Archive | February 10th, 2011

The Palestine Papers or How Everything You Thought You Knew about Peace Process Was Wrong

NOVANEWS

 

Belatedly another Truthout essay on the Palestine Papers:

Common wisdom is that the 20-year-old peace process has been edging towards a two-state solution, based on a formula that half the world can recite verbatim: borders following the pre-1967-war armistice line with minor and mutual adjustments, a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem and a land bridge between Gaza and the West Bank, with refugees either repatriated or given adequate compensation. Common wisdom has frequently assumed that resolution has been prevented by Palestinian rejectionism, as the Palestinian Authority (PA) negotiators make one unreasonable demand after another to their Israeli counterparts, while American mediators helplessly try to cajole the two sides closer and closer to peace.

With the publication of the Palestine Papers – a massive document trove leaked to Qatar-based Al Jazeera consisting of 1600 maps, meeting minutes, transcripts, strategy reports and various other documents from the Palestinian negotiating team – what used to be common wisdom should now, very publicly, be understood as common delusion.

What the American press presented as peace negotiations facilitated by an impartial American government are now clearly perceptible as negotiations over the terms of surrender. Waving the white flag was Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, speaking for the PA. Dictating the terms of surrender were various Israeli governments, from Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni to Benyamin Netanyahu. And pushing along the process with humiliating prods were American negotiators like Condoleezza Rice and George Mitchell.

[Read the rest there because I can’t post it here]

Technorati Tags: Adam Hanieh, Gaza, Israel, Karma Nabulsi, Noam Chomsky, occupation, Palestine, Palestine Papers, peace process, political economy, Zionism 

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Dorothy Online Newsletter

NOVANEWS

 

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem

Chair of West Midland PSC

 

Dear All,

It is now 10:20 PM here in Israel.  As with many others throughout the world this evening, am waiting for the anticipated speech by Hosni Mubarak.  The electronic media seems certain that he will resign.  BBC and other TV programs are less certain.  In any event, we will know before, I presume, tomorrow morning.  Because I don’t want to miss the speech, and because I don’t want to work till 2:00 AM (have to be up at 6:00AM), my intro will be brief.

Of the 5 items below, the first 2 are about Al-Arakib, that Bedouin village that belongs to citizens of Israel, and which has been demolished by Israel 11 times these past 2 months!  But the people do not give up.  They refuse, however despondent they must be, to leave and let colonists or trees or other artifacts grasp their land.  The first of the two items below relates that today there were violent clashes—which normally means that the Israeli police and military were violent.  The 2nd item is an urgent request by Rabbis for Human Rights for adults to come and help the residents of the village keep the wolves from their doors.  But it is not merely a request, it is a special one—asking adults to come so that the village children can be spared the melee.

The third item is a link to a video—brief but worth your 3 or so minutes.  It is of a photo exhibition of results of Israel’s infamous military campaign in Gaza, known as Molten Lead.

The final two items are both by Robert Fisk—written before he or anyone knows what is to follow.  Will tonight see a takeover by the Egyptian military, which will maintain the old order?, will Mubarak really resign?, or will this be the true beginning of what the protesters really want—‘freedom’ is one word that is repeated frequently.  May it be that beginning for freedom and civil rights and leaders sufficiently wise to pave the way to a better life for the populace.

All the best,

Dorothy

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1. Ynet,

February 10, 2011

Coming to Blows

Structures demolished and rebuilt again and again Photo: Roee Idan

Clashes in Bedouin village leave 6 wounded

Residents of southern village of Al-Arakib clash with JNF workers who came to plant trees in the area. Three people arrested for allegedly hurling stones. Balad condemns government

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4026687,00.html

Ilana Curiel

Violent clashes in disputed village: Residents of al-Arakib, the Bedouin village not recognized by the State of Israel, clashed Thursday with police forces and JNF officials who came to plant trees in the area. Four women and two men were lightly injured and three people were arrested on suspicion of hurling stones. The wounded were taken to the Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba.

The clashes broke out after residents and activists disrupted JNF forestry work in the area.

Last month, the Beersheba District Court cancelled the interim injunction against JNF and Civil Administration forestry work on the village’s land. The presiding judge ordered the village representatives to pay for the State’s legal costs amounting to NIS 10,000 ($2,738).

And yet, the judge also expressed criticism over the State’s conduct. “Both sides would do well to show restraint, not only because of the fact that the committee for the implementation of the Goldberg Committee’s conclusions is completing its work as we speak, but also because of the fact that restraint serves the public’s interest,” she stated in the verdict.

Following the events, the Balad party called for a general strike by Arab-Israelis and announced it will work to bring the matter before the UN and international organizations. “Balad condemns the government’s criminal policy and barbaric treatment of the residents,” a statement on behalf of the party noted.

Over the past few months, the village of al-Arakib became a permanent battlefield between residents and law enforcement forces. Clashes have broken out between the two sides over a dozen times when Land Administration officials came to the village to demolish illegal structures. Each time the structures are demolished the residents rebuild them again, without obtaining permits.

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

2.  [from Rabbis for Human Rights]

Today the heroes of El-Arakiv were the children.

We can doubt whether or not it is right to put children in front of a violent struggle, but the fact is that when 100 children, women and men entrenched themselves in their poor sheds and were attacked by sponge balls, beatings, pepper gas and detentions,  and there was plenty of blood, even the Hebrew newspapers, which had previously been uninterested in El Arakiv, reported on the events.

For those of us who find it uncomfortable for children be in frontliet of the struggle, the solution is that we, on Sunday and Monday mornings, will respond in our  hundreds. This time I am asking that everyone who can, open up your calendar to come in great numbers in the mornings of next week, starting Sunday.

We are looking into the possibility of arranging transportation, but meanwhile we will coordinate rides between those who need and those who are offering. If you need a ride, or have space in your car, please contact Kobi at 050-2345251 (not on Shabbat)

There are signs that the pressure is working. There are executives from JNF who are beginning to request that the plan be dropped. Even the evangelical group that is funding have made it known on their website that they are not responsible for the areas where trees are being planted, that only the JNF is responsible for these areas. But we need pressure in the field to enable these measures to succeed.

Please set aside at lease one day in next week, preferably Sunday or Monday, to come to El Arakiv.

שומרי משפט

הרכבים 9 ירושלים, 94362   טל: 02-6482757   |   פקס: 02-6783611   דוא”ל: info@rhr.israel.net

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

3.  A link to a brief video (about 3 minutes) of a photo exhibit in London depicting results of the Israeli military campaign called Molten Lead (should have been called ‘Death by phosphorus and lead”) in December 2008-January 2009.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-12398823

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

4.

The Independent,

9 February 2011

Robert Fisk: Week 3, day 16, and with every passing hour, the regime digs in deeper

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-week-3-day-16-and-with-every-passing-hour-the-regime-digs-in-deeper-2208625.html

Our writer sees Cairo’s protesters rally again in Tahrir Square

MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images

Tens of thousands of anti-government supporters wave national flags as they gather for the 15th consecutive day to demonstrate in central Cairo’s Tahrir Square on 8 February 2011, demanding the ouster of embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Blood turns brown with age. Revolutions do not. Vile rags now hang in a corner of the square, the last clothes worn by the martyrs of Tahrir: a doctor, a lawyer among them, a young woman, their pictures strewn above the crowds, the fabric of the T-shirts and trousers stained the colour of mud. But yesterday, the people honoured their dead in their tens of thousands for the largest protest march ever against President Hosni Mubarak’s dictatorship, a sweating, pushing, shouting, weeping, joyful people, impatient, fearful that the world may forget their courage and their sacrifice. It took three hours to force our way into the square, two hours to plunge through a sea of human bodies to leave. High above us, a ghastly photomontage flapped in the wind: Hosni Mubarak’s head superimposed upon the terrible picture of Saddam Hussein with a noose round his neck.

Uprisings don’t follow timetables. And Mubarak will search for some revenge for yesterday’s renewed explosion of anger and frustration at his 30-year rule. For two days, his new back-to-work government had tried to portray Egypt as a nation slipping back into its old, autocratic torpor. Gas stations open, a series of obligatory traffic jams, banks handing out money – albeit in suitably small amounts – shops gingerly doing business, ministers sitting to attention on state television as the man who would remain king for another five months lectured them on the need to bring order out of chaos – his only stated reason for hanging grimly to power.

