Archive | September 6th, 2010



September 6, 2010

by Gordon Duff  


By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

There is a group of Americans, a combination of coward, gangster, politician, buffoonish soldier, con man and Israel obsessed bully.  These are the “users” and “takers” who live their lives, some invisible, some media darlings, some famous heroes as portrayed by their friends in the media, their fellow thugs.  This is the world’s greatest terrorist organization, the threat to, not only world security but the lives and freedom of the people of the world.  These are the people who bleed America dry and have for generations, the people who have turned America into what the world clearly sees it as now, a weapon to be wielded against the common and decent people of the world on behalf of criminal terrorists.

Everyone has heard the story at one time or another.  President Wilson was duped into setting up the Federal Reserve system.  The term “Federal Reserve” is a lie.  The Rothschild family and their predecessors that have controlled European currencies forever, since the 1600s and before, took over operation of America in 1913, printing our money and running the country through a series of banks that they control, and not all that “secretly.”

 ”Federal Reserve” means “Rothschild.”  “Rothschild” means poverty, hunger, ignorance and, most of all, war.  This is all you really need to know.  Everything else, the Pentagon, Wall Street, the corporate news, congress, the Supreme Court, the arms industry bandits are nothing but their henchmen, cowards and thieves that sold their souls for cash, the perception of power and vice.

Walk the corridors of power in America and you will see vice, drugs, sex and corruption.  We all know the “nice Jewish girls” that are passed around Washington like party favors, Monica Lewinsky, Chandra Levy are only two names America knows.  There are a hundred more.  It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who recruited them and why.  Sex is power in Washington, London, Rome and Tel Aviv.  If they aren’t snared in Washington, fly them to Tel Aviv.  They got John McCain in Hanoi, or so reliable sources tell us, giving North Vietnam virtual control over American trade policies with Vietnam and guaranteeing the slow death of hundreds of abandoned prisoners of war.

It was the Franklin Scandal that told us how bad it was.  A case is made against two American presidents as pedophiles, not just them but hundreds of others including dozens of prominent members of congress.  “Franklin” went after the GOP and their weakness, phony Christianity, phony “family values” and the love of young boys.  We know it isn’t just the GOP and Pentagon but Franklin taught us how far America could go to cover up well documented crimes, how much control there is over, not only the criminal justice system but the news media as well.

The political assassination of Chandra Levy was another, even easier than the murder of Pat Tillman, now supposedly “revealed” to the world as the cover-up of an “accident.”

One of the most obvious expressions of disdain for America displayed by the criminal elite is the treatment of Americas soldiers and veterans.  This week it was discovered that Prudential Insurance, one of America’s best known companies, was defrauding the families of soldiers killed in action.  Insurance payments to the survivors of those killed in wars now admitted by all to be, not just “mistakes,” but clearly criminal wars of aggression, were withheld and reinvested but the proceeds was retained by Prudential and never paid to the survivors.

Prudential, one of the most influential corporations on the planet profits, not only from war but from American deaths in war.  With America’s Supreme Court ruled on a 5/4 basis by justices who cannot be described in terms other than corporate Zionist lackeys, the recent decision allowing unlimited campaign donations by international corporate conglomerates gives Prudential and their friends and affiliates virtual control over America’s military adventurism.

That power had always been there but now it is written into law.  Corporations control America’s government and sending armies to do their bidding is now their legal right.  There are no “checks and balances” left.

Calling them “armies” is also a misnomer, as much as calling congress a legislative body or the Supreme Court as an organization meant to support justice is equally silly.  Let’s look at what we call an army or in a broader sense, our new “agile” military.

America turned onto the road to total bankruptcy and collapse during the Reagan years.  Star Wars is the biggest of the cons.  The idea was to develop hard science that could create a missile shield for America.  Tests were falsified, money squandered, corruption was out of control.  Nothing whatsoever resulted as the total failure of the Patriot missile system during the First Gulf War demonstrated.  Every defensive technology can be defeated by an offensive technology for a tenth the price.  The French taught the world this with the Maginot Line.

Billions, actually hundreds of billions have been spent to develop “stealth” everything, especially aircraft.  However, by tuning down their radar frequencies, the Serbs had no trouble shooting down our stealth planes.  The technology is a joke and the science to beat stealth was in place long before the planes hit the drawing board.  Stealth is a con.

Once upon a time we had one Marine Corps.  It worked out well for the United States and, as General Smedley Butler loved pointing out, it was always there when Wall street needed thugs to collect a debt.  Now we have a dozen cardboard cutout versions of the Marine Corps and every one of them is a con.  The game, of course, is to sell the idea of elitism as a way of funding, not only wasteful spending and redundancy but to secretly give our “rogue” government their own terrorists, gangster enforcers, drug running lackeys and death squads, like any “banana republic.”

When this wasn’t bad enough, we had to “privatize.”  Not only does America have tens of thousands of “troops” probably involved in war crimes such as kidnapping, murder, torture and drug running but we now have private contracting companies hiring foreign nationals to do things even worse.

What do we mean by that?

Simply put, thousands of Islamic contractors are now employed by the CIA and Department of Defense to perform “black ops” that even the most secretive organizations can’t be trusted with.  What we are doing, of course, is guaranteeing “illness” in order to justify wasting billions on “cure.”

Our “Middle Eastern” and “South Asian” born contractors are offered to “perform tasks with deniability” as actually stated in public brochures.  What this means to anyone who knows the English language is that we are hiring terrorists, employees of American countries, who some believe are supposed to attack fellow Muslims.  We are trying to sell the idea we are using “terror against terrorists.”

There are now strong signs that one of the most successful operations these groups have thus far planned and executed was the Mumbai attack.

Are the Ft. Hood shootings and the “Times Square Fizzler” two more?

70% of the military spending in the world serves one purpose, to fight Muslim terrorists whose only issue is American support of Israeli actions against Palestinians, or so we are told.  However, as most of us also know that most Muslims could care less about Palestine and do business with Israel all day long, it should be obvious that the “war on terror’ is a con also.

Historians have taken a new look at World War I and found it to be an attempt to destabilize Europe and bring about a socialist/communist takeover.  It is only coincidental that the communists were almost all Jewish.  The war would have ended in 1916 when Germany agreed to withdraw from France were it not for negotiations between Britain and the Rothshilds that culminated in the Balfour Declaration.  Britain got the billions they needed from the Rothschilds who brought America into the war.  Communists took over Russia and, for a time, Germany, Hungary and other countries also.  There was even an attempt to take over the United States in 1918 called “the Red Scare.”  It is only coincidental that almost all involved were Jews.

Those historians trying to take an honest look at our falsified history of World War II are called “anti-Semites” and “holocaust deniers.”  All lose their teaching positions, many are jailed and more are “accidented” or “suicided,”  themselves or family members.

The pattern is there but will be suppressed as long as the international power structure remains as it is.  Hitler warned that Germany would be destroyed and that Russia would take over Eastern Europe and try to conquer the world.

This warning wasn’t in 1945 but 1922.

He warned that, in the end, Russia would be undermined as would America and Britain, that the war was against Christianity, and was never politics.

