Archive | September 12th, 2010



Time for disengagement

After the (limited ) success of the disengagement from Gaza, the time has come for another disengagement – that which will release Israel from the chains of the corrupting influence of wealthy Jewish men.

By Gideon Levy

After the (limited ) success of the disengagement from Gaza, the time has come for another disengagement – that which will release Israel from the chains of the corrupting influence of wealthy Jewish men. One of the conclusions that arises from the impressive and extensive investigative report by Gidi Weitz on Austrian billionaire Martin Schlaff and his activities in Israel, published in Haaretz on the eve of the Rosh Hashanah holiday, is that the wealthiest members of the world Jewish community who stir the pot in Israel frequently do more damage than good.

Schlaff is not the first Jewish octopus, and will not be the last, to stretch his long tentacles toward us: Since its founding Israel has been the playground of Jewish moguls, most of whom do not consider living here, instead stirring things up from afar, by means of their money.

While it’s true that the state’s establishment was made possible, among other reasons, through Jewish money that flowed here since the days of Rothschild, a strong and established country like Israel should also know when to wrench free of this money’s grasp. Figures like Schlaff, Ron Lauder, Edgar Bronfman, Sheldon Adelson, Irving Moskowitz, Meshulam Riklis, Arie Genger and the like wield too much influence.

Some stir things up here to increase their own wealth, taking advantage of the benefits Israel heaps upon them, while others invest here for legitimate Zionist motives. But quite a few do so to amuse themselves with the power games the country lets them get away with it. In what other Western country are foreign citizens able to stir the pot to such a great extent? In no other country are the leaders’ doors so wide open to these foreign nationals, simply because of their wealth. Such a spectacle only occurs in third-world countries, to which Israel purports not to belong.

But this dirty tango always takes two. The wealthy Jews seeking to stir the pot have always been accompanied by Israeli politicians who, with unbearable enthusiasm, have agreed to be courted. Behind almost every successful Israeli politician is a Jewish tycoon, particularly since the system of primaries was instituted. Behind every tycoon is his pet politician. Some of the politicians’ obsequious attitude toward the magnates is shameful: Their offices are enlisted to see to it that the rich man is flattered; the pilgrimage these statesmen proteges make to both the tycoons and the indulgences they are offered is insufferable. The influence of these wealthy individuals can be corrupt and corrupting, even if it has no criminal aspect to it.

Weitz’s investigation sheds as much light on us and on the life of our elite, as it does on Schlaff, the hero of his article. Read how the system was yoked into establishing a casino in Jericho: Suddenly we can cooperate with the Palestinians, but only to pad the pockets of the magnate and some of his local subjects.

Adelson puts out a newspaper, Moskowitz builds settlements, Lauder negotiates in the name of Israel’s prime minister, Riklis helped buy a ranch and Genger helped finance a libel trial – all supporters of the right. The left has also had a few tycoons, although their numbers are fewer and influence considerably less.

When Moskowitz finances settlements for whose bitter fruits all of Israel pays – and not he – he should be kept clear of here.

Just as the benefit to Israel of the belligerent and heavy-handed U.S. Jewish lobby is quite dubious – to the extent that for a long time it has seemed it would be better for Israel if it disappeared altogether – so, too, we must now question the Jewish money flowing to Israel from those who choose not to live here: Does Israel actually benefit from this practice, or does this merely serve as a bed for degenerative rot?

Haaretz’s investigative report on Schlaff has proven how corrupting the way of the Jewish tycoon can be when he meets the Israeli politician. The time has come, therefore, to start disengaging. The door to foreign investors and contributors should of course remain wide open, but Israel must tell its Jewish brethren: It is your right to try and exert influence here, but you cannot buy politicians.

We have enough homegrown connections between money and government in Israel, we don’t need a relationship between (Jewish ) money and (Israeli ) government as well. Stir the pot in your own countries, tycoons, and get your hands off our politicians; say goodbye, Israeli politicians, from the corrupting temptations of the wealthy. The time to disengage has come.

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Israel could drag out peace deal over decades

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September 12, 2010

by Debbie Menon

– As conditions in Afghanistan and Iraq continue to deteriorate and casualties from the two wars continue mount, the US media is attempting to garner support for the highly unpopular conflicts by portraying law-abiding Muslims as terrorists and extremists. –

The following is a series of exclusive Press TV interviews with Mark Glenn, author and co-founder of “The Crescent and Cross Solidarity Movement,” on the western justification for the rise in Islamophobia.

  • Kaneez Fatima talks to Mark Glenn on Islamophobia in US

  • Saeed Pourreza talks to Mark Glenn on Islamophobia in US

  • Waqar Rizvi talks to Mark Glenn on Islamophobia in US

‘Islamophobia at worst level since 9/11′
Pastor Terry Jones, in particular, has been given a platform to fan the flames of anti-Islamic sentiments while desecrations of mosques and assaults on Muslims in America are on the rise.

Saeed Pourreza talks to Mark Glenn on Islamophobia in US

YouTube – Veterans Today –

Waqar Rizvi talks to Mark Glenn on Islamophobia in US

YouTube – Veterans Today –

Kaneez Fatima talks to Mark Glenn on Islamophobia in US

YouTube – Veterans Today –


The following is a rush transcript of the Glenn interview:

Press TV: To discuss Islamophobia in the US, we are being joined by author and journalist Mark Glenn, and he’s also the co-founder of the “Crescent and Cross Solidarity Movement. ‘ Many thanks for joining us here on Press TV.

Now the problem is deeper than just the burning of the Quran, the Cordoba mosque, or even Obama secretly being a Muslim. There is no doubt that the US is simmering with anti-Islamic sentiments at the moment. How would you assess the natural conversation about religious tolerance in the US ever since 9/11?

Glenn: Well certainly it has decidedly turned worse in the last few months, particularly. I haven’t seen anything like this except literally in the days following 9/11. As for religious tolerance in this country, this is a very polite fiction that we entertain these days; this idea that we are tolerant of other religious.

But clearly when you have a pastor, a supposed Christian pastor, threatening to burn piles of Qurans, despite these lessons we should have learned from World War II in considering totalitarian systems where they burned the books of authors they didn’t approve of.

Clearly we have a storm of intolerance that is sweeping this country, and it’s not by accident either. The pastor in Florida who has come up with this lunatic idea for doing this is being supported by some very powerful groups in this country. These are groups, who stand to benefit from fostering this intolerance of Islam. As I said before, in preparation for launching ever more disastrous wars in the Middle East. Terry Jones is not smart enough — I’m sorry to say — to come up with an idea like this all on his own. Then of course to engineer all the attention that he has received in the mainstream media. I mean we are talking about a little church here in a little corner in Florida that has 50 members. Perhaps only 15 or 20 of those attend weekly. So to literally gather the world’s attention via the media means that there were powerful forces at work behind this, and clearly what they want to do is create an environment in this country where Americans are decidedly against Muslims, and for easy-to-understand reasons.

We are in two wars right now — one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan and unofficially, in Pakistan. The same people responsible for driving us into this disastrous situation — in regard to the two wars — are only getting warmed up. They would love nothing more than to see us involved in Iran, Syria and Lebanon and on and on until literally the western world and Islamic world have mutually destroyed each other through decades of bankrupting conflict.

Press TV: The recent controversies have also created a larger debate — the rights of American Muslims. In a country that is fighting to promote freedom abroad, why is being a Muslim and an America such a dilemma?

Glenn: Well it isn’t a dilemma. Muslim Americans are the salt of the earth and they are every bit as much Americans as people who are born here. This is an artificially created situation that we are seeing taking place fostered by demagogues and people, who as I said, have an interest in fostering this situation.

If you remember in our country’s history there was a time when Blacks were not considered human beings in terms of the law. This was used to justify the most inhumane and cruel treatment against them. This went on literally for centuries. So it’s the same — whether we are talking about the Blacks, who were brought here, or whether we are talking about the dehumanization of the American Indians, or whether we are talking about the Muslims today.

There is a war going on and there are people who are profiting from this war greatly and the American people are sick of the war. They are bankrupt. They don’t have jobs. They can’t feed their children. They can’t put roofs over their families’ heads. And the reason all this is taking place is because we are drawn out into two wars that we cannot win. Thus we are not as enthusiastic about launching any new wars as we may have been on September 11, 2001. So the interested parties need to keep this fire going. So they are throwing on anything that will burn in order to keep this anti-Islamic hysteria going.

As I said, not only in interest of justifying the past, and in justifying the murder of 2 million innocent Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also to prepare the American mind for the future; in particular to prepare war with Iran and Syria and so on.

