s answer the examiner has the right to fail that student. However, the examiner does not have the right to disclose the student’s answer which is the personal opinion held by that student. The attitude of the teaching staff now is to gain points from the religious leaders by pointing out those students who they believe to have made blasphemous comments mistakenly or otherwise.

Continues >>

Alice Walker Fights Anti-Palestinian Bias

Pulitzer-winning author Alice Walker sees a reflection of the injustice done to African-Americans in today’s treatment of the Palestinians, leading her to object when the artwork of Palestinian children is barred from U.S. museums and to join a flotilla that challenged Israel’s blockade of Gaza, as Dennis Bernstein reports. 

By Dennis Bernstein, Consortium News, Sept. 28, 2011

Alice Walker is Pulitzer Prize winning poet, author and activist. She participated recently in the U.S. Boat to Gaza, which was a part of the Freedom Flotilla, to break the Israeli embargo on the Gaza Strip.

Last year, a flotilla was attacked by Israeli commandos and a number of people were killed and wounded. Walker’s boat was stopped by Greek authorities before it could traverse the eastern Mediterranean to Gaza.

DB:  I want to start with the recent attempt by the Children’s Museum of Oakland to prevent Palestinian kids from showing their art. You wrote a very moving piece on your web site. It was very personal. Could you just briefly outline what you wrote and your response to this censorship?

AW: Well, I was basically saying that the children need to have exposure of their art because it will be a wonderful way to help them heal from the trauma of being bombed and watching their friends, and sometimes parents, die.

Cointinues >>

Fidel Castro mocks Obama for Cuba comments

By PETER ORSI, Associated Press Thu Sep 29, 12:43 pm ET
HAVANA, Cuba – Fidel Castro mocked President Barack Obama on Thursday for saying he’s open to changing U.S. policy toward Cuba if there is change on the island first, calling the U.S. leader “stupid.”

Writing in one of his semiregular essays published across state-run media, Castro reacted with sarcasm to reported comments that Obama would be open to a different relationship with Cuba when there is political and social change.

“How kind! How intelligent!” Castro said. “Such kindness still has not allowed him to understand that 50 years of blockade and crimes against our country have not been able to bow our people.”

Cuba uses the term “blockade” to refer to the nearly five-decades-old economic embargo against the island.

“Many things will change in Cuba, but they will change through our efforts and in spite of the United States. Perhaps that empire will fall first,” Castro added, a reference to the United States.

Continues >>

Obama: A disaster for civil liberties

He may prove the most disastrous president in our history in terms of civil liberties.
President Obama failed to close Guantanamo Bay, continued warrantless surveillance and military tribunals and asserted the right to kill U.S. citizens he views as terrorists. Photographed: The president speaks at the Libya Contact Group Meeting Sept. 20. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo)President Obama failed to close Guantanamo Bay, continued warrantless surveillance and military tribunals and asserted the right to kill U.S. citizens he views as terrorists. Photographed: The president speaks at the Libya Contact Group Meeting Sept. 20. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo) 
By Jonathan Turley, Los Angeles Times, Sept. 29,2011
With the 2012 presidential election before us, the country is again caught up in debating national security issues, our ongoing wars and the threat of terrorism. There is one related subject, however, that is rarely mentioned: civil liberties.

Protecting individual rights and liberties — apart from the right to be tax-free — seems barely relevant to candidates or voters. One man is primarily responsible for the disappearance of civil liberties from the national debate, and he is Barack Obama. While many are reluctant to admit it, Obama has proved a disaster not just for specific civil liberties but the civil liberties cause in the United States.

Continues >>

Arrest Of Sanjeev Bhatt: A Direct Intimidation

By Teesta Setalvad,, Sept. 30, 2011The Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) strongly condemns the vindictive action of the Gujarat government in arresting Sanjeev Bhatt, senior IPS officer in an action that is nothing short of an attempt to intimidate an important witness in the Zakia Ahsan Jafri and CJP criminal complaint against chief minister Narendra Modi and 61 others. This action of the Gujarat police under the direct intructions of the state’s Home Minister—Narendra Modi amounts to tampering with evidence and direct intimidation of a key witness. It is also a cheap attempt to slur his character and standing.

Continues >>

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Palestinians 'extremely dissatisfied' with pro-Israel Tony Blair (in Norwegian)

Midtøstenutsendingen kan presses ut av jobben fordi han anses som altfor pro-israelsk.

AV KRISTOFFER RØNNEBERG , Aftenposten, 29. september, 2011
Les også:
Den tidligere britiske statsministeren har vært utsending for den såkalte “Kvartetten”; Storbritannia, USA, Russland og EU – siden 2007. Helt siden starten har elementer i den palestinske ledelsen vært skeptisk til at Blair fordi de har ansett ham som ubalansert i sitt syn på konflikten mellom Israel og de palestinske områdene.
Nå har begeret rent over, sier flere palestinske ledere til den britiske avisen The Daily Telegraph.

- Vi har vært svært misfornøyde med ham helt siden han ble utsending, men spesielt de siste ukene, sier en kilde i den palestinske ledelsen til den britiske avisen.

Årskaen til at misnøyen har økt de siste ukene, skal være at Blair har jobbet hardt for å få europeiske land til å stemme imot forslaget om å gi Palestina anerkjennelse i FN som en egen, selvstendig stat.

Enstemmig avgjørelse

Denne uken skal ledelsen, trolig med palestinernes president Mahmoud Abbas i spissen, samles for å drøfte hva de skal gjøre med Blair. Ifølge The Telegraph ligger det et forslag på bordet som går ut på å fryse den tidligere statsministeren ute – å gjøre ham til en “persona non grata”.

Det vil i så fall gjøre det svært vanskelig for Blair å fortsette som Kvartettens midtøstenutsending.

Kilder i den palestinske ledelsen forteller den britiske avisen at avgjørelsen trolig vil bli tatt, og at den vil være enstemmig.

Det er ikke bare anonyme palestinske tjenestemenn som nå angriper Tony Blair. I forrige uke, da president Abbas sa frem forslaget om FN-anerkjennelse i New York etter å ha vært utsatt for massivt press fra USA til ikke å gjøre det, anklaget flere palestinere Blair for å løpe USAs og Israels ærend.

- Han høres til tider ut som en israelsk diplomat, sa Nabil Shaath, en høytstående palestinsk forhandler.