Those who study such things will gladly tell you that Russia was never communist, no more than Sweden or Israel.

America escaped the yoke of communism and, instead, became a hybrid state, not really socialist but a corporate dictatorship ruled from Tel Aviv and London.  America exists only as a slave labor pool and factory that manufactures no product other than debt.  Imagine being able to wield the world’s largest military force, really mercenaries for a worldwide gangster cartel and never have to pay them a cent.

They don’t even have to win wars, losing is even more profitable.

Thus we return to the issue of the great con game, now being sold as fighting terrorism and extremism but, if anything, not only creating terrorism but creating future generations of extremists but guaranteeing the failure of any state that fails to comply with the dictatorship model America and her friends spread across the world during the Cold War.  Any nation failing to become the right kind of police state, and we can name 40 of these easily, is quickly branded as terrorist or “evil doer” be they an Islamic, Democratic or Socialist Republic.  It isn’t politics, its about slavery.

Today’s “con” is war, selling it like a product, the equivalent of decades of rotting meat, spoiled eggs or those poisoned products the Chinese are so glad to sell us and we are so happy to put into the food chain, until we are caught.

War isn’t all technology and wizardry, our sons and daughters wiping out villages around the world while sitting at computer screens clutching game controllers and yelling out “kapowie!” when the smoke clears and the ground is strewn with blood, body parts and broken children’s toys.

Our “flavor of the month” real war is Afghanistan, simply a replay of the American Revolution with US playing both the British soldiers and Hessian mercenaries and an uncomfortable looking Barak Obama taking the helm as the madman “King George.”

Mullah Omar is doing “John Adams” and the Taliban are the  “minutemen.”  The tory sympathizers and “Benedict Arnold” types are the Karzai regime and their backers, whoever they might be.  Nobody is playing “the French.”  They aren’t needed as America is quite capable of beating herself out of incompetence and corruption alone, no enemy required.

But we do have an enemy and a war and with all our talk, all our technology, we are just like “the redcoats” marching down the pike, vehicles blown apart by IED’s and RPGs or riflemen behind every rock, ready to spew lethal fire from their long range rifles.

Our troops, carrying “pea-shooter” 5.56 mm assault rifles, short range and unreliable, are supposed to win the hearts and minds of people who hate the traitors and criminals we put in power and hate us even more knowing the heartless destruction we rain on their families, not just our UAV “pilotless” murder machines but our death squads that have killed thousands of innocent civilians, “terrorist suspects” out of confusion, religious or racial hatred or plain and simple insanity.

The fantastic American army is little more than “press gang” conscripts from the 18th century, slaves to “stop loss” and other tricks tying them to endless deployments until they are too sick or too crazy to go on.

The privileged elite never cared, never will.  Senator Alan Simpson recently took the reigns in the Senate Finance Committee, making it clear to all deemed stupid enough to serve that such foolishness would be rewarded with what should have been expected all along, betrayal.

If only it were possible for America’s rulers to manage to profit from the suffering of veterans like they do from the destruction of our military forces, those who manage to survive war might have a fighting chance of surviving “the love and thanks of a grateful nation.”

I’ve been thanked before and I wouldn’t wish it on a dog.




By Bill Hare


The stalwarts on the political right for years have been the ones to wave the U.S. Constitution in the faces of progressives, claiming that they have ventured beyond it and threaten its very existence.

Such assaults earnestly commenced during the era of Franklin Delano Roosevelt as he sought to implement New Deal programs.  The American Liberty League, consisting of the most conservative elements of the corporate community, railed against programs such as Social Security as socialistic and unconstitutional.

Presidential candidate Senator John F. Kennedy recognized that he was facing the same forces that had vigorously opposed Roosevelt on Social Security as he advocated Medicare during his successful 1960 presidential campaign.  Kennedy repeatedly noted that 90 percent of congressional Republicans in the mid-thirties opposed Roosevelt as he advocated Social Security and that same number opposed Medicare.

Opponents of these programs maintained that because measures such as those seeking to be implemented were not clearly spelled out in the U.S. Constitution either in its original form or through amendments that they were unconstitutional on their face.  

They failed to recognize or acknowledge the key constitutional element of implied powers, even though the doctrine was enunciated way back in 1803 by the longest serving chief justice in U.S. history, John Marshall, in the landmark case of Marbury v. Madison.  

Where do these self-described constitutional stalwarts stand, on the other hand, on the basic First Amendment liberty regarding freedom of worship?  This is a liberty not implied but very specific.  

In New York City we currently have a bellwether case where that basic First Amendment liberty is being assaulted.  Who is doing a large measure of assaulting?  Who has emerged as the most vocal opponent of an imam seeking to build a mosque and community center in the area near Ground Zero of 9/11?  

These are the same forces who have been so vigilant in opposing necessary breakthrough social measures such as Social Security, Medicare, federal regulation, civil rights, and minimum wage legislation.  

They now zealously seek to achieve narrow conformity on behalf of the religious right lobby zealously to prevent someone who dares to interpret God in a manner they oppose from building a place of worship and community center on property owned by the organization he represents.

The movement opposing the construction of the mosque and center has drawn the most vociferous voices of demagoguery and hate from both the religious and political spheres.

On the religious front, as reported in Monday’s New York Times, fire breathing preacher Bill Keller has entered the scene.  He held a service Sunday at the New York Marriott Hotel on West Street, two blocks south of Ground Zero.  Keller once had a nationally televised program that was cancelled after he called Islam a “1,400-year-old lie from the pits of hell.”  He currently has a program carried by a small station in Florida.

To Keller and others like him there is only one way to interpret scripture and believe and that is to follow them.  The New York City mosque controversy has given the Kellers of the world an opportunity to deliver a message of hate embodied by the idea that it is my way or the highway.

Keller is making himself at home in New York City.  As a challenge to the forces of Islam that he condemns to perdition Keller has announced that he is seeking funds to build his own center in the Ground Zero area.

In Keller’s autobiography posted on his website he reveals when he received his calling to the ministry.  He became a minister after serving a sentence in federal prison for insider trading.

It is instructive to observe the disparity of presentation between Keller and others denouncing the mosque and center alongside the actions and words of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.  Imam Rauf has a track record of seeking moderation in Islam, as noted by his interaction with other religious leaders to generate broader understanding.  He is considered such a model in this area that the FBI has used him for sensitivity training.

In the electoral political realm one New York office seeker attempting to capitalize on the mosque controversy is Rick Lazio.  Republican gubernatorial candidate Lazio, who is currently running far behind Democrat Andrew Cuomo in polls, has sought to close the ground and gain traction by attacking Imam Rauf as a terrorist sympathizer.

Lazio attaches his accusation to a statement Rauf made that the United States was an “accessory” to 9/11.  Rauf responded by putting the statement into its full and necessary context.  The U.S. was an accessory because President Ronald Reagan and his administration had once provided stinger missiles to the Taliban when it was fighting Russian forces in Afghanistan.

If Lazio is pressed on that point he had better change the subject.  His Republican Party, so many of whose members idolize Ronald Reagan as its “Great Communicator” are on the shakiest of ground regarding the full Afghanistan story and how none other than Osama bin Laden became a beneficiary of U.S. military generosity.