Press TV: With Americans sacrificing lives and earnings for wars without their stated goals being met, shouldn’t they question the government instead of the Muslim citizens’ intentions and faith?

Glenn: Well of course. Where are the weapons of mass destruction that we were being promised were built and assembled in Iraq? The closest we had to an acknowledgement that there were not weapons of mass destruction in an official capacity from our president was when he was making jokes about it at the gathering that they have once a year with the White House and the press club.

He was making jokes looking behind the curtains saying, “Where are those weapons, where are those weapons.” In the meantime, millions of people have had their lives destroyed as result of this. So yes, the American people, particularly the American people, considering our country was formed out of distrust of the government, should be questioning their government right now.

They should be asking why are 5,000 of our young people dead? Why have we gone bankrupt fighting these wars? Why are we on the cusp of launching new wars? And yet, sadly, there isn’t this awakening or this consciousness yet within the American people. But my prediction is that the deeper we get into these conflicts, and the more that these things bite in a very personal way, Americans will begin questioning these things.

Source: Press TV

Also See

PRESS TV’s Kaneez Fatima talks to James Morris on US Blasphemy




September 12, 2010

Pete Seeger urged to withdraw support for ethnic cleansers of the JNF

I have to admit I was shocked when I first saw that Pete Seeger was lined up to play a gig for one of the organisations most responsible for the instigation and covering up of zionist ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population of Palestine. Even those artists who play gigs in Israel can usually come up with some mealy mouthed justification for their actions or they donate proceeds to some charity or other whilst appeasing the lobby. But what possible excuse can there be for raising funds for ethnic cleansing or for planting forest over the sites where ethnic cleansing has taken place?News of Pete Seeger’s betrayal was greeted at first with a stunned silence from activists though I gather some did write to him privately and, since he doesn’t use email, in hard copy.

Well now it’s all gone public according to Yahoo news:

Folk music legend Pete Seeger has been asked to abandon an upcoming concert in Israel and show his support for a Palestinian-led cultural boycott of the nation.

The singer/songwriter is billed to perform at the With Earth and Each Other: A Virtual Rally for a Better Middle East – an event organised by the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and the Jewish National Fund in November and his involvement has upset activists calling on all musicians to scrap Israeli shows.

Officials at steering human rights group Adalah New York insist they are among 40 organisations urging Seeger to change his mind about the show, and join the likes of the Pixies, Elvis Costello and Carlos Santana in boycotting concerts in Israel.

A spokesman says, “The organisations have called on Seeger to support the Palestinian-led movement for a cultural boycott of Israel, modelled on the artists’ boycott that helped end Apartheid in South Africa.

“Insist”? What’s all that about?

The letter, signed by over 40 groups, is here

September 09, 2010

Sex “as a Jew” verdict still racist

I read in The Guardian last night that the case of the Palestinian guy getting convicted of rape because he passed himself off as a Jew was the result of a plea bargain. Allegedly his real offence was a rape in the conventional sense of a man forcing someone to have sex with him.

I blogged the case here when it was first reported and even the zionists at Harry’s Place were bewildered at the obvious racism behind the verdict.

Here’s The Guardian (it’s in the print edition today apparently so it’s worth a letter if you have the time and inclination):

Fresh details have emerged in the case of a Palestinian man an Israeli court convicted of “rape by deception” after he was accused of posing as a Jewish man in order to have sex with a Jewish-Israeli woman.

The case caused international outrage when it was first reported, in July, but now an Israeli newspaper has reported that the conviction was the result of a plea bargain over a violent rape.

Ha’ir, a Tel Aviv weekly and part of the newspaper group that owns Haaretz, published extracts from the victim’s unsealed testimony. It also reported that the prosecution had agreed to the reduced charge of “rape by deception” because of the victim’s confused account and concern at facing another court appearance.

Saber Kushour, from East Jerusalem, said he had had consexual sex with the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, within minutes of meeting her on a West Jerusalem street.

He was sentenced to 18 months in prison after the Jerusalem district court ruled he was guilty of rape by deception. One of the judges said that, although the sex had been consensual, the woman involved “would not have consented if she had not believed Kushour was Jewish”.

That’s really just a taste and there is far more detail to the case than in that chunk.

The Guardian article isn’t exactly an apologetic for Israel but it is implying that there was more to be gleaned from the case than first time around. I suppose they could be saying that if the woman’s allegations are true then he deserves to be convicted of rape and that he deserves a custodial sentence. And it of course would mean that the defendant is not deserving of sympathy.

But that isn’t the take at Harry’s Place:

A translation of the article from here can be read below.

Having read the full translation:

1. This sounds like a very standard rape case. A typical rape case involves a confused social encounter, assertive sexual conduct from a man, and will often involve women who give confused and contradictory testimony, because they have been drinking or are otherwise vulnerable.

2. A case like this might be subject to some form of plea bargain in the United Kingdom – perhaps with the defendant pleading guilty to indecent assault.

3. Many cases like this end up going to trial in the United Kingdom. There is a political reluctance to plea bargain or discontinue rape trials, even when the evidence is very weak. That is one of the reasons that acquittal rates are so very high.

What makes this story different from any other case disposed of by plea bargain is that the conviction was premised upon the defendant’s acceptance of a significantly artificial “factual” basis, which was itself newsworthy – and disturbing.

Unsurprisingly, the defendant did not mention the complainant’s allegations, or the medical evidence that suggested that sex might not have been consensual. Why would he?

It is a very great pity that the world’s press – including Israel’s – did not treat this story with more caution.

I wonder whether this story will be reported further, outside Israel.

 Well I don’t know how widely reported it was first time round but the verdict was the verdict however the plea was arrived at. The guy was put away for eighteen months because it was claimed that he passed himself off as a Jew when he was actually an Arab. Does anyone at Harry’s Place really believe that in any other western country a plea bargain over an alleged violent rape could be reduced to a plea of guilty to the accusation that the accused had lied about their ethnicity or religion? Surely the racism would have to be inherent to the system in the first place.

Assuming that all the judges had to go on was the guilty plea with the passing off of an Arab as a Jew then both the guilty plea and the sentence were a racist outrage regardless of the true facts of the case. This new twist does nothing to serve the zionist cause from an anti-racist point of view. Rather it goes to show that many of them don’t seem to realise that they are racist at all.

September 08, 2010

Bibi will dare but not Blair

Ha! No sooner do we get the news that Blair won’t dare face his UK critics than news comes in that Netanyahu is to pop over here to give a keynote speech for the UK’s main hasbara outfit, BICOM – The Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre.

Here’s the Jewish Chronicle:

The JC has learned that Benjamin Netanyahu is to visit Britain in early November. The Israeli Prime Minister will meet the Prime Minister, David Cameron, and will be the keynote speaker at the annual dinner of BICOM, the Israel lobbying organisation, on 1st November.At this stage his full schedule has yet to be agreed but there are no plans yet for other communal meetings, although this may change.

I misread the piece at first and thought that Cameron was going to give the keynote speech to BICOM but that would have been too much of a give-away. As it happens, the JC reported some time after Cameron’s “Gaza as prison camp” speech, that they thought he was just playing games and that Obama had put him up to it to pressure Israel – some pressure! I’m sure this meeting with between Bibi and Cameron will be all smiles and business as usual. 

With friends like Blair’s….

Blair has cancelled another self-promo, this time scheduled for the Tate Modern art gallery. Here’s Bloomberg:

Tony Blair cancelled a reception scheduled for tonight at London’s Tate Modern Gallery to mark the publication of his memoirs after the threat of protests.

His decision marked the second public event the former prime minister has called off while promoting the book, “A Journey.” He cancelled a book-signing in London this week after he was pelted with shoes, eggs and plastic bottles in Dublin on Sept. 4 by people protesting the Iraq war. He wasn’t hurt.

“It is sad in a way because you should have the right to sign books or see your friends if you want to,” Blair told ITV’s This Morning program today. “But it was going to cause so much hassle. The people at the party tonight are friends — and some of them are not political at all.”

 If they’re friends why doesn’t he just invite them to one of his own houses rather than sully the reputation of an art gallery.

Of course, Blair being Blair, he gets even more nauseating in his self-promotion. The cancellation of the gallery do isn’t for himself you understand:

“I don’t mind going through protesters; I have lived with that all my political life,” Blair said. “But for other people it can be a bit unpleasant and frightening.”

So can you, you nasty self-serving creep.

