Archive | April 9th, 2010



My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: “Wars of Virtue: The Individual Between the Fist of the State and the Fist of Religion”.
“The latest news from Bil’in: Haitham Al Khatib was arrested while filming at today’s demonstration. Story below.”

I really heart Gaza tunnels

“The tunnels have evolved into a unique economic infrastructure through which everything from people and vehicles to refrigerators and lions for the zoo are dragged. Tunnels are expensive to build so venture capitalists look for investors — anyone with enough ready cash to sink into a business that can make massive returns but can also be wiped out overnight.
A cheap tunnel can cost $60,000 (£40,000), a deeper and more reliable one as much as five times that. Tunnellers also have to buy a permit from Hamas for $2,500. There is no shortage of would-be smugglers among Gaza’s 1.5 million people. The border area is as churned up as the battlefield of the Somme, piles of earth topped with endless white tents which act as cover for tunnel entrances and warehouses for arriving goods.”

Zionism is sexism, too

“According to Jewish law, a man has to agree to grant the divorce of his own free will before the legal separation can proceed. Rights groups say the system unfairly discriminates against women. “If he’s incapacitated, if he’s abusive, if he committed adultery, it really doesn’t matter,” says Susan Weiss, who runs the Center for Women’s Justice in Israel. “If he doesn’t say yes, you’re stuck.””

Arabic and culture

“In his inaugural address to parliament last December, the Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri kept mispronouncing words and whole phrases in Arabic, smirking the entire time. Not only did the Georgetown-educated, English-speaking Mr Hariri laugh at his mistakes, but he also cackled when Nabih Berri, the speaker of parliament, asked him if he needed someone to help him out.
Being bad at Arabic is almost like being bad at an obscure sport, say croquet: no one particularly cares if you fail to grasp the quaint and overly complex techniques needed for mastery of the subject.” Let us make it clear. Mini-Hariri was admitted to Georgetown because his (now dead) daddy had made a big contribution to the university. Hell, if you donate billions to Harvard, a potato owned by the donor would be admitted to the college.

If this happened in a Muslim country…

“Magen David Adom paramedic Ruti Levy was rushed Friday along with two other unit members to a synagogue in Jerusalem’s Givat Shaul neighborhood after a man fainted in the site. However, upon arrival she was prevented from entering the room and aiding the patient when ultra-Orthodox worshippers shoved her out claiming “a woman is prohibited from

Innocents at Guantanamo

“George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld covered up that hundreds of innocent men were sent to the Guantánamo Bay prison camp because they feared that releasing them would harm the push for war in Iraq and the broader War on Terror, according to a new document obtained by The Times.”

Dumb Mossad stories

“Secondly, if the indictments filed against Israeli journalist Anat Kamm on Wednesday prove true, it would appear that about 2,000 classified Israeli military documents, including 700 marked “secret” and “top secret”, were copied and remained undetected in private possession for years.
These are all documents whose content could “gravely damage state security and endanger the lives of both soldiers and Israeli civilians”, in the words of counter-intelligence agency Shin Beth’s chief, Yuval Diskin. According to a report in leading Israeli daily Yediot Ahronoth, this affair is likely the “most severe in Israeli history as far as the damage it could have caused to the country’s security”. Needless to say, it constitutes a blow to Israeli deterrence at a time when tensions in the region are high and rising.
“Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, the U.S. military has finally admitted that Special Forces troops killed two pregnant Afghan women and a girl in a February, 2010, raid, in which two Afghan government officials were also killed. Brilliant reporting by Jerome Starkey of The Times of London has blown apart the U.S. military’s cover-up story that the women were killed by knife wounds administered several hours before the raid.
It now appears that the knife wounds may have been inflicted by the Special Forces troops retrieving their bullets from the dead or dying women’s bodies. Starkey’s story last Sunday in The Times reported that “Afghan investigators also determined that American forces not only killed the women but had also ‘dug bullets out of their victims’ bodies in the bloody aftermath” and then “washed the wounds with alcohol before lying to their superiors about what happened.”
The 17-minute video recording the US military’s massacre from the air in Baghdad, is utterly damning. The visual and audio record reveal the two Apache helicopter pilots and the US Army intelligence personnel monitoring the real-time footage falling over themselves to make the snap judgment that the civilians roughly a thousand feet below are armed insurgents and that one of them, peeking round a corner, was carrying an RPG, that is, a rocket-propelled antitank grenade launcher.”

subsidizing war crimes

“Israel will get $2.7 billion in military aid from the U.S. this year — or 18 percent of Israel’s military budget. By 2013, that will lock into an annual level of $3.15 billion for five years. It also has almost $4 billion outstanding in available U.S. loan guarantees, left over from $9 billion extended at former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s request in 2003.
That makes Israel the largest recipient of U.S. aid in the world, if you don’t count Iraq and Afghanistan. It also benefits from some of the easiest terms: Unlike other recipients, which must buy 100 percent American, Israel can spend about one quarter of its U.S. military aid at home, which amounts to a significant boost to its defense industry.”

Posted in UncategorizedComments Off on WORLD NEWS***WORLDNEWS***WORLD NEWS



It appears that the prosecutors in an extremely bogus case against Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign activists have decided that it is not racist to protest against the normalisation of a Zio=Nazi  racist stateof  ‘Israel’. Here’s SPSC:

Five Palestine campaigners who contested the relevancy of a “racially aggravated conduct” charge in relation to their protest against Zio=Nazi’s blockade of Gaza had all charges against them dropped today.

The campaigners, all members of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC), had interrupted the August 2008 Edinburgh Festival concert by the Zionist Jerusalem Quartet. Tours by the classical musicians are regularly sponsored by the Israeli Government, which the campaign group claims makes them a legitimate target for protest.
The campaigners had been accused of making “comments about Jews, Israelis, and the Zio=Nazi State of ‘Israel’”, but during a three-day legal debate at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, a BBC audio recording of the event revealed that there had been no reference made to “Jews”. Comments included “They are Israeli Army musicians”, “End the Siege of Gaza”, “Genocide in Gaza”, and “Boycott Israel”.

So it appears that the charge was premised on dishonesty anyway. In fact lying about what has actually been said in an incident is becoming a bit of a standard zionist tactic lately. But see what the Scottish sheriff (judge) had to say about the matter:

Sheriff James Scott ruled that “the comments were clearly directed at the State of Israel, the Israeli Army, and Israeli Army musicians”, and not targeted at “citizens of Israel” per se. “The procurator fiscal’s attempts to squeeze malice and ill will out of the agreed facts were rather strained”, he said.

Do you see? The judge is accusing the prosecutor of stretching the meaning of “racism” to protect the Zio=Nazi state. But read on:

The Sheriff expressed concern that to continue with the prosecution would have implications for freedom of expression generally: “if persons on a public march designed to protest against and publicise alleged crimes committed by a state and its army are afraid to name that state for fear of being charged with racially aggravated behaviour, it would render worthless their Article 10(1) rights.

Presumably their placards would have to read, ‘Genocide in an unspecified state in the Middle East’; ‘Boycott an unspecified state in the Middle East’ etc.

Now do you see? A judge has so rumbled the Zios he has gone so far as to say that condemnation of a state is not condemnation of a people. A judge has effectively ruled that anti-Zionism is not antisemitism.

The Zio=Nazi’s are appealing but that judgement will ring out for a long time to come.



 by Debrah McFarlane

There are  different reasons why individuals immigrate to the United States. Regardless of what their reasons are, there  is much time and money involved in the process. Immigrants spend millions of dollars every year applying for entry permits/visas to the United States. Whether they intend to be tourists or permanent residents, the process of getting approved for a visa can be extremely tedious.

