Archive | April 6th, 2011

Zionist Goldstone says he won’t seek nullification of Gaza war report

NOVANEWS

by crescentandcross

 

Goldstone makes clear in Associated Press interview that he feels only one correction needs to be made in the war report regarding ‘intentionality on the part of IsraHell.’

South African jurist Richard Goldstone said Tuesday that he did not plan to seek nullification of his highly critical UN report on IsraHell’s 2008-2009 offensive in the Gaza Strip and asserted that claims to the contrary by Interior Minister Eli Yishai were false.

The 2009 Goldstone report initially concluded that both IsraHell and Hamas had committed potential war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during three weeks of fighting. The findings that Zio-Nazi forces had intentionally fired at Palestinian civilians triggered outrage in IsraHell and a personal campaign against Goldstone, who is Jewish.

Justice Richard Goldstone Justice Richard Goldstone, author of damning report on Zio-Nazi-Gaza war
Photo by: AFP

 

In an interview with The Associated Press, Goldstone said that Yishai had called him on Monday to thank him for an op-ed piece published Friday in The Washington Post in which the judge wrote that new information had come to light that made him rethink his central conclusions.

Goldstone said, however, that he never discussed the report with Yishai in the telephone conversation. Zionist leaders have called for the report to be retracted since it was issued in 2009.

“There was absolutely no discussion about the Goldstone report on the call,” the jurist said in a telephone interview from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

Goldstone said he thanked Yishai for calling and “stated that my concern was to work for truth, justice and human rights.”

Goldstone did confirm that Yishai had invited him to visit IsraHell and that he had accepted but would be unable to travel there until July.

“I ended the conversation by expressing my love for Israel,” Goldstone said, adding that Yishai spoke in Hebrew which was translated for the judge.

In the Post article, Goldstone lauded IsraHell for conducting dozens of investigations into alleged wrongdoing. In particular, he sighted evidence that a deadly strike that killed more than 20 members of a Palestinian family resulted from faulty intelligence and was not an intentional attack.

Nevertheless, Goldstone said, he did not intend to seek the report’s nullification.

“As appears from the Washington Post article, information subsequent to publication of the report did meet with the view that one correction should be made with regard to intentionality on the part of Israel,” the judge said.

“Further information as a result of domestic investigations could lead to further reconsideration, but as presently advised I have no reason to believe any part of the report needs to be reconsidered at this time.”

Yishai told Army Radio station that he phoned Goldstone to express his appreciation for Goldstone’s “courageous” reconsideration of his charges, and to invite him to tour IsraHell’s southern communities that have sustained years of Palestinian rocket fire.

Yishai said Goldstone “as a Jew understands well the story of the Jewish people’s suffering … and it is very important for him to come and see this.”
The minister added that Goldstone promised him he would take additional steps to retract his UN report.

Also speaking on Army Radio, Danny Gillerman, a former Zionist ambassador to the UN who also participated in the phone call, quoted Goldstone as saying he was ready to take steps to change the status of the report, but first wanted to “wait for the dust to settle” following his op-ed article in the Post.

The Geneva-based Human Rights Council has said it will continue to treat the report as a legitimate working document. Spokesman Cedric Sapey told the AP on Monday that Goldstone would have to submit a formal request for the report to be withdrawn.

Last month, a majority of the council’s 47 members voted to pass the report up to the General Assembly, recommending the powerful UN Security Council be asked to submit it to prosecutors at the International Criminal Court.

Such a move is unlikely to pass the Security Council, where IsraHell’s strongest ally, the United States, has veto power. But the mere suggestion of bringing war crimes charges has infuriated IsraHell.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner had welcomed Goldstone’s article that said he subsequently determined IsraHell had not intentionally attacked civilians.

“We’ve made clear from when the Goldstone Report was initially presented and maintained ever since that we didn’t see any evidence that the Israeli government had intentionally targeted civilians or otherwise engaged in any war crimes; and now that we see that Justice Goldstone has reached the same conclusion,” Toner said Monday.

“I can say that we remain concerned and we’ll continue working to an end to the what we believe is an anti-Israel bias in the Human Rights Council,” Toner said.

Zio-Nazi attacked the Gaza Strip in December 2008 in response to years of persistent rocket fire from militants in Gaza at southern Palestine.

Some 1,400 Palestinians, including hundreds of civilians, and 13 Israelis were killed during the campaign.

Zio-Nazi has blamed Hamas for the heavy civilian toll, saying the militant group staged attacks from heavily populated residential areas, as well as mosques and schools.

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Libyan rebels, hoping for one state, prepare for two

NOVANEWS

by crescentandcross

 

By Tara Bahrampour,

BENGHAZI, Libya — “One Libya, with Tripoli as its capital” is spray-painted on walls around this rebel city and glides off the tongues of opposition leaders. Moammar Gaddafi will fall in a week, they predict, two at the most, and they’ll build a new country then.

But as weeks stretch into months and progress on the battlefield stalls, this rebel-held area of Libya is settling into its status as a de facto separate state.

Since the February uprising that ended Gaddafi’s rule here, schools and many businesses have remained closed. But police are back on the streets, hospitals are functioning and shops are slowly reopening. Behind the scenes, opposition leaders are feverishly courting international partners as they work to set up a political and economic system for a period of division that some quietly admit may stretch on indefinitely.

A tanker arrived in the rebel-held port of Tobruk on Tuesday to load oil for export, the first time that has happened in nearly three weeks. Although it is unclear whether the rebels will be able to export enough oil to keep the east afloat economically, the tanker’s arrival marked a symbolic step in the rebels’ journey from accidental revolutionaries to governors and statesmen.

Also on Tuesday, rebel leaders for the first time welcomed to Benghazi an official U.S. envoy, who is here both to meet opposition leaders and provide assistance to the fledgling council that runs affairs in the east.

For the United States and other Western powers, the rebel efforts to build the rudiments of a nation in eastern Libya reflect the reality of a military stalemate — one in which NATO could be ensnared for months or more.

“We don’t like it, we don’t want it, but this scenario might happen,” said Fathi Baja, the rebels’ head of international affairs.

When the uprising began, “people didn’t have a slight idea of what they wanted to do, other than that they knew they wanted Gaddafi to go,” Baja said. “Now, as we start to create some political entities here and there, and we try to start some economic life and create an army, we find ourselves in another stage, and we understand that it might take a little time.”

It is no small task. During nearly 42 years of rule by Gaddafi, economic and political power was entrenched in Tripoli and civil society was virtually nonexistent. The east, which had long been resistant to Gaddafi’s rule, was badly neglected.

“The whole of Libya is living in the Middle Ages,” said opposition spokeswoman Iman Bugaighis, “but especially the east.”

Mustafa Gheriani, an opposition spokesman, said that when Gaddafi’s forces pulled out amid the uprising, “we thought it would be like Egypt — that we have ministries, we have an institution that was running. And we found that there was nothing.”

Now, the Transitional National Council — composed of 31 representatives, nominated by each of the towns in the east — is responsible for creating a political, economic and military infrastructure from scratch, a task complicated by the fact that a war is going on just a couple of hours’ drive away.

The council includes a crisis management team, which functions as a cabinet. Many of its members have lived abroad, including an economics minister who abruptly left his position as a University of Washington professor in February.

The team is learning as it goes, and putting out fires almost daily. This week, team members dealt with a spat between the rebels’ top military leaders as well as an attack on an oilfield that the rebels are counting on for revenue. They also hosted diplomats from Italy, which formally recognized the rebels on Monday, and from Great Britain, which they hope will follow. France and Qatar have already recognized the rebels as Libya’s legitimate government.

With plans to draft a constitution and electoral laws, opposition leaders are consulting with experts in the United States and Europe. The leaders say they want a democratic system, including freedom of expression, multiple political parties and an independent judiciary.

On Monday the economics minister, Ali Tarhouni, presented a $1.5 billion, four-month budget that includes salaries for soldiers and civil employees. For such a budget to be sustainable, the east will need to start selling from its ample oil fields.

Libya has long relied on oil, and the rebel government is working hard to resume exports. Qatar has agreed to market the oil, but Libya’s Central Bank and National Oil Corporation were hit with U.N. sanctions last month because of associations with Gaddafi’s family. The rebels have asked the United Nations to exempt them from the sanctions, arguing that both entities have split from Tripoli’s version, though they have retained their names in anticipation of reunification.

Until then, the proceeds will go into an escrow account and the opposition will withdraw them in the form of food, medicine and other humanitarian aid, which would not violate the sanctions, Tarhouni said.

Even if sanctions are lifted, it is unclear whether rebel-controlled oil will be sufficient to sustain this region, which is home to roughly 2 million people. Before the uprising, the country was producing 1.6 million barrels a day. Now, the rebels claim to be producing 100,000 to 130,000.

“It’s not enough,” Baja said.

Although the bulk of Libya’s oil riches lie in fields in the central or eastern parts of the country, the biggest export terminals have been trading hands in the fighting. Ports at Ras Lanuf, Brega and Es Sider are either beyond the rebels’ grasp or too heavily contested to be useful to their cause. The tanker that arrived for loading Tuesday came in at Tobruk, which is safely in rebel hands but has limited ability to export.

“They have been talking about larger volumes, but I don’t think they can do that,” said Greg Priddy, an oil analyst at the Eurasia Group.

“The bottom line is, this is a trickle. This isn’t enough to move the needle on the world oil market,” Priddy added. “But it is a substantial amount of money for the provisional government.” At today’s prices, he said, rebel leaders could earn about $100 million a month, enough to buy some basic foodstuffs.

One fact that simplifies shipments from Tobruk: The oil is likely coming from the Sarir field, which is operated by Libyans, not foreigners. That means production can proceed without outside companies.

But on Monday a facility that feeds oil to Tobruk was sabotaged, presumably by Gaddafi’s forces. The damage to production has not yet been assessed, but the attack underscored the east’s fragility. For now its leaders live in semi-hiding, with bodyguards and safe houses, and the east is dependent on NATO airstrikes to keep Gaddafi’s forces at bay.

The rebels’ plans, whether for what will be one state or two, include a more diverse economy. Until now, 96 percent of Libya’s revenue has come from oil; leaders here say they would like to add tourism, agriculture and solar energy.

“Libya will never be a superpower economically,” Tarhouni said. “It will be a small, independent state, democratic, somewhat diversified.”

 

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Austrian pastry maker may face charges for baking Nazi cakes

NOVANEWS

by crescentandcross

 

Pastry chef Manfred Klaschka says ‘If someone orders it, I make it.’; Holocaust survivors’ group says this is exactly the sort of thinking that ‘led us into the disaster 70 years ago.’

An Austrian pastry maker faces a criminal investigation for baking cakes with elaborate Nazi designs, a concentration camp survivors’ group said after pressing charges on Tuesday.

The Mauthausen Committee says the bakery, located in the village of Maria
Enzersdorf near Vienna, offers cakes adorned with a sugary swastika or with a baby raising its right hand in a Nazi salute, pictures in his catalogue show.


Nazi cake Archive

Cooks hold a cake decorated with a swastika during Nazi-era Germany.

Photo by: Archive

Pastry chef Manfred Klaschka told broadcaster ORF at his cafe said “If someone orders it, I make it.”

Willi Mernyi, the chairman of the survivors’ group Mauthausen Committee said in response that “this is exactly the sort of thinking led us into the disaster 70 years ago.”

The group pressed charges on suspicion that the chef violated laws that ban neo-Nazi activities and the display of Nazi symbols. Austrian law bans the glorification of the Nazi era and attempts to diminish, deny or justify the Holocaust.

The Holocaust awareness group asked Austrian prosecutors to press charges against the pastry shop, and Erich Habitzl, a spokesman for the public prosecutor’s office in Wiener Neustadt, confirmed receipt of the group’s request Tuesday but said it was too
early to comment.

 

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Iraqi Christians demand an autonomous region

NOVANEWS

by crescentandcross

Iraqi Christians population is around 400,000 to 600,000, down from a 2003 prewar level of 1.4 million

(Ed note–the attacks on Iraqi Christians, whether the result of the civil war following Israel’s destruction of that nation using the U.S military, or as a result of Mossad/CIA/MI6, MI5 activities, has all taken place as a precursor to Israel’s desire to see Iraq (and other countries in teh region) split up into smaller entites. As much as Christians will doubtless cheer the idea of Iraq’s Christians having their own country, the fact is that in the end it is a cog in an evil piece of machinery that in the end will only futther the cause of Zionism.)

Iraqi Christians population is around 400,000 to 600,000, down from a 2003 prewar level of 1.4 million

DUBAI (Alarabiya.net)

Iraqi member of parliaments representing Christians demand to form an autonomous area in the country’s northern province of Mosul, al-Sumaria Iraqi Satellite TV Network reported Tuesday.

Iraqi lawmakers welcomed their demands, and said that an autonomous Christian region should be based upon “new administrative grounds that could be supported by external parties hosting Christian refugees,” al-Sumaria TV’s website said.

Iraqi MPs representing their Christians constituency see their demand as reasonable after the continuous marginalization of their community who were caught between Shiite-Sunni cross-fire ever since the U.S. 2003 toppling of Saddam Hussein.

Yazidis object

Other minorities’ representatives mainly by the Yazidis rejected their demands, saying that the Christian component is a minority in these regions and therefore not eligible to form an autonomous presence. 