Continues >>

Mullen Purposely Exaggerated Pakistan Ties to Haqqani

Admiral Mike Mullen’s allegations of Pakistani-Haqqani collusion may have been knowingly inaccurate

by John Glaser,,  September 28, 2011
Admiral Mike Mullen’s speech to lawmakers last week accusing Pakistan’s intelligence service of colluding with the Haqqani insurgent group was inaccurate and overstated, according to anonymous officials speaking with the Washington Post.

A senior Pentagon official with access to intelligence files on Pakistan said Mullen’s language “overstates the case,” because there is little evidence of direct control or cooperation with the Haqqanis. Mullen suggested otherwise and cited the recent 20-hour attack on the US Embassy in Kabul as a case in point.

Continues >>

SRI LANKA: Human Rights Defender tortured in public to death by Special Task Force of police

Asian Human Rights Commision, Sept. 29, 2011


Urgent Appeal Case : The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that human rights defender Mr. Perumal Sivakumara (32) of Kalpitiya Road, Norochchole in the Puttalam District has died after being tortured in public by officers attached to the Special Task Force of the Sri Lanka Police. Perumal a well-known civil rights activist had gone to the town along with a friend to buy some medicine. At that time a large number of people had gathered at the church because a stranger had been terrorizing the village. When Perumal approached the gathering police officers arrived and started to beat some of the people. Despite the pleadings of Perumal he was severely tortured and later admitted to the Puttalam Base Hospital where he later died. No investigation has been started into the torture and extrajudicial killing of Perumal. This case is yet another illustration of the exceptional collapse of the rule of law in the country.

Continues >>

Iraq: 100 Days of Solidarity

By Medea Benjamin, ZNet, September 29, 2011
This week marks the beginning of what is supposed to be the final 100 days of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. But if U.S. troops are to leave Iraq at the end of this year as promised – repeatedly – it will take grassroots pressure to counter the growing “occupy-Iraq-forever” chorus in Washington.

Despite the fact that there is a Bush-era agreement with the Iraqi government to leave, despite the fact that the majority of Iraqis and Americans don’t support a continued U.S. presence, and despite the fact that Congress is supposedly in an all-out austerity mode, strong forces – including generals, war profiteers and hawks in both parties – are pushing President Obama to violate the agreement negotiated by his predecessor and keep a significant number of troops in Iraq past the December 31, 2011 deadline.

It’s true there has already been a major withdrawal of U.S. troops, from a high of 170,000 in 2007 to about 45,000 troops today (with most of the troops being sent over to occupy Afghanistan instead). That number, however, doesn’t tell the whole picture. . .

Continues >>

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

IRAN: Human rights activist Narges Mohammadi jailed for 11 years

Deputy head of human rights organisation, who became ill after being detained by security officials, convicted by court in Tehran
Saeed Kamali Dehghan, The Guardian, Sept. 28, 2011
Iranian peace activist Narges Mohammadi at her home in Tehran in 2001
Iranian peace activist Narges Mohammadi at her home in Tehran in 2001. Photograph: Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images
A prominent Iranian human rights activist who was taken seriously ill after being detained by the authorities has been sentenced to 11 years in jail.

Narges Mohammadi, 39, the deputy head of Iran‘s Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC), a rights organisation presided over by the Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi, was picked up last year by security officials who raided her house in middle of the night without a warrant for her arrest.

She was taken to Tehran’s Evin prison where she was kept in solitary confinement but was released after a month and taken to hospital.

Continues >>

Bahrain court upholds life terms for opposition leaders

AFP, Sept. 28, 2011
DUBAI — A Bahraini special court has upheld life jail sentences served on seven Shiite opposition leaders convicted of plotting to overthrow the regime in the Gulf kingdom, BNA official news agency said.

Jail sentences against seven other activists, ranging between two to 15 years and including Sunni opposition leader Ibrahim Sharif, were also upheld by the national safety appeals court, it said, quoting military general prosecutor Colonel Yusof Fulaifel.

Seven others, one sentenced to life in jail and the remainder to 15 years, remained at large and had not appealed against their sentences.

The appealed verdicts will go to a civil court of cassation for a final decision.

The eight activists sentenced to life include Hassan Mashaima, head of the Shiite opposition Haq movement, Abdulwahab Hussein, who leads the Shiite Wafa Islamic Movement, and Shiite human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who is also a Danish citizen.

Continues >>

Pakistani PM: US Invasion Would ‘Violate Our Sovereignty’

Gilani Says He Already Warned Clinton Not to Invade (!!)

by Jason Ditz,, September 27, 2011
In comments today, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani cautioned that the US was risking fueling anti-American sentiment across Pakistan with its continued allegations that the Haqqani Network is a de facto wing of Pakistan’s military.

He also said the threats for a ground invasion of Pakistan’s tribal areas were “disturbing” and that any such invasion would be a “violation of our soveignty.” He added that such threats were not appropriate to make toward allies and that he warned Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that an invasion was “not acceptable to Pakistan.”

US officials have repeatedly hinted at unilateral ground action against the Haqqani Network, and over the weekend Sen. Lindsey Graham (R – SC) claimed there was “broad bipartisan support” in Congress for invading Pakistan.

Interesting, the US claim that the Haqqanis are under Pakistani control took a major hit today, as the Afghan Taliban claimed that they are actually in control of the network.

White House spokesman Jay Carney today insisted that the prospect of revoking all aid to Pakistan isn’t a “new warning” but rather a reiteration of the Obama Administration’s position. He added that the US is constantly considering revoking Pakistan’s aid.

Pakistan: Another Victim of Climate Change

by Zafar Iqbal, Environment News Service, Sept. 28, 2011
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Environmentalists are blaming climate change for the unprecedented massive monsoon rains in Pakistan, which so far this year have affected eight million people, claiming 350 lives and damaging 1.3 million homes.

Women from Sultan-Abad Mughal village fetch drinking water from a pump surrounded by flood waters in Dadu district, Sindh province. (Photo by Asad Zaidi © UNICEF Pakistan)

Over the past month, the country’s southern region has received the highest monsoon rains ever recorded, local metrological experts confirm.

In August, the southern parts of the country received 270 percent above-normal monsoon rains. And in September, the monsoons rains were 1,170 percent above normal, says Dr. Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry, Adviser Climate Affairs.

The Sindh province, where six million acres of land were inundated in current floods, had experienced severe drought conditions before the monsoon season and had not received any rainfall at all during the past 12 months.

