Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Not that this should be the main objection, but a friend pointed out to me that not only is Israel slaughtering innocents, but making it much more likely that we in the U.S. will be slaughtered as well by the terrorist attacks that this will surely engender.

A New Low for the New York Times: Ethan Bronner on Gaza

By the Angry One

First, notice that Bronner goes out of his way several times in the article to list the targets of Israel bombing to assure the readers that all are terrorist targets: “his air force struck at the organization’s civic institutions—the Islamic University, Interior Ministry and presidential guesthouse.” Yet he is made to admit: “The death toll surpassed 350, some 60 of them civilians, according to United Nations officials.”

But he then moves quickly to report to you about the horrors of Hamas bombing of Israel, and at one point I almost expected him to report that Hamas fighter jets were bombing the Israeli coast.

At least a quarter of the dead are civilians

Speaking earlier today on the growing death toll in the Gaza Strip, United Nations Relief and Works Agency spokesman Christopher Gunness said that “a minimum of 25 percent of all those killed are civilians,” adding that “it may well be far higher.”

At present count, that would put the minimum civilian toll in the Gaza Strip at roughly 100 killed. 1,900 people have also been reported wounded, though so far there is no breakdown of civilians and militants in the wounded toll.

Fairouz: We will return

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Palestine's Guernica and the Myths of Israeli Victimhood

What has and is occurring is nothing short of a war crime, yet the Israeli public relations machine is in full-swing, churning out lies by the minute.

Once and for all it is time to expose the myths that they have created.

I already posted this on the Palestinian Pundit, but TGIA asked me to post it here.

Palestine's Guernica and the Myths of Israeli Victimhood

What has and is occurring is nothing short of a war crime, yet the Israeli public relations machine is in full-swing, churning out lies by the minute.

Once and for all it is time to expose the myths that they have created.

Monday, December 29, 2008

I used to have a desire to argue with Zionists, to confront them, to try to change their minds (American Zionists more than actual israelis), but I've lost that. If I ever hear someone say something in support of Israel again, I will just walk away. If they haven't learned already, they never will. But if they ask me why I turned away, you better believe I'll tell them.

I'm glad at least some (one?) Jews are waking up

Today I end my support of Israel by "Chilean Jew"

I'm Jewish and descendant of holocaust survivors. Moreover, I've been a Zionist all of my life. I went to a Zionist school, I was active in Zionist youth groups. I've always been a fervent supporter of Israel as a refuge for Jews around the world who seek a place to exercise their traditions and embrace their identity in peace.

Via As'ad- Nir Rosen: Gaza: the logic of colonial power

Terrorism is a normative term and not a descriptive concept. An empty word that means everything and nothing, it is used to describe what the Other does, not what we do. The powerful – whether Israel, America, Russia or China – will always describe their victims' struggle as terrorism, but the destruction of Chechnya, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, the slow slaughter of the remaining Palestinians, the American occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan – with the tens of thousands of civilians it has killed … these will never earn the title of terrorism, though civilians were the target and terrorising them was the purpose.
I feel too upset about the news to post. I invited TGIA to post, but it must be night in Australia. I hope Yasmin isn't stuck in transit somewhere.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Good article from Johann Hari: The True Story Behind This War is Not the One Israel is Telling

There will now be a war over the story of this war. The Israeli government says: we withdrew from Gaza in 2005, and in return we got Hamas and Qassam rockets being rained on our cities. Some 16 civilians have been murdered. How many more are we supposed to sacrifice? It is a plausible narrative, and there are shards of truth in it - but it is also filled with holes. If we want to understand the reality and really stop the rockets, we need to rewind a few years, and view the runway to this war dispassionately.

From Amira Hass

S. saw the results of some of Saturday's bombings when he visited a friend whose office is located near Gaza City's police headquarters. One person killed in that attack was Hassan Abu Shnab, the eldest son of former senior Hamas official Ismail Abu Shnab.

The elder Abu Shnab, whom Israel assassinated five years ago, was one of the first Hamas politicians to speak in favor of a two-state solution. Hassan worked as a clerk at the local university and played in the police band for fun. He was performing at a police graduation ceremony on Saturday when the bomb struck.

"Seventy policemen were killed there, not all Hamas members," said S., who opposes Hamas.

But they're all thugs and terrorists, right?
By the way, Anand said he will not be commenting here any longer.
from Haaretz, Zvi Barel writes: "Six months ago Israel asked and received a cease-fire from Hamas. It unilaterally violated it when it blew up a tunnel, while still asking Egypt to get the Islamic group to hold its fire." Yet the U.S. media refers that only Hamas violated the ceasefire.
It's times like this that I wish I were religious. It would be a comfort.
Zionists are thinking 290 down, 3.9 million to go (I'm assuming they don't care about the ones in the Lebanon, Syria or Jordan too much).
The crazy thing is, the Israelis really could have peace if they wanted it. They could pull out of the West Bank totally, and let them be a normal state without any of the unacceptable provisos like retaining control of WB water and air space. Not that I agree with this solution, but it would pretty much stop attacks. Why don't they do this? My guesses:

1. A good portion of the population is religious loonies who believe God gave them ALL of Palestine.
2. They need or think they need the water under the West Bank.
3. For most of the atheist Israelis, although they may not be religious in the traditional sense, their Zionism is religious in its irrationality and absolutism.
4. Their racism (well, Zionism is racism of course).
5. Part of the Israelis' identity is about fighting their enemies (this is not true in the diaspora, part, if not most of our identity rests on thinking everybody hating us, but not fighting back).