But Issam Etman proved him wrong. Shoved and battered by the thousands around him, he carried his five-year- old daughter Hadiga on his shoulders. “I am here for my daughter,” he shouted above the protest. “It is for her freedom that I want Mubarak to go. I am not poor. I run a transport company and a gas station. Everything is shut now and I’m suffering, but I don’t care. I am paying my staff from my own pocket. This is about freedom. Anything is worth that.” And all the while, the little girl sat on Issam Etman’s shoulders and stared at the epic crowds in wonderment; no Harry Potter extravaganza would match this.

Many of the protesters – so many were flocking to the square yesterday evening that the protest site had overflowed onto the Nile river bridges and the other squares of central Cairo – had come for the first time. The soldiers of Egypt’s Third Army must have been outnumbered 40,000 to one and they sat meekly on their tanks and armoured personnel carriers, smiling nervously as old men and youths and young women sat around their tank tracks, sleeping on the armour, heads on the great steel wheels; a military force turned to impotence by an army of dissent. Many said they had come because they were frightened; because they feared the world was losing interest in their struggle, because Mubarak had not yet left his palace, because the crowds had grown smaller in recent days, because some of the camera crews had left for other tragedies and other dictatorships, because the smell of betrayal was in the air. If the Republic of Tahrir dries up, then the national awakening is over. But yesterday proved that the revolution is alive.

Its mistake was to underestimate the ability of the regime to live too, to survive, to turn on its tormentors, to switch off the cameras and harass the only voice of these people – the journalists – and to persuade those old enemies of revolution, the “moderates” whom the West loves, to debase their only demand. What is five more months if the old man goes in September? Even Amr Moussa, most respected of the crowds’ favourite Egyptians, turns out to want the old boy to carry on to the end. And woeful, in truth, is the political understanding of this innocent but often untutored mass.

Regimes grow iron roots. When the Syrians left Lebanon in 2005, the Lebanese thought that it was enough to lop off the head, to get the soldiers and the intelligence officers out of their country. But I remember the astonishment with which we all discovered the depth of Syria’s talons. They lay deep in the earth of Lebanon, to the very bedrock. The assassinations went on. And so, too, it is in Egypt. The Ministry of Interior thugs, the state security police, the dictator who gives them their orders, are still in operation – and if one head should roll, there will be other heads to be pasted onto the familiar portrait to send those cruel men back into the streets.

There are some in Egypt – I met one last night, a friend of mine – who are wealthy and genuinely support the democracy movement and want Mubarak to go but are fearful that if he steps now from his palace, the military will be able to impose their own emergency laws before a single reform has been discussed. “I want to get reforms in place before the man leaves,” my friend said. “If he goes now, the new leader will be under no obligation to carry out reforms. These should be agreed to now and done quickly – it’s the legislature, the judiciary, the constitutional changes, the presidential terms that matter. As soon as Mubarak leaves, the men with brass on their shoulders will say: ‘It’s over – go home!’ And then we’ll have a five-year military council. So let the old man stay till September.”

But it’s easy to accuse the hundreds of thousands of democracy protestors of naivety, of simple-mindedness, of over-reliance on the Internet and Facebook. Indeed, there is growing evidence that “virtual reality” became reality for the young of Egypt, that they came to believe in the screen rather than the street – and that when they took to the streets, they were deeply shocked by the state violence and the regime’s continued, brutal, physical strength. Yet for people to taste this new freedom is overwhelming. How can a people who have lived under dictatorship for so long plan their revolution? We in the West forget this. We are so institutionalized that everything in our future is programmed. Egypt is a thunderstorm without direction, an inundation of popular expression which does not fit neatly into our revolutionary history books or our political meteorology.

All revolutions have their “martyrs”, and the faces of Ahmed Bassiouni and young Sally Zahrani and Moahmoud Mohamed Hassan float on billboards around the square, along with pictures of dreadfully mutilated heads with the one word “unidentified” printed beside them with appalling finality. If the crowds abandon Tahrir now, these dead will also have been betrayed. And if we really believe the regime-or-chaos theory which still grips Washington and London and Paris, the secular, democratic, civilized nature of this great protest will also be betrayed. The deadly Stalinism of the massive Mugamma government offices, the tattered green flag of the pathetic Arab League headquarters, the military-guarded pile of the Egyptian Museum with the golden death mask of Tutankhamen – a symbol of Egypt’s mighty past – buried deep into its halls; these are the stage props of the Republic of Tahrir.

Week three – day sixteen – lacks the romance and the promise of the Day of Rage and the great battles against the Egyptian Ministry of Interior goons and the moment, just over a week ago, when the army refused Mubarak’s orders to crush, quite literally, the people in the square. Will there be a week six or a day 32? Will the cameras still be there? Will the people? Will we? Yesterday proved our predictions wrong again. But they will have to remember that the iron fingernails of this regime have long ago grown into the sand, deeper than the pyramids, more powerful than ideology. We have not seen the last of this particular creature. Nor of its vengeance.

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

5.  The Independent,

10 February 2011

Robert Fisk: Hypocrisy is exposed by the wind of change sweeping Arab world

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-hypocrisy-is-exposed-by-the-wind-of-change-2209881.html

So when the Arabs cry out for the very future that Obama outlined, we show them disrespect.

There is nothing like an Arab revolution to show up the hypocrisy of your friends. Especially if that revolution is one of civility and humanism and powered by an overwhelming demand for the kind of democracy that we enjoy in Europe and America. The pussyfooting nonsense uttered by Obama and La Clinton these past two weeks is only part of the problem. From “stability” to “perfect storm” – Gone With the Wind might have recommended itself to the State Department if they really must pilfer Hollywood for their failure to adopt moral values in the Middle East – we’ve ended up with the presidential “now-means-yesterday”, and “orderly transition”, which translates: no violence while ex-air force General Mubarak is put out to graze so that ex-intelligence General Suleiman can take over the regime on behalf of America and Israel.

Fox News has already told its viewers in America that the Muslim Brotherhood – about the “softest” of Islamist groups in the Middle East – is behind the brave men and women who have dared to resist the state security police, while the mass of French “intellectuals” (the quotation marks are essential for poseurs like Bernard-Henri Lévy have turned, in Le Monde’s imperishable headline, into “the intelligentsia of silence”.

And we all know why. Alain Finkelstein talks about his “admiration” for the democrats but also the need for “vigilance” – and this is surely a low point for any ‘philosophe’ – “because today we know above all that we don’t know how everything is going to turn out.” This almost Rumsfeldian quotation is gilded by Lévy’s own preposterous line that “it is essential to take into account the complexity of the situation”. Oddly enough that is exactly what the Israelis always say when some misguided Westerner suggests that Israel should stop stealing Arab land in the West Bank for its colonists.

Indeed Israel’s own reaction to the momentous events in Egypt – that this might not be the time for democracy in Egypt (thus allowing it to keep the title of “the only democracy in the Middle East”) – has been as implausible as it has been self-defeating. Israel will be much safer surrounded by real democracies than by vicious dictators and autocratic kings. To his enormous credit, the French historian Daniel Lindenberg told the truth this week. “We must, alas, admit the reality: many intellectuals believe, deep down, that the Arab people are congenitally backward.”

There is nothing new in this. It applies to our subterranean feelings about the whole Muslim world. Chancellor Merkel of Germany announces that multiculturalism doesn’t work, and a pretender to the Bavarian royal family told me not so long ago that there were too many Turks in Germany because “they didn’t want to be part of German society”. Yet when Turkey itself – as near a perfect blend of Islam and democracy as you can find in the Middle East right now – asks to join the European Union and share our Western civilisation, we search desperately for any remedy, however racist, to prevent her membership.

In other words, we want them to be like us, providing they stay away. And then, when they prove they want to be like us but don’t want to invade Europe, we do our best to install another American-trained general to rule them. Just as Paul Wolfowitz reacted to the Turkish parliament’s refusal to allow US troops to invade Iraq from southern Turkey by asking if “the generals don’t have something to say about this”, we are now reduced to listening while US defence secretary Robert Gates fawns over the Egyptian army for their “restraint” – apparently failing to realise that it is the people of Egypt, the proponents of democracy, who should be praised for their restraint and non-violence, not a bunch of brigadiers.