It was refreshing to hear last week one of the sanest and most constitutionally sound statements of the entire mosque controversy debate come from conservative Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, a devoutly religious Mormon who is an elder in the Church of Latter Day Saints.  

Hatch stated that the mosque issue was simply a case of a clergyman practicing his religious freedom by seeking to build a mosque and community center on his own property.      





Culture of impunity

Sep 05, 2010 

Ibn Tufayl


Israel picks Gaza war commander as new military chief…

150 American actors, writers, directors and artists support Israeli actors’ settlement boycott

Sep 05, 2010

Adam Horowitz

From Haaretz:

More than 150 American actors, writers, directors and other artists signed a letter of support for the Israeli actors who declared they would not perform in the West Bank.

The American signatories include Cynthia Nixon, who plays Miranda on “Sex and the City”; Mandy Patinkin, who played Inigo Montoya in “The Princess Bride”; and character actor and writer Wallace Shawn, who played the principal in “Clueless.” . . .

The American letter calls the Israelis’ refusal brave, notes that Ariel is one of the largest settlements in the West Bank and calls it illegal by any standard.

The signatories said that most of them faced daily compromises with things they found unacceptable, and that when a group of people decided they would make no more compromises and found the strength to refuse, this inspired them and filled them with hope.

The American artists were moved to know the Israelis had refused to allow their work to become part of what they called making the cruel occupation normal and accepted, they said in the letter. The occupation is an obstacle to hope and a just and sustainable peace for Israelis and Palestinians, they added.

The signatories said the Israeli artists’ decision should be appreciated by those who seek justice around the world.

We’ll update when we have more information.

‘NYT’ runs Indyk, then more Indyk, and you have to go to ‘Al Jazeera’ for a different view.

Sep 05, 2010

Philip Weiss

The usual suspects are quoted in this highly-positive New York Times front-page piece today on Hillary Clinton and the peace talks: Martin Indyk, Abraham Foxman, and Aaron David Miller. You’d think the Times might vary the line-up now and then, especially after 20 losing seasons? Indyk had the Op-Ed page barely a week ago to promote his view that the peace talks are going to work out great, and that Netanyahu has stopped settlement activity.

You have to turn to Al Jazeera to get a contrary American view, a piece saying the talks are unlikely to produce anything, by Robert Grenier, former CIA station chief in Islamabad, ’99-’02, and director of the CIA’s counter-terrorism center. Isn’t Grenier fit for the Times? He joins the list of American realists who say bluntly that the Israel lobby is undermining American security, a bluntness you simply do not find in the Times.

The piece takes apart Indyk’s Op-Ed obfuscations on behalf of Netanyahu, including the house demolition morsel below, then concludes as my excerpt does..

Finally, we are told [by Indyk], the demolition of Palestinian houses in East Jerusalem “is also down” compared to recent years. That’s rather like praising someone for beating his wife less frequently….

From all this, Martin would have us believe that the current moment is propitious for peacemaking.The only conceivable explanation for his mendacity, apart from the desire to see his name in print, is that Martin is continuing to promote the type of ‘American diplomacy’ he championed during his years in the Clinton administration – diplomacy designed to keep pressure off the Israelis while they do whatever they please. Although he doubtless had to make some accommodations along the way in transitioning from an overt lobbyist on behalf of Israel to a foreign-policy apparatchik in the Clinton administration, one always assumed that his basic motives were unchanged. In those years, he had a lot of company, the redoubtable Dennis Ross being most prominent, and most disingenuous, among them. At least Aaron Miller, another of the state department peace-process team members, has had the good grace since his retirement to admit that he and the others saw their role as acting as “Israel’s lawyers”.

For those of us who watched the process from close range in those years, it was obvious that Ross, Indyk and the others saw their jobs as consisting of a two-part process: Find out what the Israelis want, and then help them get it.

In this, they could never have succeeded in doing the harm they did on their own. After all, they were merely apparatchiks – viziers serving at the behest of a series of politically craven administrations, of which the current one is merely the latest.

But for those of us who spent our careers trying to protect and defend a country whose security was being systematically and gratuitously undermined by the likes of Martin Indyk, this latest bit of cynical posturing in the New York Times is a lot to swallow. I don’t know who Martin thinks he’s fooling, but I can assure you he’s not fooling us.

How Marty Peretz misrepresented Cordoba in Muslim history

Sep 05, 2010 

Ibn Tufayl

Marty Peretz’s reading of “Islamic” history is selective. He reads Islamic history in the same manner an anti-Semite reads Jewish history (to demonize them). He quotes a claim that “Cordoba,” the name chosen for the Islamic center near Ground Zero, “is confrontational and provocative.” That the “first Cordoba mosque was built in that Spanish city in the aftermath of the Muslim conquest of Christian Spain. This Islamic ‘Conquista’ was followed by the killings of men, and the enslavement of women, many of whom were carried away to the Arab lands to work as servants and concubines…”

Here’s what Christopher Hitchens (the old Hitchens who was then in transition) wrote in the Nation about Cordoba and its region, Andalusia, in reviewing a new book by Maria Rosa Menoca, The Ornament of the World.

[I]t is no exaggeration to say that what we presumptuously call “Western” culture is owed in large measure to the Andalusian enlightenment….

The migration of Arabic-speaking intellectuals to the southern Spanish cities of Córdoba and Granada, and the magnetic pull exerted on Jewish scholars, was also to have revolutionary effects on the study of medicine–with early Greek texts again revived through translation–and upon the writing of poetry. Menocal has a wonderful chapter on the love poems of the era and on Ibn Hazm’s The Neck Ring of the Dove, a handbook on romance and a memoir of old Córdoba. We tend to forget that Maimonides, another great figure of this culture, wrote almost all his major works–with the exception of the Mishneh Torah–in Arabic. Nothing could be more remote from the bleak and arid doctrines of the Taliban.

However, it was not Muslim but Christian intolerance that put an end to Andalusia. By 1492 their Catholic majesties Ferdinand and Isabella had completed the reimposition of orthodoxy and begun the expulsion of the Jews and Moors. It was to the Muslim world that the Jews then looked for safety. This book partly restores to us a world we have lost, a world for which our current monotheistic leaderships do not even feel nostalgia.

Here is some of Maria Rosa Menocal’s writing about Cordoba and its Arabic achievement:

Ismael is indeed well remembered in the history of the Jewish people and of Hebrew letters, known there as Shmuel ha-Nagid, his Hebrew name, a name that pays honor not only to his Jewishness but also to the fact that he became the nagid, or the head, of that old and substantial Jewish community of Granada. Perhaps not surprisingly, he is remembered not so much as the military champion of a Muslim army but rather as the first of the series of poets of this tumultuous eleventh century who reinvented Hebrew poetry. But both aspects of his life are integral to the complex culture here: the Jew as the leader of a Muslim state and army, as well as the towering poetic father, the David of a brand-new Hebrew poetry, the first since the other David to use Hebrew beyond the liturgy for poetry that could speak of love, and illicit love, as well as all other aspects of human life beyond the synagogue.