U.S Military Veterans and their Families Deported

The expenses involved in applying for  the visa are non-refundable, and at a cost that is equivalent to a month’s salary in most countries, it is a rather expensive pursuit. Immigrants applying for visas must have no criminal pass, sexually transmitted diseases,  and their moral character needs to be classified as “good”.

Approval of initial entry documents do not mean that an individual will receive approval for a second entry. The individual must go through the same process that initally resulted in the first entry visa should an extension or renewal be denied.

The costs of reapplying for entry documents will more than likely increase as prices for filing papers can drastically increase in short time spans. Yet, immigrants are treated as if they all received free visas and tickets to the US.

Immigration is big business. Though government officials continue to declare a war on illegal and legal immigrants (some of who are veterans), make no mistake in thinking that immigrants do not pay their way. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services collect millions of dollars  in fees annually and fees are not returned for denying an application.

Immigrants contribute to the country’s economy, and yes, there are issues with illegality in statuses of some immigrants. However, there is still the overwhelming majority of immigrants who are legal. It is extremely unfortunate that along the way, this “war against immigrants” have resulted in great distortion of information when it comes to the rights of legal immigrants and veteran immigrants.

Immigrant veterans have been caught in the crossfire aimed at keeping illegal immigrants out of the US. Currently, many immigrant veterans continue to be denied their stay in the US and citizenship even after serving in the US military, and in the more recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, President Bush signed an executive order permitting permanent residents on active duty to file for citizenship immediately instead of waiting the usual three years of military service.

What people need to remember is that many immigrants have been joining the military long before 9-11 without any promises of citizenship. After five years of being a continuous permanent resident in the US, anyone can apply to become a citizen of the US once they meet immigration criteria.

However, not all immigrants apply for citizenship and many of those who do apply, intend to return to their home country eventually for one reason or another.

That being said, it is imperative that if the government offer citizenship to immigrants in return for serving in the military of their now adopted country of residence, it is important that the government follow through on such promise.

Immigrants who are US veterans should be allowed to live in peace rather than continuous fear of deportation. There are many Americans who will not serve their country under any circumstances, even in a cases such as 9-11 type acts. It is quite evident that Americans were not overwhelming military recruiting offices in droves after 9-11. Had that been the case, there would have been no need to entice more immigrants into serving in the new wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

We need to remember our promises to the brave men and women who answered the call of duty (immigrant or citizens), irrespective of whether it was through enticement or otherwise. These men and women are not criminals, but rather heroes and heroines who were willing to give their lives for the United States of America.

There are many immigrants that were killed on the battle front in both wars and received their citizenship posthumously. What about the immigrants who served and are still alive and expecting this promised benefit of citizenship in order to make a living after military service?

Unless an immigrant receives the red carpet treatment that is handed out to Cubans and humanitarian refugees who escape being scrutinized by the USCIS upon entering US shores, they have to pay thousands of US dollars for entry visas and legal documentations. They also must meet conditions of having no criminal pass, no sexually transmitted diseases, and possess good moral character before being given a visa of any type to enter the country.

Nonetheless, the aforementioned criteria are no guarantees for a visa, as the process can take multiple trips and years of going back and forth to US embassies in hopes of getting an entry permit / visa. Many Americans fail to comprehend the amount of money that immigrants spend in order to enter and remain temporarily and permanently in the United States. The amount is far less than what US residents pay to become residents and citizens in other countries.

For example, an individual from Jamaica who applies for a visa to the United States for one reason or another, must spend an exorbitant amount of money over the period of the application. With each trip to the embassy amounting to more than $13,000.00 Jamaican currency (about a month’s salary) in application fees, there are no guarantees of receiving a visa and before long, a single individual can spend a fortune over years of applying.

Immigrant veterans had to go through this process before being able to legally reside in the US. However, if they are promised a faster way to obtain their documents (military service), then they should not have to beg the government to honor that promise.

Though the immigration process is tedious, people go through it because they genuinely believe that they can make a better life for themselves and their families. We should not take that away from our fellow veterans because they are classified by “immigrant status”. The USCIS makes millions of dollars every year from expensive fees charged to immigrants who file their immigration documents legally.

Lawyers make millions representing immigrants who are legally residing in the United States, and some of those being represented are veterans who have served without questions. Just as many Americans emigrate to other countries every year permanently without being treated as pariahs, it is time the US treat immigrants and veteran immigrants with the same amount of respect given to ex-patriots who decide to permanently reside outside the US.

Posted in UncategorizedComments Off on U.S.A: WAR AGAINST IMMIGRANTS


 by Gordon Duff



By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

This week a former Army Ranger and defense contractor started sending in documents.  They outlined espionage by China against the US, attempted murder, blackmailing, nuclear secrets, missile technology, the whole thing.  As I have good friends who worked for Director Hoover at the FBI, totally straight laced, honest and hard as nails, everything went to them. 

This was terrible stuff, things that could bring the nuclear destruction of the United States.  Problem is, the spying was done “legally.”  The transfers of top secret technology had the signature of President George W. Bush on them.  I was told that he has the power, through “executive privilege” to give any weapon system, any technology to any American enemy at any time and nobody can be prosecuted, nothing can be investigated, no matter how much the whole thing stinks. 

 Well, you learn something every day.  I could have gone a long time without learning this and would have felt alot better.  I was even sent a newspaper clipping.  This was actually in the press, or at least a small part of it.  How bad is the danger to the United States?  Almost nothing imaginable could have hurt America more, not even some of Israels spy coups.

I then got into a discussion about what it would take to arrest a president for treason.  It seems that a president can, now anyway, decide to sell our country down the river to anyone under the new broadened definition of “executive privilege,” destroy any documents, pretty much do anything he wants.  We have more than enough evidence that a President can actually order killings.  Obama has, this week, ordered the murder of Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is accused of working with terrorists.

What we aren’t being told is that Anwar al-Awlaki is an FBI informant with ties to the 9/11 hijackers.  There is a horrible smell about the White House order to shut him up, tied, not only to 9/11 but the Ft. Hood killings also. 

There is a wealth of evidence tying Awlaki to some very strange conspiracies.  If there were ever going to be a real 9/11 investigation, there is reason to believe that Anwar al-Awlaki could testify that the FBI had been funding 2 of the hijackers.  Oh, when we deceive…


We have always had crooked elections in America.  Watergate was about laundering money to rig a presidential election, at least part of it was.  Since that time, we have gone from simple vote buying to voting machine rigging, taking not thousands of votes but millions, making the electoral process in America as bad as Afghanistan or the Ukraine. covers these issues extremely well.  I suggest that every American subscribe to this site and stay informed.  With the Supreme Court deciding that money is a person and our media having gone totally insane on us, we have two basic programs to operate from.  Vote everyone out of office and totally boycott all newspapers, magazines and network news and the companies that sponsor them.  You want to be an American?  Simple, act like one!


Hey, the Obama birth certificate issue is an odd one.  We had a president for 8 years that had classified beyond top secret, not things involving national security but his own military records, criminal records, driving records, things like that.  What do they reveal? 

Bush has never been able to account for his military service or even for how he managed to sneak into the National Guard around waiting lists.  The accusations against him are for desertion during wartime.  The proof would be his records.  He had them classified.  There is only one reason for this.  Anyone who thinks otherwise is a total fool.

We know Clinton had big contributors sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom of the White House.  How about getting us all the Bush era visitor’s logs.  How many times did gay escort and Bush confidant Jeff Gannon sleep in the White House?  Was he the only one?  We know Gannon did “sleep-overs” we just want to know how often and how many other escorts did sleep-overs.  This is a massive national security issue. 

Don’t we also have drunk driving arrests, drivers license suspensions, cocaine arrests, community service, shady business deals with the bin Laden family, some kind of scandal about a baseball team and funeral homes to look into?  Do we, perhaps, have some reporters who showed up “missing?”  Nothing like getting some light on a problem to help push democracy forward.


