Archive | February 24th, 2011

Dorothy Online Newsletter

NOVANEWS

 

Posted by: sammi Ibrahem

Chair of West Midland PSC

Dear All,

I admit that it’s difficult to concentrate on local events when Libya is so much in the news.  But we have our own problems here—namely occupation, colonization, ethnic cleansing, demolitions, uprooting of trees, and the like.

Item one furnishes a case study that shows how industries in the Israeli colonies benefit from perks as, for instance, tax deductions.  If you have not yet checked out www.whoprofits.org you should at your earliest opportunity.

Item 2 includes a few summaries from today’s compilation in ‘Today in Palestine’ just so that you will have an inkling of what is taking place in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which (the latter) is rapidly vanishing.

Item 3 is more on the Seattle Metro bus ads.  Thanks to Maggie, who forwarded the link, you can see a terrific action taken by those involved in the ad after Metro reneged on its agreement to carry the posters.  The video is about 4-5 minutes.  A second longer video gives you the background on the issue.  Additionally, there is an article on the judge’s verdict that Metro has the right to refuse to carry the ad.  But the activists are not giving up.  They are pursuing the subject in a court trial.

Item 4 relates that notwithstanding all that is happening in the Middle East that in Abu Dhabi it’s business as usual at an international arms fair.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the industrialists involved in the manufacture of arms are delighted with the present situation, hoping that it will increase sales.

Lastly, is a report on Israel’s bombings last night of Gaza and the missile shot into Be’er Sheva.  Seems that other things happening are more important.  Of the 7 or 8 international media that I glanced through, only one carried the report about the incident: BBC.

That’s it for tonight.

Hopefully there will be no more killing in Libya or elsewhere.

Dorothy

 

1. Who Profits Newsletter

www.whoprofits.org

Production in Settlements: The Case of SodaStream

Using SodaStream as a case study, a new report by Who Profits discusses key issues in industrial production in illegal West Bank settlements. SodaStream is a manufacturer of home beverage carbonating devices, whose main production site is in the West Bank Settlement of the Mishor Edomin Industrial Zone. The report provides an extensive overview, including the identity of the manufacturers, employment conditions, land confiscation and trade in settlement products. The report shows how the success of SodaStream and other companies which produce in settlements is based, at least in part, on the structural advantages that these companies enjoy, such as tax incentives, lax enforcement of regulations, as well as additional governmental support.

The report also exposes the manner in which the company conceals the fact that its products are manufactured in a West Bank settlement by using the Made in Israel label. The company, therefore misleads consumers to believe that its products are manufactured in Israel rather than in occupied land.

The business of SodaStream is growing rapidly. Its products are sold in 39 countries and can be found in retail stores like Macy’s, Bed Bath and Beyond, Bloomingdale’s, Coop, Carrefour and Migros. On November 8, 2010, the company has gone public and its shares are traded on NASDAQ. The SodaStream devices are especially popular in Sweden; the company has recently announced that it has sold more than 1 million devices there.

The report provides an unprecedented insight into the internal considerations of a settlement producer, weighing consumer boycotts and possible negative publicity against the economic benefits of operating from a settlement. By its own admission, SodaStream states that calls for boycott are indeed a “risk factor” and a cause for “rising political tensions and negative publicity”. However, the company declares that moving its factory out of the settlement would require the expenditure of resources and, more importantly, “limit certain of the tax benefits for which we are currently eligible.” These benefits stem from the fact that the Israeli government provides economic incentives, including tax deductions, for businesses operating in West Bank settlements.

To read the full report go to: whoprofits.org/articlefiles/WhoProfits-ProductioninSettlements-SodaStream.pdf

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2.  Knesset debates bill to abolish the status of Arabic as an official language in Israel

MEMO 24 Feb — Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, is looking at a draft bill which proposes the abolition of Arabic as an official language in the Zionist state… The proposed law is one of a number of initiatives designed to undermine the status of Arabic, which is the mother-tongue of more than 1.25 million Palestinian citizens of the state, one-fifth of the population. A draft constitution, for example, supported by a number of Israeli institutions, also proposes the removal of Arabic’s official status.

http://www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk/news/middle-east/2083-knesset-debates-bill-to-abolish-the-status-of-arabic-as-an-official-language-in-israel

Israel destroys hundreds of West Bank olive trees to lay settlement water line / Circarre Parrhesia

23 Feb — …Abu Taha’s struggle with the so-called Civilian Administration, i.e. the Israeli military that occupies and controls the West Bank, began when the Israeli water company applied to the Israeli military to build a water pipe on his land. Without consulting Abu Taha, permission was granted, resulting in the destruction of 60 of his trees, and the paving of part of his field . This water pipe supplies Israeli settlements with water that is, of course, not allowed to be used by the Palestinian population in the area.

http://mondoweiss.net/2011/02/israel-destroys-hundreds-of-west-bank-olive-trees-to-lay-settlement-water-line.html

Israel destroys agricultural lands near Salfit

SALFIT (Ma‘an) 24 Feb — Israeli bulldozers tore up recently cultivated agricultural lands north of Salfit on Thursday morning, mayor of the nearby Deir Istiya village told Ma‘an. Starting a few hours after sunrise, Mayor Nathmi Suleiman said, the bulldozers entered the village, accompanied by Israeli forces, and began destroying a stone fence separating fields in the Qattan Al-Jame area west of the village. During its work, the bulldozer ripped out several olive trees, and obliterated the half-meter high hand-crafted stone wall.

http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=362997

Vanishing East Jerusalem: EU must use association council to ensure Israel respects international law

AIC 24 Feb — In view of the upcoming EU-Israel Association Council scheduled for 21 February 2011 we, the undersigned Palestinian human rights organisations committed to the promotion and protection of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), would like to express our grave concerns about the continuous deterioration of the human rights situation. In particular, we are alarmed by Israel’s protracted policies aimed at entrenching the illegal annexation of East Jerusalem … The centre-of-life policy requires Palestinian residents of East-Jerusalem (whom Israel considers as “permanent residents” rather than citizens) to consistently prove that their “centre of life” is in East Jerusalem or else they risk losing their residency rights. Since this policy was adopted, in 1995, Israel has revoked the status of over 10,000 Palestinian residents of the city.

http://www.alternativenews.org/english/index.php/topics/news/3342-vanishing-east-jerusalem-eu-must-use-association-council-to-ensure-israel-respects-international-law

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3.  Seattle –a continuation of the ad campaign re Israeli war crimes

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrR8GYPKi9k this link is to an action

after Metro decided not to carry the ads—the video is about 4 minutes and is great.

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http://wn.com/Seattle_Metro_pressured_by_zionist_groups_over_anti_isreal_bus_ad’s

This video is probably about 15 or more minutes (forgot to time it) and gives the background of why the Metro renaged.  As you can imagine, Jewish pro Israel right-or-wrong groups put pressure on Metro.

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The verdict

February, 18, ‏2011

http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattlepolitics/2011/02/18/judge-king-co-doesnt-have-to-run-israel-war-crimes-ads/

Judge: King Co. doesn’t have to run Israel ‘War Crimes’ ads

A federal judge in Seattle has rejected a group’s attempt to force King County to run ads on Metro buses that were critical of Israel, saying the space was a “limited” public forum and therefore not subject to full First Amendment protections.

The Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign and the American Civil Liberties Union had sued the county after it approved then rejected ads that said “Israeli War Crimes Your Tax Dollars At Work.” The groups said the county’s action violated the Constitution and sought a preliminary injunction to force the county to allow the ads.

Judge Richard A. Jones denied that request late Friday. He said the county has a Metro bus advertising policy that is restrictive, which indicates its intention not to have a free-for-all of messages on the side of its buses.

“Because King County’s policy and practice indicates that it consistently applied content restrictions on advertising to further its purpose of using its property to provide orderly and safe public transportation, the forum at issue is a limited public forum,” Jones wrote (click here to read the decision).

“We are pleased with the court’s finding that the decision to pull the ad was reasonable, in light of the threats of violence and disruption from members of the public and the safety concerns of bus drivers and law enforcement,” King County attorney Del Kolde said in a statement.

Doug Honig, spokesman for the ACLU of Washington, said the underlying case is strong and the lawsuit will proceed.

“Having a full trial would enable us to develop further facts to buttress our contention that the County had established a “designated public forum” in its program for bus ads,” Honig said.

In late December, Executive Dow Constantine reversed an earlier decision allowing the SeaMAC advertising. County officials cited an an overwhelming number of complaints and threats of violence. The County is working on a new advertising policy. Metro’s current one about bus advertising restricts messages containing pornography, tobacco and alcohol and images and material that could threaten public safety.

But Jeffrey Grant, SeaMAC’s lawyer, told Jones during a Monday hearing that the county was responding to fear and not actual evidence of specific threats. He said the county had taken no legal action against people making such statements. He said since 2005 about 15 percent of the approximately 6,600 ads Metro had run were “non-commercial.” Those ads included a previous message – in 2009 – specifically referencing the unrest in the Gaza Strip, as well as statements questioning the existence of God.

And he said the “Israeli War Crimes” message had been disseminated elsewhere, including the media, and there had been no mayhem.

In its lawsuit, the group says the buses were a public forum and therefore First Amendment protections apply. In its response, the County says the sides of buses are a “limited” public forum, which allows Metro to apply standards to prevent “harm and disruption” to the system.

County attorney Endel Kolde told Jones that Constantine changed his mind because of the furor that erupted over the proposed advertising – something unprecedented. The County has the right and responsibility to make sure that the transit system operates safely, Kolde said, not to run a “mobile debate club” that could threaten public order.

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4.

By Janine Zacharia

Washington Post Foreign Service

February 24, 2011

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/24/AR2011022404838.html

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – As Libya’s Moammar Gaddafi ordered attacks on his own people this week, thousands of arms sellers from the United States and other countries hawked their aircraft, riot gear and rifles to Middle Eastern buyers at the Persian Gulf’s preeminent arms show.

The decisions by Britain and France to suspend weapons sales to Libya and Bahrain, where security forces also fired live ammunition at protesters, did little to dampen the fervor of the vendors packing the sprawling Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center for the biannual convention, known as IDEX.

The business-as-usual, big-ticket fighter jets and armored vehicles on display drew plenty of attention. But interest also appeared to be up this year in less dazzling “non-lethal armaments” of the kind put to overwhelming use recently in Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and elsewhere.

A sales representative for a Beijing-based maker of anti-riot gear noted that all her wares were attracting more attention – especially a fire-resistant police uniform.

Condor, a Brazilian company, displayed tear-gas grenades alongside rubber-coated bullets but was gun-shy about speaking to the media. “I can talk to you about soccer, Rio De Janeiro or carnival,” a company executive said apologetically. “But not this.”

Amid all the change sweeping the region, the multibillion-dollar business of arms sales to the Middle East may remain the one constant. The rich Persian Gulf states – particularly the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia – are scooping up as much weaponry as they can. Some of it could, in theory, be turned on their own populations. But diplomats and defense industry representatives say the goal is to defend against Iran and to secure energy infrastructure that has become even more valuable with oil at $113 a barrel.

The potential profit is enormous: The UAE alone is planning to spend $6 billion on defense over the next eight years. The United States sells more than a third of its arms to the Middle East, and increasing numbers of manufacturers want a piece of the sales: This year’s arms show is 30 percent larger than the previous one.

But some at the convention worried that the wave of regional uprisings, which has led leaders from Saudi Arabia to Jordan to announce new subsidies to appease disgruntled populations, could shift resources to domestic spending.

“They’ll have money to do everything” if oil stays above $100 a barrel, said one U.S. arms contractor with long experience in the region. “But there will still be the political sensitivity of people saying to their governments, ‘Even if you can afford it, why are you putting money into airplanes or helicopters? You should be putting it into education.’ “

The convention drew an array of VIPs, from Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, to top generals of Persian Gulf militaries. Few, if any, representatives were to be seen from the North African nations rocked by revolution, such as Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. But Jordan, which has had domestic disturbances, sent a huge delegation, led by King Abdullah II’s brother.

Selling arms might seem inappropriate when weapons are being used to crush civilians. But major rethinking is seen as unlikely in the United States, whose strategic priority remains to help allies protect their oil and defend themselves against Iran.

“Governments change all the time, but the security threats that the new government faces don’t change as rapidly,” said retired U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Charles W. Moore, a former commander of the Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet who is now president of Lockheed Martin’s Middle East division.

At the display mounted by the U.S. firm Meggitt, which specializes in shooting instruction, a Saudi from the national oil company, Aramco, screamed at a reporter to take his picture as he and several colleagues grabbed rifles and took aim during a simulated terrorist attack.

