Categorized | Middle East

A.Loewenstein Online Newsletter

NOVANEWS

 

As Mubarak’s thugs shoot into a crowd of unarmed civilians

Posted: 02 Feb 2011 10:38 PM PST

Israel and Washington must be so proud of their boy Mubarak:

 

 

Of course Wikileaks matters, profoundly

Posted: 02 Feb 2011 10:34 PM PST

While the New York Times releases a book about Wikileaks and editor Bill Keller feels the need to smear Julian Assange while saying how much he loves America, Guardian editor Alan Rusbringer is far more nuanced in his explanation of the relationship between corporate media and Wikileaks:

The challenge from WikiLeaks for media in general (not to mention states, companies or global corporations caught up in the dazzle of unwanted scrutiny) was not a comfortable one. The website’s initial instincts were to publish more or less everything, and they were at first deeply suspicious of any contact between their colleagues on the newspapers and any kind of officialdom. Talking to the State Department, Pentagon or White House, as the New York Times did before each round of publication, was fraught territory in terms of keeping the relationship with WikiLeaks on an even keel. By the time of the Cablegate publication, Assange himself, conscious of the risks of causing unintentional harm to dissidents or other sources, offered to speak to the State Department – an offer that was rejected.

WikiLeaks and similar organisations are, it seems to me, generally admirable in their single minded view of transparency and openness. What has been remarkable is how the sky has not fallen in despite the truly enormous amounts of information released over the months. The enemies of WikiLeaks have made repeated assertions of the harm done by the release. It would be a good idea if someone would fund some rigorous research by a serious academic institution about the balance between harms and benefits. To judge from the response we had from countries without the benefit of a free press, there was a considerable thirst for the information in the cables – a hunger for knowledge which contrasted with the occasional knowing yawns from metropolitan sophisticates who insisted that the cables told us nothing new. Instead of a kneejerk stampede to more secrecy, this could be the opportunity to draw up a score sheet of the upsides and drawbacks of forced transparency.

 

 

New Zealand PM says foreign policy dictated by keeping Israel happy

Posted: 02 Feb 2011 05:53 PM PST

The country’s Jewish Prime Minister, John Key, was on a TV breakfast program earlier in the week and made it very clear that democracy in the Arab world was a threat to Israeli apartheid. “Stability” and “moderation” are two vastly over-used words; they simply mean keeping Arabs oppressed to please Israel. No more:

Key: It’s a serious situation in Egypt. As we’ve seen, a number of people have lost their lives already. And, worryingly actually, is that Egypt has been one of the few Arab nations that has recognised Israel, in fact the only one. And has been very peaceful with Israel. So, the concern is what that might mean for the wider position in the Middle East. So, a real worry….Breakfast presenter Corin Dann: I’ll just take you back to that issue of the support for Israel. Egypt has been a very strong ally for the West, which makes this a very difficult situation for the likes of the US, which, I know, has not called for Mubarak to go yet. Where does New Zealand sit on that?

Key: The New Zealand Government wants a peaceful outcome to this. In the end, whoever governs your country is a matter for the citizens. And in the case of Mubarak he’s been there for a long time, 30-odd years. We respect the fact that he has done his very best to lead a country which has recognised Israel and, therefore, has wanted to make sure the position in Middle East has been a peaceful one. It’s not easy, it’s very complex, and there’s a lot of emotion.

Dann: Are you calling for him to go?

Key: No.

Dann: I guess the concern is the Muslim Brotherhood. The potential for an Islamist movement to come in and fill that vacuum. Is that the concern?

Key: Well, the concern is that there are some nations that simply do not recognise Israel. And, taken to the extreme, in Iran, Ahmadinejad has said he basically wants to see Israel wiped off the face of the Earth. So, it’s a very serious situation. Egypt’s provided stability and leadership and calmness. Obviously, the hope always being that that position would spread across the Middle East, that it would be possible to broker a two-state solution, with recognition of Palestine as well but this certainly looks like it’s taking things, potentially, in the wrong direction.’