Continues >>

The Latest American Orchestrated Threat and The End of History

By Paul Craig Roberts,, Sept. 27, 2011

Have you ever before heard of the Haqqanis?  I didn’t think so.  Like Al Qaeda, about which no one had ever heard prior to 9/11, the “Haqqani Network” has popped up in time of need to justify America’s next war – Pakistan.

President Obama’s claim that he had Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden exterminated deflated the threat from that long-serving bogyman. A terror organization that left its leader, unarmed and undefended, a sitting duck for assassination no longer seemed formidable. Time for a new, more threatening, bogyman, the pursuit of which will keep the “war on terror” going.

Now America’s “worst enemy” is the Haqqanis. Moreover, unlike Al Qaeda, which was never tied to a country, the Haqqani Network, according to Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, is a “veritable arm” of the Pakistani government’s intelligence service, ISI. Washington claims that the ISI ordered its Haggani Network to attack the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, on September 13 along with the US military base in Wadak province.

Continues >>

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

PM Erdogan: ‘Why is Israel allowed to have nukes?’

Press TV, Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:40PM GMT
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the West practices double standards in regard to Israel’s nuclear arsenal.
In an interview with CNN on Sunday, Erdogan noted that Israel is the only player in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons and asked, “Why is it that countries banning Iran from having nuclear weapons don’t also ban Israel from having nuclear weapons?”

Turkey downgraded ties with Israel after Tel Aviv refused to apologize for its attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which left nine Turkish citizens dead on May 31, 2010.

Earlier in September, the Turkish Economy Minister said Ankara would continue its “normal” economic ties with Tel Aviv. From January 2011 to July 2011, trade between Turkey and Israel reached $2.3 billion.

Erdogan also commented on Turkey’s decision to host one component of a missile shield system, calling it a “NATO concept.”

He advised against “different interpretations” of Turkey’s decision and urged everyone to look at “what is actually the reality” in the issue.

But Turkey’s move was still censured in some circles, with Iran describing it as “a cause for concern” and “questionable.” Russia criticized Turkey for collaborating with NATO.
Turkey could earn as much as $4 billion from the missile shield system. It has been reported that a Turkish defense company is holding negotiations on a $2 billion contract in connection with the project.

Obama’s empty words on Palestine

President Barack Obama struggled to explain his planned veto of UN recognition of a Palestinian state just a year after he welcomed the idea. His speech was a painful example of a leader knowing what is right and calculating that he can’t do what is right, notes Lawrence Davidson.

By Lawrence Davidson, Consortium News, Sept. 26, 2011

On Sept. 21, President Barack Obama delivered his latest message to the United Nations: “I would like to talk to you about a subject that is at the heart of the United Nations – the pursuit of peace in an imperfect world.”

Actually, one thing that makes the world imperfect is the lopsided power distribution at the UN. This allows the permanent members of the Security Council (particularly the U.S.) to decide when peace does or does not get pursued.

But Obama did not call attention to this problem. Instead he pointed to Libya and the alleged achievement of freedom, security and peace in that North African land. Actually, what Libya amounted to, at least in part, was the destruction of a nation with a standard of living approaching that of Spain.

Continues >>

Occupied Palestine: A martyr’s funeral

Nigel O’Conner,  The Palestine Monitor, Sept. 26, 2011
A mourner at Issam Kamal Abed Odhe’s funeral. (Photo by Silvia Boarini)
KUSRA — Seven children no longer have a father and the Palestinian people have another martyr. Issam Kamel Abid Badran Odeh was shot in the neck and killed by Israeli soldiers, on Friday, in the latest clash in an ongoing conflict between the Israeli settlers of Esh Kadesh outpost and the Palestinian village of Kusra, near Nablus.

Kusra residents also claimed Israeli soldiers bound and blindfolded two children before letting settlers beat them and throw rocks at them. Another man was shot in the shoulder and the hip.

An official Israel Defence Forces’ statement described the events as involving “violent rioters” (Palestinians), incited during a “mutual rock hurling incident … between Israeli civilians and approximately 300 Palestinians.”

Continues >>

Two ‘systematic’ acts of brutality and coverup

By HIROAKI SATO, The Japan Times, Sept. 26, 2011
NEW YORK — When Mark Hatfield, who had served as a U.S. Senator from Oregon for three decades, died in early August, obituaries noted that he was one of the first U.S. soldiers to visit Hiroshima not long after the atomic bombing of the city, and that experience led him to work for nuclear arms control later, after he became a Senator.

As it happened, the day of Hatfield’s death, Aug. 7, fell between the day the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and the day it did on Nagasaki, in 1945.

His death occurred, in fact, when an annual round of commentaries on those deeds were appearing. Among them, the historian Gar Alperovitz wrote to point out that “the vast majority of top American military leaders in all three services” argued after the war that the U.S. “did not need to use the atomic bomb to end the war against Japan in 1945″ (“On the Sixty-Sixth Anniversary of the Bombing of Hiroshima”).

Continues >>

Mearsheimer responds to Goldberg’s latest smear

 By Stephen M. Walt, Foreign Policy,  Monday, September 26, 2011

Ever since John Mearsheimer and I began writing about the Israel lobby, some of our critics have leveled various personal charges against us. These attacks rarely addressed the substance of what we wrote — a tacit concession that both facts and logic were on our side — but instead accused us of being anti-Semites and conspiracy theorists. They used these false charges to try to discredit and/or marginalize us, and to distract people from the important issues of U.S. Middle East policy that we had raised.

The latest example of this tactic is a recent blog post from Jeffrey Goldberg, where he accused my co-author of endorsing a book by an alleged Holocaust denier and Nazi sympathizer. Goldberg has well-established record of making things up about us, and this latest episode is consistent with his usual approach. I asked Professor Mearsheimer if he wanted to respond to Goldberg’s sally, and he sent the following reply.

John Mearsheimer writes: 

In a certain sense, it is hard not to be impressed by the energy and imagination that Jeffrey Goldberg devotes to smearing Steve Walt and me. Although he clearly disagrees with our views about U.S.-Israel relations and the role of the Israel lobby, he does not bother to engage what we actually wrote in any meaningful way. Indeed, given what he writes about us, I am not even sure he has read our book or related articles. Instead of challenging the arguments and evidence that we presented, his modus operandi is to misrepresent and distort our views, in a transparent attempt to portray us as rabid anti-Semites.

