Sunday, May 31, 2009

Netanyahu: “What the hell do they want from me?”

Last night, shortly after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told journalists that the Obama administration "wants to see a stop to settlements -- not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called a confidant. Referring to Clinton's call for a settlement freeze, Netanyahu groused, "What the hell do they want from me?" according to his associate, who added, "I gathered that he heard some bad vibes in his meetings with [U.S.] congressional delegations this week."

Obama's bold settlements unsettledness

The freezing of modern Zionist colonialism in occupied Arab lands is now a priority of American foreign policy. Three significant dimensions of this dynamic should be appreciated.

Israel's strategy is to make it seem that its concessions on settlements are so huge that the Palestinians have to make counter-concessions on the refugee issue. The trade-off Israel seeks is to drop its right to expand settlements in return for the Palestinians dropping their demand to offer the refugees a full range of options in a permanent peace accord, including the right of return for some refugees to their original homes and lands in Israel today. This is a dangerous approach because it equates Israeli settlements - an illegal, criminal act that is widely condemned by the entire world - with the legitimate rights of the refugees, which are widely recognized in law and many United Nations resolutions.
(The Daily Star)

Lebanon's intelligence war with Israel

Israel's ability to wage another war against the militant Shia movement Hezbollah may have been compromised by an unprecedented wave of arrests of people in Lebanon alleged to have been spying for the Israelis.

Experts say the arrests appear to add up to a major strategic blow to Israel.

(Via War in context)

500 years of women in art...morphed

Saturday, May 30, 2009

News from the "untermensch"

n"A 16-year-old Iraqi immigrant in central Sweden has single-handedly figured out a formula with Bernoulli numbers that is normally reserved for much more seasoned mathematicians, earning him praise from professors at prestigious Uppsala University." (more)

Friday, May 29, 2009


French arms sales to Israel (Via the Angry Arab)

"French arms sales to Israel are "in total contradiction" of European Union rules on the defence industry, the author of a new study has said. Between 2003 and 2007 France issued licences worth more than 446 million euros (623 million dollars) for arms exports to Israel. This made France by far the largest supplier of weapons to Israel in the EU." (thanks Farrah)

Guess what title Asa'd gave to this post?

"Israeli police shut down a Palestinian theater in East Jerusalem on Thursday, forcing foreign writers taking part in an international literature festival to move elsewhere for the second time in a week. The police action was the latest in recent weeks against what Israel sees as attempts by the Palestinian Authority to host political activities in the city, where both sides in the conflict have staked claims to have their national capital." (thanks Marcy)

Clinton on Egypt (Via the Angry Arab, yes yes!)

Isn't this nice? "The United States has spent billions of dollars in Egypt in recent years, "promoting civil society, democracy, good governance, rule of law," she said."

US admits uncertainty over North Korean nuclear test

"INITIAL testing has failed to determine whether or not North Korea fired a nuclear device on Monday, a US official said yesterday.
"The first test results came in inconclusive," said the US official, who declined to be named. "They did not find anything that could confirm a nuclear device was detonated."

Iran gets new kind of political spouse – and she may just help husband win

"IRANIAN presidential hopeful Mir Hossein Mousavi waited in the wings as his wife warmed up the crowd. Zahra Rahnavard quickly had them roaring in approval – and her husband beaming – as she ticked off her demands for women's rights and other reforms. "We love you, Rahnavard!" shouted the Tabriz University students, as Mr Mousavi clapped.

Ms Rahnavard is rewriting the role of political spouse in Iran – and could give a boost to her husband's candidacy in the 12 June presidential election."

Shell to Appear in Court on Charges of Crimes Against Humanity over their Actions in the Niger Delta

"FOURTEEN years after Nigerian campaigner Ken Saro-Wiwa was executed by Nigeria's former military regime, the oil giant Royal Dutch Shell will appear before a court in New York to answer charges of crimes against humanity in connection with his death.
The trial, scheduled to begin next week, will examine allegations that Shell sought the aid of the former Nigerian regime in silencing Mr Saro-Wiwa, a vociferous critic, in addition to paying soldiers who carried out human rights abuses in the Niger Delta where it operated."

Ridiculous Michael Martinez

Weren't we talking about the media a couple of threads back? Here you go! This is how the otherwise excellent graphic artist, Ramirez dude sums it up!!!
Only in America! Occasionally in Israel too!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Things we know, things we may not ...

(Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, P154)

"As in other places in Palestine, it is worthwhile to dwell a little on the local history of the village as it demonstrates how not only houses or fields were destroyed in the Nakba but a whole community disappeared, with all its intricate social networks and cultural achievements. Thus in Mujaydil the Israeli army obliterated a piece of history that included some fine architectural specimens and a series of significant social developments. Just twenty years before the Nakba, the proud villagers decided to transform, actually modernise, the old traditional system that placed the mukhtar at the head of the village community. Already in 1925 they had elected a local council, whose first project was to provide lighting along the village's roads. Apart from its religious buildings and modern infrastructure it had a relatively large number of schools. In addition to the two schools associated with churches, there was also a state school, the Banin School, known for the magnificent trees that provided shade for the pupils during their breaks, for the well situated in the middle of the school yard and for the fruit trees that surrounded it. The village's main source of collective wealth, which supported all these impressive constructions, was a mill, built in the eighteenth century that served the villages in the vicinity, including the people of the 'veteran Jewish settlement of Nahalal. Moshe Dayan, who came from Nahalal, mentions his father's reliance on this mill." (Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, P154)
(Thanks r.s)

Guess the title As'ad gave to this post..

"The Carmel Academic Center in Haifa shut down the concentration in accounting within its Department of Business Administration because a majority of the students applying were Palestinian citizens of Israel. This was revealed in a news item reported on Israeli news Channel 10 on 24 May (in Hebrew only)."

"Settlements Debate Heats Up"...

Phil Zabriskie may have a point! (Hehe)

"This is getting really interesting. Yesterday, American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton uttered some of the most forceful words against Israel’s settlement policy heard from an American official in quite some time, saying of President Obama:

“He wants to see a stop to settlements — not some settlements, not outposts, not ‘natural growth’ exceptions.”

And Israeli officials said, artfully, that it’s not going to happen. Quoth the AP:

"Government spokesman Mark Regev responded by saying “normal life in those communities must be allowed to continue.” He confirmed that this meant some construction will continue in existing settlements.


I donno! I'd still say " Show me the money!"

Truthful Information in an Age of Massive Disinformation

Why is the corporate media ignoring the atrocities, on a much bigger scale I must add, taking place as we speak in Sri Lanka, not so far away from Afghanistan and Pakistan, while inflaming spirits and minds with the atrocities committed by the Taliban? Why does the corporate media focuses hysterically on North Korea, and not in Sri Lanka where tens of thousands of innocent civilians are being massacred? Is this the kind of false "balance" we want in this blog? One that will just mirror an entirely out-of balance mediatic universe? Aren't we supposed to present a new and better form of balance, opposed to such a biased system of "information"? Well, in my modest view, to achieve such new and better form of balanced information, we must systematically doubt the corporate media, and give voice all those who don't have it within such dominant media. Otherwise why blog at all, if all we are going to do is mimic that media and regurgitate its fraudulent narratives?

The Eternal Fanon

"A national culture under colonial domination is a contested culture whose destruction is sought in systematic fashion."

Turbulent Times: Where Do We Go From Here?

