Archive | June 21st, 2011

Jewish women cannot drive in New York



Rehmat’s World


Muslims in the West have long been under attack for the ban in Saudi Arabia (ruled by a western puppet Ultra-Orthodox Wahhabi minority) for women to drive in public. However, these western bigots are at loss to face the fact that Jewish women are neither allowed to drive or walk on the same side of the street as men – right in New Square, an Orthodox Jewish enclave north of Time Square.

“The whole community was built for one purpose, to live within the very strict confines, traditions, attitudes and customs of Judaism. And part of that is you’re part and parcel of a very strict communal structure,” say Ezra Friedlander, PR consultant to numerous Orthodox Jewish communities.

The New Square Jewish community (7000 members) is strictly controlled by Grand Rabbi David Twersky, 70. He inherited the ‘Twersky dynasty’ from his father Yaakov Yosef Twersky, who built this mini Jewish state in 1954 for his fellow ‘Holocaust survivors’ who refused to make Aliya to Zionist Israel.

In 2005, US under-secretary of state Karen Hughes, during her visit to Riyadh had told the Suadi ‘royals’ that Dubya Bush wants to see Saudi women obtain more rights including the ‘right to drive’. Commenting on Karen’s statement, Steven Weiss, wrote in Jewish daily Forward (October 14, 2005): “Even as the White House presses Saudi Arabia to permit women to drive, an Ultra-Orthodox community in New York has launched a campaign to reassert its ban on female motorists“.

During last few days, the Israel Hasbara (propaganda) organs (Washington Post, New York Times, Telegraph, etc.) which have never voiced their support for Palestinian human rights – have published articles, Op-Eds and columns in support of Saudi Women Driving campaign currently carried out in Saudi Arabia.

On Friday, June 17, 2011 – several Saudi women boldly got behind the wheel, including one who made a 45-minute trip through Kingdom’s capital Riyadh, seeking to ignite a road rebellion against ban on female motorists – had more on their minds than just having fun while sitting at driver’s seat. They were demanding for their rights given to them by their Islamic faith 1400 years ago.

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Activists in IsraHell Reject German Party’s Equation of Anti-Semitism with Support for BDS, One State


Multiple signatories

The German left-wing party Die Linke issued a shocking statement on 7 June 2011, stating that “We will not participate in initiatives on the Middle East conflict which call for a one-state solution for Palestine and Israel, or for boycotts against Israeli products, or even in this year’s Gaza Flotilla trip.”


This position is particularly offensive as it is noted within a party statement concerning anti-Semitism, thus making a clear and totally erroneous connection between anti-Semitism and support for BDS and various political solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Die Linke, a supposedly progressive political party, is thus adopting the most right-wing and reactionary positions of the Israeli government on this issue.


Jewish and Palestinian left-wing activists from Israel have issued a response letter to Die Linke, which is reproduced below:


Dear parliament members of Die Linke,

We, Jewish and Palestinian left-wing activists from Israel, strongly oppose the recent statement made by your party with regard to anti-Semitism. This statement deals with two very different domains as if they were one, between which it is vital to make a distinction in order to be able to fight anti-Semitism in Germany and worldwide. Moreoever, the statement in question implies an outrageous accusation against civil society in Israel, Palestine and the international solidarity movements from around the world, which support a just peace in our region.

We are aware that anti-Semitism, just like Islamophobia and other forms of racism, sexism and homophobia, also exist within the European left. As members of the leading left party in Germany, it is vital that you take a firm stance on this issue and we support you in that respect in your unequivocal condemnation of racist anti-Jewish activities, ideologies and discourses.

We do not necessarily share the same view on the issues and forms of struggle regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including those mentioned in your statement: A one-state versus two-state settlement; the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS); and the various international solidarity activities, including the flotillas breaking the siege of Gaza. Nevertheless, we are unanimous in our conviction that none of these stances or acts have anything to do with anti-Semitism in and of themselves. To imply, as your statement does, that simply discussing these topics is anti-Semitic, is an affront against a global anti-racist movement of which we are proud members – a movement which is fighting the illegal and brutal policies of the State of Israel against the Palestinians within its internationally recognized borders, those in the occupied Palestinian territory and those in the diaspora.

