Archive | November 20th, 2010

ISRAEL HAS MUCH TO BE THANKFUL FOR THIS THANKSGIVING!

NOVANEWS

November 20, 2010

by Debbie Menon

 

Bay Area billboards ‘thank’ the US for Israel’s blank check

Bay Area billboards ‘thank’ the US for Israel’s blank check

 

President Obama Would Rather Kill Palestinians than Feed American Children

By Mohamed Khodr — Veterans Today

 

President Obama, your outrageous acceptance of Israel’s extortion of $3 Billion worth of F-35 fighter planes along with other security and political guarantees for the mere acceptance of a 90 day “freeze” of settlements in the West Bank, which excludes East Jerusalem, is a slap to the honor and dignity of this nation, the sole superpower.   That a rogue illegitimate small war crime of a nation can bring this superpower to its knees is proof that our leaders, government, institutions, media, and academia can be bought, sold, and intimidated by a few hundred thousand rich and powerful  American Jews.

 

Pity the American people who ignorantly pay and die for Israel’s wars while believing the lies and fear mongering chants of the Pro Israel criminal cabal that the Muslims and Iran seek to destroy this nation.

 

“No matter what happens “the Arabs will be blamed….American cowardice – in the face of the immensely powerful Jewish lobby in the US – has produced a situation in which Washington remains supinely silent while Mr. Netanyahu, according to the Israeli paper Yediot Ahronot, threatens to “burn Washington”, should President Bill Clinton attempt to force Israel to accept a 13 per cent withdrawal from occupied Arab land.” –Robert Fisk, The Independent, June 1, 1998

 

Shockingly, Mr. President, you have no political choice but to accept what Netanyahu dishes out against your person or against this nation having proclaimed that he has the ability to “move” this nation in the direction he sees fit.

 

Netanyahu during Bill Clinton’s time threatened to “burn Washington” if Clinton continued to press him for small land concessions Israel already agreed to.   In total exasperation Clinton said of Netanyahu: “he thinks he is the superpower and we are here to do whatever he requires.”

 

Clinton is right.   No U.S. President (brief exception President Eisenhower) has had the audacity of courage to stand up to Israel.   The “special relationship” between Israel and the U.S. is summarized as followes:  “Israel Demands, America Caves”

 

Several American, European, and world leaders have publicly stated that ending Israel’s bloody and inhumane occupation and treatment of millions of Palestinians will go a long way to ending terrorism.   But not even the loss of American lives, both civilian and military, due to terrorism is enough to stiffen the cowardly spine of our political leaders.

 

Since 1948 U.S. Jews and Israel have “threatened”, yes, threatened our national leaders electorally, via withholding campaign donations, or using the media to smear and harass them to ensure Israel’s continuous extortions are met.  Mr. Obama,despite  your hollow and hypocritical rhetoric that resolving the Israeli Palestinian conflict is in our national interest, Israel has continued to insult and thumb its nose at you which inexplicably you submit to in silence.

 

No, Mr. President, on Israel your policy thus far has been of “can’t” and no “change”.   As long as our government keeps Americans uninformed about Israel’s detriment and high cost to our national interest and deficits, we will continue paying for Israel’s wars and withdrawals.

 

Everyone now realizes that freeing the Palestinians from Israel’s brutal occupation will undermine the main cause of terrorism and animosity against this nation.

 

Israel as its custom will never live up to any agreement or withdrawal commitment.  It will continue to drag any so called peace process until it completes annexation and ethnic cleansing of all Palestinians.  It will continue to demand more tax dollars, more weapons for more wars, and expect our nation to continuously block any criticism of its inhuman policies.  How much will it cost the American people for the next 90 days and the succeeding 90 days?   If there is ever a peace agreement how much will that cost our nation in debt?

 

In Israel’s hands F-35 fighter jets, the most modern fighter planes, can only serve one purpose— Kill more Palestinian and Lebanese children.   These are killing machines given as a bribe for Israel to meet its International obligations of halting construction of illegal settlements and cooperate in serving its sole benefactor’s national interest in the Middle East and the Muslim world as it continues to fight two wars.

 

Israel has never given a damn about a single American life, should anyone be so foolish and stupid to believe it cares about an Arab child?

 

Listen to its racist leaders across the political and religious spectrums who believe that the sole purpose of Gentiles is to serve the interest of Jews or die.

 

Does our constant caving in to Israel honor our nation, our national interest, our killed soldiers in the region, our Constitution, or we the people of this nation?  Let us feed America’s hungry and not feed Israel’s appetite for genocides.

 

President Obama, your submissiveness to the stronger Netanyahu is of your own making.   You are owned by America’s powerful Jewish cabal.   You surrounded yourself by appointing U.S. Jews with dual loyalties, primarily to Israel, to every important governmental post.   Jews in Congress control the most powerful Committees that deal with foreign affairs, homeland security, and intelligence.   

Eric Cantor (R-VA), like his congressional tribesman and akin to former speaker of the house Newt Gingrich, met with Netanyahu to assure him that he can count on Congressional allegiance to Israel to thwart any potential presidential policy that Israel rejects.

 

The funny thing about such an allegiance is that it’s unwarranted given, Mr. Obama,   your own deep personal allegiance to Israel and kosher Wall Street.

 

You would rather send billions of dollars of killing weapons that offensively violate America’s laws than send such money to feed hungry American children blocks from your resident.

 

Israel has much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

 

ABOUT THE AUHTOR: Mohamed Khodr is a political activist who frequently writes on the plight of Palestinians living under the brutal occupation of Israel, U.S. Foreign Policy, Islam, and Arab politics.

 

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AFGHANISTAN: LAST TANGO IN LISBON

NOVANEWS

November 19, 2010

by Khalil Nouri

By Khalil Nouri STAFF WRITER / EDITOR

NATO’s meeting to build political consensus across the alliance for the post-2011 phase of “gradually” handing over security responsibilities to the Afghan forces will be on the table in Lisbon this week. According to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, “The aim is for Afghan forces to be in the lead, countrywide, of security operations by the end of 2014.”

Subsequently Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, who’s in charge of the NATO training effort in Afghanistan, was explicit about what the “end of 2014” does and doesn’t mean: “It doesn’t mean that there will still not be coalition forces here in support of them,” Caldwell said, “but the primary lead for security in this country must have been established with the Afghan security forces in the lead by the end of 2014.”

Similarly Mr. Karzai has also joined this “milonguero” renaissance dance, but with the infamous Afghani style tempo of “Asta-Boro” – go slow in Dari. Although he wants to see the West involved until 2014 when his term ends, for no other reason than to siphon off billions of aid and divert funding to feed the corrupt patronage system in place led by the Karzai family and affiliated cronies, at the same time he is attempting to win political points with Afghans by trying to be his own man and all of a sudden after a decade he is dislodging himself from the war strategy that he agreed in the very outset.

As the Afghan president railed just recently: “The United States must reduce the visibility and intensity of its military operations in Afghanistan and end the increased U.S. Special Operations forces night raids that aggravate Afghans and could exacerbate the Taliban insurgence.”

But there’s a word for politicians who require the public to listen carefully to their statements in order to understand what they are really saying – they’re called liars. The whole lot involved is putting out a line suggesting, on its face, that the war will wind down or end, when in all actuality they’re promising no such thing. And lending the impression that there are endpoints for the war is an abuse of the public trust.

In fact there were more than fourteen futile international conferences that have been held starting in Bonn, Germany in December 2001. Sequentially they have taken place concerning security and reconstruction of Afghanistan in Tokyo (2002), Tokyo (2003), Berlin (2004), London (2006), Rome (2007), Dusseldorf (2008), Paris (2008), Moscow (2009), La Hague (2009), Shanghai (2009), London (January 2010), Kabul (July 2010) and now Lisbon (November 2010).

Personally, I can comprehend and empathize with a staggered approach to deescalating the war. However, the reason for the continual excessive ambiguity is to deliver different messages to different audiences: to the Afghans and Pakistanis and the insurgents, it’s that we’re staying maybe attached with some refutable, jagged and ludicrous direction by Mr. Karazai, and to the American public, it is that we’re going.

In the views of some policy gurus on Afghanistan, a face-saving coalition exit isn’t possible unless President Karzai wins over at least some of the Taliban to give a semblance that his administration represents the ethnic mix of the war-torn country.

But, it is preposterous notion to think that Mr. Karzai is the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk of Afghanistan, who can unite the deeply disenfranchised Afghan population by 2014. He has been unable to do so for the past nine years, and it is a far-fetched idea that anything will change going forward.

In addition, Mr. Karzai’s recent Iranian “attaboy-gratitude” or “bakhshish” for his stance against Obama administration’s pressure to fight corruption in his government will not help in his efforts to secure Pashtun support. Indeed Pashtuns are spoiled with credible, dignified and moral leaders akin to President Daud Khan and King Zahir Shah, who ruled according to the moral principles of Pashtunwali and approval by other ethnic minorities in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Washington insists that Pakistan’s fate hinges on the outcome in Afghanistan, but if that’s so, why do the Pakistanis continue to provide the Taliban with sanctuary and arms even as they urge the U.S. to fight on in Afghanistan? Indeed, this question should be referred to the Pakistani military—the dominant player in Pakistan—as what it wants.

The real answer is the Pakistani military wants to stoke anti-Indian feelings so that its primacy as Pakistan’s protector is maintained and an ever larger share of the country’s resources are diverted to its use. Merely keeping India out of Afghanistan (which the situation is true today and likely to remain so) is not going to satisfy the Pakistani military. Pakistan thirsts for control in Afghanistan, and until this is addressed, peace will never be achieved in Afghanistan.

At last, this Tango sequence of political steps relies on the connection within the duo and the musicality of the cohorts for its flavor and delight. Hence, and so far, their trustworthiness for a true maneuverability to end the war in Afghanistan is improbable. The only solution to this quandary is a national reconciliation with no political dancers in the mix. Else the last tango will never be the last.

Khalil Nouri is the cofounder of New World Strategies Coalition Inc www.nwscinc.org, a native think tank for a nonmilitary solution studies for Afghanistan, and a member of Afghanistan Study Group www.afghanistanstudygroup.org

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OFF THE NET: 11 STEPS TO CREATE WORLD CLASS TERRORISTS

NOVANEWS

November 19, 2010

by Raja Mujtaba  

 

Everything we are told is that terrorism is caused by “extremists,” we read it in papers, hear it on the news, see it in movies,” but more often than not, this is simply false, unforgiveably false.

What we are learning, more and more each day, is that the majority of terrorist acts are done for other reasons, done by governments we trust, planned by men we are told are honorable and decent.

Children are blown up, subway trains or busses are destroyed, airliners crashed.  We are, as a people, enraged and march against an enemy, the enemy that those ‘honorable men” point us at, little knowing the same ‘honourable men” are the terrorist masterminds themselves.

Floating on the net, I found a paper by Tim Coles, “How to create your very own terrorist state.” This made me think and ponder as to how low the countries can stoop to make their footholds in other territories. This also reminded me of a book, ‘Pawns in the game,’ by William Guy Carr written in 1958. This is a very prophetic book with strong historical evidence. Here the author has gone into minute details to narrate the game of Zionists and Rothschilds who are dominating the world events.

Before going any further, I called Hamid Rajput, my friend and read out to him the 11 steps, he was amazed and went thinking how the world is being manipulated.

In his book, William states that two revolutions and two world wars have taken place. Now there would be a third revolution and third World War that would be against Islam for which now the groupings are taking place that is evident to any follower of the events. Here he also stated that Soviet Union would collapse after 72 years of its creation; this we all have witnessed happening.

Below is an extract from William’s book that explains how the war was manipulated by justifying the acts. If one studies this paragraph carefully, the whole strategy to develop a war and prepare the public mind is spelt out here. The same strategy has been deployed to mastermind and deploy the 9/11 operations.

“On the other hand, if the Western internationalists become convinced that an attack is to be made upon them by the Communist dictators, then they will force the western democracies into another World War in order that they may get in the first blow. As a prelude to their attack the public will be made aware of the dangers of international Communism. The danger to Christian democracy will be emphasized. The atheistic-materialists, who have the western world in economic bondage, will call for a Christian Crusade. They will justify their atomic attacks upon Russia and China as Churchill justified his attack on Germany. They will say it was necessary to save our civilization. But don’t lets fool ourselves. Regardless of how the case may be presented to the public the fact will remain that if World War Three is allowed to take place it will be fought to decide whether Eastern Communism takes over the entire world or whether the Western capitalists will continue to rule the international roost.”

Now if studied in conjunction with the quote from ‘Pawns in the Game’ mentioned above, this development falls like a text book drill in line with what William Guy Carr has said.

The development of pre and post 9/11 scenario is within these quotes mentioned above. Same methodology and philosophy has been applied to prepare the public mind so that Muslims are taken as evil doers. Where the author says ‘dangers of international communism,’ substitute it with ‘dangers of Islam,’ the rest falls in line. Rest of the words from this quote are the same rhetoric that the world has been listening from Bush, Blair and Company who blew it loud wherever they went.

Having defeated the ‘Eastern Communism’ in Afghanistan, the next threat was shifted to Islam and the Islamists, the only ideology that stands in the way of the Western Capitalists. Islam was labeled as fascist, a faith of the stone age and desert dwellers. Bush, addressing the State of the Union, went on to say that it’s a crusade against Islam, these cave dwellers don’t like the freedom, values and civilization of the free world hence they are out to attack and destroy the West.

First and foremost those countries that were on the thresh hold of nuclear capabilities or that opposed the American expansion and Israeli designs were selected as the immediate targets. An axis of evil was announced that comprised of four Muslim countries and North Korea. The inclusion of North Korea was symbolic but given a colour of reality to distract the public mind that this development was not Islam specific or anti Islam.

Going back to the pre 9/11 plot of the game, a full media war was developed against Osama bin Ladin and his associates, who were to begin with all allies of America to fight Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Attacks on US installations in Kenya and Tanzania were staged, a naval ship USS Cole was attacked in Yemen port. These acts convinced the American public that Muslims were their enemies. Keeping this as the basis, Bill Clinton ordered missile attack on Afghanistan to take out Osama but in reality, it was never intended to do so. Had Osama been taken out, the game would have ended without any real dividends to the Zionists and their puppets the US and the UK.

Now the elections of 2000 had approached, the change that was to take place in the White House had necessitated a lull for the new incumbent to take office. But the war in the media progressed as planned, it provided a strong reason for Mr. Bush to announce a war that was immediately given the certificate of justification by Tony Blair and the contemporaries in Italy, Canada and Australia. It was also moved in the Security Council and the approval was obtained to massacre an ill equipped living in rags and tags Muslim country, Afghanistan that as later proved had nothing to do with 9/11.

To move forward in attacking Islam and it’s followers, it was necessary to stage a mega event to win the world support and the American public mind to wage a war against Muslim countries. The World Trade Center was attacked through electronically hijacked planes and within minutes Pentagon was also hit said to be by a Hawk missile, this set the ball rolling. The media, world over got busy accusing Osama, the Muslim faith, Muslims in general were declared as the enemies of the West. Tony Blair set out on world tour as ambassador of George W Bush to align the governments for an attack on Afghanistan. Pakistan was brought in line through threats to be reduced to stone-age if it did not cooperate.

Why Afghanistan was selected as the first target had some very obvious reasons. During the Soviet occupation, Muslim fighters from world over brought here to fight the Soviets thus they became the first targets of American wrath. They were hunted, hounded, captured, killed and tortured. Some six hundred were shifted to Guantanamo Bay where they were kept in most inhuman conditions. Many of them were released without any trial not before they had either developed strong hatred for the West or had agreed to work for them; in both the situations it suited the Zionist Masters and the American Junta lead by Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.   One such character to be released was Baitullah Masud who launched himself in Pakistan to carry out terrorist activities in FATA region and in Frontier Province.

Pakistan Army’s operation in FATA is a classic operation that put the American and NATO commanders into a spin. Americans were of the view that Pakistan Army’s engagement in FATA would reduce it to a non entity whereby the US would be able to take out the nukes from Pakistan. Today Pakistan Army has come out stronger and earned respect from the citizens of the country.

Detainees from Guantanamo were released in some selected countries where they were expected to team up and work against the host countries by hitting the American installations there. Such acts were to provide more solid excuse for the Americans to target and hit those countries to bring them in their fold. After Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan now the next target is Yemen.

Afghanistan was also selected for its geo-centric location within the Muslim world. From Afghanistan, Pakistan, a declared nuclear Muslim state and Iran a threat to Zionist Israel could both be easily handled. Also the hydrocarbon deposits of Central Asia could be controlled and denied to other rivals and potential threats.

