Monday, December 30, 2013

Israel Will Annex 93 % of the Palestinian West Bank

Christof Lehmann, nsnbc international,

On Sunday, 29 December, Israel’s Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved a bill to annex the Jordan Valley of Palestine’s occupied West Bank. The bill shall ensure that the region remains within Israeli sovereignty even if an agreement with Palestine is reached under the ongoing, US-facilitated, talks or any other agreement in the future. A closer look reveals that there is nothing new in the proposed bill, and that neither of the two major Palestinian factions are likely to respond by implementing a policy that is consistent with the liberation of Palestine.

File - Maan News Agencies
File – Maan News Agencies

The bill has been proposed by Member of Israel’s Parliament (Knesset) Miri Regev and has been supported by eight Ministers from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, Yisrael Beitenu and Habayit Hayehudi, reports the Israeli news agency y-net. The sponsor of the bill, Miri Regev, is a former Brigadier General of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and a former military spokeswoman.

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

I worked on the US drone program. The public should know what really goes on

Few of the politicians who so brazenly proclaim the benefits of drones have a real clue how it actually works (and doesn’t)

Hermes 450 drone
An Elbit Systems Hermes 450 drone. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
Whenever I read comments by politicians defending the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Predator and Reaper program – aka drones – I wish I could ask them some questions. I’d start with: “How many women and children have you seen incinerated by a Hellfire missile?” And: “How many men have you seen crawl across a field, trying to make it to the nearest compound for help while bleeding out from severed legs?” Or even more pointedly: “How many soldiers have you seen die on the side of a road in Afghanistan because our ever-so-accurate UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicle] were unable to detect an IED [improvised explosive device] that awaited their convoy?”

Few of these politicians who so brazenly proclaim the benefits of drones have a real clue of what actually goes on. I, on the other hand, have seen these awful sights first hand.

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Chomsky: The one state/two state debate is irrelevant as Israel and the US consolidate Greater Israel

Noam Chomsky, Mondoweiss, October 24, 2013 
On July 13, former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin issued a dire warning to the government of Israel: either it will reach some kind of two-state settlement or there will be a “shift to a nearly inevitable outcome of the one remaining reality — a state ‘from the sea to the river’.” The near inevitable outcome, “one state for two nations,” will pose “an immediate existential threat of the erasure of the identity of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state,” soon with a Palestinian-Arab majority.

On similar grounds, in the latest issue of Britain’s leading journal of international affairs, two prominent Middle East specialists, Clive Jones and Beverly Milton-Edwards, write that “if Israel wishes to be both Jewish and democratic,” it must embrace “the two-state solution.”

It is easy to cite many other examples, but unnecessary, because it is assumed almost universally that there are two options for cis-Jordan: either two states — Palestinian and Jewish-democratic — or one state “from the sea to the river.” Israeli commentators express concern about the “demographic problem”: too many Palestinians in a Jewish state. Many Palestinians and their advocates support the “one state solution,” anticipating a civil rights, anti-Apartheid struggle that will lead to secular democracy. Other analysts also consistently pose the options in similar terms.

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Friday, December 27, 2013

Drone Strike in Pakistan Was First to Be Launched by Obama Administration on Christmas Day

By: The Dissenter, December 26, 2013


Photo from The White House | (Note: Photos like the one above are released as a substitute for granting photographers from the press access.)

For the first time since the United States began to launch drone attacks, a strike was launched late on Christmas Day in Pakistan. Four people who could not be identified but who were allegedly from Afghanistan were killed.

The Pakistani newspaper, The Express Tribune, reported, “Four suspected militants were killed when a US drone fired missiles at a compound in North Waziristan Agency in the late hours of Wednesday.”

Two missiles were fired at a compound. A local tribesman said he had heard “two huge explosions” in the “outskirts of Miramshah.” Tribesmen left their homes in panic.
“We can still hear the sound of drones hovering in the sky,” he said, adding that the bodies were being pulled out of the compound.

The Pakistan Tribune also reported, “Panic gripped the area following the attack as unmanned aircraft kept flying over the area till wee hours of Thursday morning.” And, “The identity of the deceased couldn’t be ascertained because of their charred bodies.”

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Obama’s New Normal: The Drone Strikes Continue,  Dec 23, 2013

By Amy Goodman

There has been yet another violent attack with mass casualties. This was not the act of a lone gunman, or of an armed student rampaging through a school. It was a group of families en route to a wedding that was killed. The town was called Radda—not in Colorado, not in Connecticut, but in Yemen. The weapon was not an easy-to-obtain semiautomatic weapon, but missiles fired from U.S. drones. On Thursday, Dec. 12, 17 people were killed, mostly civilians. The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism has consistently tracked U.S. drone attacks, recently releasing a report on the six months following President Barack Obama’s major address on drone warfare before the National Defense University (NDU) last May. In that speech, Obama promised that “before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured—the highest standard we can set.” The BIJ summarized, “Six months after President Obama laid out U.S. rules for using armed drones, a Bureau analysis shows that covert drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan have killed more people than in the six months before the speech.” In a nation that abhors the all-too-routine mass killing in our communities, why does our government consistently kill so many innocents abroad?

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas and Season’s Greetings, 2013

Merry Christmas, Yule Celebrations, Season’s Greetings and Peace to all Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Mormons, Animists, Druids, sceptics, heathens, humanists, agnostics and atheists.