The Meggitt representatives were happy to let them play: Saudi Arabia is expected to spend a quarter of a billion dollars over the next five years on shooting ranges and simulators alone.

They know “they need to increase their anti-terrorist capability” with al-Qaeda in the area, said Stuart Westlake-Toms, Meggitt’s regional director. Kuwait also wants the training for its police, he added, and Bahrain made deals, as well.

All of the countries in the region are aware, Westlake-Toms said, “that internal security needs to be improved.”

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5.  BBC 24 February 2011 Last updated at 10:30 GMT

Israeli jets hit Gaza after Palestinian rocket attacks

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12564546

Beersheba residents took shelter in safe rooms before the rocket hit

Israel has bombed four Hamas training sites in Gaza, a day after Palestinian militants fired rockets into Israel.

The overnight air raids came hours after a Palestinian militant was killed and 10 others injured in clashes with the Israeli army near the border.

No casualties resulted from the air strikes or the rocket in Beersheva – the first attack on that city since Israel’s 2009 Gaza offensive.

Israel says it holds Hamas responsible for all attacks emanating from Gaza.

Palestinian witnesses said the the fighting started on Wednesday after an Israeli tank entered northern Gaza. The Israeli army says it was trying to stop militants planting explosives along the fence.

Islamic Jihad said its militants opened fire on the tank, and that one man was killed and two wounded when the tanks returned fire.

The Ministry of Health in Gaza said three children were among those wounded by the shrapnel.

Doctors in Gaza said that in a separate incident, two Palestinian workers collecting rubble were injured after being shot by Israeli soldiers close to the border fence.

Later on Wednesday, a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a house in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba, about 30 km (20 miles) from the Gaza Strip. No casualties were reported.

Officials said one house was extensively damaged when it was hit by a Grad rocket, which have a longer range than the homemade rockets which have been fired from Gaza before.

Residents took refuge in safe rooms prepared for such incidents before the rocket hit.

A second Grad rocket was reported to have fallen near the town of Netivot, causing no injuries.

Also overnight, the Abu Ali Mustafa brigades, the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said fighters launched three mortar shells toward the Nahal Oz military base military, and another two toward Israeli infrastructure east of al-Zaitoun, the Maan news agency reported.

The Islamist group Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, and Israel have largely halted hostilities since the 2009 war in Gaza, but skirmishes often break out around the border area.

Although members of Hamas’s military wing rarely carry out attacks, the Israeli military says it holds the group responsible for all militant activity in the Gaza Strip.

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The Popular Uprising in Egypt

NOVANEWS

The Popular Uprising in Egypt: The Military Machine Remains Intact, The Political Status Quo Prevails

by crescentandcross  

By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya / Global Research.ca

The same group of Egyptian generals running Cairo presently also formed the backbone of the Mubarak regime. There has been no real change in government. The military junta represents a continuation of the Mubarak regime. The previous so-called civilian administration and the Egyptian High Council of the Armed Forces are virtually the same body.

The generals would have run Egypt either way, under the so-called civilian government formed by Mubarak before he resigned or the current military government. While the generals rule the Nile Valley, a “controlled opposition” is being manufactured and nurtured by the U.S. and its allies.

Change is forthcoming. Whose interests will it serve? Those of Washington and Brussels or those of the grassroots movements in North Africa and Southwest Asia?

The Imperial Province of Egypt

Since its inception as a Roman province, Egypt was always a valuable and important territory, its role as a breadbasket and economic hub were so significant for the Romans that it had a status as a special “imperial province” ruled directly by the Roman emperors.

Today, Egypt is of immense importance to America’s imperial ambitions.  The Suez Canal is a global artery of maritime trade and of vast strategic importance as a military and energy corridor. The “Global Constabulary” that is Washington’s self-imposed role as global arbiter would be crippled without Egypt firmly in place.

Even if speaking hypothetically, when U.S. General James Mattis says that if the Suez Canal is closed, then the U.S. military will engage Egypt offensively (meaning attack or invade), he is not joking. [1] The Suez Canal is an important part of the global economy, the military network of the U.S. and NATO, and Washington’s modern-day and ever more mutinous empire.

What has changed in Post-Ben Ali Tunisia and Post-Mubarak Egypt?

Aside from the spirit and the confidence of the people, both Tunis and Cairo have not seen any substantial changes. The English playwright William Shakespeare said it best: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” [2] In the case of post-Mubarak Egypt and post-Ben Ali Tunisia it must be said that “dictatorship and tyranny by any other name is still dictatorship and tyranny.” The point simply is as follows; what is important is what something is and not what something is called.

The chiefs of two oppressive Arab regimes are gone, but their actual regimes still remain in one form or another. Mubarak and Ben Ali were dominant actors within the power structure of the regimes in Tunis and Cairo. Yet, there is still an oligarchic supporting structure which remains intact. Both Mubarak and Ben Ali could almost be thought of in terms of the firsts amongst a set of peers or primus inter pares. Both dictators were members of a cast of oligarchs within their respective authoritarian republics.

The regime structures remain. Also, the external forces that supported the Tunisian and Egyptian regime structures persist. These external forces are  the United States and the European Union.

The Phasing in of the Military Junta in Cairo

Before and after Mubarak stepped down from his office, the military in Egypt started being presented as a circumvent third party actor and as the “protector” of the Egyptian people. It is not coincidental that Mohammed Al-Baradei (El-Baradei/ElBaradei) was calling for the military to takeover. [3] In pertinence to this there has been a calculated ongoing public relations campaign to support the Egyptian military.

The military junta was slowly phased in. Signs of this included the political statements that the Egyptian military had started releasing to the public before Mubarak formally resigned. [4] The journalist Hamza Hendawi, who has been actively covering Egypt, spells this out:

Egypt’s 18-day uprising produced a military coup that crept into being over many days — its seeds planted early in the crisis by Mubarak himself.

 

The telltale signs of a coup in the making began to surface soon after Mubarak ordered the army out on the streets to restore order after days of deadly clashes between protesters and security forces in Cairo and much of the rest of the Arab nation.

 

“This is in fact the military taking over power,” said political analyst Diaa Rashwan after Mubarak stepped down and left the reins of power to the armed forces. “It is direct involvement by the military in authority and to make Mubarak look like he has given up power.” [5]
Moreover, the Egyptian military is not the neutral actor that it is being portrayed as. It is a backbone of the dictatorial establishment in Egypt that hoisted Mubarak. The Egyptian military is also Washington’s best bet for holding onto Egypt and to maintain the status quo.

The Egyptian Military is a Continuation of the Mubarak Regime

Presently the Egyptian High Council of the Armed Forces runs Egypt. It is a military junta that rules by degree. Similarly in Tunis, Fouad Al-Mebazaa, one of the “old guard” of Ben Ali, is also ruling by decrees that bypass any democratic process. [6]

The rule of the military generals in Cairo is only a formality; the military has always run Egypt under the guise of civilian government. The Egyptian protests have served to solidify and consolidate the hold of the Egyptian military over the Egyptian government. It is likely that Mubarak, before he stepped down from his office, was preparing the grounds for a military junta to take over with his new cabinet appointments. As a precaution, the new cabinet may have been part of a phasing in of open military rule.

Moreover, Mubarak’s regime began as a continuation of the regime of Mohammed Anwar Al-Sadat. Mubarak and Sadat both also came from within the ranks of the Egyptian military. Sadat was an Egyptian Army officer and Mubarak was a commander in the Egyptian Air Force. The Sadat-Mubarak regime can best be described as a club of military generals. In other words, Egypt’s top military brass and the regime are cast from the same lot.

Omar Suleiman, the man Mubarak selected to fill the long-time vacant post of Egyptian vice-president, too comes from the ranks of the Egyptian military. While a civilian clothed cabinet minister, General Suleiman was the head of Cairo’s intelligence services.  This is clear evidence of the nature of the Egyptian regime as a military government or a general’s club.

Ahmed Al-Shafik, the prime minister that Mubarak appointed to his new 2011 government is also a general. Shafik was the head of the Egyptian Air Force. Nor is Shafik a new face to government; he was an Egyptian cabinet minister prior to his appointment as prime minister of Egypt.

Even Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, the deputy prime minister and defence minister of Egypt is a military general.  Field Marshal Tantawi is also the supreme commander of the Egyptian military and heads the Egyptian High Council of the Armed Forces, which now officially governs Egypt. Under Mubarak’s rule, Tantawi has simultaneously served as the chief of the Egyptian military and the defence minister of Egypt since 1991 until the present. If not the second most powerful individual in Egypt, Field Marshal Tantawi is one of the most powerful members of the Egyptian ruling class.

These generals – officially retired or not – form the Egyptian High Council of the Armed Forces. In other words, Suleiman, Shafik, and Tantawi are running Egypt. They would have done it under a civilian regime or a military regime. Is there a real major difference between the previous so-called civilian government and the current military junta? The differences between the two are really nominal.

In reality, a carte blanche or blank cheque has been given to the same figures that were supposedly running the civilian regime. These officials and the Egyptian state ruled under a military junta will feel less pressure for suppressing the liberty and demands of the Egyptian people. The governing status quo is very much alive.

Washington’s Role in the Establishment of a Military Junta in Egypt

Like Rome in its day, the United States has established a series of global patron-client relationships as the basis of its empire. The Egyptian military is one of these U.S. clients. It is bankrolled by Washington. After Israel, Egypt is the second largest recipient of financial aid from the U.S., and the majority of this goes to the Egyptian military as a means of sustaining the patron-client relationship Washington has with Cairo.

It is because of the nature of this patron-client relationship that the U.S government had aided and abetted the takeover of Egypt by the Egyptian military. Washington presently has no other relationship in Egypt that is analogous in its strength to this. This would also not be the first time that Washington has helped prop a military government in an Arab country. In 1949, the U.S. helped secure another military takeover of the state in Syria. This has been part of the U.S. hegemon’s objective for preserving its control over its Egyptian province.

Sami Hafez Al-Anan (Al-Enan), the chief of staff of the Egyptian military, was in Washington for two days after the protests ignited in Egypt. [7] Undoubtedly, the U.S. government instructed him on what the U.S. wanted from the Egyptian regime and the military generals before his departure. After his return to Egypt, Ahmed Shafik was appointed the new prime minister and Field Marshal Tantawi became deputy prime minister. Martin Indyk, who is a former U.S. official, also openly said that the grounds should be prepared for the Egyptian military. [8] Since Indyk is no longer a U.S. official he was able to say what the White House and U.S. State Department could not openly express.

U.S. officials were also praising the Egyptian military before and after the resignation of Mubarak. The U.S. government also has not and does not intend to freeze or end its military aid to the junta in Cairo. U.S. officials are also complicit in all the acts of oppression committed under Mubarak and by the military junta.

The Egyptian Military Serves the Interests of Capital

The state and its military might are subordinated to organized capital. When Smedley D. Buttler, a retired U.S. Marine major-general, wrote in 1935 that he and the U.S. military served the interests of organized capital, he was being utterly frank. The Egyptian military, more specifically the leadership of the Egyptian military, serve the interests of capital, in both its local and global forms.

Under the Mubarak-Sadat regime the corrupt generals of Egypt have run Egypt as a vast estate.  They run and control an extensive network of private enterprises and national assets, from the tourism sector and resort areas in Sharm el-Sheikh to construction companies. The lucrative Suez Canal is also under the control of the military.

No real changes can be expected under a group of generals who have an interest in maintaining the kleptocratic status quo. The Egyptian junta has also announced as the government of Egypt that it will continue the sanctions regime against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and maintain the treaty between Egypt and Israel.

Manufacturing Dissent through a Counter-Discourse

The U.S. government wants to control the situation in Egypt. In order to do this Washington is busy involved in setting up a “controlled counter-discourse” through “manufactured dissent.” The controlled counter-discourse is being shaped through the manufacturing of an opposition (pseudo-opposition).

In this regard, the U.S. has declared that it is preparing to bankroll the rise of new political parties in Egypt. [9] This aid is intended to control and manipulate the internal affairs of Egypt. One should ask, what would be the reaction of the U.S. government and the American people if countries such as Russia, China, Iran, and Venezuela where funding newly forming political parties in the United States?

Washington is also desperately trying to politically hedge its bets by making gestures of support and giving nominal support to some forms of authentic opposition. Yet, all the while the U.S. government is working to dilute the authentic opposition and infiltrate the protest movements with its own so-called opposition figures. There is also a synchronized effort by the Egyptian regime – which encompasses the military junta – to do the same. The so-called “Wise Men” group is a facet of this.

