Archive | April 15th, 2011

Arrigoni Kidnapping In Gaza.

 

In a bizarre twist, an ISM activist has been kidnapped in Gaza, AFP reports:

A Salafist group of radical Islamists kidnapped an Italian activist in Gaza on Thursday and threatened to kill him, the group and aid workers said.

Foreign aid workers in the enclave named the man as Vittorio Arrigoni and said he was an activist with a pro-Palestinian group called the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), who was also working as a journalist and writer.

In a video posted on YouTube, the Salafist group said it had taken him hostage in order to secure the release of an unspecified number of their members who had been arrested by the security forces in Gaza Strip.

It said it would execute him if their demands were not met by 5:00 pm (1400 GMT) on Friday.

“We kidnapped the Italian prisoner Vittorio and we call on the Haniya government … to release all our prisoners,” it said, referring to Hamas premier Ismail Haniya and naming an imprisoned jihadi leader called Sheikh Hisham al-Suedani.

“If you don’t respond quickly to our demands, within 30 hours from 11:00 am (0800 GMT) on April 14, we will execute this prisoner,” it said.

The interior ministry in Gaza said it was checking the reports of the kidnapping.

The West Bank-based Palestinian leadership called for the “immediate and unconditional release of this foreign activist who is working in support of the Palestinian cause and people.”

“This action does not help the just cause of the Palestinian people. On the contrary, it harms it,” a statement said.

The kidnappers identified themselves in the video as belonging to a previously unknown group called The Brigade of the Gallant Companion of the Prophet Mohammed bin Muslima.

The group described Arrigoni as a “journalist who came to our country for nothing but to corrupt people — from Italy, the state of infidelity, whose armies are still in the Muslim countries.” “

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Does America have a Muslim Problem?

NOVANEWS

 

by Franklin Lamb

Muslims, slightly more than 1% of Americans, are currently the target of nearly 15% of all hate crimes.


Whatever becomes of the truly pathetic “Pastor” Terry Jones and his plans to appear later this month at the largest Mosque in Michigan to condemn Islam and to generate some media attention while provoking all decent Americans and people of good will everywhere with his hate speech, will not be of much lasting import to Muslim and American relations.

Even as Jones prepares to act as grand inquisitor and plans to prosecute the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) for various imagined crimes, it reminds us that when it comes to intolerance, nothing is new under the sun in our land that beckons with its Statue of Liberty near Ellis Island in New York harbor:

“Give me your tired, your poor/ Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free/ The wretched refuse from your teeming shore/ Send these, the homeless tempest-tossed to me/ I lift my lamp before the Golden Door.”

Muslims and Arabs who began arriving in America in the middle of the 19th century have in many ways embodied the intended fulfillment of the American dream promised in the above words of Emma Lazarus. The reasons that Muslims are often described as being “As American as apple pie” includes exactly their qualities that every Westerner observes and often comments on if they are fortunate enough to live among Muslims abroad or have Muslims as neighbors in their communities in the USA.

These Muslim qualities, the product of Islamic culture and Koranic teachings, including the five pillars of Islam, result in strong law abiding families with respect for their elders, comprised of fun loving and hardworking individuals who sacrifice for their children, have respect for education, compassion for humanity and who perform acts of unsolicited charity for the less fortunate, and exhibit tolerance of the views of others.

Muslims make up slightly more than 1% of the 308 million Americans, but according to recent FBI statistics, since 9/11 and the seemingly eternal US government War on (of) Terror, Muslims in America are currently the target of nearly 15% of all hate crimes.

Robert Kennedy used to say during US Congressional hearings on hate crimes that approximately 20% of the American public is unfortunately quite capable and indeed ready for believing just about anything and acting violently toward their neighbors while being easily influenced toward racism, xenophobia, and hate of ” the other.”

It appears that not much has changed since the violence of the 1960′s in America when some of our best leaders were assassinated. Sociologists claim that the American penchant for irrationally fearing different cultures has been true since the founding of America and our history is replete with examples that belie the passages in our schoolbooks that claim that our country is a unique example of a grand melting pot. Rather, the current trend in America appears, according to a range of observers from left leaning Noam Chomsky to fairly hard right Pat Buchanan, to be an increasing fracturing along ethno-nationalist cleavages.

When Americans are incessantly exposed to US wars in the Middle East and the ranting of fellow Americans who support and seek political advantage from those wars, including the Christian Zionists and pro-Israel lobby, American society becomes vulnerable to hate speech and crimes.

While the US political establishment and American society at large has mounted a significant chorus condemning the views of Terry Jones, Daniel Pipes, Bridgette Gabriel and hundreds like them who seek political and cash profit from sowing domestic discord, much more must be done by every citizen to support real American values of tolerance and good neighborliness.

On Friday, March 4, 2011, the Zionist Middle East Forum launched another Israel backed anti-Muslim campaign to try to wedge the “Pastor Terry Jones” hate campaign against Islam and Muslims.

The current US Zionist lobby, with a reported budget of five million dollars includes the following ‘talking points’ with which the lobby intends to saturate the US public:

  • “The Koran burning by Florida pastor Terry Jones has created hysteria in the Muslim world. In Afghanistan alone, some twenty people, including U.N. workers, have

  • been killed and beheaded to screams of “Allahu Akbar!” Western leaders around the globe-including Obama and members of Congress-have unequivocally condemned Jones’ actions (without bothering to point out that freedom of expression is a prized American liberty)

  • Western leaders rush to profess their abhorrence at what one American did to one inanimate book, what about what Muslims are doing to living and breathing Christians around the Islamic world-to virtually no media coverage or Western condemnation.

  • We should also mention the jihadist attack on a Baghdad church, killing 52 Christians; the New Year’s eve Coptic church explosion, killing 21; Muslim rampages that destroyed several churches in Indonesia, Nigeria, and the Philippines; Iran’s “round up” of some 70 home-worshipping Christians; and Kuwait’s-a nation that owes its very existence to U.S. war sacrifices-rejection to build a church.

  • Such is the surreal and increasingly irrational world we live in, where irate Muslims and groveling Westerners obsess over the destruction of one book while ignoring the destruction of many human lives; where a guaranteed and hard-earned American right-freedom of expression-receives a lot of condemnatory huffing and puffing from those charged with protecting it, while murderous and barbarous-in a word, evil-behavior is devoutly ignored.

With carefully organized and well-funded hate campaigns as illustrated above, America does, in a sense have a “Muslim problem” but it can be remedied by every American working in her or his community exposing profoundly un-American effort to sew religious and cultural discord.

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PUTTING OUT FIRE WITH GASOLINE IN LIBYA

NOVANEWS

 


By Susan Lindauer,

former U.S. Intelligence Asset covering Libya and Iraq at the United Nations

 

War doesn’t work, does it? Best case scenario, NATO’s war against Libya will run 18 to 24 months unless decisive action is taken right now—this day—to end the military confrontation.

Moussa Koussa, Libya’s Foreign Minister who defected to Britain on March 30, warns Libya is in danger of becoming the “New Somalia.”

Violence is erupting from both sides. The ugly truth is that with every missile strike, NATO kills more and more Libyan people. There’s nothing humanitarian about why. NATO cares nothing for the Saudi invasion of Bahrain, which has resulted in wide-scale disappearances of democracy activists. NATO cares nothing for the uprisings in Yemen, peppered with government snipers. Only Libya has been singled out for violent retribution. Of course, this is an oil grab. Gadhaffi challenged U.S. (and probably British) oil companies to reimburse Libya for the economic damage caused by U.N. sanctions tied to the Lockerbie bombing, which Libya had nothing to do with. The U.N. Security Council forced Libya to submit to the Lockerbie Trial and pay $2.7 billion in damages to the families of Pan Am 103, only for the U.S. to bribe witnesses with $4 million payments to testify against Libya’s men at Trial.

The judicial corruption at The Hague underscored the absence of evidence against Abdelbassett Megrahi and Al-Amin Fhaima. Under the circumstances, it’s hard to blame Gadhaffi for wanting to take something back for his people. The United Nations was grossly in error to apply sanctions to Libya in the first place.

But other than holding power for 42 years against a tide of popular support for fresh voices, is Gadhaffi really so bad? The Libyan people receive a cash distribution of oil revenues every year, houses, education and free health care under Gadhaffi’s regime. They enjoy one of the lowest poverty rates in the world—an enviable 5 percent, an 82 percent literacy rate, and a life expectancy of 75 years, 10 percent above the world average. Yet suddenly NATO is determined to break Gadhaffi’s hold on power, as if they’ve recently uncovered some great evil.

The facts are that an alarming number of Libyan rebels are returning from conflicts in Iraq, Chechnya, the Balkans and Afghanistan. Warfare is what they know, and they’ve brought it home with them. They have articulated no vision for the future. Instead, they have demonstrated an insatiable hunger for violence. No bombing is ever enough. Like tyrants they shout for more NATO bombs. They are guaranteed to destroy Libya if NATO doesn’t pull the plug.