Yazidis are Kurdish-speaking people whose religion trace back to the ancient Indo-Iranian roots with a mixture from the Islamic Sufi doctrine.

Violence against Christians reached its zenith on October 31, 2010, when al-Qaeda-linked Sunni insurgent group, Islamic State of Iraq, claimed responsibility of an attack on the Our Lady of Salvation Syriac Catholic cathedral of Baghdad. The attack left at least 58 people dead, after more than 100 had been taken hostage.

Since the church attack, some 1,000 families have fled to the north of Iraq, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said, and more Christians started fleeing abroad.

Christian Iraqis constitute more than a third of their 53,700 country nationals resettled in the United States since 2007, according to State Department statistics.

Estimate round up the Christian to be 400,000 to 600,000 in Iraq’s 29 million population, down from a prewar level which was as high as 1.4 million by some estimates.

Observers fear that minorities’ call to preserve their rights could escalate into new rows in Iraq.

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Germany Ups Shoah Restitution by Millions

NOVANEWS

by crescentandcross

 

 

 

Claims Conference strikes new deal raising compensation for Holocaust survivors to $200 million by 2014

A new deal between Berlin and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany states that the German government will increase funding allotted to Holocaust survivors by almost $50 million in the next three years.

The deal says funding will rise from $156 million in 2011 to about $180 million in 2012, and then to $200 million by 2014.

“With restitution-related sources of funding on the decline, this long-term agreement obtained by the Claims Conference is vital to addressing the growing social welfare needs of aging Holocaust survivors,” said Claims Conference Chairman Julius Berman.

“It will provide survivors and the agencies that care for them the certainty that funding will be available to meet the anticipated growing demand over the next few years.”

The conference has been negotiating with the German government since 2004, securing funds for home and health care for ailing Holocaust survivors.

The conference has also secured an increase in pension payments to survivors, and caused the German government to reevaluate its condition that a person must have spent at least 18 months in a Nazi-era ghetto in order to receive compensation.

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Thousands Across USA Rally in Support of Workers’ Rights

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In hundreds of cities, thousands rally to show support for public sector workers

 

 

Transcript

DAVID DOUGHERTY: On Monday, March 4, hundreds of rallies were held across

the United States in support of justice for workers and the right to collective bargaining.

Thousands of people are reported to have attended demonstrations, teach-ins, and vigils

planned to take place in all 50 states as part of the “We Are One” campaign organized by

unions and activist groups. The event was scheduled on the 43rd anniversary of Martin Luther

King Jr.’s death. Organizers note that he was struggling for many of the same rights as workers

today, including the right to collective bargaining.

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: One thousand three hundred sanitation workers are on strike,