Saturday, December 27, 2008

An eye for an eyelash.

During the first intifada, it was 5 Palestinians killed for every Israeli. During the second, it was 20 to one. Now it is 200 to zero.


Gaza massacres must spur us to action

By Ali AbuNimah

What the media never question is Israel's idea of a truce.
It is very simple. Under an Israeli-style truce,
Palestinians have the right to remain silent while Israel
starves them, kills them and continues to violently
colonize their land. Israel has not only banned food and
medicine to sustain Palestinian bodies in Gaza but it is
also intent on starving minds: due to the blockade, there
is not even ink, paper and glue to print textbooks for

That is an Israeli truce. Any response to Israeli attacks
-- whether peaceful protests against the apartheid wall in
Bilin and Nilin in the West Bank is met with bullets and
bombs. There are no rockets launched at Israel from the
West Bank, and yet Israel's attacks, killings, land theft,
settler pogroms and kidnappings never ceased for one
single day during the truce. The Palestinian Authority in
Ramallah has acceded to all of Israel's demands, even
assembling "security forces" to fight the resistance on
Israel's behalf. None of that has spared a single
Palestinian or her property or livelihood from Israel's
relentless violent colonization. It did not save, for
instance, the al-Kurd family from seeing their home of 50
years in occupied East Jerusalem demolished on 9 November,
so the land it sits on could be taken by settlers.

Once again we are watching massacres in Gaza, as we did
last March when 110 Palestinians, including dozens of
children, were killed by Israel in just a few days. Once
again people everywhere feel rage, anger and despair that
this outlaw state carries out such crimes with impunity.

On top of the intense anger and sadness so many people
feel at Israel's renewed mass killings in Gaza is a sense
of frustration that there seem to be so few ways to
channel it into a political response that can change the
course of events, end the suffering, and bring justice.

But there are ways, and this is a moment to focus on them.
Already I have received notices of demonstrations and
solidarity actions being planned in cities all over the
world. That is important. But what will happen after the
demonstrations disperse and the anger dies down? Will we
continue to let Palestinians in Gaza die in silence?

Palestinians everywhere are asking for solidarity, real
solidarity, in the form of sustained, determined political
action. The Gaza-based One Democratic State Group
reaffirmed this today as it "called upon all civil society
organizations and freedom loving people to act immediately
in any possible way to put pressure on their governments
to end diplomatic ties with Apartheid Israel and institute
sanctions against it."

The global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement for
Palestine ( provides the
framework for this. Now is the time to channel our raw
emotions into a long-term commitment to make sure we do
not wake up to "another Gaza" ever again.

Israel slaughters over 200, any chance of peace

Just hours after Israeli President Shimon Peres insisted his nation had no plans to ignite a war in the Gaza Strip and urged Arab nations to appoint “peace envoys” for the crisis, the Israeli military launched an unprecedented attack on the Gaza Strip.

The attack, dubbed “Operation Cast Lead” by the Israeli military after a Hanukkah poem, targeted police stations across the strip, killing Hamas security officials (reportedly including police chief Major-General Tawfik Jaber) and nearby civilians. The toll at present count was 195 killed and 270 wounded, according to a Hamas spokesman.

The attacks are expected to continue, with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak vowing “the operation will last as long as necessary” and promising to widen the campaign from its already enormous scale.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Aramaic religious song

There is something seriously wrong with 90 million Americans

31 percent of American say Bush has been a good president.

I wish we could give them...Alaska.
I asked my family to give to this organization in lieu of personal gifts this year.

Bread lines in Gaza


In Egypt, 2008 can easily be labeled the woman's year. In addition to numerous new legislations championing women’s rights, 2008 saw the first female marriage registrar, the first female village mayor and the first sexual harassment case brought to court by a young woman.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Fairuz singing a Christmas song

For atheists today

Some years ago, the evolutionist and atheist Richard Dawkins pointed out to me that Sir Isaac Newton, the founder of modern physics and mathematics, and arguably the greatest scientist of all time, was born on Christmas Day, and that therefore Newton’s Birthday could be an alternative, if somewhat nerdy, excuse for a winter holiday.