September 07, 2010

Blair boycotts Waterstones

So should we all. Showing a rare sign of humanity Blair has finally got so disgusted with himself, he is boycotting his book signing at Waterstones in London. From The Guardian report, the MD of Waterstones isn’t a happy fellow traveller:

Waterstone’s confirmed that the scheduled book signing had been cancelled, “according to the wishes of the author”. The managing director, Dominic Myers, said: “Our job as a bookseller is to bring books to our customers, and where possible enable them to meet authors as well. It is a matter of regret that because of the likely actions of a minority, our customers are now not able to meet a three-times elected prime minister of the United Kingdom, whose book has become our fastest-selling autobiography ever.”

But there are other institutions willing to be sullied by Blair’s presence:

The Stop the War Coalition (StWC) said it was planning to protest at a launch party for Blair’s book at the Tate Modern in London tomorrow night. Lindsey German, convenor of StWC, said: “It’s a stain on the reputation of Tate Modern, to host a gathering of war criminals.”

The limited number of signed copies of A Journey will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis, one copy per customer.

I hope people do boycott Waterstones for years to come and there may even be an immediate price to pay for their collusion with this low-life:

Waterstone’s is also having to cope with a number of anti-Blair protesters moving his memoirs to the crime area of their stores, after thousands joined a group entitled “Subversively move Tony Blair’s memoirs to the crime section in bookshops”.

The Facebook page, which now has almost 8,000 members, urges them to “make bookshops think twice about where they categorise our generations [sic] greatest war criminal”.

 This could run and run unless they do the decent thing and apologise.

 September 06, 2010

Hats off to Ireland, naff off to Israel

Here’s some good news for now. See this from Ireland’s main broadcaster, RTE:

The European Commission has halted a proposal to allow Israel access to potentially sensitive data on European Union citizens following concerns expressed by the Irish Government.

The concerns arose following the use of forged Irish passports in the murder of a Hamas operative, allegedly by Israeli agents.

In a surprise move this morning, the Commission said they would withdraw the application to effectively recognise Israel’s data protection standards as being on a par with those enjoyed in the EU.

According to a spokesman for the Department of Justice, the European Commission acknowledged the concerns expressed by an Irish official about the reliability of the Israeli data protection regime.

There are some technical issues around Israel’s data protection but there is a little more to it than that:

the Irish Government had raised concerns in the context of the fraudulent misuse of information on Irish passport holders for an extra judicial killing in Dubai and had articulated its anger about that on a number of occasions.

The objection, he said, was a further manifestation of this anger and protest at what had transpired in relation to, what was in essence, the stealing of data from legitimate Irish passports.

Mr Martin added, however, that he has made it consistently clear that Ireland wants good relations with Israel.

But over the past 18-24 months, he said, a series of events had happened which had put a strain on that.

So good news and bad really. That one of the economically weaker member states of the EU is standing up to Israel is a good thing but a clear majority of member states want those racist war criminals to get their hands on personal information about EU citizens. This will presumably help Israel harass anyone from the EU area who wants to assist the Palestinians in any way, be it campaigning, human rights information gathering or feeding or educating Palestinians. But there’s respite because Ireland is digging in…for now.

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More Thoughts on 911

by James Buchanan

Since the Jewish media obviously isn’t going to give a fair hearing to the 911 event, I thought I’d devote a little more attention to it here. All the major networks delivered up some kosher remembrance to 911 without scratching the surface of all the suspicious little details. Maybe tracking down the real criminals and bringing them to justice would be a better way to remember the victims.

For one thing, our “great ally” Israel knew the 911 attack was coming and didn’t bother to warn us. A MOSSAD film crew videotaped the 911 attack on the towers live and were dancing around in celebration. One source notes “A Mossad surveillance team made quite a public spectacle of themselves on 9-11. ‘The New York Times reported Thursday that a group of five men had set up video cameras aimed at the Twin Towers prior to the attack on Tuesday, and were seen congratulating one another afterwards.’ Police received several calls from angry New Jersey residents claiming ‘middle-eastern’ men with a white van were videotaping the disaster with shouts of joy and mockery.

‘They were like happy, you know… They didn’t look shocked to me’ said a witness. [T]hey were seen by New Jersey residents on Sept. 11 making fun of the World Trade Center ruins and going to extreme lengths to photograph themselves in front of the wreckage.’ Witnesses saw them jumping for joy in Liberty State Park after the initial impact. Later on, other witnesses saw them celebrating on a roof in Weehawken, and still more witnesses later saw them celebrating with high fives in a Jersey City parking lot.”

The van load of Middle Eastern men was chased down and the MOSSAD agents were arrested by police, but eventually released to Israel even though they clearly knew more about 911 than anyone else the US has taken prisoner. In addition to the dancing Israelis there were over 200 Israeli art students/spies, who just happened to live in the same towns as the 911 hijackers. Many of them were arrested and questioned. Were they helping or observing the hijackers? They definitely weren’t stopping them.

Another key question would be “Is al Qaeda a real organization or is it a creation of the CIA and MOSSAD?” The Israelis were caught red-handed setting up a phony al Qaeda cell in Palestine as noted here. Could the Israelis or CIA have set up more phony al Qaeda cells in Egypt and Saudi Arabia to recruit disgruntled Muslims for the 911 attack? Of course they could have. And they probably did. The ex-President of Italy Francesco Cossiga stated that the 911 attack was an “inside job” by the CIA and MOSSAD.

While the WTC towers were undeniably hit by planes, the actual collapse of the towers and WTC Building 7 were brought on by controlled demolitions. Each plane punched a hole in a tower. Much of the fuel exploded in huge fireballs outside the towers as seen in the videos of the attack. Fire experts claim that all the jet fuel would have burnt up within ten minutes, assuming some fuel didn’t go up in the initial fireball.

After the jet fuel burnt up, the result was two buildings each with a hole punched in them suffering from “paper and wood” office fires. A skyscraper like the World Trade Center is built not only to support its own weight, it is built to withstand hurricane force winds and even earthquakes. The building will NOT collapse even if it loses several columns. The columns by the way were four inch thick steel I-beam and box columns. An aluminum wing even on a jumbo jet is going to be shredded by a column that strong and solid. The support columns on a skyscraper are NOT going to be knocked out by an aluminum airplane wing. Very little of the aircraft except the engines were able to punch their way through all the interior walls. The only way the WTC towers could have collapsed would have been if the subsequent fire heated the columns up to a high enough temperature to weaken the steel.

One article notes “Most defenders of the official (government) theory, in fact, do not make this absurd claim (that the columns melted). They say merely that the fire heated the steel up to the point where it lost so much of its strength that it buckled.[11] For example, Thomas Eagar, saying that steel loses 80 percent of its strength when it is heated to 1,300˚F, argues that this is what happened. But for even this claim to plausible, the fires would have still had to be pretty hot. But they were not. Claims have been made, as we have seen, about the jet fuel. But much of it burned up very quickly in the enormous fireballs produced when the planes hit the buildings, and rest was gone within 10 minutes,[12] after which the flames died down. Photographs of the towers 15 minutes after they were struck show few flames and lots of black smoke, a sign that the fires were oxygen-starved.

Thomas Eagar, recognizing this fact, says that the fires were ‘probably only about 1,200 or 1,300˚F’ (Eagar, 2002). There are reasons to believe, moreover, that the fires were not even that hot. As photographs show, the fires did not break windows or even spread much beyond their points of origin (Hufschmid, 2002, p. 40). This photographic evidence is supported by scientific studies carried out by NIST, which found that of the 16 perimeter columns examined, ‘only three columns had evidence that the steel reached temperatures above 250˚C [482˚F],’ and no evidence that any of the core columns had reached even those temperatures (2005, p. 88).”

There has been much talk about the collapse of the 47 story WTC Building 7, which was not hit by a plane. It appeared to go down exactly like a controlled demolition. A damaged steel building by the way is going to collapse non-symmetrically. A building with damage near the foundation could fall over much like a tree, which has been chopped so that it falls in a certain direction. If the steel is being heated up above 1000 degrees F and gradually loses strength, the structure should start leaning over in the direction where the hottest columns are losing strength. Large deformations should be clearly visible before the collapse. The WTC towers and Building 7 all went down like controlled demolitions. This means that whoever hit the detonation button for the demolitions, killed a lot more people, than the people flying the planes.

Many of the government apologists like to point to the collapse of steel structures during fires, but the cases they cite were all non-symmetric collapses. One building literally fell over like a tree when its foundation was undermined. One oil rig that collapsed had an uncontrolled high temperature fire with fuel continuously feeding into the fire. Not one of the collapses that they cite went down like a controlled demolition.