Now after this narrative, the 11 steps mentioned by Tim Coles would be easier to understand. The steps have been listed below for the benefit of the readers to understand.

Step 1:

Make sure you have a media and an education system sophisticated enough to omit what your country does to others, but emphasize what other countries do to you.

This will enable your domestic population to hate the people of the other country, allowing you to pursue your agenda without the risk of being overthrown by your own population. In 2002-03, unprecedented numbers of protestors demonstrated in London against the Iraq war. This could be dangerous for future wars because the public might one day try to overthrow you. Therefore, domestic subversion is also a good tactic if you can do it.

Step 2:

Select a country that has suffered under your colonial rule in the past. Aden, now Yemen, was occupied by the British in 1839. In 1947, the Amir of Dhala’s son, Haidan, led an uprising which was crushed with overwhelming firepower from Britain’s Royal Air Force. In a study for the RAND Corporation, Bruce Hoffman explained:

“No sooner than the threat from Haidan been neutralized than trouble erupted from another tribe, in the nearby village of Al Husein… Once again punishment was applied from the air. Four Mosquitoes and three Tempests from No. 8 Squadron were ordered to destroy the village. The rocket and cannon air strike, the after-action report stated, “was most impressive and awe-inspiring, and the attack undoubtedly made an impression not easily forgotten.”

Step 3:

Make sure that your selected country has a neighbour across the sea, or on its border, which has also suffered under your colonial rule. You will need to do this for Step 7 later on. In 1925, the colonial administrator, Douglas Jardine, not to be confused with the cricketer, explained the geostrategic importance of Aden and British Somaliland, now Somalia:

“Berbera, the capital [of Somaliland], is but 160 miles across the Gulf from Aden, and is, therefore, but 12 days distance from London and six from Bombay. It cannot be said that this proximity to our main imperial trade route has been of much benefit to the protectorate in the past; but it might prove at any time to be of incalculable value.”

Indeed, it turned out “to be of incalculable value”. Another colonialist, H.B. Kittermaster, explained: “The dry coastal climate makes the [Somaliland] Protectorate as good as Aden for the production of salt. This is already being done in a primitive way by the natives, and negotiations are now in progress with a British syndicate to develop the industry scientifically.”

Today, the countries are more generally used along the oil trading routes.

Step 4:

Now that you have chosen a country, in close proximity to its exploited neighbour, you’ll want to ensure that the suffering inflicted upon it had continued throughout the course of, say, one hundred years. This is long enough to foster intergenerational resentment and hatred of your own country. Britain’s “establishment of the Middle East Command (MEC) headquarters in Aden in 1960 helped fuel the fires of revolution”, Stephen Dorril explained in his history of MI6.

“The 1962 Defence White Paper, “The Next Five Years”, stated that Britain would continue to back the local sultans in South Yemen and the Gulf, and that the Aden base would be the permanent headquarters of this strategy… Aden was to be one of the three key points in Britain’s global military deployment… Fifty thousand Lee Enfield rifles were shipped from the UK to Yemeni royalists. According to the 21st SAS Volunteers Commander Richard Pirie, the mercenaries deployed in Yemen were paid GBP 250 per month from the Foreign Office and from the MoD [Ministry of Defence].”

British and Scottish mercenaries were paid GBP 100,000 a year to launch a chemical war against the population which resulted in the slaughter of 200,000 Yemenis, largely in defence of what was then an oil refinery run by the British.

Step 5:

Now that you have fostered enough resentment and ruined a country’s chance of socio-economic recovery, you might want to try betraying even the mercenary elements of that country attempting to side with you. In 1979, America and Britain began funding, arming and training the Afghan mujahideen in order “to draw the Russians into the Afghan trap”, to quote US President Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski.

This worked. Russia and the mujahideen ruined Afghanistan – and out of the ashes rose the Taliban, whom Britain and America supported almost up to 9/11. Britain’s leading independent terror specialist, Jason Burke, documented how many of the more fascistic elements of the mujahideen were Yemenis who “had distinguished themselves at the battle of Jalalabad in 1989”. By 1992, however, the US had not supported those factions who were outraged by the intricacies of the unification of the Yemen Arab Republic and the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen.

Step 6:

Capture and torture people from all over the world in a prison such as Guantanamo Bay. Deny them habeas corpus: no charge; no trial; no representation; no right to a lawyer; no right to visits from friends, relatives or the Red Cross; and do so for an indefinite period.

Select people whose religion is the same as those in the terrorist state you are looking to create (in this case Islam). This will create a sense a kinship among those you are turning into enemies. This will make the enemies seem more closely knit, yet from varying countries, giving your country the excuse to invade country after country. Also, use your media to dehumanize the captives, making them seem guilty without evidence.

Once you have traumatized those prisoners of the same religion – which your education system regards as incompatible with modernity – release them to the country you wish to turn into a terrorist state. They may all get together and plot revenge which you can then use to justify attacking the country. In 2009, Barack Obama began releasing former Guantanamo Bay hostages to Yemen.

Step 7:

Destroy the stabilizing government of the neighbouring country. In 2006, Britain and America supported Somali warlords, such as Abdullah Yusuf, who invaded Somalia in order to overthrow the emerging government (the Union of Islamic Courts) and replace them with a fascist government nobody wanted (the Transitional Federal Government, or TFG). The TFG then launched a campaign of famine, torture and violence so extreme that hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled across the sea to seek refuge in Yemen, with tens of thousands fleeing each year.

Once you have ruined the neighbouring country, poor, displaced, oppressed, Muslim refugees will flock to the country you are trying to turn into a terrorist state (Yemen). Here, clerics in madrassas [religious schools] will have a constituency of desperate people whom they can radicalize and turn into future terrorists, as happened in Pakistan in the 1980s when millions of Afghans fled from Soviet troops and the mujahideen (as we saw in Step 5), many of whom became the Taliban in the early 1990s.

Step 8:

Murder people without charge or trial in both countries with new, super-weaponry, such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones). This will terrorize and radicalize the population of the country you are trying to turn into a terrorist state. Hopefully, your media will attempt to vindicate the drone attacks by either not reporting them or else uncritically quoting officials who claim that the drones target terrorists. Without journalists challenging these official statements, the public may assume that they are correct. (This is happening in more and more countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Palestine, Yemen, Somalia and possibly even Haiti).

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Step 9:

Omit as much of the previous steps as you can from public knowledge via the media and education system of your own country. This will make any action from the country you are trying to turn into a terrorist state seem unprovoked, giving you the chance to invade as an act of self-defence. It will also allow you to carry on without your public overthrowing you (as mentioned in Step 1). Also, get your media to make meaningless statements about the country you are trying to turn into a terrorist state, such as “Osama Bin Laden’s grandfather was born there”, or “the failed Christmas underpants bomber (Umar Farouk Abdulmuttallab) was radicalized there by the cleric Anwar Al-Awlaqi” – even though Abdulmuttallab’s father informed the FBI of his son’s radicalization months before, which the FBI ignored – or, “Nidal Malik Hasan, the major who killed several of his colleagues at a US base, was radicalized there” – even though this was not terrorism because they were military targets.

——————————————————

Step 10:

Wait for a terrorist attack to occur, in the country itself, against a British national stationed there, such as an ambassador who had previously worked in another country you helped to destroy.

When the British ambassador to Yemen, Tim Torlot (who had worked for the British government in Iraq) was attacked in April 2010, the “left” and “right” media leapt at the chance to emphasize how dangerous Yemen is to Britain (for which we planned in Step 1).

Careful reading shows that few newspapers actually revealed their sources. The Independent revealed a source, namely that the Yemeni Interior Ministry said the attack “bore all the hallmarks of Al-Qaeda”, but as Britain and America are training and funding the Yemeni government and secret services, any information provided by them is biased. The Independent also revealed that the primary sources for the incident are “Yemeni newspapers [which] cite anonymous security sources” to name the bomber as Osman Ali Noman Asaloi. In other words, it could be a total fabrication.

The Guardian alleged that some Al-Qaeda members fled Yemen to Somalia via Aden. Perhaps they bumped into the tens of thousands of refugees fleeing from the Western-backed Transitional Federal Government?

The Times reported that “no group claimed responsibility for the attack”, yet the press, basing their information on the Yemeni government, blamed Al-Qaeda. The Times also admitted that “terrorism is merely a symptom of Yemen’s overwhelming problems”, but did not mention that they began in 1839, when Britain invaded, and continue up to the present. This emphasizes the importance of Step 2.

The Telegraph reported: “The Interior Ministry later stated: “This operation reflects the state of despair which has hit the terrorists after the painful pre-emptive strikes which they received in their hideouts at the hands of security services”, which are being trained and funded by the US and Britain, one might add, but this offers no evidence that the victims are “terrorists”.

Step 11:

Now sit back and wait for the country to boil over into extreme violence, making sure you poke the bear with sticks, such as increased drone attacks and security raids by the puppet government being armed and trained by your own.

After a few years, you will have yourself a nice terrorist state. Later, academics can refer to the country as a “failed state”, perhaps even invoking your “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P), omitting, of course, exactly why it has become a “failed state” and why one needs to exercise R2P. While your domestic population assumes that you are either incompetent or out there to combat terrorism, you can secure energy routes or raw resources. As Liam Fox, the defence secretary of the 2010 Liberal Democrat-Conservative “coalition” government, explained:

“In the years ahead energy security, economic security and national security will be inextricably linked. If we want to ensure that we can keep the lights on in Britain then we need to develop a comprehensive energy strategy. It is simply a matter of risk management. Such a strategy will need to have three components: diversity in the type of fuels we use; diversity in the geographical sources of those fuels; and the security structures that will guarantee the safe transport of these fuels.”

Today America along with NATO has been in Afghanistan for almost a decade with no moral justification. To justify her presence here, American policy makers are busy creating more reasons to justify the American presence on permanent basis. The so called war on terror is being expanded into the region.

US has caused Pakistan a considerable damage for a war that was never just; today every person of conscience is questioning it. Pakistan has suffered economically and politically. In human losses, Pakistan has lost over 15000 troops with a very high ratio of officers. Pakistan Army has also lost numerous one, two and three star generals. Civilian cannot be counted. The drone attacks are being directed mostly against innocent people that are creating more resentment and hatred.

Pakistan must act now before its too late to have the drones stopped. If the US does not listen, Pakistan Air Force must be instructed to shoot any violation of Pakistan airspace. This would build more trust in the federation and earn a global respect. If not done, the 11 steps mentioned here are a clear recipe for disaster.

Posted in USA1 Comment

RELEASE OF THE ” DANCING ISRAELIS”, CONCIDENCE OR BLACKMAIL?

NOVANEWS

November 19, 2010

by Gordon Duff

 

A Few Days after AA Flight 587 Crash: Government Covered Up

Likely Sabotage and Released Mossad Agents Arrested on 9/11

By Doug Steil | Aletho News | November 16, 2010

 

By now, after nine years, anyone who has seriously looked into the circumstances surrounding 9/11 has read about the so-called “five dancing Israelis“, who, according to reports, had set up across the Hudson River “to document the event” (in their own words) in Manhattan, even before the crash of the first airplane coming from the north into the World Trade Center tower.

These “dancing Israelis”, as we can all surmise, were Mossad operatives, who were involved in operational aspects of the Zionist attack on lower Manhattan that fateful day, September 11, 2001. Two additional “suspects”, who were surely also part of the same Israeli operational team, were arrested on the approach to the George Washington Bridge, and, as was reported live that evening on the televised News (before this aspect to the story was buried), their van was laden with tons of explosives. (Though media reports may not have explicitly identified the people in the vans with explosives as Israeli, there should be little doubt that they were all part of the same team.)

There are two important aspects in conjunction with the 9/11 event in New York that have been virtually ignored even in the alternative media, which deserve closer scrutiny. One point involves the possible large-scale catastrophe that may have been induced by these operatives with explosives if they had not been apprehended as their van was about to drive onto the George Washington Bridge. The second aspect concerns the suspicious circumstances surrounding the crash of Flight 587, on November 12, 2001, more than nine years ago, in conjunction with the inexplicable release, just a few days later, of the “dancing Israelis” and other agents who had been involved in the 9/11 operation, including those who may have been on their way to blow up the George Washington Bridge.

By stalling the van at the middle of the bridge and getting away in time, a directed high-power explosion at that spot along the side might certainly have done some serious damage to a section of this bridge, given the dual cables per side , each slightly less than 36 inches in diameter. Most likely a truck explosion in itself would not have ripped both cables. But then, perhaps such a truck explosion was merely meant to serve as a low-tech trigger – to provide an explanation to the public, for why both cables on one side could have ripped – which itself would have been achieved by detonating a prepared coat of micro-thermite around the cables, just as the WTC towers were detonated by micro-thermite placed at crucial points along the structure weeks in advance, though the Government unconvincingly blamed structural failure caused by impacting airplanes and resulting fires.

In light of what is known about the explosive thermite at the three WTC towers that were imploded into their footprint, it is not implausible, that the George Washington Bridge was also targeted for destruction that day, but this aspect of the operation was completely botched due to the van being intercepted. Just a few months earlier, in May, modifications to the George Washingtom Bridge were completed. Who would have ever noticed if coatings of micro-thermite were being applied during this renovation project ? Below are some quotes from NYRoads:

The project involved the rehabilitation of girders, columns, bridge decks, drainage and electrical systems, and roadway surfaces. New roadway expansion joints, guardrails, crash barriers, signs and lighting were also installed. The $38 million project was completed in May 2001.

Some pertinent questions arise in this context. Might some “follow-up work” of minor scope have been performed after the reported May completion date, shortly before 9/11, under the guise that something had not initially been done properly and thus needed to be corrected? What companies were involved in that multi-million dollar contract, and which companies were involved in the subsequent project, which would have removed any traces of micro-thermite coating that, according to this presumptive scenario, was applied more than nine years ago?

In 2002, the Port Authority began work to repaint the 604-foot-tall towers and the underside of the upper deck. Workers are removing older coats of lead-based paint, and are applying a three-coat paint system that includes a zinc primer, epoxy intermediate coat and a urethane topcoat. The $85 million project was completed in 2006.

Some investigative scrutiny of this previously neglected topic could certainly help in putting more pieces of the puzzle together, regarding what appears to have been planned as a spectacular and explosive encore on that ‘Demolition Day’, featuring live helicopter video of a major suspension bridge falling into the Hudson River, with only its two towers remaining. If one assumes that these putative Israeli suspects, disguised in Arab clothing, were prevented by their arrest at the on-ramp to the bridge from perpetrating a major crime – this would subsequently have impacted millions of people who commute between New Jersey and Manhattan – one can understand that it would take substantial pressure to get them released from custody. And we know from numerous reports, that they were all released just before Thanksgiving.

But why were these Isareli operatives ever released given their involvement? According to a report written by Christopher Ketcham, the Ha’aretz newspaper claimed that high-level Zionists in America were actively involved in obtaining their release:

Following what ABC News reported were “high-level negotiations between Israeli and U.S. government officials”, a settlement was reached in the case of the five Urban Moving Systems suspects. Intense political pressure apparently had been brought to bear. The reputable Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported that by the last week of October 2001, some six weeks after the men had been detained, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and two unidentified “prominent New York congressmen” were lobbying heavily for their release. According to a source at ABC News close to the 20/20 report, high-profile criminal lawyer Alan Dershowitz also stepped in as a negotiator on behalf of the men to smooth out differences with the U.S. government.

These high-level efforts may not have been sufficient, given that these captured agents were certainly involved in more than event documentation or simply driving moving vans. Perhaps a bit more high-level pressure was required to get these people ‘moving’ again. In this context, an interesting aspect that has not been widely reported is the fact that, just a week before their eventual release, American Airlines Flight 587 crashed after takeoff from Kennedy Airport in Queens. Though it was not widely reported – on the contrary, it appears that once again there was a big cover-up in this matter – the likely cause, according to a credible expert, was sabotage:

Expert Marshall Smith opined, “A single point failure, the in-flight actuation of the left engine thrust reverser, can account for all three observed phenomena of the clean breaking off of the tail and the failure of both pylons holding the engines.”

The mechanical engineer, aviation ground school instructor and former NASA adviser painted this scenario: During the night, a terrorist saboteur disguised as a ground crew mechanic reached up in the back of the left jet engine of the American Airlines Airbus and cut the hydraulic line going to the thrust reverser actuator and the control safety sensor lines.

Knowing the conventional path that the airliner would fly upon takeoff from Kennedy Airport on its course to Santo Domingo in the Caribbean Sea, the saboteurs could be almost certain that the plane would eventually crash into the water, thus making recovery of evidence and probable cause analysis more difficult, along with the minimized possibility of any inconvenient revelations possibly leaking out to the public. As it turned out, the jet crashed onto the narrow land strip, in a neighborhood in Rockaway Park, (“the Irish Riviera“).