For POW/MIA family members and activists, Senator McCain is knows as a bad tempered, foul mouthed bully who screams, insults and shoves people who ask questions he wants kept quiet.  Those questions always involved why the United States ignored highly credible intelligence on POWs still held in Southeast Asia. 

I have spoken with high ranking intelligence officers who worked on these issues and were privy to live sighting documents.  Luckily, I seem to have one of those on our editorial staff.  I am told there was more than adequate evidence, by US Army standards, to justify the assumption that POWs were held by the communists well into the 1980s and beyond. 

Other than McCain’s totally inexplicable opposition to attempts to get POW accounting, the first information I heard about McCain came from Colonel Ted Guy.  He told me he had been preparing court martial charges against McCain for treason but was forced by the military to stop.  McCain received a Presidential Pardon from Nixon.

Then Guy told me that he had received full briefing materials from the Pentagon proving all POWs had been returned.  Ted said he believed these documents and was satisfied until things all began to unravel.  Colonel Guy eventually discovered he had been lied to, felt the sting of betrayal and spent the last years of his life working to repatriate Americans POWs, an effort that was fought by John McCain every step of the way.  McCain had something to hide, in fact, never has any American had as much to hide as John McCain, the admiral’s son.

Veterans also hate John McCain, at least those who pay attention.  In 1997, McCain admitted on 60 Minutes to being a “war criminal” while fighting in Vietnam.  He used his rank, his wealth and his fame to paint all Americans serving in Vietnam as criminals.  McCain was the ultimate “airport spitter.”  In a written statement, McCain describes his military service thusly, , “I am a black criminal and I have performed the deeds of an air pirate. I almost died and the Vietnamese people saved my life, thanks to the doctors.”

How serious were some of the endless things McCain was charged with, from his nearly endless propaganda broadcasts to his continual meetings with the press describing America and her military as criminals.  Here is a quote from an article by Douglas Valentine:

On the other hand, according to one source, McCain’s collaboration may have had very real consequences. Retired Army Colonel Earl Hopper, a veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, contends that the information that McCain divulged classified information North Vietnam used to hone their air defense system.  Hopper’s son, Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Earl Pearson Hopper was, like McCain, shot down over North Vietnam. 

Hopper the younger, however, was declared “Missing in Action.” Stemming from the loss of his son, the elder Hopper co-founded the National League of Families, an organization devoted to the return of Vietnam War POWs.

 According to the elder Hopper, McCain told his North Vietnamese captors, “highly classified information, the most important of which was the package routes, which were routes used to bomb North Vietnam. He gave in detail the altitude they were flying, the direction, if they made a turn… he gave them what primary targets the United States was interested in.” Hopper contends that the information McCain provided allowed the North Vietnamese to adjust their air-defenses. 

As result, Hopper claims, the US lost sixty percent more aircraft and in 1968, “called off the bombing of North Vietnam, because of the information McCain had given to them.”

Valentine tells us that when his father was held as a POW by the Japanese during WW2, prisoners that collaborated were killed by their fellows.  Do we simply shove it all under the rug and put the scoundrels in the Senate? 


Let’s think for a minute, there could be many.  If you steal, steal big because rich people usually can get away with murder, literally.  That one works.  How about this, “The more people talk about honor, the flag and patriotism, the more likely they have something to hide.”  I think this one might actually be accepted as a universal truth.  Can we have it written into the gospels, I wonder?  How could Jesus have missed this one?




 by Gordon Duff ·



By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

MSNBC, in an excellent video, has put out both sides of the story on the 2007 ”video game murder” in Iraq.  The most telling aspect of this story isn’t just that we now know our own Army leaked the video or that many others like it exist, it is the lengths we go to using “surrogates” to spin away murder.  Years of lies droning on, filling the American airwaves have made senseless and fantasy based explanations for daily issues, be they war, health care or the presidents birth certificate subject to “conspiracy theory.” 

What so many Americans have awakened to is that our real conspiracies are all formulated “at the top” where money and power seek to control public opinion thru disinformation.  Now we are being told black is white on a video we can actually see.
YouTube – Veterans Today –

I wish to thank WikiLeaks and the people of the United States military who leaked this film along with those who support realistic reforms that this film demands.  Taking a moment to put some reality into the spin, misinformation and attempts at a cover-up, we can get a few facts out.


1.  This film was made during the height of the surge.  The area filmed is called a “hot zone.”  This explanation, through omission is a lie.  The primary activity of the surge was not combat but rather the realignment of the armed militias in the region being filmed through cash payments.  If the two armed security people with the Reuter’s group were militia members, they were most likely employees of the United States government receiving a $300 a month stipend. 

Journalists are in far more danger in these areas than any other group, including American troops.  The number of journalists kidnapped and murdered is astounding.  These journalists would have had security personnel with them in that neighborhood.

Thousands of armed militia, real militia with heavy weapons and uniforms, in this area of Baghdad were working for the US at this time.  Assuming that these two lightly armed people with the unarmed group were not either security personnel, protecting the others from criminal gangs or paid militia working for the US is not based on the reality of the period and the location, is unrealistic.  No permission to fire could have been made against this group, largely unarmed, and not a threat to anyone.  Lying to interfere with an investigation or to hide a crime, whether done by a reporter or member of the military is a felony.

2.  Statements that the Apache helicopter was subject to attack by this group is untrue.  We have failed to reveal that the helicopter was, based on the optics and pattern of fire, nearly 1 mile away.  The M789 ammunition which should have been used has an effective range, capable of



piercing tank armor, of 4000 meters, approximately 3 miles.  The rationale given for the attack, that the Apache Longbow helicopters that were out of visual range, using their extremely sophisiticated optics were about to be attacked by advanced weaponry that of a size and type that only exists in science fiction, indicates a pattern of systematic deception between pilots and their controllers, deception meant to provide authorization for indiscriminate criminal activity.

American optics can read a car license plate from earth orbit.  We can certainly tell a child in a car or a movie camera the size of a woman’s purse from an RPG that is 6 feet long.  Hitting a helicopter with a non-existent RPG hidden inside a camera bag, from a mile away, is utterly impossible.  Also, hitting any target at long range with an AK-47, a weapon with a short range 7.62/39 cartridge is also impossible.

YouTube – Veterans Today –

3.  Assuming that a group of men on the streets of a neighborhood filled with criminal gangs, gangs living on bribe money paid by Americans, gangs who make a living by kidnapping journalists and local citizens, who have an armed escort are “insurgents” is simply crazy.  Iraqis living there are in far more danger than Americans and die by the dozens, sometimes hundreds, each week. 

It is still going on at even higher levels than then with no Americans operating in the areas at all.  The same people walk the same streets with the same guns today, in exactly the same way.  It is how they stay alive.  In America, we would call it our 2nd Amendment right.

4.  The military and its “surrogates” have suggested the Apache was defending a nearby convoy from attacks from RPG 29s that they spotted inside the camera bags of the Reuter’s reporters.  This is a photograph of an RPG 29:

5.  The military has released a number of unsupported claims, one being that a convoy was in the area.  Imagine a maze of small streets, an almost infinite maze.  Not only were there no troops anywhere near the site of the incident but, in fact, directing them to find the area took some time.  The “convoy” was, not only not going there, they didn’t even know how to find “there” even with the help of an Apache Longbow helicopter with advanced geo-navigation systems.

30mm CANNON SHELLS USED ON REPORTERS AND VAN6.  Iraq is an Islamic Republic and subject to Islamic law.  Islamic law requires all citizens to assist any sick or wounded person.  Every American knows this and, frankly, many Americans have benefited from this.  Any Muslim that stops to help another is performing a religious duty, an act of similar importance to prayer itself. 