The top censored stories of 2008

#1. Over One Million Iraqi Deaths Caused by US Occupation
# 2 Security and Prosperity Partnership: Militarized NAFTA
# 3 InfraGard: The FBI Deputizes Business
# 4 ILEA: Is the US Restarting Dirty Wars in Latin America?
# 5 Seizing War Protesters’ Assets
# 6 The Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act
# 7 Guest Workers Inc.: Fraud and Human Trafficking
# 8 Executive Orders Can Be Changed Secretly
#9 Iraq and Afghanistan Vets Testify
# 10 APA Complicit in CIA Torture
# 11 El Salvador’s Water Privatization and the Global War on Terror
# 12 Bush Profiteers Collect Billions From No Child Left Behind
# 13 Tracking Billions of Dollars Lost in Iraq
# 14 Mainstreaming Nuclear Waste
# 15 Worldwide Slavery

read it

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!


Across the Middle East, young people like Mr. Fawaz, angry, alienated and deprived of opportunity, have accepted Islam as an agent of change and rebellion. It is their rock ’n’ roll, their long hair and love beads. Through Islam, they defy the status quo and challenge governments seen as corrupt and incompetent.

In their own words

"Because we know as Arabs that we never knew justice, never knew refinement, never knew superiority whether it is political or social or in any field, without Islam. Islam was always the solution. Islam is what elevated us. So if we are only directed to Islam, we will be liberated from many things. We will be liberated from Western domination, our society will grow economically, our political dealings, whether internally or externally, we will be stronger in our external dealings and even in our internal political affairs it will be better because Islam will abolish many bad things like the wasta for example. Islam will abolish it. So like they say, Islam is the solution."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Americans now doing the work “Americans won’t do.”

"the situation is getting more difficult by the day," says Salvador Perez, a 45-year-old Mexican day laborer who has been in the U.S. since 2003. "I like this country for the work opportunity, but now I can barely scrape together a few dollars to send home to my family after paying for rent and food."

Latin American workers bore the brunt of the collapse of the construction sector, which employs 20% to 30% of all foreign-born Hispanics in this country. As the housing market tumbled last year, they lost jobs in ever-greater numbers.

Competition has become fierce even in agriculture, where farmers had struggled in recent years to hire enough immigrants to harvest crops, sometimes letting fruit wither on the vine.

Growers across the country are reporting that farmhands are plentiful; in fact, they are turning down potential field workers. "For the first time since 9/11, we have applicants in excess of our requirements,"

Pope likens "saving" gays to saving the rainforest, calls gays a "wound"

Pope Benedict said on Monday that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behavior was just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction.

"(The Church) should also protect man from the destruction of himself. A sort of ecology of man is needed," the pontiff said in a holiday address to the Curia, the Vatican's central administration.

Could he really be unaware that at least 3/4 of his clergy is gay?

Human trafficking in every US city

The reality is that human trafficking goes on in nearly every American city and town, said Lisette Arsuaga, director of development for the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, a human rights organization in Los Angeles.

Arabs lavished jewels on Rice

President George W. Bush's foreign policies may be unpopular in the Middle East, but Arab leaders showered his top diplomat with jewelry worth far more than a quarter of a million dollars last year. While Bush himself didn't fare nearly as well, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice raked in at least $316,000 in gem-encrusted baubles from the kings of Jordan and Saudi Arabia alone, making her one of top recipients among U.S. officials of gifts from foreign heads of state and government and their aides in 2007.

In January, Jordan's King Abdullah II gave Rice an emerald and diamond necklace, ring, bracelet and earrings estimated to be worth $147,000, according to the State Department's annual inventory of such items released Monday just in time for Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Where'd the bailout money go? Shhhh, it's a secret

It's something any bank would demand to know before handing out a loan: Where's the money going?
But after receiving billions in aid from U.S. taxpayers, the nation's largest banks say they can't track exactly how they're spending the money or they simply refuse to discuss it.
"We've lent some of it. We've not lent some of it. We've not given any accounting of, 'Here's how we're doing it,'" said Thomas Kelly, a spokesman for JPMorgan Chase, which received $25 billion in emergency bailout money. "We have not disclosed that to the public. We're declining to."
The Associated Press contacted 21 banks that received at least $1 billion in government money and asked four questions: How much has been spent? What was it spent on? How much is being held in savings, and what's the plan for the rest?
None of the banks provided specific answers.

“The $10 Trillion Hangover: Paying the Price for Eight Years of Bush”

Linda Bilmes and Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz have a piece in the January 2009 edition of Harper’s Magazine called “The $10 Trillion Hangover: Paying the Price for Eight Years of Bush.”
They estimate that the cost of undoing the Bush administration’s economic choices, from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to the collapse of the financial system, soaring debt and new commitments to interest payments and Medicare, all add up to over $10 trillion.
Stiglitz and Bilmes write, “As bad as things are, though, this is just the beginning.” They add, “The Obama Administration, facing the most serious economic crisis in at least a generation, will need to mount an expansionary fiscal policy. The problem is how much the country’s debt mountain will crimp our ability to pay for the type of change we just voted for."