NATO has only itself to blame. By rushing to take sides, NATO has lost the ability to apply its influence to both parties, and press for a non-violent transition to power-sharing. By adopting the role of arms supplier to the rebels, NATO has ratcheted up the internal power struggle in Tripoli, which should have exhausted its objectives in a couple of weeks, if not for outside meddling.

THINK PEACE:

It doesn’t have to go this way.

Thankfully, the African Union has applied its influence in Tripoli to push for a ceasefire and immediate access to humanitarian assistance for Libya’s people. The Presidents of South Africa, Mali, the Congo and Mauritania achieved this victory in diplomatic sessions with Libyan leader Moammar Gadhaffi over the weekend, joined by the Chair of the African Union Commission and the Peace and Security Division.

The international community should demand that NATO accept the African Union platform immediately, whether Libya’s rebels approve or not. It’s NATO’s responsibility to deliver the message that for the sake of the world community, there must be a truce so that political talks can resume.

International oil corporations should likewise take an honest look at their bottom line, and acknowledge that a prolonged war in Libya is guaranteed to damage oil structures and distribution mechanisms upon which oil trading depends. Any protracted Oil War will hurt their profits, too. Most unforgivably, War in Libya will harm the global economy, driving up energy and freight transportation costs at a most difficult moment.

The African Union gets NATO out of this trap. It achieves the most pressing goals of the United Nations mandate in Libya—a ceasefire and humanitarian relief— upon which NATO has claimed authority for its air strikes. If Gadhaffi complies, there would be no further justification for NATO action.

Doctors Without Borders and the Red Crimson would be ideal to lead humanitarian efforts. Doctors Without Borders won a Nobel Peace Prize for its commitment to high quality medical care and triage in conflict zones, while staying clear of political entanglements. For its part, the Red Crimson is the Islamic version of the Red Cross, and would be ideally sensitized to Libya’s cultural lines.

It’s an excellent first stage. What remains to be seen is whether a second stage will be necessary to secure the peace—That would deploy a small Peace Keeping force, probably from Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt in North Africa—who share Libya’s Islamic  heritage and aversion to European Occupation. North African peace keepers would have the advantage of neutrality, which NATO has sacrificed by taking sides in the conflict.

As much as it would rankle Libya’s sense of sovereignty, given the rebels’ history of violence, there’s going to have to be some temporary peace-keeping force to divide these groups. The question is whether we do that today— or in 18 to 24 months when the world finally acknowledges the stupidity and waste of this unnecessary war. There’s going to have to be a solution at some point.

But NATO has to face up to some hard truth, too.

If elections in Libya are inevitable, then one more thing is also inevitable. It is strictly up to the Libyan people to choose their future leadership, including whether or not they want Gadhaffi or his sons to continue any role in the government. Genuine democracy demands that all comers have a right to throw their hat in the ring. Nobody has the right to stop them. The rebel forces have a very poor understanding of democracy indeed, if they expect to dictate which candidates participate in future elections.

For that matter, Britain, France and Italy are poor servants of democracy, if they are encouraging such misguided philosophies. That’s colonialist thinking, and there’s no place for it in a modern age.

If European powers are deeply persuaded of the Libyan rebels’ cause, then they should not be afraid to present a full slate of policy ideas and candidates before the Libyan people for their final decision. However European powers must accept that there are no guarantees Libya’s rebel forces would win a national election.

Quite the opposite is probably true. The longer the rebels fight, the more likely they are to antagonize the Libyan people who are going to cast those ballots. That’s one more excellent reason for NATO to exit this conflict as quickly as possible.

If this War goes on much longer, there’s strong probability NATO will win the battle—and lose the War. The world has only to look at Iraq to see what that would mean.

For the humanitarian welfare of the Libyan people and the goal of democracy itself, we must stop this War against Libya right now.

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China Calls it a Western Plot

NOVANEWS

 

Iran, Syria, and Belarus join China in condemning West for meddling.

Tony Cartalucci, Contributing Writer

Bangkok, Thailand April 13, 2011 – Destabilizing China and attempting to overthrow a government of 1.3 billion people most certainly is a grievous act of war. Add to that operations unfolding across Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and South America and you have a recipe for World War III.

While initially passed off as spontaneous, wholly organic uprisings, the smirking corporate-financier oligarchs are now conceding that indeed they have meticulously planned, trained, funded, and supported uprisings from Tunisia to Egypt, from Tehran and Belarus to Burma and Beijing. With Western forces storming Libya and the Ivory Coast from above, they are signaling their will to bring their global campaign from proxy forces on the ground to armed intervention, with Iraq and Afghanistan proving their will to invade and occupy as the truest expression of imperial ambition.

International Reaction

While Clinton and Obama talk about the “one voice” the world speaks with, in reality they are referring to the US, UK, EU and their coalition of the coerced. When the UNSC r.1973 regarding using force against Libya was brought to vote, Russia, China, India, Brazil and even Germany abstained. And while the US did indeed vote “yes” they did so without consulting the nation’s legislative branch, circumventing their own national constitution to illegally ramrod the intervention through.

China, after being targeted by similar “revolutionary” activities as seen in the Middle East and Northern Africa has now accused the United States of “using the issue of human rights reports to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs.” It should be noted that these “reports” come from entirely disingenuous corporate-funded organizations. It should also be noted that indeed the US has now admitted to funding activist groups and equipping them with technology to organize and carry out subversive activities within their respective countries.

The Washington Post in March 2011 reported that the US State Department, US Department of Defense, and Broadcasting Board of Governors, upon which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sits as a director, are funding tech firms providing dissidents with means to undermine their governments in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, and even China. More recently an AFP report in April 2011 reported that the US State Department has also been providing training to thousands of dissents at locations around the world before sending them back to undermine the respective governments. Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Iran, and China are all listed as nations targeted by the US State Department’s activities.

So it comes as a surprise to see US foreign policy think-tanks like the “Neo-Conservative” PNAC redux Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) propose that China is “paranoid” for calling these openly admitted US funded destabilizations a “vast Western conspiracy.” FPI has also concluded that not only is China’s response to openly foreign-funded sedition unreasonable, but such a response demands further action to be taken by the United States. Such brazen hubris can only be expected from a group consisting of global elitists who have neither paid the cost of their agenda financially nor shouldered a rifle to defend it.

Many of the “activists” at the center of the US State Department’s concerted attack on China are being granted “pro-bono” legal aid form the globalist “Freedom Now” organization, funded and lined by Council on Foreign Relations members and corporate funded foundations.

From a March 2011 Land Destroyer report “Target China:”

The corporate-financier run Western media has been recently beating their chests over the imprisonment of Nobel Laureate and “human rights activist” Liu Xiaobo, a proponent of ending China’s strong central government and politically active military in favor of a weak, Western-style system run by corruptible, feckless, incompetent leadership that invites multinational corporations to entropically infest state institutions and seize control of the nation’s people and resources. Liu Xiaobo’s support goes beyond the media’s scornful chastisement of China’s government on his behalf, and includes “pro-bono” legal aid from the Council on Foreign Relations lined “Freedom Now” organization. Readers may remember “Freedom Now” from their extensive involvement in supporting the Syrian opposition leading the recent unrest against the Assad government.

Freedom Now is also providing legal services for Gao Zhisheng, a human rights lawyer also imprisoned in China. Gao had written an open letter to the US Congress detailing human rights violations in China, and his family currently resides in the United States. Council on Foreign Relations minion Jerome Cohen, Canadian MP Irwin Cotler, and former Canadian MP David Kilgour are personally leading the campaigns for both Liu Ziaobo and Gao Zhisheng. All three, are also involved in meddling around the globe in similarly hypocritical gambits revolving around “human rights activists” who just so happen to be fighting governments the West would like to see changed.

While it may seem noble to champion for human rights, it is a matter of fact that men like Cohen, Cotler, and Kilgour, and the entire Freedom Now organization along with the CFR that populates its membership and the foundations that fund it, are amongst the greatest enemies of human rights and human freedom on earth. The Council on Foreign Relations has tirelessly repeated its goal of establishing a one world government, with members working ceaselessly to achieve it and their publications over the decades perpetually reflecting this ambition. This is a world government that is of, by, and for the corporate-financier oligarchy’s interests, and their interests alone.

China’s Response

China has now openly charged the West with interfering in their internal affairs. In a recent Reuters report, “China crackdown driven by fears of a broad conspiracy,” it stated that “Chinese leaders believe domestic foes, their foreign backers and Western governments are scheming to undermine and ultimately topple the Communist Party. Recent speeches and articles from security officials echo with warnings of subversive plots backed by Western “anti-China” forces.”

Indeed, considering the evidence both openly admitted and being carried out through less visible channels like the Freedom Now organization, this is more than a paranoid conspiracy theory, it is a stated fact that indicates China is not only aware of what is happening inside their own country, but also who is really behind it.