Photo: Merry Christmas, Yule Celebrations, Season's Greetings and Peace to all Christians,  Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Mormons,  Animists, Druids, sceptics, heathens, humanists, agnostics and atheists.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Stephen Lendman: Making the World Safe for War Profiteers

By Stephen Lendman, Global Research, December 16, 2013


Adam Smith said governments are “instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor.” Wars are waged to make them richer.

Howard Zinn called war “terrorism magnified a hundred times.” Make it many thousands of times.

Michael Parenti said “the best way to win a Nobel Peace Prize (is) to wage war or support those who wage (it) instead of peace.”

In his book titled “The Face of Imperialism,” he discusses a richly financed military/industrial complex. Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff call it the “military-industrial media complex.”

Waging wars requires selling them. Public support is needed. Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky call it “Manufacturing Consent.”

Propaganda works as intended. Minds are manipulated to support war. Truth is suppressed. Fear is stoked. Patriotism, national security, and democratic values are highlighted.

Longstanding US policy facilitates earning obscene amounts from militarism, wars, homeland security, and related operations.

Doing so has nothing to do with external or internal threats. It’s unrelated to spreading democracy. It isn’t about humanitarian intervention.

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Rev. Howard Bess: Does Christmas Obscure Jesus?

The Christmas season celebrates the regal myth of Jesus – his supposedly miraculous birth and royal lineage as a king of kings – but that loses sight of the historical Jesus and his revolutionary message of justice for the poor and powerless, as Rev. Howard Bess reflects.

By the Rev. Howard Bess

The emergence of Jesus as a Jewish prophet of note was something that no contemporary would have predicted. After all, he lived in a world where leaders were determined by the prominence of their birth or by their effective use of violence.
Jesus possessed neither. He came from humble origins and taught nonviolence. Jesus gained a following among the poor as a reputational rabbi, meaning that he lacked a formal education and religious training. He also lived in the small town of Nazareth, nearly 100 miles north of Jerusalem, the area’s primary seat of religious and political power.

Jesus of Nazareth delivering his Sermon on the Mount as depicted by artist Carl Bloch.
Jesus of Nazareth delivering his Sermon on the Mount as depicted by artist Carl Bloch.

The earliest written record of the life of Jesus was the gospel written by an unknown author called Mark, who says nothing about a miraculous birth or about royal lineage. (The fiction of his miraculous birth to a woman with royal ties was fabricated decades later.)

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Monday, December 09, 2013

Slavoj Žižek: If Nelson Mandela really had won, he wouldn’t be seen as a universal hero

Mandela must have died a bitter man. To honour his legacy, we should focus on the unfulfilled promises his leadership gave rise to
South African President Nelson Mandela
‘It is all too simple to criticise Mandela for abandoning the socialist perspective after the end of apartheid: did he really have a choice? Was the move towards socialism a real option?’ Photograph: Media24/Gallo Images/Getty Images
In the last two decades of his life, Nelson Mandela was celebrated as a model of how to liberate a country from the colonial yoke without succumbing to the temptation of dictatorial power and anti-capitalist posturing. In short, Mandela was not Robert Mugabe, and South Africa remained a multiparty democracy with a free press and a vibrant economy well-integrated into the global market and immune to hasty socialist experiments. Now, with his death, his stature as a saintly wise man seems confirmed for eternity: there are Hollywood movies about him – he was impersonated by Morgan Freeman, who also, by the way, played the role of God in another film; rock stars and religious leaders, sportsmen and politicians from Bill Clinton to Fidel Castro are all united in his beatification.

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Sunday, December 01, 2013

Sherwood Ross: 10 Reasons The 9/11 Report is Properly Classified as Fiction

by Sherwood Ross, Scoop International News,  November 26, 2013

Key points in the government’s version of 9/11 events do not stand up to scientific scrutiny, according to McKnight Professor Emeritus, Dr. Jim Fetzer, a distinguished philosopher of science, who has more than 20 books on scientific reasoning, artificial intelligence and cognitive science. Fetzer formerly taught at the University of Minnesota Duluth and is the founder of Scholars for 9/11 Truth.

Writing in a new book titled, “The Dynamic Duo” (CWG Press), about the events of September 11, 2001, and to me, Fetzer offered multiple reasons as to why The 9/11 Report should be viewed as fantasy:

(1) “The government’s explanation [of the destruction of the Twin Towers] would violate laws of physics and engineering that cannot be transgressed.” Among these is that melting point of structural steel AT 2,800 F., far above the 1,700 F. of burning jet fuel. NIST studied 236 samples of steel from the WTC and found 233 had not been exposed to temperatures above 500 F. and the others not above 1,200 F. “That these towers were brought down by fuel fires is not just improbable but physically impossible.” He added, “Most Americans may not realize that no steel-structure high-rise building has ever collapsed from fire in the history of civil engineering, either before or after 9/11.”

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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Obama’s role as the US president

Nasir Khan, November 30, 2013
Now we have the expert opinions of two psychologists, Roger Buck and Dr Nick Medvecky. However, coming to the theme from a different angle, I’ll say that I have followed the politics of American presidents from the time of Eisenhower onwards. How do I see Obama? Well, Obama is not any exception to the general rule of pro-imperialism polices that his predecessors have followed. He has closely followed in the footsteps of George W. Bush, the war criminal and vicious murderer of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans. Obama has continued the policies of Bush because the superpower he leads is based on the assertion of American military power and domination. Like his predecessors Bush or Nixon, etc., his violations of international laws and international norms, the killing of foreign people with impunity, having no regard to international public opinion are very serious matters.