I think that if you go back to 2001, when the President took office, you can remember there was a surplus, a budget surplus of about $150 billion and the congressional budget office at the time was projecting that that surplus would continue over the next several years. And since then, things have unraveled in every possible dimension that you can measure and certainly across every metric that economists measure. The budget deficit has disappeared. Our national debt has gone from about $5.5 trillion to between $10 and $15 trillion, depending on how much of the bailout you count. Inflation is higher. Unemployment is higher. Four million manufacturing jobs have been lost. Five million people have lost their health insurance. And the more you look into it, the more you see the very severe economic consequences that have been the result of errors and poor judgment during the past eight years.

Divided Lebanon's common genes

"Whether you take a Christian village in the north of Lebanon or a Muslim village in the south, the DNA make-up of its residents is likely to be identical," says Dr Zalloua.

Shoe thrower expected to be shot after throwing first shoe.

Uday al-Zaidi said his brother had told an investigative judge Sunday that he had expected to be shot after hurling his first shoe.

He said the reporter has a tooth missing, his nose was injured and there were bruises on his arms and legs.

So Brave!

Saudi court tells girl aged EIGHT she cannot divorce husband who is 50 years her senior

"She doesn't know yet that she has been married," Jtili said then of the girl who was about to begin her fourth year at primary school.

U.N. religious hate vote alarms liberty groups

he U.N. General Assembly Thursday approved a "Defamation of Religion" resolution, largely supported by Islamic countries, condemning critical or offensive expressions directed at any religious faith. What's not to like?

"The 'defamation of religions' resolution is a direct violation of the United Nations' mandate to protect religious freedom, as peaceful religious speech -- a manifestation of belief -- will be silenced as a result of it," Angela C. Wu, international law director of the Washington-based Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said in a statement.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

There are now more slaves on the planet than at any time in human history.

“A hundred. American.”

“That seems like a lot,” you say, with a smile so as not to kill the deal. “How much would you charge a Haitian?”

Benavil’s voice rises with feigned indignation. “A hundred dollars. This is a major effort.”

You hold firm. “Could you bring down your fee to 50 U.S.?”

Benavil pauses. But only for effect. He knows he’s still got you for much more than a Haitian would pay. “Oui,” he says with a smile.

But the deal isn’t done. Benavil leans in close. “This is a rather delicate question. Is this someone you want as just a worker? Or also someone who will be a ‘partner’? You understand what I mean?”

You don’t blink at being asked if you want the child for sex. “I mean, is it possible to have someone that could be both?”

“Oui!” Benavil responds enthusiastically.

If you’re interested in taking your purchase back to the United States, Benavil tells you that he can “arrange” the proper papers to make it look as though you’ve adopted the child.

He offers you a 13-year-old girl.

“That’s a little bit old,” you say.

“I know of another girl who’s 12. Then ones that are 10, 11,” he responds.

The negotiation is finished, and you tell Benavil not to make any moves without further word from you. Here, 600 miles from the United States, and five hours from Manhattan, you have successfully arranged to buy a human being for 50 bucks.

Livni: As prime minister, I will topple Hamas regime in Gaza

"The state of Israel, and a government under me, will make it a strategic objective to topple the Hamas regime in Gaza," Livni told members of her centrist Kadima party. "The means for doing this should be military, economic and diplomatic."

Iraqi shoe-thrower: I would do it again

"In a letter to Iraqi prime minister, Muntadhar al-Zaidi has only apologized to Nuri al-Maliki himself," Fardanews reported, citing comments by an Iraqi source familiar with the case.

"He said that he felt no remorse for throwing his shoes at the 'Great Satan', George Bush, and added that he would repeat his actions if he sees him again, because Bush's forces have killed many of Iraq's children," added the source.

Syrian UN rep claims UN gay rights declaration would lead to sex crimes against children

Some United Nations member states are calling for the institution's first gay rights declaration, an initiative which has met with resistance by an Arab-backed opposition.

The declaration that was presented Thursday at the UN General Assembly calls for decriminalization of homosexuality.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Another woman "offered" as bride.

Also Friday, the head of a large West Bank family offered one of its eligible females as a bride for al-Zeidi. The leader, 75-year-old Ahmad Salim Judeh, said that the 500-member clan had raised $30,000 for al-Zeidi's legal defense.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ah, democracy

US Troops Open Fire On Fallujah Students at Shoe Rally

Wednesday: 35 Iraqis Killed, 70 Wounded

Trial of Iraqi shoe-thrower held without his presence

They must have threatened to make his and his family's life hell.

A spokesman for Iraq's prime minister says the journalist who threw his shoes at President George W. Bush has asked for a pardon.

Spokesman Yassin Majid says that in a letter sent Thursday to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki the journalist described his behavior as "an ugly act" and asked to be pardoned.

Majid says that Muntadhar al-Zeidi in the letter recalls the kindness the prime minister once showed him during an interview in 2005 and asked for al-Maliki to show him kindness once again.