The Reuters report continues by stating, “But what outsiders may see as a loose, disparate group of dissidents, bloggers, lawyers, and grassroots agitators, China’s security police treat as a subversive, Western-backed coalition with the potential to erupt into outright opposition.” The reality is that these groups are only seen as being a loose, disparate opposition because the Western media is portraying them as such, even in light of recent admissions from the State Department on the contrary.

China, according to the Reuters report, “view that “color revolutions” that swept Central Asia several years ago were Western-promoted rehearsals for a similar subversive assault on China.” All evidence clearly says that these were Western created, funded, and supported organizations operating in Serbia in 2000 as the Otpor movement, which later became CANVAS, training protesters from the Ukraine, Belarus, and Georgia, and more recently from Tunisia and Egypt. The scale on which organizations like CANVAS meddle across the globe is admitted in Foreign Policy’s “Revolution U” article where CANVAS claims to have worked with groups from over 50 other countries.

China then is not simply paranoid but grappling with a very real, concerted effort to destabilize its 1.3 billion population and collapse its government. Joining China in its condemnation of the West’s meddling is Iran which has recently stated that the unrest in Syria is also a Western plot. The evidence is overwhelming, with Syrian opposition amongst the many receiving aid to destabilize and topple their governments from the US, and opposition parties on the ground with leadership operating out of the US and London.

Iran itself was the subject of a 156 page Brookings Institute Report titled “Which Path to Persia?” detailing the use of covert military operations, foreign-backed color revolutions, sanctions, and outright military invasion to topple the Iranian government and institute regime change. Much of what was detailed in the report has already begun to unfold not only in Iran but in Libya as well.

Belarus

Belarus, also the target of US funded CANVAS trained mobs, foreign funded opposition, sanctions, and Congressional resolutions declaring the Belarusian government “illegitimate,” has also made statements that the unrest in their nation was the result of a Western plot. Quite clearly it is, and with the recent bombing of Minsk’s subway resulting in the death of 12, Belarus’ government has reiterated the fact that it is a target of Western destabilization with President Alexander Lukashenko specifically saying the bombing may have been “a gift from abroad.”

Joe Lieberman betrays his mandate given by the American people and the US Constitution
to explain his resolution of incorporating Belarus into the “Euro-Atlantic world.” The US has
spent years trying to absorb the former Soviet territories into the “Washington Consensus.”

Implications

The charade is over, and the reality of global confrontation between the West and the world it presumes dominion over is beginning. What was once eluded to only within the halls of think-tanks and obscure commentary is now headline news. For the people of the world, it would be beneficial to recognize it is not servile, feckless politicians like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, or Joe Liberman that are responsible for this confrontation. It is the multinational corporate-financier oligarchs that transcend borders and to a certain degree already dominate this planet.

Identifying them is the first step to stopping them. Full-spectrum boycotts and campaigns to eliminate and replace their presence within our local communities is what we can start doing today. Politicians afar can be compromised and coerced and cannot be looked to in order to solve our problems, we must look within ourselves and to our communities. We can either do this now, or face the consequences of being bled financially and quite literally as this confrontation intensifies.

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yalla Grant Smith you need to reconfigure that analysis

NOVANEWS

 

So the incorrigible and tenaciously ignorant Grant Smith/Idrees Ahmad duo have posted a new video on their website: “US-Israel Trade: Espionage, Theft and Secrets.” Look out! The lobby is stealing our military technology and hard-earned taxpayer dollars, spending it within a foreign state! Nationalists unite! I also saw this video reproduced on the feed of a leftist friend of mine. A couple comments. Nations and economies are socially constructed categories. As is capital. The question is, who do they serve, and what do they explain? Does a conceptualization of “Israel” stealing “American” taxpayer dollars help us forge a coalition to break Zionism, the Special Relationship, empire, and capitalism?

If that were the case, we would be posed with a moral quandary. However, it does not help us forge such a coalition and therefore poses nothing of the sort. Instead, the “$10 billion/year foreign aid program” that Smith is talking about functions exactly as foreign aid programs are supposed to function: American taxpayers pay their taxes. Said taxes go to “aid” which is then re-routed directly back to companies owned by the American ruling class. Americans are duped. American executives are not. The US-Israel trade agreement? I’ll quote myself:

Smith is not unaware of the transnational nature of the ownership structures of nominally Israeli corporations — he provides some evidence of the beginnings of the acquisition of the Israeli high-technology sector by capital from the American high-technology sector. But he should have kept digging. We also know other things: that the bulk of growth in Israeli-American “trade” since 1996 has been in the high-technology sector, and that American capital is aggressively invested in “Israeli” high-technology firms. Academics Jonathan Nitzan and Shimshon Bichler calculate that the correlation coefficient between the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) and the NASDAQ was .7 in the five-year span from 1996 to 2001 — meaning 70 percent of variations in the TASE are “explained” by variations in the NASDAQ — as “trade” deficits begin to mount.

From 2002 to 2007, a nearly synchronous 92 percent of variations in the TASE were explained by movements in the NASDAQ, as amidst a flurry of mergers and acquisitions, “Israeli” firms became decreasingly Israeli except by physical place of production. Furthermore, Israeli state subsidies to high-technology firms, as well as state-sponsored investments in human capital and infrastructure, are astronomically high. Israel is a very nice place for many American companies to invest. Smith misses an opportunity to discuss and explain the implications of this tightly-wrought economic relationship, not least of which is that the trade deficit is mostly a statistical artifact.

Smith starts from the assumption that nationalism explains something here. It does not, except insofar as Jewish nationalism in Israel allows for a perpetual warfare state with high levels of public support for R&D and educational infrastructure, paid out of funds squeezed out of Israeli taxpayers fearing the Arab menace hovering menacingly at their door. Thus scared, they create the infrastructure that ensures that American-based capital (the Lobby) can get super-profits and manufacture goods that it then exports back to the US. The “trade” deficit, in this as in other cases — China, for example — is mostly a statistical artifact, with the possible exception of Israeli-manufactured pharmaceuticals, a case that deserves deeper attention. As always, the class war is on.

They own almost everything and do not care much which country the goodies are manufactured in. As it happens, I met a Pakistani fellow after the Karl Rove talk tonight who told me that he didn’t consider himself Pakistani. He considered himself American, aspiring to the upper-class, which simply does not care so much about ethnic background except insofar as it helps it pull the wool over the eyes of the rubes and create ideological hegemony for their policies of militaristic class-war. Why do these vocal but marginal elements insist on playing this fool’s game of trying to trick capitalism into jingoistic nationalism, meanwhile urging us to make a deal with the devil? Last time we tried autarky, it did not work out so well. Tragically, the Palestinians were the last victims. Do you want to play this game again?

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Anti-Defamation League and SF Jewish Community Relations Council Embarrass Selves: Try to police thought at UC Hastings Law School

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The growing campaign to criminalize pro-justice Israeli-Palestinian campus

activism and even thought has come to UC Hastings.

The Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and the San

Francisco Jewish Community Relations Council are probably

crowing over their successful effort to get UC Hastings Law school to distance

itself from a March 24 conference devoted to the legal rights of Palestinians called

Litigating Palestine: Can Courts Secure Palestinian Rights?

(Read an excellent piece on the events by Lisa Hajjar over at Jadaliyya.)

But the truth is that their efforts to stop–in the name of Jews– a conference promoting

legal and human rights for an oppressed people is a profound embarrassment to any of us

who consider ourselves part of any Jewish community.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, in an email to supporters, JCRC head Doug

Kahn called the conference, which featured an:

impressive range of human rights lawyers and professors from leading law schools,

“anti-Israel”. (The conference was organized by the brilliant and highly regarded legal

scholar George Bisharat whose primary crime seems to be that he is Palestinian.) Kahn

said the JCRC and the ADL, plus the American Jewish Committee met privately with UC

Hasting leaders days before the Hastings’ Board of Directors decided at a

closed-door, emergency meeting to “take all steps necessary to remove the UC Hastings

name and brand” from the conference. This included canceling a planned welcoming talk

by dean and chancellor Frank Wu.

But the pressure didn’t just come from these groups.

Another campaigner against the conference was the prolific anti-free speech crusader,

UC Santa Cruz Hebrew lecturer Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, who

infamously led a successful effort to cancel a UC Santa Cruz speaking engagement by

Israeli and Palestinian peace activists who wanted to talk about the negative impact of

militarism on Israeli society. She said that allowing such a talk to happen on campus

created the same intimidating environment for Jewish students that a noose created for

African American students. (The peace activists were not amused. )

Benjamin, building on

longtime and successful efforts of the Zionist Organization of America to get the US

Department of Education to reinterpret the Civil Rights Act so that it could be used

to stop pro-justice Israeli-Palestinian activism, recently filed a nearly 30 page complaint

about anti-Semitism at UC Santa Cruz dwelling almost entirely on programming related

to Israel and Palestine. The Office of Civil rights opened an investigation based on her

complaint, and in asharply worded letter to UC Hastings’ Wu , which she ccd to every

Jewish pro-occupation group she could think of, she threatened the same including the

possible withdrawal of federal funds.