 

 

From the central streets of Cairo

Posted: 02 Feb 2011 05:37 PM PST

 

 

Mark my words; a day will come when Palestinians will rise as one

Posted: 02 Feb 2011 05:15 PM PST

Amira Hass on the infrastructure of control imposed by Israel on the Palestinians and she asks;

Sooner or later, the protective nets the Israeli tyranny has excelled at creating will tear. Will the masses flood the streets then, will they break through the barriers and roadblocks, march to Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and Psagot, as my colleagues Akiva Eldar and Aluf Benn have predicted?

Let us not delude ourselves. There will be no confusion here. Precise instructions, clear and immediate, will be given to the Israeli soldiers. The IDF of Operation Cast Lead will not give up its heritage. Even if it is a march of 200,000 unarmed civilians – the order will be to shoot. There will not be 10 dead, because the army of Cast Lead will want to outdo itself. We have not yet reached the stage in which the machinery of Israeli repression breaks up into its component parts – the people – who instead of obeying, begin to think.

 

 

What Zionism has done to my people

Posted: 02 Feb 2011 04:57 PM PST

Evidence for the prosecution (and there’s mountains more):

Jimmy Carter has long been the target of what MJ Rosenberg calls “the Status Quo Lobby” (he’s right to deny them the “pro-Israel” label).

Now an enterprising attorney has filed a class-action suit against the former president — and publisher Simon and Shuster — that can only be seen as an ideologically-driven nuisance lawsuit.

From Tablet:

“Yesterday, a class action (download here) was filed in Manhattan federal court accusing Jimmy Carter and Simon & Schuster of consumer fraud for the former president’s 2006 book, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid. It alleges that the author and publisher marketed the book as a totally factual account of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in part based on the credibility of a former president and key character in the history, but that the book actually contains “demonstrable falsehoods, omissions, and knowing misrepresentations designed to promote Carter’s agenda of anti-Israel propaganda.”

“Simon & Schuster, the case alleges, has refused to issue corrections despite “irrefutable proof” that key reporting in the book, which is extremely unpopular with many pro-Israel groups, does not tell the truth about events such as the 1949 and 1967 ceasefires and the 2000 negotiations at Camp David. (The book was controversial when it was published in part because of the title’s deployment of the a-word, which has since become a much more accepted part of the discourse.)”

 

 

At least somebody appreciates the vital importance of Wikileaks

Posted: 02 Feb 2011 04:17 PM PST

Thank you:

In the estimation of the Sydney Peace Foundation, Australian WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange stands alongside the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela.

As he outrages and embarrasses world leaders by leaking secret US diplomatic cables – and continues to face down allegations of sex offences – Mr Assange has been chosen by the foundation to receive a rare gold medal for peace with justice.

The honour, previously given only to the Dalai Lama, Mr Mandela and Japanese lay Buddhist leader Daisaku Ikeda in the foundation’s 14-year history, has been bestowed for Mr Assange’s “exceptional courage and initiative in pursuit of human rights”.

 

Foundation director Stuart Rees said today the Australian’s work had challenged the old order of power in politics and journalism.

“Peace from our point of view is really about justice, fairness and the attainment of human rights,” Professor Rees said.

“Assange has championed people’s right to know and has challenged the centuries-old tradition that governments are entitled to keep the public in a state of ignorance.”

Mr Assange was informed of the award last month and said it would be an “enormous pleasure and honour” to receive it, Professor Rees said.

The gold medal is distinct from the annual Sydney Peace Prize awarded by the foundation.

By leaking thousands of US diplomatic cables, Mr Assange had made a historically significant contribution to the operation of democracy, the Sydney Peace Foundation’s executive decided.

“WikiLeaks has exposed the extent to which governments, the military and business all over the world have used secrecy to cloak their real intentions and activities,” it said.

Professor Rees said Mr Assange’s work was in the tradition of Tom Paine’s Rights of Man and Daniel Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers – “challenging the old order of power in politics and in journalism”.

“In the Paine, Ellsberg and Assange cases, those in power moved quickly to silence their critics even by perverting the course of justice,” he said in a statement.

Mr Assange remains in Britain on bail and under house arrest awaiting a court decision on whether he should be extradited to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations.

The foundation said the award would be presented to him in Sydney in mid-May or at a ceremony in London later in the year, depending on his whereabouts.

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