Al-Zeidi, a correspondent for an Iraqi-owned television station based in Cairo, Egypt, could face two years imprisonment for insulting a foreign leader.

One of Zaidi's brothers said he had no information about him but found the idea he sent Maliki an apology unbelievable.

"This information is absolutely not true. This is a lie. Muntazer is my brother and I know him very well. He does not apologize," Udai al-Zaidi said. He added: "But if it happened, I tell you it happened under pressure."

An Egyptian man offered his 20-year-old daughter to Zaidi as a bride and shoemakers from Turkey to Lebanon have claimed the shoes he threw were made in their factories.

Zaidi was brought before an investigating judge on Tuesday and admitted "aggression against a president," a crime that could incur a 15-year sentence, judicial officials said. He could face trial soon.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

But As'ad knows better

While throwing your shoes at someone would be considered insulting in any culture, in the Arab world, the gesture has a special potency: footwear is commonly used to deliver both verbal and physical insult. In Egypt, for example, many popular and colourful insults include the mention of shoes: "You son of a shoe", "You have shoes for brains", "You'll follow me like an old shoe", etc.

Although their offensiveness is largely lost in translation, delivered in Arabic they are a sure-fire way of getting people's backs up. But why this obsession with shoes? Does it reflect a weird foot fetish? One shoe-lover I know found the whole episode a terrible waste of a pair of perfectly good shoes.

The offensive power of shoes probably has something to do with the lowly status of the shoe, which resides, downtrodden with its face in the dirt, all the way at the bottom of the clothing hierarchy. That's why worshippers leave their shoes outside mosques.

That is probably why hot-blooded working-class Egyptian women sometimes take off their shoes or slippers to hit men who harass them on the street: to show that the man belongs in the gutter and is not worthy of contempt. Bizarrely and inexplicably, slapping someone on the back of the neck and calling them a "nape" ('afa) is also a huge insult.

A History of Music Torture in the War on Terror

The message, as released Guantánamo prisoner Ruhal Ahmed explained in an interview earlier this year, was less significant than the relentless, inescapable noise. Describing how he experienced music torture “on many occasions,” Ahmed said, “I can bear being beaten up, it's not a problem. Once you accept that you're going to go into the interrogation room and be beaten up, it's fine. You can prepare yourself mentally. But when you're being psychologically tortured, you can't.” He added, however, that “from the end of 2003 they introduced the music and it became even worse. Before that, you could try and focus on something else. It makes you feel like you are going mad. You lose the plot and it’s very scary to think that you might go crazy because of all the music, because of the loud noise, and because after a while you don’t hear the lyrics at all, all you hear is heavy banging.”

Witness to Genocide

Forensic archaeologists uncover evidence of a secret massacre
Two boys, between the ages of seven and ten, were blindfolded before they were shot. On average, each adult was shot nine times, each child four times

Anfal proceeded with terrifying precision. Iraqi aircraft first dropped conventional bombs and chemical weapons on unsuspecting Kurdish villages; ground attacks followed, driving the survivors to collection points situated near main roads. Paramilitary and military forces waited in secret to gather up the terrified families and bus them to army camps and temporary holding centers. Seven months later, in September 1988, the Iraqi government announced the end of Anfal and declared a general amnesty for anyone who had sided with Iran during the war. By then, however, some 100,000 Kurds had vanished without a trace and around 2,600 Kurdish villages lay in ruins.

I just happened upon this article in the current issue of Archaeology magazine. It is not an endorsement of the Iraq war.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Madoff scandal hurts zionist charities

. here and here

Joe gave me better links, but I forgot which thread they are in.

With news this bad, what's next for America?

To some it signals the end of the American empire, to others it's just part of the vicious capitalist cycle. Either way, the litany of bad economic news in America has many pondering where it all goes from here.

"We are seeing the beginning of the end of the American empire," said Howard Zinn, author of "A People's History of the United States."

Some Turks apologize for Armenian massacres

A group of about 200 Turkish intellectuals on Monday issued an apology on the Internet for the World War I-era massacres of Armenians in Turkey.

The group of prominent academics, journalists, writers and artists avoided using the contentious term "genocide" in the apology, using the less explosive "Great Catastrophe" instead.

"My conscience does not accept that (we) remain insensitive toward and deny the Great Catastrophe that the Ottoman Armenians were subjected in 1915," read the apology. "I reject this injustice, share in the feelings and pain of my Armenian brothers, and apologize to them."

Shoe thrower 'beaten in custody'

The brother of the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at US President George W Bush has said that the reporter has been beaten in custody.
Muntadar al-Zaidi has suffered a broken hand, broken ribs and internal bleeding, as well as an eye injury, his older brother, Dargham, told the BBC.
A second day of rallies in support of Mr Zaidi have been held across Iraq, calling for his release.
Meanwhile, offers to buy the shoes are being made around the Arab world, reports say. Mr Zaidi told our correspondent that despite offers from many lawyers his brother has not been given access to a legal representative since being arrested by forces under the command of Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, Iraq's national security adviser.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Zionists threaten UN assembly head

A spokesman for U.N. General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann says U.S. authorities have been asked to help investigate online death threats against his boss.