 Attacking a Muslim for aiding the sick or injured is a criminal act in any Islamic country and, frankly, should be everywhere.  The Americans who directed the murderous attack on the unarmed people who stopped to help the single severely wounded man were attacked, not only in direct violation of American rules of engagement but Islamic law.

7.  Reports from the military indicate that false reports of a fire fight involving ground forces was part of the action.  In such cases, commendations and medals are often awarded.  What will a search of the military records of all involved reveal? 

Were any medals or commendations awarded based on inventing an incident to obscure criminal activity?  What does this do to every American veteran and every decorated combat veteran if we find commendations were awarded for these “acts?”

8.  As no statements on the “load-out” of the Apache Longbow helicopters involved has been made, is it possible that Depleted Uranium ammunition, now being sited by the Department of Veterans Affairs as cause for numerous illnesses suffered by Gulf War veterans, being used in this engagement? 



The internet is flooded with hundreds of videos, perhaps even thousands, demonstrating the prowess of advanced weaponry being used in an urban environment or against “insurgent” targets.  Systems such as the Apache Longbow, designed for use against massed enemy armoured divisions with massive cannons designed to obliterate enemy tanks and highly fortified positions, when used against sporadically armed irregular forces or unarmed civilians seems a misapplication of resources at minimum and, frankly, insanity when looked at carefully.

General Stanley McChrystal, recognizing that it was cheaper to hire insurgents at $300 per month than to use $5000 dollars worth of ammunition to kill one showed, not only amazing judgment but an appreciation for human life seldom seen in military leaders. 

Were the two armed personnel insurgents planning to attack an American convoy of Bradley fighting vehicles, using only two rifles and no extra ammunition or were these two security guards watching out for Reuters newsmen interviewing local leaders?  Were the two armed men who were killed actually employed by the United States, as were others of their ilk in that neighborhood?

What of the unarmed people with them?  Do insurgent groups typically only arm some and not all?  Are weapons hard to get in Iraq?  We all know better than this.  What of the totally unarmed group?  Were they actually killed for trying to help wounded, as the tape says?  Do Americans pay millions to Boeing to build the Apache helicopter or thousands to General Dynamics to manufacture the ammunition, for such senselessness?

Do we spend millions training pilots for this kind of mission?  Is there anything we could have done, spending so much money, misusing so many resources, to do as much damage to the reputation of the United States, the honor of her military forces and veterans and the security of our country?




April 7, 2010 by Bob Higgins ·

This summary briefing comes to us through the courtesy of Just Foreign Policy.

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Real News: U.S. covering up reality in Honduras
State Department campaign denies the systemic repression that continues nine months after coup.

Congressional Pressure Can End the War, Saving Many Lives
The fight over the war supplemental is tremendously important, because Congressional pressure can move Administration policy, even when critics of Administration policy don’t command a majority of votes.

This is especially true when, as in this case, critics are in the majority in the President’s own party, and when, as in this case, the policy under pressure is an international policy which is also under significant international pressure.

Urge Congress to Talk About the Human Cost of War
In the next few weeks, Congress is expected to be asked to approve $33 billion more for war and occupation in Afghanistan. Urge your representatives in Congress to use this opportunity to shine a spotlight on the human cost of continuing war and occupation.

Call Congress the Week of April 12 Against the War in Afghanistan
Groups are collaborating in generating calls to Congress against the war, urging: opposition to the war supplemental, support for a military withdrawal timetable, support for a public exit strategy and support for peace negotiations. Spread the word.

Highlights of the Afghanistan Debate

U.S./Top News
1) Senator Feingold and Representative McGovern are expected to introduce legislation as early as next week calling for a “flexible timetable” for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, reports Tom Hayden in the Nation.

A troop withdrawal deadline is seen by peace advocates as an incentive to draw the Taliban into peace talks, directly and indirectly, Hayden writes. Some Congressional staff and peace advocates are considering demands to make as possible amendments on the war supplemental, including requiring all-party talks in Afghanistan leading to new internationally supervised elections, including elements of the Taliban, as a condition of funding; replacing ISAF troops in Afghanistan with peacekeepers from non- aligned countries, challenging drone attacks in Pakistan.

2) Even as a new investigation of a February U.S. Special Forces night raid was being announced, General McChrystal’s spokesman insisted that there had been no U.S. cover-up of the killing of Afghan civilians in the raid, writes Gareth Porter for Inter Press Service.

Asked by IPS how the US could have arrived at its initial claim that three Afghan women were already dead when Special Forces began the raid, McChrystal’s spokesman suggested that US forces had not found the bodies for some time. But family members have told reporters a very different story. Family members told CNN and the UN that two of the victims died hours later, after US forces prevented family members from taking them to the hospital.

3) Senior Palestinian leaders are promoting and participating in nonviolent resistance against the Israeli occpuation, the New York Times reports. With both diplomacy and armed struggle out of favor for having failed to end the Israeli occupation, the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, joined by the business community, is trying to forge a third way: to rouse popular passions while avoiding violence.

Billboards have sprung up as part of a campaign against buying settlers’ goods, featuring a pointed finger and the slogan “Your conscience, your choice.” The Palestinian Ministry of Communications has banned the sale of Israeli cellphone cards because Israeli signals are relayed from towers inside settlements. A senior PLO official was arrested at demonstration protesting Israeli restriction on travel to Jerusalem.

4) A spokesman for US Central Command said Tuesday that Central Command was “looking into” the U.S. shootings of two Reuters employees in Iraq following Wikileaks’ release of the military video, but stopped short of referring to it as an investigation, the New York Times reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists said the video “confirms our long-held view that a thorough and transparent investigation into this incident is urgently needed.”

5) Former national security advisers Zbigniew Brzezinski, Brent Scowcroft and Samuel Berger have told the Obama Administration it will have to put its own proposal on the table for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in order to get talks moving, the New York Times reports. A senior US official said such a move would not happen now, but would happen once talks started and got bogged down.

Most Middle East experts draw the same outline for a peace deal, the Times says: Palestinians would have to accept compensation rather than return for 1948 Palestinian refugees and their descendents; Jerusalem would be shared, with Israel’s capital in the West and Palestine’s in the east; Israel would return to its 1967 borders, give or take a few negotiated settlements and territorial swaps; the US or NATO would give Israel security guarantees; Arab states like Saudi Arabia would recognize Israel.

6) The US and Brazil have reached an agreement aimed at settling a dispute over US subsidies to cotton growers, the New York Times reports. The announcement came one day before Brazil was to begin imposing up to $830 million in sanctions with authorization from the WTO. The case was closely watched because Brazil would have been the first country to violate U.S. intellectual property claims in retaliation for unfair trade policies with the approval of the WTO.

Brazil had threatened to stop charging its farmers technology fees for seeds developed by US biotechnology companies and to break US pharmaceutical patents before their scheduled expiration.

7) The Kyrgyz opposition said on Wednesday it had forced the Central Asian country’s government to resign after troops shot at protesters besieging government buildings, killing dozens, Reuters reports.  

Israeli journalist Anat Kamm is scheduled to go on trial in Israel for allegedly having copied Israeli military documents concerning the premeditated killing of Palestinian militants in the West Bank and of leaking them to a reporter, the New York Times reports. Kamm has been held secretly under house arrest for more than three months.

If Kamm is found guilty, she could face up to 15 years in jail. Observers have speculated that the recipient of the documents was Uri Blau from the newspaper Haaretz. According to The Independent, Blau is currently “hiding in Britain.” A November 2008 article by Blau suggested that the killing of Ziad Subhi Muhammad Malaisha by Israeli forces contravened an Israeli Supreme Court ruling.

9) The IMF says there has been no significant easing of Israeli restrictions in the West Bank in 2010, the New York Times reports. The IMF says unemployment in the West Bank is 18%; in Gaza it is 39%.