So when the Arabs want dignity and self-respect, when they cry out for the very future which Obama outlined in his famous – now, I suppose, infamous – Cairo speech of June 2009, we show them disrespect and casuistry. Instead of welcoming democratic demands, we treat them as a disaster. It is an infinite relief to find serious American journalists like Roger Cohen going “behind the lines” on Tahrir Square to tell the unvarnished truth about this hypocrisy of ours. It is an unmitigated disgrace when their leaders speak. Macmillan threw aside colonial pretensions of African unpreparedness for democracy by talking of the “wind of change”. Now the wind of change is blowing across the Arab world. And we turn our backs upon it.

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Zionist Mu-Barak: Can’t Take a Hint

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Hosni Mu-Barak like so many with power, can’t give it up and certainly can’t take a hint, from the Egyptian people.

He is hoping the longer he holds on, that the greater the chance of the protests dissipating and him being able to fiddle the elections in September, as he and the ruling regime have done for decades.

I imagine that his stubbornness will only invigorate those that have sensed the taste of freedom, without the 30 years of his dictatorship and the emergency powers.

Hosni Mu-Barak is clearly worried that once he leaves the Presidency he’ll be fair game and liable for assassination, as often happens with dictators and despots, but there’s a broader picture here because in many ways he is a figurehead for a wider regime with corruption and repression embedded in it.

Those factors and the dire economic circumstances faced by so many Egyptians fuel the protests.

The sooner that the Egyptians are rid of Mu-Barak and his henchmen the better, the sooner ordinary Egyptians can live without the threat of jail, a beating or lifelong poverty the better.

Go Mu-Barak, go now.

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News**News**News

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Let’s Go to Plan B

NOVANEWS

by crescentandcross  

 

by Philip Giraldi, February 10, 2011

 

Albert Einstein is often quoted as saying that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is a definition of insanity. He might have been describing the foreign policy of the United States of America. In the past week we long suffering citizens have seen our government stand by the dictator in Egypt, then call on him to go, and most recently support his staying on while at the same time publicly demanding that some transition start immediately. All of which is not doing the same thing over and over except when one considers that the US Department of State and White House have followed precisely the same dysfunctional pattern when dealing with other client states throughout the Middle East and in Central Asia. Take one position based on faulty and incomplete information, then take a contrary position when it appears that the first position was rash, finally shifting into yet a third formulation when numbers one and two turn out to be fraught with unintended consequences.

What exactly is happening in Egypt and what is the United States interest in events there? Well, to put it simply, Egypt has been ruled for thirty years by a dictator who has not hesitated to kill or torture his own people. His military, which is his primary support, has received massive assistance from Washington, totaling more than $60 billion, as a bribe for Egypt’s betrayal of the Palestinians through its signing of a peace treaty with Israel that has enabled the latter to dismember the last vestiges of a possible Palestinian state. Apart from wanting to prop up a dubious arrangement whereby Israel’s most powerful neighbor is neutralized, the United States has no vital interest whatsoever in talking nice to Egypt. The claim that a hostile Egypt might close the Suez Canal is nonsensical as the country relies heavily on the income that it generates, whoever is in charge.

And what has been the result of Washington’s tolerance of Mubarak? The Egyptian authorities have been able to suppress any genuine popularly mandated government and have turned the country into a police state for its citizens, a side that is never seen by the tourists who visit the historic sites. The beneficiaries of the corruption-fueled largesse have been Mubarak’s family plus senior civil servants and military officers who are close to the regime, all of whom live extraordinarily well in a country mired in poverty. While all of this has been taking place, the United States has looked the other way, occasionally making noises about reform without any intention of rocking the boat.

Last week’s unleashing of government-paid and -organized thugs to beat on demonstrators demanding their fundamental rights as human beings (endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights is how America’s Founders put it), should be enough to convince anyone that Mubarak’s attempt to hang on to power in Egypt is flat out immoral. It should be condemned without any ifs ands or buts, but when Washington’s policymakers preach about American values they always prove to be singularly lacking in any of those virtues when they actually deal with foreigners. And American politics are so mired in weasel words that the usual mantras quickly emerge whenever actual change is discussed. Barack and Hillary support democratic transformation BUT WE have to control the transition process, WE have to keep Islamic parties out, WE have to make sure the peace treaty with Israel survives, WE have to insure minority rights, and WE have to micromanage every step along the way to make sure the result is acceptable TO US. It doesn’t leave much for the Egyptians to do except say “yes” when prompted to do so.

And there are bad guys hiding under every third world bush, or, in the case of Egypt, behind every sand dune. Sure, a lot of people in the developing world hate America. When the White House actually does discover people fatuously described as extremists emerging in these tortured lands it fails to comprehend how Washington’s own support of dictators and military governments has created the extremism. Didn’t the CIA operation against the Soviets in Afghanistan produce al-Qaeda, a group that Americans are now spending $1 trillion a year attempting to destroy?

How refreshing it would be to hear a Secretary of State or President say “We fully support the right of the Egyptian people to make their own decisions regarding their own lives and their destinies without any reservations or conditions on our part.”  And also say the same for the Tunisians, Iranians, Jordanians, Yemenis, Syrians, Lebanese, Afghans, Algerians, Moroccans, Libyans, Pakistanis, and Somalis. There are probably a few others that I am missing, but they are included too. The point is if you genuinely accept that human beings have basic dignity and rights you have to believe that all the way, not only when it is convenient or when it supports a narrowly construed and probably dishonest interest. And the United States should pledge that it absolutely will stop interfering to produce “correct” outcomes in all the countries that are now seeking to throw off their chains. Hillary Clinton should just stop talking. Or rather, she should recognize the reality of groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Muslim Brotherhood and start treating them with the respect they deserve instead of making points with Wolf Blitzer on CNN.

Well, however one spins it, it is now clear that the United States policy of propping up “stable” regimes of any stripe throughout the Middle East and elsewhere is failing, while a series of ad hoc responses to the crisis have done little more than make the White House position incoherent. Time to go to Plan B, but don’t be surprised if Plan B is not acceptance of the fact that the basic premise of interventionism was wrong. Plan B as devised in the Clinton State Department will be more of the same old stuff only with different packaging in an attempt to fool the wogs.

She will say we want democracy everywhere but it has to be carefully managed to make sure that other tyrants do not emerge from the process. For tyrant substitute any group that is opposed to either US or Israeli policy. And she will be extremely plausible as she makes her case over the airwaves, constantly citing what happened with the Shah of Iran to prove that nasty things can develop when emerging democrats are unguided by the benevolent hand of Washington. Of course, she will not mention that the United States has been like a wrecking ball in the Middle East for the past sixty years, including deliberately destabilizing Iran in 1953. Someone should point out to her that US policy to support dictators inevitably turns frustrated moderates into extremists. You reap what you sow, Hillary.

Posted in EgyptComments Off on Let’s Go to Plan B

Egypt $2 Billion We Give

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Everything You Need To Know About The $2 Billion That Americans Give To Egypt Each Year But Were Afraid to Ask

 

How much does the U.S. spend on Egypt?

Egypt Inc.

The protests in Egypt have prompted renewed questions about the U.S.’s aid to the country—an issue that the U.S. government has also pledged to reconsider. We’ve taken a step back and tried to answer some basic questions, such as how as much the U.S. has given, who has benefitted, and who gets to decide how its all spent.

Egypt gets the most U.S. foreign aid of any country except for Israel. (This doesn’t include the money spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.) The amount varies each year and there are many different funding streams, but U.S. foreign assistance to Egypt has averaged just over $2 billion every year since 1979, when Egypt struck a peace treaty with Israel following the Camp David Peace Accords, according to a Congressional Research Service report from 2009.

That average includes both military and economic assistance, though the latter has been in decline since 1998, according to CRS.

What about military aid—how much is it, and what does it buy? 

According to the State Department, U.S. military aid to Egypt totals over $1.3 billion annually in a stream of funding known as Foreign Military Financing.