This is in fact a story that speaks iconically to the ways in which Arabic—in ways that far transcend its attachments to Islam—plays the expansive and revolutionary role that it does, and how Jews and Christians had understood themselves to be, in the first place, Cordobans; and then, after there was no more Cordoba, legitimate heirs to their versions of the culture that had been created and nourished by the Umayyads. The eleventh century is also one of the many historic moments that reveal that exile can lie at the heart of great cultural achievement. Curiously, even classical Arabic poetry reaches its peak at this moment, so that in Andalusian letters the great achievements of the “classical” period are contemporaneous with the literary counterculture, the poetic avant-garde that crystallizes throughout the peninsula in the eleventh century. So the truth is that the Cordoban exile Shmuel ha-Nagid is part of an entire landscape overrun with poetic experimentation, nearly all of which is attached to Arabic in some way, and which ultimately needs to be understood—no matter what the “surface” language—as the offspring of that great poetic culture of Arabic.

Ken Loach and Arundhati Roy are latest narrators of Goldstone Report

Sep 05, 2010

Philip Weiss

Surely you know that Goldstonefacts is an effort to dramatize the Goldstone Report on the Gaza onslaught with celeb readings. Noam Chomsky’s sonorous monotone. Norm Finkelstein’s Brooklyn twang.

Well the latest chapter they’ve dramatized is a key section, about Israel’s indiscriminate attacks on civilians, Chapter 10 from the original, and the readers are filmmaker Ken Loach and author Arundhati Roy, along with Irish Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire. Takes a little while to load..

Trying to enter Gaza– and my embassy gives me an appointment in 10 days

Sep 05, 2010 

Susan Johnson

Susan Johnson of Doylestown, PA, has been invited to Gaza by two organizations seeking her assistance. She’s still waiting in Egypt.

…..and I continue to sit in Cairo, in the heat, in my cheap hotel…which has proved to be a bright light in a gloomy picture.

Having returned from the border and two unsuccessful attempts to cross into Gaza, my next step was to visit the Egyptian Foreign Ministry seeking to be placed on their list of those approval to enter Gaza. I should have taken  this step sooner but misunderstood. Such is life.

I take a taxi to the Foreign Ministry and once again am overcharged, which I knew. But I’ve decided unless it’s totally out of line I’ll pay what is asked; I don’t have the energy to haggle. And the driver can probably use the money anyway.

The taxi left me at Gate One where a half a dozen men in tan suits are milling around.

I asked if anyone spoke English and drew blank stares. Finally one man acknowledged he could speak some English,. Yes this was the Foreign Ministry. Travel to where? Don’t know. Try Gate Three…all the men chime in “Gate Three” so off I go. I mistake gate two for gate three and am re-directed. When I find gate three….no, no, no what I want is Gate One. When I try to explain I was sent to three from one…no, they are mistaken. I turn around and trudge back to Gate one.

The tan suits are gone, I meet a friendly guard who takes me in to a security area, a room with a fan! The security man cannot understand what I want but is amazingly patient and helpful and figures it out. He begins making phone calls and after about fifteen minutes finds exactly the person I need to speak to. Gaza, I’m coming!

I explain what I want to do and that I have all the documentation that is needed. However, I’m told a new person is in charge and the procedure has changed. They no longer deal with individuals; only Embassies. The documents must be sent to the Foreign Ministry from an Embassy; then they will be processed. I stammer and splutter…which is better than screaming. The woman on the phone tells me to wait by the phone; she’ll talk to her supervisor and see if they can make an exception for me.

The answer…no exceptions!

This means I must re-visit the US Embassy, which makes me furious. My Congressman’s office contacted the US Embassy in Cairo requesting exactly what I needed to have and do to enter Gaza. I have the paper in my hot little hands. Nowhere in the information does it mention that documentation needs to be sent by them to the Foreign Ministry. I had visited the embassy on Thursday signing away my rights to counsel (paying $50). Why hadn’t they mentioned any of this to me? Why wasn’t it in the letter to the Congressman?

The Internet-computer age is a boon to non-customer friendly organizations such as Embassies…now everything is to be done on line….they never have to speak with you. I need to make an appointment for counselor services…the first one available is on September 14, I take it. Damn, this means I wait almost two weeks before anything can happen.

When situations such as this befall me I respond in one of two ways.

One, I become a wild woman, demanding results, asking for supervisors, repeating my “case” over again and again, word for word until I usually receive at least a good portion of what I want. Sometimes it doesn’t work…once a plumber was not fixing my kitchen sink to my satisfaction. I demanded he call his supervisor…he talked to her, I talked to her, he talked to her again, walked over to the sink’ pulled out the plumbing; walked to his truck and drove away.

My other response is to freeze, much like a rabbit who, when in danger, sits perfectly still, no twitching nose, wiggling ears, not one movement. If she holds still, she won’t be seen, even though she’s in plain view. That’s me. I just want to disappear and when I reappear I will be in Gaza.

BDS and one state as an alternative to the peace process

Sep 05, 2010 

Adam Horowitz

Omar Barghouti appeared on CNN to discuss the shortcomings of the peace process:

An article in today’s Haaretz would seem to indicate that Israelis are taking notice of the growing BDS movement. After describing the recent announcement of Israeli artists and academics to boycott settlement institutions, Nehemia Shtrasler writes, “There’s another boycott, an international one, that’s gaining momentum – an economic boycott. . . The sums involved are not large, but their international significance is huge.” He continues:

The anti-Israel tide rose right after Operation Cast Lead, as the world watched Israel pound Gaza with bombs on live television. No public-relations machine in the world could explain the deaths of hundreds of children, the destruction of neighborhoods and the grinding poverty afflicting a people under curfew for years. They weren’t even allowed to bring in screws to build school desks. Then came the flotilla, complete with prominent peace activists, which ended in nine deaths, adding fuel to the fire.

But underlying the anger against Israel lies disappointment. Since the establishment of the state, and before, we demanded special terms of the world. We played on their feelings of guilt, for standing idle while six million Jews were murdered. . .

But then came the occupation, which turned us into the evil Goliath, the cruel oppressor, a darkness on the nations. And now we are paying the price of presenting ourselves as righteous and causing disappointment: boycott.

Shlaim: I’m not a refugee, my family left Iraq because we felt ‘insecure’ after Zionists wiped Palestine off the map.

Sep 05, 2010

Philip Weiss

In the Financial Times, Avi Shlaim reviews In Ishmael’s House, a history of Jews living in Muslim lands, by Martin Gilbert, and published by Yale. (thanks to Nader Hashemi)

Nowhere is Gilbert more strikingly one-sided than in his account of the consequences of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. In the course of this war, the name Palestine was wiped off the map and 726,000 Palestinians became refugees. In its wake, around 850,000 Jews left the Arab world, mostly to start a new life in the newborn State of Israel. For Gilbert, these Jews are simply the other half of the “double exodus” and he persistently refers to them as “refugees”. With few exceptions, however, these Jews left their native lands not as a result of officially sanctioned policies of persecution but because they felt threatened by the rising tide of Arab nationalism. Zionist agents actively encouraged the Jews to leave their ancestral homes because the fledgling State of Israel was desperately short of manpower. Iraq exemplified this trend. The Iraqi army participated in the War for Palestine, and the Arab defeat provoked a backlash against the Jews back home. Out of a population of 138,000, roughly 120,000 left in 1950-51 in an atmosphere of panic and peril.