10) The brother of Gul Rahman, who died in a CIA prison in Afghanistan in 2002 from exposure when he was left shackled and half-naked at near-freezing temperatures, says Gul Rahman braved rocket and small-arms fire in 1994 to rescue now-President Karzai, AP reports.

Karzai, then deputy foreign minister, had been arrested by Afghan intelligence, by some accounts because he was in contact with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and other militia leaders to end the civil war. Gul Rahman’s family is appealing to the Red Cross and the US to return Rahman’s body for burial.

11) Despite pending constitutional changes expected to strengthen democracy in Pakistan, the US is likely to continue to prefer dealing with Pakistan’s military, the New York Times reports. Under the changes, provinces will eventually have the right to legislate, to control their own education programs and significantly more of their finance

Posted in UncategorizedComments Off on U.S.A: FOREIGN POLICY BRIEFING



By Brig Asif Haroon Raja

American Prison

The US has earned the dubious reputation of pursuing double standards and making unsubstantiated allegations against a country which it wants to browbeat. These unholy tactics are applicable to friends and foes alike except for Israel, India and western world.

Ironic part of the story is that it doesn’t feel an iota of embarrassment in leveling accusations on aspects which are applicable to the US the most. Recently the US had the audacity of levelling a charge of extra judicial killings in Swat on Pakistan. Several US officials have expressed their deep concern.

They have based their observations on New York based Human Rights Watch, which claims it has mounting evidence of over 200 summary executions in Swat Valley. Its spokesman Malinowski said that pace of extra judicial killings in Pakistan was not slowing down. He added that the Army was targeting civilians voicing support for Taliban or providing food and shelter. He made a reference to US law which bans assistance to units involved in this practice.

The matter had been aired in September 2009 soon after the successful Rah-e-Rast operation in Malakand Division and Swat and further drummed by US spokeswomen Asma Jehangir, a known critic of Army, establishment and Islamists and supporter of American and Indian policies.

ICFI report of 16 September about mass graves in Swat, Times magazine report of one Akhtar Ali and a clip showing an army officer kicking a suspect in Swat aired by local and foreign media indicated a trend to undermine Army’s achievements. I am sure Asma must have seen the clips of torture meted to detainees in Gitmo, Abu Gharib and Baghram Base jails. Dogs were unleashed on naked prisoners.  

But for Asma kicks are more gruesome, which even a father delivers to his naughty child. May be someday Asma is called upon to tell the nation who finance her.

The motivated propaganda died down when 2.3 million displaced persons returned and cheered the Army lustily. Army’s efforts were also lauded by the Pakistani public and the world.

Yapping tongues of the propagandists got silenced when the Army added another feather in its cap by overpowering the impregnable fortress of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in South Waziristan (SW) in a month’s time. The adversaries who till then were upbraiding Pak Army and accusing it of being hand-in-glove with Taliban were compelled to change their tunes from admonishment to extolment.

Now that the wind that had blown against Pakistan for over eight years became relatively steady, this kind of an allegation seems strange but is not without a definite purpose. Other than the frowns of Robert Gates, Geoff Morrell said that irrespective of close Pak-US partnership in combating terrorism, the US takes human rights abuses seriously.

Human right violation is one of the sticks the US has in its armoury which it brandishes to make the other obey its dictates. This stick has never been used on India or Israel, the two most horrible human rights violators

It is paradoxical that the US notorious for worst human rights violations and being the biggest violator of law today stands up as a pleader of human rights and upholder of law. Its past gory acts are too many to recount. It has turned Iraq and Afghanistan into killing grounds where over 1.6 million have been hacked to death; millions injured critically, tens of thousands rendered homeless, widowed and orphaned.

Thousands have suffered gruesome tortures in US run infamous jails, which have so far not been closed despite world protest and commitment given by Obama. George W. Bush and his team of neo-cons along with Tony Blair should have been tried as war criminals for the crimes committed against humanity and that too under false pretexts.

The latest Collateral Murder

WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad — including two Reuters news staff. Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack.

The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-site, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded. For further information please visit the special project website

If this is not enough to put the heads of the American war mongers, the self styled peace and human rights lovers like Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld to shame then what would? They may never feel ashamed but they have certainly put the American nation to shame in the whole world.

Till November 2009, ruthless killing of militants as well as civilians was justified under the comical label of collateral damage. Deaths of civilians in each cross fire or aerial attacks were taken as a natural phenomenon in war conditions. It was only when security situation in Afghanistan spun out of control that Gen McChrystal, notorious for brutal actions in Iraq suddenly transformed himself and is now trying to put up a soft face by instructing his under commands to keep collateral damage to bare minimum. Despite his commands, cases of excesses are happening and resentment against restrictions is mounting.

Pakistan Army had to all along fight war on terror imposed upon it with its one hand tied to the back because of the factor of collateral damage. In their effort to limit fatalities to the civilians, the army took huge risks by resorting to controlled and precision firing in the face of indiscriminate firing by militants camouflaged among civil population.

The soldiers always remained mindful of the fact that they were up against misled brethren and use of more carrot and little stick might bring them back on the right path. This policy didn’t work because the militants were paid huge salaries and other perks by foreign conspirators while Pakistan lacked resources to develop impoverished FATA. In order to avoid losses to civilians, Malakand Division, Swat, Bajaur and South Waziristan were got vacated prior to launching operations.

Army Jawans (soldiers) and officers have performed their duties with total dedication, grit and determination. They pray five times to seek Allah’s blessings.  Fear of God together with enforcement of correct guidelines given by the top leadership and maintenance of strict discipline at unit levels helped in keeping the troops on the virtuous path.

In the last eight years, not a single case of moral turpitude has taken place nor any case of trauma despite having suffered over 30,000 killed and injured. Hats off to the dynamic commanders at all levels who have kept their troops committed and motivated all these years under such adverse conditions and achieved remarkable results.

People of Swat and Bajaur celebrated the ouster of militants and garlanded the soldiers as their saviours and benefactors. Never before the people of these regions had come so close to the Army. Pak Army has been sharing their rations with the affected persons, rendering medical services, distributing relief goods and its sappers are now engaged in reconstructing destroyed schools, mosques, small bridges and culverts etc.  Affectionate response of the affected people belies false claims made by vested interests.

Pak Army has launched scores of operations in seven tribal agencies of FATA since 2002 but the US never made any complaint of human rights abuses. Rather, it always expressed its displeasure and was averse to peace deals and repeatedly pressed Pakistan to do more since it was not doing enough.

In other words, what it meant was to make use of stick only with full force in complete disregard to pro and anti-Pakistan militants and not to even spare the sympathizers providing food and shelter to militants. It wants complete cleansing of extremist forces in the two Waziristan and adjoining agencies and is not bothered about its catastrophic consequences on Pakistan’s social fabric.

Intriguingly, what it implies is that human rights laws are applicable in Swat and Balochistan only and not in FATA. But one never knows what new stories are being spun by spin doctors about South Waziristan once the IDPs start returning to their homes in May.

With the kind of track record the US has, it makes one laugh to hear US officials sermonizing about abuses in Swat and gloating over US laws and principles of counter insurgency and trying to show the right path to Pakistan.

In case the US is genuinely interested in washing away misgivings and mistrust built over a period of time because of its discriminatory attitude and build its image in Pakistan, suchlike allegations would run counter to the ongoing efforts put in to forge mutually respecting Pak-US relations.

Brigadier Asif Haroon Raja, a Member Board of Advisors, has done his Masters in War Studies, a former instructor at Command and Staff College Quetta has been Defence Attache to Egypt and Sudan.

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Haaretz Thursday, April 08, 2010

By Gideon Levy, Haaretz Correspondent  

So where did you spend Passover? Tens of thousands of Israelis were in Sinai. They ignored the Counter-Terrorism Bureau’s warning, yet returned home safe and sound. Other Israelis – wait until you hear this – visited Cairo. I repeat: Cairo! They too returned tired but happy. They too did not heed the warnings.