By the way, he is a Catholic priest. It is gratifying to see religious people of conscience (he is the one who said Israel should be called an apartheid state).

Family: Shoe thrower hates both US, Iran role

"He hates the American physical occupation as much as he hates the Iranian moral occupation," Dhirgham said, alluding to the influence of pro-Iranian Shiite clerics in political and social life. "As for Iran, he considers the regime to be the other side of the American coin."
That's a view widely held among Iraqis — including many Shiites — who believe the Americans and the Iranians have been fighting a proxy war in their country through Tehran's alleged links to Shiite extremists.

Growing Evidence US Won’t Honor Iraq Pact

Yesterday, top US military commander in Iraq General Ray Odierno said that, though the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) explicitly requires all US forces to be out of Iraqi cities by June 30, he expects troops will remain in the cities past that date. The Sadr bloc’s Liwaa Sumeissim said this underscored their belief that the US doesn’t feel bound by the pact, and that he expects the US to use any pretext to keep forces in Iraq beyond that 2011 deadline as well.

And once again, the Iraqi government seems to have little objection with the US going back on one of the key tenets of the SOFA it sold to parliament. The Iraqi Defense Ministry says that US troops will be allowed to remain in cities past the deadline with permission from the Iraqi government. The permission to flout the terms of the SOFA seems remarkably easy for the US to obtain, leaving open the question of which clauses of the pact will carry any weight going forward.

The parliamentary bloc of Shi’ite Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr stood as the primary opponents of the SOFA, which narrowly passed late last month. The bloc said the SOFA would legitimize the US occupation, and expressed skepticism that the US would honor the terms at any rate. The last few days have only strengthened that case.

And on Friday Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh, at a Pentagon press briefing, was already speaking of keeping American forces in Iraq past the 2011 “firm” deadline the SOFA dictates.

Palestinian fashion designer Mirvat Ghandur (R) shows off her winning dress in Lebanese TV talent show Mission Fashion, worn by winning model Sabrina Arab of Algeria. The inscription reads: "Everyone has a homeland... except us, our homeland lives in us".
It's on the BBC middle east page.

Iraqis rally to free Bush shoe "bomber"

Crowds gathered in Baghdad's Sadr City district, calling for "hero" Muntadar al-Zaidi to be freed from custody.

Correspondents say the protesters are supporters of Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr - a leading critic of the US presence in Iraq. Smaller protests were reported in Basra and Najaf.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Israelis who go to jail rather than kill Palestinians

Dear Mary,

My name is Omer Goldman. I am 19 years old. I am one of the Shministim. Thank you for signing the Shministim letter to support me and my friends.

Tell your friends to send a letter to the
Israeli Minister of Defense.

I am Omer Goldman.
I am one of the Shministim.
I need your help.

I first went to prison on September 23 and served 35 days. I am lucky, after 2 times in jail, I got a medical discharge, but I'm the only one. By the time you read this, many of my friends will be in prison too: in for three weeks, out for one, and then back in, over and over, until they are 21. The reason? We refuse to do military service for the Israeli army because of the occupation.

I grew up with the army. My father was deputy head of Mossad and I saw my sister, who is eight years older than me, do her military service. As a young girl, I wanted to be a soldier. The military was such a part of my life that I never even questioned it.

Earlier this year, I went to a peace demonstration in Palestine. I had always been told that the Israeli army was there to defend me, but during that demonstration Israeli soldiers opened fire on me and my friends with rubber bullets and tear-gas grenades. I was shocked and scared. I saw the truth. I saw the reality. I saw for the first time that the most dangerous thing in Palestine is the Israeli soldiers, the very people who are supposed to be on my side.

When I came back to Israel, I knew I had changed. And so, I have joined with a number of other young people who are refusing to serve - they call us the Shministim. On December 18th, we are holding a Day of Action in Israel, and we are determined to show Israelis and the world that there is wide support for stopping a culture of war. Will you join us?

The unrest that has gripped Greece is spilling over into the rest of Europe...

...raising concerns the clashes could be a trigger for opponents of globalization disaffected youth and others outraged by the continent's economic turmoil and soaring unemployment. Protesters in Spain, Denmark and Italy smashed shop windows, pelted police with bottles and attacked banks this week, while in France, cars were set ablaze Thursday outside the Greek consulate in Bordeaux, where protesters scrawled graffiti warning about a looming "insurrection."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

55 dead in bombing at restaurant in Iraq's north

A suicide bomber struck a crowded restaurant on Thursday where Kurdish officials were meeting with Arab tribal leaders to discuss long-standing ethnic tensions, killing at least 55 people in Iraq's north, police said.
The attack outside the northern city of Kirkuk was the deadliest attack in Iraq in nearly six months.
Suspicion fell on extremist groups trying to undercut ethnic reconciliation efforts. Such groups, particularly al-Qaida in Iraq, Ansar al-Sunnah and Ansar al-Islam, use suicide attacks to exploit divisions.