I was five years old in 1950 when my family reluctantly moved from Baghdad to Ramat Gan. We were Arab Jews, we spoke Arabic, our roots went back to the Babylonian exile two and a half millennia ago and my parents did not have the slightest sympathy with Zionism. We were not persecuted but opted to leave because we felt insecure. So, unlike the Palestinians who were driven out of their homes, we were not refugees in the proper sense of the word. But we were truly victims of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Despite all its shortcomings, Gilbert’s book is an illuminating and a moving account of the history of the Jews in Arab lands. But he is psychologically hard-wired to see anti-Semitism everywhere. The picture he paints is consequently unbalanced.

By dwelling so persistently on the deficits, he downplays the record of tolerance, creative co-existence and multi-culturalism in Muslim lands which constitutes the best model we have for a brighter future.

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Poll: half of Israeli teens don’t want Arab students in their classroom

 06 Sep 2010

Hello, apartheid state:

Sixty four percent of Israeli teens aged 15 to 18 say that Arab Israelis do not enjoy full equal rights in Israel, and from that group, 59 percent believe that they should not have full equal rights, according to a special survey prepared for the “Education in the Digital Age” conference held in Haifa on Monday.

The survey also revealed that 96 percent of the respondents want Israel to be a Jewish and democratic state, but 27 percent believe that those who object should be tried in court, and 41 percent support stripping them of their citizenship.

In answer to a question if they would be willing to learn in a classroom with one or more students with special needs, 32 percent answered in the negative. When the question was asked regarding Arab students, 50 percent of respondents answered in the negative. In addition, 23 percent said that they wouldn’t want gays or lesbians in their class.

The survey was conducted by Professor Camil Fuchs from the Statistics Department of Tel Aviv University, in cooperation with the company Sample Project. The poll included about 500 people between the ages of 15 and 18. The conference has been sponsored by “Reshet Shocken,” in cooperation with Haifa City Council.

The poll also revealed that 40 percent of Jewish youth have never been a part of a youth group, and 45 percent have never volunteered in any capacity.

In regard to motivation to serve in the IDF, 83 percent said that they don’t doubt that they will serve, but about half said that they have friends that do not plan on enlisting.

More than half of the survey’s respondents, 59 percent, said that they did not want to serve in combat units of the army. In response to a question of whether they would refuse to serve in the territories, 24 percent said they would refuse, 47 percent said that they would not refuse, and the remainder had not yet decided.


Wasted dollars and lives in Iraq

 06 Sep 2010

The latest estimate by Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilmes is that the Iraq war has cost US$3 trillion and beyond.


The nation that discriminates on the basis of religion

 06 Sep 2010

What kind of state only allows a right of return for one religion and people and not another indigenous population?


Yes sir, no sir, of course you control and pay me, sir

06 Sep 2010

How to speak to your ruler and master:

Just how many in government are in the pocket of Murdoch?

06 Sep 2010

Thank God for the non-Murdoch press because without them we would never have known about the ongoing scandal at the News of the World. Ethics at News Limited?

Somewhere in the offices of the Crown Prosecution Service, there is a file that will be of great interest to any independent inquiry that attempts to tell the truth about the behaviour of the Metropolitan police in the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World. The Guardian has read it.

The police were dragged into the centre of the scandal last week when the New York Times quoted unnamed detectives claiming that Scotland Yard’s “close relationship” with the News of the World had hampered the inquiry. Essentially, the Met is charged on two counts: first, that it cut short its investigation; second, that it then failed to tell the truth to the press, public and parliament. The police insist that they are innocent on both counts.

The unpublished CPS file shows the inquiry started well. In December 2005, Buckingham Palace complained that someone seemed to be listening to royal household voicemails. Five months later, detectives had tracked the activity to the News of the World’s royal reporter, Clive Goodman, and, beyond, to the paper’s contracted private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire. The detectives had analysed a mass of telephone data and, in a briefing paper dated 30 May 2006, they presented the results to prosecutors.

They wrote: “A vast number of unique voicemail numbers belonging to high-profile individuals (politicians, celebrities) have been identified as being accessed without authority. These may be the subject of a wider investigation in due course. A number of the targets of this unauthorised access have been informed.”

That day, there was a case conference between prosecutors and police, and a file note records an interesting suggestion: “The appropriate strategy is to ringfence the case to minimise the risk of extraneous matters being included.” The file makes it clear that this was a reference to suppressing the names of particularly “sensitive” hacking victims, and that it was the police who were suggesting this unusual tactic.

We still do not know which victims were to be concealed. We do now know that Prince William and Prince Harry had their voicemail intercepted, and that this was never mentioned when the case came to court. We now know that members of the military, the government and the police also were victims.

None of those was mentioned in court. Scotland Yard has refused to name them, or even to say how many there were in each category.

UPDATE: Charlie Brooker wonders in the Guardian why most of the British press have ignored this scandal.


Eyal Weizman in Sydney; decolonising architecture

05 Sep 2010

Please join us for the upcoming lecture series by Eyal Weizman titled “Political Plastic”. The lecture series is hosted by the School of Architecture at the University of Technology Sydney and the MAA Urban Design. decolonizing architecture” in Beit Sahour/Palestine. Since 2008 he is a member of B’Tselem board of directors. Weizman has taught, lectured, curated and organised conferences in many institutions worldwide.

Eyal Weizman is an architect and director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London. He studied architecture at the Architectural Association in London and completed his PhD at the London Consortium/Birkbeck College. Since 2007 he is a member of the architectural collective “

His books include The Lesser Evil [Nottetempo, 2009], Hollow Land [Verso Books, 2007], A Civilian Occupation [Verso Books, 2003], the series Territories 1,2 and 3, Yellow Rhythms and many articles in journals, magazines and edited books. Weizman is a regular contributor and an editorial board member for several journals and magazines including Humanity, Cabinet and Inflexions. Weizman is the recipient of the James Stirling Memorial Lecture Prize for 2006-2007 and was chosen to deliver the Edward Said Memorial Lecture at Warwick 2010.

I’ll be appearing with Weizman during his final Sydney event on 15 September:

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on A.LOEWENSTEIN ONLINE NEWSLETTER


September 6th, 2010

Filed Under: BritainFeaturedMagazineMost read articlesTrade unions

The ConDem coalition has taken less than three months to show its true colours as an ultra-Thatcherite, neoliberal government in which Nick Clegg’s wretched LibDems play the servile role of Igor to the Tory Frankenstein. A succession of policy statements and the June 22 Budget have spelled out a rapid and relentless process towards outright war on the public sector and public services, in which the main victims will be low-paid workers, public sector employees, and the millions unlucky enough to depend upon pensions and welfare benefits.

The cuts are the biggest and most sustained since the second world war: never before has public spending been cut five years in succession, and in every previous austerity round a far higher share of the gap has been raised through taxation rather than cuts.