The pressure campaign also succeeded in getting the Cummings Foundation to withdraw

funding for the conference, though the ADL continued to bitterly complain that attendees

could still earn higher education legal credits and that the UC Hastings logo hadn’t been

removed from materials fast enough.

Meanwhile, advocates for legal rights for Palestinians are likely writing private thank you

notes to Kahn and company for politicizing an entirely new group of students, administr-

ators and academics who were profoundly ticked off by such a clumsy McCarthyite attempt

to use far-right talking points to smear lawyers and police thought in an academic setting.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the UC Hastings’ board decision to yield to the

external pressure campaign produced few good feelings:

The directors’ action dismayed Hastings’ faculty. Nearly all of its tenured professors

signed a letter to the board last week saying that academic freedom includes providing

forums for controversial topics, and that the attempt to disavow the conference

“undermines our commitment to maintaining both the college’s fiscal viability and its

high standards.”

Way to go Rossmore-Benjamin, ADL, AJC and JCRC! Next time you all shout anti-Semitism!

in a crowded room, I’m sure we can REALLY count on these folks (not) to come running for

help.

Presumably, while the ADL, AJC and JCRC insist on perpetuating the myth that such

embarrassing moves represent the will of the Jewish community, they would have absolutely

no trouble with a conference on the legal rights of the Israeli government to build settlements

on Palestinian land. Because that is exactly what they stand for when they take these actions.

The only word for the growing anti-human rights campaigns driven by old-school Jewish

organizations is Shandah, shame.

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Dorothy Online Newsletter

NOVANEWS

Posted By: Sammi Ibrahem
Chair of West Midland PSC

 

Dear Friends,

Items 1 and 3 give  you an excellent idea of the direction that Israel is headed for—ethnic cleansing on the one side, and brain washing our children on the other side.

And on top of all of this, 1000 Christians (perhaps more by now) want to convert to Judaism and settle in the West Bank (item 2).

In item 4, Uri Avnery advises Israel to recognize Hamas in Gaza.  Agreed. I do find one problem, though, in Uri’s advice. He argues “We must cut ourselves off from Gaza once and for all, and this means allowing Gaza to open itself in all the other directions – opening the Gaza port, airport and border with Egypt.”  I surely agree that Israel should end the blockade, give Gaza access to the sea, skies, and even an exit to Egypt (on the proviso, I presume, that Egypt will agree).  But Israel cutting itself off from Gaza?  Gaza, after all, is part and parcel of historic Palestine.  Cutting Gaza off from the little of historic Palestine that is left, is like cutting off a limb.  True, Israel sits between Gaza and the West Bank and Jerusalem. But in our modern times, surely a way can be found under ground, above ground, or other for allowing Palestinians to move freely from one part of their country to the other and back.  In the long run, the best for all of us is a single country where everyone will be free, and all citizens equal.

Item 5 is a rejoinder to racist and otherwise right-wing responses to Juliano Mer-Khamis murder.

And the link in item 6 is to a report that US AWOL soldier Andre Shepherd has been denied political asylum in Germany.

Dorothy

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

1.  [Forwarded by Sam B]

Even Tony Blair can’t save Palestinian bookseller to the stars

http://www.redress.cc/palestine/jcook20110414

By Jonathan Cook in Jerusalem

14 April 2011

Jonathan Cook reports on the case of the famous Jerusalem-based Palestinian bookseller, Munther Fahmi, who has been told by the Israeli authorities to leave the city and country of his birth as part of its policy of ethnic cleansing.

Munther Fahmi is known as the “bookseller of Jerusalem”. Among his customers are to be found Tony Blair, Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter and Hollywood actress Uma Thurman.

In a city riven by political and social tensions, Mr Fahmi’s bookshop has provided an oasis of dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis, with well-known writers and scholars from both sides of the divide regularly invited to give readings and talk about their work.

But despite his high-profile connections, Mr Fahmi’s days in the city of his birth look to be numbered.

“Israeli officials have told him that, after 16 years running his bookshop in the grounds of East Jerusalem’s landmark 19th-century hotel the American Colony, he is no longer welcome in either Israel or Jerusalem.”

Two months ago he exhausted his legal options when Israel’s high court refused to overturn the deportation order. His only hope now rests with a governmental committee to which he has appealed on humanitarian grounds.

Mr Fahmi, 57, is far from optimistic. “My lawyer tells me applications from Palestinians are almost never accepted.”

The holder of an American passport for many years, Mr Fahmi said he was staying on a tourist visa that expired on 3 April. “If the committee rejects my case, I will be sent packing on a plane at very short notice.”

Mr Fahmi is one of thousands of Palestinians who over the past four decades have fallen foul of an Israeli policy stripping them of their right to live in Jerusalem, said Dalia Kerstein, director of Hamoked, an Israeli human rights group.

Although Israel annexed East Jerusalem in 1967, in violation of international law, most of its Palestinian population received only Israeli residency permits, not citizenship.

According to Israeli figures, more than 13,000 Palestinians – from a current population of 260,000 in East Jerusalem – have had their residency revoked since then.

Ms Kerstein said the number of revocations had risen sharply in recent years, with more than 4,500 Palestinians losing residency in 2008 alone, the last year for which complete figures are available.

Israeli law stipulates that Palestinians in Jerusalem can be stripped of residency if they spent at least seven years abroad – defined as including the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza – or acquired a foreign passport.

Since a test case in 1988, the Israeli courts have backed revocations in cases where the authorities claim Palestinians have transferred their “centre of life” elsewhere.

“There is clearly a policy to push Palestinians out of Jerusalem and Israel to reduce what is called here the ‘Palestinian demographic threat’,” said Ms Kerstein. “It’s really a case of ethnic cleansing.”

Last week Hamoked and another human rights group, the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (Acri), petitoned Israel’s Supreme Court to overturn the policy, arguing that it contravenes international law.

Oded Feller, a lawyer for Acri, said Palestinians in East Jerusalem were effectively “prisoners”, punished by Israel if they took part in a more globalized world.

“There is clearly a policy to push Palestinians out of Jerusalem and Israel to reduce what is called here the ‘Palestinian demographic threat’.”

Dalia Kerstein, director of Israeli human rights group Hamoked

“The problem for people like Munther is that the Israeli government and the courts treat them as though they are immigrants, ignoring the fact as the city’s native residents they have an inalienable right to live here,” Ms Kerstein said.

Like most other Palestinians in East Jerusalem, Mr Fahmi’s family declined Israeli citizenship in 1967. “We are Palestinians and Israel is occupying us. Why would we take citizenship and give a stamp of legitimacy to our occupation?”

But that decision left him and other Palestinians in Jerusalem in a precarious position.

Mr Fahmi’s residency was revoked – without his knowledge – during a long period spent in the United States, starting in 1975 when he left to study. He gained his American passport after marrying there and raising a family.

He decided to settle back in Jerusalem in 1995, after the signing of the Oslo accords. “I had seen Yasser Arafat [the Palestinian leader] and Yitzhak Rabin [Israel’s prime minister] shake hands in front of the White House. Naively, I thought it heralded a new era of reconciliation.”

For the last 16 years, he has been forced to exit and enter the country every few months on a tourist visa.

But Mr Fahmi learnt the full significance of his loss of residency 18 months ago, when Interior Ministry officials told him that, according to a new policy, he would no longer be automatically issued tourist visas.

Now, he has been told, he can spend only three months a year in Israel, including Jerusalem. In his appeal to the humanitarian committee, he has said he needs to be in Jerusalem to care for his 76-year-old mother.

“Is there any other country where the native population is treated like this in its homeland?” he said.

The policy to withhold tourist visas to Palestinians with foreign passports has been only patchily implemented, said Ms Kerstein, following objections from US and European embassies.

Mr Fahmi appeared a surprising choice for enforcement, given his influential supporters. A petition has attracted more than 2,000 signatures, including those of the British novelist Ian McEwan, who won this year’s Jerusalem Prize for literature, the historian Eric Hobsbawn, and Simon Sebag Montefiore, whose book Jerusalem: The Biography has been a bestseller.

Mr Fahmi hopes backing from many Israelis and diaspora Jews, including Israel’s two most famous novelists, Amos Oz and David Grossman, may forestall his expulsion.

“I hope the authorities will take note that many of my supporters are people who describe themselves as friends of Israel,” he said.

Mr Grossman told Reuters news agency last week that the Israeli government’s actions were “a scandal”.

Rashid Khalidi, a professor of Middle East history at Columbia University in New York, who has also signed the petition, said Mr Fahmi’s case highlighted Israel’s determination to maintain a clear Jewish majority in Jerusalem.