Haaretz’s foreign news editor, for example, went to Egypt with his wife and four small children for the holiday. He identified himself as an Israeli everywhere he went, and believe it or not, was made to feel welcome.

Other Israelis traveled to other forbidden places all over the globe, including Turkey, and not a hair on their heads was harmed. They’d all had enough of the frightening campaigns.

Unintentionally, this world travel has become a kind of civil protest, a quiet uprising against the terror campaigns, a sort of rebellion that should be encouraged. In a brainwashed, blind, automatically obedient society, even this is something. It’s not merely the Israelis’ leisure culture, but the essence of their being.

We are all surrounded by a phalanx of fear agents and dread brokers, suspicion marketers and anxiety propagandists. An army of generals and analysts, politicians and security specialists, all mobilized for one purpose – to infuse our life with terror.

It’s time to free ourselves of their yoke. It’s not that there aren’t any dangers, or that we don’t need warning or security apparatuses, but they must not be the only influences. The voice of thunder from Jerusalem, willfully blown up and exaggerated, is the only voice we hear, without a trace of an alternative – a voice of normality, sanity, optimism and hope. This applies as much to our next vacation as it does to Israel’s next step in the peace process.

Spreading horror is a widespread, familiar practice in regimes that Israel does not want to resemble. Fear is the resort of the despot, a way to create false unity and prevent daring moves. Fear also feeds xenophobia, putting domestic problems out of people’s minds whether the foe is real or imagined. From Hamas’ armament to the tunnels to accusations that foreign workers and refugees spread crime and disease, from the Iranian nuclear threat to swine flu – all are tried-and-true methods of intimidation by exaggeration.

If we leave the Golan, missiles will land on Rosh Pina; if we withdraw from Yitzhar, Katyusha rockets will fall on our heads in the Dan region. Unless we bombard Iran, we’ll be blown up ourselves; if we lift the blockade on Gaza, Ashkelon will be destroyed. There may be a grain of truth in all these threats and predictions, but when a no less threatening scenario is provided, it is easy to wonder why exactly we need all this.

For a long time we haven’t had a statesman in these parts who has spread hope. Benjamin Netanyahu is the latest candidate for that position, but he’s not the only one who has instead become an agent of fear; that is the job of almost anyone who has access to the public at large. Auschwitz is on the doorstep all the time, and everything is terribly dangerous.

We must get an Iron Dome and gas masks, immigration police and vaccinations for everyone, whether necessary or not. We must not travel, must not speak Hebrew, certainly must not withdraw from anywhere. Countless apparatuses specializing in spreading fear are at work, without a single agent of normality to balance them.

There is nobody in Israel to tell us what will happen if we stop fighting with the rest of the world. Everyone is analyzing only the dangers and risks. You’ll never hear anyone analyzing the chances and opportunities. Nobody is talking about a possible utopia – of being integrated into the space around us and being accepted by the world, of traveling by car to Europe, of enjoying the prosperity and security that ending the occupation would bring. The voices we hear tell us none of that. It might infuse people with hope, and that is dangerous.

Now the first crack has opened in the intimidation wall – a 36 percent increase in the number of travelers to Sinai. It seems like a small matter, but perhaps it will lead to opening additional daring cracks. If we didn’t heed the scaremongers, if we went to Sinai and it was great, maybe we should try a few more things.

Perhaps we could live with an Iranian nuclear bomb, without initiating an attack. Perhaps withdrawing from the Golan isn’t as dangerous as they tell us. Perhaps lifting the Gaza blockade will be good for Israel, and recognizing Hamas will be a blessing.

And above all, heaven help us, maybe peace is a good thing, something that consists of more than just the existential dangers about which we’re constantly being warned.

 So we ignored the warnings and went to Sinai? Let’s ignore some other imaginary fears too. 





The New York Times explains just one example of how China’s internet censorship regime works in reality:

Jiaozuo, a city southwest of Beijing, deployed 35 Internet commentators and 120 police officers to defuse online attacks on the local police after a traffic dispute. By flooding chat rooms with pro-police comments, the team turned the tone of online comment from negative to positive in just 20 minutes.

According to one official newspaper editor who refused to be named, propaganda authorities now calculate that confronted with a public controversy, local officials have a window of about two hours to block information and flood the Web with their own line before the reaction of citizens is beyond control.

What Australia owes each and every asylum seeker

One of Australia’s leading human rights lawyers, Julian Burnside, skewers anybody who willfully misrepresents the flow of refugees into the country:

Hazaras from Afghanistan are fleeing because the Taliban are increasing their control in Afghanistan. Tamils from Sri Lanka are fleeing because they face genocide in Sri Lanka, after the collapse of their long-running attempt to establish a separate Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka’s north.

During the final push against the Tamils, the Sri Lankan government bombed hospitals, killing thousands of civilian men, women and children. Since the hostilities ended, more than 100,000 Tamils have been held in crowded camps with hopelessly inadequate facilities. One camp had a single bore to provide water for 2000 people; it had no flushing toilets. Girls who went to wash themselves in the stream in the camp disappeared without a trace. Men who were thought to have been involved in the separatist movement were ”disappeared”; a number of them were executed. Some Australian commentators have suggested that the Tamils could simply go to India, but India is not a signatory to the refugee convention.

As long as Israel barely allows shoes into Gaza, expect outrage to grow

Oh, the generosity:

Israeli authorities have allowed shoes and clothes into the Gaza Strip for the first time in three years of the tight economic blockade of the Palestinian territory.

Here’s the latest Israeli commentator to tell America to keep its annual aid; we’ll cope just fine. Dream on, sunshine – without Washington protecting you on the global stage, you wouldn’t last more than a few months. It’s called being a client state.

Around the world, such as Scotland, it seems that protesting Israeli actions is increasingly encouraged (or more than tolerated):

Charges of racially aggravated conduct against five members of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign have been thrown out by a Sheriff.

Around 60 of their supporters burst into applause when Sheriff James Scott delivered his judgement at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today.

Michael Napier, 63; Sofia Macleod, 39; Vanesa Fuertes, 35; Kevin Connor, 40; and Neil Forbes, 55, all of Edinburgh, were charged with having pursued a racially aggravated course of conduct which amounted to harassment of members of the Jerusalem String Quarter as they performed at the International Festival on 29 August, 2008, at Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh.

It was alleged that, while acting together, on five separate occasions, they shouted at the players, made comments about the State of Israel which evinced malice towards them based on their membership or supposed membership of an ethnic group or nationality, disrupted the concert and struggled with security and other staff. Two alternative charges accused them of acting in a racially aggravated manner, causing or intending to cause the members of the quartet alarm and distress.

The case had been continued without plea on a number of occasions.

During legal debate earlier this year, counsel for the accused challenged the relevancy of the charges and claimed that under the European Convention of Human Rights the prosecution represented an unnecessary, illegitimate and disproportionate interference with their freedom of expression, speech and peaceful political protest. The Crown held that the charges were relevant and that the accused’s rights under the Convention were “not unfettered” as the rights of one person might impinge of the rights of another.

It was alleged that during the concert there were shouts of “They are Israeli Army musicians”, “Genocide in Gaza”, “End Genocide in Gaza” and “Boycott Israel”.

A timely piece in the Guardian by Israeli Aluf Benn that explains the growing alienation of the Arabs and ultra-Orthodox in Israel (the former far more, of course) and the “threat” to the country’s future:

If you’re interested in Israel’s future, all you need to know is one statistic: among Israeli kids in their first year at primary school, about half are Arabs or ultra-Orthodox Jews. And their portion is expanding. Looking forward, a very different Israeli society is emerging, with its Jewish secular core shrinking. Alas, as this scenario matures the country is going to face growing difficulties in defending itself and sustaining its economy.