The bombing near the ethniclly mixed city came during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. "Among the dead are women and children as the bomber blew himself up inside the family section," Ahmad Saleh, an Iraqi journalist who was near the scene of the blast, told Al Jazeera.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Criticisms of Edward Said

Critics of Said's theory, such as the historian Bernard Lewis, argue that Said's account contains many factual, methodological and conceptual errors. Said ignores many genuine contributions to the study of Eastern cultures made by Westerners during the Enlightenment and Victorian eras. Said's theory does not explain why the French and English pursued the study of Islam in the 16th and 17th centuries, long before they had any control or hope of control in the Middle East. He has been criticised for ignoring the contributions of Italian, Dutch, and particularly the massive contribution of German scholars. Lewis claims that the scholarship of these nations was more important to European Orientalism than the French or British, but the countries in question either had no colonial projects in the Mideast (Dutch and Germans), or no connection between their Orientalist research and their colonialism (Italians). Said's theory also does not explain why much of Orientalist study did nothing to advance the cause of imperialism. As Lewis asks,
What imperial purpose was served by deciphering the ancient Egyptian language, for example, and then restoring to the Egyptians knowledge of and pride in their forgotten, ancient past?

Lewis argued that Orientalism arose from humanism, which was distinct from Imperialist ideology, and sometimes in opposition to it. Orientalist study of Islam arose from the rejection of religious dogma, and was an important spur to discovery of alternative cultures. Lewis criticised as "intellectual protectionism" the argument that only those within a culture could usefully discuss it.

Global demand for oil to plummet

Global oil demand will collapse next year and commodities will not return to the highs they reached this summer in the foreseeable future, two authoritative reports said on Tuesday as they forecast a long and painful worldwide recession.

The stark conclusions came as the World Bank’s chief economist predicted that the world faced “the worst recession since the Great Depression”.

Monday, December 8, 2008

9/11 suspects ask to 'plead guilty'

GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba — All five of the Guantánamo detainees charged with planning and coordinating the Sept. 11 attacks have asked a military judge to accept their confessions in full. The request appeared to be intended to cut short any effort to try them, and to challenge the United States government to put them to death.

Taliban destroy 100 trucks in biggest raid on Nato supplies bound for Afghanistan

Gunmen mounted the biggest attack yet on Nato supplies going to Afghanistan yesterday, torching more than 100 trucks carrying equipment at a depot in north-west Pakistan, the main route for supplies to troops in Afghanistan.

Obama sides with protesting Chicago factory workers

“When it comes to the situation here in Chicago with the workers who are asking for their benefits and payments they have earned, I think they are absolutely right,” said Obama during a Sunday news conference, as reported by the Chicago Sun-Times. “What’s happening to them is reflective of what’s happening across this economy.

Who wrote the Quran?

Soroush said that “when you read the Koran, you have to feel that a human being is speaking to you, i.e. the words, images, rules and regulations and the like all are coming from a human mind.”

I'm surprise the angry one didn't write on this.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Listen: I love Palestine, I will never stop defending the Palestinians right to THEIR LAND (all of Israel, yes, Israeli may stay but only if they will share), but sometimes you got to wonder: why aren't more people up in arms about this or this?

Workers occupy factory in Chicago.

Workers laid off from their jobs at a factory have occupied the building and are demanding assurances they'll get severance and vacation pay that they say they are owed.

About 200 employees of Republic Windows and Doors began their sit-in Friday, the last scheduled day of the plant's operation.

“I have to stay,” Raul Flores told a local news organization. “Not just for me. For my family. For my children.”

thanks, Dad :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Israel Preparing to Attack Iran Without US Assistance

Israeli military sources are now suggesting that the nation is drawing up plans for an attack on Iran’s civilian nuclear plant that would not require coordination with the US.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

No shit: Jihadi world angry with India

Question: What is the significance of the attack on Mumbai in light of what is happening in the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan?

Answer: The most significant reading is that Islamic radical groups are gaining momentum. The US war against terror has failed in its objective. Now that al-Qaeda has returned home [al-Qaeda began in Afghanistan] after seven years in Iraq, they are sharing all their knowledge gathered in Iraq with other Islamic radical groups like Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar. Al-Qaeda is freely operating inside the tribal belt on the edges of Pakistan.

Imams call for black ribbons on Bakr-Eid

The imams, under the banner of All India Organisation of Imams of Mosques, called for subdued Eid-ul-Azha (Bakr-Eid) festivities across the country, scheduled for Tuesday.