In the early 1990s the Tories raised 50% of the spending gap from taxes and 50% from cuts: but in 2010 George Osborne is aiming to raise 77% of much bigger total savings through spending cuts, and just 23% through taxes. Much of that will be through VAT, which will disproportionately affect pensioners and the poor.

Another novel feature of these cuts is the extent to which they are coupled with privatisation, carving up what’s left of the public sector budget to benefit profit-seeking private companies.

Where for-profit firms can’t yet be brought in, ministers are pushing for the “social enterprise” model, in which services are broken up into autonomous ‘non-profit’ businesses which create and retain surpluses, and which could easily move to full-scale privatisation or be taken over by private companies later on. Examples include academy schools, and Foundation Trusts in the NHS.

The cuts that are coming are substantial.

The budget made clear that a hefty £11 billion is to be cut from benefit payments by changing the inflation index used for uprating payments year by year. The very poorest are to be made even poorer.

On top of this we already know that housing benefit for long-term claimants is to be cut by 10% from 2013 – with no idea of where the gap in payments is to be found.

2.4 million people on disability benefit are being forced to go through a brutally biased reassessment process, in which up to three quarters are being assessed as ‘fit for work’ and likely to lose benefit – despite the lack of any suitable job vacancies for them to fill even if they were fit enough.

Single parents are also targeted for mean-spirited cuts, with 135,000 to be moved from social security to Job Seekers Allowance: by 2012 single mums with children as young as 5 will be compelled to seek work.

Work and Pensions minister Chris Grayling is on record as favouring a vicious Dickensian tariff of penalties for any JSA claimant turning down a job, in which one refusal would result in one month’s loss of benefit, two jobs refused would trigger a 3-month suspension of benefits and three refusals would result in a 3-year exclusion from all state benefits.

This press-gang approach gives the green light to the most unscrupulous and exploitative employers to keep wages at rock-bottom: but even on these terms it seems certain that vacancies will remain thin on the ground, as tens of thousands of public sector workers lose their jobs in the cutbacks that are being driven through in the NHS, local government, civil service, and even in the police force by ConDem spending cuts.

Local government has been shedding jobs each year, losing 43,000 since 2007, but is braced for a succession of year-on-year cuts to be announced in October’s spending review – possibly as much as 10% actual cuts in budget for the next four years. The NHS is also already squeezing out jobs as hospitals and mental health Trusts wrestle with deficits, but faces the prospect of the abolition of Strategic Health Authorities and Primary Care Trusts, which between them employ 60,000 or more, and a big reduction in spending on management, throwing some 30,000 or so out of work. Higher education is also being squeezed, with a cap on student numbers, widespread cuts in academic and support staff, and some universities fending off bankruptcy and closure.

This haemorrhage of relatively well-paid and previously secure jobs, transforming public sector workers from tax-payers to claimants, alongside knock-on cuts affecting private sector suppliers of goods and services to public sector organisations, seems certain to trigger the feared “double-dip” recession, especially when coupled with the prolonged pay freeze on public sector workers.

As a result of the combination of cuts with the overall squeeze on the economy, Public Finance magazine projects that even by 2014 the numbers claiming Job Seekers Allowance will still be a massive 3 million.

The accelerated increase in the retirement age to 66, with plans to scrap it altogether – and oblige many more to work until they drop dead or are forced off work with chronic illness – will also have the perverse effect of denying jobs to younger workers, including the vast numbers of graduates emerging from universities with almost worthless 2.2 degrees and tens of thousands of pounds in debts hanging round their necks.

For public sector unions, now a mainstay of the trade union movement, this is a crucial turning point: the combination of policies being forced through is aimed at smashing their strength and fragmenting all of the public services, so that anti-union laws can be used at will to make any form of national concerted action virtually impossible.

The union leaders have already undermined their own position by tolerating attacks on jobs, and pensions, and privatisation of services under New Labour, raising only token verbal objections. The Tories have spotted this weakness and are determined to exploit it to the full.

If the public sector unions don’t fight now, they will be in a far weaker position to fight back later, when the first round of Tory attacks have already taken place. Every concession, every show of weakness just encourages the government and the employers to press through ruthlessly, demanding more.

If ministers can impose a one-year, or two-year pay freeze on public sector workers and face no challenge, why would they want to offer any future pay increases?

If they can tear up redundancy terms to cut the cost of sacking one group of workers without any resistance, why wouldn’t they try it with ever-larger groups of workers, and then move on to slash pensions, sick pay and other terms and conditions?

If they feel their moves to denationalise the NHS – and reduce it from a national service employing almost 1 million in England to a “social market” in which taxpayers’ money is used to buy in services from hundreds of effectively privatised providers – are not going to be seriously resisted, won’t ConDem ministers conclude that the union leaders have given up on fighting to defend even the most popular and sacred of our public services?

Of course the unions and campaigners resisting cuts and privatisation face a challenge. They must unpick the spin, the tissue of lies and mythology on which the Tory policies (and New Labour’s too, in many cases) depend, and show to union members, the press and the wider public what is really at stake, and what it means to them.

We need to demonstrate how even ‘voluntary’ redundancies pile increased work and pressure on the fewer staff who remain and undermine the quality of services.

We need to keep exposing the shoddy quality, inflated cost and inefficiency of private sector provision and the cost of the bureaucratic and fragmented market system that can allow private firms to cream off profit from the public purse.

We need to bang home the arguments on why ‘social enterprises’ will increasingly feel and act just like for-profit businesses to their staff and to those requiring their services. Far from ‘empowering’ staff, most of the social enterprises already established have been the result of little Hitler managers riding roughshod over the views and wishes of their employees.

Above all we need to puncture the myth that public service workers have somehow been “feather-bedded” with higher pay, better pensions or greater job security than the private sector.

In reality pay increases in the private sector last year and this are running at around double the average for public sector workers, while the public sector now faces at least a 2-year freeze, with no equivalent limit on private sector earnings.

Most public sector pensions are far from generous, averaging just £4,000 a year in local government and £9,000 for teachers, while many lower-paid workers die relatively soon after retirement.

Of course few fat cat public sector bosses pick up headline-grabbing pay and perks, but even these are left in the shade by the top directors of private companies.

So public sector workers are not a privileged elite, but staff who deliver services we all depend upon.

And the “public sector deficit”, of course is not a result of public sector failings, but the collapse of the banking system, which is now returning to profit and big bonuses – even as the full cost of its crisis is dumped upon millions of workers and those needing public services and welfare.

The challenge in the next few months is to build a sufficiently broad, combative and confident alliance of public sector unions, campaigners, pensioners and the wider public to ensure that the maximum pressure is put on a coalition with no mandate to devastate our public services or eviscerate our NHS.

No concessions. No cuts. No privatisation. Stop the ConDems before they wreck our public services and plunge the whole economy into another downward spiral.




Dear All,

Merely 2 items this evening.  But notice how the 2nd one shows the importance of teaching civics in Zionist classrooms!


Haaretz Monday,

September 06, 2010

Education Ministry moves against cutting civics budget

Education Ministry director general reverses decision by another ministry official to cut most of the budget for intensive 11th- and 12th-grade civics classes.