Let us look at the timeline of the week long period between the crash of AA587 and the release of the Israeli agents a few days later. Flight 587 crashed on Veteran’s Day, Monday November 12, 2001. According to reports, the Mossad agents were released after “71 days” in custody. Anyone can easily verify the accuracy of the timeline implied by the headline, which indicates the week long period between the crash and the release of the agents: Assuming that September 11 already counts as a day, that yields 20 days in September, 31 days in October and 20 days in November (the last day presumably not a full day), thus Tuesday, November 20.

The decision to release them must have come on the day before, Monday, November 19, in order to make arrangements to fly them back to Israel. On that day the New York Times published a prepared story, pushing the highly questionable notion of composite tail fin stress as the presumptive cause of the accident. This unsupported claim appears to be another case of contrived media misdirection (an endeavor the NYT is proficient in), to distract the public from the issue of sabotage.

It is reasonable to assume, however, that if by then the Government had already concocted and propagated a technically unlikely explanation — one that blamed the manufacturer Airbus for an alleged design flaw in conjunction with pilot over-reaction to vortexes from an airplane ahead —  the technically far more plausible cause of the crash, which was consistent with observations from witnesses and physical evidence at the crash site, would have already been apparent to investigators and experts, such as the man whose assessment of sabotage is cited in the story cited above. Those who had the opportunity to examine the left engine could easily have corroborated the sabotage. (This raises the question, if one of the numerous investigators became upset that the matter was being covered up and talked about it with others.)

Based on the timeline, these Israeli operatives would have arrived back in Israel not before November 21. They appeared on the talk show sometime before the end of the month, after a few days of intensive de-briefing.

Thanksgiving Day was on November 22, so that any possible news of their release from custody and arrival back in Israel would have easily been drowned out as Americans were focusing on that major holiday.

Posted in USAComments Off on RELEASE OF THE ” DANCING ISRAELIS”, CONCIDENCE OR BLACKMAIL?

AIRPORT CONSIDER CONGRESSMAN’S CALL TO DITCH TSA

NOVANEWS

November 19, 2010

by Michael Leon

 

 

In a climate of Internet campaigns to shun airport pat-downs and veteran pilots suing over their treatment by government screeners, some airports are considering another way to show dissatisfaction: Ditching TSA agents altogether. –

By MIKE SCHNEIDER and RAY HENRY

Federal law allows airports to opt for screeners from the private sector instead. The push is being led by a powerful Florida congressman who’s a longtime critic of the Transportation Security Administration and counts among his campaign contributors some of the companies who might take the TSA’s place.

Furor over airline passenger checks has grown as more airports have installed scanners that produce digital images of the body’s contours, and the anger intensified when TSA added a more intrusive style of pat-down recently for those who opt out of the full-body scans. Some travelers are using the Internet to organize protests aimed at the busy travel days next week surrounding Thanksgiving.

For Republican Rep. John Mica of Florida, the way to make travelers feel more comfortable would be to kick TSA employees out of their posts at the ends of the snaking security lines. This month, he wrote letters to nation’s 100 busiest airports asking that they request private security guards instead.

“I think we could use half the personnel and streamline the system,” Mica said Wednesday, calling the TSA a bloated bureaucracy.

Mica is the ranking Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Once the new Congress convenes in January, the lawmaker is expected lead the committee.

Companies that could gain business if airports heed Mica’s call have helped fill his campaign coffers. In the past 13 years, Mica has received almost $81,000 in campaign donations from political action committees and executives connected to some of the private contractors already at 16 U.S. airports.

Private contractors are not a cure-all for passengers aggrieved about taking off their shoes for security checks, passing through full-body scanners or getting hand-frisked. For example, contractors must follow all TSA-mandated security procedures, including hand patdowns when necessary.

Still, the top executive at the Orlando-area’s second-largest airport, Orlando Sanford International Airport, said he plans to begin the process of switching to private screeners in January as long as a few remaining concerns can be met. The airport is within Mica’s district, and the congressman wrote his letter after hearing about its experiences.

CEO Larry Dale said members of the board that runs Sanford were impressed after watching private screeners at airports in Rochester, N.Y., and Jackson Hole, Wyo. He said TSA agents could do better at customer service.

“Some of them are a little testy,” said Dale, whose airport handles 2 million passengers a year. “And we work hard to get passengers and airlines. And to have it undone by a personality problem?”

To the south, the city’s main airport, Orlando International, said it’s reviewing Mica’s proposal, although it has some questions about how the system would work with the 34 million passengers it handles each year. In Georgia, Macon City Councilor Erick Erickson, whose committee oversees the city’s small airport, wants private screeners there.

Erickson called it a protest move in an interview.

“I am a frequent air traveler and I have experienced … TSA agents who have let the power go to their head,” Erickson said. “You can complain about those people, but very rarely does the bureaucracy work quickly enough to remove those people from their positions.”

TSA officials would select and pay the contractors who run airport security. But Dale thinks a private contractor would be more responsive since the contractor would need local support to continue its business with the airport.

“Competition drives accountability, it drives efficiency, it drives a particular approach to your airport,” Dale said. “That company is just going to be looking at you. They’re not going to be driven out of Washington, they will be driven out of here.”

San Francisco International Airport has used private screeners since the formation of the TSA and remains the largest to do so.

The airport believed a private contractor would have more flexibility to supplement staff during busy periods with part-time employees, airport spokesman Mike McCarron said. Also, the city’s high cost of living had made it difficult in the past to recruit federal employees to run immigration and customs stations – a problem the airport didn’t want at security checkpoints.

“You get longer lines,” McCarron said.

TSA spokesman Greg Soule would not respond directly Mica’s letter, but reiterated the nation’s roughly 460 commercial airports have the option of applying to use private contractors.

Companies that provide airport security are contributors to Mica’s campaigns, although some donations came before those companies won government contracts. The Lockheed Martin Corp. Employees’ Political Action Committee has given $36,500 to Mica since 1997. A Lockheed firm won the security contract in Sioux Falls, S.D. in 2005 and the contract for San Francisco the following year.

Raytheon Company’s PAC has given Mica $33,500 since 1999. A Raytheon subsidiary began providing checkpoint screenings at Key West International Airport in 2007.

Firstline Transportation Security Inc.’s PAC has donated $4,500 to the Florida congressman since 2004. FirstLine has been screening baggage and has been responsible for passenger checkpoints at the Kansas City International Airport since 2006, as well as the Gallup Municipal Airport and the Roswell Industrial Air Center in New Mexico, operating at both since 2007.

Since 2006, Mica has received $2,000 from FirstLine President Keith Wolken and $1,700 from Gerald Berry, president of Covenant Aviation Security. Covenant works with Lockheed to provide security at airports in Sioux Falls and San Francisco.

Mica spokesman Justin Harclerode said the contributions never improperly influenced the congressman, who said he was unaware Raytheon or Lockheed were in the screening business.

“They certainly never contacted him about providing screening,” Harclerode said.

Anger over the screenings hasn’t just come from passengers. Two veteran commercial airline pilots asked a federal judge this week to stop the whole-body scans and the new pat-down procedures, saying it violates their civil rights.

The pilots, Michael S. Roberts of Memphis and Ann Poe of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., have refused to participate in either screening method and, as a result, will not fly out of airports that use these methods, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Washington.

Roberts is a pilot with ExpressJet Airlines and is on unpaid administrative leave because of his refusal to enter the whole-body scanners. Poe flies for Continental Airlines and will continue to take off work as long as the existing regulations are in place.

“In her eyes, the pat-down is a physical molestation and the WBI scanner is not only intrusive, degrading and potentially dangerous, but poses a real and substantial threat to medical privacy,” the lawsuit states.

Schneider reported from Orlando. Associated Press Writer Adrian Sainz in Memphis and AP Business Writer Samantha Bomkamp in New York contributed to this report.

Posted in USAComments Off on AIRPORT CONSIDER CONGRESSMAN’S CALL TO DITCH TSA

ARE TERRORISTS SUPPLYING OUR AIRPORT SCANNERS?

NOVANEWS

(2 videos)

November 18, 2010by Gordon Duff

 

scanner
WOULDN’T A METAL DETECTOR HAVE WORKED AS WELL?

 

PROFIT FROM SCANNER SALES MAY HAVE CAUSED TERROR ATTACK

By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

(Ed:  See Ron Paul’s new TSA video.)

Two very dubious terror attacks, both seriously discredited, have provided the impetus for 70 American airports to install scanners, unproven, untested, humiliating and certainly cancer causing.   Air travel has now become, not just a health hazard but legally requires all Americans to submit themselves and their families to criminal sexual abuse, acts of sexual touching by government employees.

Americans have now given up, not only their privacy but have to watch their wives and children groped.  Is being save from “pretend terrorism” worth it?  Anyone who doesn’t see the hand of former Homeland Security director Michael Chertoff, security “profiteer” in this cheap con isn’t trying hard enough.

The two attacks trace down to Yemen and an Al Qaeda cell that the government there has openly accused the State of Israel as funding and managing.  The most recent attack is now believed to never have happened at all.

The infamous “printer bandit” bombings, first aimed at Chicago synagogues, then for “mid air” explosions have been debunked.  The government of Dubai says the flights didn’t exist.  The government of Britain said there were no explosives and the French suspected they may be nuclear weapons.

Every day, Americans are confronted with video of children being subjected to intrusive searches of their genital areas, we see the panic and screaming.  Airline pilots, some security heads of airlines and pilot associations report the scanners are, not only ineffective but potentially dangerous sources of radiation.

The scanners themselves exist only to provide fully detailed nude videos of all passengers, highly detailed depictions of genital/pubic areas, breasts on women.  From a legal standpoint, no TSA employee is authorized to view child pornography, a federal standard that the scanner images clearly qualify as.  Federal law prevents even prosecution and defense attorneys in pornography cases from viewing identical images in a closed courtroom.  Law enforcement officers subjected to the same images require special screening and are subjected to extensive oversight.  This is considered the most distasteful and reprehensible assignment for any police agency and yet, hundreds of thousands of TSA (Transportation Safety Administration) employees are given these tasks.

The best of them will be traumatized.  It is one thing for a gynecologist or urologist to stare at genitalia hours each day, quite something else for an airport screener.  In 2006, the spokesman for DHS was, himself, arrested for child sex crimes:

WASHINGTON —  The Homeland Security Department spokesman, Brian Doyle,  was held Wednesday on felony charges of sexually preying on a detective posing as a 14-year-old girl through explicit online conversations. He was quickly suspended without pay from one of the nation’s top crime-fighting agencies.

The arrest of Brian J. Doyle, 55, raised doubts about the ability of an agency responsible for safeguarding the country to ensure the security credentials of its own people.  Doyle is accused of 23 felony charges related to sexually graphic conversations with what he thought was a teenage girl, who was in fact an undercover Florida detective. The charges, lodged Tuesday night by the Polk County, Fla., Sheriff’s Department, included 16 counts of sending pornographic movie clips to a minor.

Authorities said Doyle also sent non-sexual photos of himself. They included one of him in Homeland Security headquarters, wearing an agency pin on his lapel and a lanyard that says “TSA,” which stands for the Transportation Security Administration…..Homeland Security also oversees an Operation Predator unit, which investigates child predators and pornographers.

THE “CROTCH BOMBER” FIASCO

Nearly a year ago, a Nigerian “refugee,” really the son of a powerful government official with direct ties to both the CIA and Mossad, carried an explosive device onto a plane in Amsterdam, a device he attempted to explode in Detroit.

This incident is the primary rationale for the billions of dollars being spent on scanners.  Initially, this incident wasn’t considered enough.  Then the “printer bandit” incident, which now appears to only be a series of false newspaper reports, was staged.  Both acts are tied to Yemen, a country whose terrorism problems were, even initially, tied to Israel and are now reported by the New York Times as being staged by the government to bilk the United States out of funding to be used for local political infighting between tribes.

There is, in fact, no substantive evidence of the existence of “Al Qaeda” in Yemen, a group that the BBC, has shown was a creation of the CIA and, in fact, has never existed.  Video of the Al Qaeda stronghold in Afghanistan where the CIA claimed it stormed the thousand man, 10 level, underground bunkers system, proves conclusively that the entire Al Qaeda-bin Laden myth was created to support government excesses much as the more recent supposed terror attacks now have the American government “terrorizing” travelers.


YouTube – Veterans Today –

 

“CROTCH BOMBER” INCIDENT CAUSED BY FOREIGN OWNERSHIP OF AIRPORT SECURITY

When the “Crotch Bomber” flew into Schipol Airport in Amsterdam, he was greeted by airport security and walked around customs.  Though he had a passport back in Nigeria with an American visa, he wasn’t carrying any passport at all.  He should never have been allowed on the plane from Abuja in the first place.

Worse still, employees of the Israeli owned security company that manages this airport along with Detroit and other airports, including all those that the reputed 9/11 hijackers were said to have used, are directly tied directly to Israeli intelligence.

Schipol Airport is one of the most modern and heavily secured in the world.  It is equipped with HD video cameras and layers of biometric security capable of, not only facial recognition but particle detection, even at long range.  The day the “crotch bomber” came to Schipol, airport security devices were turned off, all video was disabled and, worse still, airport security personnel were witnessed walking a terrorist with a bomb onto an aircraft, seen by two Detroit area attorneys who discussed this incident on, not only the news but the talk show circuit as well.

This utterly bogus “false flag” terrorism incident, an obvious fundraiser for the scanner manufacturers represented by former DHS head, Michael Chertoff, is now being treated as though it actually happened.  Have we lost our minds?

A YEAR LATER, WHAT WE HAVE NOT SEEN

Since America is in a panic over one proven imaginary attack, one simply invented by the news media itself, lets look at a couple of the things wrong with the Detroit “attack.”

  • The missing video from Schipol Airport, 40 cameras worth, has never been openly reported or discussed.  As it is believed to show security personnel openly assisting a terrorist, as was reported by reliable eyewitnesses, this is particularly disturbing.  Even more disturbing is the fact that the actual act of boarding the bomb toting terrorist has never been accounted for.  One moment, security personnel are telling the airline “we do it all the time” and the next moment, terrorist and bomb are on the plane.  What happened?
  • During the flight, a “passenger” was seen filming the terrorist over a long period of time.  This “passenger” was arrested in Detroit and taken, in handcuffs, past the sequestered passengers.  This person was never arraigned in federal court, in fact there is no record of his arrest or even subsequent release.  He is never named.  The video of this individual being moved through the airport by the FBI and local police has also been destroyed.  Who was this person?

IONIZING RADIATION CAUSES CANCER, AIRPORT SCANNERS ARE MEDICALLY INSANE

Hospital x-ray rooms are always in basements, rooms are lined with lead and employees are shielded as are patients to the degree possible.  When Alexandr Solzhenitsyn wrote his famous work, Cancer Ward, describing hospital employees in a radiology unity dying from the harmful effects of x-rays, the world knew little of the danger.  Shoe stores used powerful ionizing radiation on customers feet as a matter of routine and dental x-rays were, at that time, more powerful than those we now use to check the welds on the hulls of nuclear submarines.  X-rays killed thousands, we will never know how many.

Since that period, technology has improved and levels of radiation have been lowered substantially to what is now considered “relatively safe” levels.  However, there are no known proven safe levels of ionizing radiation, the kind used in conventional x-rays and the scanner units deployed in 70 airports across the United States.  There has also been no safety study regarding the failure to adequately shield multiple radiation sources in an open area nor the effect on TSA employees or those likely to be frequently exposed such as airline personnel.

The initial risks are two fold:

  1. Women who are pregnant, particularly those who are in the first trimester and may be unaware they are carrying a fetus that is extremely vulnerable to damage from any level of ionizing radiation
  2. Skin cancer has been deemed as a real risk

Paul Joseph Watson writes:

Airport body scanners could lead to an increase in skin cancers according to scientists at Columbia University, who warn that the dose emitted by the naked x-ray devices could be up to 20 times higher than originally estimated, in another clear example of how the scanners are completely illegal, dangerous to public health, and need to be removed immediately.

Dr David Brenner, head of Columbia University’s centre for radiological research, warns that children and people with gene mutations whose bodies are less able to repair damage to their DNA are most at risk.

“If all 800 million people who use airports every year were screened with X-rays then the very small individual risk multiplied by the large number of screened people might imply a potential public health or societal risk. The population risk has the potential to be significant,” said Brenner.

Brenner’s research shows that the scanners will likely contribute to an increase in a common type of skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma which affects the head and neck.