I just finished reading Eric Hobsbawm’s book "The Age of Extremes: A History of the World, 1914-1991", which is more than just a sum of personal recollections, but a critical historical review of the XXth century. I think the title is attractive but somewhat deceiving. When one gets into the nitty-gritty of the book, one realizes that those so-called extremes (State Capitalism vs. State Socialism) were in fact quite similar: both were hierarchical, authoritarian, elitist, repressive, and quite oppressive systems of class domination (albeit in different ways). What is interesting is that both systems were (State Capitalism, still is) “legitimized” by utopian ideologies that had very little grounding in objective reality. State Capitalism still nowadays tries to pass for a “free market”, when in fact its entire existence is closely linked to governmental chronic intervention in the economy; while State Socialism pretended to be founded upon truly egalitarian principles and upon “dictatorship of the proletarians”, when in fact it was dominated from the top by a minuscule elite of ruthless bureaucrats (the infamous nomenclature). In other words: Gog vs. Magog. That is, not really opposed extremes, but just extremely opposed forms of extremist ideologies at the service of elitist rule, apparently dissimilar, but pretty much the same in essence.

After the demise of the Soviet block and the end of the Cold War, the world seems to be dominated exclusively by Gog.

Apparently, State Capitalism, or this pseudo-free market Capitalism of today, reigns supreme. And also apparently, we live in a unipolar world entirely dominated by US imperialism. A hopeless terminal situation; a dead end historical venue; the “end of history”, as so presumptuously was announced by Fukuyama, the golden boy of reactionary thinking in the early nineties. However, precisely when things seem quite settled forever, history begins to flow wildly anew. There is no dead end but, on the contrary, huge fractures seem to announce the breaking of the dam. State Capitalism is entering a protracted phase of turbulence and instability, due to its inability to solve any of the most pressing issues concerning our survival as a species, while US imperialism loses global power almost on a daily basis. Yes, we are now entering the Age of Turbulence. An age of danger and possibility as we haven’t experienced since in the late XIVth century (I suggest reading the wonderful book by historian Barbara Tuchman, "A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous XIVth Century"), when Europe began to emerge from Feudalism to enter an era of Capitalism and increased popular sovereignty, which were concomitant phenomena, but with no relation of cause and effect between them. I ask: where are we headed now to? Apocalypse? More and nastier State Capitalism? Or a new form of societal arrangement?

"Isn't it a fair 'population exchange' between Palestnian refugees and Jewish refugees from many Arab countries? "

This is a "genuine" FAQ by those who haven't been feeling comfortable with the ethnic cleansing but made themselves feel better with this fabrication!! Bugger them! Here are few answers!

"As it will be demonstrated below, this argument was concocted to deflect the discussion from the core issues of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict (the collective dispossession and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people). It should be noted that the "Jewish state" and Zionism were created in response to the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe and not in the Middle East. Ironically, Jewish historians still associate Jewish Golden Age not in Europe, not in the United States of America, but in Arab ruled Spain (Andalusia) and Muslim Turkey."
My question is: If the Arabs/Muslims were so "mean" and wanted to ethnic cleanse the Jews why didn't they do just that during hundreds of years and waited until the establishment of a "Jewish state" ? Hmmmm?
Another thing: In every crime the crucial question is always: To whom benefits the crime? Wasn't Israel desperate from the beginning to get all the Jews making Alia or whatever the damn thing is called to the "old country"?!!
I feel like I'm on a roll here, hehe!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lies answered:Palestinians never had either a state, nor any distinct culture or language of their own

"The Palestinians have lived in Palestine since they were called Caananites, their name changed so what? During greater Syria, The Palestinians, Lebanese and Syrians considered themselves all as one people (The Shamis) and people identified more with their city/village/area than nation wise but that doesn't mean that the Palestinians didn't live in Palestine during this time and didnt have their own customs such as broderie styles, local foods etc."
Zionists want to make it seem as if Palestinians came in to existence as a branch of Arabs that have no business being in Palestine when in reality Palestinians are all the people that mixed together in the holy land over the past thousands of years and became one. It is not possible for a country that have faced so many rulers to remain of only one origin (same with Syria and Lebanon).

Vanishing comments

We obviously are having problems with JS-kit(Haloscan) . If you copy and paste before submitting you can repost in case it disappears. Besides, we're having anonymous visitors from the shitty entity, the JudeoNazi Yishai Kohen is one of them.

Another Day in the Little Shop of Horrors: Expanding "Freedom of Speech"

"The Knesset plenum gave initial approval on Wednesday to a bill that would make it a crime to publicly deny Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, punishable by a sentence of up to a year in prison." (more)

Israel's Next Move Armageddon Now? By NADIA HIJAB

"Of all the analysis generated by the Obama-Netanyahu meeting Robert Satloff's is the most significant. Satloff is executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, which serves as AIPAC's think tank. His piece, circulated Thursday, provides insights into what the lobby -- and Israel -- might do next. And it should ring alarm bells.

Satloff starts quietly enough. Unlike other analysts, he is relatively sanguine about the divergences between the United States president and the Israeli prime minister over the peace process.

For example, he believes that American-Israeli differences about the "natural growth" of Israel's existing (illegal) settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, though contentious, have been managed before and can be managed again.

This demonstrates confidence in AIPAC's clout in Congress as regards the peace process. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton can tell Al Jazeera, as she did Tuesday, "We want to see a stop to settlement construction, additions, natural growth - any kind of settlement activity" as often as she likes. Water off the AIPAC back.

But when it comes to Iran, Satloff is very worried indeed. He doesn't buy the New York Times' spin that Barack Obama, a master of nuance, gave Iran a clear deadline. He frets that Obama's plan to wait until year-end to reassess the position means Iran can spin its centrifuges for six more months. And even then there may still be no stomach for "crippling" sanctions in Europe or America.

Satloff sees a "stark" difference between Obama's goal of preventing Iran from having a nuclear weapon and Netanyahu's determination to prevent Iran from even acquiring a nuclear capability" (more)

Who Will Stand Up to America and Israel? Doublespeak on North Korea By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

"Obama Calls on World to ‘Stand Up To’ North Korea” read the headline. The United States, Obama said, was determined to protect “the peace and security of the world.”

Shades of doublespeak, doublethink, 1984.

North Korea is a small place. China alone could snuff it out in a few minutes. Yet, the president of the US thinks that nothing less than the entire world is a match for North Korea.

We are witnessing the Washington gangsters construct yet another threat like Slobodan Milosevic, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, John Walker Lindh, Hamdi, Padilla, Sami Al-Arian, Hamas, Mahkmoud Ahmadinejad, and the hapless detainees demonized by the US Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld as “the 700 most dangerous terrorists on the face of the earth,” who were tortured for six years at Gitmo only to be quietly released. Just another mistake, sorry.

The military/security complex that rules America, together with the Israel Lobby and the financial banksters, needs a long list of dangerous enemies to keep the taxpayers’ money flowing into its coffers" (more)

Endless Double Standards

The airwaves have been recently filled with outcries against North Korea's latest nuclear explosion. Typically, the corporate media fails to mention that zero US citizens or otherwise have been killed by the North Korean nuclear program, yet 22,000 Koreans were killed when the US obliterated Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In addition, it glosses over the quite blatant fact that US's foreign policies constitute the main source of instability the world over just as the US is the biggest purveyor of weapons in the world; US arms manufacturers are the greatest beneficiaries of arms races the world over. If any regional power is to be condemned in the Middle East for creating “instability” and an “arms race,” it is the nuclear-armed, Zionist entity of Israel. With a blank check from the US, the nuclear-armed, Zionist entity has waged genocidal wars in the region since its brutal creation.

Chutzpah, Paranoia and Terrorism the Hallmarks of Zionism

"Israeli document: Venezuela sends uranium to Iran

JERUSALEM (AP) — Venezuela and Bolivia are supplying Iran with uranium for its nuclear program, according to a secret Israeli government report obtained Monday by The Associated Press.

The two South American countries are known to have close ties with Iran, but this is the first allegation that they are involved in the development of Iran's nuclear program, considered a strategic threat by Israel.