A formula devised by an Israeli government committee in 1973 fixed the percentage ratio of Israeli Jews to Palestinians in the city at 73 to 27. Despite an aggressive policy of settling Jews in East Jerusalem, higher birth rates among Palestinians have seen their proportion swell to just over a third of the city’s total population.

“There isn’t a family I know in East Jerusalem that doesn’t have someone affected by this revocation policy,” said Professor Khalidi. “It’s systematic.”

Last year Israel appeared to be expanding the policy when it revoked the residency of four Hamas members of the Palestinian legislative council who live in East Jerusalem.

Earlier this year it also banned from Jerusalem Adnan Gheith, a prominent Palestinian political activist who has opposed a Jewish settlement drive in his Silwan neighbourhood of East Jerusalem. He was told to keep out of the city for four months.

Reports in the Israeli media suggest that Israel’s security services have drawn up a list of several hundred activists in Jerusalem who they want issued with expulsion orders.

In an indication of the fear among Palestinians in East Jerusalem that their residency rights are under threat, Israeli officials have noted a marked increase in Palestinians applying for Israeli citizenship over the past five years.

Figures this year from the Israeli interior ministry revealed that about 13,000 Jerusalem Palestinians, or 5 per cent of the population, are now Israeli citizens.

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net.

A version of this article originally appeared in The National (www.thenational.ae ), published in Abu Dhabi.

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

2.  Ynet,

April 14, 2011


Surprising Initiative

Homes in Samaria – the new American dream? Photo: Zvika Tishler

The new Christian settlers

A thousand US Christians want to join IDF, set up communities beyond Green Line

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4056696,00.html

Yair Altman

Will US Christians settle in Samaria? About 1,000 Americans have signed a document requesting to convert to Judaism, move to Israel, and settle in Samaria.

The group members are seeking to serve in the IDF and later establish communities based on the Kibbutz movement model.

The document was presented to Yisrael Beiteinu Knesset Member Lia Shemtov, who met with the group’s representative last week and promised to offer her help in facilitating the initiative.

Destination: Samaria (Photo: AP)

The Christian group’s representative, Baruch Abramovich, said he was hopeful that MK Shemtov would be able to elicit the government’s support for the initiative.

Ironically, the venture received a boost through the help of priests at some 70 different churches in the US, who last summer urged their followers to boycott Abramovich and his new community. The broad media coverage attracted many new participants to the initiative.

The Christian group seeks to purchase land in Samaria, and Abramovich says that in Missouri alone a community of some 400 people is already keeping the Shabbat.

“They manage collective kibbutz life and aspire to create such community in Samaria, or in any area that would like to absorb people who truly love Israel and the Jewish religion,” he said.

MK Shemtov expressed her support for the idea, noting that “bringing hundreds of educated, established people to Israel will help in developing Samaria and reinforcing it as an inseparable part of the State of Israel. We are dealing with people who wish to undergo Orthodox conversion, contribute to the economy, and even to serve in the IDF.”

Officials at the Samaria Regional council confirmed that they were approached about the initiative, but noted that according to the Law of Return, only Jews can move to Israel and receive citizenship.

“If families from this group undergo proper conversion and move to Israel in line with the Law of Return, we’ll of course be happy to welcome them in Samaria,” one official said.

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

3.  Haaretz,

April 14, 2011


Israel’s plan for next year’s school curriculum: Reinforcing Jewish and Zionist values

Education Ministry’s plan for the coming school year does not include civics, democratic values or Jewish-Arab coexistence

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/israel-s-plan-for-next-year-s-school-curriculum-reinforcing-jewish-and-zionist-values-1.355853

By Or Kashti

The Education Ministry’s plan for the coming school year does not include civics, democratic values or Jewish-Arab coexistence, according to copies circulated among principals.

It states schools’ two main objectives are to reinforce Jewish and Zionist values, and to improve scholastic achievements, and instructs principals how to fulfill these goals.

“This is education for Zionism and Judaism without education for democracy and peace, and it promotes ultra-nationalism,” said University of Haifa Prof. Gavriel Solomon, an Israel Prize winner in the field of education.

Although the booklet was sent to school principals about two weeks ago, the Education Ministry said the plan was “preliminary, and the process of combining all the system’s programs is not yet complete. The final edition and the schedule for implementation will be published after the Passover holiday.”

The authors of the plan say it provides tools needed “to build a work plan, while also putting all of us on the same page,” and set 11 goals. The first is to “deepen education for values,” which includes a new middle-school program called “the culture and heritage of Israel,” as well as classes and field trips aimed at encouraging army service.

Other goals include limiting student violence, improving academic performance, maximizing study time at school, improving the status of teachers and principals, increasing the number of pupils in technological-vocational programs, and promoting a new school computerization plan.

Some school principals expressed consternation over the fact that the plan does not mention educating for democracy or Arab-Jewish coexistence.

“The plan expresses the Education Ministry’s agenda, and principals understand that they don’t need to invest any effort in spheres not covered by the plan,” stated the principal of one Tel Aviv high school. Polls of Israeli youth from the past few years show an increase in racism and anti-democratic attitudes, the principal said. With this in mind, “one might have expected the Education Ministry to set a clear policy of teaching civics and democracy. These subjects’ absence from the work plan is very conspicuous, and it’s hard to imagine that it is a coincidence.”

A survey released two weeks ago found that 60% of Jewish youths aged 15-18 believe “strong” leaders are more important than the rule of law, and 70% believe that when the state’s security needs and democratic values conflict, security should win out. In addition, 46% said Arabs should not be allowed to serve in the Knesset, and 50% said they opposed having Arabs live in their neighborhood. The main trend is that Jewish nationalist values were growing stronger, and respect for democratic-liberal values were weakening, concluded the survey-makers.

“If priorities are to be set in education today, they should involve democracy education, and education for cooperation between Jewish and Arabs,” said Solomon.

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

4.  Haaretz,

April 14, 2011


Israel must recognize Hamas’ government in Gaza

Who started the deadly tit for tat? To the Israelis it is clear − it started with the abominable fire on the school bus. To the Palestinians it is clear − it started with killing a senior Hamas official. And before that it was … and before that it was … and before that it was…

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/israel-must-recognize-hamas-government-in-gaza-1.355882

By Uri Avnery

In his old age a man returns to second childishness, Shakespeare said. Something similar is happening to the State of Israel.

The new round of hostilities along the Gaza Strip was terrible. A missile was fired at a school bus, critically injuring a teenage boy. At least 15 Palestinians were killed in the retaliation, including civilians, women and children. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis had to hunker down in bomb shelters in constant fear. And all as a result of a childish policy.

Who started? To the Israelis it is clear – it started with the abominable fire on the school bus. We had to retaliate to that. To the Palestinians it is clear – it started with killing a senior Hamas official. We had to retaliate to that. And before that it was … and before that it was … and before that it was…

And how will it end? Today there seems no end to it. Each side insists on not letting the other side fire the last shot.

The first childish decision was ours – Israel must on no account recognize the Hamas government because Hamas is a terror organization, which does not recognize the Jewish democratic state. Because Hamas is this and that.

This is complete – and fatal – nonsense. Hamas really is this and that, but it is the only government in Gaza. We tried to bring it down and as a result it grew stronger. Moreover, secret WikiLeaks documents recently published reveal that a senior Israeli defense official told an American diplomat Israel is interested in maintaining Hamas’ rule in Gaza in the short term, because any alternative reign would be worse.

If so, what is this bloody game for? Why continue bluffing the Israeli public when the solution is simple? Israel must recognize Hamas’ government in Gaza de facto, as an existing reality. Israel must negotiate with the existing government over practical matters that require an arrangement.

There is no point in achieving another fuzzy tahadia (calm ), with the help of another shadowy third party, with no details and no official agreement. We need an official cease fire, fixed in a written document, setting procedures to sort out complaints. We need an agreed, manifest, reliable third party to supervise this process.

Israel’s entire approach to the Gaza Strip is anachronistic. The blockade, intended to persuade the population to topple the Hamas government, failed and has turned into a stumbling-block. We must cut ourselves off from Gaza once and for all, and this means allowing Gaza to open itself in all the other directions – opening the Gaza port, airport and border with Egypt.

Israel has proved it can prevent bringing in weapons in other more effective ways. This also pertains to the next flotilla barreling our way. Let it sail in peace wheresoever it may.

This is common sense. Former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy also hinted as much. Anything else is stupid, childish, one-upmanship games – he started, let him stop first, and the like. To put it simply – fatal stupidity.

Benjamin Netanyahu was also gripped by second childishness when he began his campaign to avert the oncoming “diplomatic tsunami” – world recognition of a Palestinian state on lands captured by Israel in 1967, with East Jerusalem as the capital.

Netanyahu, who believes one word is worth a thousand acts, is planning to turn a few more villages over to Palestinian rule, convene another Madrid-style international conference and persuade one more state to vote against recognition of the state in the UN.

How many times can we repeat these childish tricks, especially when the world’s answer is expected to be a simple cry: “Israelis, we’re fed up with you!”