Israeli Arabs and ultra-Orthodox Jews are exempt from military service, and are under-represented in the workforce. As their relative weight in society keeps growing, Israel risks security and economic implosion, since fewer and fewer soldiers and employees will protect and provide for an expanding population of welfare recipients. The Jewish state’s long-term survival depends on reversing the trend of non-participation among its Arab and ultra-Orthodox citizens.

Of course, Zionism doesn’t really want to create a truly equal society, but rather a state by the Jews for the Jews (with others merely being allowed to reside but not enjoy full rights).

How the British want to “protect” citizens from online truths

Yet another example of why governments can’t be trusted to properly regulate/censor the internet. Their main goal will never be to provide maximum coverage but rather remove politically problematic material:

The [British] government forced through the controversial digital economy bill with the aid of the Conservative party last night, attaining a crucial third reading – which means it will get royal assent and become law – after just two hours of debate in the Commons.

However it was forced to drop clause 43 of the bill, a proposal on orphan works which had been opposed by photographers. They welcomed the news: “The UK government wanted to introduce a law to allow anyone to use your photographs commercially, or in ways you might not like, without asking you first. They have failed,” said the site set up to oppose the proposals.

But despite opposition from the Liberal Democrats and a number of Labour MPs who spoke up against measures contained in the bill and put down a number of proposed amendments, the government easily won two votes to determine the content of the bill and its passage through the committee stage without making any changes it had not already agreed.

Tom Watson, the former Cabinet Office minister who resigned in mid-2009, voted against the government for the first time in the final vote to take the bill to a third reading. However the vote was overwhelmingly in the government’s favour, which it won by 189 votes to 47.

Earlier the government removed its proposed clause 18, which could have given it sweeping powers to block sites, but replaced it with an amendment to clause 8 of the bill. The new clause allows the secretary of state for business to order the blocking of “a location on the internet which the court is satisfied has been, is being or is likely to be used for or in connection with an activity that infringes copyright”.

The Labour MP John Hemming protested that this could mean the blocking of the whistleblower site Wikileaks, which carries only copyrighted work. Stephen Timms for the government said that it would not want to see the clause used to restrict freedom of speech – but gave no assurance that sites like Wikileaks would not be blocked.

Don Foster, the Liberal Democrats’ spokesman for culture, media and sport, protested that the clause was too wide-ranging: “it could apply to Google,” he complained, adding that its inclusion of the phrase about “likely to be used” meant that a site could be blocked on its assumed intentions rather than its actions.

The most interesting parts of this article by MJ Rosenberg are the quotes from some of America’s leading “pro-Israel” advocates. Racism, fear, bitterness and anger. Yes, Zionism is in great shape:

Other than screaming by the right, there does not seem to be any significant aftermath to President Obama’s decision to oppose Israeli settlement expansion.  The Israeli government is simply ignoring Obama’s demand to stop building in the Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem.

Speaking on CNN on Sunday, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, described US-Israeli relations today as “great,” meaning, no doubt, that the Israeli government no longer fears US pressure on the Jerusalem issue.

He even said that Jerusalem “has the same status as Tel Aviv” and that “this policy is not going to change.”

Of course, that isn’t true.

Israel has signed agreements with the Palestinians which stipulate that sovereignty questions about the future of Jerusalem will be decided in “final status” negotiations between the two sides.

As Oren surely knows, the only people who view Tel Aviv and Jerusalem as having the “same status” are those — like, say, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran — who are opposed to the Jewish state’s right to existence.  For them, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Nablus all have the same status: occupied.

Oren’s point, however, was to tell President Obama that, no matter how much aid the United States supplies, the Netanyahu government does not much care what the President thinks about Israel’s right to build settlements whenever and wherever it chooses.

What accounts for this impressive self-confidence?  My guess is that AIPAC (the “pro-Israel” lobby) and top Democrats and Republicans have told the Israelis not to worry.  It’s an election year and no one wants to offend donors so, Bibi is told, he can safely do whatever he wants.

Another sign of rightwing self-assurance is that Steve Rosen, the former AIPAC employee, penned an anti-Obama screed that is being circulated by Republicans, neocons, and right-wingers of all stripes.  Rosen is the AIPAC official who was indicted under the Espionage Act. The charges were later dropped, but AIPAC, having seen what the US government had on Rosen, sent him packing.

Rosen’s piece is an attack on “Obama’s Foolish Settlements Ultimatum.” No big surprise there.

The only surprise is that Foreign Policy, which published the piece, would print criticism of US policy on Israel by someone indicted for passing US government secrets to Israel.  If the neocons were worried would they allow Rosen, of all people, to make Israel’s case?

Of course, Rosen may be right.  If the Obama administration does not follow its “ultimatum” with some serious pressure, the ultimatum may indeed turn out to have been simultaneously correct and pointless.

I don’t know if the administration will back down, but veteran neocon luminaries like New York ex-Mayor Ed Koch, The New Republic editor-in-chief Martin Peretz, and American Jewish Committee chair David Harris are at least pretending to be worried that he won’t.

I offer today’s Exhibits A, B & C.

Exhibit A comes from the AJC’s David Harris, writing in USA Today.

In a piece called, “Don’t Embarrass Israel,” Harris ignores the reasons for the US rebuke of Israeli settlement expansion and focuses instead on Israel’s hurt feelings.  “The country is tiny, the size of New Jersey — but its neighbors aren’t quite as friendly,” he writes in circa 1959 tenderness. Harris is particularly anguished by President Obama’s decision to take his differences with Netanyahu public

“All friendly countries have differences, big and small, but they are most effectively dealt with in private,” he writes.

Either Harris does not know, or does not care, that the reason the Obama administration went public is because the Israeli government publicly announced its latest settlement expansion while Vice President Joseph Biden was in Israel, thereby leaving the impression that the United States approved.

Obama had just heard from General David Petraeus that Israeli policies — and the belief in the Muslim world that we support them — had the potential to threaten the lives of American men and women in uniform.

Obama had to speak out publicly because a private whisper in Bibi’s ear would have accomplished nothing.  It is in America’s interest for the world to know that the United States and Israel are not joined at the hip.  The perception that we are endangers Americans.  And this is the reason Obama went public.

Exhibit B comes from Martin Peretz of The New Republic, admonishing Obama for criticizing Israeli policy when his job is to simply, as the old World War II song goes, “praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.”

Obama…sent out very top members of his administration to beat up on Israel and they did…. Hillary Clinton, who may or may not have a soul, launched her shrill assault on both Bibi Netanyahu and Israel’s ingratitude for her favors. […]

Last but not least (and actually a true instance of effrontery) was the dispatching of David Axelrod, (who in 2004 was behind John Edwards, “Bill Clinton without the sex”) who knows nothing about foreign policy, but maybe being a Jewboy thinks he is more than credentialed to chastise the Jewish state. The fact is that he is an ignoramus on these matters. An “insult,” indeed.

Ignore Peretz’s disgusting misogyny. For him, women by definition are “shrill” and a female Secretary of State can only offer “her favors.”  Ignore the weird reference to John Edwards and sex.  No, just take in the use of the term “Jewboy” to refer to David Axelrod, one of the President’s highest aides.

Peretz thus takes his Muslim hatred to the next level.  Not only is he consumed by his hatred of Muslims and Arabs, he now joyfully employs anti-Semitism to attack Jews who do not share his ugly bigotry.  Ultimately, he will wish physical harm on Jews to punish them for not recognizing the danger Obama poses to them.  That is how his mind works.

Exhibit C is mainly comic.  Former Mayor Ed Koch of New York is “terrified” that the Israel-hating Obama is about to let the United States be destroyed in a nuclear attack.

Why the terror? Obama’s plans to strictly limit the use of nuclear weapons.