Continues >>

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sen. Graham: Broad Bipartisan Support for US Attack on Pakistan

PM Calls Emergency Conference to Discuss Threats 

by Jason Ditz,, September 25, 2011
US politicians continued with the condemnation of Pakistan today, with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R – SC) saying that that was broad bipartisan support in Congress for a military attack on Pakistan and that “all options are on the table” against the nation.

The most direct threat yet, it prompted a quick response from the Pakistani government, with Prime Minister Gilani recalling his Foreign Minister from a visit to the United States and ordering an emergency “all-parties” conference to discuss the prospect of a US invasion.

Gilani insisted it was important for the coalition government to establish political consensus with the opposition about handling the US threats, and called a number of opposition leaders. A unity statement is expected to be released soon.

The US has accused the Pakistani government of funding the Haqqani network as well as ordering them to attack the US embassy in Kabul. Pakistan has denied the allegation.

PAKISTAN: A feckless leadership invites aggression

By Inayatullah | The Nation,  September 24, 2011
It all started with a selfish, egotistic and insecure military dictator’s abject surrender to a threat from a superpower.

Primarily for personal gains and strengthening the military’s hold on power in the country, he succumbed to do Uncle Sam’s bidding and agreed to place Pakistan’s resources at its disposal. The airbases were handed over. Ground and airspace was open to the NATO forces. The Pakistan army was ordered to break the time-tested policy of not to militarily take on the armed pathan tribes in FATA. Thus, funds started trickling in for the services rendered. But while the dictate was readily complied with, no conditions or quid pro quo was secured in return for the commitments made.

Before he was pushed out, the general-president left the legacy of a political deal midwifed by Washington and London, which was based on a preposterous law that legitimised corruption and criminal offences committed by thousands of wayward politicians. However, these politicians later assumed the reins of power at the federal level. . .

Continues >>

Letter from President Hugo Chávez to His Excellency Ban Ki-moon Secretary General of the United Nations

Venezuela Endorses Sovereignty of Palestinian State
ED NOTE: On September 17, 2011 Hugo Chávez Frias, President of The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela sent the following letter to Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, to confirm the Venezuelan government’s support for the establishment of the State of Palestine. The Venezuelan president sent this letter as the 66th UN General Assembly votes on Palestinian statehood., Sept. 26, 2011

By Hugo Chávez Frías, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
(En inglés y español)
Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
Tuesday, Sep 20, 2011
Miraflores, September 17, 2011

His Excellency
Ban Ki-moon
Secretary General of the United Nations 

Mr. Secretary General:
Distinguished representatives of the peoples of the world:

I address these words to the United Nations General Assembly, to this great forum that represents all the people of earth, to ratify, on this day and in this setting, Venezuela’s full support of the recognition of the Palestinian State: of Palestine’s right to become a free, sovereign and independent state. This represents an act of historic justice towards a people who carry with them, from time immemorial, all the pain and suffering of the world.

In his memorable essay The Grandeur of Arafat, the great French philosopher Gilles Deleuze wrote with the full weight of the truth: The Palestinian cause is first and foremost the set of injustices that these people have suffered and continue to suffer. And I dare add that the Palestinian cause also represents a constant and unwavering will to resist, already written in the historic memory of the human condition. . .

Continues >>

Ralph Nader: As the Drone Flies…

by Ralph Nader,, Sept. 26, 2011
The fast developing predator drone technology, officially called unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs, is becoming so dominant and so beyond any restraining framework of law or ethics, that its use by the U.S. government around the world may invite a horrific blowback.

First some background. The Pentagon has about 7,000 aerial drones. Ten years ago there were less than 50. According to the website, they have destroyed about 1900 insurgents in Pakistan’s tribal regions. How these fighters are so clearly distinguished from civilians in those mountain areas is not clear.

Nor is it clear how or from whom the government gets such “precise” information about the guerilla leaders’ whereabouts night and day. The drones are beyond any counterattack–flying often at 50,000 feet. But the Air Force has recognized that a third of the Predators have crashed by themselves.

Continues >>

Goldberg vs. Mearsheimer

Gilad Atzmon, MWC News, Sept. 25, 2011

John Mearsheimer,[right] Jeffrey Goldberg
Professor John Mearsheimer is subject to a Zionist-trans-Atlantic-attack for supporting my latest book The Wandering Who.

Earlier this year John Mearsheimer, the highly respected international relations theorist and Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, wrote the following preliminary front matter for my book:

“Gilad Atzmon has written a fascinating and provocative book on Jewish identity in the modern world. He shows how assimilation and liberalism are making it increasingly difficult for Jews in the Diaspora to maintain a powerful sense of their ‘Jewishness.’ Panicked Jewish leaders, he argues, have turned to Zionism (blind loyalty to Israel) and scaremongering (the threat of another Holocaust) to keep the tribe united and distinct from the surrounding goyim. As Atzmon’s own case demonstrates, this strategy is not working and is causing many Jews great anguish. The Wandering Who? should be widely read by Jews and non-Jews alike.”

Continues >>

Tymoshenko trial jeopardises Ukraine trade deal, warns EU

Conviction of president’s rival would be ‘incompatible with EU values’, says minister during Yalta visit
Dmitry Medvedev, Viktor Yanukovych and Vladimir Putin
Viktor Yanukovych (centre) with Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin in Russia. Photograph: Sergei Karpukhin/EPA
The EU is threatening to downgrade relations with Ukraine and frustrate its attempts to move closer into Europe‘s orbit unless the former Soviet republic drops a landmark case rapidly heading towards a verdict against its former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s president, has been warned that Europe sees the case against Tymoshenko as a politically motivated attempt to silence his chief rival.

EU officials say a conviction would be “incompatible with EU values” and jeopardise the finalisation of a free trade agreement that would solidify the country’s ties to Brussels.

Continues >>

Sunday, September 25, 2011

President Obama Throws Palestine Under the Bus

Analysis by Jim Lobe, Inter Press Service News

WASHINGTON, Sep 24, 2011 (IPS) – The right-wing government of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu could not be more pleased.

Not only did the allegedly most “anti-Israel” president ever repeat, for the nth time, that “America’s commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable,” but also made crystal clear that Washington will veto any Palestinian application to the U.N. Security Council for statehood in his speech this week to the U.N. General Assembly.