U.S. officials have long argued that the funding promotes strong ties between the two countries’ militaries, which in turn has all sorts of benefits. For example, U.S. Navy warships get “expedited processing” through the Suez Canal.

Here’s a 2009 U.S. embassy cable recently released by WikiLeaks that makes essentially the same point:

President Mubarak and military leaders view our military assistance program as the cornerstone of our mil-mil relationship and consider the USD 1.3 billion in annual FMF as “untouchable compensation” for making and maintaining peace with Israel. The tangible benefits to our mil-mil relationship are clear: Egypt remains at peace with Israel, and the U.S. military enjoys priority access to the Suez Canal and Egyptian airspace.

The military funding also enables Egypt to purchase U.S.-manufactured military goods and services, a 2006 report from the Government Accountability Office explained [PDF]. The report criticized both the State Department and the Defense Department for failing to measure how the funding actually contributes to U.S. goals.

Does this aid require Egypt to meet any specific conditions regarding human rights?

No. Defense Secretary Gates stated in 2009 that foreign military financing “should be without conditions.”

Gates prefaced that comment by saying that the Obama administration, like other U.S. administrations, is “always supportive of human rights.”

The administration of former president George W.  Bush had threatened to link military assistance to Egypt’s human rights progress, but it didn’t follow through. When exiled Egyptian dissident, Saad Eddin Ibrahim, called on the U.S. government to attach conditions to aid to Egypt, U.S. officials dismissed the idea as unrealistic.

Who benefits from the military aid?

Obviously the aid benefits Egypt’s military and whatever government it supports, which has so far been Mubarak’s. Foreign military financing is a great deal for Egypt—it gets billions in no-strings-attached funding to modernize its armed forces and replace old Soviet weapons with advanced U.S. weaponry and military equipment.

According to the State Department, that equipment has included fighter jets, tanks, armored personnel carriers, Apache helicopters, anti-aircraft missile batteries and aerial surveillance aircraft.

Egypt can purchase this equipment either through the U.S. military or directly from U.S. defense contractors, and it can do so on credit. In 2006, the GAO noted that Egypt had entered some defense contracts in advance of—and in excess of—its military assistance appropriations. Some of those payments wouldn’t be due in full until 2011, the GAO said.

The other group that benefits from this aid arrangement is U.S. defense contractors. As we reported with Sunlight Foundation, contractors including BAE Systems, General Dynamics, General Electric, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin have all done business [12] with the Egyptian government through relationships facilitated by high-powered DC lobbyists.

What about economic aid?

U.S. economic aid to Egypt has declined over the years, but is generally in the hundreds of millions annually.

Some of this aid also comes back to benefit the U.S. through programs such as the Commodity Import Program. Under that program, the U.S. gives Egypt millions in economic aid to import U.S. goods. The State Department, on its website, describes it as “one of the largest and most popular USAID programs.”

Others were not as successful. A 2006 inspector general’s audit of a 4-year, $57-million project to increase jobs and rural household incomes found that the U.S. investment “has not increased the number of jobs as planned ” among participants [PDF]. A 2009 audit of a $151 million project to modernize Egypt’s financial sector found that while the country’s real estate finance market experienced significant growth throughout the project’s duration, USAID’s efforts were “not clearly measurable” [PDF] and the growth could be due to market forces or the Egyptian government’s actions.

Critics of the Obama administration’s economic aid to Egypt have noted that in 2007, for instance, such aid only amounted to $6 per capita, compared with the $40.80 per capita spent on Jordan that same year. Ahmad El-Naggar, economic researcher at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, criticized the U.S. in 2009 for focusing on “programs valued for strict ideological reasons,” and not on the country’s growing poverty and unemployment rate—two issues fueling the current protests.

What about funding for democracy promotion and civil society?

Funding for programs that promote democracy and good governance through direct funding to NGOs in Egypt averaged about $24 million from fiscal year 1999 to 2009. But these, too, had “limited impact,” due to “a lack of Egyptian government cooperation,” according to an October 2009 inspector general audit [PDF]:

The Government of Egypt has resisted USAID/Egypt’s democracy and governance program and has suspended the activities of many U.S. NGOs because Egyptian officials thought these organizations were too aggressive.

Recently released cables from WikiLeaks show that officials within the Egyptian government have asked that USAID stop financing organizations that were “not properly registered as NGOs” with the Egyptian government. AFP reports on a 2007 embassy cable that describes President Mubarak as “deeply skeptical of the US role in democracy promotion.”

Per the Egyptian government’s complaints, the U.S. now limits its funding to NGOs registered with the government, therefore excluding most human rights groups, Huffington Post reported. Such funding has also declined sharply under the Obama administration.

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Zionist ADL: The Wrong Teacher Of ”Civility”

NOVANEWS

 

‘ADL is the last place American police, lawyers or government—or the American people—should go for lessons in civility’

By Rev. Ted Pike

The day after Rep. Giffords was shot, the Jewish Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center did their best to blame conservative rhetoric for the tragedy. (See, AZ Shooting: Right Wing Protects ADL/SPLC Accusers) After the dust settled, there was no evidence that right-wing “incivility” motivated the deranged gunman. Failing to besmirch Christians and conservatives, ADL is now trying the other extreme: posturing as America’s teacher on “civility in public discourse.” In his article, “Leaders Must Set a New Tone for Civility in America,” ADL’s national director, Abe Foxman, intones:

In recent years, the Anti-Defamation League repeatedly has warned about the coarsening of the political debate and its broader impact on society. There is no doubt that inflammatory rhetoric can be dangerous. We need only look back to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and other incidents of homegrown terrorism to see where virulently anti-government sentiments and conspiracy theories can lead. Today, anti-government groups and movements continue to feed this toxic environment. Anti-government militias, sovereign citizen groups and others are taking advantage of popular distrust of government and the economic downturn to spread fear and conspiracy theories.

This is ironic. No organization is more devoted to “uncivil” defamation of its critics than ADL. It smears as “anti-Semitic” anyone who speaks negatively of Israel, Talmudic Judaism, or Establishment history of the “Holocaust.” This Jewish attack group created Christian-persecuting hate crimes legislation worldwide. It promotes abortion and sodomy “rights” and wields massive influence in public education on behalf of these subversions. It perennially agitates for removal of Christian symbols from public property and attacks any effort to return Christian values to government.

ADL should be called “The American Defamation League.” No civic group is less qualified to preach “civility” to the world.

How Civil is ADL?

In 1989, the League was found guilty by a California court of illegally collaborating with police to amass detailed private information on 10,000 unsuspecting Americans. These included many conservative and pro-life activists as well as Muslims. (Watch NPN’s Hate Laws: Making Criminals of Christians)

In 2000, ADL was ordered to pay more than $10 million in damages for smearing a Colorado filmmaker, who worked with Hollywood, as anti-Semitic. The court agreed that, since the Hollywood film industry is Jewish, ADL had ruined his career. (jweekly.com “Judge fines ADL $10.5 million in Colorado defamation suit” 5/12/00)

In 2004, ADL National Executive Board member Philadelphia DA Lynne Abraham incarcerated 11 Christians for the “hate crime” of publically witnessing to homosexuals. They faced 47 years in prison and $90,000 fine each if found guilty. (See, Eleven Christians Jailed For Criticizing Homosexuality) In 2010, ADL published a 30-page attack, Rage Grows on the Right. It described millions of anti-Obama Americans as “paranoid” and “conspirators.” (See, ADL Blasts ‘Paranoid’ Right: Are Millions of Anti-Obama Protestors ‘Conspirators?’) The National Prayer Network and Jonathan Tobin, editor of Commentary Magazine, led national outrage against ADL’s “incivility.” Even liberal Jewish media was too embarrassed to publicize Foxman’s hysterical rant.

These are only a few of the aggressively uncivil assaults ADL has launched to destroy its critics.

Just this last year, ADL silenced film legend Oliver Stone for mentioning the proven fact that Jews founded and run Hollywood. (See, Jews Confirm Big Media is Jewish) ADL helped ruin the career of CNN anchor Rick Sanchez for briefly suggesting Jewish control of big media. When veteran Washington reporter Helen Thomas criticized Israel and Jewish control, ADL trashed her career and reputation (assisted by Joe Farah’s World Net Daily, which quoted ADL as an acknowledged authority on anti-Semitism). (See, Who’s ‘Spewing Venom’ – Helen Thomas or WorldNetDaily?)