"There are reports that Venezuela supplies Iran with uranium for its nuclear program," the Foreign Ministry document states, referring to previous Israeli intelligence conclusions. It added, "Bolivia also supplies uranium to Iran."

The report concludes that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is trying to undermine the United States by supporting Iran.

Venezuela and Bolivia are close allies, and both regimes have a history of opposing U.S. foreign policy and Israeli actions. Venezuela expelled the Israeli ambassador during Israel's offensive in Gaza this year, and Israel retaliated by expelling the Venezuelan envoy. Bolivia cut ties with Israel over the offensive.

There was no immediate comment from officials in Venezuela or Bolivia on the report's allegations.

The three-page document about Iranian activities in Latin America was prepared in advance of a visit to South America by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, who will attend a conference of the Organization of American States in Honduras next week. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is also scheduled to visit the region."

Silicon Valley Proclaims May 15th Palestinian Cultural Day

"Palestinian Cultural Day was officially proclaimed by the cities of San José, Sunnyvale, and Milpitas, and by Santa Clara County in a ceremony on May 15, 2009. The day celebrates Palestinian heritage and remembers the Palestinian Catastrophe in the hope that it will never be repeated."
Via Annie's site

Amos Elon dies at 82; provocative writer examined the roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Amos Elon’s book “The Israelis: Founders and Sons,” challenged the image of his country’s Zionist founders. His portrayal faulted the European-born pioneers for being blinded by an ancient claim to Palestine and failing to consider the fate of Arabs living there.
Via Annie's site

Homeless in Gaza and a feat of clay

GAZA CITY (AFP) – All of Amer Aliyan's hopes of rebuilding his life are placed in a carefully folded sheet in his wallet, a document that for the foreseeable future in Gaza is nothing but a worthless piece of paper.

"I'm waiting for the reconstruction, but I know it will take time," the 36-year-old says.

This is a gross understatement in the besieged and impoverished Gaza Strip where an Israeli blockade is preventing the rebuilding effort after the devastation caused by a brief but deadly war at the turn of the year

(Via Annie's site)...You know Annie!! She pays us a visit every now and then. Her blog bursts with comprehensive news and articles. She's one determined lady!

Spirituality, Not Religion, Makes Kids Happy

"The link between spirituality and happiness is pretty well-established for teens and adults. More spirituality brings more happiness. Now a study has reached into the younger set, finding the same link in "tweens" and in kids in middle childhood."
(Live Science)

You Pay, Computer Prays For You

Information Age Prayer is a site that charges you a monthly fee to say prayers for you. A typical charge is $4.95 per month to say three prayers specified by you each day.
"We use state of the art text to speech synthesizers to voice each prayer at a volume and speed equivalent to typical person praying," the company states. "Each prayer is voiced individually, with the name of the subscriber displayed on screen."
Hang on! Isn't that considered cheating on "god"?

Bush's Shocking Biblical Prophecy Emerges: God Wants to "Erase" Mid-East Enemies "Before a New Age Begins"

"Bush explained to French Pres. Chirac that the Biblical creatures Gog and Magog were at work in the Mid-East and must be defeated.
The revelation this month in GQ Magazine that Donald Rumsfeld as Defense Secretary embellished top-secret wartime memos with quotations from the Bible prompts a question. Why did he believe he could influence President Bush by that means?"

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Turning vegetarian at twelve

My son has made the decision of becoming vegetarian a month ago. We, his mum/mom and I , while not vegetarians ourselves are not big on eating meat absolutely. So we welcomed his decision and saw it as a sign of a precocious ethical attitude. Fine, but then preparing his food became more complicated by the day and we were faced with an increased daily conundrum of getting around what was already a complicated matter before, him being a fussy eater to start with!! Oh, and no fish too!! So the usual and somehow frequent tuna salad sandwich became out of the question too!! So now what was a welcoming attitude is becoming more of a "what the hell?"!! Last week after using a bit of negotiation skills(he's damn good at it!) I had him make a concession on fish (phew!) but it's still a complicated matter if you ask me ! Any ideas?

Israeli soldiers just love taking kids for a ride

For those interested in this subject, I recommend: "Perceptions of Islam in the Christendoms" by Dr. Nasir Khan ( Solum Forlag 2006).

This is a very well documented book and which has a wealth of information from hundreds primary sources. I just finished reading a week ago. A friend of mine brought it for me from London where he was on a recent business trip. Dr. Khan (born in Poonch-Kashmir) is a serious Marxist historian who is able to explain the rise of negative stereotypes in the West vis-a-vis Islam as a complex phenomenon that encompasse both ideological-political and powerful economic motives. Among many other texts, he cites, for example, Fulcher of Chartres, who gives the following eye witness account of the Crusades at the end of the 11th century: “This may seem strange to you. Our squires and footmen … split open the bellies of those they had just slain in order to extract from the intestines the gold coins which the Saracens had gulped down their loathsome throats while alive … With drawn swords our men ran through the city not sparing anyone, even those begging for mercy … They entered the houses of the citizens, seizing whatever they found in them … whoever first entered a house, whether he was rich or poor … was to occupy and own the house or palace and whatever he found in it as if it were entirely his own … in this way many poor people became very wealthy.”

Destroying Gaza’s Farmlands

"Eva Bartlett continues her series of reports documenting Israeli crimes. Her latest report describes the deliberate destruction of Gaza’s farmlands by the IDF.

On the morning of 4 May 2009, Israeli troops set fire to Palestinian crops along Gaza’s eastern border with Israel. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) reported that 200,000 square meters of crops were destroyed, including wheat and barley ready for harvest, as well as vegetables, olive and pomegranate trees.

Local farmers report that the blaze carried over a four-kilometer stretch on the Palestinian side of the eastern border land. Ibrahim Hassan Safadi, 49, from one of the farming families whose crops were destroyed by the blaze, said that the fires were smoldering until early evening, despite efforts by the fire brigades to extinguish them.

Safadi says he was present when Israeli soldiers fired small bombs into his field, which soon after caught ablaze. He explained that “The Israeli soldiers fired from their jeeps, causing a fire to break out on the land. They burned the wheat, burned the pomegranate trees … The fire spread across the valley. We called the fire brigades. They came to the area and put out the fire. But in some places the fire started again.” According to Safadi, he lost 30,000 square meters to the blaze, including 300 pomegranate trees, 150 olive trees, and wheat." (more)

Tribute to Ghassan Kanafani

"Ghassan Kanafani, Palestinian journalist, author and artist, member of PFLP's Politbureau and spokesman for PFLP, was assassinated in Beirut on July 8, 1972, by Israeli agents. His ability to illustrate, beyond any shadow of doubt, the deprivation and sufferings of his people, as well as to transform an ideology and political line into popular literature made him a grave threat to the Zionist entity.

The following are excerpts from a tribute to Ghassan by one of his colleagues, a Palestinian author, S.Marwan, published in Al Hadaf on July 22, 1972. Al Hadaf (the Target) is the weekly PFLP organ, of which Ghassan Kanafani was the founding editor.


"Imperialism has layed its body over the world, the head in Eastern Asia, the heart in the Middle East, its arteries reaching Africa and Latin America. Wherever you strike it, you damage it, and you serve the World Revolution."

Imperialism is not a myth or a word repeated by the news media, a motionless picture that doesn't affect the human reality. In Ghassan Kanafani's conception, it is a mobile body, an octopus which colonizes and exploits, spreading itself over the world through western monopolistic enterprises.

Imperialism is directing various forms o€ aggression against the toiling masses of the world, and particularly in the underdeveloped countries.