Not once did he refer to Jewish “settlements” on Palestinian lands; nor did he even use the word “occupied” – or any declension of that word – to describe those lands and their people in an address that was largely, if ironically, devoted to celebrating this year’s Arab struggles to end autocratic rule in their region.

Nor was there a word about the plight of the still-besieged population of Gaza, or about the “1967 borders” as being the basis for any eventual two-state solution, a formula to which Netanyahu and his U.S. allies vehemently objected much to the consternation and exasperation of the White House only four months ago.

Continues >>

Palestine and the UN: The dead-end of the “peace process”

Bill Van Auken,,   24 September 2011
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas received standing ovations from the United Nations General Assembly Friday for a speech announcing his submission of a request for UN recognition of a Palestinian state.

While the speech included passages detailing the death, destruction and humiliation wrought by Israeli occupation, Abbas’ audience of foreign ministers, heads of state and UN delegates was hardly unaware of the six-decade-old plight of the Palestinian people. Not a few of their governments, particularly in the Arab world, have been complicit in it.

The enthusiastic response may have been driven more by hostility to Washington, which announced in advance that it would use its veto on the Security Council to kill recognition of a Palestinian state.

Continues >>

Palestine’s losing battle for land

By Sandy Tolan, Salon, Sept. 22, 2011
Palestine's losing battle
A Palestinian woman walks past a wall with graffiti depicting a gunman
This originally appeared on TomDispatch.
It’s the show that time and the world forgot. It’s called the Occupation and it’s now in its 45th year. Playing on a landscape about the size of Delaware, it remains largely hidden from view, while Middle Eastern headlines from elsewhere seize the day. Diplomats shuttle back and forth from Washington and Brussels to Middle Eastern capitals; the Israeli-Turkish alliance ruptures amid bold declarations from the Turkish prime minister; crowds storm the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, while Israeli ambassadors flee the Egyptian capital and Amman, the Jordanian one; and of course, there’s the headliner, the show-stopper of the moment, the Palestinian Authority’s campaign for statehood in the United Nations, which will prompt an Obama administration veto in the Security Council.

Continues >>

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Eritrea: Free Political Prisoners 10 Years On

President Isaias in New York to Demand UN Respect His Rights, Denies Them to His People

Human Rights Watch, September 22, 2011
(New York) – Ten years after President Isaias Afewerki of Eritrea ordered the detention of 21 senior government members and journalists who criticized him, his government should release the detainees or reveal their fate, Human Rights Watch said in a briefing paper released today. Eritrea should also open its jails to international monitors, Human Rights Watch said.

Isaias is visiting New York for the United Nations General Assembly in an attempt to rehabilitate his country’s image even as his government labors under UN sanctions for its role in supporting the Somali insurgent group al-Shabaab.

Continues >>

Uri Avnery: Obama's Speech, Abu Mazen’s Gamble

By Uri Avnery,, Sept. 23, 2011 

OBAMA’S  WONDERFUL SPEECH. A beautiful speech.

The language expressive and elegant. The arguments clear and convincing. The delivery flawless.

A work of art. The art of hypocrisy. Almost every statement in the passage concerning the Israeli-Palestinian issue was a lie. A blatant lie: the speaker knew it was a lie, and so did the audience.

It was Obama at his best, Obama at his worst.

Being a moral person, he must have felt the urge to vomit. Being a pragmatic person, he knew that he had to do it, if he wanted to be re-elected.

In essence, he sold the fundamental national interests of the United States of America for the chance of a second term.

Not very nice, but that’s politics, OK?

 IT MAY be superfluous — almost insulting to the reader — to point out the mendacious details of this rhetorical edifice.
Obama treated the two sides as if they were equal in strength — Israelis and Palestinians, Palestinians and Israelis.

Continues >>

Obama Secretly Sold Bunker-Busting Bombs to Israel

Bombs Intended for Oft-Threatened Attack on Iran

by Jason Ditz,,  September 23, 2011
A story to be published on Monday in Newsweek is revealing that President Obama secretly sold 55 GBU-28 bunker-buster bombs to the Israeli military in 2009, citing comments from unnamed officials familiar with the deal.

The Pentagon declined to confirm the sale, but Press Secretary George Little did say that US was “committed to helping Israel maintain its qualitative military edge.” The bombs had been sought for an Israeli attack on Iran, something the Netanyahu government has repeatedly threatened.

Continues >>

Friday, September 23, 2011

PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s Address At UN

It is a moment of truth and my people are waiting to hear the answer of the world. Will it allow Israel to continue its occupation, the only occupation in the world? Will it allow Israel to remain a State above the law and accountability? Will it allow Israel to continue rejecting the resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations and the International Court of Justice and the positions of the overwhelming majority of countries in the world?”

“I would like to inform you that, before delivering this statement, I, in my capacity as President of the State of Palestine and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, submitted to H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, an application for the admission of Palestine on the basis of the 4 June 1967 borders, with AI-Quds AI-Sharif as its capital, as a full member of the United Nations.”

Information Clearing House,  September 23, 2011

A full transcript of President Mahmoud Abbas’ address to the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Sept. 23, provided by the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency. 

Mr. President of the General Assembly of the United Nations,
Mr. Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, I wish to extend my congratulations to H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser on his assumption of the Presidency of the Assembly for this session, and wish him all success.

I reaffirm today my sincere congratulations, on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian people, to the government and people of South Sudan for its deserved admission as a full member of the United Nations, wishing them progress and prosperity.

I also congratulate the Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, on his election for a new term at the helm of the United Nations. This renewal of confidence reflects the world’s appreciation for his efforts, which have strengthened the role of the United Nations.
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Question Palestine is intricately linked with the United Nations via the resolutions adopted by its various organs and agencies and via the essential and lauded role of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East – UNRWA – which embodies the international responsibility towards the plight of Palestine refugees, who are the victims of Al-Nakba (Catastrophe) that occurred in 1948. We aspire for and seek a greater and more effective role for the United Nations in working to achieve a just and comprehensive peace in our region that ensures the inalienable, legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people as defined by the resolutions of international legitimacy of the United Nations.

Coninues >>

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Addresses United Nations General Assembly

Video and English Translation

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took to the podium at the U.N. General Assembly Thursday – one day after two American hikers were released from prison in Tehran – to deliver a speech strongly condemning the United States.