ADL’s tawdry history of defamation, even of sincere and constructive critics of Israel, is legendary. ADL’s power—and the social stigma of being labeled “anti-Semitic”— is so great that any public figure accused of disrespect to Israel must grovel or be ruined. The League is first to scream “Holocaust-denier!” when any scholar suggests that the facts do not show that six million Jews were systematically gassed in WWII. ADL claims “Defamation of the Jewish dead!” against those who conclude from evidence that widespread malnutrition and rampant typhus were mostly responsible for the death of countless internees, including Jews.

True civilization supports scholarly research into any topic without fearing prosecution or persecution. If lines of inquiry are wrong, reason alone should indict them – not courts of law! Yet just this week, Dutch ADL-influenced Jewry is demanding that anyone who questions any aspect of the Holocaust should be arrested and punished as quickly as a drunk driver! Far from a “civil” influence, ADL is returning the world to a medieval inquisition. How long will the Christian/conservative right grovel before ADL’s incivility, too terrified to even mention its existence, much less the fact that it is 100% Jewish?

Only Providence knows how long ADL will be allowed to rage against truth and the laws of God and nature. One thing is sure: ADL is the last place American police, lawyers or government—or the American people—should go for lessons in civility.

 

See: www.TruthTellers.org

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Zio-Nazi Holocaust Historian??

NOVANEWS

 

Holocaust historian says massacre of Egyptian protesters is desirable

 

 

Holocaust historian Zio-Nazi says massacre of Egyptian protesters is desirable

The saturation of the Holocaust has been used as an effective weapon in support of violence, torture and murder against the Palestinians. Even though Palestinians certainly had no part of any crimes against Jews during the Second World War, the Holocaust is incessantly invoked to justify mass terror and murder against the Palestinian people. Recently this was shown by Elie Wiesel’s support of the murder and maiming of thousands of Palestinian men, women and children in Gaza. Now, we have a Holocaust historian and former Israeli kibbutznik, “Zio-Nazi Professor David Cesarani, floating the idea of there being a tiananmen
Square-style massacre in Egypt as a way of quelling potential post-Zionist Mu-Barak anarchy.

 

Are academics such as Cesarani really interested in defending human rights by their writing on the Holocaust when they support the violence and inhumanity by the Zionist supremacist state? You be the judge.
 

There has been no outrage. No Twitterstorm, no blog-based apoplexy, no heated radio phone-ins. Perhaps talking about the massacre of Egyptians is normal these days.

Zio-Nazi Professor Cesarani was asked by Michael Portillo about the ‘moral dilemma’ of how to deal with what comes after Mu-Barak. “What if it’s worse than Mu-Barak? Should it be crushed?”

Zio-Nazi Professor Cesarani said that if one takes the “wholly pragmatic view,” then ‘the outcome of a tiananmen Square-style crackdown is desirable and is predictable.’ Because, he said, ‘if you allow this popular democratic movement to run on unchecked, you cannot predict what’s going to happen. But you can predict probably that after a short, sharp, massive clampdown at huge human cost, there will be a sullen stability.’

Portillo was startled. ‘”Quite a lot of people would be quite shocked to hear what you said – that a Tiananmen-style outcome would be desirable.”

Zio-Nazi Cesarani responded that, “he West is no longer weeping that much over tiananmen Square because we’re doing a lot of business with China. So, many business interests would say, quietly, that, perhaps, well the way in which the Chinese managed their transition was preferable.”

Another panellist, Matthew Taylor, former adviser to Zionist  Tony Blair and now chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts, later described Cesarani’s comments on tiananmen Square as ‘”ncredibly brave” and said: “In a way, I can see his argument.”

Brendan O’Neill

Zio-Nazi David Cesarani is professor of history at Royal Holloway, University of London, England. He advised the British government office responsible for “Holocaust” memorial day and was a member of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office delegation to the Intergovernmental Taskforce for “International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research.” He is the editor of The Final Solution: Origins and Implementation (1994) and Bystanders to the Holocaust: A Re-evaluation (2002) and the author of Justice Delayed: How Britain Became a Refuge for Nazi War Criminals (1992).

 

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Egypt Is Obama’s Non Shining Moment

NOVANEWS

 

posted by Allen L Roland  

 

President Obama has been caught like a deer in the headlights by Egypt’s internal cry for freedom and justice whereas empty words and rhetoric will no longer assuage a true people’s revolution that demands change and meaningful reform: Allen L Roland

 

CAIRO, Feb 9 (Reuters) – ” Egyptians have staged one of their biggest protests yet insisting President Hosni Mubarak step down immediately and ignoring a government plan to transfer power. For many protestors it was the first time they had joined the daily demonstrations in Cairo’s Their Square showing the movement, now in its third week, still is gaining momentum.”

The old world order continues to crack under the assault of the Egyptian people’s revolution and the demand for truth and transparency ~ which are the two needed ingredients for true change. President Obama has been caught, like a deer in the headlights, by America’s continued hypocrisy. Alternet reports that over the weekend, U.S. envoy to Cairo Frank Wisner embarrassed and confused the White House by breaking from the official Obama administration line regarding Egypt (Mubarak should step down peacefully, etc.). Speaking in Cairo on Saturday, the retired State Department employee said that “President Mubarak’s continued leadership is critical: it’s his opportunity to write his own legacy.”

Whoops! In Cairo, Robert Fisk of the Independent reported on the current furious back-pedaling now underway at the White House and reveals that Wisner had business ties to the Mubarak regime: “ The US State Department and Mr Wisner himself have now both claimed that his remarks were made in a “personal capacity”. But there is nothing “personal” about Mr Wisner’s connections with the litigation firm Patton Boggs, which openly boasts that it advises “the Egyptian military, the Egyptian Economic Development Agency, and has handled arbitrations and litigation on the [Mubarak] government’s behalf in Europe and the US“. Oddly, not a single journalist raised this extraordinary connection with US government officials – nor the blatant conflict of interest it appears to represent.” Full article ~

Meanwhile the Pentagon is moving U.S. warships and other military assets to make sure that it is prepared in case evacuation of U.S. citizens from Egypt becomes necessary, White house officials said Friday. But the USS Enterprise attack carrier is also being kept on station in the eastern Mediterranean and the Enterprise does not appear to have any dual role for evacuations ~ but is simply an offensive attack carrier which sends a far different message to Egyptian people’s revolution. Are these ships protecting the protesting people of Egypt or the faltering Mubarak puppet regime in Egypt ?  Full article ~

The three key methods of the old world order in the Middle East are Coercion, Control and Military Power and it appears that Obama’s allegiance to the financial elite as well as Israel and AIPAC are rapidly leaving him with only those options but most certainly it is not bending to the will of a long oppressed people’s revolution. Expect more talk and posturing as well as the gradual reinstatement of public restrictions and police state control as the Mubarak / Suleiman regime attempts to regain its footing and credibility. Suleiman is Egypt’s Dick Cheney (Darth Vader) with the same shared interest in the dark side along with the same shared blessing of Israel.

This is not Obama’s shining moment and his true allegiance to the Old World Order as well as the corpocracy and global elite is now being witnessed by the world in the glaring headlights of the bottom-up Egyptian people’s revolution ~ a revolution which now most assuredly is seen as a direct threat to America’s rapidly crumbling empire. Norm Chomsky correctly says, “ It’s not radical Islam that worries the US, it’s Independence ~ The nature of any regime it backs in the Arab world is secondary to control. Subjects are ignored until they break their chains.”