and Memphis is not being fair to them.

~~~

KING: It is my hope that power for poor people will really mean having the ability and

the aggressiveness to make the power structure of this nation say “yes” when they may

be desirous of saying “no”.

DOUGHERTY: The civil rights leader was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis,

Tennessee, where he had been participating in an ongoing public sanitary workers

strike. Demonstrators gathered across the country in both small towns and large cities.

Some 5,000 workers belonging to miners unions traveled from various states to participate

in a rally held in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. Thousands more participated in rallies in New

York and New Jersey. In Florida, one of many states facing proposals to weaken public workers

rights, more than a dozen cities participated. Public sector workers also rallied at Hawaii’s state

capital in Honolulu. In Washington, DC, an estimated 2,000 demonstrators marched on the

DC offices of Koch Industries, a company whose billionaire CEO brothers, David and Charles

Koch, have been accused of bankrolling a number of right-wing initiatives, including

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s campaign against public workers and collective bargaining.

Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Detroit, Dallas, Phoenix, and many other cities also had

sizable turnouts in Monday’s demonstrations. Across the country in recent months, numerous

state governors and representatives have launched a legislative attack against public sector

workers, with bills aimed at reducing or eliminating collective bargaining rights.

Union workers aren’t the only people feeling the pressure of the reforms. Public education and

health spending are also the targets of a number of bills that proponents assert are necessary

for balancing the budget. However, more people are now asking why it is that working families

are being told to bear the brunt of state and federal deficit costs, while large private corporations

and high-earning individuals are proportionately paying significantly less. Thousands of demons-

trators also gathered across Wisconsin in preparation for a state supreme court justice election to

be held the next day, on Tuesday, April 5. The outcome of the vote will determine the political com-

position of the court, which could play an important role in future litigation between Wisconsin’s

Republican governor and public sector unions. Republican leaders in Wisconsin continue to

spar with a Dane County circuit court judge over a ruling that placed a temporary restraining

order on the anti-collective bargaining bill that Governor Scott Walker signed into law on

March 11. A movement to recall the senators who voted the provision into law is also getting

popular support in Wisconsin, with state Democrats claiming that enough signatures have

already been collected to begin recalling some Republican senators.

On March 31, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed Senate Bill 5 into law, essentially eliminating

collective bargaining rights for public workers. In response, a referendum movement seeking

to reverse the decision in November elections later this year has been gaining momentum.

As more states continue to introduce similar anti-labor legislation, unions and social movem-

ents are stepping up their organizing efforts and actions in order to protect workers’ rights and

hold wealthy elites socially accountable. This is David Dougherty with The Real News Network.

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Michel Chossudovsky: “Our Man in Tripoli” – Islamic Terrorists Join Libya’s Pro-Democracy Opposition

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“Our Man in Tripoli”: Islamic Terrorists Join Libya’s Pro-Democracy Opposition

By Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

Concepts are Turned Upside Down: The US-NATO military alliance is supporting a rebellion integrated by Islamic terrorists, in the name of the “War on Terrorism”…


There are various factions within the Libyan opposition: Royalists, defectors from the Qadhafi regime including the Minister of Justice and more recently the Foreign Minister, Moussa Koussa, members of the Libyan Armed Forces, the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL) and the National Conference for the Libyan Opposition (NCLO) which acts as an umbrella organization.

Rarely acknowledged by the Western media, Al-Jamaa al-Islamiyyah al-Muqatilah bi Libya, the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), is an integral part of the Libyan Opposition.

The Libyan Interim Council does not constitute a clearly defined entity. It is based on the representation from newly created local councils established to “manage daily life in the liberated cities and villages”. (The Libyan Interim National Council » The Council’s statement)

Opposition forces are in large part made up of an untrained civilian militia, former members of the Libyan armed forces, together with the trained paramilitary Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG).

The Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which is aligned with Al Qaeda, is in the frontline of the armed insurrection.


The Al Qaeda Network as an Instrument of US-NATO Intervention

Both the LIFG as an entity as well as its individual members are categorized by the UN Security Council as terrorists. According to the US Treasury: “The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group threatens global safety and stability through the use of violence and its ideological alliance with al Qaida and other brutal terrorist organizations” (Treasury Designates UK-Based Individuals, Entities Financing Al Qaida -Affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group – US Fed News Service, February 8, 2006).

Concepts are turned upside down. Both Washington and NATO, which claim to be waging a “War on Terrorism”, are supporting a “pro-democracy movement” integrated by members of a terrorist organization.

In a cruel irony, Washington and the Atlantic Alliance are acting in defiance of their own anti-terrorist laws and regulations.

Moreover, support under “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) to opposition forces integrated by terrorists is implemented pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1973, which is blatant violation of UNSC resolution 1267. The latter identifies the Al-Jama’a al-Islamiyyah al-Muqatilah bi-Libya, the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), as a terrorist organization.

In other words, the UN Security Council is in clear violation not only of the UN Charter but of its own resolutions. (The Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee – 1267).

Historical Origins of The Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG)

Amply documented, the “Islamic jihad” has been covertly supported by the CIA since the onslaught of the Soviet-Afghan war. (See Michel Chossudovsky, America’s “War on Terrorism”, Global Research, Montreal, 2005).

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), using Pakistan’s military Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), played a key role in training the Mujahideen. In turn, the CIA-sponsored guerrilla training was integrated with the teachings of Islam:

“In March 1985, President Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive 166,…[which] authorize[d] stepped-up covert military aid to the Mujahideen, and it made clear that the secret Afghan war had a new goal: to defeat Soviet troops in Afghanistan through covert action and encourage a Soviet withdrawal. The new covert U.S. assistance began with a dramatic increase in arms supplies — a steady rise to 65,000 tons annually by 1987… as well as a “ceaseless stream” of CIA and Pentagon specialists who traveled to the secret headquarters of Pakistan’s ISI on the main road near Rawalpindi, Pakistan. There the CIA specialists met with Pakistani intelligence officers to help plan operations for the Afghan rebels.” (Steve Coll, Washington Post, July 19, 1992)

The Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), Al-Jama’a al-Islamiyyah al-Muqatilah bi-Libya, was founded in Afghanistan by Veteran Libyan Mujahideens of the Soviet-Afghan war.

From the outset in  the early to mid-1990s, the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) performed the role of an “intelligence asset” on behalf of the CIA and Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, MI6. Starting in 1995, the LIFG was actively involved in waging an Islamic Jihad directed against the secular Libyan regime, including a 1996 attempted assassination of Muamar Qadhafi.

“Former MI5 operative, David Shayler, revealed that while he was working on the Libya desk in the mid-1990s, British secret service personnel collaborated with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which is connected to one of Osama bin Laden’s trusted lieutenants. LIFG is now considered a terrorist group in the United Kingdom.” (Gerald A. Perreira, British Intelligence Worked with Al Qaeda to Kill Qaddafi, Global Research, March 25, 2011, emphasis added)

Guerrilla-style terrorist attacks, allegedly with the support of MI6, were routinely conducted against Libyan government security forces, police and military personnel:

“Fierce clashes between [Qadhafi’s] security forces and Islamist guerrillas erupted in Benghazi in September 1995, leaving dozens killed on both sides. After weeks of intense fighting, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) formally declared its existence in a communiqué calling Qadhafi’s government “an apostate regime that has blasphemed against the faith of God Almighty” and declaring its overthrow to be “the foremost duty after faith in God.” This and future LIFG communiqués were issued by Libyan Afghans who had been granted political asylum in Britain… The involvement of the British government in the LIFG campaign against Qadhafi remains the subject of immense controversy. LIFG’s next big operation, a failed attempt to assassinate Qadhafi in February 1996 that killed several of his bodyguards, was later said to have been financed by British intelligence to the tune of $160,000, according to ex-MI5 officer David Shayler. While Shayler’s allegations have not been independently confirmed, it is clear that Britain allowed LIFG to develop a base of logistical support and fundraising on its soil. At any rate, financing by bin Laden appears to have been much more important. According to one report, LIFG received up to $50,000 from the Saudi terrorist mastermind for each of its militants killed on the battlefield.” [2005] (Quoted in Peter Dale Scott, Who are the Libyan Freedom Fighters and Their Patrons? Global Research, March 2011, emphasis added)

There are contradictory reports as to whether the LIFG is part of Al Qaeda or is acting as an independent jihadist entity. One report suggests that in 2007 the LIFG became “a subsidiary of al Qaeda, later assuming the name of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).(See Webster Tarpley, The CIA’s Libya Rebels: The Same Terrorists who Killed US, NATO Troops in Iraq, Global Research, March 2011)

Continuity in US and Allied Intelligence Operations: Al Qaeda Operatives in Yugoslavia

Since the Soviet-Afghan war, the Al Qaeda network has served as an “intelligence asset” for the CIA. Confirmed by a 1997 US Senate document, Al Qaeda operatives were used by the Clinton administration to channel support to the Bosnian Muslim Army in the early 1990s. (See US Senate, Republican Party Committee, Clinton-Approved Iranian Arms Transfers Help Turn Bosnia into Militant Islamic Base, http://rpc.senate.gov/releases/1997/iran.htm, 1998)

Amply documented, The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which was supported by NATO, had developed extensive ties to the Islamic terror network. (US Senate, Republican Party Committee, The Clinton Administration Sets Course for NATO Intervention in Kosovo, 1998, http://rpc.senate.gov/releases/1998/kosovo.htm, See also Michel Chossudovsky, America’s “War on Terrorism”, Global Research, Montreal, 2005).

Al Qaeda in Yugoslavia served as an intelligence asset in the context of NATO’s “humanitarian war”. Terrorist organizations were covertly supported and funded. In 1999, the NATO intervention came to the rescue of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) which was integrated by Al Qaeda operatives. (US Republican Party Committee documents on Kosovo, op cit):

“One of the most disturbing aspects of the present [terrorism] crisis [1998 in Kosovo] is that it may have been triggered by our own inept foreign policy in Bosnia and Kosovo. There, beyond all common sense, we find ourselves championing Muslim factions who draw support from the very Islamic fundamentalist terrorist groups who are our mortal enemies elsewhere” (Col. Harry G. Summers, “Bringing terrorists to justice,” Washington Times, December 8, 1998, emphasis added. The late Col. Harry G. Summers (USA-Ret.) (1932-1999) was a Distinguished Fellow at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, PA.)

Is Libya’s Operation Odyssey Dawn part of a US-NATO pattern? Support an insurgency integrated by terrorists with a view to justifying intervention on humanitarian grounds to “save the lives of civilians”?

This was NATO’s justification for intervening in Bosnia and Kosovo. What lessons for Libya?

Former Head of Libyan Intelligence “Double Agent” Moussa Koussa Defects to the UK

The LIFG was supported not only by the CIA and The British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) but also by factions within Libya’s intelligence agency, led by former intelligence head and Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa, who defected to the United Kingdom in late March 2011.

In October 2001, the head of Libyan Intelligence, Moussa Koussa, met Assistant U.S. Secretary of State William J. Burns. The Koussa-Burns encounter was of crucial importance. Present at the meetings were senior CIA and MI6 officials, including Sir John Scarlett, who at the time (October 2001) was head of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) of the Cabinet, reporting directly to Prime Minister Tony Blair. The JIC oversees, on behalf of the British government, the setting of intelligence priorities for MI6, MI5 and Defense Intelligence.

“Our Man in Tripoli” Moussa Koussa was to perform the role of a double agent. In secret meetings with Sir John Scarlett, it was “agreed that a British agent could operate in Tripoli”. (Libya defector Moussa Koussa was an MI6 double agent, Sunday Express, April 3, 2011)

 

The development of the LIFG as a paramilitary jihadist movement as well its integration into anti-Qadhafi opposition forces bears a direct relationship to the central role played by double agent Moussa Koussa, who was instrumental in crafting close bilateral ties with the CIA and MI6.

 

In this regard, Moussa Koussa’s defection in late March has all the appearances of a carefully staged operation. In an unusual twist, the deal was negotiated with the British government through the intermediation of a former leader of the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) an Al Qaeda related terrorist organization, who is now working with a London-based human rights foundation:

Noman Benotman, a friend of Libyan foreign minister Moussa Koussa, has told the BBC how he helped organise his defection from the Gaddafi regime.

Mr Benotman used to be a leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group but now works for the counter-extremism think tank the Quilliam Foundation.

He said he believed Mr Koussa would be negotiating with the British government and was very co-operative regarding intelligence.

The BBC’s Gordon Corera added that the British government was in a dilemma over how to treat Mr Koussa because of his background as head of Libyan intelligence.

Mr Benotman told BBC Breakfast how he helped Koussa defect and how they used to be rivals. (BBC Breakfast April 1, 2011, emphasis added)

 

Ironically, Benotman was recruited as a Mujahideen to fight in the Soviet-Afghan war. He was one of the founders of the LIFG in Afghanistan. Focussing on issues of “counter-extremism”, Benotman is currently a Senior Analyst at the Quilliam Foundation. His present responsibilities include reaching out “to current and former extremists and using Quilliam as a platform from which to share his inside knowledge of al-Qaeda and other Jihadist groups with a wider audience.”

The CIA “Counterterrorism Program” in Libya

The bilateral ties established between the CIA-MI6 and Libyan intelligence in October 2001 provided Western intelligence agencies direct access and oversight within Libya, through its pro-US counterparts in Libya’s intelligence agency led by Moussa Koussa. This agreement enabled Western intelligence to effectively infiltrate the Libyan Intelligence Agency which was under the helm of an MI6 Double Agent.

According to the US State Department in a 2008 report, the Libyan government “has continued to cooperate with the United States and the international community to combat terrorism and terrorist financing… U.S. officials hope to extend counterterrorism assistance to Libya during FY2010 and FY2011…” (See Christopher M. Blanchard, Libya: Background and U.S. Relations, US Congress Research Service, July 16, 2010).

In 2009, Libyan Intelligence and the CIA established a joint counterterrorism program whereby Libyan intelligence officials would receive counterterrorism training by the CIA. This program was part of an agreement negotiated by Moussa Koussa with the CIA. It was also intended (in theory) to disband the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), with the support of  CIA intelligence operatives. Bear in mind the ambiguity of CIA “counterterrorism”: the launching of the LIFG in Afghanistan in the early to mid 1990s was part of a CIA project to create a Libyan arm of its Al Qaeda network.

Also in 2009, the imprisoned leaders of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) allegedly renounced their armed struggle waged against the Qadhafi regime in an agreement reached with Libyan security officials. (New jihad code threatens al Qaeda, CNN, November 2009)

What was the role of the US-Libya counterterrorism program from Washington’s perspective?

Officially, it was to identify the names of LIFG members and disband the LIFG as an organization. In practice, the US-led operation in Libya, including the training of Libyan intelligence officials under CIA auspices, provided the Agency with a convenient smokescreen for conducting intelligence operations inside Libya.

The training program enabled the CIA to infiltrate and acquire trusted counterparts within Libyan intelligence.