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

5.   “Daniel Breslau has written an important article on the right-wing Israeli press’ reaction to the murder of Juliano Mer-Khamis.” [Mark]

titled “A leftist has been murdered: attack the left”

posted on http://www.kibush.co.il/show_file.asp?num=46076

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

Item 6

US AWOL soldier Andre Shepherd denied political asylum in Germany

http://www.wri-irg.org/node/12769

Posted in Nova NewsletterComments Off on Dorothy Online Newsletter

Vik Arrigoni kidnapped.…

NOVANEWS

 

 

 

If their demands are not met within 30 hours they will execute him. If you have some way to be helpful please e-mail me at maxsajl at gmail dot com.

 

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Libya – Media Propaganda and “Humanitarian Imperialism”

NOVANEWS

By Julie Lévesque

Global Research

Since the beginning of the crisis in Libya, the media has taken sides in favor of  the rebels. The media relies almost solely on the rebellion’s claims, while totally dismissing information emanating from the Gaddafi government.

 

Ascertaining the truth of statements is not to be condemned; quite the contrary, this verification should be systematic, and applied to the claims of Western governments and rebels of all sorts. Yet, the Western media shows virtually no scepticism with regard to the Libyan rebels’ assertions and those of the “benevolent” governments who come to their rescue.

 

The Rixos Hotel Scene

 

The most striking example of this bias is the Hotel Rixos scene in Tripoli. On March 26, an unknown woman named Eman al-Obeidy went to this hotel, to bring to the attention of foreign journalists that soldiers of the Libyan regime were involved in acts of rape and torture.

 

Was she saying the truth? Perhaps. However, in the initial reports, this question wasn’t raised by the journalists. Most of them saw in this incident the evidence of the Libyan regime’s cruelty. In the examples below, the wording gives an aura of credibility to Eman al-Obeidy’s testimony, while showing mistrust towards the Libyan authorities:

 

However, the journalists only had one concern: what will happen to the young woman? Sidestepping the questions on this “case”, he claimed he didn’t have enough elements on the “incident”, assuring that the woman would be “treated according to the law.” (Une jeune femme violée tente de témoigner devant les journalistes à Tripoli (A young raped woman tries to testify in front of journalists in Tripoli) AFP/Le Monde (France), March 26, 2011. Emphasis added).
On Monday a woman burst into the Tripoli hotel where the foreign journalists are staying. Before being roughly expelled, she was able to tell bits and pieces of her terrible story… In the hotel, the terrible testimony triggers a scramble. A hotel employee threatens her with a knife and yells out: “Traitor!” The regime’s henchmen soon intervene to try to silence her. Eman is hauled out roughly while Gaddafi’s men claim the young woman is “mentally ill”. (Adrien Gaboulaud, Libye: Eman al-Obeidi, celle qui brise le silence, (Lybia: Eman al-Obeidy, The one who breaks the silence), Paris Match (France), March 29, 2011. Emphasis added.)

 

On Sunday March 27, the government claims the woman has been released. Although the media report having difficulties investigating the case, they also consider that the testimony is credible. “CNN could not independently verify Eman al-Obeidy’s testimony, but her wounds seemed consistent with what she was saying”, the U.S. television explained on its website. The New York Times goes further: “Her experience corresponds to the longstanding human rights abuses in Libya under the Gaddafi Government”. (Jerome Delay, Libye – Confusion autour d’un viol collectif, (Libya – Confusion around a collective rape) Le Monde (France), March 28 2011. Emphasis added.)

 

Even Al-Jazeera chose its side. In this video, the journalist doesn’t show any sign of fairness:

 

Eman al-Obeidi’s harrowing tale of rape and abuse at the hands of Gaddafi’s militias shocked the journalists present. But the reaction of Libyan security and hotel staff added another layer of distress. One waitress pulled a table knife on her and called her a traitor.

As officials tried to silence Eman al-Obeidi then led her away, she called out: “They say they are taking me to a hospital, but they’re really taking me to jail.” Then the government’s spin began. The government spokesman… said she was drunk, mentally ill, and that she was not a lawyer as she had said, but a prostitute. And the final misrepresentation, that she was home, safe, with her family. In fact she was in the hands of Colonel Gaddafi’s forces once again. But by now, her family were fighting for her (Anita McNaught, Anger over detention of Libyan woman, Al Jazeera English, March 28, 2011. Emphasis added.)

 

Despite the hordes of photographers and cameramen, there didnot seem to be any available images of the knife, which was in one report pulled by a man, in another by a woman, nor of the presumed victim’s bloody wounds mentioned by several media.

 

It is otherwise mentioned that she is being expelled “roughly”, but, as we can clearly see in the video, she is neither handcuffed, nor hooded, nor dragged in any way. The peaceful demonstrators at the G20 meetings are usually treated more brutally in the so-called “democratic” countries, as was the case in Toronto, Canada, during the most recent meeting.

 

The journalist goes on:

 

In an interview with Al-Jazeera Arabic, her parents showed a picture of their daughter graduating with her law degree. (Ibid. Emphasis added.)

 

Yet, what we are shown is her mother holding a regular picture of her without a degree.

 

The next revelation from the Washington Post should have raised a doubt in the media with regard to Eman al-Obeidy’s testimony:

 

According to the Washington Post, “Hasan Modeer, a rebel activist who was with Obaidi’s mother in Tobruk, said a government official had called Ahmed at 3 a.m. Sunday asking her to persuade her daughter to change her story”. (Tara Bahrampour and Liz Sly, Libyan government offered money to appease Iman al-Obaidi, woman in rape-claim case, mother says, Washington Post, March 27, 2011. Emphasis added.)

 

If this woman has ties to the rebels, this story could possibly be a fabricated event, a psychological operation designed to galvanize global public opinion in favour of the NATO intervention and to demonize the Libyan regime, in the manner of Nayirah al-Sabah during the Gulf War. This Kuwaiti gave a touching testimony before the U.S. Congressional Human Rights Caucus on the atrocities apparently committed by the Iraqi regime. It later turned out that this young lady was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the U.S. and that her testimony was pure fiction.

 

Why does the media commit itself to the rebellion in Libya? Is it deliberate or not? The most disturbing aspect of this favouritism is that they keep telling us about the rebels, but never who those Libyan rebels are!

 

Armed Rebellions and “Humanitarian Interventions”

 

So, who are these rebels? Who arms them? Who finances them? What interests do they have? Do they have ties to foreign countries? In short, no one seems to have the slightest idea of the nature of this armed rebellion, and yet, the Western press endorses it unreservedly in the way as it supported the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

 

If we look back, the following questions can be asked: are we dealing with the same type of rebels as those who were armed and financed by the CIA in Haiti and contributed in 2004 to overthrowing Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the president elected with a majority of approximately 70%, and who had socialist and anti-imperialist views? (See Michel Chossudovsky, The Destabilization of Haiti: February 29, 2004, Global Research, February 28, 2009)

 

Or maybe they are similar to the Nicaraguan Contras, those “freedom fighters” supported by the Reagan administration in the 80s? These were also armed and financed by the CIA, and tried to halt the Sandinista revolution, which was also socialist and anti-imperialist. (See Philip Agee, How United States Intervention Against Venezuela Works, Global Research, September 15, 2005)
These examples don’t seem to be part of history for the media, whose historical knowledge is questionable. The only comparison we are given is the one with Kosovo. Yet again, history repeats itself: the Kosovo Liberation Army was armed and financed by the CIA among others. (See Michel Chossudovsky, The Destabilization of Bolivia and the “Kosovo Option”, Global Research, October 7, 2008).

Since the truth struggles to make its way into the self-righteous minds of the Western press, the U.S.-NATO intervention in Yugoslavia is a model of “humanitarian war” which should be followed to avoid “massacres”. And yet, whoever has a basic knowledge of the break-up of Yugoslavia knows the ultimate goal of this U.S.-NATO intervention was to divide and conquer, eliminate a functional socialist economy which is now split into small entities crippled with debts, to the great delight of the major financial institutions of this world. The Serbs were accused of committing atrocities while the violence they were subjected to was and remains largely ignored. (See Srebrenica Historical Project)

 

There was the “butcher of Bagdad”, the “butcher of Belgrade” and now it’s the “butcher of Tripoli”. Always the same tactic. Always the same saviours. And people always fall for it.

 

The official narrative of this kind of intervention has inherited the name of “humanitarian war” or “humanitarian intervention”, which some describe quite rightly as “humanitarian imperialism”. Don’t forget: states have no friends, only interests.

 

Those who intervene abroad don’t do it to save people, but their economic interests, and the media is wary of explaining the power struggle between Western states in Gaddafi’s land, which holds the greatest African oil wealth. (See Michel Chossudovsky, “Operation Libya” and the Battle for Oil: Redrawing the Map of Africa, Global Research, March 9, 2011)

 

In 2001, following the NATO intervention in Yugoslavia, the Orwellian concept of “responsibility to protect” (R2P) was developed under the auspices of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, an initiative of the Canadian government.