However, the only ‘justification’ the American rulers can resort to is their internalized holy mantra of ‘American exceptionalism’. What this means is this: American rulers can do whatever they want without being accountable to any authority in the world. We should keep in mind when Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 in Oslo, he used the occasion to tell the world that he would carry on wars! He used his high-sounding nonsensical rhetoric to defend wars to the amazement of millions around the world. His warmongering and aggressive polices he has pursued since then show he had literally meant what he said.

Tony Blair is a psychopath says Arundhati Roy – and Obama’s no better

Writer and activist Arundhati Roy, interviewed on Democracy Now ( on the tenth anniversary of the Iraq invasion, 19 March 2013. She also…

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Salim Mansur: Islam and Islamism

Islam, a religion, cannot be turned into a handmaiden of politics; when this occurs, Islam is turned into Islamism. Its defining characteristic is its intolerance of others, including Muslims, and glorification of violence against all who disagree. The conflict inside the Muslim world might be characterized as one between tyranny and freedom, even if that tyranny is packaged in God’s name. The strategically right thing to do is provide moral and material assistance to Muslims struggling against Islamists.

Since 9/11 the West has been confounded with the question whether Islam and Islamism are one and same, or if there is a critical distinction to be drawn between the two. How this question is answered has profound implications for understanding and explaining the immense convulsion seizing the Muslim world, and on how best to frame a proper response without undermining or eroding the secular and liberal democratic culture of the West.

Islamism is — from the perspective of someone born and raised within the mainstream majority Sunni Islam — an ideology fascistic and totalitarian in impulse and action, masquerading as religion. The proponents, advocates, activists and apologists of Islamism, irrespective of whatever guise these Islamists assume in public, are engaged in the sort of radical politics the West became acquainted with in the early decades of the twentieth century with the rise of Communism, Fascism and Nazism.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Richard Dawkins Debates Flying Horses with Muslims

Nasir Khan,  November 20, 2013

The discussion between the two is a non-starter because they are speaking from two different and totally opposite premisses. Mehdi Hasan, a journalist, is arguing on the basis of his ‘Islamic faith’. Therefore he feels comfortable to justify his belief in the flying horse of the Prophet Muhammad because many Muslims believe so. He doesn’t have to offer any rational explanation; his claims to his religion seem to work wonders for him, exonerating him of responsibility to offer any rational explanation in support of his standpoint. His manner of speaking and his populist assertiveness before the young audience shows he feels he has some superior knowledge which a scientist like Richard Dawkins doesn’t have! Apparently there is little ground for Dawkins to use any reasonable argument with someone who is a traditional believer in supernatural beings and miracles and has no inhibition that his beliefs run counter to all common sense and rational understanding of natural phenomenon. Here we have a clear instance of a religious person who rejects scientifc viewpoint and is immune to any rational view of the things the two were supposed to discuss.


Click on the following  link to watch the  discussion:

Richard Dawkins Debates Flying Horses with Muslims

Professor Richard Dawkins debates devout muslim Medhi Hasan about his firm belief in flying horses (Al -Buraq) Sahih Bukhari 5:58:227 “…Then a white animal…

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The misuse of political and religious power

Nasir Khan,  November 17, 2013

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

—Voltaire (1694 – 1778)

The wise words of Voltaire can be applied to a number of situations. Those who have political, economic, social and religious power over others make them believe as true which in many cases are absurd lies and misleading garbage. Accordingly, such misled people will be ready to commit all sorts of atrocities when asked to do so without any guilt or remorse. Those who have global political and military power and aggressive designs on other countries hush up the cult of patriotism and push their armies to do the patriotic duties by unleashing destructive wars in other countries while the populations at home applaud the glorious and heroic services rendered by their ‘men and women in uniform’! 

The preachers and clerics in a violence-ridden country like Pakistan use their rhetoric against other religious sects and minorities by calling them infidels (kafirs) and succeed to inflame the feelings of their congregations. Consequently, the brainwashed and misled followers of such religious preachers kill their fellow countrymen in the name of Allah, Islam and the Holy Prophet. It is obvious that ignorance produces more ignorance and in such an atmosphere of perpetual frenzy of hatred and barbarism the Shia Muslims and other religious minorities are targeted and killed.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Saudi-Israeli Tag Team

Exclusive: As the Obama administration scrambles to salvage a deal with Iran on its nuclear program, the new Saudi-Israeli alliance shows off its muscles in bending politicians and policies to its will, Robert Parry reports.

By Robert Parry

What makes the potential of the Saudi-Israeli alliance so intimidating is that Saudi Arabia and its oil-rich Arab friends have the petrodollars that can turn the heads of some leaders and even countries, while Israel can snap the whip on other politicians, especially in the U.S. Congress, through its skillful lobbying and propaganda.
We are now getting a look at exactly how this international money-and-politics game plays out as Saudi Arabia and Israel maneuver to defeat an interim agreement with Iran on freezing much of its nuclear program in exchange for some modest relief on economic sanctions.

Secretary of State John Kerry addresses reporters in Geneva on Nov. 8, 2013, after arriving for what turned out to be failed talks aimed at reaching an interim agreement on Iran's nuclear program. (Photo credit: State Department)
Secretary of State John Kerry addresses reporters in Geneva on Nov. 8, 2013, after arriving for what turned out to be failed talks aimed at reaching an interim agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. (Photo credit: State Department)

Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf neighbors lavished contracts and other financial favors on the economically hard-pressed French – and lo and behold, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius showed up at the last minute in Geneva and blew up the nuclear deal. (Last summer, the French were in lock-step with the Saudis in their eagerness to see the U.S. military start bombing Syria, an Iranian ally.)