Mohammed Al-Baradei is also an opposition figure that is intended to preserve the status quo, albeit with cosmetic changes on the surface. Al-Baradei represent’s the imperial interests of Washington. Not only did he support the intervention of the Egyptian military, but he suggested the formation of  “a transitional government headed by a presidential council of two or three figures, including a military representative.” [8] The Egyptian High Council of the Armed Forces in effect is what Al-Baradei demanded for before Mubarak’s resignation. In is also noteworthy to mention that Al-Baradei has also stated that he “respects Suleiman as someone to negotiate with over the transition [after Mubarak resigns].” [10] None of this is mere coincidence, including Al-Baradei’s calls for military intervention.

The so-called promotion of “civil society” in the form of non-government organizations (NGOs), which receive funding and training from the E.U. and Washington, are tied to creating a controlled opposition, a controlled counter-discourse, and political hedging. The declaration by the Egyptian High Council of the Armed Forces that it will govern Egypt for about six months or longer could be tied to the efforts to manufacture a “controlled opposition.” This could be one of the reasons that Martin Indyk, before Mubarak resigned, said “What we have to focus on now is getting the military into a position where they can hold the ring for a moderate and legitimate political leadership to emerge.” [11]

Since the end of the Second World War, the U.S. government has been engaged in manipulating political processes through non-state actors. This has been done through so-called democracy promotion, cultural, and educational programs. It is used as a tool of internal manipulation.

Arab Democracy

Hereto, there is no authentic Arab democracy. The consensus system in Lebanon is flawed and based on religious and confessional lines. Ironically, the only democratic system amongst the Arabs existed amid the occupied and downtrodden Palestinians.

The Palestinians had instituted a democratic system that lasted until the Hamas-Fatah split and the establishment of Mahmoud Abbas as a quasi-dictator in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Washington’s contempt for actual democracy amongst the Arabs is visible from its position on the Palestinian elections in 2006 that ushered in a Hamas government. Washington, Tel Aviv, the E.U., the House of Saud, Jordan, and Egypt were all instrumental is the debasement of democracy amongst the Palestinians.

In regards to Israel, Tel Aviv relishes calling itself a democracy in comparison to the Arabs, but claims that Israel is a democracy are also incorrect. Israel can best be characterized as an ethnocracy, which also embraces militarism and aspects of a theocracy. An ethnocratic state is a state where individual rights and state laws are based on ethnicity. Although Jews are not an ethnic group in the conventional sense, in Israel discrimination of non-Jewish Israelis is systematic and legal. Israeli Jewry and Israeli non-Jews do not have the same rights. For example, a non-Jewish Israeli citizen cannot marry someone from outside of Israel and live in Israel with them, but a Israeli Jew can. This type of discrimination is justified as legal “religious discrimination” to keep the so-called Jewish identity of Israel.

Washington’s Greater Middle East Project Will Not Materialize

If the Arab protesters are to make far-reaching changes they must persist with their demands and not back down. Nor can they ignore the role that foreign policy and economic factors play in their states.  This is essential in order for genuine changes/revolutions to take place and not bogus shows of democracy. The current transitional government in Tunis and the Egyptian military junta are continuations of the old regimes. They will either try to maintain power or wait until a “controlled opposition” takes power and “managed democracies” are established in Tunisia and Egypt.

All is not doom and gloom. The U.S. government and the Egyptian junta are not omnipotent powers either. They have limited strength. Nor can they control the lower ranks of the Egyptian military. Washington and the Egyptian generals have been worried about defection amongst the ranks of the junior officers and the non-commissioned members of the military.

A new reality is setting in. A new Middle East is coming, but it will be one that no one expects. Creative destruction and political manipulation can only go so far. What is certain is that the new Middle East will not be the one that Condoleezza Rice and Ehud Olmert bragged about when Israel was bombarding Lebanon in 2006. The U.S. establishment will eventually realize that humans cannot control chaos.

The Shifting Sands

All things are finite and no empire lasts forever. Rome’s empire fell and eventually somewhere down the road so will the global empire of the United States. Washington and its cohorts are now beginning to sink in the sands of the Middle East. The U.S. government has put the United States on the wrong side of history. If Mubarak was the modern pharaoh of Egypt, then on the world-stage the U.S. is the pharaoh. Washington too will eventually see disgrace if it does not listen to the growing chorus.

In Washington there is a belief that the Arab protests can be manipulated, but the sands are shifting. The people of the region have realized that people should not be afraid of their governments, their governments should be afraid of them. The Rome of today, Washington, has been stopped in its tracks in the lands of North Africa and Southwest Asia.

Revolution is underway in the petro-sheikhdom of Bahrain, while the U.S. and E.U. have been silent as the Bahraini military and foreign mercenaries with Saudi and Jordanian help have been unleashed on civilian protesters. The Palestinian people’s morale has been lifted and pressure is being put on Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority, which simply enforces the Israeli occupation in the West Bank. In Iraqi Kurdistan protests have started against Massoud Barzani and the Kurdistan Regional Government, which the U.S. and Britain have always tried to showcase as a model of Anglo-American success in Iraq. Protests have also broken out in Algeria, Jordan, Sudan, Iran, Turkey, and Libya. Yemen is rife with revolutionary fervour.

The bravery of the sons and daughters of Tunisia and Egypt have inspired and uplifted the Arabs as a whole and stirred the Turko-Arabo-Iranic World. Despite any attempts at managing these events, no one will be able to predict how they will play out. Still, one way or another, change will take shape.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya specializes on the Middle East and Central Asia. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).

Fruits of Revolt Won’t be Felt Until Power Out of Army’s Hands

 

NOTES

[1] Adrian Croft, “U.S. sees Suez Canal closure as inconceivable,” eds. Peter Griffiths and Elizabeth Fullerton, Reuters, February 1, 2011.
[2] William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Hauppauge, N.Y.: Barron’s Education Series, 2002), II.ii.44-45.
[3] Sarah El Deeb and Hamza Hendawi, “ElBaradei calls on Egyptian army to intervene,” Associated Press (AP), February 10, 2011.
[4] Hamza Hendawi, “Analysis: Military Coup was behind Mubarak’s exit,” Associated Press (AP), February 11, 2011.
[5] Ibid.
[6] “Tunisia calls up reserve troops amid unrest,” Associated Press (AP), February 7, 2011; Sofie Bouderbala, “Tunisian lawmakers approve emergency powers, Agence France-Presse (AFP), February 7, 2011; Kaouther Larbi, “Tunisia Senate grants leader wide powers,” Agence France-Presse (AFP), February 10, 2011.
[7] Philips Stewart, U.S. and Egyptian military chiefs meet in Washington,” ed. John O’Callaghan, Reuters, January 28, 2011; “Egypt general quits meeting to tend crisis at home,” Associated Press (AP), January 28, 2011.
[8] Elisabeth Bumiller, “Calling for Restraint, Pentagon Faces Test of Influence With Ally,” The New York Times, January 29, 2011.
[9] David E. Sanger, “Obama Presses Egypt’s Military on Democracy,” The New York Times, February, 2011, A7.
[10] Hamza Hendawi and Maggie Michael, “Egypt protestors throng square after violence, Associated Press (AP), February 4, 2011.
[11] Ibid.
[12] Bumiller, “Pentagon Faces Test,” Op. cit.

Posted in Africa1 Comment

Dorothy Online Newsletter

NOVANEWS

 

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem

Chair of West Midland PSC

 

Dear All,

One of the disadvantages of reading on-line media is that one can read a great deal and find nothing worth while forwarding.  Of course I mean that there is nothing that would add or detract from the information about what is happening in this small part of the world.  True, I could have included a dozen articles on Libya and the other revolts, but today I was more concerned to keep you informed about events in Israel-Palestine.  I presume that your local papers have news about the rest of the Middle East these days.

If there are disadvantages there are also advantages of reading on-line media.  One such is that sometimes you find the totally unexpected.  The SF Chronicle, for instance, informed me that tomorrow people in San Francisco and elsewhere in the SF Bay Area (where I have a good deal of family, including our oldest son and his family) might wake up to snow! Wow!  That’s exciting.  It’s about equivalent to Tel Aviv having snow.  Also, I found an argument in Letters to the Editor of the Seattle Times about ads that were to have been put up in the metro, apparently calling Israel an apartheid state, but were ultimately not allowed.  But the fact that the argument made the newspaper is valuable, too, as some readers might derive from it a different view of Israel than the one that they previously had had.

These items are not among the 5 below, though.

Item 1 reveals another demolition of a village (tents and huts) including cisterns.  You must be tired of hearing about demolition after demolition.  But for the people who experience these, it is a cruel, dastardly act.  Israel seems to have forgotten the notion of not doing unto others what it would not want done to itself.  Moreover, demolishing cisterns is even more ugly or as ugly as demolishing dwellings.  The people in the South Hebron Hills have to trek water in by tankers to fill the cisterns.  So demolishing the cisterns is also theft of the water these people need not for themselves and  their livestock.

Item 2 expands on the report that I previously sent about the PHR’s Gaza event.  Hopefully Israel will continue to allow Israeli medical care to enter Gaza.

In item 3 Neve Gordon argues that ‘Israel’s media presents Egyptian democracy as a threat.’  This is what Israelis hear. Am not so sure, though, that this is brain washing, as I believe that most Israelis from the outset preferred to have Mubarak remain.  He served as a so-called safety valve for Israelis.  Therefore, the fact that he was a dictator for the Egyptians hardly matters to most Israelis.

Item 4 is on a topic that I don’t usually include, but as a member of New Profile (a feminist movement) I find it suitable and important.  Merav Michaeli gives you an inkling of the sexism that exists in Israel.  Israel is still much a male-run country. And to make things worse, many of the males in the lead come from the military and bring its values as concerns sex as well as other things to civilian life.

NOVANEWS

 

Item 5 ticks off the ‘8 most commonly held misconceptions’ Americans have of Israel.

All the best,

Dorothy

1. CPTHebron Tuwani Team <cpttuwani@cpt.org>

Israeli military demolishes village of Amniyr

Video of the incident is available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLe1MrVfoT0

Amniyr, South Hebron Hills, West Bank

22 February 2011 – At 5 AM this morning the Israeli army, accompanied by members of the Israeli District Coordinating Office, arrived at the village of Amniyr and demolished five tent-houses, two cisterns and the village’s olive trees. The demolitions effectively destroyed the entire village and left its three families homeless. All that remained unharmed after the military left was a cave and a small taboun oven.

According to villagers, the military had been coming frequently for the past several months and delivering demolition orders and maps claiming that the village was on Israeli state land, and that their homes would be demolished unless everyone left.

Residents of Amniyr told CPT that they have suffered from years of settler and army harrassment. Years ago, members of the Jaboor family lived in the cave in Amniyr, but Israeli military and settler harassment forced them to move to a different area a few kilometers away. The harrassment continued in their new location, however, convincing the family to move back to tents close to their original cave just over a year ago.

What was once a small village is now a pile of dirt mounds, uprooted olive trees and shattered clocks and dishware.

“Where are we supposed to sleep tonight?” said Moath Jaboor, who lived in a tent with his mother. “We’ll have to rebuild our homes so that we can sleep.”

Operation Dove and Christian Peacemaker Teams have maintained an international presence in At-Tuwani and South Hebron Hills since 2004.

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

2.  Medical delegation from Physicians for Human Rights (Israel) enters the Gaza-strip.

Report by Salah Hay Yihyeh, director for activities in the occupied territories.

(Translated, edited and abridged by EK).

(This is an extension to the short report disseminated earlier).

During the two-day visit to Gaza (on 17 and 18 of February) the delegation, consisting of two neurologists and an orthopedic surgeon, and the director of medical activities in the occupied territories, all Arab-Israeli’s, all members of PHR, was mainly concerned with diagnosing and treating complicated medical cases, besides meeting with Health Organizations in Gaza.

Until the end of 2008 some degree of contact was maintained with medical services in Gaza and medical help could be extended by us. Since the last action by the IDF (Cast Lead) entry was denied to PHR by the Israeli authorities, until this sudden reversal of attitude. We can only hope that from now on contact and cooperation will be renewed.

On Friday 17 February the delegation waited for one hour at the Erez-crossing to finalize all necessary formalities and proceeded on foot to the Palestinian checkpoint, which is about two kilometers away form the Israeli side; there we were awaited by a vehicle from the Gaza Ministry of Health. We were warmly greeted by colleagues we had not met for two years and driven to Gaza to start work.