“If there are increases in cancers as a result of irradiation of children, they would most likely appear some decades in the future. It would be prudent not to scan the head and neck,” added Brenner.

LIES ABOUT SCANNER SPECIFICATION

Several years ago, it was announced that “Al Qadea” was surgically implanting bombs into humans.  The Sun, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp, parent company of Fox News has reported:

“female suicide bombers are being fitted with exploding breast implants which are almost impossible to detect, British spies have reportedly discovered.  It is believed the doctors have been trained at some of Britain’s leading teaching hospitals before returning to their own countries to perform the surgical procedures.MI5 has also discovered that extremists are inserting the explosives into the buttocks of some male suicide bombers. ”

Though these reports have been proven outrageously false, total fabrications, as with the Yemen “printer cartridge” bombs, it is believed that current scanner technology using dangerous ionizing radiation, though at moderately low levels, will be scaled up to respond to this imaginary threat.  Levels of radiation then used will represent, particularly in an open terminal setting, a clear and present physical danger to the public, not to mention TSA employees.

PURE SCAM

If one were to be honest about the dangers of terrorism, particularly in relation to airport security, these would be my recommendations:

  • Immediately eliminate all foreign ownership and control of companies that control airport security or manufacture, install and service airport security devices
  • Accept that the involvement of security agencies known to be directly involved in terror attacks themselves in profiting from the sale of security devices has, not only brought about an exaggeration of terrorist threats but has actually caused the threats themselves
  • Accept that America’s overreaction to questionable incidents of terrorism has made America a target, not of real terrorists, but of the use of terrorism to push America into surrogate conflicts, such as support of Israeli policies in Gaza or the Tribal conflicts in Yemen.

The billions being spent to endanger and inconvenience air travelers could be better applied toward port security, an area of vulnerability far beyond our air passengers.  With billions of dollars of narcotics coming into the United States each month and thousands of undocumented aliens entering the country each week, searching airline passengers to what can only be called obsession, is poorly considered.  It is time America reprioritizes its national security.

ADDENDUM:

APA president Captain Bates’ letter in full:

Fellow Pilots,

In response to increased threats to civil aviation around the world, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has implemented the use of Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) body scanners at some airport locations.

While I’m sure that each of us recognizes that the threats to our lives are real, the practice of airport security screening of airline pilots has spun out of control and does nothing to improve national security. It’s long past time that policymakers take the steps necessary to exempt commercial pilots from airport security screening and grant designated pilot access to SIDA utilizing either Crew Pass or biometric identification. As I recently wrote to the TSA Administrator:

“Our pilots are highly motivated partners in the effort to protect our nation’s security, with many of us serving as Federal Flight Deck Officers. We are all keenly aware that we may serve as the last line of defense against another terrorist attack on commercial aviation. Rather than being viewed as potential threats, we should be treated commensurate with the authority and responsibility that we are vested with as professional pilots.”

It is important to note that there are “backscatter” AIT devices now being deployed that produce ionizing radiation, which could be harmful to your health. Airline pilots in the United States already receive higher doses of radiation in their on-the-job environment than nearly every other category of worker in the United States, including nuclear power plant employees. As I also stated in my recent letter to the Administrator of the TSA:

“We are exposed to radiation every day on the job. For example, a typical Atlantic crossing during a solar flare can expose a pilot to radiation equivalent to 100 chest X-rays per hour. Requiring pilots to go through the AIT means additional radiation exposure. I share our pilots’ concerns about this additional radiation exposure and plan to recommend that our pilots refrain from going through the AIT. We already experience significantly higher radiation exposure than most other occupations, and there is mounting evidence of higher-than-average cancer rates as a consequence.”

It’s safe to say that most of the APA leadership shares my view that no pilot at American Airlines should subject themselves to the needless privacy invasion and potential health risks caused by the AIT body scanners. I therefore recommend that the pilots of American Airlines consider the following guidelines:

Use designated crew lines if available.

Politely decline AIT exposure and request alternative screening.

There is absolutely no denying that the enhanced pat-down is a demeaning experience. In my view, it is unacceptable to submit to one in public while wearing the uniform of a professional airline pilot. I recommend that all pilots insist that such screening is performed in an out-of-view area to protect their privacy and dignity.

If screening delays your arrival at the cockpit, do not cut corners that jeopardize the safety of the flight. Consummate professionalism and safety are always paramount.

Maintain composure and professionalism at all times and recognize that you are probably being videotaped.

If you feel that you have been treated with less than courtesy, respect and professionalism, please submit an observer report to APA. Please be sure to include the time, date, security checkpoint and name of the TSA employee who performed the screening. Avoid confrontation.

Your APA Board of Directors and National Officers are holding a conference call this week to discuss these issues and further guidance may be forthcoming.

While I cannot promise results tomorrow, I pledge to dedicate APA resources in the days and weeks to come to achieve direct access to SIDA for the pilots of American Airlines. In the meantime, I am confident that you will continue to exhibit your usual utmost professionalism as you safely operate and protect our nation’s air transport system.

 

Posted in USAComments Off on ARE TERRORISTS SUPPLYING OUR AIRPORT SCANNERS?

UK LIB-DAM LEADER NICK CLEGG’S INITIATION AS ISRAELI STOOGE

NOVANEWS

November 19, 2010

by Stuart Littlewood

At last, here was a British leader who believed in justice for the cruelly oppressed.

By Stuart Littlewood/ STAFF WRITER

“Nick Clegg: we got it wrong on Israel”, screamed the Jewish Chronicle headline, following the Deputy Prime Minister’s speech to the Lib Dem Friends of Israel on 11 November.

From champion of the vulnerable to betrayer in one bound! Nick Clegg, Britain’s new deputy prime minister, is surprisingly agile.

Betrayal started with Sheffield Forgemasters, a well-respected company in Clegg’s own constituency, who were promised a government loan to enable them to compete for large contracts in the nuclear industry. This was cancelled as soon as the new government was formed with Clegg as deputy prime minister.

He had no shame fouling his own doorstep.

Before the election Clegg’s party, the Liberal Democrats, pledged to scrap university tuition fees and free graduates from crippling debt, but he has abandoned this too instead of putting up a fight. Millions are disgusted.

Now the betrayal extends to the question of justice for the Palestinians and the arrest of war criminals.

So brave then…

Nick Clegg was, until recently, regarded by many in the struggle as one of the Palestinians’ “white knights”.

In January 2009, at the height of Israel’s murderous blitz on Gaza, he rode to the rescue and railed against the British government.

“Gordon Brown, like Tony Blair, has made British foreign policy effectively subservient to Washington,” he thundered. “Brown must stop sitting on his hands. He must condemn unambiguously Israel’s tactics…

“He must lead the EU into using its economic and diplomatic leverage… The EU is by far Israel’s biggest export market, and by far the biggest donor to the Palestinians. It must immediately suspend the proposed new cooperation agreement with Israel until things change in Gaza…”

Bravo, Clegg.

He added: “Brown must also halt Britain’s arms exports to Israel, and persuade our EU counterparts to do the same… I want an immediate suspension of all arms exports from the EU.”

Eleven months later there was no improvement and he wrote in the Guardian about the escalating humanitarian crisis in Gaza and how “the legacy of Operation Cast Lead is a living nightmare…”

What, he asked, had the British government and the international community done to lift the blockade? “Next to nothing… It is a scandal…”

At last, here was a British leader who believed in justice for the cruelly oppressed.

He again pricked the EU with his lance. “At the same time as exercising leverage over Hamas, it should make clear that the web of preferential agreements which now exists between the EU and Israel … will be brought into question if there is no rapid progress.”

He finished by asking: “What will be the state of Gaza’s drinking water by next December? Of the health of its children? Of the economy?”

Well, next December is almost here. And we know the answer to Clegg’s questions. Bad, very bad, and appalling.

Naturally, the stooges Clegg had unhorsed hit back and he was soon on the receiving end of Nile Gardiner’s bile in the Telegraph, 21 April 2010, headed “Nick Clegg’s Israel-bashing is sickening”.

“While Nick Clegg has made it a personal mission to publicly whip the Israelis for defending their own country,” wrote Gardiner, “he has remained remarkably silent in the media about Iranian backing for terrorist groups, Tehran’s calls to wipe Israel off the map, and the massive levels of hatred directed at Israel from within the United Nations.”

Gardiner was also unhappy that Clegg hadn’t gone into print “warning against Iran’s nuclear ambitions, or calling for an end to the persecution of Israel by Islamist states.”

Tehran of course did not threaten to wipe Israel off the map, and if Clegg had no hard evidence of Iran’s nuclear ambitions military-wise, why should he comment?

Gardiner lambasted Clegg for his “sneering condescension towards Israel”, which undermined a close British ally while encouraging Israel’s enemies. “There is an important distinction between a free, democratic society like Israel, acting in self-defence, and brutal terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hizbollah. Clegg’s drawing of moral equivalence between the two sides is both sickening and offensive.”

Gardiner, a foreign affairs analyst based in Washington and a Conservative think-tank jockey, supported the war on Iraq. Clegg opposed the war so clearly the dagger had to be plunged in a few more times. The next month Gardiner attacked again.

“Clegg seems obsessed with dredging up the spectre of the Iraq war and accusing Britain’s intelligence services of complicity in torture, which only serves the interests of Britain’s enemies,” moaned Gardiner, also accusing him of demonizing Israel, “one of our only friends in the region”.

He’s so right about that last bit. With “friends” like Israel it can be lonely out there.

“Nick Clegg is the first major party leader to run for prime minister on an anti-British ticket,” continued Gardiner, trying hard to inflict electoral damage. “He is filled with a self-loathing for his nation and its institutions… I cannot think of a candidate for prime minister in recent memory who has accused his own country of involvement in torture…”

Well, at least this knight wasn’t in hock for his armour and horse to the pro-Israel lobby. Or so we thought.

…And so weak and wobbly now

Following the general election in May Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, became deputy prime minister in the Conservative-led coalition government.

David Cameron squirming in his boots after he admitted he called Deputy PM Nick Clegg “a joke”.

The Conservative Party, it has been revealed, is a highly influential pro-Israel hot-house in which 80 per cent of Conservative MPs including their leader, David Cameron, like to bask.

As Cameron’s new lieutenant we can only suppose that Clegg was initiated by being put under intense pressure to tug the forelock, bend the knee and take an oath of allegiance to Cameron’s paymasters.

First sign was at the Liberal Democrats’ conference in September when Clegg attended a Friends of Israel fringe meeting but cold-shouldered the Friends of Palestine.

Then, earlier this month, he favoured the Friends of Israel again by speaking at their annual dinner. Guests included the chief rabbi. Clegg began by saying: “Chief Rabbi, it is hard to exaggerate the esteem in which you are held by British people of all faiths and of none.”

That set the sickly tone. He reminded his audience that, in 2007, the Liberal Democratic Party conference passed a motion condemning the proposed academic boycott of Israel.

The sucking-up continued with an apology for campaigning in the past so vigorously for the rights of Palestinian victims without broadcasting equally loudly and equally clearly “an awareness of the security challenges faced by Israel and of the right of Israel to defend itself against the threats that it continually faces”. He now wanted to make this clear:

Israel’s right to thrive in peace and security is non-negotiable for Liberal Democrats. No other country so continually has its right to exist called into question as does Israel, and that is intolerable. There can be no solution to the problems of the Middle East that does not include a full and proper recognition of Israel by all the parties to the conflict.

Those words might have been written by Israel’s chief propagandist, Mark Regev.

Then Clegg came to the bogus peace negotiations. “Whatever the UK can do … to support the Americans in furthering the peace process – whatever we can do, not only must be done, but will be done.”

Right now the Americans are bribing the psychopaths with even more death-dealing toys to play with if they’ll suspend settlement building for another measly three months, what happens after that being left up in the air. Is this what Clegg and his coalition partners are so eager to support?

“The EU can and should use its economic clout to put pressure on both sides; to encourage Israel to restrict its settlement building programme and to push all Palestinians into recognizing Israel’s right to exist.” Reduce Israel’s settlement building? The legal position requires nothing less than a permanent end to it. Clegg is letting Israel off the hook. And there’s no more talking of suspending the EU-Israel trading agreements.

If “recognition” of their enemy is to be wrung from the Palestinians, which borders is Clegg talking about? It stands to reason there can be no such recognition while the jackboot of brutal occupation is on the Palestinians’ throat. Unless Clegg understands that, he understands nothing.

The same goes for renouncing violence. Israelis use a thousand times more violence than Palestinians. Demanding, as the West’s cut-throats regularly do, that the resistance movement renounces violence without requiring the same from Israel, is an insult to everyone’s intelligence.

Clegg then turned to the vexed question of universal jurisdiction, under which all states that signed up to the Geneva Conventions are under a solemn obligation to seek out and prosecute or extradite those suspected of grave breaches of the Conventions and bring them justice, regardless of nationality.

Clegg announced:

It is right that people suspected of such crimes should be held accountable by the courts. But the framers of the legislation never intended local magistrates to be able to issue politically motivated arrest warrants of people visiting the UK without reasonable grounds for doing so.

The issuing of such warrants should be a matter for one of central government’s senior law officers, not for local magistrates. This will strike the right balance between upholding Britain’s great traditions of respect for universal human rights and avoiding accusations based on poorly justified grounds against visitors to the UK.

This is nonsense. For a start, no magistrate issues a warrant without seeing compelling evidence. Furthermore, 51 Liberal Democrat MPs – the overwhelming majority of Clegg’s party – recently signed an early day motion in Parliament opposing any change in the law. Disregarding their wishes, Clegg has decided to support the Conservative plan to put matters into the hands of the director of public prosecutions, a move calculated to guarantee that any decision to hunt down and detain wanted criminals is strictly political.

As a consequence, Israel’s warmongers will be allowed to come and go as they please and continue their atrocities against Gaza’s women and children, and very soon against Iran’s and (again) Lebanon’s.

Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation.

More Nick Clegg

Nick Clegg on Britain’s Future – Newsweek

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November 20, 2010 
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Ex-AIPAC official got at least $670,000 from donors

 

By Jeff Stein

The latest episode of the AIPAC spy scandal turned sordid last week, with the pro-Israeli lobby releasing its deposition of fired official Steven J. Rosen in which he confesses he engaged in extra-marital sex and watched pornography on his office computer.

But largely buried beneath such tawdry details was an admission arguably far more damaging to Rosen’s drive to prove the organization ruined his professional life: that major Jewish donors supported him with hundreds of thousands of dollars during the four years after his dismissal in May 2005.

Lawyers for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, argue that such financial support, as well as continuing references to Rosen as an influential figure in Middle East policy circles, shows that his firing hasn’t materially affected his life.

Indeed, many of the dozen benefactors Rosen named, including entertainment mogul Haim Saban and Slim-Fast billionaire Daniel Abraham, are also major donors to AIPAC, which fired him after the Justice Department charged him with illegally giving classified information to Washington Post reporter Glenn Kessler and an Israeli Embassy official.

During his Sept. 22 deposition, AIPAC’s lawyer alleged that Rosen had received “over $1 million in gifts or severance or payments of benefits between ’05 and ’09.” Rosen detailed gifts that amounted to $670,000.

One philanthropist “bundled” about $200,000 for him, Rosen said. Saban gave $100,000 to him, his wife and children. Another supporter, philanthropist Lynn Schusterman, paid off Rosen’s daughter’s $18,000 college loan, he said. In all, about a dozen supporters gave him $670,000, according to his testimony, which AIPAC released last week.

The payments stopped in 2009, Rosen says, when the government dropped its case against him and another AIPAC official, saying it couldn’t make an espionage case against them.

During its deposition of Rosen, AIPAC’s lawyer Thomas L. McCally clearly tried to make his confessions of pornography and philandering the central issues in his dismissal. Rosen shot back that he had “witnessed” AIPAC’s executive director Howard Kohr “view… pornographic images on AIPAC computers,” as well as “his secretary do it repeatedly, and call people over to see it, including Howard Kohr.” He said he “witnessed other members of staff do it,” too.

Kohr did not respond to a request for comment on Rosen’s pornography allegation. AIPAC spokesman Patrick Dorton declined to comment on that allegation but said his suit had no merit.

Rosen portrays the pornography issue as a red herring, contending that government attorneys stampeded the organization into firing him by playing its officials a selectively edited portion of a wiretapped conversation that made him look like he knew he was illegally trafficking in classified Pentagon documents.

Within hours, the organization announced it was firing Rosen because such alleged behavior “did not comport with standards that AIPAC expects of its employees.”

Rosen says his actions were common practice at the organization. He said his next move is to show that AIPAC, Washington’s major pro-Israeli lobbying group by far, regularly traffics in sensitive U.S. government information, especially material related to the Middle East.