Based on the slogan: "All the Facts to the Masses", raised in Al Hadaf, Ghassan Kanafani put his clear intellect in the service of the masses and their objective class interests, leading him to state: "The desire for change which is sweeping through the Arab masses, must be motivated by ideological and political clarity, which is absolute. Thus, Al Hadaf devotes itself to the service of that revolutionary alternative, as the interests of the oppressed classes are the same as the goals of the revolution. It presents itself as the ally of all those carrying on armed and political-ideological struggle to achieve a liberated progressive nation."

The natural base for Ghassan's intellectual and artistic work was adopting and defending the interests of the toiling masses, not only of the Palestinians, but also the Arabs and the international oppressed classes. Because of this fundamental base for all of his work, Ghassan Kanafani, as a Marxist, adopted the path of armed struggle as the only way to defend the oppressed.

He was himself part of them; he lived and experienced the poverty caused by capitalism and imperialism and he remained within the ranks of the oppressed masses, in spite of the capitalists' temptations and their attempts to encircle his journalistic life. He remained a humble man who worked day and night to raise and develop the quality of human life out of the adversity imposed by history." (more)

Islamists pull back from Swat fighting

Islamists fighting the Pakistani government have pledged to avoid combat in the Swat Valley city of Mingora in order to reduce civilian casualties.

"The army immediately hailed the announcement as a sign that the outnumbered militants were "staring defeat in the face." It said that it had secured at least eight major road junctions in Mingora and was arresting and killing Islamist guerillas.

But Swat Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan said that the insurgents were not withdrawing and denied that his announcement was a call for a ceasefire.

"This is a long war and we will fight it strategically," he said. "We will continue fighting until an Islamic system is enforced."

He added that Islamist guerillas would not engage the army in Mingora because "we have seen when the army retaliate for our attacks they always kill civilians. Their attacks always damage public property. We do not want that."" (more)

Obama's Plan for the Palestinians What Kind of State? By NADIA HIJAB

"Arab and Israeli commentators have pretty much outlined the speech Barack Obama will deliver in Egypt during his June visit, even though he is still meeting with the region's leaders in Washington. While some are optimistic, many are fearful.

Israelis fear that Obama will make them recognize Palestinian rights and force them to give up the Palestinian and Syrian territory they have been busy colonizing since 1967.

Arabs fear Obama will announce that their leaders plan further concessions in the form of expanded normalization with Israel in the Arab and Islamic worlds before a full withdrawal and comprehensive peace. They also fear his speech will nix the Palestinian right of return, which is both an individual and a collective right under international law, and support Israel as a "Jewish state" instead of the state of all its citizens." (more)

Support for Israel Feeds Terrorism Cheney Breaks the Taboo By RAY McGOVERN

"If we hear in the coming days that former Vice President Dick Cheney has fired one of his speechwriters — or perhaps grounded Lynne or Liz — it will be clear why.

Oozing out of the sleazy speech he gave Thursday at the American Enterprise Institute was an inadvertent truth regarding the Israeli albatross hanging around the neck of U.S. policy in the Middle East.

I watched the speech, but had missed the gaffe until I went carefully through the written text before a radio interview Thursday evening. It amounts to a major faux pas, though I’ll give you odds that the usual-suspect pundits of the Fawning Corporate Media (FCM) will not touch it, because it raises troubling questions about the close U.S. relationship with Israel.

I wanted my 10-year-old grandson to learn a nice word to describe the arguments in the former Vice President’s speech, so he has now learned “disingenuous.” Today we’ll study “superficial,” for that is the right adjective to assign to both Cheney and President Barack Obama as they addressed the threat of “terrorism,” the threat always guaranteed to resonate among Americans — much like the threat of communism did, not too many decades back.

To burnish his anti-terrorist credentials, Obama pledged to do whatever is necessary to protect the United States and warned that al-Qaeda is "actively plotting to attack us again.” " (more).

Obama’s Foreign Policy Failures: Diplomacy, Militarism and Imagery by James Petras / May 22nd, 2009

"Like his predecessor Bush, Obama’s first economic priority is to pour trillions of borrowed dollars into the financial system as opposed to directing state resources toward reviving popular demand, reconstructing the manufacturing sector, creating a universal health system and directly employing the 5 million workers unemployed in the last year. Obama’s economic regime is totally dominated by Wall Street bankers and completely devoid of any representatives from labor, manufacturing and the health sector (FT, April 2, 2009 p11). In essence, Obama has reinforced and deepened the ‘finance-centered’ model of capitalist development, which demands that the G20 countries follow financial stimulus plans – ignoring job creation through the financing of public investments focused on manufacturing. For Obama, ‘economic stimulus’ means reconstructing the power of finance capital, even if it means running hung budget deficits, which undermine other public investments." (more).

Michael Parenti - Tibet: Friendly Feudalism?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Blowback Begins?: 42-Year CIA Vet Details the Agency's Rich History of Lying to Congress

But will Democrats have a clue what to do with it?

The faux Republican outrage over Nancy Pelosi's perceived slight, in charging that CIA briefers directly misled Congress, has been amusing to watch. Even as the Democrats' seeming inability to either defend her, or fear of sinking into the same phony political sandtrap, is disappointing. But Democrats seem to excel at disappointment these days, so that part of the ginned-up story is hardly surprising.
(Thanks Molly)

Gaza Disowned: The Pope, Israel and "Reconciliation'

By Ramzy Baroud

" "Gaza is not on the Pope's itinerary, nor will it be. There will be no change in these plans. But I'll say it very clearly, the Pope is absolutely not going to Gaza."

Such were the astounding comments made by the Pope's spokesman in Israel, Wadie Abunasser, prior to Pope Benedict XVI visiting Palestine and Israel.

As if there was no massacre in Gaza, no families entirely slaughtered, no human rights violated to match the record of the most grisly of crimes in modern history. As if Gaza were a mere irritant in the annals of human suffering. More, as if there were no Catholic flock in Gaza. To clarify, there are actually nearly 2,000 Catholics in Gaza, apparently not important enough for the ‘cut'." (more)

OUR peace...or no peace at all

"Israel PM Netanyahu 'ready for peace talks'

Israel is ready "to immediately begin" peace talks with the Palestinians and Syria, PM Benjamin Netanyahu has said after returning from the US.

But he insisted that any peace settlement "must find a solution to Israel's security needs".

Arab states should join talks, he said, but would need to make concessions as well as Israel and the Palestinians.

At the talks on Monday, Mr Netanyahu was pressed by President Barack Obama over US plans on a two-state solution.

But the Israeli leader - who also came under pressure to rein in Israeli settlement-building - refrained from endorsing the idea.

Instead he said Israel was ready to live "side by side" with the Palestinians." (more)

A measure to humiliate

Two months ago I went to listen to Jeff Halper the Israeli academic who was touring Australia. His lectures carried the title "The Countdown to Apartheid". One of the many issues he discussed was the reason why the Israelis, whether settlers with the explicit help of the glorious IDF soldiers or the administrative authorities uproot olive trees sometimes 500 years old. It's not land clearance he explained, though it could be a reason in certain instances, but mainly as a measure to humiliate and embitter the lives of the Palestinians and drive them to despair and consequently leave. This fact struck me in a way that other facts did not, not in the same way at least. It dawned on me( as if this was still possible) that essentially what was the objective of the occupation was not only to take over the land and drive the population out but to humiliate and mortify and torture for no other reason but to do so!

As proof of his "good faith"...

Netanyahu says settlements can expand

Illegal outpost next to Kokhav Ha Shahar settlement
There are about 100 makeshift Jewish outposts in the West Bank

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says settlements in the occupied West Bank will be allowed to expand despite US objections.

Mr Netanyahu said no new settlements would be built, but natural growth in existing settlements should be allowed.