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Time Magazine (1925): Lord Balfour and Palestine

Time Magazine (1925), November 12, 2013

Editor’s Note: In 1968, Time Magazine made available all issues of the previous years as Time Capsule. The following text was published in 1925 in Time Magazine that dealt with the question of Palestine after the Balfour Declaration (1917). The narrative of Time Magazine is of much historical interest that many observers and political analysts may find of value. There is also a lot of vital information about Lord Balfour’s political plans for Jews and Arabs in Palestine as evidenced by his contemporary journalists. I thank David Wildsmith for sending me the text as a PDF file.

Nasir Khan, Editor


In an effort to control the unrest which had existed between
Arab and Zionist communities ever since World War I, the
League of Nations made Palestine a mandate of Great Britain
in 1922. The mandate lasted until 1948.
HOSTILE ARABS: Hale and hearty at the age of 76, Arthur
James Balfour, Earl of that name, descended from his bedroom
one bright foggy morning into his electrically lit study
in his electrically lit house in Carlton Gardens, London. He
sank agedly into a chair before his writing desk, opened a cablegram from Palestine sent by the Arab Executive, political
agency of the Arabs, read:

“Realizing that the Balfour Declaration contains a policy
that is fatal to Palestine, the Arab Executive has passed the
following resolution:

" ‘Inhabitants who are victims of the aforesaid policy will
withhold the reception otherwise due to Lord Balfour. On
the day of his arrival, meetings will be held in places of worship
for protest and prayer. Representatives of Arab bodies
will refrain from meeting him publicly or privately. The authorities
responsible for the Holy Places and national institutions
will withhold leave of access to them. Arabic
papers will appear with black borders and brief comments
in English on the Balfour Declaration. Political authorities
in Arab countries will associate themselves with the said protests and prayers. 
The Palestine Government is notified that
it will be responsible for consequences resulting from Jewish
demonstrations, public or private, authorized or unauthorized.’”
Why this hostility? The Balfour Declaration of 1917 had
declared that “His Majesty’s Government view with favor
the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish
people,” but specifically stipulated that “nothing shall
be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights
of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”

The letter and the spirit of this agreement have been carried
out, according to British and Jewish sources. But the
fact remains that the British Government has tacitly undertaken
to reconcile what are essentially irreconcilable peoples and policies. Within Palestine, which is about the same size as the state of New Hampshire, there are about 757,182 people, of whom 77% are Moslems (most of them Arabs), I l % Jews, 9 % Christians, and 3% other religions.

The Moslems view with considerable alarm the infiltration
of the thrifty Jews, and since Britain tries ineffectually to
side with both, a further issue between Arab and Britisher
is created.

The Arab, as he has been in possession of the country for
centuries, regards himself as a national of Palestine and consequently 
is opposed to the Jews coming into the country
and considering themselves equally Palestine nationals. This
resentment is heightened by the fact that the Arabs, although
owning most of the land, are poor; while the Jews seemingly
have unlimited wealth behind them, which comes in from
the Zionist organization.

The Arab is opposed, as he always has been, to change;
and the one thing that the Jews are doing is changing the
whole aspect of the land. The Jews, for the most part, settle
on the swamps and the dry sand belts. The swamps they
drain and the sand patches they fertilize and irrigate. In
these things the Arab finds good material for a constant
stream of propaganda against the Jews, whom he charges
with pursuing a policy calculated to drive the Arab from
the country. Therefore, so long as the Balfour Declaration remains in force, 
all good Arabs must refuse to cooperate with the British Administration.

MANHATTAN TO HAIFA: It was a historic occasion marked by the
 presence of 5,000 excited Jews, for the president Arthur
was inaugurating a new steamship line with a sailing for
Haifa, the port of Jerusalem, and carrying the flag of Judea
(six-pointed star of David) on the high seas for the first
time in 2,000 years. Men and women wept from emotion
and when they were not weeping they were singing Hatikvah,
Zionist anthem, or The Star-Spangled Banner.

Considerable difficulty was experienced in getting visitors
off the boat, and as a result it was nearly an hour late in sailing.
Finally, an official of the Line pleaded that, if the boat
did not catch the tide, the company would lose $15,000.
Soon after this, the President Arthur weighed anchor.

lN THE PROMTSED LAND: Last week, nearly seven and a half
years after the Earl of Balfour had issued his declaration favoring the establishment of Palestine as a national home for the Jewish people, he entered a special railway car provided by the Palestine Government and was whisked off across
the Suez Canal from Cairo to the holy land of two religions:
Judaism, Christianity.

Lord Balfour went to Jerusalem. On a spur of the Mount
of Olives, known as Mt. Scopus, stands the Hebrew University
which he had come to open-which all Zionist Jewry
considers of the utmost importance in the growth of what
may be called modern Israel. He was met enthusiastically
by the Jewish communities and by the Arabs with a parade
of mourning and the silence of grief, a protest against the Balfour Declaration.
Before the opening ceremony took place, he visited Jaffa,
motored to its suburb Tel-Aviv, a purely Jewish town where,
it is said, everybody lives by doing someone else’s washing’
Everywhere the veteran Earl was received in manifest goodwill.
The great day came. Hawkers sold “Balfour biscuits”‘
“Balfour keftas” (rissoles), “Balfour chocolate,” which was
not strange in a land which has a model village named Balfouria. Dr. Chaim Weizmann, President of the World Zionist Organization, declared the University open’ Then Lord Balfour arose and the ovation was such that the walls of the amphitheatre were endangered.At length – silence.