The 2009 Counterrorism program bears a direct relationship to the March 2011 Rebellion. It enabled the Agency, together with the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), to provide covert support to the LIFG in anticipation of the March 2011 armed insurrection.

The media suggests that the LIFG was disbanded (following the implementation of the CIA-sponsored counterterrorism program). There is no evidence to that effect. The LIFG remains on the (updated March 24, 2011) United Nations Security Council terror list:

QE.L.11.01. Name: LIBYAN ISLAMIC FIGHTING GROUP

Name (original script):

A.k.a.: LIFG F.k.a.: na Address: na Listed on: 6 Oct. 2001 (amended on 5 Mar. 2009)

Other information: Review pursuant to Security Council resolution 1822 (2008) was concluded on 21 Jun. 2010


(The LIFG Listing is on p. 70,
http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/pdf/consolidatedlist.pdf, Under the UNSC rules disbanded terrorist organizations are removed from the list in conformity with a delisting procedure. The LIFG has not been removed from the list).
United Nations Security Council: Consolidated List established and maintained by the 1267 Committee with respect to Al-Qaida, Usama bin Laden, and the Taliban and other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with them(updated March 24, 2011).

Weapons and Covert Support to LIFG Rebels

There are indications that the CIA and MI6 continue to provide covert support to the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which now constitutes the frontline of  the armed insurrection against the Qadhafi regime.

Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime…

Mr al-Hasidi insisted his fighters “are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,” but added that the “members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader”. (Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links, Daily Telegraph, March 25, 2011, italics added)

Abdul Hakim Al-Hasadi, is a leader of the LIFG who received military training in a guerrilla camp in Afghanistan. He is head of security of the opposition forces in one of the rebel held territories with some 1,000 men under his command. (Libyan rebels at pains to distance themselves from extremists – The Globe and Mail, March 12, 2011)

The US-NATO coaltion is arming the Jihadists. Weapons are being channelled to the LIFG from Saudi Arabia, which historically, since the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war, has covertly supported Al Qaeda. The Saudis are now providing the rebels, in liaison with Washington and Brussels, with anti-tank rockets and ground-to-air missiles.

Media Disinformation: Islamic Terrorists Join the Pro-Democracy Movement “in a Personal Capacity”

Admiral James Stavridis, NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, has tacitly acknowledged that “American intelligence had picked up “flickers” of terrorist activity among the rebel groups… Very alarming…” But we are not dealing with “flickers”. LIFG fighters constitute the backbone of the armed insurgency.

The Western media has also expressed its concern, while insisting that the Jihadists are “former” members of the LIFG  who have joined the armed struggle “in a personal capacity” rather than as members of terrorist organization. According to Benotman in an interview with CNN:

“Dozens of former LIFG fighters have now joined rebel efforts to topple Gadhafi,” but he stressed that they had done so in a personal capacity rather than organizing operations as a group.

“Some Western counter-terrorism officials fret that a prolonged civil war in Libya could open up space for al Qaeda. Governments and NGOs have to be quick,” says Benotman, “in helping rebel-held areas develop education, health-care and the institutions of democracy.” (Paul Cruickshank and Tim Lister, Libyan civil war: An opening for al Qaeda and jihad? CNN, March 23, 2011)

An Al Qaeda related terrorist organization integrates the Libya pro-democracy movement? Since when do terrorists act as individuals “in a personal capacity”?

Both the LIFG as an entity as well as its individual members are categorized by the UN Security Council as terrorists under UNSC resolution 1267. (The Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee – 1267)

“Our Man in Tripoli”

Moussa Koussa was “Our Man in Tripoli”. The circumstances of his defection as well as the history of his collaboration with the CIA and MI6, suggest that for the last ten years, he has been serving US and Allied interests, including the planning of the “pro-democracy” armed insurrection in Eastern Libya.

 
Former head of Libyan intelligence Moussa Koussa played a central role in channelling covert support to the LIFG on behalf of his Western intelligence counterparts. Former CIA director George Tenet, while not explicitly referring to “Our Man in Tripoli”, acknowledges in his 2007 autobiography that “the easing of tensions with Libya [was] one of the major successes of his tenure, as it led to cooperation between the two spy services against al-Qaeda.” (quoted in Intelligence Partnership between Qadhafi and the CIA on counter-terrorismop cit)

 

There should be no doubt: NATO and the LIFG are bed-fellows. The Western military alliance is supporting a rebellion integrated by Islamic terrorists, in the name of the “war on terrorism”.

Who are the terrorists? In a bitter twist, while the Islamic jihad is featured by the US Administration as “a threat to Western civilization”, these same Islamic organizations including the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) constitute a key instrument of US military-intelligence operations in Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, not to mention the Muslim republics of the former Soviet Union.

Posted in LibyaComments Off on Michel Chossudovsky: “Our Man in Tripoli” – Islamic Terrorists Join Libya’s Pro-Democracy Opposition

Mondoweiss Online Newsletter

NOVANEWS

 

Posted By: Sammi Ibrahem
Chair of West Midland PSC

 

Israeli NGO to Goldstone: Your statement is already being used to justify and legitimize future crimes

Apr 05, 2011

Coalition of Women for Peace

Dear Justice Richard Goldstone,

The recent escalation in the Israeli army incursions into the Gaza strip is of grave concern to us at the Coalition of Women for Peace. The prospect of yet another flare out of large scale violence against civilians is alarming. Your recent comments on the Goldstone report are already interpreted by Israeli officials and the mainstream media channels as complete and full absolution of Israel’s military conduct in its entirety. Yet, the conclusions drawn from your statement with respect to Israel’s conduct during the Cast Lead military campaign and especially its aftermath are not backed by any new facts or findings. This seriously undermines the international, Israeli and Palestinian civil society struggle for accountability and against impunity from grave violations of human rights and humanitarian law.

You state that “we know more today about what happened in Gaza.” Which new facts have been uncovered? We who monitor the Israeli government and the situation closely on the ground know that no information was brought out to contradict the meticulous documentation of the fact finding mission you headed. In fact, it is the international pressure generated by the publication of the Goldstone report that has forced Israel to launch a significant number of investigations in the first place. These investigations corroborate what the Israeli and Palestinian civil societies already know: Israel systematically fails to conduct thorough and impartial investigations meeting international standards. As a matter of fact, most investigations prompted by the Goldstone report have not been completed yet, and those which have been completed generated only three rather minor indictments of lower rank soldiers. Considering the scope of destruction and the civilians killed during operation Cast Lead, it cannot be said that those responsible for grave violations that amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity have been brought to justice.

A key contribution of the Goldstone report to the public comprehension of the Israeli/Palestinian reality has been its readiness to approach seriously the actual context of the outbreak of violence in Gaza. This is the persistent blockade imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip, and its continued control on Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. The recommendations to Israel – carrying your distinguished signature as a world renowned jurist – clearly addressed the blockade on Gaza, calling on Israel to immediately cease the border closures and allow free passage of goods and people to and from the Strip. The report recommends that Israel release Palestinian political prisoners, and cease actions that limit the expression of dissent by civil society organizations. The innovation of the report was precisely its readiness to acknowledge the overwhelming responsibility of the powerful party in the conflict.

Israel ignored the report and its recommendations, and did not lift the blockade or stop the persecution of Palestinian civilians and human rights defenders. The only notable change in the status quo was the escalation, immediately following the publication of the Goldstone report, of government attacks and the campaign of de-legitimization of human rights organizations and civil society. The Israeli government is currently promoting legislation, which aims at curbing our freedom of expression, freedom of association and basic social and political liberties. This political persecution is further marginalizing and excluding Palestinian and Jewish women in Israel, who oppose the militarized political establishment.

The Goldstone report gave an official international force to the ever increasing demand to hold Israel accountable for grave violations of international law. Your statements undermine the credibility of the United Nations and its ability to effectively enforce international standards of conduct and international humanitarian and human rights law. Now more than ever the stakes are high for those struggling for accountability and against impunity in Israel/Palestine. Your statement raises the stakes further by granting Israel legitimacy it so desperately needs to continue its aggressive campaigns of repression of dissent on the domestic and international front.

Dear Justice Goldstone, we are asking you to do all that is in your power to enable the international community to hold Israeli leaders accountable. Only a serious commitment to accountability, which would end Israel’s impunity can prevent the next war. As it stands now, your statement is already used to justify and legitimize future crimes, even before the next war has started.

Coalition of Women for Peace (Israel)

cwp@coalitionofwomen.org

www.coalitionofwomen.org

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Juliano, mourned

Apr 05, 2011

Philip Weiss

From a twitpic: “A stunning photo of Palestinians holding posters of Juliano Mer-Khamis, a map of Palestine targeted on his heart.”

Here is a statement from the Palestinian Popular Committees against the wall:

In memory of our beloved friend Juliano Mer-Khamis

Juliano Mer-Khamis embodied the uncompromising struggle for freedom and for dignity. With his brutal murder the Palestinian struggle has lost a brilliant charismatic and courageous fighter for justice and freedom. Both parts of his life’s work were seamlessly joined. His art was inseparable from his political commitment. The dignity and humanity which his art sustained were just as important to Palestinian resilience -sumud as his explicitly political work. His life was tragically cut short but he nevertheless managed to live a life full with purpose and meaning. In his typical way he fully dedicated himself to realizing his principles and gave up the comfort of life in Haifa to move to Jenin.

The Freedom theater which Mer-Khamis founded enriched the lives of countless young participants who all loved Juliano and their audience. It demonstrated the resilience of Palestinians, who transcended the most difficult situations to create a lasting legacy of art and consciousness. The effect of the Freedom theater reached far beyond Jenin and even the West Bank. People throughout the world were inspired to support the work of the theater and Palestinian solidarity in general.

We offer his family our condolences and support. We will always remember and miss him. His legacy will continue to inspire us to struggle for dignity and liberation. We will follow Juliano’s example in his work and in his spirit.

Democracy Now had several remembrances of Mer-Khamis this morning. Here is a great statement from New York theater leaders:

The murder of Juliano Mer-Khamis, actor, director,  founder of the Jenin Freedom Theater, in the Jenin Refugee Camp, is an assault on art and artists, peacekeepers and the creative lives of young people who live under the constant threat of violence.

As American theater makers whose work is dedicated to understanding of the other and the self, we condemn this unspeakable act.  We condemn the policy of targeted assassination which is widely practiced, by militant non-state actors, and by governments.

Karen Malpede

George Bartenieff

Theater Three Collaborative

James Nicola

Linda Chapman

New York Theater Workshop

Here is Gideon Levy in Haaretz:

This tall, strapping, handsome man who oozed charisma, a Jew and an Arab on account of his parents – perhaps a Jew in the eyes of the Arabs and an Arab in the eyes of the Jews – decided to devote his life to Jenin, where he lived as an Israeli and as a human being. One of the most talented theater actors to ever emerge here was also the most courageous of them. The seven bullets extinguished the light of courage that he radiated. “Jule was murdered,” a trembling voice belonging to a refugee camp resident on the other end of the phone told me..

Ilene Cohen observes:

It is noteworthy that no Israeli government official that I’ve seen has bothered even to comment on the murder of an Israeli citizen in occupied Palestine. This is, sadly, not surprising, since Juliano was not a beloved settler but an activist whose life was dedicated to opposing the occupation. For Israelis, I would imagine, he was therefore beyond the pale.

Goldstone headed to Israel in July, hosted by Israeli minister criticized in Gaza report for advocating collective punishment

Apr 05, 2011

Adam Horowitz

Ynet is reporting that Richard Goldstone will be headed to Israel in July to tour Sderot and other Israeli towns effected by missile fire from Gaza. Mind you, Goldstone had wanted to visit these towns all along as part of the fact-finding mission into Operation Cast Lead and Israel refused to allow him to enter the country. Now, after his infamous Washington Post op-ed, Israel is waiting for him with open arms.

It’s not clear whether Goldstone will actually actively participate in Israeli hasbara efforts around the report, but it is worrisome that he seems open to possibily undermining it within the UN. Ynet reports:

[Israel’s former ambassador to the UN, Dan Gillerman] urged Goldstone to take additional measures to make sure that the UN Human Rights Council and other human rights organization take heed of his statement.

Goldstone suggested in response to first let the dust settle, but said that he would look into what goes on in the UN council.

This is obviously an ambiguous statement (and most likely based on Gillerman’s interpretation of the conversation), but any intervention Goldstone would make to discredit the report within the UN would be incredibly damaging.

The invitation to Goldstone has been extended by Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who also wrote Goldstone a letter following the recent Jerusalem bus bombing and Itamar attack to excoriate him for not speaking out. Yishai wrote in part:

This report that you publicized is what gives legitimacy to terror organizations to continue the cruel and indiscriminate shooting toward civilian settlements in the areas of the state. This report is what calms murderers without a conscience when they come to slaughter innocent children, knowing that they can always be assumed to be sacrifices afterwards.

Where is your voice now, Mr. Goldstone? Where is your voice when Hadas, a baby girl 3 months old, Elad, 4 years old, and Yoav, 11 years old, were slaughtered in their sleep – not by accident – but in cold blood by a despicable murderer?

This might explain why Goldstone made the strange and passing mention to Itamar in the Washington Post op-ed (“So, too, the Human Rights Council should condemn the inexcusable and cold-blooded recent slaughter of a young Israeli couple and three of their small children in their beds.”). I say it was strange because there has still not been any conclusive answer to who committed the murders in Itamar. To raise it in the context of war crimes committed by Hamas was misleading and irresposible.

Interesting enough, the Goldstone report specificaly quotes Yishai to demonstrate how Israeli leaders were calling for war crimes to be committed in Gaza during Cast Lead. The following is from Chapter 16  of the report which looks at the “objectives and strategy of Israel’s military operations in Gaza“:

The issue that is of special concern to the Mission is the conceptualization of the “supporting infrastructure.” The notion is indicated quite clearly in General Eisenkot’s statements in 2006 and reinforced by the reflections cited by non-serving but well-informed military thinkers.

On 6 January 2009, during the military operations in Gaza, Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai stated: “It [should be] possible to destroy Gaza, so they will understand not to mess with us.” He added that “it is a great opportunity to demolish thousands of houses of all the terrorists, so they will think twice before they launch rockets.” “I hope the operation will come to an end with great achievements and with the complete destruction of terrorism and Hamas. In my opinion, they should be razed to the ground, so thousands of houses, tunnels and industries will be demolished.” He added that “residents of the South are strengthening us, so the operation will continue until a total destruction of Hamas [is achieved].”

On 2 February 2009, after the end of the military operations, Eli Yishai went on: “Even if the rockets fall in an open air or to the sea, we should hit their infrastructure, and destroy 100 homes for every rocket fired.”

The report concludes:

To the extent to which statements such as that of Mr. Yishai on 2 February 2009 indicate that the destruction of civilian objects, homes in that case, would be justified as a response to rocket attacks (“destroy 100 homes for every rocket fired”), the Mission is of the view that reprisals against civilians in armed hostilities are contrary to international humanitarian law. Even if such actions could be considered a lawful reprisal, they do not meet the stringent conditions imposed, in particular they are disproportionate, and violate fundamental human rights and obligations of a humanitarian character.

Of course, Goldstone could use this trip to question Yishai on this call to collective punishment. The Ynet article would seem to indicate he has another agenda on his mind.

Bed, Bath and…Settlements?!

Apr 05, 2011

Rae Abileah

Last Wednesday, March 30, was The Palestinian Land Day, which marked the murder of six unarmed Palestinian protesters in 1976, and the Palestinian Boycott National Committee called for boycott actions around the world to commemorate this day.   West Coast activist groups working for justice in Palestine coordinated to make this a regional day of action.  From Seattle to Los Angeles, over a dozen actions happened on March 30.  Actions included art installations, divestment teach-ins, a billboard unveiling, and creative demonstrations.  West Coast activists participated in the international launch of a new campaign aimed at stopping the infamous land theft organization, the Jewish National Fund, by revoking it’s charity tax status (see www.stopthejnf.org).  And around the world, from Montreal to Berlin, activists coordinated BDS actions, see http://bdsdayofaction.net/.  What follows is a report from one coordinated campaign aimed at big box store Bed Bath & Beyond.

On Wednesday, March 30, activists with CODEPINK and Global Exchange delivered a letter with over 2,500 signatures to the management at 15 Bed Bath & Beyond stores asking the retail chain to discontinue sales of products manufactured in illegal Israeli settlements, namely Ahava cosmetics and SodaStream home carbonation systems.  These products are fraudulently labeled as “Made in Israel”, but are in fact produced in illegal settlements under the conditions of the military occupation in the West Bank, outside the internationally-recognized borders of Israel. The petition addressed Bed Bath & Beyond CEO Steven Temares, and activists hope he hears their plea and stops selling products that are in clear violation of international law.

Ahava cosmetics are manufactured in the illegal settlement of Mitzpe Shalem in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. Ahava’s fraudulent labeling is under investigation in the UK and in The Netherlands. The Stolen Beauty Boycott and international boycott pressure have been successfully pressuring stores to drop Ahava.  Stores that have pulled Ahava from their shelves include Canada’s major department store The Bay, UK retailer John Lewis, the National Cathedral in DC, the U.N. commissary in Vienna, and many more.

recent report by the Israeli research project Who Profits from the Occupation describes SodaStream’s illegal settlement activities, exposes its fraudulent labeling practices and investigates its exploitative labor practices.  SodaStream is another occupation profiteer located the illegal industrial zone called Mishor Edomim, one of the largest land expropriations of Palestinian land in the West Bank, which prevents a future contiguous Palestinian state.   The SodaStream factory employs Palestinian workers under the discriminatory and exploitative conditions of the occupation.  SodaStream’s own reports to the U.S. Security Exchange Commission discuss the relative weight of international consumer boycotts and negative publicity against the economic benefits of manufacturing in a settlement industrial zone.  On February 25th, 2010, In a ruling against SodaStream’s distributor in Germany, Brita, the European Court of Justice stated that settlement products are not “Made in Israel”, and therefore they cannot benefit from the trade agreements with the State of Israel.

SodaStream is marketed as an environmentally responsible product, but the destruction of life, land and peace brought about by this settlement industrial zone is anything but environmentally responsible.  Save a few plastic bottles at the expense of trashing Palestinian land and people?  We don’t think so.

The Bed Bath & Beyond website provides an impressive “Code of Conduct” for all its vendors and suppliers, demanding nondiscrimination in hiring practices, fair workers’ wages and benefits, environmental protections and many more legal requirements, which are clearly violated by settlement producers. To be in compliance with its own policies, Bed Bath & Beyond must stop selling Ahava and SodaStream.

Activists in cities through the US delivered the petition.  In San Francisco a group of CODEPINK and Global Exchange activists, including Israeli founder of “Who Profits?” Dalit Baum, delivered the petition and spoke at length with the manager at Bed Bath & Beyond.

In Gainesville, FL, three generations of women delivered the petition. Activist Abigail explained: “My mother, my niece and I delivered the petition… the manager listened politely to our explanation of why carrying such a product in their store is unethical and said he would be sure his ‘higher-ups’ were informed.”

At Bed Bath & Beyond in Canoga Park, CA, Sanaa asked the manager to: “consider how Bed Bath & Beyond is making a statement of their support of the Israeli occupation of Palestine by carrying these products and how doing that inevitably alienates a substantial consumer base that has joined the boycott movement to fight for human rights.”

Kristen wrote from West Los Angeles: “I was jazzed by my visit… the clerk highlighted pertinent bits of our letter, engaged with the information, and thumbed through the pages of signatures… The manager was kind and interested, and called in another who expressed impress by our approach and overall campaign strategy… it seemed that had they been in a position to decide, we would have another store on our list of those that support Palestinian human rights.”

Jeff in Portland described his local manager as “very cordial and curious…” and Sandy in Largo said the manager had read an article about SodaStream and boycotts and was “very friendly & receptive.”  That seems to be the overall sentiment of the day. As CODEPINK LA noted in a report-back from an action at an Ahava retailer in Santa Monica: “People are becoming interested; they want to know. The Israeli occupation will not survive the truth.”

CODEPINK’s Stolen Beauty campaign will continue to collect and deliver signatures to get illegal Israeli settlement products Ahava and Soda Stream out of Bed, Bath & Beyond.

On Land Day other Ahava boycott actions included the delivery of a petition to ULTA headquarters in Chicago asking them to drop Ahava, actions at a DC pharmacy and at Ricky’s in Brooklyn, both of which stock Ahava products, and in Prague, activists coordinated a picket of the Czech Ahava store.

The international boycott of Ahava celebrated a success this week when a news article revealed that the AHAVA shop in London’s Covent Garden, which has been the subject of ongoing and escalating boycott actions for years, will close its doors. And a Los Angeles retailer has vowed to stop stocking AHAVA, after CODEPINK explained it was violating Palestinian human rights by stocking it.

As Jewish Voice for Peace wrote in a statement last month, The escalation of killing in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Israel reminds us that to end the Israeli occupation, our best hope is supporting the inspiring nonviolent Palestinian movement for change, the Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.”

Rae Abileah is a 28-year-old Jewish-American of Israeli descent and is a national organizer with CODEPINK Women for Peace and its Stolen Beauty boycott of Ahava cosmetics.  She lives in San Francisco, CA and can be reached at rae@codepink.org.

The education of Richard Goldstone

Apr 05, 2011

Ahmed Moor

Judge Richard Goldstone made a mistake.

An ardent Zionist, he believed that he could alter the course of the Jewish state’s trajectory. Undoubtedly pained by the actions of his Zionist fellows – and earnestly knowing that it doesn’t have to be this way – he pointed at the ugly things they’ve done and said, “Look.”

The problem, he knew, was not about supremacist ideology. It wasn’t about willful blindness, callous indifference or jingoistic bloodlust either. The Jews of Israel are good and moral, and they just don’t know. If they did, he reasoned, they’d change.

Judge Goldstone would show them what they’ve done, and they’d repent. Or at least they wouldn’t do it again.

But he was wrong.

They knew what they’d done – how could they not? Some of them were willfully blind, or callously indifferent, or were active participants in the massacre.

The Zionists knew their crimes, but more importantly they knew that they’d been betrayed. Didn’t Goldstone know that blood is thicker than truth and integrity? Or that Zionist arms are sanctified by God? Or that his words would rend the community? Young Jews would leave the tribe because of him. He was destroying the Jewish people and Israel would wither and die because of him.

The education of Richard Goldstone began at the age of 71. He aimed to lead the Zionists of Israel out of their barren humanity. And he was savaged for his efforts; he was excommunicated and vilified. Shining a light in the mirror, he saw their bared teeth.

“The Zionists aren’t broken,” they snarled, “You’re broken.”

The Zionists aren’t misguided, they are actively destructive, he learned.

And they were right that Richard Goldstone was broken. He sought to do his job. He applied the same standards he applied everywhere. His methodology was good. But he was still wrong, somehow.

The fallout showed him just how wrong he was. That was when things began to be clearer. Being a Zionist meant that the truth is subordinate, he learned. Israel comes first! In Everything! And then you can do your job, Goldstone! And Never Again, too!

Confronted with a choice – the Tribe or the Truth – he buckled and folded. He repented in the most medieval way, with a public recantation. He took to the pages of the Washington Post to write: “Believe the Zionists; it was my own eyes that lied.”

Now he stands with his beloved community. But will they take him back? Is there a doggie door large enough for him to crawl through?

It’s impossible to know how the judge lost his integrity. Maybe it had to do with the prospect of being buried in a lonely cemetery. Or maybe it’s something more prosaic. Like the pain of not receiving a much-anticipated invitation to something. Perhaps it was the University of Johannesburg’s recent decision to break with apartheid (“You did this to us, Goldstone!”).

Whatever the cause, Goldstone’s shameful behavior has demonstrated that Zionists are not fit to produce and disseminate the truth. Any doubts of the inherent contradictions of the two should be laid to rest now. Goldstone went about as far as any one of them is permitted to and he’s snapping back into the velveteen fold, double-time.

So, Zionism and truth; Zionism and decency; Zionism and integrity; Zionism and liberalism; Zionism and humanity are deeply contradictory. Richard Goldstone’s education began at 71, and lately he’s begun to teach.

On the vital strategic matter of terrorist chickens

Apr 05, 2011

Philip Weiss

From Rick Congress’s discussion of Goldstone’s statement:

We have to address the vital strategic matter of terrorist chickens. One of the seemingly bizarre acts of the IDF in Gaza was the killing of 31,000 chickens. These chickens were being raised commercially for eggs and food. Such businesses along with others, a cement factory, fishing boats,etc. and civil facilities such as power plants, public schools and water purification plants were destroyed by the IDF. These sorts of acts (targeting civilian infrastructure) are known to be violations of the Geneva Convention, UN resolutions, and are rightfully condemned world-wide. Condemned as what? As punishing the civilian population — collectively, and intentionally.

One line of reasoning in Israel’s defense would be that these chickens provide nutrition for Gazans, and that the more Gazan children have to eat, the more likely they are to survive and grow up to become if not actual terrorists then “demographic terrorists,” who by their very existence and tendency to reproduce, threaten the future of the Jewish state by staying alive in sufficient numbers to give credibility to the idea that Palestinians actually exist (another terrorist threat to Israel’s existence) and might need a place to live, besides Jordan or Lebanon.

So now we can classify these actions of the IDF as combating terrorism, not of targeting civilian infrastructure.

Brandeis students heckle Knesset members for support of war crimes and racist legislation

Apr 05, 2011

Philip Weiss

Release from Elisha Baskin of Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine on Monday night:

WALTHAM, MA – Members of Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine (BSJP) disrupted a panel discussion of six Members of the Israeli Knesset tonight at Brandeis University.

The action targeted MK Avi Dicther, an international war criminal wanted for crimes against humanity and violations of the Geneva Convention. Dichter ordered the tortures of detained Palestinians while he served as head of Shabak, the Israeli Intelligence Services. In July 2002, Dichter ordered the assassination of a Hamas commander by dropping a one-ton bomb on his home in a residential area, causing the deaths of 15 people, including 9 children, and injuring dozens more.

When Dicther spoke, a dozen Brandeis students stood and demanded that he turn himself in to authorities, distributing warrants for his arrest. In English and in Hebrew, the students listed charges against Dichter, including torture and the bombing of civilians. They ended their disruption by chanting in Hebrew “Don’t worry Avi Dicther, we’ll meet you in the Hague.”

The action aimed to alert the Brandeis community to the presence of a war criminal on campus. “We believe that Avi Dichter must be put to trial for his crimes against humanity,” said participant Liza Behrendt.

Participant Paraska Tolan stated, “War criminals have a right to speak on our campus, but students also have the right to hold them publicly accountable for their crimes. This serves as a message that Dichter should not feel welcome, even at Brandeis University.”

Lisa Hanania, a Palestinian student at Brandeis and member of SJP, said that she was extremely disturbed by the racist comments from some of the MKs. “MK Tzipi Hotovely claimed that ‘Arabs have a different D.N.A. that lacks humanity.’ As a citizen of the Israel, I am deeply concerned that claims as such pave the way for the state to slide into an openly racist ethnocracy.”

Noam Lekach, a first-year from Israel, stated, “Brandeis claims to promote social justice, but today they invited legislators who openly espouse racist attitudes towards Palestinians.”

The students emphasize that, although they targeted Dichter specifically, all MKs should be held accountable for recent racist legislation such as the “Loyalty Oath,” the criminalization of Nakba commemoration, and the institutionalization of residential discrimination.

The island to nowhere

Apr 05, 2011

annie

The plot thickens. It was reported last week, Netanyahu says Abbas must choose peace w/ Hamas or Israel in response to Abbas’s efforts to plunge ahead with his plans to seek UN recognition either from the UN Security Council or General Assembly in September. JPostreports: “According to Israeli officials, the US is also trying to convince various countries to oppose the move.”  There seems to be a little hitch.

But diplomatic officials said that it would be easier to lobby support if Israel had an alternative plan of where things were going.

Oh wow why didn’t I think of that? Want to hear the latest plan?

Channel 2 reported that one plan that was being considered – and has even been discussed in the security cabinet – wasthe construction of a 2 km.-by-4 km. artificial island built 4.5 km. off the coast of Gaza and linked by a bridge. According to the plan, Gaza’s exports and imports would go though this island, which would include a port and an airport. The island would be under the security control of NATO or another international body that would search the cargo going in and out of the Gaza Strip. …….. According to the report, the project – spearheaded by Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz – would cost between $5 billion and $10b. and take some six years to build. Katz spoke a number of months ago about the idea with Netanyahu, who told him to develop a plan. Some 17 similar models from around the world were studied and discussed.

Shall we file this under “Throw everything against the wall and see what sticks?”

For news more grounded in rationality emanating from the report:

Nimer Hammad, political adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, accused Israel of practicing “political thuggery” against the UN. He said that the international community could no longer tolerate Israel’s “arrogance” and “disrespect” for international laws……… The spokesman also brushed aside the Israeli warnings about a unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state by the UN. He said that the number of countries that recognize Palestine is bigger than those who don’t, and added that all West Bank settlements would be dismantled “sooner or later,” just as they were in the Gaza Strip.

Goldstone and the tribe

Apr 05, 2011

Hatim Kanaaneh

The call issued by angry human rights diehards, incensed by judge Richard Goldstone’s rebuttal of his own former ruling, solidified in its original undiluted form by his well-paid UN position, confirming Israel’s criminality in its attack on Gaza civilians, to dismiss him as a victim of senility makes my blood boil for reasons beyond my age-related infirmity of intentionality, the said judge being my junior by over five hundred days and much more capable of grammatical contortions in hiding what he wants to say so that you are at a loss as to where the subject of his sentence ends or senility sets in. Got that? And I am not a lawyer, mind you. If you didn’t get my drift, let me delve a bit deeper. Here is what the man says in a nutshell:

Although the Israeli evidence that has emerged since publication of our report doesn’t negate the tragic loss of civilian life, I regret that our fact-finding mission did not have such evidence explaining the circumstances in which we said civilians in Gaza were targeted, because it probably would have influenced our findings about intentionality and war crimes.