Israel has a long track record of Black operations and false flag attacks. In the Lavon Affair, MOSSAD agents bombed US facilities in Egypt in the 1950s. In 1967, Israel deliberately attacked the USS Liberty mass murdering 34 Americans. The attack on the World Trade Center has benefited Israel more than any other nation. Just ask the Dancing Israelis, who videotaped it.


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Open Letter to People of Israel from Lauren Booth, Journalist on the First Free Gaza Voyage

September 12, 2010

by Michael Leon  

– Israel, in an lie absurd by its own propaganda standard, congratulates itself as having the most moral military in the world –

Journalist Lauren Booth was on the first Free Gaza voyage and stayed to work in Gaza after the boats left.

Her heartfelt letter to the people of Israel should be read and seen by everyone who hopes for peace in the Middle East.

This stunning video tribute to her words was designed and produced by the Free Gaza movement.

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Nick Turse: Afghanistan on Life Support

September 12, 2010 

by Michael Leon

Would Afghanistan be better losing with the Taliban, tribes and corruption than winning with us? Operation Enduring Freedom echoes Vietnam

By Nick Turse at Tomgram

You’ve undoubtedly had the experience of pulling on a tiny, fraying thread and discovering, to your shock, that the larger piece of clothing you’re wearing suddenly begins to unravel.  The equivalent seems to be happening in Afghanistan right before our eyes.  There, “the pride of Afghanistan’s financial system,” Kabul Bank, with more than a million customers, is undergoing a slow-motion collapse. 

Part of a fledging banking system proudly mentored by American experts and Treasury Department officials, that sinkhole of a bank now threatens to take down far more with it.  In 2001, according to the Washington Post’s David Nakamura and Ernesto Londoño, the Americans arriving in Kabul wanted to create a “Western-style banking sector… that would make it more difficult for terrorists to get money, while promising Afghans that a regulated financial system would be more reliable and trustworthy.”  And, in a perverse sense, they succeeded. 

We don’t yet know whether or not Kabul Bank is “too big to fail” and so will prove to be the Goldman Sachs or the Merrill Lynch of poverty-stricken Afghanistan.  At the very least, it represents a fraying Afghan cloth woven from just about every disastrous thread of the American war and occupation: the deep corruption of the ruling elite, the looting of what wealth the country has and its squandering abroad, the tens of billions of dollars of drug money and reconstruction/aid funds that have washed over a land with a gross domestic product of only about $27 billion, and finally Washington’s whole project in Afghanistan, which, as TomDispatch regular Nick Turse indicates below, promised so much and delivered so desperately little.  (Of course, the very fact that the Taliban, the discredited former rulers of that country in 2001, should be experiencing a renaissance, tells you everything you need to know about the American disaster there.)  

To provide protection for themselves in the snake pit of Afghan politics, the Kabul Bank’s two owners brought in (that is, bought) a brother of President Hamid Karzai (who has been living in a $5.5 million villa in Dubai purchased with bank funds) and a brother of Vice President Muhammad Fahim (to whom it loaned a mere $100 million).  Its top officers also evidently loaned out millions to themselves, splurged on 18 “villas” and other property in Dubai just as the real estate market there was preparing to take a nosedive, while playing fast and loose with the bank’s deposits. 

Since Kabul Bank holds government funds for salaries to be paid to the Army, police, government workers, and teachers, the possibility for popular discontent runs deep.  In Kabul, the only remaining branch of the bank still open is now surrounded by barbed wire, and guarded by security forces prepared to beat back Afghans besieging the place desperate for their money or simply their salaries. 

The Kabul Bank collapse is a genuine Afghan nightmare that threatens to engulf the major politicians of that land and possibly the rickety, rotting political system the Americans helped build over the last decade.  It may, in the end, prove a symbol of everything the American war delivered to a tiny slice of Afghan society and almost no one else.  Nick Turse’s newest book — he’s the editor – The Case for Withdrawal from Afghanistan (Verso Books), is just out and how could it be more timely?  The impressive war reporter Patrick Cockburn calls it “a fascinating and essential guide.” As we watch the American project in that country unravel, isn’t it the moment to finally put withdrawal on the American agenda?  After all, we don’t really need to oversee the collapse of Afghanistan’s banking system when we’ve done so well here at home. 

(To catch Turse in Timothy MacBain’s latest TomCast audio interview discussing why withdrawal from Afghanistan hasn’t been on the American agenda , click here or, to download it to your iPod, here.) Tom

How Much “Success” Can Afghans Stand? 
The American War and Afghanistan’s Civilians 
By Nick Turse

With the arrival of General David Petraeus as Afghan War commander, there has been ever more talk about the meaning of “success” in Afghanistan.  At the end of July, USA Today ran an article titled, “In Afghanistan, Success Measured a Step at a Time.” Days later, Stephen Biddle, a Senior Fellow for Defense Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, held a conference call with the media to speak about “Defining Success in Afghanistan.”  A mid-August editorial in the Washington Post was titled: “Making the Case for Success in Afghanistan.”  And earlier this month, an Associated Press article appeared under the headline, “Petraeus Talks Up Success in Afghan War.”

Unlike victory, success turns out to be a slippery term.  As the United States approaches the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan, pundits have been chewing over just what “success” in Afghanistan might mean for Washington.  What success might mean for ordinary Afghans hasn’t, however, been a major topic of conversation, even though U.S. officials have regularly promised them far better lives and trumpeted American efforts to reconstruct that war-torn land.

Between 2001 and 2009, according to the Afghan government, the country has received $36 billion in grants and loans from donor nations, with the United States disbursing some $23 billion of it.  U.S. taxpayers have anted up another $338 billion to fundthe war and occupation.  Yet from poverty indexes to risk-of-rape assessments, from childhood mortality figures to drug-use stats, just about every available measure of Afghan wellbeing paints a grim picture of a country in a persistent state of humanitarian crisis, often involving reconstruction and military failures on an epic scale.  Pick a measurement affecting ordinary Afghans and the record since November 2001 when Kabul fell to Allied forces is likely to show stagnation or setbacks and, almost invariably, suffering.

Almost a decade after the U.S. invasion, life for Afghan civilians is not a subject Americans care much about and so, not surprisingly, it plays little role in Washington’s discussions of “success.”  Have a significant number of Afghans found the years of occupation and war “successful”?  Has there been a payoff in everyday life for the indignities of the American years — the cars stopped or sometimes shot up at road checkpoints, the American patrols trooping through fields and searching homes, the terrifying night raids, the imprisonments without trial, or the way so many Afghans continue to be treated like foreigners, if not criminal suspects, in their own country? 

For years, American leaders have hailed the way Afghans are supposedly benefiting from the U.S. role in their country.  But are they?

The promises began early. In April 2002, for instance, speaking at the Virginia Military Institute, President George W. Bush proclaimed that in Afghanistan “peace will be achieved through an education system for boys and girls which works.”  He added, “We’re working hard in Afghanistan: We’re clearing mine fields. We’re rebuilding roads. We’re improving medical care. And we will work to help Afghanistan to develop an economy that can feed its people without feeding the world’s demand for drugs.”

When, on May 1, 2003, President Bush strode across the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln to deliver his “mission accomplished” speech, declaring an end to “major combat operations in Iraq,” he also spoke of triumph in the other war and once again offered a rosy picture of Afghan developments.  “We continue to help the Afghan people lay roads, restore hospitals, and educate all of their children,” he said.  Five years later, he was still touting American aid to Afghans, noting that the U.S. was “working to ensure that our military progress is accompanied by the political and economic gains that are critical to the success of a free Afghanistan.” 

Earlier this year, President Barack Obama seemed to suggest that efforts to promote Afghan wellbeing had indeed been a success: “There is no denying the progress that the Afghan people have made in recent years — in education, in health care and economic development, as I saw in the lights across Kabul when I landed — lights that would not have been visible just a few years earlier.”

So, almost 10 years on, just what are the lives of ordinary Afghans like?  Has childhood mortality markedly improved?  Are women, if not equal in terms of civil rights, at least secure in the knowledge that men are not able to rape them with impunity?  Have all Afghan children — or even most — started on the road to a decent education? 

Or how about a more basic question?  After almost a decade of war and tens of billions in international aid, do Afghans have enough to eat?  I recently posed that question to Challiss McDonough of the United Nation’s World Food Program in Afghanistan.