Lord Balfour spoke in his best Eton and Cambridge manner,
dwelt upon the significance i:f the event which had
brought people from all the earth’s cubbyholes’ The speech
ended on a Balfourian note: a graceful, tactful, courageous
plea for Arab goodwill and cooperation. 

LAST LAP: The last lap of Lord Balfour’s visit to the Holy
Land proved more exciting than the first and ended with regrettable suddenness. The Earl and his party had proceeded
from Jerusalem to Nazareth and Haifa in a sort of triumphal
tour. A tall points, he was met by enthusiastic Jewish colonists;
Arabs appeared to inform him that they lived peacefully
with their Jewish neighbors. 

Over the border in Syria (French mandate), things were different. At Damascus, a furious mob twice attacked his
hotel. The second onslaught, which started in “The Street
That Is Called Straight,” almost ended in a disaster, for when
the gendarmes had nearly been overpowered French troops
appeared and spanked off, with the flats of their swords’
the seething crowd, which was yelling “Down with Balfour!,”

An hour or so after the second attack, Lord Balfour was
spirited from the spot in a high-powered automobile and
only reappeared at Beirut, where he boarded a ship bound
for Alexandria, Egypt.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Lord Balfour, A Promise Of Bloodshed And Massacres

Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center, No. 10, 2013

It was a day like this day, 96 years ago, on November 2, 1917, when Britain decided to shift away its “problem”, and promise the Jews a homeland in Palestine. The Arab land that was under cruel and violent British occupation. Britain was not trying to be good to the Jews, but surely managed to look good doing it.

Back then, the Jews have been facing some of the ugliest forms of cruelty, racism and hatred, in Europe, especially in the Britain that calls itself the Great.

Britain decided to grant the Jews a homeland in Palestine, a homeland that Britain did not own, a land that Britain ruled by force, by military might, and by massacres and crimes.

Continues >>

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Richard Falk: Situation in Gaza is almost catastrophic

November 3, 2013 by occupiedpalestine

richard falk

Al Ray Agencies | Nov 3, 2013

An independent United Nations human rights expert on Wednesday held a press conference and warned that developments in the Middle East region, “particularly in Egypt, have made the situation in Gaza one that is a point of near catastrophe.”
Addressing journalists at UN Headquarters, the Special Rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, Richard Falk noted that because of the situation in Egypt, Palestinians now face increased isolation, lack of access to healthcare and other services, and are facing an uncertain future.

In his second main point of his report to the General Assembly’s Third Committee, the Special Rapporteur reiterated that the settlements are unlawful according to the Fourth Geneva Convention and pointed out that financial institutions and real estate companies involved with housing settlements in occupied Palestinian territory may be held criminally accountable.

He told reporters that “it was appropriate and essential to implement the unlawfulness by encouraging corporations to withdraw their profit-making activities from the settlements.”

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Marx’s view of supernatural beings

 By Nasir Khan,  October 29, 2013

“A non-objective being is a non-being.”

—Karl Marx (1818 – 1883)

In one pithy sentence in the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, Karl Marx said something of unique philosophical importance that had occupied the minds of so many learned people for thousands of years and it still does. Among such people have been philosophers, mystics, theologians and visionaries who discussed the questions relating to supernatural beings for thousands of years. Their ideas and views have captivated countless generations of human beings and have filled millions of books. We see every year many thousand more volumes are added to the same old question. But Marx like a flash of lightening saw the reality of the fiction and put all that matter to rest. Any possible thing that is non-objective is non-being.

Kemal Ataturk’s secular legacy and Islamist fanatics

By Nasir Khan, October 29, 2013

Kemal Ataturk was the first Muslim ruler who understood that religion and State have to be separated in the interest of the people. He had seen the decadent Ottoman Caliphate and the abysmal stagnation of the State and society under its Sultans and Caliphs. For a long time the decaying Turkey was regarded as the ‘Sick Man of Europe’ by the European powers. They simply didn’t know what to do with this lifeless giant!

After abolishing the Caliphate, Kemal introduced far reaching reforms in the Turkish Republic. He didn’t force anyone to give up Islam; to follow and practise a religion, Islam in this case, was a personal matter; the State had nothing to do with it. The State was to be secular, which means the State had no religion and it did not interfere with the religion/ religions of the Turkish people in any way.

If the rest of the Muslim countries who gained independence from the colonial powers had followed the example set by Kemal then we would have seen a different world map. But instead the manipulators of Islam and reactionary ideologues of Islamism (Abul Al Maududi, Hassan al-Banna, Sayyid Qutb, etc. etc.) used Islam to push vast populations into ignorance and darkness. That’s where at present stand the vast majorities of the Islamic counties of the Middle East, Iran, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, etc. etc.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

India – Laboratory of Fascism: Capital, Labour and Environment in Modi’s Gujarat

How is the fascism of the Sangh Parivar going to be utilised for capital?