Let us not forget that the man had proven himself beyond a doubt as a veritable artist at adapting to constricting circumstances, a first-rate compromiser and double-dealer if viewed from the vintage point of his former employers. Imagine serving for fourteen years at the top of the Apartheid court system and coming out smelling like a rose. I wonder if anyone has tallied up the list of all the blacks in South Africa whom judge Goldstone sent to jail while he deliberately “undermined apartheid from within the system by tempering the worst effects of the country’s racial laws,” as Wikipedia would have us believe. I actually appreciate the man’s slaving away at making a dent in the system while not abandoning his basic commitment to his own self-interest including, I presume, promotions and a better salary. In my delusional younger years I, for example, tried to work to improve the health of the Palestinian minority in Israel from within the Zionist state system while collecting a good salary and heading a good-size office. And I achieved some miniscule positive results. I appreciate the logical and moral acrobatics that such professional compromising exercises require. It is confusing and I can see why the good judge can’t quite come out and say what is on his cluttered mind at this late stage.

If I have lost you there for a moment, let me backtrack. The man never said he was anything other than Zionist. That does not allow condemnation of Israel under any circumstances. He seeks a moral compromise out of the conundrum: He makes his acceptance of the UN assignment to head the international committee to look into Israel’s possible war crimes in its 2008-9 war against Gaza conditional on investigating Hamas as well and the UN grants him his request. Had he relied on his common horse sense he would have saved himself and us all much time and effort: Hamas never denied targeting what Israel calls its civilian population. So what is there to investigate? Still, we all were impressed by the man’s conclusions putting the blame on both sides and implying equivalency between Israel and Hamas. Richard Goldstone must have thought this was enough of an achievement to blunt the expected outrage of fellow Zionists. Seen from Bibi Netanyahu’s angle this looks very bad for Israel and for Zionism. Richard was identified as another self-hating Jew and targeted for excommunication by the tribe.

I still live in a rural Palestinian community where the clan dominates social relations. For an individual to be shunned by his or her clan spells the ablation of that person’s social and psychological comfort zone. Imagine how much more painful it must be for one to be excommunicated by the entire tribe; your own family threatens to throw you out of your grandson’s bar-mitzvah, not to mention random threats of physical harm. Had Richard been physically eliminated, it would probably have fallen under the rubric of honor killing, not an unknown entity in tribal societies including my own. After all, it has happened in Israel before, and Bibi seemed to have given it an a’priori nod at the time. Would Bibi have named a major square in the center of Tel Aviv after the good judge had it happened to Goldstone before he found a way to appease his critics?

Let us not speculate. The fact of the matter is that Richard has wised up in due time and tried to recant. But he has his international name to worry about too. After all, the Palestinian National Authority saw fit to play with the man’s report as if it were a set of political playing cards, threatening to use it to trump Israel, then magically hiding it for a while and threatening to pull it out of a hat at the right moment. So Richard sets out to bamboozle all concerned with empty doublespeak. “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.” Wow! How profound. You could change a comma and, technically, it would be “a different document.” Yet the trick has worked wonders: It gave Richard another chance to come down on Hamas as if we all had thought he had fallen in love with them before. And Bibi is ready to accept the prodigal son back in the fold of the family, provided Richard issues a proper and full formal apology. The problem is that there were some other minor characters who had penned their signature to that document and some of them may not have strong tribal connections here.

It behooves the UN, and I hesitate to extend the generalization to the US, for that would render the recommendation impossible to implement, to refrain from putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop: You cannot appoint an avowed Zionist to investigate Israel unless you want to get a quick clearance. Mind you, I am not accusing my junior friend, Richard, with ill intent or anything unsavory, other than being a Zionist. What I am talking about is the standard precaution that we, physicians, are repeatedly admonished during our training to observe: Never treat a member of your immediate family, except in an emergency of course. The rationale is that you don’t want to let your emotions cloud your medical judgment. This is doubly so when we are dealing with self-diagnosis and treatment. And yet many physicians disregard such advice and treat their next of kin or even themselves. I recall the story in my medical training days in Boston of a third-year surgical resident at a Harvard-associated top-rate hospital who was fired for going overboard in disregarding the above accepted principle of professional conduct: He was caught operating on himself, lying supine on the operating table and using a series of large mirrors to enable himself to perform his own hemorrhoidectomy.

You shouldn’t have, Richard!

This post originally appeared on Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh’s blog A Doctor in Galilee.

Rebels consolidate position in Ajdabiya

Apr 05, 2011

Seham

And more news from the Arab uprisings:

Libya
At least 50 killed in Libya fighting
At least 50 including rebels, government troops and civilians have been killed in fresh clashes in different cities.
http://thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=13565

Rebels flee east Libya oil town under rocket fire
NEAR BREGA, Libya, April 5 (Reuters) – Libyan rebels fled up to 20 km (12 miles) eastwards under heavy rocket fire from leader Muammar Gaddafi’s forces on Tuesday in a sixth day of fighting for the oil port of Brega. Sustained bombardments of rockets and mortars pushed the insurgent caravan of pick-up trucks and cars back towards their Benghazi stronghold, in the biggest retreat in several days of inconclusive battles.
http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/rebels-flee-east-libya-oil-town-under-rocket-fire

At least 5 killed in Misrata shelling – doctor
RABAT, April 4 (Reuters) – At least five people were killed when forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi shelled a residential area in the besieged city of Misrata late on Monday, a doctor said. “The reception in the hospital is full. Five people were confirmed killed in the last two hours and five more are in critical condition,” the doctor, who gave his name as Ramadan, told Reuters by phone from the city. A second medic said the latest artillery assault on Libya’s third biggest city had left many wounded but medical teams were unable to reach them because sporadic shelling continued.
http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/at-least-5-killed-in-misrata-shelling-doctor

Evacuees from Libyan town describe massacre
SFAX, Tunisia: Bodies lay in the streets of the besieged Libyan city of Misrata and its hospital is overflowing with injured, an evacuee said Monday after arriving in Tunisia. An aid ship operated by charity Medecins Sans Frontieres docked in the Tunisian port of Sfax carrying 71 wounded people from Misrata, many with bullet wounds and broken limbs and one whose…
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=2&article_id=126787

Libya’s Wounded Describe Misrata ‘Hell’
SFAX, Tunisia/ BREGA, Libya (Reuters) – Gaddafi forces using tanks and snipers are carrying out a “massacre” in Misrata with corpses on the streets and hospitals full of the wounded, evacuees said, with one describing the besieged city as “hell.” Misrata, Libya’s third city, rose up with other towns against Muammar Gaddafi’s rule in mid-February, and it is now under attack by government troops after a violent crackdown put an end to most protests elsewhere in the west of the country.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/04/libyas-wounded-describe-m_n_844540.html

In pictures
Inside Libya’s battle-scarred city of Misrata.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/int/news/-/news/world-africa-12963019

UN Allies Strike Convoy near Brega as Rebels begin Oil Exports
NATO airstrikes near the oil city of Brega (Marsa al-Buraiqa) on Tuesday morning repelled the advance of an 8-vehicle military convoy of Qaddafi loyalists. The Transitional government in Benghazi is eager to gain control of Brega, from which they were pushed back on Monday night, because they could then export petroleum from it under a deal they have done with Qatar.The significance of the strike on the convoy is manifold. Qaddafi doesn’t have infinite amounts of heavy military equipment, and every tank or armored vehicle he loses degrades his ability to control a country that for the most part doesn’t want him. When urban crowds and rebel forces have faced Qaddafi loyalists and both have just had light arms, the rebels have typically prevailed. Another significance of the strike is that it may well discourage soldiers loyal to Qaddafi from trying to attack the rebels, and may encourage them to defect to the Benghazi government. So far the NATO strikes on Qaddafi convoys have been intermittent, and so many commanders may have thought that the risks are bearable. But if the strikes become more consistent they will likely take a psychological toll.
http://www.juancole.com/2011/04/un-allies-strike-convoy-near-brega-as-rebels-begin-oil-exports.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+juancole%2Fymbn+%28Informed+Comment%29

More civilian victims and thousands of Libyans taking flight, reports the Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli
Eight civilians, mostly women and children were killed by bombs released by the international forces,” Nishop Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli tells Fides.
http://www.fides.org/aree/news/newsdet.php?idnews=28713&lan=eng

Libya ‘ready’ to discuss reforms
Information minister says the people will decide their own future, calling Gaddafi a “safety valve” for unity in Libya.
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2011/04/201144235152904180.html

Libya TV shows Gaddafi among supporters
RABAT, April 4 (Reuters) – Libyan state television on Monday showed live footage of leader Muammar Gaddafi saluting supporters from a jeep that drove outside his fortified compound of Bab al-Aziziyah in Tripoli. A written newsflash read: “The brother leader among his supporters.”
http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/libya-tv-shows-gaddafi-among-supporters

Qaddafi and rebels look for friends: April 4 Mideast update
Muammar Qaddafi’s forces appear locked in a stalemate with the rebel troops, just east of Brega. Violent clashes within Yemen’s protests reached a milestone. And the Gulf’s economic bloc is in a tussle with Iran.
http://rss.csmonitor.com/%7Er/feeds/world/%7E3/Tl8lBbY4MzU/Qaddafi-and-rebels-look-for-friends-April-4-Mideast-update

Libya: Ready For Elections, But Gaddafi Must Stay
TRIPOLI, April 4 (Reuters) – Libya is ready to hold elections and reform its political system but only its own people can decide whether leader Muammar Gaddafi can stay at the helm, a government spokesman said on Monday. “We could have any political system, any changes: constitution, election, anything, but the leader has to lead this forward. This is our belief,” said Mussa Ibrahim, when asked about the content of negotiations with the West.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/04/libya-political-reform-muammar-gaddafi_n_844736.html

Libyan rebels reject Gaddafi ‘peace’ overture
Libyan rebels say they would not accept any solution that would leave Muammar Gaddafi or his sons in power in Tripoli.

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2011/04/20114555816181123.html

Malta tells Libyan envoy that Gaddafi must go
VALLETTA, April 4 (Reuters) – Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi told Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Abdelati Obeidi on Monday that Muammar Gaddafi and his family must relinquish power. Obeidi, an envoy from the Libyan, flew to Malta following talks with government officials in Greece and Turkey on ways to end the Libyan conflict.
http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/malta-tells-libyan-envoy-that-gaddafi-must-go

Gaddafi envoy Obeidi in talks with Malta PM Gonzi
VALLETTA, April 4 (Reuters) – Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Abdelati Obeidi was in talks in Malta on Monday with Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi on ways to end the Libyan conflict. Obeidi, an envoy of leader Muammar Gaddafi, flew to Malta folllowing talks with government officials in Greece and Turkey. Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, who had spoken to Greek officials, dismissed Obeidi’s message saying a divided Libya was not acceptable and Gaddafi must quit.
http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/gaddafi-envoy-obeidi-in-talks-with-malta-pm-gonzi

Italy rejects Qaddafi, recognizes Libyan rebel government
Italy today became the third nation to recognize Libya’s rebels as the legitimate government, dealing a blow to attempts by Muammar Qaddafi and his sons to negotiate a diplomatic settlement.
http://rss.csmonitor.com/%7Er/feeds/world/%7E3/-ssAO64PYEw/Italy-rejects-Qaddafi-recognizes-Libyan-rebel-government

Kuwait to recognize Libyan rebels with days-formin
ABU DHABI, April 4 (Reuters) – Kuwait will officially recognize Libyan rebel forces within days, its foreign minister said on Monday, making it the second Arab state after Qatar to formally acknowledge the group. “We have already recognized them in a practical sense and officially recognizing them will come in a few days,” Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad al-Salem al-Sabah told Reuters in the UAE capital. Last month, Qatar became the first Arab country to recognise Libya’s rebels as the people’s legitimate representative.
http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/kuwait-to-recognize-libyan-rebels-with-days-formin

“No breakthrough yet” for Libya truce – Turkey
ANKARA, April 5 (Reuters) – Turkish officials, seeking to broker a ceasefire in Libya’s civil war, said on Tuesday there was no breakthrough in sight with the two sides disagreeing over whether Muammar Gaddafi should stay or go. Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met an envoy from Gaddafi’s government on Monday to talk through broad conditions for a ceasefire and political solution to the conflict, while a delegation from the rebel side is expected to visit Ankara in the coming days for similar discussions.
http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/no-breakthrough-yet-for-libya-truce-turkey

U.S. Moving to a Support Role in Libya
The United States is removing its warplanes from front-line missions in Libya and is shifting the focus of its operation to a support role, a NATO official said.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/05/world/africa/05nato.html

Gaddafi planned civilian killings, Hague court says
BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) – The International Criminal Court has evidence Muammar Gaddafi’s government planned to put down protests by killing civilians before the uprising in Libya broke out, the ICC’s prosecutor said on Tuesday. The peaceful protests that erupted on February 15 descended into civil war as Gaddafi’s forces first fired on demonstrators, then violently put down the uprisings that followed in the west, leaving the east and the third city of Misrata in rebel hands.
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/04/05/gaddafi-planned-civilian-killings-hague-court-says/

British Foreign Minister William Hague on Libyan crisis
William Hague, the British foreign minister, has been delivering his weekly update to the British parliament. In it, he says that the British government is so far prepared only to supply the Libyan opposition with “non-lethal” equipment. He also said that Moussa Koussa, the former Libyan foreign minister, will not be considered immune from prosecution and has not been offered any sort of deal.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeeY_iflk1w&feature=youtube_gdata

Angry at shortages, Libyans speak louder of change
TRIPOLI, April 4 (Reuters) – In the maze-like lanes of Tripoli’s medieval market, some Libyans are openly predicting the imminent fall of Muammar Gaddafi. Their tempers appear to have reached breaking point in a city gripped by fuel shortages and long queues for basic goods as rebels based in eastern Libya battle Gaddafi’s forces. “People from the east will come here. Maybe in two weeks,” said one entrepreneur who asked that his name not be used for fear of reprisals. “But now people are afraid.”
http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/angry-at-shortages-libyans-speak-louder-of-change

US pulls out warplanes from Libya: Pentagon
WASHINGTON – The US military on Monday withdrew its fighter jets from the international air campaign in Libya, officials said, after NATO asked Washington to keep up bombing raids for another 48 hours. The United States had planned to halt combat missions and Tomahawk cruise missile launches at the weekend but accepted a NATO request to continue the operations for another 48 hours until Monday.
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/04/04/us-pulls-out-warplanes-from-libya-pentagon/

Libyan rebels struggle to explain rift
Khalifa Haftar, a former army colonel who recently returned to Libya after living for many years in Falls Church, was initially hailed by the Transitional National Council as a leader who could help discipline the new army and train its largely volunteer ranks.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/libyan-rebels-struggle-to-explain-rift/2011/04/02/AFEpJFRC_print.html

Iman al-Obeidi, Libya Woman Who Claimed Rape, May Be Free
TRIPOLI, Libya — A Libyan woman who burst into a Tripoli hotel to tell foreign journalists that she was gang raped by Moammar Gadhafi’s troops was quoted by news media Monday as saying she is not in custody. Iman al-Obeidi made headlines Saturday when she was dragged away from the hotel by government officials as she screamed her allegations of rape. A government official said she was a prostitute, but her family said she is a lawyer.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/04/iman-alobeidi-libya-woman_n_844727.html

At War: Libya’s Rebel Forces Need More Than Just Weapons