Information Clearing House,  September 22, 2011

The full text of the speech follows, courtesy of the United Nations:

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen

I am grateful to the Almighty Allah who granted me, once more, the opportunity to appear before this world assembly. I have the pleasure to express my sincere thanks to H.E. Joseph Deiss, president of the sixty-fifth session for his tremendous efforts during his tenure. I also would like to congratulate H.E Nassir Abdulaziz AI-Nasser on his election as the president of sixty-sixth session of the General Assembly and wish him all success.

Let me seize the moment to pay tribute to all those who lost their lives in the past year, particularly to the victims of the tragic famine in Somalia and the devastating flood in Pakistan and especially the earthquake and the ensuing explosions in the nuclear power plant in Japan. I urge everyone to intensify their assistance and aid to the affected populations in these countries.

Continues >>

Goodbye to International Law

Though the World War II victors promised that the Nuremberg principles would apply not just to the Nazis but to everyone, today’s reality is that international law follows two standards: a lenient one for the West and its friends and a stringent variant for adversaries. This hypocrisy is now being institutionalized, Lawrence Davidson notes.

By Lawrence Davidson, Consortium News, Sept. 22, 1011

Back in February, I wrote an analysis on the subject of Universal Jurisdiction, which began:

“One of the really progressive acts that followed the end of World War II was the establishment of the principle of universal jurisdiction (UJ). UJ is a legal process that allows states that are signatories to various international treaties and conventions (such as the Geneva conventions) to prosecute alleged violators of these treaties, even when these violations are committed outside the country’s borders.

“This is particularly so if it can be demonstrated that the home government of the accused has no intention of bringing them to trial for the alleged offense. The assumption behind this principle is that the crime committed is so egregious as to be seen as a crime against humanity at large.

“In the wake of the Nazi Holocaust and other such crimes against humanity, UJ was accepted as a necessary and positive legal step by almost all Western nations.”

It has been 66 years since the end of World War II and the memory of the concentration camps has faded (except when invoked as a political tool by Zionists). Nor has the subsequent holocausts such as those in Cambodia, Rwanda and Bosnia been sufficient to keep the issue of crimes against humanity front and center in the governmental minds of the great powers.

Continues >>

Israeli press wary over Obama’s ‘Zionist’ UN speech, Sept. 22, 2011

JERUSALEM (AFP) — Israeli newspapers were unanimous Thursday in characterizing US President Barack Obama’s UN speech as hugely supportive of Israel, but some argued it was perhaps too much of a good thing.

“The American embrace” was the front-page headline of the Maariv daily, while the top-selling Yedioth Aharonoth took a similar line, summing up the impact of Obama’s remarks for Israel and the Palestinians as “The hug and the snub.”

“Obama not only adopted all of the Israeli arguments against recognising a Palestinian state by means of the UN, he adopted the basic Israeli narrative,” Yedioth said.

“It is no wonder that Abu Mazen, who sat in the auditorium during the speech, hung his head in his hands in disbelief and despair,” it said, using the nom-de-guerre of President Mahmoud Abbas.

Continues >>

Amira Hass: Creating a flashpoint

Testimony from a soldier in the reserves sent to disperse a demonstration in the West Bank before it even started.

By Amira Hass, Haaretz, Sept. 21, 2011

Like every Friday in the past 20 months, this week too there will be a demonstration in the village of Nabi Saleh against the takeover of the spring of the neighboring villages by settlers and the Civil Administration’s archaeology department.

“A large part of our training for the reserve duty was devoted to these demonstrations and the need to repress them,” says R., a soldier who served in the area over the summer in a reserve unit of the Alexandroni Brigade. “We were led to understand that the aim was to stop the popular uprising so that it would not become something big and problematic. The commanders spoke a lot about the fact that this was a new wave of demonstrations, a new type, and that we were now learning how to deal with them, what to do.”

Continues >>

Thursday, September 22, 2011

9/11 Came From Above, Not From Below

By Rand Clifford,, Sept. 21, 2011

An innocent bystander exposed to mainstream corporate media (CorpoMedia) during the lead-up to 9/11/11 would likely conclude that an overwhelming majority of Americans believe that nineteen Arab boys armed with box cutters achieved the horrendous destruction of 9/11/01 despite the best efforts of the entire American security apparatus.

Innocent faith in the dignity of American leadership might shield the bystander from knowing that, despite successful suicide missions, many of those Arab boys are alive and well. (1) Faith strong enough could also shield them from knowing that a scientific opinion poll taken in October of 2006 by the New York Times/CBS News (2) revealed that 84% of American do not believe the official government explanation of the September 11, 2001 “terror attacks” (apparently, They soon put a damper on any more independent polls).

Blind faith might render the bystander clueless about the whole diabolical nightmare that set in motion “the long war” being greed trickling down from the pinnacles of “humanity” rather than hatred bubbling up from below.

Continues >>

U.S. Republicans submit resolution supporting Israel’s right to annex West Bank

Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) introduces House resolution that supports annexation if the Palestinian Authority continues to push for UN vote. 

By Natasha Mozgovaya, Harretz, Sept. 19, 2011

U.S. Representative Joe Walsh (R-IL), introduced on Monday a resolution (with 30 co-sponsors) to support Israel’s right to annex the West Bank in the event that the Palestinian Authority continues to push for vote at the United Nations.
“We’ve got what I consider to be a potential slap in the face coming up with the vote in the UN, which is absolutely outrageous,” Walsh told Politico website last July.
U.S. House of Representatives - AFP - September 14, 2011 The U.S. House of Representatives, September 14, 2011
 Photo by: AFP

He was quoted as saying that “it’s clear that the United States needs to make a very strong statement. I would argue that the president should make this statement, but he’s not capable of making it. So, the House needs to make this statement, if the [Palestinian Authority] continues down this road of trying to get recognition of statehood, the U.S. will not stand for it. And we will respect Israel’s right to annex Judea and Samaria.”

 Continues >>

I. Wallerstein: The Social-Democratic Illusion

By Immanuel Wallerstein, ZNet, September 20, 2011
Social-democracy had its apogee in the period 1945 to the late 1960s. At that time, it represented an ideology and a movement that stood for the use of state resources to ensure some redistribution to the majority of the population in various concrete ways: expansion of educational and health facilities; guarantees of lifelong income levels by programs to support the needs of the non-”wage-employed” groups, particularly children and seniors; and programs to minimize unemployment. Social-democracy promised an ever-better future for future generations, a sort of permanent rising level of national and family incomes. This was called the welfare state. It was an ideology that reflected the view that capitalism could be “reformed” and acquire a more human face.