Food Insecurity

In October 2001, the BBC reported that more than seven million people were “at risk of malnutrition or food shortages across Afghanistan.”  In an email, McDonough updated that estimate:  “The most recent data on food insecurity comes from the last National Risk and Vulnerability Assesment (NRVA), which was conducted in 2007/2008 and released in late October 2009.  It found that about 7.4 million people are food-insecure, roughly 31 percent of the estimated population.  Another 37 percent are considered to be on the borderline of food insecurity, and could be pushed over the edge by shocks such as floods, drought, or conflict-related displacement.”

Food insecurity indicators, McDonough pointed out, are heading in the wrong direction.  “The NRVA of 2007/08 showed that the food security had deteriorated in 25 out of the 34 provinces compared to the 2005 NRVA.  This was the result of a combination of factors, including high food prices, rising insecurity and recurring natural disasters.”  As she also pointed out, “About 36 percent of the population lives below the poverty line and cannot afford basic necessities.  Staple food prices remain higher than they are in neighboring countries, and higher than they were before the global high-food-price crisis began in 2007.”

Recently, the international risk management firm Maplecroft put together a food security index — using 12 criteria developed with the United Nations’ World Food Program — to evaluate the threat to supplies of basic food staples in 163 countries.  Afghanistan ranked dead last and was the only non-African nation among the 10 most food-insecure countries on the planet.

Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons

During the Soviet occupation of the 1980s and the grim years of Taliban rule in the later 1990s, millions of Afghans fled their country.  While many returned after 2001, large numbers have continued to live abroad.  More than one million registered Afghans reportedly live in Iran.  Another 1.5 million or more undocumented, unregistered Afghan refugees may also reside in that country.  Some 1.7 million or more Afghan refugees currently live in Pakistan — 1.5 million of them in recently flood-ravaged provinces, according to Adrian Edwards, a spokesman for the U.N.’s refugee agency. 

Many Afghans who still remain in their country cannot return home either.  According to a 2008 report by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), there were 235,833 internally displaced persons nationwide.  As of the middle of this year, the numbers had reportedly increased to more than 328,000.

Children’s Well-Being

In 2000, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), mortality for children under five years of age stood at 257 per 1,000.  In 2008, the last year for which data was available, that number had not budged.  It had, in fact, only slightly improved since 1990, when after almost a decade of Soviet occupation and brutal warfare, the numbers stood at 260 per 1,000.  The figures were similar for infant mortality — 168 per 1,000 in 1990, 165 per 1,000 in 2008.

In 2002, according to the U.N., about 50% of Afghan children were chronically malnourished.  The most recent comprehensive national survey, done two years into the U.S. occupation, found (according to the World Food Program’s McDonough) about 60% of children under five chronically malnourished.

Childhood education is a rare area of genuine improvement.  Afghan government statistics show steady growth — from 3,083,434 children in primary school in 2002 to 4,788,366 enrolled in 2008.  Still, there are more young children outside than in the classroom, according to 2010 UNICEF numbers, which indicate that approximately five million Afghan children do not attend school — most of them girls.

Many youngsters find themselves on the streets.  Reuters recently reportedthat there are no fewer than 600,000 street children in Afghanistan.  Shafiqa Zaher, a social worker with Aschiana, a children’s aid group receiving U.S. funds, told reporter Andrew Hammond that most have a home, even if only a crumbling shell of a building, but their caregivers are often disabled and unemployed.  Many are, therefore, forced into child labor.  “Poverty is getting worse in Afghanistan and children are forced to find work,” said Zaher.

In 2002, the U.N. reported that there were more than one million children in Afghanistan who had lost one or both parents.  Not much appears to have changed in the intervening years.  “I have seen estimates that there are over one million Afghan children whose father or mother is deceased,” Mike Whipple, the Chairman and CEO of International Orphan Care, a U.S.-based humanitarian organization that operates schools and medical clinics in Afghanistan, told me by email recently.

Increasingly, even Afghan youngsters with families are desperate enough to abandon their homeland and attempt a treacherous overland journey to Europe and possible asylum.  This year, UNHCR reported that ever more Afghan children are fleeing their country alone.  Almost 6,000 of them, mostly boys, sought asylum in European countries in 2009, compared to about 3,400 a year earlier.

Women’s Rights

In his 2002 State of the Union address, President Bush told Congress: “The last time we met in this chamber, the mothers and daughters of Afghanistan were captives in their own homes, forbidden from working or going to school. Today women are free and are part of Afghanistan’s new government.”  Last year, when asked about a new Afghan law sanctioning the oppression of women, President Obama asserted that there were “certain basic principles that all nations should uphold, and respect for women and respect for their freedom and integrity is an important principle.”   

Recently, the plight of women in Afghanistan again made U.S. headlines thanks to a shocking TIME magazine cover image of Bibi Aisha, an Afghan whose ears and nose were sliced off after she ran away from her husband’s house.  “What Happens When We Leave Afghanistan” was TIME’s headline, but reporter Ann Jones, who has worked closely with women in Afghanistan and talked to Bibi Aisha, took issue with the TIME cover in the Nation magazine, pointing out that it was evidently not the Taliban who mutilated Aisha and that the brutal assault took place eight years into the U.S. occupation.  Life for women in Afghanistan has not been the bed of roses promised by Bush nor typified by the basic rights proffered by Obama, as Jones noted:

“Consider the creeping Talibanization of Afghan life under the Karzai government. Restrictions on women’s freedom of movement, access to work and rights within the family have steadily tightened as the result of a confluence of factors, including the neglect of legal and judicial reform and the obligations of international human rights conventions; legislation typified by the infamous Shia Personal Status Law (SPSL), gazetted in 2009 by President Karzai himself despite women’s protests and international furor; intimidation; and violence.”

Her observations are echoed in a recent report by Medica Mondiale, a German non-governmental organization that advocates for the rights of women and girls in war and crisis zones around the world.  As its blunt briefing began, “Nine years after 11 September and the start of the operation ‘Enduring Freedom,’ which justified its commitment not only with the hunt for terrorists, but also with the fight for women’s rights, the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan still is catastrophic.”  Medica Mondiale reported that 80% of all Afghan marriages are still “concluded under compulsion.”

The basic safety of women in Afghanistan in, and well beyond, Taliban-controlled areas has in recent years proven a dismal subject even though the Americans haven’t left.  According to the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), for instance, 87% of women are subject to domestic abuse.  A 2009 report by the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) found that rape “is an everyday occurrence in all parts of the country” and called it a “human rights problem of profound proportions.”  That report continued:

“Women and girls are at risk of rape in their homes and in their communities, in detention facilities and as a result of traditional harmful practices to resolve feuds within the family or community… In the northern region for example, 39 percent of the cases analyzed by UNAMA Human Rights, found that perpetrators were directly linked to power brokers who are, effectively, above the law and enjoy immunity from arrest as well as immunity from social condemnation.”

Afghan women are reportedly turning to suicide as their only solution. 

A June report by Sudabah Afzali of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting notedthat, according to officials in Herat Province, “cases of suicide amongst women… have increased by 50 per cent over the last year.”  Sayed Naim Alemi, the director of the regional hospital in Herat, noted that 85 cases of attempted suicide recorded in the previous six months had involved women setting themselves on fire or ingesting poison.  In 57 of the cases, the women had died.

A studyconducted by former Afghan Deputy Health Minister Faizullah Kakarand released in August gave a sense of the breadth of the problem.  Using Afghan Health Ministry records and hospital reports, Kakar found that an estimated 2,300 women or girls were attempting suicide each year.  Domestic violence, bitter hardships, and mental illness were the leading factors in their decisions. “This is a several-fold increase on three decades ago,” said Kakar.  In addition, he found that about 1.8 million Afghan women and girls between the ages of 15 and 40 are suffering from “severe depression.”

Drug Use

Rampant depression, among both men and women, has led to self-medication.  While opium-poppy cultivation on an almost unimaginable scale in the planet’s leading narco-state has garnered headlines since 2001, little attention has been paid to drug use by ordinary Afghans, even though it has been on a steep upward trajectory.

In 2003, according toAfghanistan’s Public Health Minister Amin Fatimie, there were approximately 7,000 heroin addicts in the capital city, Kabul.  In 2007, that number was estimated to have doubled.  By 2009, UNAMA and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) estimated that the city was home to up to 20,000 heroin users and another 20,000 to 25,000 opium users. 

Unfortunately, Kabul has no monopoly on the problem.  “Three decades of war-related trauma, unlimited availability of cheap narcotics, and limited access to treatment have created a major, and growing, addiction problem in Afghanistan,” says Antonio Maria Costa, the Executive Director of UNDOC.  Since 2005, the number of Afghan opium users nationwide has jumped by 53%, while heroin users have skyrocketed by 140%.  According to UNODC’s survey, Drug Use in Afghanistan, approximately one million Afghans between the ages of 15 and 64 are addicted to drugs.  That adds up to about 8% of the population and twice the global average. 