On our way there it seemed that time had stood still for two years. Buildings remained unfinished, or destroyed; roads are not maintained, and general malaise is noted all around. Sewage streams in the alleys, and horses and carts replace automobiles because lack of gasoline. Electricity is frequently cut off.

The delegation was received by the Minister of Health, and other high functionaries. The very difficult situation in the Gaza-strip was explained to the visitors.

First and foremost the lack of basic medicines and medical supplies are stressed. Essential medication for cancer patients is lacking, and a long list was presented to the delegation. But even basic medication, such as pediatric paracetamol syrup has been absent for one month.

Essential medical equipment is unavailable. For instance, the CT-apparatus in Khan Yunis European Hospital has been out of order for 10 months, because of missing spare parts. In Nasser Children’s Hospital the CT machine is non-functioning since there is no money for repairs. In Al-Shifa Hospital no blood tests could be performed for one month because of lack of necessary materials.

The minister of Health blames not only Israel for this situation, but also Ramallah, which is cooperating with the blockade. He stated: concerning the international assistance we supposedly receive: much of our supplies are of no use, or are over-date. One example – Algeria promised help and sent 28 dialysis-machines. It appeared that these were 15 years old, many do not function at all, and the American factory producing them has gone bankrupt 12 years ago. And many more sad examples.

Electricity is cut off frequently and generators need fuel, which is in short supply as well.

Another worrisome fact is the dearth of specialists, and the near impossibility to send young doctors for training in specialized medical centers because of the blockade.

The present developments in Egypt again stopped all passage of frontiers.

After this meeting the delegation proceeded to Khan Yunes, where 15 difficult medical cases were presented. Most of these need interventions that are not available in Gaza, mostly neuro-surgical and vertebral operations. Some of these patients need urgent operations in order to prevent rapid deterioration. We try to obtain the help of an Israeli specialist, member of PHR, who will perform the necessary operations and bring his own equipment!

After this activity, the delegation set up an improvised clinic in a building in the main street that connects several refugee camps. 70 patients were examined; 15 were deemed to benefit from operations. We will try to perform these operations on our next visit, and bring the necessary instrumentation with us.

At 20:00 after the clinic the delegation traveled to Al-Shifaa Hospital in the center of the Gaza-strip, to examine ten patients, who need joint replacement surgery. These interventions are planned for our next visit.

At 22:00 another meeting was held with the minister of Health and heads of the health Services. Many subjects were covered, about methods of training in the Gaza-area.

At 01:00 a representative of WHO joined the delegation and he gave an overview of the health situation in the Gaza-strip.

Friday, 18 February.

At 08:00 some 20 neurologists and internists from hospitals in the Gaza-strip attended two lectures given by members of the delegation.

Thereafter another meeting was held in the El-Oudeh Hospital, planning ways of intensifying cooperation between the hospital and PHR. The director of the hospital thanked PHR and expressed hope for continuation of our commitment.

At 12:30 the delegation started the return journey home.

Heartfelt thanks are due to the members of the delegation. Much effort will be needed to continue this important work, and continued financial support is necessary for PHR to maintain this level of support in the occupied territories.

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

3.  Israeli media ‘fears’ the new Egypt

Israel’s media presents Egyptian democracy as a threat, with one commentator lamenting the end of colonialism.

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/02/201121814292835839.html#

Neve Gordon Last Modified: 21 Feb 2011 16:04 GMT

Israeli media changed its tone, first arguing that Hosni Mubarak’s government would not fall, and later worrying about the implications for Israel [GALLO/GETTY]

Over the past three weeks the Israeli media has been extremely interested in Egypt.

During the climatic days of the unprecedented demonstrations, television news programmes spent most of their airtime covering the protests, while the daily papers dedicated half the news and opinion pages to the unfolding events.

Rather than excitement at watching history in the making, however, the dominant attitude here, particularly on television, was of anxiety– a sense that the developments in Egypt were inimical to Israel’s interests. Egypt’s revolution, in other words, was bad news.

It took a while for Israel’s experts on “Arab Affairs” to get a grip on what was happening. During the early days of unrest, the recurrent refrain was that “Egypt is not Tunis”.

Commentators assured the public that the security apparatuses in Egypt are loyal to the regime and that consequently there was little if any chance that President Hosni Mubarak’s government would fall.

Media switch

Once it became clear that this line of analysis was erroneous, most commentators followed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s lead and criticised President Barack Obama’s Administration for not supporting Mubarak. The Foreign News editor of one channel noted that: “The fact that the White House is permitting the protests is reason for worry;” while the prominent political analyst Ben Kaspit expressed his longing for President George W. Bush.

“We remember 2003 when George Bush invaded and took over Iraq with a sense of yearning”, Ben Kaspit wrote. “Libya immediately changed course and allied itself with the West. Iran suspended its military nuclear program. Arafat was harnessed. Syria shook with fear. Not that the invasion of Iraq was a wise move (not at all, Iran is the real problem, not Iraq), but in the Middle East whoever does not walk around with a big bat in his hand receives the bat on his head.”

Israeli commentators are equivocal on the issue of Egyptian democracy.  One columnist explained that it takes years for democratic institutions to be established and for people to internalise the practices appropriate for democracy, while Amir Hazroni from NRG went so far as to write an ode to colonialism:

“When we try to think how and why the United States and the West lost Egypt, Tunis, Yemen and perhaps other countries in the Middle East, people forget that. The original sin began right after WWII, when a wonderful form of government that protected security and peace in the Middle East (and in other parts of the Third Word) departed from this world following pressure from the United States and Soviet Union… More than sixty years have passed since the Arab states and the countries of Africa were liberated from the ‘colonial yoke,’ but there still isn’t an Arab university, an African scientist or a Middle Eastern consumer product that has made a mark on our world.”

Fear and the brotherhood

While only a few commentators are as reactionary as Hazroni, an Orientalist perspective permeated most of the discussion about Egypt, thus helping to bolster the already existing Jewish citizenry’s fear of Islam. Political Islam is constantly presented and conceived as an ominous force that is antithetical to democracy.

Thus, in the eyes of Israeli analysts, the protestors- that Facebook and Twitter generation- are deserving of empathy but also extremely naïve. There is a shared sense that their fate will end up being identical to that of the Iranian intellectuals who led the protests against the Shah.

Channel Two’s expert on “Arab Affairs” explained that: “The fact that you do not see the Muslim Brotherhood does not mean they are not there,” and another expert warned his viewers not to “be misled by ElBaradei’s Viennese spirit, behind him is the Muslim Brotherhood.”

According to these pundits, the Muslim Brotherhood made a tactical decision not to distribute Islamists banners or to take an active part in leading the protests. One commentator declared that if the Muslim Brotherhood wins, then “elections are the end of the [democratic] process, not its beginning,” while an anchorman for Channel Ten asked former Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer whether “the person who says to himself: ‘How wonderful, at last the state of Egypt is a democracy,’ is naïve?”

The Minister responded: “Allow me even to laugh. We wanted a democracy in Iran and in Gaza. The person who talks like this is ignoring the fact that for over a decade there has been a struggle of giants between the Sunni and Shia with tons of blood spilled. The person who talks about democracy does not live in the reality we live in.”

Democratic threat

Ben-Eliezer’s response is telling, not least because it is well known that Israel supported the Shah regime in Iran and has not proven itself to be a particularly staunch supporter of Palestinian democracy. Democracy in the Middle East is, after all, conceived by this and prior Israeli governments as a threat to Israel’s interests.

Dan Margalit, a well-known commentator, made this point clear when he explained that Israel does not disapprove of a democracy in the largest Arab country but simply privileges Israel’s peace agreement with Egypt over internal Arab affairs.

Israel, one should note, is not alone in this self-serving approach; most western countries constantly lament the absence of democracy in the Arab world, while supporting the dictators and helping them remain in office. In English this kind of approach has a very clear name – it is called hypocrisy.

Neve Gordon is the author of Israel’s Occupation and can be reached through his website.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

Source: Al Jazeera

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

4.  Haaretz ,

February 23, 2011

Big harassing brother

Men constitute most of the people in charge, and the way they see women determines what it is that women can even be.

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/big-harassing-brother-1.345163

By Merav Michaeli

Since the chief editor of the reality TV show “Big Brother” was kept on staff, despite being heard on live television telling a female contestant she has to “play with his penis between her breasts,” it must be at least pointed out that his was clearly a watershed moment, for the worse, and one that warrants an explanation.

It must be made clear that this is sexual harassment. By definition, specifically defined by the law: “A desecrating or derogatory attitude toward a person with regard to his or her sex, gender or sexuality.” The comment made by the editor in question is not denigrating coming from a person with whom you want to have a sexual relationship. From anyone else, it is forced sex − “even if the individual who was harassed did not indicate to the harasser that he or she was not interested in the proposal or the approach.”

It is sexual harassment because this is the model in which all sexual attacks and harassments happen: A man in authority, who has total access to and enjoys the trust of the victim, takes advantage of his power to force sexual actions or language on her.

In the case of the “Big Brother” editor, he is in an ultimate position of power: He sees and is not seen; he holds the position of a father, a priest, a therapist; he is the omnipotent one, who decides what happens to the people who have placed themselves in his hands − and he has surely promised them that those hands are trustworthy.

It is sexual harassment because the remark was made in a place where the editor, Yoram Zak, is the boss, the overlord. Even if the female contestant did not hear what he said, all the men and women working under him certainly have, thus turning the workplace into a hostile environment for women, and for some of the men as well. The attempt to separate between what can supposedly be said in a room, but cannot be said on television, is based on male morality − by which anything that makes men laugh is deemed humorous and anything that stimulates men is sexy and legitimate, no matter how violent it may be.

Indeed, the fraternity rallied around its tried and true territory: the right to sexually harass women as one of the privileges of the powerful class.

Editors and writers did not hesitate to publish how they too tell sexist jokes and look at pornography in their place of work. That is to say − how they, too, break the law. They, too, like Zak, understand that when a woman appears on a show like “Big Brother,” as with any workplace where a man is in charge, she is giving up not only her privacy ‏(something which is true for men as well‏), but also the right and ownership of her own body

Men constitute most of the people in charge, and the way they see women determines what it is that women can even be. Zak is the one who cast the female contestants on “Big Brother,” including their breasts. The CEO of the Keshet television franchise is the one who cast Zak to design his pornographic screen.

The law against sexual harassment states that “the employer must take reasonable steps … to prevent sexual harassment or abuse by his employees or by supervisors appointed by him.” The employer in this case, Avi Nir, not only does nothing to prevent the sexual harassment, he creates the perfect conditions for it. And once it was exposed, not only did he neglect to “efficiently deal with the incident … and do everything possible to prevent such incidents in the future and to correct the damage done,” rather he keeps the harasser who he appointed in a senior and lucrative position − allowing Zak to stay in charge of many hours of live programming, in which they will continue to abuse their power..

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

5.  [forwarded by David McReynolds]

By Ira Chernus  57 COMMENTS 8 Most Commonly Held Misconceptions About the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Too many Americans hold dangerous misconceptions about the defining conflict in the Middle East.

February 21, 2011  |

Photo Credit: Jim Watson/AFP  LIKE THIS ARTICLE ?

http://www.alternet.org/world/149992?page=entire

The Israeli occupation of the West Bank and blockade of Gaza goes on, seemingly without end. Israeli troops continue to kill innocent Palestinians. The United States arms Israel to the tune of $3 billion a year or more. And most progressives talk as if there’s not a thing anyone can do about it.

This sorry state of affairs persists because so many wrong ideas about the conflict are widely held here. Here are eight of the worst distortions in our discourse.

1. The biggest and most dangerous misconception of all: “Israel is a vulnerable nation surrounded by powerful enemies — a little David, pure and innocent, bravely fighting back against Goliath-like Arabs bent on destroying it.”

This tale was, and still is, so commonly accepted that most Americans ignore the obvious facts: Israel has been the Middle East’s dominant military power since the Six Day War in 1967. It has a sizable nuclear arsenal while its neighbors have no nukes at all.

The idea of Israeli being destroyed or “pushed into the sea” is a fairy tale. Palestinian violence against Israel never came near the levels of Israeli violence against Palestinians. Now, while Israel continues to occupy the West Bank and economically strangle Gaza, Palestinian violence has virtually ceased.

Yet the old story of tough little Israel fighting for its life — which is often read, between the lines, as a story of civilization warding off the barbarians — continues to be the foundation of most everything the U.S. mass media and policymakers say about Israel. It’s a powerful story, especially when coupled with another, equally common misconception:

2. “There is no space between the United States and Israel” when it comes to our national interests. Obama administration officials like to say that a lot. They make it sound as if U.S. and Israeli interests are identical.