We are caught in a false debate in which the reality is presented in an erroneous perception. Narendra Modi, the perpetrator of 2002 carnage is counter posed with Mr. Modi the “development leader”. We call it a false debate, since for us, who have lived and grown in Gujarat over the past five decades the two aspects are actually the same – that of fascist. And we use the label of fascist for Modi with utmost seriousness and with full awareness of what the term involves. Of course, we have a different situation in India today, compared to Italy or Germany in the 1920s and 1930s. Then, bourgeois parliamentary democracy was not too deep-rooted in those countries. By contrast, despite the efforts of Maoists on the extreme left and fascists on the extreme right, parliamentary democracy has struck considerably greater roots. This has had implications for the far left as well as the far right. Our concern today is the far right.

Since the Sangh Parivar has been consigned by fate to operate within ‘bourgeois democracy’ for a far longer time than it had originally envisaged (in 1947-48 it had clearly planned for a fairly swift grab for power, creating a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ analogous to Jinnah’s plan for a ‘Islamic State’), it has been compelled to split its operations. The BJP, as the electoral arm, has to look “moderate”. Of course, it is “moderate” only if one argues that a hyena is moderate compared to a wolf-pack. One should remember that the Mr. L. K. Advani, hailed these days as a “Statesman”, was seen as aggressive as against the “moderate” Mr. Vajpayee back in 1989-1992.

Continues >>

Friday, October 18, 2013

Conversions in Gujarat: Whom Does Modi Represent?

by Badri Raina,   Sri Lanka Guardian, October 17, 2013

 In the wake of his conflict with Gandhi over the caste/Dalit question, B.R.Ambedkar, later to be the chief architect of India’s Constitution making, had determined, as early as 1935—the year the Government of India Act was passed—to leave the Hindu fold.

Upon a deeply considered evaluation of the social content of all major religious faiths, Ambedkar chose the Buddhist faith as the most befitting social/spiritual anchor because of the explicit rejection in the Buddhist Dhamma of all constructions of inequality among humankind. And a full two decades after his first resolve to abandon Hinduism, on October 14, 1956, this agonized doyen of the downtrodden took his vows at Nagpur alongwith some 3,80,000 Dalits, the date of his conversion recalling the conversion of the Maurya King, Ashok, to Buddhism after his revulsion at the massacres at the battle of Kalinga, third century B.C.

It must be tellingly ironical that a full half century after Ambedkar’s conversion the next mass exodus of Dalits from Hinduism should have occurred just a few days ago in the land of Moditva/Hindutva at Junagarh in Gujarat. At this event, some 100,000 took their Buddhist vows, which include the clear enunciation by the convertees that “Ram and Krishna are not (our) gods.”

Pointedly, this mass rejection of Hinduism has not taken place in some Indian state where scant claims are made for “Hindu nationalism,” but in the one state of Gujarat which under Modi has sought over a decade to consolidate Hindutva. Just to recall, not too long ago, Modi defined himself unproblematically as a “Hindu nationalist,” leaving many to wonder whether others might then define themselves as “Muslim or Christian or Sikh nationalists” without causing Hindutva hackles to go up.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Luis Lazaro Tijerina, October 17, 2013

This  poem Luis Lazaro Tijerina  wrote for Vo Nguyen Giap on his 100th Birthday two years before he passed away this year on October 4, 2013.


The great son of Vietnam,
how you traveled through the long years
from your village of An Xa, in Quāng Bihn province,
where beautiful orchids and the great Gianh
Rivers, and the Ron and Ly Hoa rivers, flow to the sea
and where the high mountain summits,
Peak Co Rilata and Peak Co Preu,
are covered with green…
Military history and philosophy were your guides,
hidden volcanoes under the swirling snows of the living.
How is it that you have remained so young?
Your mentor Ho Chi Minh, your victory at Dien Bien Phu,
Now memories of the ancient past.
You once said, “My spirit is still young, my heart still remains young.”
On your hundredth birthday,
passed in obscurity
in an Army Hospital in Hanoi,
I send you this bright flower
to go with your gem-stoned Thang Long Dragon.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Robert Parry: Israeli-Saudi Alliance Slips into View, October 12, 2013
Exclusive: The Israeli-Saudi détente is slowly emerging from the shadows, with a media report on a secret Jerusalem meeting and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s oblique reference in his UN speech. But this powerhouse collaboration could mean trouble for U.S. diplomacy in the Mideast, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

On Aug. 29, when I published an article entitled “The Saudi-Israeli Superpower” describing an emerging odd-couple alliance between those two traditional enemies, the story was met with skepticism in some quarters. But, increasingly, this secret alliance is going public.

On Oct. 2, Israel’s Channel 2 TV news reportedthat senior Israeli security officials met with a high-level Gulf state counterpart in Jerusalem, believed to be Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the former Saudi ambassador to the United States and now head of Saudi intelligence.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief, meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

And, a day before that TV report, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted at the new relationship in his United Nations General Assembly speech, which was largely devoted to excoriating Iran over its nuclear program and threatening a unilateral Israeli military strike.

Continues >>

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Eternal Glory to The Legendary General Vo Nguyen Giap (1911-2013)

Nasir Khan, October 6, 2013

Neither high, nor very far
Neither emperor, nor king,
You are only a little milestone,
Which stands at the edge of the highway.
To people passing by
You point the right direction,
And stop them from getting lost.
You tell them of the distance
For which they still must journey.
Your service is not a small one.
And people will always remember you.

-Ho Chi Minh – Prison Diary

Vietnam’s great revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh aptly points to the services of a milestone. Sometimes some human beings become such milestones and people remember them in gratitude. One such man was General Vo Nguyen Giap, who died on 4 October 2013. He was a titan of military science and a far-sighted revolutionary who played a decisive part in the liberation of Vietnam. The people of Vietnam under their great revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh (1890-1969), his comrades and able lieutenants, carried a heroic struggle for the liberation of their country. No doubt, among his military commanders General Giap was the most outstanding military strategist. He was also a scholar who chose military vocation to serve his nation.