The imams described the Mumbai carnage as an attack on the nation, as it appealed to all the mosques, muftis and madrasas to reiterate in this week's Friday prayers that Islam forbids the killing of innocent people and is against any form of terrorism.
How many here have any idea what is going on in Zimbabwe or the Congo? They are such horrorshows that it is painful to read about them for me. I would guess people might know a bit more about Somalia.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Georgia run-off denies Obama total control of Senate

The guy who called Blacks "the other folks" won.

Declassified government docs show U.S. let Saddam gas Kurds for farm deal

Declassified U.S. government documents show that while Saddam Hussein was gassing Iraqi Kurds, the U.S. opposed punishing Iraq with a trade embargo because it was cultivating Iraq as an ally against Iran and as a market for U.S. farm exports.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Just another day in Palestine

Teenagers killed by the IOF, babies dying from lack of medicine, mosques desecrated...

On November 15, the London Independent headlined an article titled; “Chronic malnutrition in Gaza blamed on Israel.” Writer Donald Macintyre referred to a leaked Red Cross report he called “explosive.”

It chronicled “the devastating effect of the siege that Israel imposed after Hamas (took control of Gaza) in June 2007 and notes that the dramatic fall in living standards triggered a shift in diet that will damage the long-term health of (Gaza’s population). Alarming deficiencies (showed up) in iron, vitamin A and vitamin D.”

Chronic malnutrition is rising steadily, and “micronutrient deficiencies are of great concern.” Since 2007, the reported cited a switch to “low cost/high energy” cereals, sugar and oil and away from higher-cost animal products, fresh fruits and vegetables. This type diet assures long-term harmful consequences for people on it.

From Tony on the Palestinian Pundit: OUTSIDE AGITATOR: Naomi Klein and the new new left

The central thesis of the book is that capitalism and democracy, free markets and free people, do not, as we’ve been told, go hand in hand. On the contrary, capitalism—at least fundamentalist capitalism, of the type promoted by the late economist Milton Friedman and his “Chicago School” acolytes—is so unpopular, and so obviously harmful to everyone except the richest of the rich, that its establishment requires, at best, trickery and, at worst, terror and torture. Friedman believed that markets perform best when freed from government interference, so he advocated getting rid of tariffs, subsidies, minimum-wage laws, public housing, Social Security, financial regulation, and licensing requirements, including those for doctors—indeed, virtually every measure devised to protect people from the market’s harsh logic.

Highest paid presidents around the world

Second on the list is the President of the biggest economy of the world with a GDP of $13.81 trillion (2007). President Elect, Barack Obama will be getting an annual salary of $400,000 when he joins office next year.

Rescuing girls forced to marry

Yasmin will be back soon, she's just tired from taking care of a friend.

Mumbai atrocities highlight need for solution in Kashmir

This probable Pakistani origin of the Mumbai attacks, and the links to Kashmir-focused jihadi groups, means that the horrific events have to be seen in the context of the wider disaster of Western policy in the region since 9/11. The abject failure of the Bush administration to woo the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan away from the Islamists and, instead, managing to convince many of them of the hostility of the West towards all Muslim aspirations, has now led to a gathering catastrophe in Afghanistan where the once-hated Taliban are now again at the gates of Kabul.

Monday: 58 Iraqis Killed, 112 Wounded

At least 58 Iraqis were killed or found dead and another 112 were wounded in the latest violence. There were not many incidents, but the few that were reported were too significant to slip through the cracks. Meanwhile, South Korean troops ended their mission in Arbil. The U.S. military death toll fell to its lowest since the 2003 invasion, but the number of Iraqi deaths has begin to climb again. Also, U.S. President-elect Obama said that U.S. troops could leave Iraqi in 16 months, but he would that up to military commanders.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Terrorism That’s Personal

Terrorism in this part of the world usually means bombs exploding or hotels burning, as the latest horrific scenes from Mumbai attest. Yet alongside the brutal public terrorism that fills the television screens, there is an equally cruel form of terrorism that gets almost no attention and thrives as a result: flinging acid on a woman’s face to leave her hideously deformed.

I know, I'm not supposed to cite Kristof because he doesn't advocate for Palestine. And I'm not supposed to mention non-western violence against women because it happens here, too. Except that blinding and deforming with women doesn't happen here. And, no, if you dig up one case, that won't refute my point.

Muslims refuse to bury militants

Indian Muslims say they do not want the gunmen killed by the security forces during the attacks in Mumbai to be buried in Muslim graveyards.

Community leaders believe the militants cannot be called Muslims because they went against the teachings of Islam and killed innocent civilians.

From As'ad: Iraqi academics assassinated during the US-led occupation

The following relation has being created against the Occupation and for the Sovereignty of Iraq with the information provided by direct Iraqi university sources and international and Arab media. It only includes names and data referred to university academics assassinated during the Occupation period.

I disagree with Michel Chossudovsky's contention that the murders were committed directly by the US. He also made the claim a few days ago that the US is behind the Mumbai attacks, which this article seems to refute.