What would we do if Venezuela invited Russia to build a missile launch pad, or Russia provided Venezuela with the plans and materials for building nuclear weapons? Would there be a replay of the Cuban missile crisis of the 1960s?

Based on our continuing failure to confront North Korea and Iran with regard to their nuclear activities, I suspect we would do nothing. I fear that we have lost the battle and lost our nerve. It appears that the Obama administration has decided to live with the idea that these two rogue states – North Korea and Iran – can do as they please on the nuclear front.

There is a foul whiff of Munich and appeasement in the air. A harbinger of what is to come is the Obama administration’s abysmal treatment of our close ally, Israel. […]

One well known supporter of Israel, with great access to the White House, said to me recently, “I have never been so terrified.” Me too.

Of course, Koch is not worried about Venezuela.  He is worried about Israel.

And he should be.  Time is passing.  Unless the Obama administration pressures Israel to stop settlements, thereby allowing negotiations to start, the two-state solution will be dead.

For their part, the Palestinians assume that is the case and they are not that worried.

They can live with the one-state solution: Israelis and Palestinians living in all of historic Palestine on the basis of “one person, one vote.”  Some Israelis are now saying that they can live with that too.

But most Israelis, and most Jews, would find such a one-state solution intolerable.  Why, then, are they making it inevitable?


What kind of newspaper publishes an article by an “expert on defence policy in the Indian Ocean” that argues post-war Sri Lanka is a place of harmony and peace, treating all its minorities with compassion and equality?

Murdoch’s Australian. And the writer is Sergei DeSilva-Ranasinghe. The article is about as credible as Zionists claiming that Palestinians love living under occupation in the West Bank.

The following letter in response is published today:

What extraordinary efforts are underway to airbrush the grim realities of post-war Sri Lanka. Sergei DeSilva-Ranasinghe (“Beware of asylum-seekers bearing tales of woe”, Commentary, 7/4) makes a series of misleading claims, distorting evidence or withholding chunks that do not fit his Panglossian picture.

More than 76,000 internally displaced people languish in illegal internment camps where even the country’s own oppressed media regularly report complaints of rape, mysterious “disappearances” and extra-judicial killings. Where reporters have managed to gather evidence from on the ground, it directly contradicts DeSilva-Ranasinghe’s account. And, of course, he ignores the Sinhala colonisation of Tamil areas, as new Buddhist shrines and permanent garrisons spring up on sites flattened by government bombing.

Far more Sri Lankan Tamils have sought refuge in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu than come to Australia, but the Indian government, which is not a signatory to the Refugee Convention, has no international obligations towards them, so restricts their movements and access to proper housing. Above all, there is no meaningful move towards prosecuting those responsible for war crimes.

A defeated population, cowering in fear, would recognise no part of DeSilva-Ranasinghe’s travesty.

Jake Lynch and Gobie Rajalingam, Co-conveners, Sri Lanka Human Rights Project, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney

Washington’s aim has always been to terrorise Iraqis

Dahr Jamail reminds us that American violence against Iraqis isn’t an abberation; it’s part of the rules of engagement:

Vincent Emanuele, a Marine rifleman who spent a year in the al-Qaim area of Iraq near the Syrian border, told of emptying magazines of bullets into the city without identifying targets, running over corpses with Humvees and stopping to take “trophy” photos of bodies.

“An act that took place quite often in Iraq was taking pot shots at cars that drove by,” he said, “This was not an isolated incident, and it took place for most of our eight-month deployment.”

The supposed paper of record recognises Arabs can also be peaceful

The New York Times issues a typically patronising article headline (and implies that usually, of course, Arabs are so violent):

Palestinians Try a Less Violent Path to Resistance.

Stealing Palestinian money the old fashioned way

A democracy does not act this way:

For the past 15 years, Israel has been channeling hundreds of millions of shekels it had collected in the West Bank into its state coffers. The move is considered illegal, since international law prohibits an occupying power from appropriating the fruit of economic activity in an occupied territory.

Following protests by military lawyers, the deputy attorney general has ruled that the practice should be stopped and ordered an inquiry into whether the Civil Administration in the West Bank should be compensated retroactively.

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PSCABI and TUA – An open letter in support of the UK citizens given extended prison sentences for opposing Israeli War Crimes

Besieged Gaza,


9 April 2010

We write to you as academics and student representatives of all academic institutions in the besieged Gaza Strip.

We support and salute your willingness to suffer the consequences that come with demonstrating in a ‘free’ Western country against the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against us, the Palestinians of Gaza, crimes that the entire world witnessed.

Crimes perpetrated when the Israeli forces, the fourth most powerful military machine in the world, bolstered yearly by £27.5 million of UK arms supplies, killed an estimated 1,440 people—more than 430 children—and injured 5,500 others.

According to citizens of the UK living here in Gaza, the prison terms handed to the demonstrators—mainly British Muslim young men—appear to be the norm, befitting the lower standards Muslim men and women are treated to by the UK state apparatus.

We believe that this norm is vile, and scandalous, in a country that claims to be democratic and secular, a country that claims not to discriminate against its citizens according to ethnic background. This is clear racism! Taking previous precedents as a guideline, such sentences were many times greater than the normal punishments, not to mention the violent attacks by the Metropolitan Police Force that same evening.

And how typical of the UK establishment and police to overlook what it is these men and women were so angry about – a massive act of bombing and mass murder of our civilian population, sealed in the Gaza concentration camp, 1.5 million people crushed by a hermetic siege, and with the direct use of equipment supplied by Britain, as a House of Commons report on strategic exports controls recently admitted. And why?

 Because, like you, we didn’t fit the right “ethno-religious grouping” for those who wield the whips and batons in the region. The hegemonic system controlling our daily life is one of apartheid, described as such by many South African anti-apartheid heroes, including Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

When will the world’s countries act according to the basic premise that people should be treated equally, regardless of their origin, ethnicity or colour? How many Declarations of Human Rights, Geneva Conventions, UN resolutions and continuous Western rhetoric of freedom for all will we hear before peoples such as the Palestinians can live in their homes without fear of demolitions, on their land with fear of expulsion with no right of return, in their cities without fear of imprisonments without charge, in their villages without fear of the continuous confiscation of arable land and clean water supply?

Here in Gaza, how much longer shall we, as Palestinians, exist without the prospect of leaving, or returning to, a strip of land the size of your Isle of Wight, without facing sporadic acts of collective punishment such as the one in late 2008 when 430 of our children were killed with no place to run or shelter, without safety even inside United Nations schools or aid depots?

How many more people will suffer from still-born and deformed children, since Israel can now drop white phosphorous around the Gaza Strip with no fear of international outrage? We wonder why it is that in our global justice system dropping white phosphorous on children goes unpunished but demonstrating against barbarity in the capital of a free Western country merits one to two years of imprisonment. Where is the outcry?

We will continue to show our support for those who stood up for our mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, here in Gaza, and we call on others to do so by joining the UK Gaza Demonstrators Support Campaign. We also call on the UK and international civil society movements and grassroots organizations, to stand up against Israeli Apartheid just as you did against the South African regime. The Israeli regime is also based on racial segregation and discrimination – and is similarly a suppurating wound on the conscience of humanity—one that demands treatment.

As our teachers and professors used to tell us, there was no negotiation with Apartheid South Africa. There was only one word: BOYCOTT.  To you brave protesters against Israel’s mass murder and apartheid policies, you have now joined many other Palestinians and South Africans who suffered a similar fate for standing on the right side of history before many others had begun to do so.

We call on civil society around the world to enforce and accelerate the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement of Israel’s apartheid regime, saying no to the Israeli siege, no to genocide with impunity, no to apartheid and no to severe punishment of the people of the world who demonstrate against these crimes, while the international community remains, at best, indifferent. At worst, in callous repose.

 Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI)

University Teachers Association in Palestine


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