As the UK’s Palden Jenkins writes ~ “ The Young Middle Eastern movements of today suggest a quantum shift that resembles that of the Sixties. They represent a new computation of the issues and solutions, starting from a new starting-point and seeking a new horizon. The Street has a new perception, facilitated by the community of the cellphone, e-mail, YouTube, satellite TV and the airplane. It’s driven from below, it’s youthful and driven by half of the population. It’s an organic network, not an organisation. It has language and laws, shared sentiments and perspectives. This is a form of texted, e-mailed hyper-democracy….. The difficult bit for Westerners is that, having been top dogs, we have to rejoin the human race on equitable terms before we can get our fingers back on thepulse. Our buzzwords – peace, freedom, democracy and human rights – sound good, but our actions smell badly. We continue to want to maintain our comfortable lifestyles and export our double standards, whatever the cost to others. So the world is bypassing us. This is why we need to recognise that what’s brewing in the Middle East is worth watching. Don’t be deceived ~ it’s not just bombs and rioting. There’s much more.”palden.jenkins@btopenworld.com

The revolting Egyptian people are not buying into our Old World Order playbook which is Promise, Stall, Coerce and Control change. This is precisely what Obama utilized in his 2008 Presidential election mandate to the American people ~ who also demanded change and meaningful reform and are still waiting.

Next time we will take to the streets like our Egyptian brothers and sisters and it may well be sooner than later. In a nutshell, we are witnessing large-scale growing global unrest ~ where entire populations, suffering in poverty, are refusing to be exploited at the hands of a small ruling elite who are manipulated by foreign interests such as the United States. 

The times are a changing!

Allen L Roland   

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PSC Executive Accuses Its Opponents of Being Zionist Agents

NOVANEWS

 

Executive Response to Criticism is to Restrict Democracy Further

Last summer, 13 of us (subsequently 27) sent a letter to Palestine Solidarity Campaign Executive. It is copied below*: As can be seen, we raised issues concerning the way PSC was being run. In the Annual Report of PSC Executive, which has just been sent (to some people) it states that ‘in August a group of 13 people made unsubstantiated allegations to the EC.’

 

A cursory reading of the Open Letter demonstrates that it wasn’t alleging anything, merely asking questions. Having the audacity to raise such questions was, however, deemed an act of lese majeste. PSC Executive and its Socialist Action/Communist League components, don’t do accountability and transparency.

 

A Stalinist Charge Sheet from ex-Trotskyists

The whole of the relevant section of the Annual Report, ‘PSC Internal Matters’, is copied below.** It reads like a caricature of a Stalinist charge sheet during the Moscow Trials. We are not authors of a letter asking questions, we are ‘perpetrators’. We are not calling for a debate or discussion, we are subjecting the EC to ‘public calumny.’ And most shocking of all, the authors (including two who were the co-founders of PSC) are accused of ‘help(ing) those who want to see PSC fail in our efforts to build a mass movement.’ This is the big lie at the heart of the passage. If you oppose us you are on the side of the Zionists and want us to fail.

 

This kind of argument has a long pedigree. In the 1930’s, in Stalin’s Purges, Zinoviev, Kamenev etc. were accused of simultaneously being in league with Trotsky and agents of Hitler. The logic was that if you opposed Stalin you were bound to be a paid agent and lackey of Hitler.

 

It is the staple argument of the war monger. If you oppose ‘our troops’ you support the other side, a traitor in league with ‘our’ enemies. This was the argument of Thatcher and then Bush. If you oppose us you’re with General Galtiera/Saddam Hussein/Al Quaeda. It has all the intellectual and moral sophistication of the younger Bush, albeit without his eloquence.

 

In fact there is very little use the Zionists can make of debates inside the Palestine solidarity movement. It is a measure of the desperation of the PSC Execitove that instead of dealing with the arguments they resort to the kind of rhetorical device that McCarthy and his House of UnAmerican Affairs specialised in.

A couple of years ago UK and Israel JNF were at each others’ throats in the High Court. After the expenditure of millions of pounds, with virulent attacks on each other, they settled their differences. Did this affect support for the Zionists? Of course not. Support for the Israel and Zionism depends on things such as Israel’s latest war, their settlements, the discrimination etc., not whether Betty Hunter and Tony Greenstein don’t see eye to eye on whether PSC should be democratic or not.

 

Healthy debate in PSC, if it leads to a rejuvenated and vigorous organisation and serious thinking about where we are going and how we can best get there, can only do the cause of Palestine solidarity good. The idea that, in the name of Palestinian unity, critics of Socialist Action/CL should shut up, can only damage the very cause that they purport to support. What PSC Executive are trying to achieve is some kind of para-Leninist command organisation. The Executive decides the priorities and campaigns and gives the orders and the membership blindly follow.

The problem is that some people have their own ideas and are not always convinced of the Executive’s god given wisdom. Especially when PSC Executive reacts in its normal, cautious, hesitant and sometimes hostile manner as it seeks to retain control over PSC. Because control freakery is the other side of their political timidity.

Democracy & PSC Priorities 

Above all this is about democracy. PSC’s Executive Report complains that critics of the EC are not using PSC’s ‘democratic processes’ and resorting to blogs and open letters. But this begs the question – what democratic processes or forums are there to debate where PSC should be going or doing or how it should be conducting campaigns? No doubt they exist within Socialist Action but not within PSC. There is no means, other than through personal contact, for PSC members to communicate and exchange ideas with other members across branches. In fact PSC Executive have made clear their dislike for the whole idea of regions – ‘another layer of bureaucracy’ in the words of their more sycophantic supporters.

In this debate PSC Executive have access to the whole of PSC’s machinery to attack a letter that most people haven’t seen. We have no such opportunities hence why this article has to be put on a public blog. Nor do we have unfettered access to PSC’s mailing list.

 

The libellous accusation therefore of wanting PSC to fail should be seen as exactly that – a libel no different from the Zionist lie that to be an anti-Zionist is to be an anti Semite.

 

It was similar behaviour by Socialist Action which helped lead to extremely unfavourable publicity for Ken Livingstone in London and his downfall. But at least Ken knew the political affiliations of those he appointed as his advisors. In PSC this information is hidden away andwhen challenged PSC Executive members deny that they are members of Socialist Action. In the meantime SA are running PSC according to their political agenda. And at the top of that agenda is never, ever criticising the Palestinian leadership and Abbas, even if the latter is faithfully following Israel’s agenda by withdrawing the Goldstone Report from the UN’s Human Rights Committee.

 

Many on PSC Executive see its role as some kind of not campaigning but diplomatic. We are there to influence government and act as an adjunct to the quisling Palestinian Authority in Britain. And how? By lobbying individual MPs. In their eyes, Britain’s pro-Zionist political stand has nothing to do with economic interests, imperialism or domination, still less capitalism. It is because individual MPs haven’t been ‘won over’. No doubt they will have even more fun with Cameron’s government given that 80% of Tory MPs are estimated to be in Conservative Friends of Israel.

 

When it comes to pickets and activities, PSC Executive are nearly all conspicuous by their absence. Most of PSC Executive are there not as activists but to make up the numbers. Ahava, Agrexco, the Windsor JNF picket, Barak picket – you’ll be lucky if more than one EC member attends at best. Two States is the objective and above all, it is important that a solidarity organisation engages in no internal debate about Palestine. Because if there were a thorough going debate PSC would have to face up to the fact that not only is an independent Palestinian state impossible but that to continue to campaign for this now means in effect to accept that Israel is right to deny political and civil rights to the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza. That is the real apartheid. We have one state already, but nearly half the population have no rights whatsoever.

And it might also mean having to face up to the fact that Israel’s junior partners-in-crime are the Arab regimes. It was noticeable at the picket of the Egyptian Embassy over the attack on the Gaza Freedom March and Viva Palestina recently there was just one member of PSC.

The argument is often made that we are just a solidarity movement. But that is a cop-out. The first question that people often ask is what is our solutio. What do we want to see? Are we to say that we want to see Israel as a Jewish state established in harmony side by side with a Palestinian state? Do we accept that Israel, as a Zionist state is acceptable even behind the Green Line? Is this a solution to the question of Return? What about Israeli Arabs? Of course in practice these issues are buried and ignored in the hope they will go away. This means illusions in the ‘peace process’, [‘Will Obama do this etc.]

 

An example of how PSC’s priorities are distorted is the Gaza convoy, Viva Palestina. When the first convoy went at the beginning of last year, PSC nationally did nothing to help organise support for it. Remarks such as we are a political organisation and this is merely charitable were made by officers. But the recent convoy was supported (although the PSC Office didn’t let people know on a daily basis what was happening). So much so that Ms Collector went on it and Ms Colborne flew out to Egypt at one point. Why the change of heart? Because following the defeat of Ken Livingstone, Socialist Action have pulled out of entry work in the Labour Party and are now chasing George Galloway in Respect. They have even revealed their existence in a newly created, albeit sparse, website. And if there is a falling out of love with GG then we can expect PSC to drop its enthusiasm for convoys. This is the kind of sleight of hand that most members of PSC knowing nothing about. PSC’s choice of a campaign is now inseparable from Socialist Action’s own political priorities.