 

After having profusely demonized the Libyan leader, the media hasten to promote the famous “R2P” doctrine to assist the Libyan people, a doctrine also advocated by the leaders in favour of an armed intervention on the rebels’ side, whose identity is still not revealed to us.

 

The Arab League, which declared itself favourable to a no-fly zone on March 13 in order to “protect civilians”, includes numerous U.S. allies, such as Yemen, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, which are far from being models of democracy. On the other hand, the African Union has been opposed to a foreign intervention.

 

Instead of questioning the reasons of this intervention and the interests of its advocates, the major media outlets have advocated interference without knowing who was at the root of the armed rebellion:

 

While most tyrants find noble pretexts to massacre those who challenge them, Gaddafi states his intent to trigger endless bloodshed. In his eyes, no price is too high to remain in power.

 

At least, it is all clear. It is no longer possible to pretend that the threat hovering over the Libyan people is the fruit of a propaganda piece. It is no longer possible either to pretend that we don’t know what is waiting for us, like we did withRwanda or Bosnia.

With his foreseen massacre, the sinister Colonel creates a precedent. And puts the international community in a delicate dilemma: how far must it go to avoid the blood bath?…

 

[T]he case of Libya is rather similar to Kosovo’s, where NATO had prompted a military offensive in 1999 to protect the population against the Serbian power …

 

Incidentally, it is in the wake of this operation that the UN started to explore a new concept: the “right to protect”

 

However, if the tyrant from Tripoli keeps slaughtering his people, sooner or later the world will have the opportunity to put the beautiful principle of the “responsibility to protect” to the test. Because if we don’t do it in this case, we never will. (Agnès Gruda, Le devoir de protéger, (The Duty to Protect), Cyberpresse (Canada), March 5, 2011. Emphasis added.)

 

This doctrine of “liberty to protect” exists. It was promoted by the Canadian government at the UN a few years ago. Yet, today, neither the Harper government nor the leader of the party that conceived this doctrine, Michael Ignatieff from the LPC, are proposing to use it to protect the Libyan people against the tyrant who promises “rivers of blood”.

Luckily, on Saturday, a surprising event occurred. An international organization which Canada is not part of had the decency to “[provide] urgent and continuing support [to the Libyan people]… from the serious violations and grave crimes committed by the Libyan authorities, which have consequently lost their legitimacy”. Thisorganization of consistent democrats, without naming it, called for the implementation of the “responsibility to protect” principle, by demanding that the UN Security Council impose a no-fly zone on Libya… (Jean-François Lisée, Mais où est donc la « responsabilité de protéger » (Where on earth is the “responsibility to protect”), L’actualité (Canada), March 13 2011. Emphasis added.)

 

Here, both authors are mistaken. In fact, it is Gaddafi’s son Seïf Al-Islam, who spoke of “rivers of blood” and, taken out of context, this sensational image duly serves the interventionist propaganda. Prior to that he said: “As the ultimate solution… we are considering arming everyone, we will arm 5 million Libyans, Libya is neither Tunisia nor Egypt… Rivers of blood will flow…”

 

Wouldn’t it be insane for a government challenged by a so-called popular uprising to propose arming 5 million citizens when its country has 6.5 millions of them? The media only emphasized the “promise” to “make rivers of blood flow”, which gives the impression that the armed forces of the regime will launch into a killing spree against an unprotected population.

 

War Propaganda

 

In an article entitled “The Rules of War Propaganda”, Michel Collon details the Western media’s war coverage and the “inevitable rules of ‘war propaganda’”: demonize the enemy, leave out the geographical and historical context, hide the real interest, and avoid recalling past media manipulation. The case of Libya is an obvious example.

 

Of course, Muammar Gaddafi is not an angel. But was George W. Bush better? Which of the two has more blood on his hands? Under George W. Bush, no one proposed to invade the U.S. to keep them from going to slaughter Iraqis or Afghans.

 

And if an armed rebellion took place in a Western country, what would the leaders do? If policing is excessive during peaceful demonstrations, we can easily imagine the reaction to an armed rebellion.

 

Besides, it is worth noting that Westerners attempted more than once to murder Colonel Gaddafi. One of these attempts has incidentally killed one of his daughters. What would happen if the daughter of a Western head of state was killed by Arab forces?

 

This demonization of Gaddafi is a psychological war tactic which has been used more than once to mobilize the public opinion in favour of armed interventions. In addition, the media is extremely quiet when it comes to facts about Libya: its Human Development Index and GDP higher than all African states, the quality of its social programmes, etc.

 

When one looks at the big picture and historical context of humanitarian interventions, it is obvious that this NATO assault against Libya has nothing to do with the protection of civilians.

 

The U.S. Secretary of Defence, Robert Gates, admitted it himself in an interview on Meet the Press: “No, Libya is not of vital interest for the United States, but we clearly have interests there and it’s a part of the region which is of vital interest for the United States.”

 

This avowal cannot be clearer: we have interest in the Middle East and that is why we intervene in Libya, to protect our interests in the Middle East.

 

If the U.S. Secretary of Defence admits that his country intervenes in Libya to protect its interests, how can we possibly still talk about a humanitarian intervention? And these rebels who were supposed to be provided with arms, when will someone dare tell us that they have links with the Western secret services and Al-Qaeda?

 

Rebels, Al-Qaeda, MI6, CIA

 

Here’s a Guardian article from 2002. This information has been available for ten years, but the media didn’t think it was newsworthy:

 

British intelligence paid large sums of money to an al-Qaeda cell in Libya in a doomed attempt to assassinate Colonel Gadaffi in 1996 and thwarted early attempts to bring Osama bin Laden to justice.

 

The latest claims of MI6 involvement with Libya’s fearsome Islamic Fighting Group, which is connected to one of bin Laden’s trusted lieutenants, will be embarrassing to the Government, which described similar claims by renegade MI5 officer David Shayler as ‘pure fantasy’.

 

The allegations have emerged in the book Forbidden Truth, published in America by two French intelligence experts who reveal that the first Interpol arrest warrant for bin Laden was issued by Libya in March 1998.

 

According to journalist Guillaume Dasquié and Jean-Charles Brisard, an adviser to French President Jacques Chirac, British and US intelligence agencies buried the fact that the arrest warrant had come from Libya and played down the threat. Five months after the warrant was issued, al-Qaeda killed more than 200 people in the truck bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

 

The arrest warrant was issued in connection with the murder in March 1994 of two German anti-terrorism agents, Silvan and Vera Becker, who were in charge of missions in Africa. According to the book, the resistance of Western intelligence agencies to the Libyan concerns can be explained by MI6’s involvement with the al-Qaeda coup plot. (Martin Bright, MI6 ‘halted bid to arrest bin Laden’, Guardian, November 10, 2002)

 

While Gaddafi became the laughing stock of the media when he accused Al-Qaeda of backing the rebellion, on March 28, the Commander of NATO’s European forces confirmed half-heartedly, and without being ridiculed, that the network was manipulating the insurgents:

 

Since the beginning of the insurrection in Libya, Muammar Gaddafi accused Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. He thus claimed several times that the terrorist network manipulated the insurgents. This Tuesday, James Stavridis, the commander of NATO’s forces in Europe, has partly confirmed these claims.

 

Indeed, during an audit before the U.S. Senate, he explained that some intelligence mentioned signs of an Al-Qaeda, or even of a Lebanese Hezbollah presence among the Libyan opposition. He nevertheless tempered this by underlining that he did not have “enough details” to say whether this presence was “significant or not”. (Libye : l’Otan admet que l’opposition serait infiltrée par Al-Qaïda, (Libya: NATO admits the opposition would be infiltrated by Al-Qaeda) TF1, March 29, 2011)

 

Therefore, even if Westerners admit the presence of Al-Qaeda among the rebels, they still choose to intervene in their favour.

 

To add to this Kafkaesque turn of events, the Libyan National Transition Council (LNTC), representing the Libyan opposition and up to now recognized by France and Qatar [1], has appointed a longstanding CIA collaborator to lead its operations:

 

The Libyan National Council, the Benghazi-based group that speaks for the rebel forces fighting the Gaddafi regime, has appointed a long-time CIA collaborator to head its military operations. The selection of Khalifa Hifter, a former colonel in the Libyan army, was reported by McClatchy Newspapers Thursday […] (Patrick Martin, A CIA commander for the Libyan rebels, World Socialist Web Site, March 28, 2011)
The next day we learned during a press conference who the LNTC spokespersons were: Mahmoud Shammam, former Foreign Policyjournalist, “living between Washington and Doha”, and Guma El-Gamaty, “an activist living in London”.  (Eric Albert, Les premiers pas politiques hésitants des rebelles libyens, (The Libyan Rebels’ first hesitant political steps), La Tribune, March 29, 2011.)