By Or Kashti

Education Ministry director general Shimshon Shoshani reversed on Sunday a decision by another ministry official to cut most of the budget for intensive 11th- and 12th-grade civics classes.

Even after this unusual change in policy, this year’s civics budget will still be about half of last year’s.

Shoshani left in place an earlier decision to cut funding for intensive 10th-grade civics classes, which focus on Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. Several sources said at least twice as many hours were cut from the 10th-grade curriculum as were restored by Shoshani to the upper grades.

“This is a key lesson in teaching the students basic democracy,” said a 10th-grade civics teacher at a school in the north. “The curriculum allows for a flood of questions on fundamental issues that almost never get addressed in other classes.”

The money saved by the budget cuts was slated to be used for Jewish studies, including Bible, Talmud and Jewish philosophy.

“Unfortunately, the current Education Ministry administration wants to turn civics lessons into the study of nationalism, history, Judaism and Zionism – just not civics,” said Dan Avnon, an associate professor of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The ministry said the number of classroom hours allocated for teaching basic civics classes has not changed. The basic classes are taught in grades 9, 11 and 12 to students planning to take a lower-level matriculation exam (two units ), while the intensive classes are for the highest-level exam (five units ).

In his decision on Sunday, Shoshani reversed the civics curriculum cuts instituted by Zvi Zameret, who heads the ministry’s pedagogic secretariat, after teachers and principals protested the reduction in classroom hours.

“We are primarily concerned about the trend led by Zameret, which represents a change in the Education Ministry’s priorities regarding civics,” said a member of the ministry’s advisory committee on civics instruction. “There’s a feeling that Zameret considers civics to be not very important.”

Another committee member said, “Zameret’s cuts were a direct hit to our chances of making civics important and central” to the overall curriculum, “as we believe it must be.”

Last week Dr. Ayman Agbaria, a civics education lecturer at the University of Haifa, quit the committee to protest a plan to revise a widely used textbook that Zameret said was overly critical of Israel.

Ministry officials said Shoshani and Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar have privately expressed their opposition to Zameret’s plan, though they had previously given him their support.

The Education Ministry, which has refused repeated requests by Haaretz to speak to Zameret, won’t disclose exactly how much money is involved. According to various estimates, the budget for intensive civics classes for the 2009-2010 school year came to NIS 1.8 million, and Zameret wants to leave the program with just NIS 600,000. Based on how the funding is handed out, that means that only a third of the 60 or so schools that met the criteria for ministry support will actually receive it. 

Zameret, who is second only to the director general, was appointed by Sa’ar early this year. The ministry sources said the minister’s support for Zameret began to crumble over the last few weeks.

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 Or Kashti


Haaretz Monday,

September 06, 2010

Poll: Half of Israeli teens don’t want Arab students in their class

Study polling 500 teens aged 15 to 18 finds that most don’t think Arabs enjoy equal rights in Israel, and most of those don’t think Arabs deserve equal rights.

By Or Kashti

Sixty four percent of Israeli teens aged 15 to 18 say that Arab Israelis do not enjoy full equal rights in Israel, and from that group, 59 percent believe that they should not have full equal rights, according to a special survey prepared for the “Education in the Digital Age” conference held in Haifa on Monday.

The survey also revealed that 96 percent of the respondents want Israel to be a Jewish and democratic state, but 27 percent believe that those who object should be tried in court, and 41 percent support stripping them of their citizenship.

In answer to a question if they would be willing to learn in a classroom with one or more students with special needs, 32 percent answered in the negative. When the question was asked regarding Arab students, 50 percent of respondents answered in the negative. In addition, 23 percent said that they wouldn’t want gays or lesbians in their class.

The survey was conducted by Professor Camil Fuchs from the Statistics Department of Tel Aviv University, in cooperation with the company Sample Project. The poll included about 500 people between the ages of 15 and 18. The conference has been sponsored by “Reshet Shocken,” in cooperation with Haifa City Council.

The poll also revealed that 40 percent of Jewish youth have never been a part of a youth group, and 45 percent have never volunteered in any capacity.

In regard to motivation to serve in the IDF, 83 percent said that they don’t doubt that they will serve, but about half said that they have friends that do not plan on enlisting.

More than half of the survey’s respondents, 59 percent, said that they did not want to serve in combat units of the army. In response to a question of whether they would refuse to serve in the territories, 24 percent said they would refuse, 47 percent said that they would not refuse, and the remainder had not yet decided.





The Ugly Truth Podcast Sept 5, 2010

crescentandcross | September 6, 2010  Categories: Uncategorized | URL:


The real reasons for the wars in the Middle East–the one and only Nashid Abdul Khaaliq of is back for a fascinating discussion concerning the big reasons for 9/11 and subsequent destruction of the Muslim world.

Posted in USAComments Off on 9/11 THE UGLY TRUTH



September 6, 2010 

looking back, i think, that the day Zio=Nazi invaded lebanon in 1982, was the day conservativism died at least for me. i remember asking my dad, why Zionist was doing this with what appeared to be impunity and president Reagan was not doing anything to help the lebanese people. i asked him why the jews always seemed to get away with things that other countries could not. he of course never answered such a salient and piercing question. even though i didn’t know any better, i was already distrustful of jews and israel and frankly i didn’t like them.

an eyewitness talks about it

Alan hart and Norman Finkelstein talk about among other things
how the jews want to deal with the palestinian question and if no one
was looking how they would do as they did in Sabra and Shatila

to me, all i ever hear is how bad ass the israeli army is. my opinion is
that they have never really fought a capable enemy.

with Hezbollah, maybe at last this will be changing …..
Zio=Nazi armor is sitting ducks for rocket firing 3 man crews
like shooting fish in a barrel. the old tactics of the attack
with heavy armor are about over now. a painful lesson was learned in 2006.
the united states has learned that in iraq, as well. the days of heavy armor
are about over now.

  • September 6, 2010

    Please watch a 10 minute youtube video .Eye-Witnesses talk about Sabra and Shatila in 1982

  • September 7, 2010 

    Russian Zio=Nazi Mafia.

    after friedman wrote this expose, he suddenly came down with a rare stomach ailment and died.
    funny how things like that work isn’t it?


    dr. byrne, has had his problems with the russian jewish mob as well. mainly due to his lawsuit agains’t certain jewish hedge fund managers on wall street and others. matter of fact, they sent a messenger to meet with him in some diner in connecticut i believe, and they told him he would be dead already but they were afraid of what he had already told others about all of it.

  • Naturally i am sure most of you know ,the stock market is a rigged crooked institution, that has been designed to steal every penny it can from the amerikan middle class. the whole scenerio of the baby boomers saving up for all of these years and investing their money in stocks was a scam from the start. many fools continue to have trust in the system and think we are a system of laws, which we are not.

  • But nevertheless, they continue to hope against hope that all of the money they lost in 2008 , will somehow be returned to them by doing, the same damn thing now , that got them in trouble from the start. fools they are and fools they always will be. now we see old men working at the stores and wally world and is there any need to know why this is happening? i think not. byrne’s major problem is that he is a gentile swimming in jewish infested waters and they simply do not like his infringement on what they consider to be their personal scam, and they want to destroy him.