The Social-Democrats were most powerful in western Europe, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand, Canada, and the United States (where they were called New Deal Democrats) – in short, in the wealthy countries of the world-system, those that constituted what might be called the pan-European world. They were so successful that their right-of-center opponents also endorsed the concept of the welfare state, trying merely to reduce its costs and extent. In the rest of the world, the states tried to jump onto this bandwagon by projects of national “development.”

Continues >>

PAKISTAN: Members of Shia community were under attack while the military forces look on

AHRC, September 21, 2011
Members of one of the largest sects of Islam, the Shiaite community, came under attack from militant Islamic organizations which, in the past had the patronage of Pakistan army and its intelligence agencies who offered sophisticated terrorist training including the handling of rocket launchers. The Balochistan province and Kurram agency of northern area, well known as a Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) has become a killing ground for the Shia sect that consist of 24 percent of the Muslim population in Pakistan. These are the places where the contingents of the Pakistan army and its Para-Military force, the Frontier Corps (FC) are stationed and controlling all the roads, besides having check posts all around the major cities. There is also a huge presence of spies from the infamous intelligence agency, the ISI. As a result banned Islamic militant organizations feel at liberty to operate freely under the patronage of the law enforcement agencies.

Imran Khan: ‘America is destroying Pakistan. We’re using our army to kill our own people with their money’

  • The Pakistani cricketing legend and politician talks about his country’s damaging relationship with the US, how aid and corruption are further ruining it – and how he is sure he will be its next president

Imran Khan.
Imran Khan. Photograph: David Levene
When Barack Obama announced in May that American commandos had killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Imran Khan was furious. “The whole of Pakistan felt this way. Wherever I went I felt this humiliation and anger in people. It was humiliating because an American president announces it, not our president. And because it was the American military, not our military, which this country has given great sacrifices to nurture, that killed him.”

Khan stirs his cappuccino angrily. “Most humiliating of all was that the CIA chief Panetta says that the Pakistan government was either incompetent or complicit. Complicit!” But surely Leon Panetta had a point, didn’t he? The world’s most wanted man was living a mile from Pakistan’s military academy, not in some obscure cave. “They’re talking about a country in which 35,000 people have died during a war that had nothing to do with us. Ours is perhaps the only country in history that keeps getting bombed, through drone attacks, by our ally.”

Continues >>

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Robert Fisk: Why the Middle East Will Never be the Same Again

By Robert Fisk, ZNet , Sept. 20, 2011
The Palestinians won’t get a state this week. But they will prove – if they get enough votes in the General Assembly and if Mahmoud Abbas does not succumb to his characteristic grovelling in the face of US-Israeli power – that they are worthy of statehood. And they will establish for the Arabs what Israel likes to call – when it is enlarging its colonies on stolen land – “facts on the ground”: never again can the United States and Israel snap their fingers and expect the Arabs to click their heels. The US has lost its purchase on the Middle East. It’s over: the “peace process”, the “road map”, the “Oslo agreement”; the whole fandango is history.

Personally, I think “Palestine” is a fantasy state, impossible to create now that the Israelis have stolen so much of the Arabs’ land for their colonial projects. Go take a look at the West Bank, if you don’t believe me. Israel’s massive Jewish colonies, its pernicious building restrictions on Palestinian homes of more than one storey and its closure even of sewage systems as punishment, the “cordons sanitaires” beside the Jordanian frontier, the Israeli-only settlers’ roads have turned the map of the West Bank into the smashed windscreen of a crashed car. Sometimes, I suspect that the only thing that prevents the existence of “Greater Israel” is the obstinacy of those pesky Palestinians.

Continues >>

Nick Turse: Obama’s Arc of Instability

Like George W. Bush before him, Barack Obama evidently looks out on the “unlit world” and sees a source of global volatility and danger for the United States. His answer has been to deploy US military might to blunt instability, shore up allies, and protect American lives, notes Nick Turse. 
Middle East Online, Sept. 20, 2011

Destabilizing the World One Region at a Time

It’s a story that should take your breath away: the destabilization of what, in the Bush years, used to be called “the arc of instability.” It involves at least 97 countries, across the bulk of the global south, much of it coinciding with the oil heartlands of the planet. A startling number of these nations are now in turmoil, and in every single one of them — from Afghanistan and Algeria to Yemen and Zambia — Washington is militarily involved, overtly or covertly, in outright war or what passes for peace.

Garrisoning the planet is just part of it. The Pentagon and US intelligence services are also running covert special forces and spy operations, launching drone attacks, building bases and secret prisons, training, arming, and funding local security forces, and engaging in a host of other militarized activities right up to full-scale war. But while you consider this, keep one fact in mind: the odds are that there is no longer a single nation in the arc of instability in which the United States is in no way militarily involved.

Continues >>

PAKISTAN: The AHRC appeals to the international community and humanitarian organizations to assist the flood victims before another catastrophe occurs

AHRC, September 20, 2011

The Asian Human Rights Commission urges the world community and the international donors to help the more than eight million flood affected people from Sindh province who are under severe threat from widespread disease. The flooding has affected 22 out of the 23 districts in Sindh. The affected people need life-saving help. The flood waters have not yet started to recede and people are continuously migrating from one place to another place looking for a dry place to settle. The main roads, which above the flood levels are filled with men, women and animals but that will only continue until the waters have reached that level.


The affected people are totally deprived of potable drinking water and depend on the flood water which is the main cause of gastroenteritis and if allowed to run unabated will lead to the deaths of many people. The children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable, especially in their weakened condition due to malnutrition. There are hospitals in the rural areas but they are also affected by the flooding and little if any facilities are available. The chance of outbreaks of malaria and dengue is very high as no sufficient measures have yet been taken by the government.

Continues >>

History and its Victims: The Fate of Palestinians

by David Hillstrom, Foreign Policy Journal, September 20, 2011
At the end of the Second World War, the colonial age in modern history had come to a close.  The colonial period is a blemish on the nations of Europe, the US, and Japan, although none of them have practiced policies of sincere regret, let alone compensation.  Rather, many opinion leaders from the former colonial powers have pointed to the legacy of organization and infrastructure that they left in the colonized world.  Many also have remarked that the new, independent states that emerged were more often than not dictatorial and corrupt.  Of course, there have been countries that have failed to produce either economic well-being or open political institutions for their people.  That is regrettable; but the lesson to global powers (and former colonial powers) should be that direct intervention is neither justifiable nor morally warranted.  The only appropriate policy is to engage developing nations with fair trade deals and incentives to develop both economically and politically.