The Libyan rebels’ representatives are thus Libyans living in the U.S. and the U.K., and their chief of operations is a CIA collaborator. The Libyan rebellion is starting to take on the appearance of a Western regime change.

 

Two days after the release of the McClatchy article and after the beginning of the intervention, the New York Times “revealed” that the CIA had been on Libyan soil for several weeks. As for the MI6 and the British Special Forces, agents were captured early in March by the rebels who had mistaken them for enemy spies. British intelligence was allegedly on the ground to establish connections with the rebellion, which they were apparently not aware of.

Another important fact has been largely ignored by the media: Benghazi is a chosen hideout for jihadists, according to a 2007 study from the United States Military Academy at West Point:

 

The most striking finding which emerges from the West Point study is that the corridor which goes from Benghazi to Tobruk, passing through the city of Darnah… represents one of the greatest concentrations of jihadi terrorists to be found anywhere in the world, and by some measures can be regarded as the leading source of suicide bombers anywhere on the planet. (Dr. Webster G. Tarpley, The CIA’s Libya Rebels: The Same Terrorists who Killed US, NATO Troops in Iraq, Global Research, March 28, 2011)
All this information reveals a number of facts crucial to the understanding of this conflict, and is available for whomever bothers to do a bit of research. Yet, it seems like the role of the mainstream press is not to deliver facts, but rather propaganda.

 

Whether this bias is deliberate or not, the result is in any case the same: they are not doing their job correctly. Once again.

To read the original article in French click here: Libye : Les médias et la propagande en faveur de la rébellion

Julie Lévesque is a journalist and researcher at Global Research, Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).

 


Notes

1. Italy has now also recognized the Libyan National Transition Council.

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Conquest of Africa – The Pentagon’s AFRICOM and the War against Libya

NOVANEWS

Towards the Conquest of Africa: The Pentagon’s AFRICOM and the War against Libya

By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Global Research

Life Magazine (China) – 2011-04-01

Global Research Editor’s Note

The following is the English transcript of Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya’s interview with Life Week, a major Chinese magazine based in Beijing. 

Nazemroaya was interviewed by Xu Jingjing for Life Week’s feature article about AFRICOM and Libya on April 1, 2011.

The 2008 article cited by Xu Jingjing is Nazemroaya’s “The Mediterranean Union: Dividing the Middle East and North Africa.”



XU JINGJING: According to your analysis, what is AFRICOM’s role in the military intervention in Libya? What is its capability?

NAZEMROAYA: In reality, AFRICOM is still very much attached to EUCOM and dependent on EUCOM in many ways. It will be through this Libyan military intervention and the future military operations that will bud out of this war against Libya that AFRICOM will manage to further secure its independence from EUCOM. But I want to be clear. This does not mean that AFRICOM has no role in North Africa, because it has a role on the ground and I believe that it was actively involved in supporting the fighters now opposed to Colonel Qaddafi in Libya.

AFRICOM’s role is currently latent or concealed. It is EUCOM, the U.S. military operational command that is based in Europe which is currently running the operations against the Libyans. EUCOM also overlaps with NATO and both EUCOM and NATO have the same military commander, which is Admiral James Stavridis.

Several days ago, I listened to Admirial Stravridis speak to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee and he made it clear that Operation Odyssey Dawn is being led from Europe and that the U.S. military will always be in control of the military campaign against Libya. He also contradicted NATO’s official spokesperson, by saying that there was a possibility that NATO troops could land in Libya for “stabilization operations.”

Returning to AFRICOM’s role, I said AFRICOM’s role is currently latent or concealed. As the fighting in Libya proceeds, the role of AFRICOM will become clearer, more important and more visible.

AFRICOM has been involved in the intelligence work in regards to Libya. When Admiral Stravridis was asked by the U.S. Senate Armed Services to Committee about the role of Al-Qaeda in the Benghazi-based Transitional Council, he automatically answered that the commander of AFRICOM, General Carter Ham, could answer this question. This indicates that in the intelligence front and possibly rebel training it is AFRICOM that has been responsible and much more involved on the ground in Libya.

XU JINGJING: AFRICOM has no assigned troops and no headquarters in Africa itself. What is its major mission and objection? How do you evaluate its decision to enhance U.S. influence in Africa?

NAZEMROAYA: As I mentioned earlier, AFRICOM is still attached to EUCOM. Its capabilities in some senses are nominal. It will be via the military campaign against Libya and the years of instability that will haunt Africa after this war that AFRICOM will solidify itself as a separate operational military command.

AFRICOM’s main objective is to secure the African continent for the U.S. and its allies. Its mission is to help secure a new colonial order in Africa that the U.S. and its allies are working to establish. In many ways this is what the military intervention in Libya is all about. The recent London Conference about Libya can even be compared to the Berlin Conference of 1884. The difference in 2011 is that the U.S. is at the table and more importantly leading the other participants in carving up Libya and Africa.

XU JINGJING: How is an African strategy important to the United States? How do you evaluate the influence of the U.S. in Africa now? What are the major barriers for the U.S. to expand its influence?

NAZEMROAYA: Of course the People’s Republic of China and its allies play a major role in answering this question. The U.S. and its allies are not only formulating a new strategy to maintain and deepen their control over Africa, but are also working to push China and its allies out of Africa. The U.S. and many E.U. powers have watched China nervously throughout the years. China has been making major inroads in Africa and China is a major strategic and economic rival and challenge to the U.S. and Western Europe in Africa.

It will also be China and its allies that will form one of the barriers to the U.S. strategy to control Africa. The people of Africa cannot be forgotten either, because they will play a very important role to resisting the U.S. and the E.U. in the long-term.

Even as we speak there are protests in sub-Saharan Africa, which not too many people in the Northern Hemisphere even discuss or know about. In Senegal and other parts of West Africa there have been protests. In Central Africa there have been protests. While the protests in the Arab World are watched and intensely reported upon, the protests of these people are mostly ignored.

XU JINGJING: What were the changes of U.S. Africa policy in the past 20 years? What were the major motivations for those changes?

NAZEMROAYA: There are many ways to examine U.S. foreign policy in Africa in the past two decades. We can see a period of intense rivalry with the old colonial powers, such as France, but what I think is important to note is that U.S. foreign policy in Africa has worked incrementally to push out China. Again, the motivations for this are the rise of China and its growing influence in Africa.

One cannot ignore China when speaking about Africa.  All this has resulted in an actually dimension of cooperation between Washington and France and the old colonial powers. They are working together to secure the African content within their collective sphere of influence and to muscle out China. At the end of the day, this is what AFRICOM was made for.

XU JINGJING: In one of your articles, you mention French plans on forming a Mediterranean Union. In your analysis, why is France always active in this region?

NAZEMROAYA: Paris has always been active in Africa, because of its proximity to the continent and its colonial history in Africa. It was the French that controlled the largest colonial empire in Africa. This is also why at one point France, with the support of Belgium and Germany, has been a major rival to the U.S. and Britain in Africa. This appears to have changed as Paris and its close partners have harmonized their interests with the U.S. and Britain.

I am glad you brought up the Mediterranean Union or the “Union of the Mediterranean” as it was renamed later as part of a public relations stunt. The article you mentioned was actually published by the North Africa Times several years ago, which I believe is Libyan owned. When the North Africa Times published the article, they removed the section where I quoted Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national security advisor of the Carter Administration, about the longstanding plans to form a Mediterranean Union and what it involved.

The Mediterranean Union is a political, economic, and security entity. It is also complemented at the military level by NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue. The events leading to the formal declaration of the Mediterranean Union follow the same patterns that were used to expand the European Union and NATO in Eastern Europe.

The Union of the Mediterranean is meant to entrench the Mediterranean and the Arab World into the orbit of Washington and the European Union. It is also a bridgehead into Africa. The project calls for economic integration, massive privatization, and harmonization of policies. It is a colonial project and it serves to control and exploit the pools of labour in the Southern Mediterranean for the European Union. In the future, this can be used to upset the labour market in Asia and other regions. Also, it is through the Mediterranean Union that the immigration and refugee laws being used to manage the influx of people from North Africa were created. The E.U. was expecting these events and its members clearly spell this out when they made these laws.

XU JINGJING: What is your analysis on the U.S. and the military alliance’s actions in the first ten days of the war in Libya?

NAZEMROAYA: The actions in the first ten days of the war were never meant to protect civilians. The military operations have been offensive in nature and a means to weaken Libya as an independent state. I mentioned earlier that I listened to the testimony of Admiral Stavridis to the U.S. Armed Services Committee in Washington and I would like to refer to it again. At the hearing both Admiral Stavridis and Senator McCain both unwittingly stated that sanctions and no-fly zones do not accomplish anything. This is very profound. If these actions do not accomplish anything, then why did the U.S. push for them to be imposed on the Libyans? The answer is that the operation is not of a humanitarian nature, it is an act of aggression meant to open the door into Libya and Africa for a new colonial project.

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