Under his command, the Vietnam People’s Army fought two major wars: The First Indo-China War (1946-1954) and the Vietnam War (1960-1975). During the First Indo-China War, he led many battles. Among them was the famous Battle of Dien Bien Phu (1954) that sealed the fate of the French colonial masters in Indo-China. Before the brilliant and innovative war plans and tactics of Giap, the French were helpless. Then came the US imperialists to impose their rule, by bolstering their stooges in South Vietnam. Despite their enormous losses fighting when against a superpower and its brutal war-machine, the Vietnam People’s Army continued their heroic struggle against a vicious invader. Americans used their destructive military and air power to destroy Vietnam as much as they could; the devastation they caused was horrifying.

When in 1972, Nixon and his War Mafia started their relentless bombing of Hanoi and mined Haiphong to crush the Vietnamese patriotic people once for all, many students and political activists in various parts of the world had sympathy and solidarity with the the people of Vietnam; they opposed US war of aggression. They saw a genocidal American war becoming more and more like Hitler’s war on the Eastern front. The question was: Will Vietnam be able to survive such barbarous bombings? It was a deeply troubling period for many and in the life of this writer.

During this intensive bombing by B-52 bombers, came the news that General Giap had been killed in an aerial attack. That was the last thing any friend of the Vietnamese people wanted to hear. What will happen if the general was nor more? That was the question and there was no easy answer to it. The situation was fraught with great danger for the revolutionary forces. And we who stood for the national liberation of Vietnam were tormented. However, soon it became clear that the rumours of his death were part of the Nixon administration’s disinformation. Tricky Dicky and his Secretary Kissinger were past masters in such methods! But for this writer the news of the general being alive was a great relief; it also meant the master strategist will carry on as before, which he did.

President Ho Chi Minh who had died in 1969 was not able to able to see the unification of his country. But the patriotic people of the the Democratic Republic of Vietnam were sure to defeat American imperialists who had made Vietnam their killing fields. The divided country was united and the heroic Viet Cong prevailed. The United States imperialism had for the first time been defeated by the people of Vietnam. The role of General Giap in laying the strategy and winning the war was pivotal.

The name and work of this military genius and scholar will always live in the hearts and minds of all freedom-loving people, everywhere. Eternal Glory to General Giap!

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Nasir Khan: Two Sides of Democracy in Pakistan

Nasir Khan, October 1, 2013

Democracy in Pakistan has two sides. For the majority, it is not more than a word which brings little comfort or change in their life. But despite all the problems and poverty in this life, they remain fully convinced of a glorious life hereafter. Their religious mentors and preachers have managed to instil such rosy prospects in their minds that they envision such a life of abundance and happiness as the ultimate prize in the eternal life. For my part, I wish them well when they get there.

But for a tiny minority it means much more: it means power, political, social and above all economic. Therefore, when they have political power in Pakistan they live a regal existence in their luxurious dwellings and manor houses surrounded by friends and allies. No doubt, this spectacle impresses friends and foes alike. They are looked upon as the uncrowned kings and queens of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

But when they lose power in some shabby election or military coup then they continue to enjoy grand living in or outside Pakistan, in places like Dubai, England, France, etc. in their luxurious houses and palaces. Money is never a problem for them. The unlimited ill-gotten millions of dollars stacked in Swiss or other European banks keep them happy and content. As a favour to the Pakistani majority, they only wait to take possession again of the Presidential house or Prime Minister’s office!

Let’s not forget that Uncle Sam is always there to support them or disown them for their full loyalty or any suspicious move on their part. Even our Pakistani intellectuals eulogise this uncle. How could Pakistan have survived without American money, its patronage of some in Pakistan or without its Drone attacks, they ask.

In addition, just out of their far-sightedness, our royals keep new generation of political successors close at hand and sometimes they anoint them for the future role well in advance. During all this the vast majority keeps on chanting: Long Live this one or that one; Long Live Pakistan! Allah-o-Akbar!!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Nasir Khan: The Liberation of Women in Islamic Societies

  Nasir Khan, September 30, 2013
In various old cultures and religions women were reduced to a low status for thousands of years. The male-dominated system or patriarchy imposed inhuman chains on them and they (men) justified these by appealing to social customs, traditions and religious mantras, which however remained under their control. But only over the course of the last 150 years or so the movement for women’s rights started in earnest and gradually gained important civic and political rights for women in Europe and North America. The struggle for the gender equality and gaining proper social status for women in all spheres of life including jobs and professions is still continuing in Europe and America.

But Islamic world has remained outside such liberating movements and influences. The task of gaining full human rights of women is a human task, a task in which both both men and women have to take part. Women are marginalised in Islamic world; therefore they need the support of enlightened men in struggle for the liberation of women and thus help break the inhuman chains of degradation and discrimination. We can’t expect ignorant clergy and conservative people to do much in this area; they stand for status quo and continued oppression of women. The role of progressive women in making Muslim people aware of the situation is immensely important because without their active work nothing much will change. It takes time to realise that the liberation of women is also the liberation of men from their nefarious role of domination and control. Thus the liberation of women is also the liberation of men and this social reality needs to be publicised widely.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Nasir Khan: The Sharia Laws Or Modern Legal System

Nasir Khan, September 28, 2013

Those who are well-acquainted with the Sharia laws and modern legal systems should be in a position to show what the Sharia laws of Islam are and how they are inadequate to protect and safeguard people and their rights in these times. No doubt, during the early period of Islamic rule, the system of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqah) that developed had its basis in the Qur’anic legislation and they were progressive and innovative according to the standards of those times. Prominent Muslim juristists (fuqhah) used various devices, such as ijtihad, analogy, istihsan, ijma, istidlal, to extend the laws and their application. But around the 13th century things changed and Islamic jurisprudence came to a standstill. It was no more able to move with the changing times. And that condition still prevails. In addition, the Sharia law has become more regressive and inequitable in places where it has been enforced, especially in matters of women’s rights, male domination, criminal offences, etc. etc.