In fact, there are huge differences. The U.S. has plenty of reasons to want an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israelis are in no rush. The Israeli right thrives on the vote-getting power of a continuing battle against an enemy. Israeli centrists and even many liberals tend to ignore the Palestinian issue now that violence against Israel has practically disappeared.

On the other hand, Israeli leaders have long been eager to strike Iran’s nuclear installations. But U.S. leaders have never even considered giving them the green light.  The George W. Bush administration knew as well as the current administration that military action against Iran would be unthinkable folly. According to a senior Israeli official, his government has not asked for U.S. permission to attack Iran because it does not want to be embarrassed when it’s told no. As Vice-President Joe Biden said, “There is no pressure from any nation that’s going to alter our behavior as to how to proceed” on Iran.

The differences between U.S. and Israeli interests were on public display most recently during the uprising in Egypt. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear that he was eager to see Hosni Mubarak stay in power. After some uncertainty, Barack Obama came down on the other side, recognizing the strategic dangers if the U.S. supported Mubarak. U.S. officials were “on the telephone almost daily with their Israeli counterparts,” the New York Times reported, “urging them to ‘please chill out,’ in the words of one senior administration official.”

The obvious differences between U.S. and Israeli strategic interests belie a third misconception:

3. “The U.S. and Israel are tied together because they need each other as military allies.” Anthony Cordesman, one of the most prominent hawks in the national security establishment, has stated flatly what many other experts have also concluded: “America’s ties to Israel are not based primarily on U.S. strategic interests.”

Top U.S. military leaders have explained why, in private and in public: U.S. military support for Israel endangers U.S. military interests in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the predominantly Muslim world. In Israel Meir Dagan, until recently head of the Mossad (Israel’s CIA), warned that Israel is gradually becoming a strategic burden on the United States.

An article in the New York Jewish Week, quoting a former staffer for AIPAC (the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee), explained that the whole idea of “shared strategic goals” was cooked up by AIPAC in the 1970s “to persuade Republicans, who were overwhelmingly opposed to foreign aid, to vote for aid to Israel.”

In recent years the GOP has been more likely than the Democrats to approve a U.S. blank check for Israel. But that may be changing. So watch out for the next misconception:

4. “A more Republican Congress means more U.S. support for Israel’s right-wing government.”

It’s true that Republicans are usually more hawkish on Israel, even though they usually come from districts with very few Jewish voters. But more GOP influence could be bad news for the Israeli government.

Although Rep. Ileana Ross-Lehtinen, the new chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has always been a stalwart friend of “anything and everything for Israel,” she now warns that the new Republicans in Congress are again bent on slashing foreign aid, and even Israel’s aid could be “on the chopping block.” A Reuters analysis suggested that the Dems’ midterm loss “might convince Obama he has nothing to lose and decide to lean heavily on Israel to accept painful compromises.”

If Obama leans heavily, would the Israelis move? That brings us to the next common misconception:

5. “Israel never responds to pressure from the U.S.”

The Israeli press is constantly filled with warnings from top-drawer pundits that when push comes to shove, Israel would not dare to refuse firm orders from the Obama administration. No less a figure than Israel’s President Peres bluntly explained why: “Israel must forge good relations with other countries, primarily the United States, so as to guarantee political support in a time of need.”

Even a longtime hardliner like Netanyahu bends rather than run the risk of losing U.S. support and leaving Israel alone in the world. There are plenty of examples since Obama took office. For his whole life Netanyahu refused even to consider the possibility of a Palestinian state. Now he has publicly committed Israel to that goal. He initiated a de facto freeze on settlement expansion well before he agreed to the official 10-month freeze. He kept up a de facto moratorium on Jewish building in East Jerusalem for many months, too. These steps and others angered his right-wing coalition partners. But as leader of the nation he saw no choice except to cede to Obama’s demands.

The Obama administration’s pressure on Israel points to another misconception:

6. “The right-wing Israel lobby has an invincible lock on U.S. Mideast policy.”

If that were true, Obama would never have made his groundbreaking speech in Cairo, demanded the settlement expansion freeze, reprimanded the Israelis for breaking it and for building in East Jerusalem, or humiliated Netanyahu at the White House (which led a popular Israeli columnist to write that lots of Israelis were repeating “that joke about the eight-ton elephant that can sit down anywhere it wishes … Obama sat down on us this week.”).

If the Israel lobby could control U.S. policy, Obama would have swung all his weight behind Mubarak in the recent Egyptian upheaval. But the Israelis’ plea to the White House to support Mubarak, seconded by their lobby in Washington, was ultimately ignored by the administration.

Inside the U.S. foreign policy establishment there are powerful voices opposing the traditional pro-Israel lobby, too. Elite newspapers are regularly taking more moderate stands on the issue, including the New York Times, whose two Jewish foreign policy columnists, Tom Friedman and Roger Cohen, regularly chastise the Israelis.

The same change has come to Congress. Last spring, when AIPAC initiated another of its typical “we love Israel” letters in Congress, they were shocked to find that more than a third of Democrats refused to sign. As I recently heard a Jewish congressman say, when Israel issues come up, legislators generally turn to their Jewish colleagues for advice. The Jews used to simply parrot the AIPAC line. Now they’re likely to say, “Well, AIPAC says this, but J Street says that. You decide.”

On every front, the hawks who once ruled the roost have to contend with a serious challenge from the doves. The division among Jewish lobby groups points to yet another misconception:

7. “The U.S. supports Israeli policies because American Jews demand it.”

Exit polls on Election Day, 2010, showed that three-quarters of Jewish voters want the U.S. to lead Israelis and Palestinians toward a two-state solution, and nearly two-thirds say they’d accept Obama administration pressure on Israel to reach that goal.

American Jews are increasingly disturbed about the overt anti-Arab racism that’s moving from the fringe to the mainstream of Israeli society. New Israeli laws mandate McCarthyite crackdowns on prestigious human rights and peace groups.

In response, top American-Jewish journalist Ron Kampeas recently wrote, “mainstream American Jewish organizations are embracing a strategy of acknowledging what’s wrong about Israel … addressing what some characterize as the deterioration of Israel’s civil society.” They “remain dedicated to defending Israel” when they think it deserves to be defended, “but they are no longer holding back on criticizing Israel.”

Prominent individual Jews are speaking out too, like Peter Beinart; New Yorker editor David Remnick, who says he “can’t take” the occupation any more; the Atlantic magazine’s prominent pro-Israel writer Jeffrey Goldberg, who has confessed that “peace will not come without the birth of a Palestinian state on the West Bank which has its capital in East Jerusalem”; and prominent Jewish historian Howard Sachar, who now says “the Israelis and the Palestinians will never find peace if they are left to negotiate on their own. …Washington must lead the way in enforcing a final-status settlement.”

Sachar’s view was recently echoed by a much more influential Jew, Tom Friedman, who is urging Obama to “put his own peace plan on the table … and demand that the two sides negotiate on it.”

8. That’s not to say the right-wing pro-Israel lobby is powerless, by any means. Those right-wingers are eager to spread a misconception of their own — that they don’t really influence government policy at all. The U.S. backs Israel so firmly, they say, because the American people have a long-standing cultural affinity with Zionism and just love the Jewish state.

But polls consistently show that about two-thirds of all Americans want our government to stay neutral between Israel and Palestine. The continuing pro-Israel tilt attests that the right-wing lobby is still a force to be reckoned with. But the large majority who favor neutrality show that the lobby has no hammerlock on public opinion any more than it has on policymaking.

However most Americans are still much more favorable toward Israel than toward the Palestinian cause, according to the polls. The main reason, I suspect, is the power of misconception number one: the widespread view of Israel as a victim of aggression whose very existence is always endangered. Americans love to root for the innocent underdog — especially when he looks like a tough, courageous fighter who just won’t quit.

The other misconceptions show there could be a very real possibility of changing U.S. policy, if progressive groups are willing to make the effort. But they won’t have any success unless they confront misconception number one head on, debunk it, and rebuild the public narrative on a foundation of truth about Israel’s strength and security.

Ira Chernus is professor of religious studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Read more of his writing on Israel, Palestine and American Jews on his blog: http://chernus.wordpress.com

Posted in Nova NewsletterComments Off on Dorothy Online Newsletter

ZIONIST GADDAFI PRIVATE PILOT DESERTED

NOVANEWS

Jumping Ship And Provisional Governments.

 

 

Apart from the chaos that’s going on in Libya, I noticed two bits which are telling.

Apparently, Gaddafi’s own private pilot has deserted:

“The pilot of Moammar Ghaddafi’s private jet, a Norwegian citizen, has been able to flee Libya with his family. They are now safe in Vienna after fearing for their lives in Libya.

57-year-old Odd Birger Johansen for the last year has been the pilot of the private jet of Colonel Ghaddafi. Until yesterday, he was in Tripoli, together with his wife and daughter that had chosen this unhappy moment to visit him for a holiday in Libya.

Yesterday, he spoke to the private Norwegian broadcaster ‘TV2’, saying he wanted to evacuate Libya as soon as possible. “Right now, the way I feel it, is that things are burning around me … and I don’t want to … I am not a hero, I will go home,” Mr Johansen told the broadcaster. “

Else where, they are setting up a provisional government:

“In eastern Libya, in the city of Bayda, a provisional government was being formed. The new leadership also is holding some Gadhafi loyalists hostage.

As the first Western journalists many of the residents of Bayda had ever seen were led into the meeting, the crowd gave a standing ovation — quickly followed by cries of “Freedom, Freedom!” and “Libya, Libya!”

This building had been a symbol of Gadhafi’s regime — where his revolutionary council would meet to discuss local affairs.

A new revolution was finding its voice in Bayda, and its fighters were vowing to end Gadhafi’s reign. Some people were crying, others pumping their fists in the air.

“Ordinary people, doctors, lawyers are talking about how we can coordinate with all other cities in Libya who are now under the protesters’ control,” says Ahmed Jibril, a former diplomat at the Libyan mission at the United Nations.

He says this is the beginning of a new government.

“We have a former minister of justice who just resigned three or four days ago,” Jibril says. “He’s among us and people agreed … he would be one of the people in control.” “

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CON-DEM SERVICES CUT

NOVANEWS

 

   

Why should you come to the demonstration on Saturday against the council cuts?

There are lots of reasons, but here are 10 of them:

1) Job Losses – 2,450 council posts will be cut this year (7,000 over 3 years) and 5,000 posts privatised (making it easier to cut funding in the future).  Birmingham already has an unemployment rate twice the national average and cannot afford to lose thousands more jobs.

2) Adult Care Services – 11,000 people who currently receive care having been assessed as having “substantial” care needs will no longer be eligible for home care, day care or residential care and will lose their care services.  Overall, more than £33million will be cut from Adult Care Services, affecting older people, those with learning and physical disabilities and people with mental health problems.

3) Youth Services – £3m will be cut from Birmingham Youth Services budgets.   Such a cut would close over 40 youth projects (more than 2/3rds) across the city and deprive young people and communities easy access to trained and qualified youth workers.

4) 1,600 jobs to go at Heart of England Primary Care Trust (PTC), affecting NHS services in this city, and this is only 1 of 5 PCT’s to serve Birmingham so there will probably be more job losses to come.

5) Neighborhood Office and Citizens Advice Bureau closures – CAB has been temporarily saved but neighborhood offices are still under threat.  Both of these provide vital and free advice on financial, legal & housing problems and council services.  As unemployment rises, these services will become more important.

6) £10 million cuts in Children’s Social Care, affecting “looked after” children, some of the most vulnerable children in the city

7) £1.3 million cuts in library services, £1 million cuts in grants to arts and £1.25 million cuts in funding for Museums with entry charges “almost decided”.  Ikon Eastside will be closing, and this will probably just be the first of many cultural venues in Birmingham to shut down.

8 ) Pay Cuts and terms and conditions reviews for 26,000 council staff including refuse workers who have already been on strike.

9) £1.6m less spending on Community Safety Partnership, and reduction in funding for West Midlands Police Force (2,200 jobs to be lost, including 600 officers) will see rising crime

10) There are alternatives. False Economy maintain a nice collection of alternatives, including closing the tax gap, a robin hood tax on the bank, green jobs for growth and other solutions to the deficit problem and banking crisis that will not involve huge spending cuts in vital areas.

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Freemasons friends of Big Society & Funding cut

Birmingham group which inspired Cameron’s Big Society sees funding cut

The Birmingham group praised by David Cameron for inspiring his Big Society vision is facing a 30 per cent funding drop.