 

Internal Matters  

The section of the Annual Report on the resignation of 2 EC members is telling. Why were members of PSC not informed of the resignations? Why was the Branch Forum not told of the resignation of our Vice-Chair Kamal Hawwash and ex-Treasurer Zoe Mars? Why was there even an attempt to prevent them speaking?

 

Despite being ‘unsubstantiated’ the fact is, as Betty Hunter herself admitted to the Sheffield forum, that Sarah Colborne is a member of Socialist Action. She moved across from being Chair of PSC to Direction of Campaigns and Organisation. There is nothing wrong with this in itself, though it is unusual. And nor do I, or any of the signatories to the Open Letter, have any objection to PSC staff or EC members being members of any left-wing political organisation. What we object to is when small and secretive groups (SA/CL) with at most a hundred members, actively conspire to take over another organisation and run it, PSC, in line with the political priorities of Socialist Action/CL.

 

‘Our recruitment practices are fair and in accordance with equal opportunities’ the Annual Report states, yet it also states that ‘in July Ruqayyah Collector was appointed as Campaigns and Communications Officer.’ Ms Collector was also the last member of the National Union of Students Executive, elected on the Student Broad Left slate. PSC’s Student Officer, Bryony Shanks, was SBL’s unsuccessful candidate for NUS Executive and a member of SA.

It is a matter of common knowledge that SBL is Socialist Action’s student front. It is puerile and dishonest to pretend otherwise. What PSC Executive have effectively done is sub-contract out its student work to the weakest of all the left political factions in NUS. By any standards that is pretty stupid. Far from building alliances, as they claim, they are destroying any possibility of them. Hence why they were taken by surprise and at a loss to say anything, when a wave of occupations broke out in colleges and universities at the beginning of 2009 in protest at Israel’s savagery in Gaza.

 

And when one takes that with the short-term appointment of SA member Denis Fernando, the advertising for whose post was tightly restricted, this means that 3 of the last 3 staff appointments have been from one particular, small political faction. Is this really a coincidence? If so, the odds on winning the jackpot on the National Lottery are smaller.

 

Personal Abuse

 

The Annual Report speaks of ‘personal abuse’. Perhaps it was thinking of Hilary Wise’s e-mail of 10th February 2009 to me. This was her response to the fact that I had disclosed on this blog a secret memo from PSC Trade Union Officer Bernard Regan to cronies and friends in the trade unions (some not even members of PSC), urging them to come to PSC AGM to oppose any motions that sought to break links with Israel’s racist ‘union’ Histadrut and to vote in favour of his own slate.

 

‘Like everyone else I know and work with closely in PSC, I am interested in the issue of Palestine and am working hard to try and change the situation. I don’t recall ever having seen TG at any of the dozens of meetings, demos, vigils, lobbies film shows etc where you find genuinely committed activists.’

 

Strangely I’ve never seen Ms Wise at a demonstration in Brighton either, nor for that matter in London! PSC Executive’s attack dog followed this up at the September Sheffield Branch Forum when even her supporters tried to shut her up, accusing me of being a ‘wrecker’. Presumably she meant helping to found PSC! Or maybe PSC EC was thinking of the time when Dianne Langford, in an open letter last summer (circa September) bizarrely referred to

 

‘the letter addressed to you plus copies of various emails originating from Tony Greenstein, including one urging the Merton branch not to affiliate to PSC and trying to recruit members to join the `opposition’ to PSC.’

 

There was of course no e-mail to Merton branch, but why let that come between the facts and Ms Langford? Ms Langford’s previous claim to fame was ensuring that the SWP was kept off PSC’s Executive. Langford’s letter went on to allege that:

he [Tony Greenstein] and Roland Rance demanded that PSC should use its resources on a speaking tour denouncing Arafat and the PLO. The then National Secretary of PSC, John Gee, was castigated for standing firm on the principle of self-determination for the Palestinian people…. At the last AGM, while Gaza was still burning, valuable time was spent debating an unnecessary resolution on the issue of the Histadrut.’

The letter and e-mail Langford speaks about have only ever existed inside her head. They are total inventions, but why let that get in the way of a good story? But Langford lets slip what is the purpose of her fantasies. Boycotting Histadrut, as every Palestinian trade union and PACBI call for, is seen as a diversion by PSC Executive. It might even mean a disagreement with their trade union buddies. And what Ms Langford says openly PSC Executive says behind closed doors.

PSC AGM 2010

On the 6th February PSC will hold its Annual General Meeting. Socialist Action/CL’s response to our letter expressing concern at the lack of democracy in PSC has been to put forward constitutional proposals which, if passed, will all but destroy PSC’s democracy. There will be an annual conference, but its powers will be limited. It will certainly not be sovereign, even theoretically. The Trade Union Action Committee, whose membership is unknown and is not open to ordinary PSC trade union activists or members, at present sends 2 delegates to PSC Executive. Constitutional amendment 5, which has clearly been instigated by the Executive, suggests that the representation of TUAC be doubled to 4! As these places are Bernard Regan’s gift, this will mean that a fifth of the EC (4/20) will be ‘elected’ by another member of the EC.

 

Constitutional amendment 4, by the same 2 individuals, suggests that organisations, i.e. trade unions with 500,000 members should be entitled to 7 votes at the Annual Conference (an increase from 3). So the GMB, which tried to amend the FBU motion to the TUC Congress to substitute ‘regret’ for ‘condemn’, in reference to the statement of Histadrut supporting the attack on Gaza, will be entitled to exercise 7 votes at a meeting of a body which is pro-Palestinian.

 

PSC has provision in Clause 6 of the existing Constitution for 5 regional representatives to be elected. This clause has never been operated and when Northern Network tried to so earlier this year, bureaucratic obstacles were put in its way by the EC. This is totally understandable from the point of view of SA. If you are a small group trying to control a larger group, then you don’t want the Executive Committee to be diluted by people that you can’t control or indeed what you may perceive as alternative centres of power. So the two movers speak express their ‘concern regarding the proposal for a formal regional structure of PSC is that it would divert local energy away from contributing to actions co-ordinated through a national campaign.’

 

Clearly devolution hasn’t yet made an appearance in PSC but in fact no machinery or bureaucracy is proposed. The idea of a diversion from national campaigns is laughable. This is a feeble excuse for keeping all power in the hands of the Executive. The establishment of regions would not only enable branches to co-ordinate campaigns more effectively but would enable individuals not in any branch to participate. Indeed the only ones who talk of bureaucracy or a diversion of energy is the Executive with their proposals for a ‘devolved administration’ i.e. the policing of the regions.

 

The real reason for this amendment becomes clear when reading Constitutional Amendment 3 from the Executive. They propose a new Point 9.6 of the Constitution. It is proposed that the election of regional representatives takes place not in the regions but at a London AGM. The reasoning is quite obvious. It is to ensure that SA can more effectively mobilise votes, in London, behind their preferred regional candidates. Because they do not trust the membership, they cannot allow the elections to take place in the Regions. It is as simple as that.

 

Routinism

What we have is an Executive that has run out of ideas except to exhort the membership to more routine activity. Rallies with Ken Livingstone and George Galloway are the main way of organising students rather than building with all forces in the student movement who genuinely support the Palestinians. Coupled with resolutions that lie in the filing cabinets of trade union general secretaries, an annual march and lobby of Parliament, this is the EC’s preferred annual cycle of activity. Routine activity ends up as little more than the Executive congratulating itself on another ‘successful’ year. It means going through the motions whilst in practice mounting no effective political challenge to the British government’s support of Israel. Political initiatives are to be frowned upon but they are not easy to control.