AIDs and Sex Work

Since the U.S. occupation began, AIDS and HIV, the virus that causes the disease, have reportedly also been on the rise.  In 2002, only eight people tested positivefor HIV.  In 2007, Public Health Minister Fatimie reported 61 confirmed cases of AIDS and 2,000 more suspected cases.

Fatamie blamed intravenous drug use for half the cases and the NGO Médecins du Monde, which works with intravenous drug users in Kabul, foundthat HIV prevalence among such users in the cities of Kabul, Herat, and Mazar had risen from 3% to 7% between 2006 and 2009.  A 2010 report by the Public Health Ministry revealed that knowledge about HIV among intravenous drug users was astonishingly low, that few had ever been tested for the virus, and that of those who admitted to purchasing sex within the previous six months, most confessed to not having used a condom.   

This last fact is hardly surprising, given the findings from a recent study by Catherine Todd and colleagues of 520 female sex workers, almost all mothers, in the Afghan cities of Jalalabad, Kabul, and Mazar-i-Sharif.  Only about 30% of the women surveyed reported clients had ever used a condom with them and about 50% had received treatment for a sexually transmitted infection in the three months prior to being interviewed.

The same study also sheds light on the intersection between high-risk behaviors, socio-economic conditions, and the freedom and opportunities promised to Afghan women by Presidents Bush and Obama.  The most common reasons Afghan women engaged in sex work, Todd and colleagues found, were the need to support themselves (50%) or their families (32.4%).  Almost 9% reported being forced into sex work by their families.  Just over 5% turned to prostitution after being widowed, and 1.5% were forced into the profession after they were sexually assaulted and, consequently, found themselves unable to marry.

A Decade of Progress?  

In the near-decade since Kabul fell in November 2001, a sizeable majority of Afghans havecontinued to livein poverty and privation.  Measuring such misery may be impossible, but the United Nations has tried to find a comprehensive way to do so nonetheless.  Using a Human Poverty Index which “focuses on the proportion of people below certain threshold[s] in regard to a long and healthy life, having access to education, and a decent standard of living,” the U.N. found that, comparatively speaking, it doesn’t get worse than life in Afghanistan.  The nation ranks dead last in its listing, number 135 out of 135 countries.  This is what “success” means today in Afghanistan.

The United Nations also ranks countries via a Human Development Index which includes such indicators of wellbeing as life expectancy, educational attainment, and income.  In 2004, the U.N. and the Afghan government issued the first National Human Development Report.  In its foreword, the publication cautioned:

“As was expected, the report has painted a gloomy picture of the status of human development in the country after two decades of war and destruction. The Human Development Index (HDI) value calculated nationally puts Afghanistan at the dismal ranking of 173 out of 178 countries worldwide. Yet the HDI also presents us with a benchmark against which progress can be measured in the future.“

The only place to go, it seemed, was up.  And yet, in 2009, when the U.N. issued a new Human Development Report, Afghanistan was in even worse shape, ranking number 181 of 182 nations, higher only than Niger.

Almost 10 years of U.S. and allied occupation, development, mentoring, reconstruction aid, and assistance has taken the country from unbearably dismal to something markedly poorer.  And yet even worse is still possible for the long-suffering men, women, and children of Afghanistan.  As the U.S. war and occupation drags on without serious debate about withdrawal on the Washington agenda, questions need to be asked about the fate of Afghan civilians.  Chief among them: How many more years of “progress” can they endure, and if the U.S. stays, how much more “success” can they stand?

Nick Turse is the associate editor of  An award-winning journalist, his work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Nation, and regularlyat TomDispatch. His latest book, The Case for Withdrawal from Afghanistan (Verso Books), which brings together leading analysts from across the political spectrum, has just been published.  He discusses why withdrawal from Afghanistan hasn’t been on the American agenda in Timothy MacBain’s latest TomCast audio interview, which can be accessed by clicking hereor downloaded to your iPod here.Turse is currently a fellow at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute.  You can follow him on Twitter @NickTurse, on Tumblr, and on Facebook.  His website is

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Netanyahu said Iran was 3-5 years away from nuclear capability– back in ‘95!

Sep 11, 2010

Philip Weiss

 Back in 1995, Benjamin Netanyahu published a scary book called Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat the International Terrorist Network that says that radical Islam is trying to conquer the west and extend Muslim rule. I carried a copy out with me to Jordan. From page 121:

“The best estimates at this time place Iran between three and fve years away from possessing the prerequisites required for the independent production of nuclear weapons. After this time, the Iranian Islamic republic will have the ability to construct atomic weapons without the importation of materials or technology from abroad.”

But in Jeffrey Goldberg’s scary Atlantic piece warning that Israel is preparing to strike Iran in the next year, and he can understand why, he says that Israel believes Iran is one to three years away from “nuclear breakout capability,” the point that Netanyahu warns about above many years ago.

So who do you believe? Netanyahu in ’95 or Netanyahu today? Shouldn’t Goldberg have passed along Netanyahu’s 1995 warning to readers and suggested that he’s a Bibi who cries wolf? Goldberg said he’d spent years working on the piece. Maybe he should have read Netanyahu’s back pages.

One has to question Netanyahu’s sincerity because Israel uses this alleged threat. It uses it to distract the world from its oppression of Palestinians, and from Obama’s pressure on it to stop settlement activities. Netanyahu has never wanted to stop settlement activity. He needs an existential threat to turn attention away.

I’m traveling in Jordan, but when I get back I plan to compare the Netanyahu book (published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux by the way, by Bibi’s friend the late Roger Straus.) and the Goldberg piece more closely. I notice that Netanyahu refers to “annihilation,” a recurring word in the Goldberg, and continually compares the Iranians to the Nazis. Auschwitz is the recurring point in the Goldberg. Is this paranoia masquerading as policy or simply manipulation? Israeli didn’t strike at Iran back in the late 90s; it’s always wanted us to do the dirty work.

These folks have been trying to wind us up for a long time.

In the Wake of 9/11, Israel Put Iran into the ‘Axis of Evil’

Sep 11, 2010

Marsha B. Cohen

On September 11, 2001, after two terrorist attacks occurred on U.S. soil, Israeli political figures anticipated that the Americans finally be able to empathize with Israel’s vulnerability to terror. In the hours immediately following the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Israeli leaders envisioned a massive U.S. retaliation in which Israel was uniquely equipped to be a partner, even a mentor, of the U.S. (1)

“The fight against terror is an international struggle of the free world against the forces of darkness who seek to destroy our liberty and our way of life,” then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declared in a televised statement just after midnight on September 12. “I believe that together we can defeat these forces of evil.”

A spate of Israeli pronouncements proclaimed Israel’s own foreign policy priorities. They drew upon a decade of Israeli assertions of Iranian complicity in all things terrorist, and warnings of imminent Iranian nuclear weaponization. A war of civilizations had begun. 9/11 was just the first strike of Islamic fundamentalists. The next might be a nuclear attack by Iran.

The pronouncements constituted the opening salvo in a months-long back-and-forth about how the U.S. would frame its new “global war on terror.” Would the U.S. choose to court the cooperation of regimes in Muslim majority countries — even enlisting governments like Iran who might sympathize with the dangers of transnational terrorism – in preference to its steadfast strategic partner and loyal ally Israel?