Continues >>

Monday, September 19, 2011

Gideon Levy: Et tu, Obama?

Gideon Levy, Veterns Today, Sept. 18, 2011
Et tu, Brute? After all, in your Cairo speech you promised a new dawn for the Muslim world, you promised a new America to the Arab world.
How is it that the supposedly new America is continuing to sing the same old songs from its evil past??

What is the American president going to say to his citizens? What will he say to the citizens of the world? How will he rationalize his country’s opposition to recognizing a Palestinian state? How will he explain his position, which runs counter to the position of the enlightened – and less enlightened – world?

And above all, what will Barack Obama say to himself before he goes to bed? That the Palestinians don’t deserve a state? That they have a chance to get it through negotiations with Israel? That they do not have equal rights in the new world that we thought he was going to establish? Will he admit to himself that, because of opportunistic election considerations – yes, Obama is now being exposed as quite an opportunist – he is also harming his country’s interests as well as the (real ) interests of Israel, and is acting against his own conscience too?

It is difficult now to understand Obama’s America. The man who promised change is turning out to be the father of American conservatives. With regard to Israel, there is no difference between him and the last of the celebrants at the Tea Party. We did not expect a great deal from Hillary Clinton; she can continue to recite hollow speeches about negotiations-shmegotiations – but Obama?

Continues >>

Study: 59 Percent of Iraqi Widows Lost Husbands Under US Occupation

Warns Massive Number of Widows Could Lead to Terrorism

by Jason Ditz,,  September 18, 2011
It is common sense that the massive death toll over the eight years of occupation in Iraq would create more widows. A new study by the humanitarian aid organization Relief International has found the problem far greater than anyone likely imagined, however.

The study found that some 10 percent of the women in Iraq are widows, about 1.5 million of them. Of these, 59 percent lost their husbands during the period since the US occupation began in 2003.

Just a quick bit of math shows that to be some 900,000 women who lost their husbands since 2003, an enormous number that once again points to the civilian death toll since 2003 being much larger than the US ever cared to admit.

But while this shows the enormity of the past violence, the report isn’t about that, but rather about pointing out the major current problem. Being a widow in war-torn Iraq is tough, and those widows are likely to be desperate and vulnerable to recruitment for terror attacks. 900,000 more desperate Iraqis point again to a war that is far from over.

Egypt: The Murder of Dissent

By WILLIAM FISHER,, Sept. 18, 2011 
On August 14, two young bloggers, Asma Mahfouz and Loay Nagaty, were arrested on charges of defaming Egypt’s military rulers. In a blogpost that went viral on YouTube, Mahfouz called them a “council of dogs.”

Both were referred to a military court. That prompted activists, as well as presidential hopefuls including Mohamed ElBaradei and Ayman Nour, to protest their being charged in a military court.

(To date, more than 12,000 Egyptians have been charged before military courts, whose use has become the subject of a major point of conflict and contention between the pro-democracy forces and the military council.)

Continues >>

Robert Parry: Who Are These People?

Exclusive: When President George W. Bush took aim at Iraq in 2002-03, the smart career play in the U.S. news media was to jump on the pro-war bandwagon and cheer on propaganda about WMD and other excuses for war. Belatedly, the New York Times’ Bill Keller admits that mistakes were made, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry, Consortium News, Sept. 12, 2011

In commemoration of 9/11, former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller penned a handwringing article in the Sunday magazine explaining why he supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq, while admitting that Iraq “had in the literal sense, almost nothing to do with 9/11” and recognizing that the war has resulted in untold death and misery of its own.
The article, “My Unfinished 9/11 Business,” is filled with rationalizations about his post-9/11 feelings and those of other members of what Keller dubbed the “I-Can’t-Believe-I’m-a-Hawk Club,” pundits and intellectuals who rallied to President George W. Bush’s conquest of Iraq as a more fitting response to 9/11 than simply occupying Afghanistan or hunting down al-Qaeda.

Yet what is perhaps most striking about Keller’s article is what’s not in it. There is not a single reference to international law, or to the fact that Bush undertook the invasion in defiance of a majority on the United Nations Security Council and in violation of longstanding U.S.-enunciated principles against aggressive war.

At the Nuremberg Tribunals after World War II, the chief U.S. prosecutor, Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson, called a war of aggression “not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

Continues >>

Japan’s Nuclear Disaster: Radiation Still Leaking, Recovery Still Years Away?

by Richard Wilcox, Dissident Voice,  September 19th, 2011
If nuclear power is so ‘safe,’ why is it that nuclear power stations are not placed where the power is most needed – in or very near large cities? Because they are dangerous. OK, if they’re dangerous, why is it the operators are not terribly interested in safety measures?
– Tony Boys, Can Do Better Blog1
Over six months have passed since the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan. What progress if any has been made to deal with what is surely one the worst industrial accidents in history?

The situation at the Fukushima No.1 power station site is far from being resolved. Although Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has said a “cold shutdown” of some of the reactors may be “within reach.”2 Although a drastic reduction from the trillions of becquerals of radiation that were released during the darkest days of March, retired nuclear engineer Arnie Gunderson who has supplied us with a steady source of reliable analyses, roughly estimates that the damaged reactors are still emitting a billion becquerals per day.3 ...
Continues >>

US helps Israel undermine Palestine bid for full UN membership

Morning Star Online, Sunday 18 September 2011
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed on Sunday that Tel Aviv and Washington are co-operating to shoot down the Palestinian Authority’s bid for Palestine to be recognised as a UN member state.

Mr Netanyahu said his government was working with the US to make sure that the push for a two-state peace settlement is rejected by the UN security council.

He was responding to a speech delivered by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Saturday in which he said he would hand the request for full status to UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon on Friday.

Mr Abbas said “extensive and sincere” Palestinian peace efforts had been scuppered by “Israeli intransigence.”

“We seek to gain membership in the UN on the basis of the 1967 borders so that we could afterwards return to the negotiations on a clear and internationally recognised reference.”

Continues >>