What could blunt government assaults by armored vehicles on rebel positions and anti-Qaddafi cities would be modern, precise anti-tank weapons — but rebels would need weeks of training to put them to use.
http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=95c856245fd6ad04a314d0f1016bb9ef

Lawmakers: UK misjudged Middle East arms sales (AP)
AP – Britain approved the export of shotguns and tear gas to Libya, machine guns and sniper rifles to Bahrain, and miltary technology to Yemen over the last three years, lawmakers disclosed Tuesday in a report criticizing the governments involved.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110404/ap_on_re_eu/eu_britain_libya_weapons

Libyan rebels urgently want to sell oil, gas-UN
UNITED NATIONS, April 4 (Reuters) – Libyan rebels fighting forces loyal to leader Muammar Gaddafi are worried about their financial resources and want to start exporting both oil and natural gas, the U.N. special envoy to Libya said on Monday. Abdelilah al-Khatib, the former foreign minister of Jordan and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s special envoy to Libya, spoke to the Security Council about his recent visits to Libya, where he met with the rebels’ Transitional National Council and members of Gaddafi’s government in Tripoli.
http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/libyan-rebels-urgently-want-to-sell-oil-gas-un

ICC prosecutor wants access to Libya’s Koussa
THE HAGUE, April 5 (Reuters) – The International Criminal Court prosecutor said on Tuesday he wants to speak with former Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa for his investigation into crimes against civilians in the North African state. ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo is investigating Muammar Gaddafi, his sons and key aides such as former foreign minister Koussa, who defected to London last month saying he made the decision because of attacks by Gaddafi forces on civilians.
http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/icc-prosecutor-wants-access-to-libyas-koussa

Musa Kusa gets his money back
The U.S. Treasury Department announced on Monday that it was lifting sanctions against Musa Kusa, the former Libyan foreign minister who defected from Libyan leader Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi’s regime and fled to London last week. Kusa was sanctioned as part ofExecutive Order 13566, which included the freezing of all assets belonging to senior Libyan government officials. Since Kusa is no longer a senior Libyan government official, his name will be immediately taken off the Treasury’s Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List and his funds in international banks will now be unfrozen, the Treasury Department said on Monday.
http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/04/04/musa_kusa_gets_his_money_back

Former Libyan Ambassador: We want America to stay involved
The Libyan rebels’ representative in Washington, Ali Aujali, called on the United States to stay at the fore of the international effort to oust Libyan leader Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi and to give the opposition leadership weapons and access to billions in frozen Libyan assets.”The United States is the major player in this crisis. We want the administration and we want your support to keep the role of the United States alive. We want American to be involved,” Aujali said at the Center for American Progress on Monday. Aujali previously served as Qaddafi’s ambassador to Washington before joining the opposition in February. “For the United States to continue to be a major player in this crisis, this is very important.”
http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/04/04/former_libyan_ambassador_we_want_america_to_stay_involved

Libyan Rebels Aspire to Democracy
The USG Open Source Center translates an article about a rebel news conference in which they lay out their vision of Libya’ future
http://www.juancole.com/2011/04/libyan-rebels-aspire-to-democracy.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+juancole%2Fymbn+%28Informed+Comment%29

Libya’s rebels driven by old grievances, new dreams
Young rebels say the fight represents the chance for more democratic government, better odds of getting a good job and marrying.
http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/libyas-rebels-driven-by-old-grievances-new-dreams

“…Those who oppose the Western intervention remain a minority …”
Muammar al-Qaddafi himself labels the intervention a “colonial crusader” war .. Yet there is little evidence that his message is resonating. Arab media and blogs, and wider public sentiment seen in the ongoing demonstrations remain decidedly against him. While we have not had scientific public opinion polls to capture feelings on the street, I have conducted preliminary research with my team using popular websites to try to offer some measure of the public reasoning on Libya. Not surprisingly, there has been ambivalence about intervention, as Arabs are caught between the sense that someone has to intervene to stop Qaddafi on the one hand and mistrust of Western powers on the other. Ideally, they would have loved to see the Libyan story evolve the way of Tunisia and Egypt, but they sense that was not to be. As a consequence, those who oppose the Western intervention remain a minority. (For a flavor of reader comments on two popular websites, Aljazeera.net and Alarabiya.net, please see the translation below [3] of 25 consecutive comments on each site. Overall only 28% of Al-Jazeera comments, and 36% of Alarabiya’s opposed military intervention.)
http://nationalinterest.org/print/commentary/the-striking-arab-openness-intervention-5109%3Fpage%3Dshow

Inside Story: Libya’s peace pleas not enough
After more than a month of fighting, Muammar Gaddafi the Libyan Leader has once again renewed diplomatic efforts seeking an end to the crisis. On Sunday, Abdel Ati Obeidi, Libya’s deputy foreign minister landed in Athens, carrying a message to the Prime Minister from Gaddafi. Gaddafi’s message: to seek an end to the fighting. This was followed by a trip to Turkey and then to Malta. The Greek foreign minister said his country wants to reinforce the demands of the UN resolution. Also Franco Frattini, Italy’s Foreign Minister dismissed Al Obeidi’s message from Gaddafi as “not credible”, reiterating that Gaddafi had to leave power. At the same time, Italy recognised the Libyan Opposition National Council as the only legitimate authority in the country. But Libyan opposition are still refusing any kind of settlement saying they will accept a UN-demanded ceasefire only if Gaddafi pulls his forces from all Libyan cities. Inside Story, with presenter Dareen Abughaida, discusses with guests: Ashur Shamis, a Libyan journalist and writer; Dimitris Papadimitriou, a reader in European Politics at the University of Manchester and Claire Spencer, head of Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House. This episode of Inside Story aired from Monday, April 4, 2011.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTJSTvW6MQ8&feature=youtube_gdata

Yemen
Human Rights Watch:  Yemen: Stop Shooting Protesters
(New York) – President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen should immediately order security forces to cease using unlawful lethal force against protesters, Human Rights Watch said today.
http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2011/04/04/yemen-stop-shooting-protesters

More Yemeni protesters killed in fresh wave of bloodshed
Yemeni police open fire as tens of thousands mass in Taiz while demonstrators in Hudaydah are met with tear gas and bullets. President Ali Abdullah Saleh shows no sign of going quietly amid U.S. and European efforts to broker his exit. The long and incendiary reign of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh shows no sign of ending quietly as fresh bloodshed threatens the nation amid efforts by U.S. and European officials to ease weeks of protest and dangerous political maneuvering that could ignite a civil war.
http://feeds.latimes.com/%7Er/latimes/middleeast/%7E3/0arb_9PrkaM/la-fg-yemen-violence-20110405,0,1901671.story

Fresh clashes in restive Yemeni city
A day after at least 15 people were killed, security forces have again fired on anti-government protesters in Taiz.
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/04/20114593648199344.html

Yemen accepts GCC call for talks as turmoil rages
Yemen on Tuesday accepted an invitation by Gulf Arab states to hold talks on its weeks-old political crisis in Saudi Arabia as a drive to oust President Ali Abdullah Saleh from his three-decade rule gathered pace and as two protesters were shot dead in protests in the western city of Hudaydah.
http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/04/05/144257.html

YEMEN: Children killed, traumatized by upsurge in violence
TAIZ, 5 April 2011 (IRIN) – Mohammed Munif’s three daughters were stunned by the sight of their teacher bleeding from the head after being hit by a stone during a protest, and further traumatized when their 12-year-old brother Ahmad was hit by a stray bullet in Yemen’s highland city of Taiz on 3 April.
http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/yemen-children-killed-traumatized-by-upsurge-in-violence

Bahrain
Bahrain deports 2 reporters of opposition paper (AP)
AP – Bahraini authorities on Tuesday deported two journalists working for the opposition’s main newspaper, their colleagues said. The government accused Al Wasat newspaper of unethical coverage of the Shiite uprising against the Sunni rulers.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110405/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_bahrain_reporters_deported

Bahrain minister talks to opposition on Twitter
In an unprecedented step that seems to herald the end of political negotiations behind closed doors, Bahraini Justice Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ali al-Khalifa engaged in a dialogue with one of the opposition leaders on the social networking website Twitter.
http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/04/05/144259.html

Other Mideast
Bahrain deports 2 reporters of opposition paper (AP)
AP – Bahraini authorities on Tuesday deported two journalists working for the opposition’s main newspaper, their colleagues said. The government accused Al Wasat newspaper of unethical coverage of the Shiite uprising against the Sunni rulers.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110405/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_bahrain_reporters_deported

Bahrain minister talks to opposition on Twitter
In an unprecedented step that seems to herald the end of political negotiations behind closed doors, Bahraini Justice Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ali al-Khalifa engaged in a dialogue with one of the opposition leaders on the social networking website Twitter.
http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/04/05/144259.html

Algeria doctors, militias, students push on with demos
ALGIERS: Auxiliary police, specialist doctors and university students pushed on with strikes and demonstrations in Algeria Monday to press demands including improved pay and conditions. Several members of the security militia spent the night at Martyrs Square in the capital of Algiers and said they would not leave until President Abdelaziz Bouteflika had answered.
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=2&article_id=126786

Assad appoints new governor for Daraa
In a bid to appease protesters, the Syrian president continues to make new government appointments.
http://english.aljazeera.net//news/middleeast/2011/04/201144134848651549.html

Syria braces for ‘martyrs week’
Syria was on Tuesday braced for the start of “Martyrs Week”, a series of rallies organized by a Facebook group in honor of those killed in security clampdowns on pro-reform demonstrations.”
http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/04/05/144282.html

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A. Loewenstein Online Newsletter

NOVANEWS 

Posted by: Sammi IbrahemChair of West Midland PSC


Another day and another non-story in Murdoch press over Palestine

Posted: 05 Apr 2011

 

This is what pathetic obsession looks like. Murdoch’s Australian has run days and days of furious coverage of the “extremism” of the Greens over its boycott of Israel policy. I may have missed it but the sky hasn’t caved in yet. Perhaps Rupert will organise that shortly.

Today sees yet another piece which doesn’t really say much about anything. When a paper refuses to publish any alternative views on the subject of the Middle East, they don’t look confident; it’s a sign of intellectual weakness that another perspective can’t be handled or heard:

The battle for the soul of the Greens in NSW has intensified, with some elements angry at new rules that will give hard-left senator-elect Lee Rhiannon the right to participate in state parliamentary partyroom meetings.

Conservationists in the party yesterday described the new rules as a continuation of the “Stalinist” control over party affairs exercised by Ms Rhiannon during her 11 years in the state upper house, which ended when she quit to contest a NSW Senate spot last year. Ms Rhiannon declined comment.

Although the Greens do not have official party status in NSW, the partyroom rules have been developed in response to the party’s enlarged numbers following the NSW election last month.

The party will have as many as five upper house MPs and has secured its first lower house representation, with former local mayor Jamie Parker ousting former NSW education minister Verity Firth from her inner-western Sydney seat of Balmain.

Ms Rhiannon, who is seen as a potential leadership rival to Bob Brown, has clashed with Senator Brown even before she takes up her Senate seat in July. Senator Brown last week criticised Ms Rhiannon for her support of a boycott of Israel, which he claimed had cost the Greens a second lower house seat in NSW.

He said the state party’s Israel policy was a mistake.

Fiona Byrne, the party’s candidate in the inner-western Sydney seat of Marrickville, supported an Israel boycott on the local council, but made contradictory claims on whether she would push for a statewide boycott.

During her time in state parliament, Ms Rhiannon clashed frequently with fellow Greens MP Ian Cohen, a noted campaigner on conservation and nuclear issues.

Ben Oquist, a former aide to Mr Cohen, is now Senator Brown’s chief of staff and was repeatedly blocked by Ms Rhiannon from preselection for a state upper house position.

Mr Parker has also been engulfed by the Israel issue, attracting widespread criticism for an online interview in which he accused “progressive Jews” of providing cover for Israel’s “extreme actions”. Mr Parker, who has declined to be interviewed by The Australian since the election, told another newspaper yesterday he supported the policy of the NSW division to boycott Israel.

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies has written to Mr Parker seeking clarification of his remarks reported by online publication New Matilda, which he has since denied making.

Board president Yair Miller said in a statement to The Australian: “We have written to Jamie Parker about his reported comments and the Jewish community’s concern with them and perception of them.”

As mayor of Leichhardt, Mr Parker was instrumental in starting a program that supports the peaceful reunification of Palestine and Israel on the West Bank.

Australian journalist Imre Salusinszky then writes something that asks the “Left” to not obsess so much about Israel because clearly he cares deeply about human rights (well, not the Palestinians mind you, they can be just ignored or mocked):

Opposition groups in Libya and Middle Eastern countries should abandon their protests and return to their homes and workplaces.

These deluded protesters appear to believe their problems stem from the corrupt despots who run their countries.

This is not correct. Their problems stem from a sliver of land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, 470km long and 135km wide at its widest point.

This tiny nation, Israel, is the root cause of all the problems in the region.

How do we know this?

Because we have been taught it for the past 25 years, by Left intellectuals in the West.

This is why it has been so baffling to discover, over recent months, that the populations of those neighbouring countries do not appear to be paying attention.

Why don’t they attend to the message of Marrickville Council, in inner western Sydney, which has imposed a boycott on Israel while leaving relations with Cuba, Zimbabwe and other dictatorships intact?

Bradley Manning is suffering so stand up for him

Posted: 05 Apr 2011

 

At least a few are but where are the major political and media elites? Silence:

British diplomats will express with officials in Washington for a second time MPs’ concerns about the treatment of a US soldier charged with leaking thousands of sensitive cables to WikiLeaks, the government has confirmed.

Foreign Office minister Henry Bellingham said staff at the British embassy in Washington would discuss Bradley Manning‘s detention with the US state department.

Bellingham made the promise after Labour MP Ann Clwyd raised the matter in parliament on Monday night.

Clwyd said Manning, who is charged with downloading 250,000 sensitive cables and passing them to WikiLeaks, had been stripped at night and held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day.

His treatment at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia made it more difficult for the US and Britain to campaign against human rights abuses in other countries, she said.

Clwyd, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on human rights, said that the UK’s credibility was at risk in “places where human rights are not nearly so well observed.”

She called on the government to offer practical support to the British relatives of Manning.

“I do not want us to get drawn into a discussion of the rights and wrongs of the WikiLeaks revelations. I would like us now to concentrate on the current conditions of detention for Bradley Manning,” Clwyd said at the adjournment debate speech.

“Manning’s case is important because of the message it sends out to the rest of the world about what kind of treatment theUnited States thinks is acceptable for people in detention. And, for us, it is important what we say – or what we don’t say.

“That matters in places where human rights are not nearly so well observed. People will pay attention in China and in Russia – and in Libya, where we want to be on the side of those fighting for freedom from state repression.

Slamming US occupation of Afghanistan is too biased for Murdoch

Posted: 05 Apr 2011

 

Here’s a non-story to fill the pages of the Murdoch Australian.