“I will introduce documentary evidence that AIPAC approved of the receipt of classified information,” he said by e-mail. “Most instances of actual receipt are hard to document, because orally received information rarely comes with classified stamps on it nor records alerts that the information is classified.”

But Rosen said he would produce “statements of AIPAC employees to the FBI, internal documents, deposition statements, public statements and other evidence showing that [the] receipt of classified information by employees other than [himself] … was condoned … for months prior to being condemned in March 2005 after threats from the prosecutors.”

AIPAC, he said, “will make denials. The jury will have to decide who is telling the truth — I am.”

U.S. sending tanks to Afghanistan

 

By Pauline Jelinek, Associated Press

 

WASHINGTON — U.S. defense officials say the Pentagon is sending tanks to help Marines fighting insurgents in southern Afghanistan.

Two senior officials say 14 M1A1 Abrams tanks and 115 additional Marines will be deployed next month. They spoke on condition of anonymity to be able to discuss battlefield tactics.

The officials said Friday this is a first for the U.S. in the 9-year-old war, though Canadians and Danish troops have already used the huge, heavily armored combat vehicles in Afghanistan.

Officials say the tanks will help Marines keep insurgents away from key population areas and help troops move into insurgent safe havens. Officials say the tanks can bring extra protection and added firepower and help troops observe key routes where militants place roadside bombs.

Obama Administration Denies Request for Fort Hood Report That Could Aid Suspect

 

By Catherine Herridge

This April 9, 2010, file photo released by the Bell County Sheriffs Department shows U.S. Major Nidal Hasan at the San Antonio to Bell County Jail in Belton, Texas, after his Nov. 5 shooting spree at Fort Hood.

 

(AP) This April 9, 2010, file photo released by the Bell County Sheriffs Department shows U.S. Major Nidal Hasan at the San Antonio to Bell County Jail in Belton, Texas, after his Nov. 5 shooting spree at Fort Hood.

EXCLUSIVE: A key intelligence report that could aid accused Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan’s defense is being withheld by the Obama administration, according to a letter obtained by Fox News as part of its ongoing investigation of a radical American cleric.

Intelligence officials do not deny that the report contains information about the cleric, Anwar Al-Awlaki, who is the first American on the CIA’s kill or capture list.

The letter, dated Oct. 19, 2010, was sent by the general counsel for the national intelligence director – the nation’s top intelligence official – to the chief Army prosecutor, Col. Michael Mulligan. It states that the intelligence review requested by President Obama immediately after the shooting last year “is not reasonably available.”

Robert S. Litt, general counsel for Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, cites “highly classified, compartmented, and sensitive information originating with a number of different executive branch agencies” as justification for withholding the document on the shooting, which left 13 dead and more than 30 injured.

In what may be a slight to the defense, the letter states a review of the material would be complicated and the DNI letter strongly hints it will never be produced for Hasan’s defense.

“The document you requested is an interagency joint response. … Accordingly, we cannot produce the document (if ever) until after a detailed and time-consuming interagency coordination and consultation regarding the report and the underlying highly sensitive information it contains. … As a result, we have determined that this report is not reasonably available…”

Fox News’ Specials Unit reported earlier this year, as part of an hourlong documentary on Anwar al-Awlaki, that at least 18 e-mails were exchanged between Hasan and the cleric. In one e-mail exchange, two sources who have reviewed the e-mails confirm, Hasan asked Awlaki to appear as a guest presenter at a fundraising/scholarship event in the U.S. The cleric declined, adding that he doesn’t visit the U.S. anymore.

John Galligan, Hasan’s defense attorney, told Fox News that he requested the White House intelligence report nearly a year ago, and it is only now that he has officially been told the information will not be available. Despite repeated requests, Galligan said other documents are being blocked, including the full accountability review of Hasan’s supervisors at Walter Reed, a classified annex to the Fort Hood report by former Army Secretary Togo West and retired Admiral Vern Clark, completed in January, as well as all of the e-mails exchanged between Hasan and Awlaki. Galligan told Fox News he has only 9 e-mails and characterized them as benign.

“How do you put a guy on trial for his life without giving his defense full discovery?” Galligan told Fox. “No one in their right mind would dispute that the report (the White House report) is relevant.” Galligan said some news reports suggest that the disclosure of some classified information relating to case would hurt the prosecution.

“I read that as being potentially beneficial to the defense,” he said.

An Article 32 hearing, where an army investigator determines whether Hasan’s case proceeds to a general court-martial and whether the death penalty will be in play, has just concluded. Sources tell Fox News that the investigating officer has recommended the court martial and death penalty because of aggravating factors. A final decision has yet to be made.

A transcript from the Article 32 hearing shows that the Army was notified of the DNI’s decision to block the report on or before October 21, 2010.

“Maybe Colonel Mulligan could give us an update on the other aspects of discovery that we addressed when we first started?” Galligan asked. “That was his communication concerning the White House materials. If he could just let us know where we stand?”

Col Mulligan responded. “Sir, yesterday I received from DNI a letter from their general counsel saying they’ll not provide the president’s 45-day intelligence report. I was waiting until the conclusion of the hearing to inform the defense; I have not yet searched all my e-mails.”

But the DNI letter was not provided to the defense until this week, on Monday, and 10 minutes before the Article 32 hearing continued.

Fox News asked the office of the DNI for comment – specifically why it had taken nearly a year to answer the request by Hasan’s defense team, whether there was a delay with the DNI or the Army and whether blocking the document, which the defense says maybe critical to the Army psychiatrist’s defense, is consistent with the Obama administration’s stated goal of transparency.

A spokesman for the DNI told Fox News, “We are not going to comment on ongoing criminal matters.”

Survey: Few Afghans Know Why NATO Invaded

 

It Remains War’s Excuse, But Most Afghans Never Even Heard of 9/11

 
by Jason Ditz, antiwar.com
 
With NATO officials busily plotting another several years of occupation in the Lisbon Summit, the people of Afghanistan are by and large being left out. Not just of the planning, but even the reason behind the war.

After almost a decade of military occupation, a new survey by the International Council on Security and Development revealed that 92 percent of the Afghan men surveyed had never even heard of 9/11, the ostensibly casus belli for the entire conflict.

The lack of awareness of why we are there contributes to the high level of negativity toward the NATO military operations,” insisted ICOS President Norine MacDonald. It was unclear however whether the few Afghans who had heard of 9/11 were any more upbeat about the seemingly endless war.

The poll also showed majority support in Southern Afghanistan for secession and the creation of an independent Pashtunistan (potentially including some of Pakistan’s tribal regions), and that 40 percent of the population believed NATO was occupying Afghanistan as part of a goal to destroy Islam.

Though the report from ICOS stressed the importance of communication with the Afghans it seems that such efforts will inevitably be dwarfed by the deleterious effect military occupation has on public opinion. MacDonald urged NATO to make it clear why Afghans’ future is “better with us than with the Taliban,” but recent NATO comments suggest not many officials even buy this anymore, leaving open the question of why the Afghans would.

Nobel laureates urge Israel to let Vanunu to receive int’l rights award

Atomic whistleblower seeks to attend ceremony granting him the International League of Human Rights’ Carl von Ossietzky Medal in Berlin.

Nobel laureates have petitioned Israel’s government to allow atomic whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu to leave the country so that he may receive an award issued by the International League of Human Rights in Berlin.

Mairead Corrigan Maguire and Mordechai Vanunu Mairead Corrigan Maguire with nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu during one of her Israel visits.
 

The award Vanunu is to receive is the Carl von Ossietzky Medal, named after the renowned German pacifist, who had opposed the Nazi regime, and who was later held in a concentration camp and murdered.

Ossietzky is also famous to have been denied the Nobel Peace Prize laureate as a result of Nazi Germany’s unwillingness to allow the peace activist to leave its border when he was named laureate in 1935.

Vanunu was named as this year’s recipient in October, at which time the International League of Human Rights issued an open letter urging the Israeli government to allow Vanunu to participate in the ceremony.

The letter was signed, among others, by several Nobel laureates, such as Mairead Corrigan-Maguire, German writer Günter Grass, chemist Harold W. Kroto, physician Jack Steinberger, as well as singer Nina Hagen, author Felicia Langer, and former Vice President of the European Union Luisa Morgantini.

Following the letter, Vanunu’s attorney Michael Sfard sent a letter to Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan, saying the atomic whistleblower was willing to commit himself to returning to Israel following the ceremony in Berlin.

In his letter Sfard asked whether “Israel was interested in joining the unlovely ranks of nations who prevented their citizens from receiving international prizes by preventing their arrival at ceremonies?”

The comment by Vanunu’s lawyer cites, among others, communist Poland which prevented Lech Wałęsa from receiving the Nobel Peace Prize as well as the Soviet Union, which barred author Boris Pasternak from claiming the Nobel Prize in Literature.

It should be marked that ,currently, China is preventing 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate dissident Liu Xiaobo from leaving the country.

Vanunu was convicted of treason and imprisoned for 18 years after telling a British newspaper in 1986 about his work as a technician at Israel’s main atomic reactor, disclosures which cracked the secrecy around the assumed Israeli nuclear arsenal.

He was released from prison in 2004 but has not been allowed to leave Israel. In 2007, Vanunu was sentenced to six months in prison for violating the terms of his parole.

‘Iran nuclear worm targeted Natanz, Bushehr nuclear sites’

German computer security expert releases new study claiming the Stuxnet worm, which some claim slowed down activity in the Iranian sites, was designed to act as a ‘digital warhead.’

The Stuxnet computer worm which hit computers at Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant, and which experts have estimated slowed down activity both there and in the Natanz uranium-enrichment site, were designed to act as a double “digital warhead” against the Iranian nuclear sites, a new survey said Friday.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visiting the Natanz Uranium Enrichment Facility in 2008.
Photo by: AP

In September, experts on Iran and computer security specialists voiced a growing conviction that the worm that has infected Iranian nuclear computers was meant to sabotage the uranium enrichment facility at Natanz – where the centrifuge operational capacity has halved over the past year.

That analysis, based on the characteristic behavior of the Stuxnet worm, contradicted earlier assessments that the target was the nuclear reactor at Bushehr, where officials admitted computers were infected by the virus.

On Saturday, a report by German security expert Ralph Langner claimed that the computer worm was designed as a “digital warheads” against Natanz’s centrifuge operational system and the turbines in Bushehr.

Langer was the first expert to uncover the fact that the Stuxnet worm’s main goal was to harm Iran’s nuclear sites, and the latest report is meant to supplement his earlier findings.

The investigation by the German computer’s expert was triggered by the complaint of several Iranian firms to a Russian company that various Russian-made system had been affected by an unknown virus.

The company then recognized that the firms had indeed been hit by the worm known as Stuxnet, and ever since software security experts have been laboring to decipher the worm’s code.

Most experts feel that the virus represents a new kind of computer worm, one which is capable not only of targeting computers but also industrial infrastructures which are controlled by those computers.

Originally, the worm damaged the command and control systems of German engineering giant Siemens, systems which serves infrastructure facilities such as oil and gas drilling and production plants, water supply facilities and in Iran, the worm’s main target, nuclear sites as well.

Last week, experts from the computer security company Symantec testified before the Senate, claiming that the worm had been developed to damage the engines that operate the centrifuges in the Natanz enrichment site. Weeks ago, Haaretz was the first media outlet that estimated that the worm’s main target was the Natanz site.

In a message Langner published on his website on Friday, the German computer security expert described two models for the kind of attacks the worm could have prompted as soon as it was inserted to Siemens’ command system: “It appears that warhead one and warhead two were deployed in combination as an all-out cyberstrike against the Iranian nuclear program.”

Experts claim only an organization with the highest technological capabilities could have performed such a cyber attack, with some attributing it to the Israel Defense Force’s 8200 intelligence unit or a U.S. intelligence organization, with some saying the worm was the result of a joint Israeli-U.S. effort.

There have been reports in the past of other alleged efforts by Israel and the West to undermine the Iranian nuclear project, some of which also targeted Natanz. These efforts included infiltrating the purchasing networks Iran set up to acquire parts and material for the centrifuges at Natanz and selling damaged equipment to the Iranians. The equipment would then be installed on site and sabotage the centrifuges’ work.

The centrifuge – a drum with rotors, an air pump, valves and pressure gauges – is an extremely sensitive system. Generally, 164 centrifuges are linked into a cascade, and several cascades are then linked together. But the centrifuges need to operate in complete coordination to turn the uranium fluoride (UF6 ) they are fed into enriched uranium. Their sensitivity makes them particularly vulnerable to attacks, since damage to a single centrifuge can create a chain reaction that undermines the work of one or more entire cascades.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, whose inspectors regularly visit Natanz, has reported that of the more than 9,000 centrifuges installed on the site, less than 6,000 are operational. The agency did not provide an explanation of this 30 percent drop in capacity compared to a year ago, but experts speculated that the centrifuges were damaged by flawed equipment sold by Western intelligence agencies through straw companies.

How Would Palestinians Remember Ariel Sharon?

 

by Mahmoud El-Yousseph

 

As Israel’s Ariel Sharon is fighting for his life, Palestinians are not eager to see him die, a feeling articulated by every Palestinian I spoke with here and abroad. The same sentiments are also expressed by other Arabs and Muslims, although they see the Prime Minister as a war criminal who has a long history of committing atrocities and evil acts.

It appears Ariel Sharon will die a slow death, unless God wills differently. The people who suffered under him for over 25 years would like to see him die very slowly. That will give closure to them since he escaped the war crime tribunal. This may sound cruel, but after reviewing an abbreviated synopsis of Sharon’s brutal history, it is certainly understandable:

Qibya massacre – on Oct. 14, 1953, Sharon led his “Unit 101″ in an attack on the Palestinian village. Sixty-nine civilians (mostly women and children) were massacred. He lied about his involvement, but admitted the ruthless act later in his biography.

Sabra and Shatila massacres – on Sept. 16-18, 1982, then Israeli Defense Minister Sharon masterminded the atrocities that took place in these two Palestinian refugee camps near Beirut, Lebanon. His forces encircled and sealed the camps, then allowed 150 bloodthirsty Phalangists (a pro-Israeli militia) to enter and wholesale slaughter ensued. An Israeli government commission found him personally responsible for the deaths of 3,500 Palestinians and Lebanese residents of the camps. The U.N. called the act genocide. U.S. diplomats in Lebanon were outraged, as the PLO evacuated Lebanon with a U.S. guarantee for the safety of remaining civilian populations.

Sharon will also be remembered for the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, a sovereign nation, and his subsequent 18 years of occupation that left the country in total ruin. According to Lebanese statistics, the Israeli offensive caused 18,000 deaths and 30,000 injuries, mostly civilians.
 

Jenin massacre – During the Israeli Army’s Defensive Wall operation in April 2002, untold numbers of Palestinians were killed and maimed as Jenin refugee camp was nearly obliterated. This catastrophe took place under media blackout, culminating in Israel’s refusal to let in U.N. human rights observers as they covered up the carnage.

As if military history isn’t evidence enough to convince those clinging to the idea that Sharon is a “man of peace,” more recent violations of international law and refusal to come to a legitimate diplomatic agreement with the Palestinians should suffice:

In March 2002, Sharon turned down an offer by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia during an Arab League peace conference in Beirut for full Arab recognition of Israel. All Israel had to do was move back to pre-1967 borders in compliance with U.N. Resolution 242.

In October 2005, Mr. Sharon ditched the U.S.-backed Roadmap to Peace by ordering the unilateral withdrawal of his army and 8,500 illegal Jewish settlers only from Gaza. He then moved them into other confiscated Palestinian lands in the West Bank.

The euphemistically titled “Security Fence,” better known to Palestinians as the “Apartheid Wall” or “Sharon’s Wall” encircles the entire West Bank, cutting off Palestinians from their farms, schools, hospitals and other towns and villages. The wall is 25 feet high and is expected to reach 403 miles in length, higher and longer than the Berlin Wall. This courageous Prime Minister defied the International Court on July 9, 2004, when it ruled the wall is a violation of international law. The Court added that Israel must cease construction of the wall and dismantle sections located in the occupied territories and compensate damages, ultimately returning Palestinians’ property.

Iron-fisted policies that include: collective punishments, home demolitions, land seizures, targeted assassinations and humiliating checkpoints. All these devices are intended to inflict pain, fear and suffering on the Palestinian people, resulting in their complete submission or leaving their ancestral home permanently.

In, his last act as Prime Minister, Sharon has manipulated the outcome of the January 25 Palestinian election by denying Palestinians in East Jerusalem the right to vote.

Nevertheless, when he dies, there will be no Palestinian celebration; no dancing in the streets, no passing out candy. Islamic law forbids rejoicing over anyone’s death, despite the horrific legacy of death, destruction and human rights abuses Ariel Sharon leaves behind.