Many ordinary people who have their traditional Islamic identity and customs don’t have the slightest clue about the Sharia laws. Their way of thinking is shaped not by any independent thinking or observation but by what they hear in the sermons of their clergy and religious preachers. Their thinking in such matters is very simple: The Sharia laws are made by God; therefore they are always the best for all! Once they become the laws in our countries, justice and truth will prevail; injustice and violations of human rights will disappear. The true rule of God on earth will appear. The lion and the goat will drink water from the same pond!

In sum, this is all what they think and nothing more. But unfortunately all this is illusory and has no basis in reality. Now the big question is: How to remove such day-dreaming and misunderstandings? The answer lies in giving the correct information. That involves a gradual and systematic educational process. This can be performed by those who know the inadequacy of the Sharia laws that don’t and can’t meet the needs of people in this age. To do so is not an easy task for many reasons. However, it is essential to impart such information in a polite and humane way without resorting to abusive or aggressive language or making any attacks on traditional religious beliefs and customs. 

Ishtiaq Ahmed: On the Partition of India in 1947

September 27, 2013

Editor’s Comment: In this article Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed continues to explore various political issues that led to the unfortunate partition of India whose consequences have proved to be only negative from the point of view of the common people on both sides of the border. The events leading to the partition and the role of Muslim and Hindu leaders are presented in a judicious manner, without the usual bravado we often meet in writers who surpass in embellishing their narratives with emotive rhetoric while consigning historical authenticity to some dark corner.

Some of the facts the author presents are known to old historians and observers but the younger generations in Pakistan and India are hardly aware of these historical facts. In a clear and methodical way, the author shows the true picture of the role of the Muslim League, the Congress and their leaders. In Pakistan it may also come as a surprise to some that what they have learnt in their history books was so different from what Dr Ahmed says!

Clearly our iconic figures do not seem to have been so far-sighted or great minds, whose concern was the interest of the masses and the downtrodden. They represented elitist classes and power politics that was to ensure the domination of feudal and propertied classes over the vast majority. And in the new land but with ancient historical and cultural roots, politics was to become a power game in the hands of a tiny minority, civil and military. And they all played the ‘Islam Card’ for their personal ends but pushed the country into the abyss of ignorance and darkness. That’s where we find us now.

Nasir Khan, Editor


Splitting India II

By Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed, The Friday Times, Sept. 27 – Oct. 3, 2013 Issue

In my article dated 20 September 2012, I had inadvertently given February 1940 as the date for the fall of Singapore. It was February 1942. That mistake, however, does not detract from the fact that the British were determined from the very start of WW II, and especially after the Congress ministries resigned in September 1939, to crush any challenge to their hold over the Indian empire which was a matter of great pride for them and a major supplier of troops for the war. These resignations were a major Congress miscalculation whose damage to their political influence was second only to the even more disastrous Quit India movement they launched in August 1942. These two decisions greatly undermined their ability to influence the course of the freedom struggle as all their cadres were incarcerated from August 1942 to June 1945.

During that absence from the political arena the Muslim League swept the key north-western provinces of Punjab and Sindh and made inroads into NWFP with their message that the creation of Pakistan would bring to an end the tyranny of the caste system and the economic exploitation of the moneylender. Thus the creation of Pakistan appeared to be a rational choice to the Muslims and they expressed it in the 1946 provincial elections when they voted overwhelmingly in favour of Pakistan.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Islamists and their distorted version of Islam

Nasir Khan, September 26, 2013

For the last two three decades the term ‘Islamist’ has commonly been used in political discourse. It stands for those misguided and indoctrinated ignorant Muslims whose aim is to impose their fanatical versions of Islam on others. But we should keep in mind that Islam as a world religion is followed by people with different world-outlooks who are divided into numerous sects. Furthermore, these followers have varying interpretations of the role of political power, about the leaders of the Islamic community (the Ummah), rights and obligations of the rulers and the ruled, etc. etc. These view of Islamic law, Sharia, cover civil and criminal law that again are subject to four main schools of jurisprudence within the Sunni jurisprudence while the Shias have their own jurisprudence. There is little chance of any unity of ideas amongst them.

What is most alarming about the Islamists’ general world-view is their negation of the universal dimension and inherent tolerance of this great religion. Instead they put forward a narrow and anti-social version that goes against all principles of democracy, respect for religious minorities and inculcate discrimination against the followers of other faiths. The whole process can be termed as creating mental and religious ghettos, absolutely closed to rational thought but hell-bent on myopic divisions. In such a suffocating universe there is no room for mutual accommodation, acceptance of secularism in a multi-religious and multi-cultural world in which we live in Europe and some parts of America. The Islamists misuse of Islam is a dangerous phenomenon for democracy and common social and political values of the present age.