The Prime Minister said the drive to turn around Balsall Heath, which was once a crime and prostitution hotspot, was behind his Big Society initiative.

But St Paul’s Community Development Trust, which was set up in the 70s to improve education in the area, will see its budget from Birmingham City Council cut by almost a third this year.

The charity currently employs about 150 people to work with volunteers, and has already lost 100 posts since the Future Jobs Fund ended.

Dr Anita Halliday, chief executive of the trust, said more job losses may be on the cards.

“It’s a very strange position because at the same time, the Prime Minister is recognising great work and we are worrying about who is going to be redundant,” she said.

“At the end of the day, you can’t take out 30 per cent of the money that is paying people and not lose quite a lot of jobs.”

Mr Cameron has visited Balsall Heath a number of times and spent the night with the Rehman family in 2007.

Writing in the Observer last weekend, Mr Cameron said: “Take a trip with me to Balsall Heath in Birmingham and I’ll show you a place once depressingly known as a sink estate but now a genuinely desirable place to live.

“Why the transformation? Because even in a tough neighbourhood, the seeds of a stronger society were there and residents boldly decided they’d had enough and drove out the crime.”

Dick Atkinson, co-ordinator of Balsall Heath Forum, said he backed the Prime Minister’s Big Society plans and said the neighbourhood could be a template for the rest of the country.

He said: “From our point of view, it doesn’t matter too much whether times are good or bad. You still need neighbours to look after each other, the younger generation to care for the older generation.

“We were bleak, miserable, litter-strewn and covered in graffiti and now, Balsall Heath enters the national Britain in Bloom competition and wins awards.”

Read More http://www.birminghampost.net/dailybulletin/news2/2011/02/14/birmingham-group-which-inspired-cameron-s-big-society-sees-funding-cut-65233-28169397/#ixzz1ErwEbiFN

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The Piper Report

NOVANEWS

 

The Piper Report Feb 23, 2011

 
crescentandcross | February 24, 2011 at 1:31 am | Categories: Uncategorized | URL: http://wp.me/p2dGk-1g5

snowstorm3.jpg

 

MCP discusses Lybia, Ghaddafi and the need for exercising discernment when considering any information coming out of the JMSM.

MCP23GFEB2011FIN.mp3

Download Here

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Iran: The Next Domino?

NOVANEWS

 

by crescentandcross  

 

by Dr. K R Bolton

 

“Revolutions are often seen as spontaneous. It looks like people just went into the street. But it’s the result of months or years of preparation. It is very boring until you reach a certain point, where you can organize mass demonstrations or strikes. If it is carefully planned, by the time they start, everything is over in a matter of weeks.” — Ivan Marovic, ex-instructor, Center for Applied NonViolent Action and Strategies, Serbia.[1]

With the staging of a second[2] attempt at a “green revolution” in Iran in the wake of the overthrow of the regimes in Tunisia[3] and Egypt[4] by groups primarily sponsored by the National Endowment for Democracy, International Republican Institute, Open Society Institute, Freedom House, USAID and a myriad of their fronts; the question might arise as to whether the turmoil inflicted on Egypt and Tunisia was intended as a prelude to the major target: Iran.

Iraq, Iran and Syria were targeted years ago as priorities for “regime change.” The now well-known letter addressed to President George W. Bush by the Project for a New American Century should be recounted. PNAC outlined a plan of action that was put into affect, starting with the elimination of Saddam Hussein. Iran and Syria were next marked for elimination under the pretext of the “war on terrorism”:

We believe the administration should demand that Iran and Syria immediately cease all military, financial, and political support for Hezbollah and its operations. Should Iran and Syria refuse to comply, the administration should consider appropriate measures of retaliation against these known state sponsors of terrorism.[5]

Among the numerous political and foreign policy luminaries who were signatories to the PNAC letter was Frank Gaffney who, as stated below, is on the Advisory Board of The Foundation for Democracy in Iran.

America’s post-Cold War doctrine for world hegemony was outlined in a comprehensive PNAC document, Rebuilding America’s Defenses.[6] The post-Cold Warriors outlined their plan for a new “Cold War” or “clash of civilizations” that involves not only Islam but all regimes, cultures, religions, traditions and ideologies that do not fit into “a new American century.” The aim was stated unequivocally:

Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievement of past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests?[7]

Egypt since then became a problem, despite the cliché-ridden ballyhoo about Mubarak being Washington’s man. Perhaps the clincher that marked him for destruction was the geopolitical problem that he was presenting to the USA in the Sudan:

On Nov. 3, 2009 Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul-Gheit stated that within the previous five years Egypt had invested more than $87 million into projects in southern Sudan, including hospitals, schools and power stations, “in hope of convincing the people of southern Sudan to choose unity over secession.” Towards the end of the Bush regime the U.S. Defense Department established the Africa Command (AFRICOM),[8] a primary concern of this new US regional command being the establishment of a massive military base in southern Sudan.[9] It was in US interests that southern Sudan should secede. Keith Harmon Snow, writing on Africom’s agenda for the Sudan, states:

In Darfur, Sudan, the U.S. government agenda is to win control of natural resources and leverage the Arab government into a corner and, at last, establish a more ‘friendly’ government that will suit the corporate interests of the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and Israel.[10]

Snow named some of the organizations involved in subverting Sudan, which include those that have been involved with subverting Egypt, Tunisia, Iran…

Several major think tanks — read: propaganda, lobbying and pressure — behind the destabilization of Sudan include the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy, Center for American Progress, Center for Security Policy, International Rescue Committee and International Crises Group. Individuals from seemingly diverse positions of the political and ideological spectrum run these organizations, which are ultra-nationalist capitalist[11] organizations bent on global military-economic domination.

Now Egypt is well on course to becoming as subordinate as all the other states that have undergone “color revolutions” and “regime change” courtesy of NED, Soros, IRI, et al. Presently, the new Egyptian constitution is being drafted by those with the necessary globalist credentials to ensure that Egypt can enter the world commonwealth of nations as a lickspittle to the USA. Hisham al-Bastawisy, a leading Egyptian judicial official and oppositionist, now heading the Constitutional Amendment Committee, states that a new Constitution should be ready in a month, and that “civil society groups” — a euphemism for subversive organizations funded by NED, Soros, et al, — have prepared several drafts. These organizations include the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, and the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights.[12]

Soros’ Open Society Institute funds the Arabic Network for Human Rights.[13]ANHR works in alliance with similar organizations particular in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Syria. NED funds The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights.[14]

Meanwhile, the National Democratic Institute is training Egypt’s future political class to ensure that the country gets a Western-style democracy where citizens will have the opportunity to vote for tweedledum or tweedledee as the “left” and “right” wings of an American imposed political consensus, as in other countries “liberated” by “regime change.” Leslie Campbell, the National Democratic Institute’s regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, states that NDI, which has been in Egypt since 2005,[15] “is stepping up its long-standing efforts to train political parties and domestic election monitors in Egypt ahead of the transitional campaign and elections.”[16]

While the Gulf States can be mopped up, what remains is Syria, Libya and Iran.

Wikileaks US Cable on Iran

While liberaldom in conjunction with the neocons is getting bellicose towards those few who are suggesting that the “people’s revolutions” are not much more than the excrescences of US based plutocracy and globalism, the revelation of a Wikileaks cable provides hard evidence for the cynical view.

A cable from the US Embassy in London, sent to US Secretary of State Clinton, and embassies in Ankara, Turkmenistan (Ashgabat), Baghdad, Baku, Berlin, Bern, Kabul, Paris, Vienna, Dubai, Istanbul, and the US Mission to the UN, provides some important leads on the troubles that soon emerged in Iran.[17]

The cable states the US Embassy “supports and approves” of the funding of six proposals submitted by Iranian contacts in the UK that also involved those taking part in workshops at Durham University. Among the recommendations supported by the Embassy is the funding of a group of Iranian students in London with contacts in Iran. The US Embassy cable then provides commentary on the workshops being held at Durham University through which it is proposed to fund the Iranian dissidents. The recommendations are:

■…$75,000 funding (six months in duration), under the auspices of Durham University’s School of Governmental Affairs… for a workshop, entitled “Forum to Discuss Iranian NGOs Concerning Women Advocacy.” The workshop’s purpose would be to build links between NGOs inside Iran and their UK-U.S. counterparts for training, networking, knowledge-sharing and increased public awareness, with a goal of joint cooperation between Iran and U.S. universities and NGOs working to empower women.
■An ambitious project at Durham University, entitled “Iran-U.S. Civil Society Engagement” (lasting 12 months, asking $123,050 in funding) which aims at bridging “the communicative gap between influential Iranian individuals affiliated with strategic research centers” and their U.S. counterparts…
This program includes discussing Iranian ethnic relations, and the use of social media including YouTube and Radio Fardo. Radio Fardo is part of a US Government propaganda network, being the Iranian branch of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty,[18] based in Prague, the Czech Republic; a state that was one of the early results of a “velvet revolution.”

■$91,700 to inculcate Iranian seminarians with Western ideas on theology. The project proposal is entitled “Forum To Discuss Iranian Seminary Students and Their Impact on Reform In Iran,” and would emphasize themes of human rights, democracy, accountability and rule of law. This attempt to subvert and use Iranian Shiite theologians is considered of particular importance, in conjunction with recruiting secular youth of the type that has been at the forefront of other “color revolutions’ around the world. The cable states:
There has been only limited western interaction with the clerical sector, portions of which have in recent decades provided intellectual and political resistance both to the former Pahlavi regime as well as to the current regime’s ideology of “Velayet e Faqih” (rule of Islamic jurists), which, though based on the writings of the late Ayatollah Khomeini, is nevertheless theologically repugnant to many Shiite thinkers and believers; such ferment is centered in Iran’s seminaries.  Outreach to Iranian Shiite seminarians could complement USG and Western interaction with the more secular, Western-oriented elements of Iran’s political class.

■$75,00 for a program to train journalists for opposing the regime. This would comprise a five-day workshop at Durham University involving ten Iranian journalists. Additionally another program of $75,000 to create dissident media.
■A further program at Durham was to be the cultivating of Iranian local officials such as those from municipal councils. These, it was suggested, might provide the US with valuable contacts for what can only be regarded as spying.
■There is a request of a $48,400 grant for a one-day conference of students to form a united front to organize cultural and education exchanges.

Durham University

When Wikileaks published the cable in February 2011, Durham University issued a brief statement only responding that the university received money from a “broad range” of funders but remained true to its principles of “independent academic discovery.”[19] The student newspaper commented:

The cable suggests that the University was offered and may have accepted over $400,000 from the U.S. State Department for running a series of seminars “under the auspices of Durham University’s School of Governmental Affairs”. The cable dates from April 2008 and emphasizes the usefulness of Durham’s ties with high-ranking Iranian officials as “political cover” for the projects.[20]

Funding subversive programs

The latest report (2009) for the National Endowment for Democracy funding in Iran is vague but alludes to grants totaling $674,506.

The International Republican Institute’s chairman, Sen. John McCain, speaking at a NED conference lauded NED’s annual Democracy Award going in 2010 to “Iran’s Green Movement.” The honor was gained by Iranians having rioted in an abortive “Green Revolution” in 2009, when they spat the dummy after President Ahmadinejad was re-elected. Presumably only certain electoral outcomes are accepted as “democratic” by the globalists. If an electorate chooses by majority not to pursue that path then it is not truly “democratic” and other means must be found to introduce the correct form of democracy. McCain declared:

My friends:  If there were ever any doubt, the birth of the Green Movement over the past year should convince us that Iran will have a democratic future.  That future may be delayed for awhile, but it will not be denied.  And now is the time for the United States to position ourselves squarely on the right side of Iranian history – on the side of courageous Iranian reformers like Shiva Nazar Ahari.[21]

The riots in the aftermath of President Ahmadinejad’s re-election in 2009 would have been about as “spontaneous” (sic) as the “color revolutions” in Eastern European, Central Asia, Egypt, and Tunisia. A report run by USA Today in 2009 stated of these covert programs:

The Obama administration is moving forward with plans to fund groups that support Iranian dissidents, records and interviews show, continuing a program that became controversial when it was expanded by President Bush.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which reports to the secretary of state, has for the last year been soliciting applications for $20 million in grants to “promote democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in Iran,” according to documents on the agency’s website. The final deadline for grant applications is June 30.[22]

NED funding for previous years is easier to identify. In 2005 NED gave grants totalling $4,898,000. The recipients included the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation, mentioned below, and the American Center for International Labor Solidarity of $185,000. The latter program included training Iranian labor leaders. It should be recalled that ACILS works closely with free market globalists.[23] Institute of World Affairs (IWA) $45,800, to train jurists on how to bastardise Sharia law via Western liberal jurisprudence. International Republican Institute $110,000, for the purpose of linking Iranian oppositionists with international networks. National Iranian-American Council (NIAC) $64,000, to link Iranian groups with international organizations, and to assist with the English translation of Farsi materials.[24]

Going ahead to NEDs 2008 reporting on Iran, the recipients included: Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation, $140,000. Association for Civic Society in Iran (ACSI) $80,000, Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) $141,793, which fosters free market capitalism on a global scale in solidarity with their comrades in the American Center for International Labor Solidarity.[25] Research Initiative for Contemporary Iran (RICI), $87,000.