Mahmoud El-Yousseph elyousseph6@yahoo.com is a retired USAF veteran living in Westerville, Ohio.

Originally published January 23, 2006

Fake bomb made in the US caused Germany terror alert

German interior minister says suspicious package found in Namibia was manufactured to test airport security
Air Berlin plance
 
A fake bomb made in the US was responsible for the terror alert which delayed a Munich-bound Air Berlin plane by eight hours. Photograph: Michaela Rehle/ReutersWhen a suspicious package was identified at Windhoek airport in Namibia on Thursday, the flight was halted, the Munich-bound passengers delayed and news sped round the world that an x-ray scanner had been found with batteries attached by wires to a detonator and a ticking clock.

Today, however, a German government minister revealed the bizarre truth: the bomb was fake, manufactured in the US to test airport security. It was not yet clear who had planted “test suitcase”, the German interior minister, Thomas de Mazière, said, but the one fact they had established was that the device had been manufactured by a US company that specialises in alarm systems. At no time were passengers’ lives in danger.

“This company is a manufacturer of alarm and detection systems and these real test suitcases are built to test security measures,” he said.

The US transportation security administration (TSA) confirmed today that it was working with the German and Namibian authorities “to determine the origin of the device and the reason it was being transported on the plane”.

According to tests by the German federal criminal police, the suitcase did not contain explosives.

German security experts said yesterday it was most likely that either US or African authorities were behind the test, following the discovery of several parcel bombs sent from Yemen to the US.

The suitcase, which contained batteries connected to a detonator and a ticking clock, was intercepted by authorities at Windhoek airport on Wednesday night and sparked an international terror alert.

The Munich-bound Air Berlin plane on which it was believed the suitcase was due to be loaded was delayed for about eight hours while security checks were carried out. Passengers were questioned by police when the plane landed at Munich airport yesterday morning.

Initial theories that the bomb might have been a dummy run by terrorists were dismissed by US security sources who told German television such “dry runs” were not typical.

Security services and airport scanner manufacturers are known to run a variety of false alarm checks to ensure operators and systems are capable of intercepting likely forms of explosive devices. One leading manufacturer said today that its scanning machines were programmed to generate occasional false positives in order to keep staff alert. The TSA is reported to have organised several series of tests using undercover agents to put dummy bombs through security scanners at US airports. One such test, in 2007, was said to have resulted in 75% of the fake bomb parts passing through unobserved.

Even more embarrassing was a security survey carried out by Slovakian border officials earlier this year using real explosives. Eight pieces of contraband were planted on unwitting passengers leaving on a flight from Bratislava bound for Dublin. The 85g (3oz) charge of RDX slipped into a 49-year-old electrician’s bag was not removed by security checks and the passenger flew to Ireland unaware of what was in his luggage. Slovakian officials eventually had to contact police in Dublin to explain the error.

The Windhoek discovery had no impact on the German security alert issued by de Mazière on Wednesday, which related to “concrete information” about a planned Islamist attack on Germany towards the end of this month.

Security measures have been tightened across the country. Extra armed police and military personnel have been sent to airports, railway stations, seaports and luxury hotels.

Several incidents of unattended suitcases and packages found at railway stations in Berlin today proved to be harmless, but the atmosphere in public places remained jittery.

With Germany’s Christmas markets, a magnet for tourists from around the world, due to open on Monday, all police leave has been cancelled.

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DOROTHY ONLINE NEWSLETTER

NOVANEWS 

Dear Friends,

If you would like to have a link to Rifat Odeh Kassis response to Rabbi Warren, here is one which contains also background on the author.  http://chaplainclair.blogspot.com/2010/11/rifat-kassis-responds-to-rabbi-warren.html

Please do distribute the letter widely, and also ask your friends to do the same.  It is an important document.

As for the 5 items below, the initial one, though very brief, is of essence. It informs us that our own Dalit Baum, researcher and initiator of Israel’s Coalition of Women website Who Profits (www.who.org) (referring of course to who profits from the occupation), will testify before the tribunal on Palestine, and will contend that 2 companies (one British, the other French) are complicit in Israel’s occupation. 

 

Items 2 and 3 treat a single subject: the US ‘guarantees package’ that supposedly aims to bring Israeli and Palestinian leaders back to the bargaining table.  Al Jazzier first reports, the in item 3 Robert Fisk expresses his justifiably angry retort to the US guarantees.

 

Item 4 is Sam Bayou’s most important analysis of the economic and social aspects of the “the feel-good words of jobs, economic development and Israeli- Palestinian cooperation” used to describe proposed industrial free trade zones.  Although these are touted to benefit Palestinians as well as Israelis and investors, the Palestinians will in effect gain little. 

 

I would like to add a word to Sam’s excellent analysis regarding a subject that he implies, but does not expand on.   He does say that Israel has seized land to divert it from agriculture to industrial purposes.  But because it is not his subject, he does not enlarge on what is done with that land.  Israel does not merely steal Palestinian land.  In many cases (perhaps most) Israel converts their agrarian use into urban use.  In other words, Israel is urbanizing the West Bank, much the same as it has done for the 78% of historic Palestine that it conquered in 1948-9.  Historic Palestine was prior to the ’48-9 war 70% agrarian.  The West Bank undoubtedly reflected this until Israel began colonizing it.  Most of the colonies are urban ‘suburbs’ of Tel Aviv or Jerusalem or other Israeli cities.  One has only to watch the enormous morning rush-hour traffic and the evening return traffic to realize how much of the colonization is urban rather than agrarian.  This of course furnishes Israel with a large stock of cheap labor with which to work in the industrial zones for Israel’s profit.  Farmers who no longer have land to farm must find ways to feed their often large families. 

 

If, after the former 4 items,  you still have energy to read item 5, it is a personal story about a woman who wanted to be an Israeli and did her best to become one, but was thwarted by the religious demands of this country.  I do not sympathize with her Zionist views, but regret the pain and unhappiness caused her by theocratic impositions.  Indeed, she was right to return to the United States where, as in most other Western countries, she can be whatever kind of Jew she wishes to be without being penalized.

 

All the best,

Dorothy

—————————————-

1.  The Guardian,

November 20, 2010

 

In the dock on Israel

 

So Israel vows to keep building homes in illegally occupied East Jerusalem (Report, 19 November). Today the British security corporation G4S and the French company Veolia, which collects waste for UK local authorities and universities, will stand accused of complicity in Israeli human rights violations. Israeli academic Dalit Baum will give evidence in London to a tribunal on Palestine that G4S is aiding her country’s war crimes by providing equipment for checkpoints, prisons and illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. Moreover, Adri Neiuwhof, a Swiss-based expert on public contract regulations, will cite Veolia’s profits from the occupation as a partner in the Jerusalem light rail project that links west Jerusalem to settlements.

 

The tribunal, named after the philosopher Bertrand Russell, will hear from witnesses from Israel, Palestine, Britain, the US and mainland Europe, who will testify before a jury including UK barristers Anthony Gifford QC, and Michael Mansfield QC. Whatever the jury’s verdict on Monday, world leaders must act to ensure a just peace in the region.

==================

2. Al-Jazeera,

19 Nov 2010

 

US offers Israel written guarantees 

 

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2010/11/20101119185747476210.html

 

After Israel balked at the terms of a deal aimed at restarting peace talks, US says it is prepared to put it in writing.

 

Israel’s prime minister said the deal had to serve Israel’s “vital interests, with security being the priority,” [EPA] 

 

The United States is prepared to offer Israel written security guarantees if it would help to restart stalled Middle East peace talks.

 

“We continue our discussions with the Israelis. If there is a need to put certain understandings in writing, we will be prepared to do that,” PJ Crowley, the US state department spokesman, said.

 

He declined to say what the details of the package may be.

 

The US has offered Israel an incentive package for a 90-day moratorium on settlement building in the occupied West Bank, but the proposed freeze would not include building in occupied East Jerusalem.

 

Security incentives

 

Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, has asked his cabinet to consider the package of security and diplomatic incentives.

 

Possible incentives

In exchange for a 90-day moratorium on building in the West Bank, the US is reported to be offering Israel:

 

 Vetoes on resolutions that do not favour Israel.

 

 A promise that no more settlement freezes will be sought by the US.

 

 20 F-35 stealth warplanes worth $3bn.

 

 A comprehensive, signed security agreement with Israel.

 

 Increasing pressure on Iran and Syria to curb their nuclear and proliferation activities.

 

 

But an Israeli official said on Friday the US had not yet provided the guarantees that Israel wanted, with Washington reluctant to commit to paper all the promises Netanyahu says he was offered verbally last week.

 

The latest snag concerned a pledge that Israel says Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state, made to provide the country with 20 stealth warplanes, free of charge. 

 

Politicians said Washington was backtracking and now wanted some sort of payment for the coveted fighter aircraft.

 

“It looks like the free stealth fighters have slipped,” Benny Begin, a minister from Netanyahu’s Likud party who is opposed to the proposed US deal, said.

 

He said that Washington was setting a trap to extract major concessions later down the line.

 

“One may wonder if you cannot agree to understandings from one week to the next, what could happen over three months,” Begin told Army Radio on Friday.

 

The Palestinians themselves have expressed outrage in private over reports of the US offer, saying it was a bribe to get Israel to fulfil basic international obligations.

 

Stopping short of rejecting the deal outright, Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, expressed strong reservations about the proposal because the moratorium on new construction would only apply to the West Bank and not East Jerusalem, the Palestinians’ hoped-for capital.

 

Erekat said that the US had not officially informed the Palestinians about the details of the proposal, but that “they know we have a major problem in not including east Jerusalem”.

 

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, will put the US plan before Palestinian decision-makers and call for an immediate session of Arab League officials before announcing an official decision, Erekat said.

 

Abbas anger

 

Abbas told the London-based Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that he refuses to link the troubled Middle East peace process with a US offer of additional military aid to its Israeli ally.

 

“We refuse to allow the offer of planes be linked in any way to a freeze on settlements,” Abbas said in the interview, which was published on Friday.

 

“The United States is an ally of Israel and we can not prevent that,” Abbas said.

 

“But let their aid be carried out far removed from the  Palestinian peace negotiations and not be used as a pretext for giving more weaponry to Israel.”

 

The potential construction freeze would cover future construction as well as projects that have started since September 26, when the previous 10-month moratorium expired.

 

==========================================

3. . Independent,

20 November 2010

 

Robert Fisk: An American bribe that stinks of appeasement

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-an-american-bribe-that-stinks-of-appeasement-2139101.html

 

In any other country, the current American bribe to Israel, and the latter’s reluctance to accept it, in return for even a temporary end to the theft of somebody else’s property would be regarded as preposterous. Three billion dollars’ worth of fighter bombers in return for a temporary freeze in West Bank colonisation for a mere 90 days? Not including East Jerusalem – so goodbye to the last chance of the east of the holy city for a Palestinian capital – and, if Benjamin Netanyahu so wishes, a rip-roaring continuation of settlement on Arab land. In the ordinary sane world in which we think we live, there is only one word for Barack Obama’s offer: appeasement. Usually, our lords and masters use that word with disdain and disgust.

 

 

Anyone who panders to injustice by one people against another people is called an appeaser. Anyone who prefers peace at any price, let alone a $3bn bribe to the guilty party – is an appeaser. Anyone who will not risk the consequences of standing up for international morality against territorial greed is an appeaser. Those of us who did not want to invade Afghanistan were condemned as appeasers. Those of us who did not want to invade Iraq were vilified as appeasers. Yet that is precisely what Obama has done in his pathetic, unbelievable effort to plead with Netanyahu for just 90 days of submission to international law. Obama is an appeaser.

 

The fact that the West and its political and journalistic elites – I include the ever more disreputable New York Times – take this tomfoolery at face value, as if it can seriously be regarded as another “step” in the “peace process”, to put this mystical nonsense “back on track”, is a measure of the degree to which we have taken leave of our senses in the Middle East.

 

It is a sign of just how far America (and, through our failure to condemn this insanity, Europe) has allowed its fear of Israel – and how far Obama has allowed his fear of Israeli supporters in Congress and the Senate – to go.

 

Three billion dollars for three months is one billion dollars a month to stop Israel’s colonisation. That’s half a billion dollars a fortnight. That’s $500m a week. That’s $71,428,571 a day, or $2,976,190 an hour, or $49,603 a minute. And as well as this pot of gold, Washington will continue to veto any resolutions critical of Israel in the UN and prevent “Palestine” from declaring itself a state. It’s worth invading anyone to get that much cash to stage a military withdrawal, let alone the gracious gesture of not building more illegal colonies for only 90 days while furiously continuing illegal construction in Jerusalem at the same time.

 

The Hillary Clinton version of this grotesquerie would be funny if it was not tragic. According to the sharp pen of the NYT’s Roger Cohen, La Clinton has convinced herself that Palestine is “achievable, inevitable and compatible with Israel’s security”. And what persuaded Madame Hillary of this? Why, on a trip to the pseudo-Palestine “capital” of Ramallah last year, she saw the Jewish settlements – “the brutality of it was so stark” according to one of her officials – but thought her motorcade was being guarded by the Israeli army because “they’re so professional”. And then, lo and behold, they turned out to be a Palestinian military guard, a “professional outfit” – and all this changed Madame’s views!

 

Quite apart from the fact that the Israeli army is a rabble, and that indeed, the Palestinians are a rabble too, this “road to Ramallah” incident led supporters of Madame, according to Cohen, to realise that there had been a transition “from a self-pitying, self-dramatising Palestinian psyche, with all the cloying accoutrements of victimhood, to a self-affirming culture of pragmatism and institution-building”. Palestinian “prime minister” Salam Fayyad, educated in the US so, naturally, a safe pair of hands, has put “growth before grumbling, roads before ranting, and security before everything”.

 

Having been occupied by a brutal army for 43 years, those wretched, dispossessed Palestinians, along with their cousins in the West Bank who have been homeless for 62 years, have at last stopped ranting and grumbling and feeling sorry for themselves and generally play-acting in order to honour the only thing that matters. Not justice. Certainly not democracy, but to the one God which Christians, Jews and Muslims are all now supposed to worship: security.

 

Yes, they have joined the true brotherhood of mankind. Israel will be safe at last. That this infantile narrative now drives the woman who told us 11 years ago that Jerusalem was “the eternal and indivisible capital of Israel” proves that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has now reached its apogee, its most treacherous and final moment. And if Netanyahu has any sense – I’m talking abut the Zionist, expansionist kind – he will wait out the 90 days, then thumb his nose at the US. In the three months of “good behaviour”, of course, the Palestinians will have to bite the bullet and sit down to “peace” talks which will decide the future borders of Israel and “Palestine”. But since Israel controls 62 per cent of the West Bank this leaves Fayyad and his chums about 10.9 per cent of mandate Palestine to argue about.

 

And at the cost of $827 a second, they’d better do some quick grovelling. They will. We should all hang our heads in shame. But we won’t. It’s not about people. It’s about presentation. It’s not about justice. It’s about “security”. And cash. Lots of it. Goodbye Palestine.

========================================

4.  Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP) 

[the emphasizing is mine. Dorothy]

 

Economic Prison Zones 

 

http://www.merip.org/mero/mero111910.html

 

 

Sam Bahour 

 

November 19, 2010 

 

(Sam Bahour is a Palestinian business management consultant living in Ramallah. This essay was made possible with partial support from the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.) 

 

When a project mixes the feel-good words of jobs, economic development and Israeli- Palestinian cooperation, how can anyone complain? These things are some of what the international community has been promising to deliver through the construction of industrial free trade zones in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The free trade zone model has been promoted locally and globally by powerful third parties like the United States, France, Germany, Turkey and Japan for two decades, but none has much to show for the enormous efforts and amounts of money spent to bring these zones to life. Nonetheless, the project’s proponents expect the zones to constitute the economic foundation for a future Palestinian state. They hope that, by bolstering Palestine’s economy, the zones will make Palestinians less prone to social upheaval, less insistent on their national rights and more amenable to the status quo. The idea is that a peace agreement with Israel will ensue. 

 

While this expectation is unlikely to be realized — at least not in the way that the projects’ advocates anticipate — these mega-employment projects present a serious challenge to those who strive to build an independent and viable economic foundation for a future Palestinian state.  Because the zones will depend on Israeli cooperation to function, and because they will exist within an Israeli-designed economic system that ensures Palestinian dependence on Israel, they cannot form the basis of a sovereign economy. Relying on them will perpetuate the status quo of dependency. 