I appeared on ABC TV News24′s The Drum last week and discussed a variety of issues, mostly foreign affairs. On most nights the show has a range of guests, usually from the soft left to the soft right, and a number of more strident commentators somewhere else on the spectrum. I’d like some more punchy guests myself more often but there you go.

So this piece in yesterday’s Media section of the Australian is a typical non-story framed as my thoughts (and others on the panel) as evidence that the show (and ABC in general) is utterly unbalanced and skews to the left. Please. It was one night with certain guests, no more or no less. And note how there’s apparently something wrong with me talking about the brutality and immortality of the US mission in Afghanistan.

Using Gerard Henderson as a reliable critic on such matters is akin to asking George W. Bush how much he knows about torture in Abu Ghraib (ie. bugger all through willful ignorance):

The age-old problem — how to achieve balance on the ABC’s current affairs panel shows — is again in the spotlight, after a particularly egregious episode of The Drum last Thursday that featured three panellists and a host, all in furious agreement with one another on a range of policy matters.

The executive director of The Sydney Institute, Gerard Henderson, addressed the matter in his Media Watch Dog column on Friday.

He has also raised questions about the make-up of tonight’s Q&A on the ABC, saying the balance is firmly stacked to “the fashionable, soft-Left opinion”.

The Drum last Thursday was hosted by Tim Palmer, with guests Fran Kelly, Antony Loewenstein and Chas Licciardello from The Chaser.

In a discussion about the US army “kill team” soldier Corporal Jeremy Morlock, who murdered civilians and has been sentenced to 24 years jail for the crime, Loewenstein said he had decided “this sort of stuff is common”.

“It’s part of how . . . the only way you can get through a day (is) to see the enemy as towelheads . . . these images sadly are far more common than we like to believe,” he said of reports that rogue psychopaths had murdered a teenage boy and cut off his finger as a trophy.

Loewenstein said there were “massive, huge suicide rates” among US soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The discussion of Tony Abbott’s welfare proposals was also all one-way.

Henderson addressed the issue in a segment of his Media Watch Dog column that analyses ABC chairman Maurice Newman’s suggestion that there is

a “group-think” ethos in the public broadcaster.

Henderson told Media yesterday that “you would never have an occasion where there were three people with a conservative outlook on The Drum. It would never, ever happen.

“They simply do not understand that there are people with a plausible, defensible, reasonable opinion that is an alternative to the soft Left opinion they all have.” Henderson said he had never been on The Drum, and had only once been invited on Q&A.

Miranda Devine, who writes for The Daily Telegraph, owned by News Limited, publisher of The Australian, has twice been invited but the audience brayed whenever she spoke.

“As a rule, the ABC presents fashionable, Left-wing opinion, which would be fine, as long as there was some balance,” Henderson said.


American Jews starting to speak out against Israel; more, please

Posted: 04 Apr 2011

 

This has been coming for a while and it’s growing.

A fascinating feature in Haaretz that details the growing schisms in the American Jewish community. More and more Jews simply cannot support a Zionist state that oppresses the Palestinians.

Jewish writer Eric Alterman shows indirectly how the only major groups backing Israel in the near future will be Christian fundamentalists, Orthodox Jews, racist Jews who hate Muslims and the right wing who love Israel for oppressing Arabs. Liberal Jewry is turning away:

In the past, you could say to liberal friends who criticized Israel ‘What would you do if you were in their place?. After all, no country would agree to undertake security risks [like] those that are required from Israel. But in recent years it’s more and more difficult to say it. It’s much more complicated to justify the raid on the Turkish flotilla, or the way Israel handled Gaza, or the attacks on human rights organizations. It looks like we we’re reaching a point where liberal American Jews will be forced to choose between their values and their emotional attachment to Israel. And many, alas, are going to stick with their values. There’s a sense of failure of an idea with regards to Israel. This is something very painful for me to say.”

Israelis who back BDS should not be prosecuted by the state

Posted: 04 Apr 2011

 

Resistance:

Below is a short video of Israeli celebrities and several activists, among whom I was honored to appear. The video is in Hebrew and for an Israeli audience, but there are English subtitles. The video essentially is self-explanatory, but to give you a synopsis we are coming out strongly against the bill currently in advanced stages in the Israeli parliament (Knesset) that will make it illegal to support and advance boycotts, divestment campaigns and/or a call for sanctions (and perhaps other non-violent political expression) against Israel for its unlawful acts against Palestinians. We are all coming out for democracy, freedom of thought and expression, and stating that this law won’t stop us from resisting the occupation.

 

Creating a faux firestorm when anybody speaks up for Palestinians

Posted: 04 Apr 2011

 

This was a story in Monday’s Murdoch Australian:

Incoming Greens MP James Parker yesterday stayed silent.

He refused to answer claims he had made inflammatory comments about Jewish people when discussing the NSW Greens’s proposed boycott of Israeli goods.

Mr Parker, who on Saturday claimed victory in the seat of Balmain in Sydney’s inner west, was quoted by online magazine New Matilda that the boycott, divestment and sanctions [BDS] policy supported by some Greens had made many Jewish people unreasonable, while even “progressive Jews” had failed to have a moderate response. “These Jews provide cover for extreme actions if they occur,” Mr Parker said.

“If there’s a sniff of you being critical of Israel, such Jews will attack you and cut you loose.”

Mr Parker said the BDS policy had provoked aggression among Jewish people and that during the election campaign he received hate mail, his car was vandalised and campaign signs were spray-painted with swastikas.

“One letter said I wanted to turn Balmain power station into a gas chamber and the light rail would take people there,” Mr Parker is claimed to have told New Matilda.

“Lefty Jews told me you can’t be surprised if extreme people do extreme things, but they wouldn’t come out in public and condemn it.”

The national secretary of the Australian Workers Union, Paul Howes, writing in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph, claimed Mr Parker denied making the statements to journalist Antony Loewenstein.

Loewenstein did not respond to The Australian’s request for comment yesterday.

The Australian has made repeated attempts to contact Mr Parker since Friday, but he has not returned calls, nor did either of the Greens’ key spokeswomen in NSW, Allison Orme and Susie Gemmell, persuade him to do so.

And a story in today’s Australian:

A second NSW Greens politician has been accused of dissembling over the party’s policy towards Israel. Influential union and ALP figure Paul Howes said newly elected state MP Jamie Parker may have misled him over inflammatory remarks about sections of the Jewish community.

Mr Parker, who narrowly won the Sydney seat of Balmain from Labor’s Verity Firth, yesterday did not deny claims he made sweeping remarks about Jews in an interview with online publication NewMatilda last week.

But Mr Howes, the national secretary of the Australian Workers Union, yesterday reaffirmed to The Australian that Mr Parker had denied making the comments when the union leader confronted him about the original NewMatilda article.

Mr Howes had aimed to blast Mr Parker in an opinion piece published in the Sunday Telegraph over language he deemed “abhorrent”.

In the NewMatilda article, journalist Antony Loewenstein had quoted Mr Parker as saying the boycott, divestment and sanctions policy (BDS) against Israel supported by NSW Greens had made many Jewish people unreasonable, and even “progressive Jews” had failed to have a moderate response. “These Jews provide cover for extreme actions if they occur,” Mr Parker was reported saying in NewMatilda.

“If there’s a sniff of you being critical of Israel, such Jews will attack you and cut you loose.”

When Mr Howes called to check with Mr Parker about whether the quotes were accurate before publishing his column, Mr Parker told him they were not and he had been misquoted.

“He told me he never said it,” Mr Howes wrote in his Sunday Telegraph column.

When informed yesterday that Mr Parker had subsequently not denied making the statement, Mr Howes told The Australian: “Look, Jamie could be lying to me. I don’t know; I hope not”.

Yesterday, Loewenstein published an article in NewMatilda saying he stood by the accuracy of the quotes of Mr Parker.

“I stand by my original story 110 per cent,” he told The Australian.

Loewenstein added in his retort in NewMatilda that he had taken accurate notes of the interview and checked the quotes with the Greens MP before publishing.

“In the case of Parker, I read back his quotes to confirm what he said,” Loewenstein wrote.

“He was happy for me to publish them.”

Mr Parker refused repeated requests from The Australian to discuss the matter, but Greens spokeswoman Susie Gemmell forwarded a statement he had provided to NewMatilda.

In the statement, Mr Parker does not specifically deny the accuracy of the quotes as attributed to him by Loewenstein.

But he says: “Certain quotes are attributed to me which do not reflect the language that I have always used in relation to the conflict in the Middle East.”

It’s important to understand what’s happening here. This isn’t really about who said what and when. The agenda is clear; find a way to divide the Greens before they assume the balance of power in Canberra in July and try and intimidate anybody who dares speak up for Palestine.

BDS will continue. It’s growing globally and that’s the intent in Australia; crush it before it can strengthen here. But the worldwide trajectory is clear while Israel continues to grossly abuse human rights in Israel and Palestine.

Greens leader should back BDS because oppressed Palestinians ask for it

Posted: 04 Apr 2011

 

The last week has seen a barrage of Murdoch attention on the NSW Greens and its embrace of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. It’s a principled and mature position to take, backed by countless groups globally.

Last night on ABC TV Lateline saw Greens leader Bob Brown discuss the issue and sadly he seemed a) unclear what’s actually happening on the ground in Palestine, b) afraid to take on the Zionist lobby or c) doesn’t believe there’s increasingly mainstream support for BDS in Australia. He can do much better and should lead on this important human rights question rather than simply following a predictable (and misguided) convention:

ALI MOORE: Well, I want to look at the issue of a carbon tax and a carbon price in a minute, but first of all if we can look at the Greens, and of course your performance in the NSW state election in the past two weeks. You picked up a seat in the Lower House for the first time, but many expected you to do better and the fact that you didn’t was put down to the support of the Greens in New South Wales for a series of military trade and services boycotts against Israel. You’ve said you don’t agree with the New South Wales Greens, “… who handled so badly that part of the campaign against my advice.” What were you telling the Greens in New South Wales? What didn’t they listen to?

BOB BROWN: Well if you’re talking about that advice, my advice is that you leave national matters to the national arena, and that includes foreign policy. But also if you see an attack coming down the line and a real effort to pursue this issue, as we saw with The Australian newspaper, then you deal with it early. Fiona Byrne in Marrickville is a lovely person and she didn’t deserve what happened and I think the Greens strategists …

ALI MOORE: But do you support the policy? Do you support the policy that New South Wales Greens have for a boycott?

BOB BROWN: No, I don’t and I’ve said this before publicly, Ali, that it was rejected by the Australian Greens Council last year. And I’ve been talking with Jamie Parker, the new Lower House member for the Greens, who’s made this fantastic breakthrough. He’s the Mayor of Leichhardt. He’s going into the Parliament as a Greens voice in the Lower House.

ALI MOORE: And he supports the policy.

BOB BROWN: He said – he told me today there is no way that he will be bringing this policy into the New South Wales Parliament, that he expects me to be looking after foreign policy and that he’s got very important issues other than that that he’ll be taking into the New South Wales Parliament. He won’t be taking this issue into the New South Wales Parliament.

ALI MOORE: Well, given your view, in the Senate just a couple of days before the New South Wales state election, Senator Fifield moved to condemn the boycott of Israel instigated by Marrickville Council. And of course your candidate Fiona Byrne was the mayor of Marrickville Council. You didn’t support that motion. You wanted the opposition of the Greens recorded. Why?

BOB BROWN: Because the motion was not in the interests of the people of Israel or of Palestine. It was a very politically-loaded motion, and I note that Eric Abetz now says, of all people, that he’s going to bring a motion about this into the next parliament. Look, you know, that’s the way the far right in politics works here. But, I would say …

ALI MOORE: But will you be comfortable putting your opposition to this policy on the record?

BOB BROWN: I’ve just done so and so has our national council. But let me tell you, Ali, that the Greens do have a policy on an independent and self-governing state for both Israel and for Palestine living next to each other, for support for the UN motions that have gone through on this, for a non-violent trajectory towards the independent state of Palestine in the future. And neither of the other parties have a policy. You go looking for it, you won’t find one, but the Greens have had – been through the rigour of developing this policy and we stand by it.

ALI MOORE: And this policy that the New South Wales Greens stand by, do you have the power as the federal party to intervene in a state branch if there’s a policy that you don’t agree with, and indeed, what will happen with Lee Rhiannon? The New South Wales senator takes up her position in July. Will she have to recount state policy – or recant state policy in order to take up her position in the Senate and serve under me?

BOB BROWN: No, neither of those things. We’re not in the business of censuring every member of the Greens or branch or state party, but it is pretty obvious, isn’t it, that the national party looks after foreign affairs. I’m the spokesperson for the national Greens on foreign affairs. I know where my party room stand on that. They’re not going to promote this policy. It has been rejected by the Australian Greens and that’s where we stand. And so, if New South Wales Greens wish to maintain the policy, they’ve got nowhere to go with it. And, you know, so be it. What they do …

ALI MOORE: Is it difficult though to, I suppose, have a united party when you have very decisive issues actually dividing the party on state and federal lines in this instance?

BOB BROWN: Like every party, and I can tell you who prevails here: the Australian Greens do. I have discussed this with my party room. There’s no way that this policy is going to be promoted by us in the Parliament, but we stand strongly by the policy I’ve just outlined. And …

ALI MOORE: But what happens if Lee Rhiannon stands up in the Senate and speaks to that policy and supports it?

BOB BROWN: Well, should she be prevented from doing as she wishes? I’m not in the business of suppressing people, but I think you’ll find that Lee will make up her own mind about that, but she – the party room has made a decision that that policy’s not going – and the Australian Greens party rejected the policy so…

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Ahmadinejad: U.S. seeking to divide Jordan to form Palestinian state

NOVANEWS

 

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem

Chair of West Midland PSC

 

Speaking in a Tehran press conference, Iranian President says Western plot would not be able to ‘save IsraHell from extinction.’

The United States is leading an effort to annex a part of Jordan to the West Bank, thus enlarging the future Palestinians state, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a press conference on Monday, adding that the alleged move was meant to protect Israel’s security.

Speaking in a Tehran press conference on Monday, Ahmadinejad claimed the latest conflicts in the Arab world would eventually lead to the collapse of Israel, saying: “The latest conflicts will leave no chance for the Zionist regime [IsraHell] to survive as all the involved countries are against the occupation of Palestine.”


Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - Reuters - 4.4.2011 Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad looks on while attending a news conference in Tehran April 4, 2011.
Photo by: Reuters

 

He added that the Arab states should be careful not to rely on the United States and its allies, “as their ultimate aim is to save” IsraHell.

Later Monday, Ahmadinejad was quoted by the Iranian Mehr news agency as saying that a Western plot was in motion to divide Jordan, geared at saving “the Zionist regime from annihilation and tell the world that an independent state of Palestine has been formed”

However, the Iranian president added, these “attempts will not save IsraHell from extinction.”

Ahmadinejad also referred to the Western military intervention in Libya, quoted by IRNA as saying that “NATO and the United States made a big stupidity by invading Libya because by doing so they have carried insecurity to their own borders.”

“But how can they be sure that insecurity would not penetrate into the regions inside their territories?,” the Iranian president asked, adding that the people of the Middle East “will not spread the red carpet under their feet just because on pretext of toppling the Libyan government they have got engaged in a military invasion in that country and have even entered a region whose people have a long record of heavy combat against the colonialists.”

 

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