While Soros’ Open Society Foundations claim they have not operated in Iran since 2007, this is disingenuous. The Soros networks fund a colossal number of fronts and allied organizations, including those with a presence in Iran. The conference of the Digital Youth of Central Asia, which is funded by Soros but which does not seem to be a Soros front per se, includes Iranian youth activists whose presence was mentioned at the Digital Youth December 2010 conference held in Tajikistan.[26]

Iran Moves Against Globalists

In January 2010 Iran blacklisted numerous organizations regarded as subversive, including:

1. Soros Foundation — Open Society

2. Woodrow Wilson Center

3. Freedom House [27]

4. National Endowment for Democracy (NED)[28]

5. National Democratic Institute (NDI)[29]

6. International Republican Institute (IRI)[30]

7. Institute for Democracy in East Europe (EEDI)[31]

8. Democracy Center in East Europe (CDEE)

9. Ford Foundation

10. Rockefeller Brothers Foundation

11. Hoover Institute at Stanford Foundation

12. Hivos Foundation, Netherlands

13. Menas, U.K.

14. United Nations Association (USA)

15. Carnegie Foundation

16. Wilton Park, U.K.

17. Search for Common Ground (SFCG)

18. Population Council

19. Washington Institute for Near East Policy

20. Aspen Institute

21. American Enterprise Institute

22. New America Foundation

23. Smith Richardson Foundation

24. German Marshal Fund (US, Germany and Belgium)

25. International Center on Nonviolent Conflict

26. Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation at Yale University

27. Meridian Center

28. Foundation for Democracy in Iran

29. American Initiative Institute

30. Private Trade International Center

31. American Center for International Labor Solidarity[32]

32. International Center for Democracy Transfer

33. Albert Einstein Institute

34. World Movement for Democracy[33]

35. The Democratic Youth Network

36. Democracy Information and Communication Technology Group

37. International Parliamentarian Movement for Democracy

38. RIGA Institute

39. The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School

40. Council on Foreign Relations

41. Foreign Policy Society, Germany

42. MEMRI

43. Centre for Democracy Studies, U.K.

44. Yale University and all its affiliates

45. National Defense University, U.S.

46. Iran Human Rights Documents Center

47. American Center FLENA

48. Brookings Institution Saban Center

49. Human Rights Watch

50. New America Foundation[34]

 

The nature and extent of the Iranian blacklist indicates just how aware the Iranian administration is as to the character of world globalist subversion. Every nation that aims to maintain its sovereignty could do well in consulting the Iranians.

Looking at several of the blacklisted organizations, the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation, “receives approximately 50% of its support from private U.S. Foundations, 34% of its support from private European foundations, and 16% of its funding from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)…”[35]

The Foundation for Democracy in Iran was founded in 1995 with grants from NED. The Governing Board includes: FDI Chairman, Nader Afshar, who “has worked extensively with the United States Information Agency and the Voice of America Farsi Service;” and Secretary-Treasurer, William Nojay, who has worked in Ukraine and Afghanistan for the International Republican Institute.

FDI Board Member Herbert I London, is president of the Hudson Instituted, is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

The FDI Advisory Board includes: Menashe Amir, Persian language broadcaster for Israel Radio International; Pooya Dayanim, president of the Iranian Jewish Public Affairs Committee; Frank Gaffney, former Reagan appointee and NATO advisor, founder of the Center for Security Policy, a neocon think tank whose slogan is “peace through strength;” Amil Imani, director of Former Muslims United, and founder of Arabs for Israel; Reza Kahlili, a CIA agent who had worked in Iran for more than 20 years; R. James Woolsey, U.S. Director of the CIA 1993–1995.

FDI Founding Board Members: Joshua Muravchik, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Trustee, Freedom House[36]; Peter W. Rodman, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs; Dr. Mehdi Rouhani, “spiritual leader” of Shiites in Europe.[37]

A major oversight of the Iranian blacklist seems to be the Center for Applied NonViolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS), headquartered in Serbia, and having their origins in the Optor (“Resistance”) movement that helped toppled Milosevic. Having screwed up Serbia for the benefit of international big business, the fine young idealists who were at the forefront of the “color revolution” thought it would be a noble idea to impart their experiences to those in other countries who might want their nations subservient to US foreign policy, their economies wracked by debt and privatization and their traditional cultures replaced for the culture of the global shopping mall, American sit-coms and MTV. They provided the training for Kmara in Georgia, which led the revolt or “Rose Revolution” against Shevardnadze in 2003 after he had the temerity to win the presidential election. “It was followed by the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, where former Otpor activists spent months advising the Pora (“It’s Time”) youth movement.”[38] While Rosenberg claims that Optor now gives Washington “a wide berth” after many felt betrayed when it was found that the organization had been funded by the USA, despite denials, CANVAS nonetheless continues to receive funding from Freedom House, and the International Republican Institute,[39] so denials about Washington funding are quite disingenuous.

CANVAS provided training for the Egyptian youth of the April 6th Movement that provided the impetus for the Egyptian revolt, Mohamed Adel, travelling to Serbia in 2009 for instruction. Tina Rosenberg enthuses:

They have worked with democracy advocates from more than 50 countries. They have advised groups of young people on how to take on some of the worst governments in the world — and in Georgia, Ukraine, Lebanon, the Maldives, and now Egypt, those young people won.[40]

Another CANVAS ally is The Albert Einstein Institute, one of the organizations blacklisted by Iran, founded in 1983 by Gene Sharp, the ideological and strategic guru of the “color revolutions,” who apparently got his start as the intellectual mentor of “velvet revolutions” when his first revolutionary manual, The Politics of Nonviolent Action (1973) was funded by the Pentagon via the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Sharp is stated by the Iranian Government to be the primary inspiration for the “Green movement.” A US press report states:

In a mass trial of some 100 key reformist figures this past August, Iranian prosecutors charged that postelection protests were “completely planned in advance and proceeded according to a timetable and the stages of a velvet coup [such] that more than 100 of the 198 events were executed in accordance with the instructions of Gene Sharp.”[41]

The AEI receives funding for the publication and translations of their revolutionary manuals; especially Sharp’s seminal From Dictatorship to Democracy,[42] from Soros’ omnipresent Open Society Institute. Sharp writes:

The Albert Einstein Institution (then in Cambridge, and later in Boston, Massachusetts, USA) solicited funds from the Open Society Institute that made possible the translation and publication of From Dictatorship to Democracy into four of the ethnic languages of Burma: Mon, Karen, Jing Paw, and Chin.

Translations of this publication in print or on a web site include the following languages: Khmer (Cambodia), Farsi (Iran), Mandarin (China), Russian, Vietnamese, Amharic (Ethiopia), Spanish, Belarusian, Dhivehi (Maldives), Nepali, Tibetan, Tigrinia (Eritrea), Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Arabic, Indonesian, and Azeri (Azerbaijan). Several others are in preparation. [43]

“We Are All Ahmadinejads Now!”

President Ahmadinejad has been one of the few statesmen in the world to stand up to both Zionism and plutocracy. His blacklisting of a host of nefarious subversives shows great insight into the workings of the globalist web of subversion. Iran remains a roadblock in the culmination of the new world disorder. To coin a catchy slogan for the current times: “We Are All Ahmadinejads Now!”

Notes

[1] Tina Rosenberg, “What Egypt Learned from the Students who Overthrew Milosovec,” Foreign Policy, (not to be confused with the venerable Foreign Policy Journal) February 16, 2011,http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/02/16/revolution_u?print=yes&hidecomments=yes&page=full

[2] The first “Green Revolution,” prompted by a sour-grapes loss by the oppositionists in the 2009 elections, was abortive.

[3] K R Bolton, “Tunisian Revolt: Another NED/Soros Jackup?,” Foreign Policy Journal,http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2011/01/18/tunisian-revolt-another-sorosned-jack-up/

[4] K R Bolton, “What’s Behind the Tumult in Egypt?,” Foreign Policy Journal, February 1, 2011

http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2011/02/01/whats-behind-the-tumult-in-egypt

[5] Project for a New American Century, “Toward a Comprehensive Strategy

Project for the New American Century,” September 20, 2001.

[6] Project for a New American Century, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and resources for a New Century,” September 2000,http://www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf

[7] Project for a New American Century, ibid., p. 2.

[8] US Africa Command, “FAQ,” http://www.africom.mil/AfricomFAQs.asp

[9] Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa Al-Omrani, Jan./Feb. 2011, “Sudan Set to Split, Despite Egyptian moves,” The Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs: http://www.washington-report.org/component/content/article/363/10285-sudan-set-to-split-despite-egyptian-moves-.html

[10] Keith Harmon Snow, “Africom’s Covert War in Sudan,” Dissident Voice, March 6, 2009,http://dissidentvoice.org/2009/03/africoms-covert-war-in-sudan/

[11] Snow errs here. “Ultra-nationalist capitalist” is a misnomer.” In former centuries the nation-sates served capitalism, as did the age of empires. These eras have gone, and the concepts of both empire and nation-state are inimical to the globalization process of capitalism. For those of a Leftist-bent, Marx wrote of this current globalization process of capitalism in The Communist Manifesto.

[12] Yasmine Saleh, “Rewrite Egyptian Constitution form Scratch, say critics,” Reuters, February 16, 21011, http://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFJOE71F0N620110216

[13] Arabic Network for Human Rights, http://www.anhri.net/en/reports/net2004/thank.shtml

[14] National Endowment for Democracy, “Egypt,” http://www.ned.org/publications/annual-reports/2005-annual-report/middle-east-and-north-africa/description-of-2005-gra-2

[15] It seems that the “tyrant” Mubarak was altogether too tolerant of these nests of vipers.

[16] Ernesto Londoo, “Egypt Starts Overhauling Constitution,” Washington Post, February 17, 2011,http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/16/AR2011021606943.html

[17]Maura Connelly, Political Minister Counselor, US Embassy, London, “Iran: Democracy Small Grants Proposals Recommended for Funding,” February 15, 2011. http://www.wikileaks.ch/cable/2008/04/08LONDON1163.html

[18] Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “Radio Fardo Fast Facts,”http://www.rferl.org/info/Iran/186.html

[19] Daniel Johnson and Jack Battersby, Palantinate: The Official University Student Newspaper, February 8 2011, http://www.palatinate.org.uk/?p=10679

[20] Ibid.

[21] International Republican Institute, “Remarks at the National Endowment for Democracy Conference One Year Later: Prospects for a Democratic Transition in Iran U.S. Senator John McCain,” IRI Chairman, June 10, 2010, http://www.iri.org/news-events-press-center/news/iri-chairman-speaks-ned-conference-honoring-irans-green-movement

[22] Ken Dilanian, “US grants support to Iranian dissidents,” USA Today, June 28, 2009,http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-06-25-iran-money_N.htm

[23] K R Bolton, “The Globalist Web of Subversion,” Foreign Policy Journal, February 7, 2011,http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2011/02/07/the-globalist-web-of-subversion/all/1

[24] National Endowment for Democracy, “Iran,” http://www.ned.org/publications/annual-reports/2005-annual-report/middle-east-and-north-africa/description-of-2005-gra-3

[25] National Endowment for Democracy, “Iran,” http://www.ned.org/publications/annual-reports/2008-annual-report/middle-east-and-northern-africa/2008-grants/iran

[26] Digital Youth of Central Asia, “Going Digital In Central Asia,” December 7, 2010,http://blog.soros.org/2010/12/going-digital-in-central-asia/

[27] K R Bolton, “The Globalist Web of Subversion,” op. cit.

[28] K R Bolton, ibid.

[29] K R Bolton, ibid. National Democratic Institute’s program in Iran is centered on the “Supporting Democratic Initiatives” project to provide resources for Iranian oppositionists.

[30] K R Bolton, ibid.