During Mr Netanyahu's visit to the US last week, President Barack Obama told him all settlement activity must end.

The US regards the Jewish settlements -home to some 280,000 Israelis - as obstacles to the peace process.

"I have no intention to construct new settlements, but it makes no sense to ask us not to answer to the needs of natural growth and to stop all construction," a senior official quoted Mr Netanyahu as telling the Israeli cabinet.

"Empire oblige" the French may say.

Rethinking the Costs of peace
By Jeff Ruebner

In pledging to trim ineffective spending, President Obama declared that “there will be no sacred cows and no pet projects. All across America, families are making hard choices, and it’s time their government did the same.”

By asking earlier this month for $2.775 billion in military aid to Israel in his FY2010 budget request, it would seem that on this important policy issue President Obama’s commitment is more rhetorical than substantive. Since 1949, according to the Congressional Research Service, the United States has provided to Israel more than $100 billion in military and economic assistance. In 2007, the United States and Israel signed an agreement for $30 billion in additional military aid through FY2018.

News from an occupied land

-100 disabled Hebron children threatened with homelessness

-Jerusalem court orders Palestinian to demolish room of his home

-Armed soldiers, police, attempt to shut down Palestine Festival of Literature opening night

-Israel planning settlement after evicting Jerusalem families

-Settlers claim ownership of two Palestinian homes

-Israeli police arrest students marking Nakba in East Jerusalem

-Israeli municipal council and settlers plan to build over Palestinian East Jerusalem neighborhood

-Israel intensifies efforts to confiscate land under Absentee Property Law

Protected by Israeli army, settlers uproot olive trees near Salfit

Ma'an Agency
Nablus – A Palestinian agricultural area was declared a closed military zone as settlers infiltrated the area and uprooted olive trees as Israeli soldiers guarded the area Thursday afternoon.

Seventy-five-year-old farmer Mohammad Shheda who owns land in the valley said , “I’ve been farming this land for 60 years, and they just came in and ordered me off it.”

US: Jerusalem's future subject to negotiation

Bethlehem – Ma’an – The US State Department quietly rebuffed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his declaration Israel will never concede East Jerusalem, which Palestinians seek as the capital of a future state.

"Jerusalem is a final status issue. Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to resolve its status during negotiations. We will support their efforts to reach agreements on all final status issues," the State Department said in a statement released when asked to respond to Netanyahu's remarks.


-But your deed is 19 centuries old!
Jean-Pierre Petit

You may be interested to know that Jean-Pierre Petit is an astrophycisist and a specialist in the mechanics of fluid. He was a researcher at the French CNRS before he resigned. On his website where he dedicates a huge part to topics of general interest ( UFOs included) and not only science he endeavoured to study and explain to his readers the nature of the conflict in Palestine. He also draws comics and cartoons. He illustrated the Bible too in a similar fashion.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Glimpses of Post-War Gaza (A Diary)

By Eva Bartlett


In the Rafah region where homeless Palestinians have tired of the siege, and of waiting for cement to ever enter Gaza, I meet Jihad, the man who is introducing mud-house-building into Gaza. He says:

We have waited over two years for cement, but because of the siege there is none available. What could we do, wait forever?

His home is simple and practical. He makes use of something that even Israel can not ban from Gaza, like clay and straw. That said, the house does have expenses due to the metal, which is also scarce in Gaza. The straw is mixed with mud, but the straw is increasingly used as animal fodder, since proper animal feed is on the list of banned items." (more).

To save planet, end capitalism, Morales says

Simon Butler

"Bolivian President Evo Morales called a special press conference in New York on April 22. The UN general assembly had passed a motion put by Bolivia’s radical, pro-poor government to make that day “International Mother Earth Day”.

Morales said the 21st century must be dedicated to stopping environmental destruction and climate change, because “we are strangling the planet — strangling ourselves”.

Since his election in December 2005, Morales has stood out as one of the few world leaders prepared to argue for serious action towards a carbon-neutral economy. This is an essential move to prevent runaway climate change.

Morales said it was necessary to recognise that “we don’t own the planet [but rather] we belong to it”.

“Mother Earth cannot be a piece of merchandise”, he said." (more)

Joe Biden in Beirut

"Who was behind the dumb idea of sending Joe Biden to Beirut days before the Lebanese parliamentary election? Well, it looks like the brilliant idea of Jeffrey Feltman and his Zionist sponsors. Feltman all but joined the March 14 festival in Beirut when he served as an ambassador in Beirut, and when he would always show his Middle East expertise by saying "shukran" at the end of Lebanese media interviews (in English always) when his Russian, Chinese, French, and British colleagues in Beirut were conducting interviews in fluent Arabic (the Chinese ambassador at the time was a woman with a PhD in Arabic literature). I think of the quality of Richard Parker (who not only hated Bashir Gemayyel when he served as ambassador in Lebanon but was also a true Arabist--and I use that word as a compliment) and compare him to Jeffrey Feltman. What do you say about an ostensible expert on Lebanon who thinks that Nayla Mu`awwad is a true Lebanese leader? But Feltman was skilled in ingratiating himself with the neo-cons of the Bush administration before his started in 2006 to ingratiate himself with the Democratic Party through the offices of Martin Indyk. But Joe Biden is too dumb to realize how dumb it was to send him to Lebanon on the eve of the election. If the opposition wins, they will say: we won although Joe Biden visited Lebanon to boost the fortunes of March 14 and to threaten the Lebanese people that the US would "reassess" its aid to Lebanon if they vote incorrectly--he really did say that as the Lebanese press is reporting this morning. And if the opposition looses, they will say that they lost because Joe Biden blackmailed the Lebanese people. One newspaper reported that the convoy of Joe Biden was 40 cars long, and even Robert Fisk and his driver were inconvenienced. I spoke to my mother yesterday and she was furious about Joe Biden meeting with March 14 folks: she kept complaining to me how biased this was. And I could only tell her: you were the one who was enthiastic about Obama and who incorrectly assumed that US foreign policy in the Middle East would change under Obama. I reminded her that I would always tell her that the only difference is in the number of bombs dropping on people's heads in the Middle East and Afghanistan, and it looks like the number of bombs dropping on people's heads in Afghanistan has increased under Obama."

Magical: Sana’a, Yemen.

Obama's Toxic Crumbs: Human Rights Attorney Vince Warren: Obama’s “Preventive Detention” Plan Goes Beyond Bush Admin Policies

"We get reaction to President Obama and Vice President Dick Cheney’s dueling speeches on torture from Vince Warren, the executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Warren took part in a secret meeting Wednesday between Obama and several human rights groups. Warren says although he welcomes Obama’s willingness to hear critical views, he’s disappointed in Obama’s new support for preventive detention. [includes rush transcript]" (more).

Spanish Judge Reinstates Charges Against US Troops in Couso Killing

"In Spain, charges have been reinstated against three US soldiers in the killing of the Jose Couso. A Spanish journalist, Couso died when US troops shelled Baghdad’s Palestine Hotel in April 2003. Ukrainian cameraman Taras Protsyuk also died in the attack. On Thursday, a Spanish judge revived the case against Sgt. Shawn Gibson, Capt. Philip Wolford and Lt. Col. Philip DeCamp over what he called new evidence. Initial charges were dropped after Spain’s National Court dismissed the case. Jose Couso’s brother, Javier Couso, welcomed the reinstatement.

Javier Couso: “The success of what’s happening today is thanks to a joint effort, not only of the justice system, but of the civil testament in our country. This case was very important here. Jose gave a face to the victims in the Iraq war. It made many very indignant, and we all saw it. It was an attack against the press.”