Having just visited the U.S. on September 10, and stopping over in London on his way back to Israel, former Prime Minister Ehud Barak said that, while it was “probable,” he couldn’t say with certainty that the attacks were linked to Osama Bin Laden. He offered his expectation of a global response to September 11: “The very scale of these acts and the challenge they pose are such that they should evoke a worldwide fight against terrorism,” he declared, citing Europe’s effort against piracy. According to Le Monde, Barak [currently Israel’s Defense Minister], saw a “a new and clear demarcation line,” where the “fight” must go beyond Bin Laden and Palestinian resistance groups to include countries that support and harbor them, including “Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, to a certain degree North Korea and Libya, Sudan and a few other regimes that play a secondary role.” (2)

Benjamin Netanyahu [currently Israel’s prime minister] , warned that the attacks on New York and Washington could be a harbinger of the deaths of millions of people once Iran or Iraq acquired nuclear weapons. He emphasized that he personally had warned of such attacks soon after the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, and in his 1995 book Fighting Terrorism (reissued in 2001). The Jerusalem Post reported Netanyahu’s call for a coalition against “terrorist states like Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and the Palestinian entity” that want to “devour the West.” (3)

Opinion pieces derided Russia and its export of “nuclear know-how and equipment to Iran.” (4) An Iran with a bomb, an editorial in the business daily Globes declared, meant that terror organizations could gain access to it. (5) Dan Meridor, an Israeli government minister without portfolio in charge of Israel’s secret services, dismissed the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and spoke to Globes instead about a wider war between the free world and countries that support terror that would span “from Ramallah to Gaza, through the Al-Biqa Valley in Lebanon, the mountains of Iran and Afghanistan, all the way to Manhattan.” (6) The war would come quickly: Yosef Lapid of the Shinui party declared in the Jerusalem Post, once Iran had a nuclear bomb in its possession “within three or, at most, five years.” (7)

Whereas George H. W. Bush had kept Israel on the sidelines during the fist Gulf War, an unnamed “Western diplomatic source” now told the Jerusalem Post that Israel would be a full partner in George W. Bush’s anti-terror coalition. Israel might now be allowed to even “participate in attacks against Iraq, as well as Iran and Afghanistan.” (8)

A few days later, however, Efraim Inbar, Director of Bar Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat Institute of Strategic Studies (BESA), suggested in a radio interview that  the inclusion of Muslim states in the U.S. “coalition against terrorism,” among them Iran, might require some “compromises” on the part of the U.S. (9) Subsequent reports in the Israeli media built on this apprehension that the participation of Muslim countries would not only restrict Israel’s membership in the anti-terrorist coalition, but might pressure the U.S. to demand Israeli concessions to the Palestinians. Alon Pinkas, the Israeli Consul in New York, informed the Foreign Ministry in a cable eight days after the attacks that a “paradigm shift” was taking place in American thinking that could raise questions about the U.S. role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and criticism of Sharon in major American newspapers might be early warning signs of an anti-Israel backlash.

Pinkas noted that the U.S. media was beginning to link Israeli policies and Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the September 11 attacks, and predicted that “this topic will gain currency on the U.S. agenda… and it becomes clear that Israeli and U.S. interests on the matter are not identical.” (10)

Foreign Ministry officials accused Pinkas of being an “alarmist.” But Israel did not appear on any of the televised maps of the “coalition against terror,” and none of the 27 terrorist-supporting organizations whose assets had been frozen by Bush were groups linked to terror against Israel.

Adding to growing concern in Israel was the news that then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair had phoned Bush to inform him of a “remarkable conversation” with Iranian President Mohamad Khatami, and that he was dispatching his foreign minister to Tehran for a three day trip in late September. The Bush administration, the Jerusalem Post worried on September 23, “has no formal links with Tehran but regards Iran as a critical element in legitimizing the coalition and cloaking it in Islamic credibility.” (11)

Israeli politician Efraim Sneh complained on Israeli radio that Iran “will buy itself legitimacy at very little expense.” After the campaign against Bin Laden was over, Sneh predicted gloomily,  “[Iran] will continue  its support for terrorism, but with a kosher certificate from the United States.” (12)  Just before his arrival in Tehran, British Foreign Minister Jack Straw wrote in an Iranian paper that “events over the years in the Palestinian territories” were a root cause of terror. Sneh called the article “an obscenity,” and denounced the trip as a “stab in the back” of Israel. (13)

Israeli President Moshe Katsav refused to meet with Straw during his visit to Israel. Foreign Minister Shimon Peres canceled a dinner in Straw’s honor, but met with him briefly. During their meeting, Peres accused Iran of both funding and directing Hizbullah, publicly calling for the destruction of Israel and of developing nuclear weapons. In the hands of extremist ayatollahs, Peres said, these weapons are “a danger to the entire world.”

In late September, the Jerusalem Post offered the view of a senior IDF intelligence officer, speaking anonymously, that Iran “could have had a hand” in plotting the attacks on the U.S. “We don’t have any information to support the possibility that Iraq is part of the plot,” the officer said. “But we can’t say the same for the Iranians. They are very deeply involved in everything that carries the label of Islamic radical terrorism.” The anonymous officer declared that Osama bin Laden, Hizbullah and Hamas were all from the same school of thought, but Iran was unique as a nation state seeking weapons of mass destruction. (14)

Not surprisingly,  81 percent of nearly 13,000 respondents to a reader survey on the Jerusalem Post website said that they thought Iran was in some way involved in the attack on the World Trade Center. (15)

In Washington, when addressing Congress on September 20, Netanyahu lumped together Bin Laden, Syria, Iran, Hizbullah and Palestinian groups as a terror “network.” The catalyst for the network, he said, lay in Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution: “This created a sovereign spiritual base for fomenting a strident Islamic militancy worldwide, a militancy that was often backed by terror.” (16)

Sharon’s domestic priorities — including containment of his right wing coalition partners who demanded he get tough on terrorists, expel Arafat and reject once and for all the idea of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza — were on a collision course with growing U.S. concern about how Israeli actions might affect the dynamics of the U.S.’s new coalition.  Foreign Minister Shimon Peres [now Israel’s president]  proposed that Israel reaffirm its agreement with U.S. aims in the “war on terror.” Several cabinet ministers agreed that “the [Palestinian Authority] should be presented in the U.S. as ‘Israel’s Taliban,’ which gives aid and succor to terrorists.”

In subsequent weeks, a series of Israelis came to Washington for visits with Bush administration officials. In a single week in mid-October, over a dozen government officials, envoys and senior military officers visited Washington. The Director General of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission briefed the U.S. administration on Israel’s ent estimate of the progress being made in Iran’s nuclear research, and urged the administration to make Russian support of Iran a foreign policy priority.

During talks with Condoleezza Rice, Sneh complained to reporters that the U.S. seemed to be ignoring Iran’s terrorism record, and that Iran should be disqualified from any role in the U.S. alliance against terror. “Iran stands in first place as a sponsor of terrorism,” Sneh said. “If someone forgets that, we are willing to remind them.” Sneh expressed his certainty that Russia was damaging Israel’s security by supporting Iran’s nuclear weapons program.  “We believe they cannot be considered as countries that fight terrorism,” he said.

The Israeli visitors were assured that the U.S. would win its war against terrorism and that Israel would benefit from the new international order that would follow. Iran and Syria would be watched carefully, and Hizbullah and other groups fighting Israel would be added to the list of terrorist organizations. However, senior U.S. officials expressed concern that Israel was trying to force the Palestinian Authority to collapse, a move the U.S. would not support because it would undermine regional stability and endanger American strategy by creating friction between the U.S. and moderate Arab states.

Iran was recognized among the “six-plus-two” states that met in New York on November 12, 2001, the day before the fall of Kabul, to decide Afghanistan’s future. Iran’s support of the Northern Alliance was credited with helping the U.S.-led forces seize large swaths of the country. But U.S. insistence that Afghan forces not enter Kabul aroused Iranian suspicions that the U.S. might attempt to install a puppet regime composed of Pashtun remnants of the Taliban hostile to Tehran.

In early December, Sharon met with Bush for a “working visit” that would discuss, according to the White House Press Secretary, “the international campaign against terrorism and the pursuit of peace in the Middle East” (17). Although analysts had expected little from the meeting, what emerged was Israel’s inclusion, at long last, in the frontline of the “war against terror,” and an unprecedented affirmation of Israel’s right to act both defensively and proactively against terrorism.

During the months following the events of September 11 and the proclamation of the “war on terror,” Israel played an active and discernible role in trying to prevent any possible warming of relations between the U.S. and Iran. The pinnacle of its success was Bush’s 2002 State of the Union address on January 29, which, in a passage authored by neoconservative David Frum, declared Iran (and Iraq) to be part of an “axis of evil” comprised of regimes that sought to acquire nuclear weapons so they could provide them to terrorists.

This branding not only pushed Iran further beyond the U.S. foreign policy pale, it also undermined the domestic political position of Iranian leaders who had advocated the possibility of rapprochement with the U.S. While the denunciation of Iran by Bush may have delighted the exponents of the “Iranian threat” in Israel and the U.S., it also blurred, in American eyes, the boundaries between Iranian hardliners and moderates, conservatives and reformists. The failure of the Iranian reformists to achieve and sustain any substantial economic or political gains between 1997-2005 led directly to the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the current hardliners’ hold on power.