 

Precedents 

 

The industrial zones currently under construction in the West Bank are: the al-Jalama zone, in the north near Jenin, led by Germany with the support of Turkey;  the Bethlehem zone led by France and the Jericho Agricultural Park (the so-called Valley of Peace) in the Jordan Valley, led by Japan; the Tarqoumiyya Industrial Estate, in the south near Hebron, spearheaded by the World Bank and Turkey. In Gaza, the Erez Industrial Zone along the Gaza-Israel border was abandoned by Israel and is no longer operational. The Gaza Industrial Estate (which Israel calls the Karni Industrial Zone), a Palestinian-developed zone southeast of Gaza City, came to a standstill in 2007, when Israel heavily restricted the passageways into and out of Gaza. South Korea and India are also entertaining the idea of sponsoring a techno-park, [1] which may house more high-tech business, but this notion is the least developed of them all. 

 

The longest-operating border zone is the Erez Industrial Zone located at the northern tip of the Gaza Strip. It was estimated by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs to employ 20,000 Palestinians, but it never came close to employing a quarter of that number and in 2004, the Israeli minister of defense made a decision to withdraw Israeli firms located in the zone for security reasons. The area became a no-man’s land. The Jerusalem Post reported on January 2, 2006 that Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül visited Israel to sign agreements with Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) governing Turkey’s role in reviving the Erez industrial area. One Israeli official described the project as “the baby” of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan. But following Hamas’ takeover of Gaza in 2007, Turkey froze the project and the zone remains empty. 

 

There is also a long-standing industrial area in the West Bank called Atarot, north of Jerusalem along the main road to Ramallah that, today, is split down the middle by Israel’s separation wall. The Atarot Industrial Area is fully operated by Israel and mostly hosts Israeli companies. Atarot sits on the western side of the separation wall, which makes it accessible to Palestinians from the West Bank only by way of a permit from the Israeli military. 

 

At best, most of these industrial zones promise menial labor-intensive jobs to Palestinians who are extremely reliant on donor funds to maintain their livelihoods. The industrial zone project constitutes a shift from the current internationally funded welfare-like system, characterized by an inflated public sector and heavy subsistence handouts, to a system that is similarly based on foreign funding, but instead requires Palestinians to sell their labor for the benefit of those commercial entities established in the industrial zones, which will depend on Israeli good will to succeed. A closer look at how the zones are being developed, who is expected to profit from them and how they are connected to the global economy is telling. 

 

Development for Peace 

 

France is behind the creation of the Bethlehem Multidisciplinary Industrial Park, for which the PA issued title to 500 dunams (125 acres) of public property. French President Nicolas Sarkozy handpicked Valerie Hoffenberg, Paris director of the American Jewish Committee (a group that advocates for Israel), to be his “special envoy to the Middle East” for this purpose. It has been her job to oversee the project’s rollout. 

 

In a report published in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz on May 27, 2010, in which Hoffenberg was interviewed at length, she told the story of how the industrial free zone project was born at a dinner she attended with Sarkozy and Israeli President Shimon Peres in 2008. According to Hoffenberg, the project was informed by a belief, shared by Peres and Sarkozy, that a viable Palestinian economy would encourage the peace process. Hoffenberg, who works out of the French Foreign Ministry building, describes her work as “a new form of diplomacy.” Before the industrial park’s inauguration, Hoffenberg arranged a meeting between French and Israeli businessmen in an effort to bring them into the project. “I recruited 36 companies, including CEOs of the most important companies, such as France Telecom, Schneider Electric, Publicis, Renault, Sephora, JCDecaux — the whole ‘A-Team,’” Hoffenberg boasted. 

 

Another nascent enterprise is the German-Turkish industrial zone in al-Jalama, outside the Palestinian city of Jenin, a traditional agricultural area. The project is run by the PA, Israel and the Shamal Company. Bisan for Research and Development, a Palestinian NGO which has organized extensively around the industrial zone phenomenon, notes that the project has faced opposition from farmers in the Jezreel Valley, one of the most fertile areas in Jenin, and may fall apart as a result. The farmers have been refusing to sell their land, partly because it is unclear what kinds of factories will be built and partly because agricultural land has already been confiscated by Israel for construction of its separation wall. 

 

The al-Jalama project has received scant media attention, but nevertheless, it is the one, along with the Bethlehem project, that is proceeding the fastest. The planning process for the zone started long before the intifada that began in the fall of 2000. Germany’s leading development bank, KfW Entwicklungsbank, was commissioned to conduct a rather expensive feasibility study and, as a result, Germany committed 10 million euros to fund the infrastructure of the zone. But when Israel launched a major military redeployment in all Palestinian cities in 2000, the project was put on hold and Jenin’s infrastructure was destroyed. When the project was revisited in 2005, KfW was commissioned to update the feasibility study and Turkey was recruited to take part in the project. Supposedly, the Turkish side will acquire 75 percent and the Palestinian side 25 percent of the joint venture. It is unclear, however, if and how the diplomatic crisis between Israel and Turkey following Israel’s assault on the Mavi Marmara aid ship will affect the project. 

 

The US has mobilized to support all of these efforts through various means, most visible among them being support for reforms within the PA in Ramallah. This support is most apparent in PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s second-year program of the thirteenth government titled, “Homestretch to Freedom: Palestine: Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State.” The program, which includes measures for reform in various aspects of government and economics, calls for, among other things, the development of industrial infrastructure by completing infrastructure works at industrial estates in Jenin, Bethlehem and Jericho and establishing three specialized industrial compounds, including for information technology, precious metals, renewable energy and leather industries. This program has received rave reviews from the US government and serves as a framework for the continued injection of donor funds. 

 

Despite international enthusiasm at what is ostensibly a novel solution to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, the notion that bringing economic development to the Palestinians will promote peace has its roots in Israeli policy from the beginning of the occupation. After Israel took control of the West Bank and Gaza from Jordan and Egypt in 1967, living standards in the Occupied Territories soared. While this growth was largely attributable to remittances from Palestinian workers in the Gulf and across the Green Line, which divides Israel from the West Bank and Gaza, Israel invested in vocational training and agricultural development on a scale that had not been seen under Jordanian and Egyptian suzerainty. [2] Despite these efforts, and because of continued Israeli military rule and the repression of Palestinian national aspirations, a grassroots uprising spread throughout the Occupied Territories in 1987, and continued up until the signing of the Oslo accords in 1993. Thus it was a political solution, and not an economic one, that ultimately brought peace. 

 

The notion that business links will foster peace because the economic returns of cooperation will outweigh the benefits of resistance can only hold if both sides stand to benefit equally from collaboration. For the Palestinians, the benefit is hoped to be economic. For the Israelis, the project is expected to promote a more quiescent opponent; but should the endeavor fail, it is unlikely to exact a heavy economic toll upon Israel. If the industrial zones are to form the basis of the Palestinian economy, the Palestinians, on the other hand, will feel economic pressure to bend to Israel’s will.

The project therefore assumes that the Palestinians are the spoilers of the peace process, and that if they can be persuaded to cooperate, a peace deal will be forthcoming. It does not leave room for the possibility that the status quo — separation — is indeed a viable option for Israel. Thus, rather than promoting a final settlement, this industrial zones project risks further entrenching Israel’s occupation. 

 

Legal Status 

 

Under the leadership of the late President Yasser Arafat, the PA enacted Law 10 of 1998 regarding industrial estates and industrial free zones. This law established a Palestinian Industrial Estate and Free Zone Authority (PIEFZA), which was to be the “one-stop shop for investors.” The PIEFZA board of directors consists of 11 members: seven PA ministers, two representatives of commercial developers and two representatives of chambers of commerce and industry and industrial federations. The industrial estates law states that PIEFZA shall be responsible for implementing policies pertinent to establishing and developing industrial estates and free zones in Palestine and issuing certificates to investors. Article 39 states that: “Local goods and products supplied to the industrial free zone from any Palestinian territories shall not be subject to any established procedures, taxes or duties.” This exclusion has become a major concern for the local community given the rumor that Palestinian labor laws will not apply to workers who are employed in these zones. Likewise, Article 40 of the law stipulates: “All goods and products manufactured in the industrial free zones and exported abroad shall not be subject to the rules and legal procedures established for export, export taxes and any other taxes.” 

 

A detailed search of the PIEFZA website reveals no information regarding the policies for establishing and developing zones. A written request for more information submitted to PIEFZA’s director general went unanswered. In addition, and puzzlingly, the investor’s application listed on PIEFZA’s website directs applicants to fax completed applications to a Gaza office, which presumably is now staffed by someone from Hamas’ government. That the process is so lacking in transparency is a poor reflection on the status of Palestinian institutional reforms. What good is investment in public institution building if these mega- employment centers are excluded from the systems being established? 

 

Legal acrobatics aside, questions like who is importing materials into these zones and who is receiving the exports must be analyzed in much greater detail. Following the money trail will most likely lead to the same few Palestinians who have financially benefited from the Oslo process. One clear indication is the rush by specific economic entities and persons buying land in the vicinity of these planned zones. With the majority of Palestinian lands not formally registered with the Palestinian Land Authority, it would be impossible to understand who actually holds ownership of these lands. 

 

Who Profits? 

 

The working assumption is that these zones will be open for business to any Palestinian or international company wanting to establish a factory within them. Although the sectorial theme of each zone is unclear, if existing zones (such as the maquiladoras in Mexico or those in Jamaica) are any indication, the zones in Palestine will host “dirty” businesses — those that are pollution-prone and sweatshop-oriented. Jordan’s Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZs) provide a regional example. The Jordanian QIZs were envisaged as forming the basis of regional economic cooperation after Jordan and Israel’s 1994 peace treaty. To provide incentives for cooperation, products produced in the QIZs fall under the US-Israel Free Trade Agreement as long as they have a minimum 8 percent contribution from Israel. A similar setup can be expected for Palestinian zones, especially given the US desire to promote a Middle East Free Trade Area. While the Jordanian QIZs have generated 36,000 jobs, 75 percent of these have gone to foreign, mostly Asian, workers. [3] Given that the objective of the Palestinian zones is job creation, it can be expected that these zones would indeed employ Palestinian workers, but their special status raises questions about the working conditions that might dominate within them. The Jordanian QIZs, like many others around the world, are notorious for their exploitative labor practices. 

 

According to two consultants to the Israeli government, the West Bank zones are expected to employ 150,000-200,000 Palestinians, nearly the same number that used to travel daily to Israel for work before the second intifada. [4] Studies from the Peres Peace Center project even higher numbers, estimating that 500,000 Palestinian workers will be employed in joint industrial zones by 2025. Israeli expectations do not stop there. The consultants also predicted that 30 percent of Palestinian businesses outside the zones will refocus their businesses to serve those enterprises located inside the zones. 

 

In a nutshell, one can see a continuation of Israel’s scheme to reengineer the Palestinian economy away from its agricultural and tourism bases toward an economy that is dependent on Israeli public services and good will. This process has been unfolding since the start of Israel’s occupation in 1967. When the Israeli military took control of the West Bank and Gaza, it altered Palestinian agriculture by controlling the types of crops that could be planted to prevent competition with Israeli produce, seizing land to reduce the agricultural sector and taxing Palestinian exports while allowing Israeli products to enter the territories duty-free. The requirement that all industries obtain an Israeli license limited industrial development, as did higher taxes on Palestinian industries than on their Israeli counterparts. As a result, industries that developed tended to be those that provided Israeli industry with labor-intensive, low-cost products. Palestinian industry, agriculture and labor were therefore developed to suit the needs of Israel’s economy. [5] After the second intifada, when Palestinian workers were barred from traveling to Israel, many returned to the theretofore neglected agricultural sector for work. [6] Today, this economic reengineering effort in the West Bank can be viewed as an attempt to relocate the scores of Israeli settlement enterprises, which depend on Palestinian cheap labor, to these newly created “Palestinian” zones, thus “legalizing” their existence. 

 

The project fits well with Israel’s policy of separation — a policy that enables Israel to box in the Palestinians while maintaining control of their movements and economic viability. Separation has been implemented gradually since the 1993 Oslo accords, after which Israel tightened its border with the West Bank and Gaza but continued to employ Palestinians in menial jobs within Israel. Closures were used as a form of collective punishment to cut off Palestinians from their jobs across the Green Line. After the second intifada broke out, Israel further tightened its border with the Occupied Territories. Later, Israel built the separation wall physically to divide Palestinian and Israeli populations, but Palestinian governing institutions, industry and freedom of movement continue to depend on Israel, which controls the borders surrounding the Occupied Territories and collects taxes for the PA. Foreigners replaced the Palestinian laborers who previously worked menial jobs in Israel. Foreign workers, however, have proved to be an unsatisfactory solution for Israel, given its overriding prerogative to maintain the Jewish character of the state, as these non-Jewish workers are now attempting to settle permanently. [7] The QIZ scheme would reduce Israel’s dependence on foreign workers by bringing the factories to Palestinian workers now that they are prohibited from traveling to the factories. 

 

Movement and Access 

 

As long as Israel controls access and resources in the West Bank, the zones’ operation will remain precarious, perpetually at the mercy of positive relations between Israel and Palestine. Given the existing infrastructure of the West Bank, the water and electricity capacity of these zones will be totally controlled by Israel. Most importantly, Israel will maintain full control of the movement of goods and people between the zones and the outside world. By incorporating Israel’s infrastructure of control within the plans, these projects serve to normalize an illegal occupation and undermine Palestinian political aspirations. 

 

When former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice flew from Washington to Tel Aviv in 2005 to strike a deal with Israel on Palestinian movement and access, it was clear that the US understood that without freedom of movement the Palestinian economy does not stand a chance, even if the economic framework being promoted has nothing to do with Palestinian economic independence. Although it signed the agreement, Israel refused to implement its terms, and the US failure to confront Israel means that the conditions necessary for Palestinian economic sustainability have not been met. 

 

The World Bank acknowledges as much when it states repeatedly in its reports that, even while proclaiming 8 percent economic growth, the “critical private sector investment needed to drive sustainable growth remains hampered by restrictions on movement of people and goods.” It is clear that economic growth is not necessarily equivalent to economic development, especially in a politically charged, donor-driven environment like the Occupied Territories under the quasi-rule of the PA. 

 

The privileged status of the zones also raises ethical concerns. While Israeli restrictions will be eased in order to ensure smooth functioning for foreign investors, indigenous industries will continue to face the same hurdles that have hindered Palestinian industry for decades. Thus, existing businesses will be placed at a comparative disadvantage. 

 

What Needs to Happen? 

 

Donor funds and Palestinian efforts would be better placed if such investments targeted Palestine’s natural economic comparative advantages, for example, tourism and agriculture, without trying to confine their activities to closed zones that will, over time, empty large tracts of land of their productive capacity, not to mention create structural dependency on Israeli good will to allow these closed zones to function properly. In a land that is home to the Church of the Nativity, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Dome of the Rock and dozens or other historic attractions, it makes sense to preserve and develop these existing assets, which have the potential to serve as a pillar of a future state economy. 

 

Converting the industries in the Atarot industrial zone into something more complementary to the historic city of Jerusalem, for example, could serve to underpin Palestine’s tourism sector as well as preserve the sanctity of the greater Jerusalem vicinity. Rather than building new industrial zones, Palestinian interests would be better served if the Atarot zone were returned to Palestinian control. Adjacent to the Atarot complex is the idle Qalandiya airport. The airport, which operated prior to Israel’s occupation in 1967, would be a crucial component in efforts to build Palestine’s tourism sector. 

 

Similarly, confiscating agricultural land to make way for large industrial projects not only strips farmers of their livelihoods, but structurally adjusts a key segment of the labor force that, over time, will lose its skills. Agricultural development in Palestine is not in need of a “zone,” but rather requires Israel to comply with international law, to release Palestinian water resources and remove the myriad of access and movement restrictions that do not allow people or products to travel freely within Palestine and abroad. Trying to concentrate agricultural growth in a limited “zone” merely opens the door for farmers outside of the zone to become economically disenfranchised by public policy, instead of being equally supported regardless of their physical location. 

 

Singing the song of massive job creation in industrial zones without analyzing all of the ramifications could be detrimental to Palestine’s economic and political future. Placing such zones of economic activity closer to population centers and rehabilitating existing near-city industrial areas makes more sense today given the volatile political situation and the need to upgrade existing in-city and near-city zones, many of which pose health and environmental risks to their surrounding communities. Building high-tech zones in the vicinity of university campuses would be a strategic starting point. Better yet, bringing such investments into the universities themselves, which are in dire need of modernization and sustainable development, would have a more lasting impact and be  a better deterrent of political turmoil. 