The judge, Santiago Pedraz, says the new evidence includes eyewitness testimony contradicting US claims the tank that attacked the Palestine Hotel came under fire." (more)

Adm. Mullen: Afghan Occupation Could “Further Destabilize” Pakistan

"Meanwhile, the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, has admitted the escalation of the US occupation of Afghanistan could end up worsening Pakistan’s internal unrest. Speaking before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mullen said, “We may end up further destabilizing Pakistan without providing substantial lasting improvements in Afghanistan.” He continued, “Can I…[be] 100 percent certain that won’t destabilize Pakistan? I don’t know the answer to that.” ".

Misunderstanding Marx: Brad Delong and the Collapse of Neoliberalism


"The blogosphere has lately witnessed some interest in a lecture, "Understanding Marxism" posted by Professor Brad Delong of the University of California and a former Clinton administration official. Delong calls himself a neoliberal economist and his lecture is such a confused jumble of misrepresentations and misunderstandings of even the most elementary rudiments of Marxism that its refutation will serve the two fold purpose of clarifying some elementary ideas of basic Marxism 101 and of exposing the absolute insipidity of neoliberal thinking. " (more).

How Low Will the U.S. Dollar Go and Why the Federal Reserve Can’t Save it

"Since Ben Bernanke touted the U.S. Dollar’s muscle in 2002, the greenback has fallen 40% against world currencies. This free report reveals what’s next for the greenback and four ways you can profit…

Unraveling the future direction of the U.S. Dollar has consistently made fools of economists and other financial gurus.

But right now, if you closely examine the history and current economic tradewinds, the clouds begin to part.

Fact is, the value of the dollar isn’t just some nebulous economic macrotrend. It has a dramatic effect on your everyday life.

From the cost of food and gasoline, to interest rates on car and home loans, Americans deal with the impact of the incredible shrinking dollar in their businesses and daily lives..." (more).

Capitalism in Wonderland

Richard York, Brett Clark, and John Bellamy Foster

"In a recent essay, “Economics Needs a Scientific Revolution,” in one of the leading scientific journals, Nature, physicist Jean-Philippe Bouchaud, a researcher for an investment management company, asked rhetorically, “What is the flagship achievement of economics?” Bouchaud’s answer: “Only its recurrent inability to predict and avert crises.”1 Although his discussion is focused on the current worldwide financial crisis, his comment applies equally well to mainstream economic approaches to the environment—where, for example, ancient forests are seen as non-performing assets to be liquidated, and clean air and water are luxury goods for the affluent to purchase at their discretion. The field of economics in the United States has long been dominated by thinkers who unquestioningly accept the capitalist status quo and, accordingly, value the natural world only in terms of how much short-term profit can be generated by its exploitation. As a result, the inability of received economics to cope with or even perceive the global ecological crisis is alarming in its scope and implications..." (more)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Orgy Must Go On

May 23 (Bloomberg) -- Morgan Stanley, the sixth-biggest U.S. bank by assets, will increase some executive salaries and double Chief Financial Officer Colm Kelleher’s pay as bonuses come under scrutiny from the Obama administration and lawmakers.

The majority of executives will get raises, according to a person briefed on the decision...

The US Plays Again The Sectarian Card: Provoking the Inevitable

On Monday, Iraqi government security forces arrested two prominent Sunni leaders in Iraq's volatile Diyala Province. One of them, Sheikh Riyadh al-Mujami, not coincidentally, is a prominent leader in the local Sahwa (Sons of Iraq), the 100,000-strong Sunni militia that was set up by the US military to quell attacks against occupation forces and launch an effort to battle al-Qaeda in Iraq. Both of those objectives were accomplished, but these efforts are being erased by ongoing missions by Iraqi government security forces, sometimes backed by the US military, to kill or capture both Sahwa leadership and fighters. The results of these attacks against the Sahwa are already evident in an escalation in violence that has taken two forms - a dramatic increase in spectacular attacks against Iraqi civilians and increasing attacks against occupation forces.

If China loses faith, the dollar will collapse

Emerging economies such as China and Russia are calling for alternatives to the dollar as a reserve currency. The trigger is the US Federal Reserve's policy of expanding the money supply to prop up the banking system and its over-indebted households. Because the magnitude of the bad assets within the banking system and the excess leverage of its households are potentially huge, the Fed may be forced into printing dollars massively, which would eventually trigger high inflation or even hyperinflation and cause great damage to countries that hold dollar assets in their foreign exchange.

Joe Biden, in Lebanon, hints that US might cut aid if Hezbollah ..

Reporting from Beirut -- U.S. Vice President Joe Biden today showed pre-election support for the Lebanese government, which prompted a piqued response from the Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah, highlighting the critical nature of the upcoming parliamentary vote.

Biden, speaking to reporters after arriving in Lebanon amid tight security, warned that U.S. aid to Lebanon could be reconsidered in case of a win by Hezbollah, which Washington considers a terrorist organization.

Israeli spy confesses to Nasrallah assassination plot

An Israeli spy arrested in Lebanon has confessed to being involved in a plot to facilitate the assassination of Hezbollah leader Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah.

Ziad Homsi, arrested in Lebanon, admitted that he had been tasked with meeting with the Hezbollah leader "so that Israel could follow Homsi's route from his home town to the place where he would meet Nasrallah," the Lebanese daily As-Safir reported.

Hezbollah concerned about Nasrallah safety

Hezbollah leaders are reportedly concerned that Israel would go on with a plot to assassinate Secretary-General of the movement Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah.

Hezbollah leaders feel that Nasrallah is more than ever at risk of being assassinated by Israel, fearing that Tel Aviv has a well-calculated plan in place to kill the popular leader, the leading Lebanese daily Safir wrote.

According to the daily, Hezbollah officials have a clear image of the Israeli scenario. However, the recent anti-espionage crackdown in Lebanon has partially foiled the plot.

The Cartography of Madness

The Israel Government Tourism Office is withdrawing a series of posters displayed in London Underground stations featuring a map that treats the occupied territories as part of Israel, after the advertisements were referred to the Advertising Standards Authority.

The yellow map makes no distinction between Israel and the Golan Heights, the West Bank and Gaza.

The Guardian UK

Nazim Hikmet: Some Advice To Those Who Will Serve Time In Prison

If instead of being hanged by the neck
you're thrown inside
for not giving up hope
in the world, your country, your people,
if you do ten or fifteen years
apart from the time you have left,
you won't say,
"Better I had swung from the end of a rope
like a flag" --
You'll put your foot down and live.
It may not be a pleasure exactly,
but it's your solemn duty
to live one more day
to spite the enemy.
Part of you may live alone inside,
like a tone at the bottom of a well.
But the other part
must be so caught up
in the flurry of the world
that you shiver there inside
when outside, at forty days' distance, a leaf moves.
To wait for letters inside,
to sing sad songs,
or to lie awake all night staring at the ceiling
is sweet but dangerous.
Look at your face from shave to shave,
forget your age,
watch out for lice
and for spring nights,
and always remember
to eat every last piece of bread--
also, don't forget to laugh heartily.
And who knows,
the woman you love may stop loving you.
Don't say it's no big thing:
it's like the snapping of a green branch
to the man inside.
To think of roses and gardens inside is bad,
to think of seas and mountains is good.
Read and write without rest,
and I also advise weaving
and making mirrors.
I mean, it's not that you can't pass
ten or fifteen years inside
and more --
you can,
as long as the jewel
on the left side of your chest doesn't lose its lustre!

May 1949

War Without Context: Fatah, Hamas And Flawed Language

From a distance, the struggle between Hamas and Fatah appears commonplace, a typical third world country’s political scuffle over interpretation of democracy that went out of control, or simply a ‘power struggle’ between two political rivals vying for international aid and recognition. In fact, the conflict may appear as if it popped out of nowhere and will continue as long as the seemingly power-hungry Palestinians carry on with their self-defeating fight.