[31] K R Bolton, ibid.

[32] K R Bolton, ibid.

[33] K R Bolton, ibid.

[34] Laura Rozen, “Blacklist: Who’s on Iran Intel Ministry’s List?,” Politico, January 5, 2010,http://www.politico.com/blogs/laurarozen/0110/Blacklist_Whos_on_Iran_intel_ministrys_list_.html

[35] Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation, “About the Foundation,”http://www.iranrights.org/english/foundation.php

[36] K R Bolton, “The Globalist Web of Subversion,” op. cit.

[37] Foundation for Democracy in Iran, http://www.iran.org/about.htm

[38] Tina Rosenberg, op. cit..

[39] CANVAS, “Co-operation and Partnerships,” http://www.canvasopedia.org/canvas-cooperation-and-partnerships.php

[40] Tina Rosenberg, Foreign Policy, (not FPJ)op. cit.

[41] Scott Peterson, “Iran protesters: the Harvard professor behind their tactics,” Christian Science Monitor, December 29, 2009, http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2009/1229/Iran-protesters-the-Harvard-professor-behind-their-tactics

[42] Gene Sharp, From Dictatorship to Democracy, (AEI, 1993, 1994, etc). The book was originally written as a manual for the abortive “Saffron Revolution” in Myanmar. G Sharp, “A Short History of “From Dictatorship to Democracy,” http://www.aeinstein.org/organizations/org/FDTD_history.pdf

[43] G Sharp, ibid.

Posted in World1 Comment

Veto Costs US Last Shred of Credibility

NOVANEWS

 

by crescentandcross 

 

By Stuart Littlewood

Hang you head in shame, O Peace Prize laureate.

The Nobel award, said Barack Obama at the time, was ‘an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations’ and must be shared with everyone who strives for “justice and dignity”. Where was the justice and dignity in the sad story of America’s UN veto?

Having blocked the United Nations Security Council draft resolution on Friday, which would have condemned Israeli squatter colonies as illegal, Obama has now written America completely out of the script on Middle East peace.

Many will see it as a blessing that the US has so spectacularly disqualified itself from serious discussion, and that Obama has finally lifted the scales from the eyes of all those who unwisely invested high hopes in him.

Netanyahu’s office was cock-a-hoop and said Israel was “deeply grateful” to be let off the hook and as a reward the delinquent promises to be a good boy and “pursue negotiations vigorously” with the Palestinians. The US veto made it clear that “the only path to such a peace will come through direct negotiations and not through the decisions of international bodies”.

Some people will do anything to stop the United Nations getting a grip on the crisis. It would be more than a tad inconvenient to the crazed Greater Israel project. No doubt the champagne corks were popping in the US-Israeli Combined Ops headquarters as Zionists danced late into the night to celebrate their victory.

The resolution, besides condemning the continuation of settlement activities and other measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Territory, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions, demanded that Israel ceased forthwith and fully respected all of its legal obligations in that regard.

The US argued that although it opposes Israeli settlements, taking the issue to the UN would only complicate efforts to resume stalled negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on a two-state solution. Why that should be the case wasn’t explained. Nor was the reason why negotiations should be re-started in the teeth of Israel’s uncompromising territorial objectives and clear dislike of peace.

It seems, from what US ambassador Susan Rice says, that craven Washington cannot bring itself to call Israel’s settlements on stolen Palestinian land what they really are – illegal – and is only prepared to label them “illegitimate”, presumably in case the correct term ruffles too many Israel lobby feathers.

Falling back onto the administration’s familiar double-speak, Rice explained that the veto “should not be misunderstood to mean we support settlement activity” but the US thinks it “unwise for this council to attempt to resolve the core issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians”.

In other words, the United States would much prefer to have the Israel-Palestine question resolved by arm-twisting behind closed doors, in the guise of “direct talks”, than let the Security Council intervene with another binding resolution.

This latest resolution had nearly 120 co-sponsors and the other 14 Security Council members voted in favour. There are reports that Washington earlier threatened to slash aid to the Palestinian Authority if it wasn’t withdrawn, as if to remove any lingering doubt as to the crooked purpose of America’s meddling. When this failed the US, as one of the five permanent council members with blocking power, struck it down.

In doing so, the United States has advertised itself to the whole wide world as the willing tool of Zionist ambition and branded itself an enemy of Palestine and of all other countries threatened by the Israeli regime.

The Swamp of “Direct Negotiations”

Right on cue, British foreign secretary William Hague chimed in with some carefully-crafted balderdash: 

“I have made clear my serious concern about the current stalemate in the Middle East Peace Process. Today the UK voted with others, including France and Germany, to reinforce this and our longstanding view that settlements, including in East Jerusalem, are illegal under international law, an obstacle to peace and constitute a threat to a two-state solution…”

He started well but quickly showed his eagerness to be sucked down by the US and Israel into the swamp of direct negotiations.

“I call on both parties to return as soon as possible to direct negotiations towards a two-state solution, on the basis of clear parameters…
• An agreement on the borders of the two states, based on June 4 1967 lines with equivalent land swaps as may be agreed between the parties. 
• Security arrangements that, for Palestinians, respect their sovereignty and show that the occupation is over; and, for Israelis, protect their security, prevent the resurgence of terrorism and deal effectively with new and emerging threats.   
• A just, fair and agreed solution to the refugee question. 
• Fulfillment of the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem. A way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states.”

Just pause there, please, Mr Hague. First, if a state is doing something that’s illegal and an obstacle to peace, and won’t stop when asked, it surely becomes the responsibility of international community and its law courts, and especially the United Nations, to sort it out. The victim can hardly be expected to NEGOTIATE an end to it.

Secondly, why are Israel’s accumulated crimes now deemed negotiable when the issues were long ago determined by the UN and by international law and wait to be implemented? Not once do you mention delivering that long-awaited justice. Instead you are obsessed with endless, unequal negotiations that are dishonestly convened and favour a very strong party that literally holds a gun to the weak party’s head. 

And always the talk is of security for the Israelis rather than the Palestinians. You mention security arrangements to “prevent the resurgence of terrorism and deal effectively with new and emerging threats” against Israel. I don’t hear you pressing for equivalent arrangements to prevent Israeli terrorism against the Palestinians.

“We therefore look to both parties to return to negotiations as soon as possible on this basis. Our goal remains an agreement on all final status issues and the welcoming of Palestine as a full member by September 2011. We will contribute to achieving this goal in any and every way that we can.”

What has the British government done over the years to pave the way towards Palestinian statehood, Mr Hague? Now you’re in an all-fired hurry to rush it through in six months but still unwilling to act positively to establish any likelihood of a JUST solution.

“We understand Israel’s deep and justified security concerns. As friends of Israel, we share those concerns, and will strive with Israel to preserve her security and the stability of the region around her. It is precisely because of those concerns that we vote today in favour of this resolution.”

And not for the key reason that the settlements are illegal and moving Israeli squatters onto occupied territory seriously breaches the Geneva Convention and amounts to a war crime? Is that not of sufficient concern for you to say so loudly and clearly?

“We regret anything which sets back the prospects for peace because we believe it also sets back Israel’s security.”

There you go again…this slavish attachment to Israel’s security above all else. How can Britain be seen as an honest broker any more than the Zionist lackeys of the US administration?

The fact is, Mr Hague, the country you represent does not regard itself particularly as a friends of Israel and is not interested in preserving Israel’s security at the expense of its neighbours. It certainly doesn’t wish to be thought of as an enemy of Palestine just to appease your funny friends in Tel Aviv and Washington.

Posted in USAComments Off on Veto Costs US Last Shred of Credibility

Israeli army will cash in on Egypt’s upheavals

NOVANEWS

 

by crescentandcross  

 

 

by Jonathan Cook

Israel has been indulging in a sustained bout of fear-mongering since the Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak was toppled earlier this month. The ostensible aim has been to warn the international community that the lengthy “cold peace” between the two countries is on the verge of collapse.

In reality, the peace treaty signed three decades ago is in no danger for the forseeable future. The Egyptian and Israeli armies have too much of a vested interest in its continuation, whatever political reforms occur in Egypt.

And if the Egyptian political system really does open up, which is still far from sure, the Israeli military may actually be a beneficiary — if for all the wrong reasons.

The main value of the 1979 Camp David treaty to the Israeli leadership has been three decades of calm on Israel’s south-western flank. That, in turn, has freed the army to concentrate on more pressing goals, such as its intermittent forays north to sow sectarian discord in Lebanon, its belligerent posturing towards first Iraq and now Iran in the east, and its campaign to contain and dispossess the Palestinians under its rule.

But since Mubarak’s ousting on February 11, Israeli politicians and generals have warned that democracy for Egypt is bound to empower the country’s Islamists, supposedly bent on Israel’s destruction.

Last week, Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, compared a post-Mubarak Egypt with Iran, saying Israel was “preparing for the worst”. Likewise, Gabi Ashkenazi, the departing chief of staff, stated that Israel was braced for the peace treaty’s cancellation as the “moderate camp” weakened.

Officially, Tel Aviv’s concern is that, should the treaty be revoked, Israel will have to redirect much of its martial energy to preparing for potential hostilties with its neighbour, the most populous Arab state. Israel’s anxious declarations about the peace treaty, however, are largely self-serving.

Peace has reigned between Israel and Egypt because it is so strongly in the interests of both militaries. That is not about to change while the Egyptian and Israeli general staffs maintain their pre-eminent roles as the praetorian guards of their countries’ respective political systems.

Today’s close ties between the Israeli and Egyptian armies are a far cry from the earlier era of Gamal Abdel Nasser, who galvanised Arab nationalism in an attempt to defeat Israel, or his successor, Anwar Sadat, who almost led the Arab world to victory against the Israeli army in 1973.

Since the signing of the 1979 agreement, Washington has bought off the hawks on each side with massive military subsidies underwritten by the American taxpayer. The US has been happy to bankroll an accord that strengthens Israel, its useful Middle Eastern ally, and buys the acquiesence of Egypt, the Arab state best placed to resist the current regional order.

The Egyptian army receives $1.3 billion in annual military aid, making it the second largest recipient after Israel, which gets more than twice as much. In addition, military hardware has been lavished on the Israeli army, making it possibly the fourth strongest in the world — an astonishing situation for a country of only seven million.

The munificence has continued despite the US financial crisis, and includes Washington’s effective donation last year to Israel of two dozen of the next-generation F-35 stealth fighter jet as part of its pledge to maintain Israel’s “technological edge” over its rivals in the region.

Three decades of American money thrown at the two armies have made each a key player in their respective economies — as well as encouraging a culture of corruption in the senior ranks.

In Egypt’s case, large sections of the economy are controlled by retired generals, from electrical goods and construction companies to the production of olive oil and medicines. The army is reported to own about a third of the country’s assets.

The Israeli army’s economic stake is less ostentatious but no less significant. Its officers retire in their early forties on full pensions, and then cash in on their “security know-how”. Second careers in arms dealing, military consultancies or sinecures in Israel’s booming homeland security exports are all but guaranteed. Ehud Barak, a former chief of staff and the current defence minister, made millions of dollars from his security consultancy in a few years out of politics, for example.

Corruption, endemic in Israel’s political culture, has rapidly seeped into the military. Some of it is visible, as demonstrated this month with the passing over of a series of candidates for the vacant post of chief of staff because of the skeletons in their closets. Some is not: current investigations into dubious activities by Mr Ashkenazi and his family are subject to heavy reporting restrictions.

Nonetheless, both armies are revered by their countrymen. Even should that change in Egypt over coming months, the army is too strong — thanks to the US — to be effectively challenged by the protesters.

Israeli hawks, however, are right to be concerned — on other grounds — about the “threat” of political reform in Egypt. Although greater democracy will not undermine the peace agreement, it may liberate Egyptians to press for a proper regional peace deal, one that takes account of Palestinian interests as the Camp David accord was supposed to do.

Not least, in a freer Egypt, the army will no longer be in a position to play Robin to Israel’s Batman in Gaza. Its continuing role in the strangulation of the tiny enclave would likely come to an end.

But in such a climate, the Israeli military still has much to gain. As Israeli analyst Aluf Benn has observed, Israel will use the Middle East’s upheavals to highlight to the US that it is Washington’s only reliable ally — the so-called “villa in the jungle”. Its show of anxiety is also designed to remind the US that a jittery Israel is more likely to engage in unpredictable military adventures.

The remedy, of course, is even greater American largesse. And for that reason, if no other, the fear-mongering from Tel Aviv is not about to end.

Posted in ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Israeli army will cash in on Egypt’s upheavals

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