 

While they might benefit a certain elite, the planned economic zones cannot benefit Palestinian strategic interests. The notion that political differences can be solved through job creation is fundamentally flawed and will not change the reality: 60 percent of Palestinians are internally displaced or dwell in refugee camps just hours from their homes and properties; 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza survive under siege conditions; hundreds of thousands have been illegally detained by Israel; and the economy is micro-managed by a foreign military. The development projects proposed by the international community only normalize the illegal occupation, by working in partnership with Israel to fine-tune its mechanisms of control. 

 

[1] Ma‘an News Agency,

February 2, 2010. 

 

[2] Neve Gordon, Israel’s Occupation (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2008), pp. 62-69. 

 

[3] EconomyWatch.com, April 19, 2010. 

 

[4] Leila Farsakh, “Palestinian Labor Flows to the Israeli Economy: A Finished Story?” Journal of Palestine Studies 32/1 (Autumn 2002). 

 

[5] Neve Gordon, Israel’s Occupation, (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2008), pp.72-5 

 

[6] Anne Meneley, “Time in a Bottle: The Uneasy Circulation of Palestinian Olive Oil,” Middle East Report 248 (Fall 2008). 

 

[7] Ynet, November 8, 2010. 

 

http://www.merip.org/mero/mero111910.html

 

=====================================

5.  Jerusalem Post,

November 20, 2010      

 

 Broken dreams 

 

http://www.jpost.com/Magazine/Features/Article.aspx?id=195896

 

By REBECCA ANNA STOIL

19/11/2010  

 

How the Jewish homeland failed in its primary mission, and broke a young woman’s heart.  

  

Jessica Fishman says she doesn’t want to talk politics. The slender 30-yearold would rather talk about the past, about her dreams to make aliya, her service in the IDF Spokesman’s Office, her years as a student at Herzliya’s Interdisciplinary Center and as a 20-something living in Tel Aviv. She would rather talk about almost anything instead of discussing the story’s end, where dejected and defeated, she left Israel with her life hanging in tatters around her.

 

But for the past few months, Fishman has forced herself to do just that, to show how Israel’s current conflict between the definition of who is a Jew for the purposes of immigration and who is a Jew for the purposes of marriage ultimately led to the collapse of her Zionist dream.

 

On a brief visit, Fishman discussed just that, reflecting on her experiences leading up to her return to the US, and about the warm hug she received from Israelis only as she was about to leave. And she tried to explain how she planned to pick up the pieces, spending the months after her return finishing the book that she started on her experiences as an immigrant, and resettling her life in Colorado, light years away from the white city on the Mediterranean that she had called her home for almost a decade.

 

She grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, in what she describes as “a very Zionistic family.” Her parents were pillars of the Jewish community – her mother was the regional president of Hadassah, her father was president of the local Jewish community center and their synagogue. The Fishman children followed a classic route of synagogue on Shabbat and Jewish day school education. The Fishman family’s first trip to Israel was when she was 13, and she fell in love.

 

Her family’s support of Israel was strong enough to bring her back to live in Jerusalem at the height of the second intifada.

 

THEN A COLLEGE student in the US, Fishman decided that unlike most foreign students, she wasn’t intimidated by the bombs, and participated in a Hadassah-sponsored Hebrew University study abroad program whose numbers had been decimated by low participation due to parents’ and students’ security concerns. Fishman was one of 10 young women out of the 40-person program who participated in the 2001-2002 session, continuing her studies at the Hebrew University even after a bombing in the Frank Sinatra Cafeteria killed nine people and wounded more than 70.

 

She returned to Israel again, this time immediately after graduating college. She participated in the year-long Otzma volunteer program, teaching English to Ethiopian immigrant children in absorption centers in Ashkelon and Migdal Ha’emek. By the end of the year, it was clear to her that her future was here, and she decided that the next step would be to realize her dream of serving in the IDF.

 

“Everyone told me that I was too old to join the army, but I knew that I wanted to work in the IDF Spokesman’s Office,” she recalled. “I came from a journalistic and marketing background, and I thought that it would be the place where I could make the best contribution.”

 

Initially encountering obstacles, Fishman contacted future MK and former IDF spokesman Nachman Shai, who helped her realize her goal.

 

“The army experience gets you ready for Israeli society,” she smiled. “I had some difficult experiences, but the army gets your ready for Israeli society in terms of dealing with bureaucracy.”

 

But although she thought that she had met – and defeated – the bureaucratic beast, she soon discovered that it was lying in wait around the corner.

 

After her release from the army following a full-length term of service, Fishman worked hard on getting a firm footing in Israeli society.

 

“I was in ulpan and worked very hard at getting my Hebrew right – I felt like I was finally getting into Israeli society. I did my MBA at the IDC and I finally met an Israeli boyfriend and I thought that things were going well. I had always planned on living here, on starting my family here. After the army, that was the dream that I wanted to realize.”

 

Her burgeoning relationship seemed to provide the fulfillment of that dream as well. “Even though I knew how hard it would be without having my family here, his family became mine. It was nice to finally not be alone on a Friday night,” she said. “I saw my future falling into place after all the years of trying to be a part of Israeli society. But when it became time to discuss marriage, everything began to fall apart.”

 

THE FIRST TIME the two discussed her mother’s decades-old conversion to Judaism, “it was completely by accident. His cousin was dating a young man and he said, ‘He’s not really Jewish, his mother converted,’ and then I told him that my mom also converted and I see myself as Jewish, even more so than many Israelis because in Israel the rabbinate is a governmental body, meaning religious identity is black or white. But in the US, there is a rainbow of different kinds of Judaism – there are more shades.”

 

Following that conversation, Fishman’s idyllic relationship began to take a wrong turn. Her boyfriend began to demand that she convert – this time through the rabbinate. The topic became the dominant one, and they began to fight over the issue on a daily basis.

 

“I spent a lot of time looking for solutions,” she said. “I found a rabbi who was willing to do an easier conversion, but I couldn’t bow to the rabbinate and say that they had the right to choose my identity. I couldn’t really accept the authority of the Chief Rabbinate, not over me or over Judaism. They don’t own our minds or our Judaism, and I could not give up my principles on that issue.”

 

Her boyfriend, she complained, understood little of the complex situation surrounding conversion before leaping to judgment. “I had to explain to him the laws and history of the ‘who is a Jew’ question in Israel starting with [David] Ben-Gurion – I explained the duality, that on one hand there is one definition under the Law of Return, and another definition that is rabbinic, which is the strictest possible. In the Jewish sources, it is written that you’re never allowed to remind a convert that they’re a convert, but the rabbinic authorities here do just that. According to the state, I have the obligations of a citizen, but I am not entitled to my full rights and privileges, such as being able to be married here.”

 

Acquaintances suggested that if her boyfriend consented, the two should simply go to Cyprus for a civil wedding that would be retroactively recognized. “I asked why I should have to go to Cyprus in order to receive more rights there than in Israel, the country for which I gave up so much to live in. It is infuriating and really wrong for a democratic country to maintain such a situation.”

 

WITH THEIR RELATIONSHIP at a stalemate, the two broke up. “I was brokenhearted,” Fishman recalled. “Losing my future with someone that I loved so much and at the hands of this country that says it is the home for all Jews, but so totally isn’t. It is willing to take money and support from Jews all over the world, but not to see them as full citizens. This attitude is detrimental to the country’s security; we need a Jewish homeland for all Jews, but the threat from the Chief Rabbinate is as big as any external threat, because they are the ones dividing the Jewish people around the world.”

 

The breakup, together with her painful realization that her mother’s conversion would shadow her entire new life in Israel, proved too much for Fishman. Her family in America saw her emotional turmoil, and her mother and sister flew in to help her pack. “I couldn’t do it on my own – it was like cutting off one of my arms,” she reflected, her eyes studying the view of the Mediterranean. “But I just didn’t have the strength to be here any more.”

 

A few days after Independence Day, and eight years after immigrating, Fishman returned to the US.

 

Before returning, she began to search for a way to make sense out of the sudden demise of her dream. After reading an article in The Jerusalem Post that mentioned Hiddush, an organization that supports religious pluralism, she contacted the group and told her story.

 

“Throughout this whole process, I felt like I was wearing a scarlet C of ‘convert,’ just like Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter. I felt initially like Hester that I had to hide my letter, but now I feel empowered.”

 

In her last days in Israel, with the conversion issue in the Knesset warming up, Fishman agreed to an interview with a Hebrew-language newspaper. The article was published a week after she returned to America, and she found herself greeted by an outpouring of support from the society that she had felt rejected her.

 

“People tracked me down on Facebook and wrote me letters about how sorry they were – as well as some making marriage proposals,” she smiled for one of the rare moments in her story. “They told me that they agree that the rabbinic authorities are overstepping their bounds.”

 

AFTER LEAVING, Fishman said, she “threw myself into the process of writing a book about aliya and my aliya experience.” In the ensuing months, she has finished a first draft with the help of a mentor she met in Israel, devoting hours a day to writing. “It is a book about all of the difficulties, the bureaucracy, but making light of it – using my personal experience, but in a light-hearted way.”

 

She said that she discusses the conversion issue, but “tried to make as much light of it as I can.” She doubts she will ever return to live here, but will not completely rule it out. “There are parts of me that love the country, but other parts of me that are so disappointed. I hope that my story does not deter people – it is a great country, but it has its problems, and we need to work on fixing them. In Israel, I can get into a taxi, argue with the driver over five shekels, and a moment later, he’ll invite me to dinner and try and set me up with his son. Once I was talking to my banker, and crying about financial issues, and she ended up inviting me over for Rosh Hashana dinner when she found out that I had nowhere to go.”

 

What Fishman is certain of, however, is that she will stay active in the Jewish community wherever she lives and “work specifically with this issue to prevent other stories like this one.”

 

When asked what steps she believes need to be taken to prevent other such stories, she is initially uncomfortable, emphasizing that she is not a politician, but then warms up to the issue. “There needs to be more pluralism in Israel – I’m torn – I want this country to stay a Jewish state, but it also needs to be democratic.

 

I think its time for Judaism within the government to be more progressive, pluralistic and democratic. That requires not having a monopoly in the rabbinate, placing rabbis, but also other professionals in a body like the rabbinate where there are more options for marriage.

 

The marriage that the rabbinate performs is not a marriage that I want. I don’t want to be bought like a slave. I don’t want to have to get a get. I think its very primitive.”

 

EVEN BEFORE she and her boyfriend broke up, Fishman had told him that they would need to find a Conservative synagogue for their family, an idea that she says is foreign to many secular Israelis. “There need to be more options. In the US, we’re used to paying for religious services, whereas in Israel its all sponsored by the government, and so people do not experience the other streams.”

 

Having more options available, she thinks, would not only have solved her crisis, but would actually strengthen Judaism here by “helping to create a more unified and more Jewish country that would be less polarized.”

 

Jewish unity, said Fishman, should be valued.

 

“Jews abroad sometimes feel like they don’t have the right to speak up, but without a strong Jewish Diaspora, we won’t have a strong Jewish state – it goes both ways. We need a strong Jewish community that goes back and forth.”

 

That, she said, is part of the message that she now carries with her. “Now that I”m speaking out, maybe the pain and sorrow I went through can bring about some kind of change.”

 

The [by]Law of Return

 

In her last weeks in Israel, Jessica Fishman worked closely with the organization Hiddush – For Religious Freedom and Equality in Israel, in an effort to try to get her story out.

 

“They were so supportive of me, and were good friends when I was going through everything,” recalled Fishman.

 

Rabbi Uri Regev, director of Hiddush, says that Fishman’s story may be unique, but that the context is much greater.

 

“This story should drive home for both Israeli and overseas leadership the fact that people like Jessica can make aliya under the Law of Return, but that doesn’t mean that they will necessarily have the full rights of citizens. When one asks the question of who is a Jew in Israel, there is unfortunately no one answer. The State of Israel extended its embrace to a broader definition of who is a Jew according to the Law of Return, but did not make the rest of the legislation consistent.

 

“Jessica was registered as a Jewess and received citizenship, but the embrace ends there. When you look at recent developments, you see that even now some Modern Orthodox converts wake up one day and find out that from the perspective of the rabbinate, they are not Jewish enough. More and more municipal rabbis are refusing to recognize even lenient Orthodox conversion.”

 

Regev said that the conversion legislation currently being examined in the Knesset would not provide any clear solution to Fishman’s situation.

 

Instead, he proposed, “the State of Israel should grant full legal recognition of conversions from all major streams, as well as the right to marry through both civil marriage and all recognized streams.”

 

Regev argued that “the clear majority of Israelis support civil marriage and marriage from all major recognized streams.”

 

Fishman’s story, he said, points to the fact that the current situation constitutes a “violation of basic rights” by failing to provide her with equal opportunity to be married under the law, and equal status under the law relative to other Israeli citizens. 

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on DOROTHY ONLINE NEWSLETTER

HOW ”THE MIDDLE EAST’S ONLY DEMOCRACY” CRUSHES DISSENT

NOVANEWS
 November 20, 2010 
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by Tammy Obeidallah

 

Ever since becoming an activist on behalf of Palestine some ten years ago, I have found ironic humor in the label, “The Middle East’s Only Democracy” used by American policymakers and media in describing the Jewish State. This statement is erroneous on two counts. Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of a democracy knows that Israelis overwhelmingly shun the values associated with such a system; furthermore quite a few countries in the Middle East hold elections regularly. Most recently, Jordan elected a new parliament
 

Of course there are those who argue that a democracy simply means “majority rule,” or that government leaders are elected, so technically Israel would qualify. “Democracy” is defined by www.thefreedictionary.com, “government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.”  So in the purely political sense, as Israeli leaders are elected, they have democracy. However, the fifth definition of democracy reads “the principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community,” a concept diametrically opposed to Israel’s inherently racist establishment.
 

Not only is Israel content merely to expand settlements on stolen land and deny Arab citizens the basic rights of religious freedom, education, health care and mobility, any form of dissent is quashed. Arab Israeli Knesset member Haneen Zoabi was stripped of her parliamentary privileges for participating in the Gaza freedom flotilla. In addition to receiving numerous death threats, Zoabi was recently shot in the back and neck with rubber bullets during a protest against a march by militant settlers in the town of Umm al-Fahm. Under Zionism, there is no such thing as freedom of assembly or free speech.
 

Take for instance a recent haiku contest on Facebook sponsored by El Al Airlines. Haiku is a Japanese form of poetry requiring three non-rhyming lines:  the first and third line consisting of five syllables, the second line containing seven. I swallowed my pride and became a fan of the page; the possible temporary damage to my reputation seemed well worth it when considering the unwitting audience I would have. However, shortly after I began posting the haiku, a chorus of “she has to be banned” ensued.
 

I found out that indeed, I had been blocked from posting comments on the site after an hour or so. The El Al fan page administrator deleted all my haiku. I should not have been surprised.
 

This is the modus operandi of the Zionist machine. Dissent is not tolerated and must be completely obliterated, as in the case of Congressmen and women who dare try and stand up to it:  Paul Findley (re-districted out), Cynthia McKinney (trumped up charge assaulting a guard who was harassing her; victim of a smear campaign and voted out), Dennis Kucinich (marginalized and belittled), Jim Traficant (jailed). Prominent figures in the media are silenced, most recently the legendary Helen Thomas and Rick Sanchez, formerly of CNN. Numerous Israeli youth sit in jails for refusing to military duty in the West Bank.

 

The most sinister, however is the way activists Rachel Corrie, Tristan Anderson,Tom Hurndall, Furkan Dogan and 8 other flotilla participants were silenced, along with the untold thousands of Palestinians who have been murdered since 1948 for the “crime” of resisting occupation or while merely trying to live out their daily lives in their homeland.
 

Yet the legacies of these brave individuals continue, and to honor them, I put forth the haiku again in a place where the hasbara machine cannot penetrate.
 

Ignorant tourists
Celebrate sixty-plus years
Of ethnic cleansing.
 
Bustling Tel Aviv
Welcoming occupiers
Atop Lydda’s graves.
 
Stealing Holy Land
As amid scorched olive trees
More settlements rise.
 
Arrogant squatters
Frolic on stolen beaches
Kids in Gaza die.
 
El Al transporting
Still more and more invaders
to dear Palestine.
 
Flight attendants’ thobes
Food service is falafel
Theft of a culture.
 
Big jet engines scream
Not unlike those that have rained
Hell upon Gaza.
 
And then there was my daughter’s contribution:
El Al carrying
“Israeli” stowaways to
Steal from Palestine
 
El Al’s jet engines
Cannot drown out the screams of
White phosphorus wounds.
 
Airline of the blind
You see touristy mudbaths
Not Gaza’s bloodbath.

Tammy Obeidallah

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on HOW ”THE MIDDLE EAST’S ONLY DEMOCRACY” CRUSHES DISSENT

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