Therefore, it’s typical to read such deceptive news reports as that of Ibrahim Barzak of the Associated Press: “Hundreds of Palestinian patients have been trapped in the Gaza Strip, unable to travel abroad for crucial treatment for cancer and other diseases, because of political infighting between Gaza's militant Hamas rulers and their Palestinian rivals.”

Such sinister terminology as “Gaza’s Hamas rulers” – which happened to refer to a democratically elected government – is now in common use, in most Western news agencies, and those who readily recycle their reports.

Newly declassified documents reveal More than $97 million from USAID to separatist projects in Bolivia

Recently declassified documents obtained by investigators Jeremy Bigwood and Eva Golinger reveal that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has invested more than $97 million in “decentralization” and “regional autonomy” projects and opposition political parties in Bolivia since 2002. The documents, requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), evidence that USAID in Bolivia was the “first donor to support departmental governments” and “decentralization programs” in the country, proving that the US agency has been one of the principal funders and fomenters of the separatist projects promoted by regional governments in Eastern Bolivia.

The greatest single attack on American workers since the Great Depression

The alarm bells should be ringing day and night about what’s being prepared at General Motors — the ripple effects could produce tidal waves.

The Obama administration has made no secret about its plans for GM: the Chrysler bankruptcy was the “test case,” and now Obama’s Wall Street buddies inside the Auto Task Force plan to replicate it. The vast implications of the Chrysler bankruptcy went unnoticed by the mainstream media, concerned as it was with the convenient hype provided by Swine Flu.

The real swine, however, are those preparing the greatest single attack on American workers since the Great Depression, the precedent of which will reverberate loudly through business-labor relations in the country — that is, if workers at GM and its parts suppliers don’t put a stop to it.

Report: US promised Jerusalem will be Palestine's capital

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has been assured that US President Barack Obama's new peace plan includes a Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem.

PA officials told the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot that the US intends to stand by its policy that East Jerusalem should be the Palestinian capital. Obama is expected to roll out the peace plan in Cairo on 4 June.
Well if the PA says so!!

Settler thuggery and Apartheid galore!

*Israeli soldier, Palestinian injured in settler attack near Hebron

*Israeli settler runs over a three-year-old Palestinian girl

*Israeli settler leader: Hebron is a Jewish city

*Israelis close land to Palestinian farmers near illegal settlement

*Youth protest construction of illegal outpost; settlers throw burning rags at internationals

*Key Hebron road opened to settlers, not Palestinians

*Hundreds protest Israel's "Jerusalem Day" celebrations

France rejects Netanyahu's vow to maintain Jerusalem occupation

Netanyahu insisted on Thursday that all of Jerusalem will forever remain under Israeli control. He made the comments during a speech marking the anniversary of the occupation of the eastern half of the Palestinian capital.

"United Jerusalem is Israel's capital. Jerusalem was always ours and will always be ours. It will never again be partitioned and divided," Netanyahu said at the state ceremony.

The French official noted that the previously agreed-upon Road Map peace plan demands that both sides negotiate an agreement on Jerusalem. "In France's eyes, Jerusalem should, within the framework of a negotiated peace deal, become the capital of two states," Desagneaux said.

"Actions such as the destruction of Palestinian homes or the transformation of Arab districts risk provoking an escalation in violence. They are unacceptable and contrary to international law," he added.
Ma'an Agency

It ain't new

I found this photo on v's site. I was naively thinking it was somewhat a new "refined" technique of torture. I was bobviouly wrong.
From 'notinhisname'.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Threats to Arabs

"When asked which countries pose the biggest threat to their well-being, Arabs by and large name the same two they have for years: the US and Israel." (thanks As`ad--not me)
The Angry Arab
It's obviously not what Netanyahu (who's concern for the well-being for the Arabs is heart warming) thinks or wants us to think. It's Iran's centrifuges!

Fear of prosecution caused Cheney to speak out, daughter says

Vice President Dick Cheney decided to speak out after learning that President Barack Obama might open prosecutions of former Bush Administration officials, his daughter disclosed Thursday.
“He certainly did not plan when he left office to be doing this,” Cheney’s daughter said. “But I think as we watched in those very first days and weeks after President Obama came into office when he released the memos that lay out for the terrorists — the techniques we used to question them. Then when he suggested in the Oval Office itself that he would be open to the prosecution of former Bush administration officials including many who weren’t political appointees potentially, you know really, I think, made my dad realize this was just fundamentally wrong. We had to speak out.”

Conservative radio hosts gets waterboarded, and lasts six seconds before saying its torture

Chicago radio host Erich "Mancow" Muller decided he'd get himself waterboarded to prove the technique wasn't torture. It didn't turn out that way. "Mancow," in fact, lasted just six or seven seconds before crying foul. Apparently, the experience went pretty badly -- "Witnesses said Muller thrashed on the table, and even instantly threw the toy cow he was holding as his emergency tool to signify when he wanted the experiment to stop."
Thanks DJ

The Siege on Gaza is Not Over

Since the end of Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, the humanitarian situation there has been constantly worsening. And although Israel unilaterally declared an end to the war, the violence has not stopped in Gaza.

From mysterious explosions (most likely from explosives that did not detonate during the conflict); to continued Israeli shelling from sea, land, and air; to the death toll that keeps rising due to the discovery of bodies in the rubble or people succumbing to their wounds—the situation in Gaza is now worse than ever.

The Israeli blockade that has been imposed on Gaza since 2007 has severely limited the Gazan people’s basic food supply. In addition to this, the blockade is causing a water and sanitation crisis by not allowing enough electricity, fuel and replacement parts into the territory so they can keep the infrastructure in working-condition.

When Women’s Sexuality becomes a Social and Political Issue

The family constitutes the fundamental building-block of Palestinian society. Family status is largely dependent upon its honor. Much of the “honor” is determined by the respectability of the women in the family. “Honor killings” can be defined as the execution of a female family member for perceived misuse of her sexuality, is a thorny social, juridicial and political issue.
Palestine Monitor

Noam Chomsky on American amnesia: We Forget Our Atrocities Almost As Soon as We Commit Them

Historical amnesia is a dangerous social phenomenon because it lays the groundwork for crimes that still lie ahead.

The torture memos released by the White House elicited shock, indignation, and surprise. The shock and indignation are understandable. The surprise, less so.

For one thing, even without inquiry, it was reasonable to suppose that Guantanamo was a torture chamber. Why else send prisoners where they would be beyond the reach of the law -- a place, incidentally, that Washington is using in violation of a treaty forced on Cuba at the point of a gun? Security reasons were, of course, alleged, but they remain hard to take seriously. The same expectations held for the Bush administration's "black sites", or secret prisons, and for extraordinary rendition, and they were fulfilled.

The New York Times falsifies the Obama-Netanyahu meeting

he New York Times assigned to the story a campaign-trail reporter, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, whose political perceptions are bland and whose knowledge of Israeli-American relations is an antiseptic zero. At the newspaper of record, a thing like that does not happen by accident. They took the most anxiously awaited meeting with a foreign leader of President Obama's term thus far, and buried it on page 12. The coverage of a major event, which the same newspaper had greeted only the day before by running an oversize attack-Iran, op-ed by Jeffrey Goldberg, has officially now shrunk to the scale of a smaller op-ed.
The Huffington Post

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Was This Bailout Necessary?

By Dean Baker
Source: Guardian Unlimited
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says that we don't need to bail out the banks anymore based on the results of his stress tests. We should follow up quickly on his assessment and start shutting the special Fed lending facilities enjoyed by the banks, the FDIC loan guarantee program, and the AIG slush fund.