  • Posted in WorldComments Off on NAZI’S IN LEBANON


    July 6, 2010

    by Michael Leon

    Flag Pins-Turkey-Israel

    By Juan Cole in Informed Comment

    As Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu flew to Washington, DC, on Monday, a further war of words has broken out between Turkey and Israel over comments made by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to the press corps on an airplane returning from Kyrgyzstan. The Zaman correspondent heard him to say of Israel, “It will either apologize, or it will consent to a study by an international commission, or the relations will break off.”

    Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli foreign minister whom Davutoglu apparently declines to deal with, shot back, “”We don’t have any intention to apologize. We think that the opposite is true.” Lieberman, a notorious thug who once advocated drowning all the Egyptians by bombing the Aswan Dam if they ever gave Israel any trouble, is a Moldavian immigrant to Israel not known for being diplomatic.

    Davutoglu is probably not serious about presenting Israel with an ultimatum, and may have been especially interested in posturing as a hard liner because he was embarrassed with the Turkish cabinet and in the Arab world when it came out that he had had a secret meeting with Israeli Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer last week. Ben-Eliezer, an Iraqi from Basra originally named “Fuad,” had earlier in his career been a hard liner, but compared to Lieberman he has emerged as a voice of reason. Davutoglu was widely criticized in Turkey and Arab capitals for the secret talks.

    Lieberman’s response also probably reflected more his own wounded ego than national policy, since Netanyahu sent Ben-Eliezer to dicker with Davutoglu without letting the Israeli foreign minister know about the mission.

    In short, I think the trading of barbs has to do with political personalities rather than national policy. I don’t think the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan actually believes it would be in Turkey’s interest to cut off diplomatic relations with Israel, and I have difficulty taking Davutoglu’s tough talk seriously in that regard. Davutoglu was until recently a professor of international relations at Marmara University rather than a lifetime diplomat, and academics in politics are notorious for speaking their minds too frankly (after all, it is what they do).

    It is also true that Turks’ blood is still boiling about Israeli commandos’ killing of 8 Turkish aid workers and an American of Turkish origin on the Mavi Marmara. Turks are nationalists to a fault, and do not feel that they can let an affront to their nation of that magnitude pass. That wounded national pride is the point of asking for an apology. Israeli officials would be wise to find some mutually agreeable formula that could be called an “apology” and just issue it. I fear that Israeli intransigence comes in part from not being willing to treat the Turks as equals. If, under similar circumstances, 8 Israeli civilians had been killed by a NATO country, Tel Aviv would certainly expect an apology at the least.

    But, from the point of view of the Likud Party and Yisrael Beitenu, being Israeli means never having to say you are sorry.

    Turkey does not have much to lose, however, from pressing Israel hard for an apology. Just as an example, take the fall-off in Israeli tourism to Turkey. It is being said 100,000 out of 150,000 Israelis with reservations in Turkey have cancelled them at least temporarily, and that 50,000 Israeli tourists have cancelled their reservations permanently. Some travel agents are estimating the loss at $400 million.

    But in fact, the Israeli tourism market is increasingly irrelevant to the Turkish economy. In 2009, Turkey hosted 27 million tourists. Moreover, its tourist market is rapidly changing. Instead of just receiving as visitors relatively frugal Western Europeans, Turkey has increasingly attracted an Arab clientele. Some 105,000 Arabs came as tourists to Turkey in May, up 33% over the same period last year. Moreover, the Arabs are much bigger spenders than the Europeans. The extra 35,000 Arab extra tourists in May are likely to have been big spenders (dropping $5 million on a wedding in Istanbul is not unheard of). They likely replaced any lost income from the Israelis, and it is expected that the Arab proportion of Turkey’s tourism industry will increase rapidly.

    I pointed out last week that the proportion of Turkey’s external trade that is with the Middle East has gone from 14% in 2004 to 20% today, and is now worth nearly $30 bn. a year, whereas Turkey does only $2.5 billion a year in trade with Israel.

    Another Turkish demand, in order to end the tiff, is that Israel lift the blockade of civilians in Gaza. Netanyahu ordered some cosmetic changes, but essntial building and other materiel will not be allowed in. Moreover, the sheer volume of trucks let through will be far, far less than the volume of trucks allowed through in 2006 before the Israeli Right implemented the blockade.. 

    Netanyahu will likely offer Obama more of these essentially phony peace moves in Washington. The tensions between Israel and Turkey will therefore boil along. But likely everyone will graciously let Davutoglu forget he spoke so categorically or issued an ultimatum. Rocky relations, yes. No relations? Unlikely in the medium term.




    Our communications are never private Published on 6 September 2010 in General. 0 Comments Tags:

    Zealander, .

    Leading investigative journalist Nicky Hager, a New Zealander, regularly breaks tough stories that nobody else does, especially on intelligence matters.

    Take this piece from January 2010:

    Go to the heart of one of Telecom or Vodafone’s mobile phone exchanges and you’ll find the whole system – covering a quarter of the country – is run by a single computer, no bigger than a small freezer.

    Cables lead off to all the company’s cellphone towers and other parts of the network. A main cable, connecting all those phone users to the world, comes out the top of the computer and passes directly into a unit in the rack above. One cable goes into the unit but two come out: one continuing out to the world, the other coiling off to secret equipment marked “LI” on the system diagrams. “LI” stands for “lawful interception”.

    Not long ago, police and Security Intelligence Service (SIS) interception meant tapping your landline phone or bugging your kitchen. Now, under a new surveillance regime ushered in by the 2004 Telecommunications (Interception Capability) Act, a basic interception warrant also allows them access to all your emails, internet browsing, online shopping or dating, calls, texts and location for mobile phones, and much more – all delivered almost instantaneously to the surveillance agencies.

    To catch other sorts of communications, including people using overseas-based email or other services, all the local communications networks are wired up as well, to monitor messages en route overseas.

    Interception equipment built permanently into every segment of the country’s communications architecture will provide the sort of pervasive spying capability we normally associate with police states.

    These developments have been introduced quietly. Neither the government nor the phone and internet companies are keen to advertise their Big Brotherish activities. This doesn’t sound like New Zealand and in fact it was largely pushed on New Zealand from overseas.

    The origins of New Zealand’s new system can be traced back 10 years to when British researchers uncovered European Union police documents planning exactly the same sort of surveillance system in Europe. The secret plan, known as Enfopol 98, and reported on by the Weekly Telegraph in 1999, aimed to create “a seamless web of telecommunications surveillance” across Europe, and involved EU nations adopting “International User Requirements for Interception”, to standardise surveillance capabilities.

    The researchers found that the moves followed “a five-year lobbying exercise by American agencies such as the FBI”. “When completed, the system will provide a global regime,” it said. New Zealand had been in dialogue with US and European authorities on joining the scheme as early as 1995.

    Civil liberties council spokesman Michael Bott says the new capabilities are part of a step-by-step erosion of civil rights in New Zealand. He said people need places to be themselves, talk about their secrets or sound off about politics, without having to wonder who’s listening.

    “The fear is that citizens become accustomed to living in a surveillance society and, over time, freedoms of speech and belief are chilled and diminished.”


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