(1) See, for example, Greer Faye Cashman, “Katsav Expresses Nation’s Sorrow.” Jerusalem Post, Sept. 12, 2001.
(2) Jean-Marie Colombani, Jean-Pierre Langellier and Georges Marion, “What Ehud Baraq Says About It,” interview. Le Monde, internet version, Sept. 13, 2001.
(3) Gil Hoffman, “Netanyahu: World Must Join to Crush Terror,” Jerusalem Post, Sept. 12, 2001.
(4) Shalom Rosenfeld, “Commentary:  Historical Leader.” Maariv Hayom Supplement,  Sept. 13, 2001.
(5) Editorial, “World Gets a Warning,” Globes, Sept.  13, 2001.
(6) Tzvi Lavi, interview with Dan Meridor, Sept. 12, 2001, “We Will Win in the End, And It’s A Pity That They Won’t Be There,”  Globes, Sept. 13, 2001.
(7) Yosef Lapid, “The Warning,” Jerusalem Post, Sept. 14, 2001.
(8) Gil Hoffman, “Gulf War-Style Anti-Terror Coalition to Include Israel.” Jerusalem Post, Sept. 14, 2001.
(9) Jerusalem Post Radio, interviewer by Miriam Shaked, Sept. 17, 2001.
(10) Herb Keinon, “US May See Israel as Obstacle to Coalition,” Jerusalem Post, Sept. 21, 2001.
(11) Douglas Davis, “British FM to Iran for Historical Visit,” Jerusalem Post, Sept. 23, 2001.
(12) Greg Myre, “Israel: Anti-terror Coalition Should Target Iran, Syria.” Jerusalem Post, Sept. 25, 2001.
(13) Steve Weizman, AP, “Sneh Launches Blistering Attack on British FM,” Jerusalem Post, Sept. 24, 2001.
(14) Arieh O’Sullivan, “IDF: Iraq not involved in attacks; Iran maybe,” Jerusalem Post, Sept. 23, 2001.
(15) Online Jerusalem Post poll, Sept. 23, 2001.
(16) “We Are All Targets,” transcript of remarks to US  House of Representatives’ Government Reform Committee, Jerusalem Post, Sept. 24, 2001.
(17) White House Press Briefing, Nov. 21, 2001.

This article originally appeared on Lobelog.

On night before 9/11, New Yorkers voice strong support for Muslim community center

Sep 11, 2010

Alex Kane 

Rep. Keith Ellison’s speech to the candlelight vigil. (Video: Alex Kane)

As the the anniversary of 9/11 and the Islamophobic rally led by far-right blogger Pamela Geller converge today, over 1,000 New Yorkers gathered Sept. 10 at Park Place in lower Manhattan for a candlelight vigil in support of the proposed Muslim community center two blocks from Ground Zero that has ignited a national firestorm over Islam in America.

Organized by New York Neighbors for American Values, a new coalition of over 100 groups formed in response to the opposition to the Cordoba House project, faith leaders, elected officials, musicians and activists voiced strong support for the proposed Islamic community center, which will also include a September 11 memorial, a restaurant and culinary school and more.

“This is not just an issue I should support silently,” said Frank Fredericks, the co-director of Religious Freedom USA. “This is a core, essential issue that Americans should stand up for.”

The supporters of the center, holding candles, filled more than two blocks, and some had to stand on a sidewalk across the street from the vigil. The music of Bob Marley, John Lennon and a live rendition of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” filled the air.

“There’s enough for all of us. Nobody has to be thrown away. We can do this thing if we hang together. There’s enough room in this neighborhood for an Islamic center,” the keynote speaker of the event, Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim elected to Congress, said. “We don’t have to say they gotta go…They are our fellow Americans.”

The action came the night before the 9th anniversary of the September 11 attacks and a planned rally in lower Manhattan organized by the right-wing Stop Islamization of America group. A counter-protest against Islamophobia and in support of Muslims backed by a broad left-wing coalition is also being held today.

“No neighborhood should be off-limits for any particular group,” said Aliya Latif, the civil rights director for the New York chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations.

A man signs a banner in support of the proposed Muslim community center in lower Manhattan. (PHOTO: ALEX KANE)

Stop Islamization of America, led by Geller and Robert Spencer of the anti-Muslim blog Jihad Watch, is protesting the planned Muslim community center two blocks away from Ground Zero, claiming that it is “an effort to insult the victims of 9/11 and to establish a beachhead for political Islam and Islamic supremacism in New York.” Geller is a leading Islamophobic voice who has called for the removal of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, one of the most holy sites for Muslims, and has posted on her website a picture that replaced the Prophet Muhammad’s face with that of a pig. Spencer has compared the Islamic holy book, the Quran, to Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, and thinks that Islam is “innately extremist and violent.”

“I think we all know that nobody would object to a community center on Park Place unless it was sponsored by Muslims. And no one can say with a straight face that that’s not based on religious discrimination,” said Richard Gottfried, a New York State Assemblyman. “People who share American values do not do that.”

The vigil came in the midst of an increase of anti-Muslim sentiment across the country, stoked by the right-wing press. There has been a spate of anti-Muslim actions over the past couple of weeks as the debate over the Muslim community center in New York has heated up. While two-thirds of New York City residents want the proposed center to be moved farther away from the site of Ground Zero, a majority of Manhattan residents support the project.

“We have every right to worship wherever we want. This country was founded on the basis of religious freedom,” said Rabyaah Althaibani, a Muslim Arab-American.

This report originally appeared in the Indypendent.

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on MONDOWEISS ONLINE NEWSLETTER



12 September 1977: Steve Biko RIP

33 years ago thug South African police murdered anti-apartheid leader Steve Biko. He died in Pretoria prison at the age of 30.


The South African anti-apartheid struggle is often invoked in comparison to the Palestinian struggle. The trajectories do parallel one another in places. But hopefully, not in others. The South African Gini co-efficient is off the scale. The anti-apartheid struggle triumphed by turning South Africa into a country where blacks, too, could dominate other blacks economically. One reason amongst many to frame Palestinian liberation within broader anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist politics, and not to purposefully cleave the movement from such politics.

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September 11, 2010

by Michael Leon  

From the White House:

Weekly Address: President Obama Commemorates the Ninth Anniversary of the September 11th Attacks

WASHINGTON – In this week’s address, President Obama marked the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks as a National Day of Service and Remembrance to honor those who lost their lives. If there is a lesson to be drawn on this anniversary, it is that the United States is one nation and one people united by common ideals. By keeping our commitment to those protect the country and their families, by giving back to our communities, and by serving people in need, we reaffirm those ideals in defiance of those who would do us harm.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
As prepared for delivery
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Washington, DC

Today, we pause to remember a day that tested our country. On September 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 lives were lost in the deadliest attack on American soil in our history. We will never forget the images of planes vanishing into buildings; of photos hung by the families of the missing. We will never forget the anger and sadness we felt. And while nine years have come and gone since that September morning, the passage of time will never diminish the pain and loss forever seared in the consciousness of our nation.

That is why, on this day, we pray with the families of those who died. We mourn with husbands and wives, children and parents, friends and loved ones. We think about the milestones that have passed over the course of nine years – births and christenings, weddings and graduations – all with an empty chair.

On this day, we also honor those who died so that others might live: the firefighters and first responders who climbed the stairs of two burning towers; the passengers who stormed a cockpit; and the men and women who have, in the years since, borne the uniform of this country and given their lives so that our children could grow up in a safer world. In acts of courage and decency, they defended a simple precept: I am my brother’s keeper; I am my sister’s keeper.

And on this day, we recall that at our darkest moment, we summoned a sense of unity and common purpose. We responded to the worst kind of depravity with the best of our humanity.

So, each year at this time, we renew our resolve against those who perpetrated this barbaric act of terror and who continue to plot against us – for we will never waver in defense of this nation. We renew our commitment to our troops and all who serve to protect this country, and to their families. But we also renew the true spirit of that day. Not the human capacity for evil, but the human capacity for good. Not the desire to destroy, but the impulse to save.

That is why we mark September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. For if there is a lesson to be drawn on this anniversary, it is this: we are one nation – one people – bound not only by grief, but by a set of common ideals. And that by giving back to our communities, by serving people in need, we reaffirm our ideals – in defiance of those who would do us grave harm. We prove that the sense of responsibility that we felt for one another was not a fleeting passion – but a lasting virtue.

This is a time of difficulty for our country. And it is often in such moments that some try to stoke bitterness – to divide us based on our differences, to blind us to what we have in common. But on this day, we are reminded that at our best, we do not give in to this temptation. We stand with one another. We fight alongside one another. We do not allow ourselves to be defined by fear, but by the hopes we have for our families, for our nation, and for a brighter future. So let us grieve for those we’ve lost, honor those who have sacrificed, and do our best to live up to the values we share – on this day, and every day that follows.

Thank you.


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