However, given the hundreds of billions that have already gone out the door, it is still worth asking whether this bailout was necessary. The argument made by many economists was that it would cost taxpayers more money to do an FDIC-type takeover of banking behemoths like Citigroup and Bank of America than the tens of billions handed over to keep them afloat. In their story, the taxpayer bailout of bank stockholders, bondholders, and top management was an unfortunate side effect.

Silencing palestine advocacy in Canada

"Enormous resources have been marshaled by conservative and Zionist organizations in an attempt to silence criticism of the Canadian government's unwavering support for Israel. The first few months of 2009 have seen a concerted campaign to shut down Palestine advocacy in Canada
Palestine advocates have always had to live with harassment, false accusations, and smears. All these vastly intensified after the latest Israeli assault against the captive people of Gaza that left over 1400 people dead, including 430 children, and thousands of homes and public infrastructure destroyed in an already devastated and besieged area. This direct response to a growing international solidarity movement in support of Palestinian human rights is an attempt to demonize the movement and curtail its ability to do public organizing and campaigning."

Netanyahu At The White House: Not Yet Change We Can Believe In

"Overall, yesterday's White House meeting between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has to be seen as a draw. As former U.S. ambassador to Israel and Obama adviser Daniel Kurtzer noted before the meeting, "for different but complementary reasons, both Obama and Netanyahu do not want this meeting to fail." And it didn't. There was no public acknowledgement of strategic differences between them, the tone was friendly and upbeat, the U.S.-Israeli "special relationship" re-emerged unchanged and intact.
"Palestinian parliamentarian and pro-democracy activist Mustafa Barghouti wrote in the Los Angeles Times just before the meeting, "It's now or almost certainly never. If Obama lacks the political will to stand up to Netanyahu now, he will lack the capacity later. And by the time Obama leaves office, it will be too late to salvage anything more than an archipelago of Palestinian bantustans. We Palestinians seek freedom, not apartheid, and not the sort of Potemkin villages on the West Bank that Netanyahu is trying to package to the West as visionary economic boomtowns for desperate""

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The impact of Christians' exodus from the Mideast goes beyond religion

"Like other minorities around the world, Middle Eastern Christians have been among the first to suffer whenever their nations are invaded by foreign forces or torn apart by internal conflict, and they are among the hardest-hit in times of economic hardship.
Nearly half of the 800,000 Christians who resided in Iraq before the 2003 US-led invasion of the country have fled. Scores of Christian Palestinians, like their Muslim counterparts, have been driven out of their ancestral homeland, and those who remain behind are forced to endure the physical and economic hardships of living under Israeli occupation. Tens of thousands of Lebanese have fled their country's multiple conflicts, or have left their homeland to pursue better economic opportunities. Likewise, Jordan has lost around 20 percent of its Christians, in spite of the fact that their community enjoys full legal rights and official support. "

How news about the global economic crisis got displaced—by pigs.

How Pigs Replaced Economics

"The media jumped on this new new new crisis, the politicians around the world thanked Providence for something to distract voters from their ethical lapses and the opportunity to pad their budgets, pharmaceutical stocks rallied, airline stocks tanked, and the conspiracy theories are running wild. The Russians stopped importing pork, even though you don’t get the flu from eating pork."
(Psychology Today)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Are humans cruel to be kind?

"But why do we inflict pain for no gain? On the face of it, it is rather a perverse way of going about things. Does spitefulness stem from an affronted sense of fairness? Or something altogether darker: envy, lust for revenge - or perhaps even pure sadism?

It might be all those things. Economists, anthropologists and evolutionary biologists have been teasing out how, used judiciously, spiteful behaviour can be one of our best weapons in maintaining a fair and ordered society. But intentions that are noble in one situation can be malicious in another - making spite a weapon that can all too easily backfire."

The New Scientist

The Universe: Order without design

A review:

"IN THIS excellent book, NASA physicist Carlos Calle tackles the question of whether the universe requires a supernatural "designer" or whether our cosmological theories can explain the wondrous reality around us.

The standard model of cosmology, in which a tiny piece of inflating "false vacuum" decays into a fireball, and stars and galaxies congeal out of the cooling debris, has passed many tests, but problems remain. Where did the false vacuum come from in the first place? And how do the supposedly enormous quantum convulsions of our current vacuum manage to cancel out to almost - but not exactly - zero, leaving behind a piddling that lies in the tiny range of values that allow life to exist?"

(The New Scientist)

Israeli Spies, collaborators, and terrorists

Confessions of Israeli spies in Lebanon.

Israel's chief propagandist at NYT

"At the same time, it’s hard not to sense a bit of anxiety in Bronner’s writing, as though he had put the story together with one eye on the events and the other on the reactions he might get from readers back home. The story’s very thoroughness might even be seen cynically as a protective coating to ensure the harsh news goes down gently. Unlike the British reports, Bronner’s doesn’t lead with the soldiers’ allegations, but with a reminder that Israel is beset, yet it does its best. The allegations themselves, which are the point of the story—indeed, the whole story as other reporters told it—are met with just about every possible rebuttal and mitigating circumstance." (The Angry Arab)

UN Committee Against Torture expresses 'deep concern' at Israel's treatment of detained children

  • Concern regarding numerous, ongoing and consistent allegations of the use of torture and ill-treatment taking place before, during and after interrogations.
  • Deep concern at reports that Palestinian children are detained and interrogated in the absence of a lawyer or family member and are allegedly subjected to acts in breach of the Convention against Torture in order to obtain confessions.
  • Concern at reports that approximately 700 Palestinian children are detained annually and are prosecuted in Israeli military courts.
  • Concern at reports that in 95% of cases involving Palestinian children before the Israeli military courts, conviction is obtained using confessions extracted during interrogation.
  • Concern that all but one of the prisons where Palestinian children are detained are located in Israel, hindering family visits. (This contravenes Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention).
  • Concern that administrative detention does not conform to Article 16 of the Convention against Torture (cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment) because, among other reasons, it is used for inordinately lengthy periods of time and detainees are unable to challenge the evidence which is the basis for the detention.

"The Three Trillion Dollar War" by Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes

When the United States invaded Iraq in March 2003, Americans were told Iraqi oil would cover the costs of the war and rebuilding. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld scoffed at estimates of $100 billion.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Josef Stiglitz of Columbia University and Harvard University professor Linda Bilmes raised a stir in 2006 by estimating the real cost of the war to be $1 trillion. That estimate has been tripled and the title of their new book is "The Three Trillion Dollar War."

For two weeks the authors of "The Three Trillion Dollar War," fielded questions about the cost of the Iraq war and its impact on the U.S. economy. They're not taking new questions, but they're still posting answers to ones they've already received.

Behind the scenes: Closed zones

closed zones

The "new" animated film created by Yoni Goodman, Director of Animation for the Academy Award-nominated film "Waltz with Bashir", together with the human rights group Gisha. "Closed Zone" shows the closure of the Gaza Strip and its effects on the ability of 1.5 million human beings living there to fulfill their daily needs, as well as their dreams and aspirations.

Monday, May 18, 2009

I wake up this morning...

And find that I'm the only "maitre a bord" and that proverbially, hells do break lose after all! This is unexpected to say the least and coming at the worst time imaginable for me since I'm preparing for my exhibition mid June! Though tempted by calling it a day and closing down the "shop", I have a feeling that it would be utterly wrong (and easy) to do so and it would not fit with my psychological make up of dropping the baby thus handing an unexpected victory to those, numerous, who would see it as such! I'm taking some necessary(and brief) time to think how the interest of this blog is best served.

My last post

Can someone pls. remove me as a contributor?

I dont think this is a good place for me to be blogging. Good luck all!
I want to say something about participating in politics. If everyone who hated the U.S. empire were to join politics, now that would change something. Pontificating on a blog probably won't.