 

Yet none of these routines makes the slightest difference or impact as far as the Palestinians are concerned. The one thing which has been shown to rattle the Zionists and Israel is Boycott. Because it hits the settler state where it hurts most and in Israel’s case, it also hits its image and political support. The Academic Boycott set off a wave of activity in Britain, yet the EC initially opposed such a tactic and has had an uneasy relationship with Bricup. The relation of PSC Executive with its own Boycott Committee, which has in practice led to the setting up last year at the gathering at Wooller Youth Hostel of the Boycotting Network, is similar.

On trade unions the EC and Bernard Regan prefer to ally with an assortment of minor trade union bureaucrats, headed by Hugh Lanning of PCS, rather than develop an ongoing network of activists. Cosy chats between trade union friends – past and current – might seem a short-cut to success but what it means is allowing the Trade Union leaders to dictate to, and even control with SA, PSC’s work in the unions.

 

Union leaders spend much of their time dampening down strikes and struggles. They are innately conservative creatures. Their support for international struggles is strictly limited and ideas like Boycott are not well received. Trade unions in this country are now very weak, having lost half their members in the past 30 years. PSC Executive are, in effect, suggesting we model ourselves on organisations which themselves are controlled by Executives which deplore independent activity by their members. To allow union leaderships, even the more left ones, to tie our hands, is to weaken our campaigning abilities.

 

The purpose of work in the unions is to get them to support us and to show solidarity, not to enable them to take us over. Autonomy is a principle worth fighting for yet it is being surrendered by a sect in order that they can retain their own power. Motion 2, from Kevin Courtney (NUT) and John McGee (FBU) gives a flavour of this. It talks about supporting a Boycott only where ‘where trade union members should not put their own jobs at risk by refusing to deal with such products’. This must be the first time that cowardice has been enshrined as a principle! Should South African dockers who blacklisted ships to Israel or Greek workers who embargoed arms shipments first have asked their employer to promise not to dismiss them? If we follow this road there will never be a successful boycott. Indeed there would never have been trade unions either!!

The job of trade unions is to fight the employers and state if necessary not to ask for promises of immunity. It is our strength which guarantees that. What this means is passing resolutions that are never intended to be put into practice. It is mere posturing and hype.

 

That is why PSC Executive and Bernard Regan have opposed getting the unions to cut links with Histadrut. Cutting links with Histadrut is one of the few things unions can actually do themselves. They have the power to cut those links and in the daysbefore UNISON came into existence, its forerunner NALGO did boycott Histadrut.

 

The TUC’s foreign policy has historically been outsourced from the Foreign Office and even their staff in some cases were rumoured to be FO secondments. Cutting links with Histadrut would run counter to British foreign policy, itself something they would hesitate long and hard about doing. Instead the TUC has always treated Histadrut like any other trade union, despite the fact that it was a settler union which, from its formation, opposed even the employment of Arabs (‘Jewish Labour’). By refusing to call for a break in links with Histadrut PSC is effectively opposing a Boycott in the trade union arena.

 

The task is clear. If PSC is to live up to its claim to want to build a mass anti-apartheid organisation in Britain it first must belong to its own members, not a small ex-left sect like Socialist Action.

 

Tony Greenstein

* Letter to PSC Executive

Dear EC members

 

We, the undersigned, as members of PSC, would like to raise the following issues that have been of concern to us recently, and we would appreciate a response from you at the next branch forum meeting on12 September. We are sure that in the spirit of openness and transparency, the EC will welcome the opportunity to address these concerns.

 

<!–[if !supportLists]–>1. Interference in the democratic process at the PSC AGM 

<!–[endif]–>

Prior to the 2009 AGM, a secret memo was circulated to a selected list of people who had access to voting rights by virtue of their membership of PSC and/or affiliated organizations. The memo asked them to attend the AGM and dictated to them to vote on motions and for a list of candidates to the EC. The memo was headed “This is a personal note – not for circulation”. It stated that:

 

“This will in my view be an extremely important AGM because of the need to get the focus of the campaign firmly fixed on the events in Gaza and to keep trade unions at the centre of the PSC. There is an opposition within PSC which I firmly believe would take us well away from these objectives.”

 

The clear implication was that those candidates who were not on the list were doing the exact opposite. Because the memo was secret, the other candidates were therefore not given a chance to refute them. For a full copy of the secret memo which was leaked and put on the internet visit here. Some trade union representatives had three voting cards, and though they had no way of testing the truth of the allegations, their votes carried more weight than those of active members.

 

How does the EC intend to ensure that unfair methods to influence the outcome of votes will not be used again?

2. Fairness, accountability and equal opportunity in recruitment processes.

<!–[endif]–>

The three most recent appointments of office staff have gone to individuals with strong connections to the same, little known, organisation (Socialist Action.<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[1]<!–[endif]–>) The three staff members who are reputed to be affiliated with this organisation are Sarah Colborne, Denis Fernando and Ruquayya Collector. We are not questioning the commitment or ability of these individuals to make an important contribution to the campaign for Palestine and we recognise that everyone has political beliefs. However, we do not believe it is plausible that a recruitment process incorporating principles of fairness and equal opportunities, and aimed at selecting the best candidate for the job, could have had this result. This is particularly the case when you consider that a job opportunity within a campaign organisation for Palestine would be expected to attract a significant number of candidates.

 

We are concerned that the interests of one organisation could have a disproportionate influence on PSC actions. Socialist Action members now act as gatekeepers between the membership and central administration. PSC’s reputation as an organization free of any political agenda other than solidarity with the people of Palestine and their campaign for liberation has been jeopardized, preventing it from becoming a mass movement.

 

Please explain how PSC ensures that staff recruitment conforms to equal opportunities, including an explanation of the advertising, short listing and interviewing process?

 

<!–[if !supportLists]–>3. High staff turnover

<!–[endif]–>

 

Several people have left the PSC office unwillingly in the last few years. We are concerned about the high turnover of staff in PSC over the last few years, which has an inevitable effect on the ability of the office to provide a consistent and adequate service to the membership.

 

What steps are the EC taking to address this issue?

  1. Financial management

 

Members are very concerned about an (un-minuted) statement by the PSC Director at the branch 30th May branch forum that all the money collected during January as a result of the war on Gaza had been spent.

 

We therefore request an interim statement of accounts, and the budget for the current year, demonstrating how the Executive proposes to ensure PSC’s financial sustainability.

If we have a management / leadership team which is predominantly drawn from the same or similar background, or which holds to one political perspective there is little room for alternative viewpoints to be voiced, or for creative dissent to emerge. Constructive and challenging dialogue is a tremendous engine for imaginative thinking and precludes a blinkered approach; such dialogue is much likely to happen within a highly homogeneous group – where is the stimulating tension going to come from? And where’s the democratic representation of the views of a diverse membership?

 

** PSC INTERNAL MATTERS

Internally it has been a difficult year for the EC and the staff of PSC who have been subject to a campaign of harassment and in some cases personal abuse by widely published emails and a blog. These actions can only detract from the work of PSC and help those who want to see PSC fail in our efforts to build a mass movement. We resisted engaging with the perpetrators, however in August a group of 13 people made unsubstantiated allegations to the EC. Since these were simultaneously distributed widely and the PSC were being subjected to public calumny, after two weeks the EC felt they had to make a response absolutely refuting the allegations. Regrettably two members of the EC resigned as they felt this had been dealt with precipitately.

At a branch forum in Sheffield .. they unanimously called for the two EC members to rescind their resignations. This call was later reiterated by the EC but unfortunately preconditions were demanded to which ther EC could not agree.

 

The size of the task that PSC has is enormous. We must continue to make solidarity with the Palestinian people our priority and not become embroiled in internal disputes. Differences in PSC should be conducted through the democratic processes that exist. Unity around our objectives, democratically agrred at the AGM, is of paramonunt importance if we are to build on our effectiveness.

<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>


<!–[endif]–>

<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[1]<!–[endif]–> Though we recognise the Wikipedia is not an unbiased source of information for those unfamiliar with Socialist Action, a description is available here (there is little other information available because it does not have a website and operates in a secretive manner):

The Wikipedia entry states: “Socialist Action is a small Trotskyist group in the United Kingdom. … From the mid-1980s Socialist Action became an entryist organisation, attempting to take over other organisations,with members using code names and not revealing their affiliation.”

 

Posted by : Tony Greenstein

 

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