We believe that solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for independence and justice is not only a moral imperative, but also in the best interest of Israeli citizens and Jews worldwide. The Israeli establishment tries to present itself as the legitimate representative of the entire Jewish people, a proclamation that is all too often accepted without any criticism in Germany and throughout Europe. In recent years, the Israeli government is increasingly utilizing the false equivalence between anti-Semitism and criticism of its policies in an attempt to quash debate over the Palestinian issue.

We insist that Die Linke continues to express its clear opposition to anti-Semitism, its solidarity with the Palestinian cause, and its commitment to continuing an open discussion about the different forms of struggle, activism and solidarity, as well as the possible resolutions to the conflict. Far from being conflicting, these objectives in fact complement each other into what we believe would be the most effective progressive position on the issues.
We will continue to express our opposition to all forms of racism and oppression and hope that you will reconsider your decision on this issue so that we may struggle alongside one another for a just peace in the Middle East.

In solidarity

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9/11 and the Orwellian Redefinition of “Conspiracy Theory”


By Paul Craig Roberts

Global Research

While we were not watching, conspiracy theory has undergone Orwellian redefinition.

A “conspiracy theory” no longer means an event explained by a conspiracy.  Instead, it now means any explanation, or even a fact, that is out of step with the government’s explanation and that of its media pimps.

For example, online news broadcasts of RT have been equated with conspiracy theories by the New York Times simply because RT reports news and opinions that the New York Times does not report and the US government does not endorse.

In other words, as truth becomes uncomfortable for government and its Ministry of Propaganda, truth is redefined as conspiracy theory, by which is meant an absurd and laughable explanation that we should ignore.

When piles of carefully researched books, released government documents, and testimony of eye witnesses made it clear that Oswald was not President John F. Kennedy’s assassin, the voluminous research, government documents, and verified testimony was dismissed as “conspiracy theory.”

In other words, the truth of the event was unacceptable to the authorities and to the Ministry of Propaganda that represents the interests of authorities.

The purest example of how Americans are shielded from truth is the media’s (including many Internet sites’) response to the large number of professionals who find the official explanation of September 11, 2001, inconsistent with everything they, as experts, know about physics, chemistry, structural engineering, architecture, fires, structural damage, the piloting of airplanes, the security procedures of the United States, NORAD’s capabilities, air traffic control, airport security, and other matters.  These experts, numbering in the thousands, have been shouted down by know-nothings in the media  who brand the experts as “conspiracy theorists.”

This despite the fact that the official explanation endorsed by the official media is the most extravagant conspiracy theory in human history.

Let’s take a minute to re-acquaint ourselves with the official explanation, which is not regarded as a conspiracy theory despite the fact that it comprises an amazing conspiracy.  The official truth is that a handful of young Muslim Arabs who could not fly airplanes, mainly Saudi Arabians who came neither from Iraq nor from Afghanistan, outwitted not only the CIA and the FBI, but also all 16  US intelligence agencies and all intelligence agencies of US allies including Israel’s Mossad, which is believed to have penetrated every terrorist organization and which carries out assassinations of those whom Mossad marks as terrorists.

In addition to outwitting every intelligence agency of the United States and its allies, the handful of young Saudi Arabians outwitted the National Security Council, the State Department, NORAD, airport security four times in the same hour on the same morning,  air traffic control, caused the US Air Force to be unable to launch interceptor aircraft,  and caused three well-built steel-structured buildings, including one not hit by an airplane, to fail suddenly in a few seconds as a result of limited structural damage and small, short-lived, low-temperature fires that burned on a few floors.

The Saudi terrorists were even able to confound the laws of physics and cause WTC building seven to collapse at free fall speed for several seconds, a physical impossibility in the absence of explosives used in controlled demolition.

The story that the government and the media have told us amounts to a gigantic conspiracy, really a script for a James Bond film. Yet, anyone who doubts this improbable conspiracy theory is defined into irrelevance by the obedient media.

Anyone who believes an architect, structural engineer, or demolition expert who says that the videos show that the buildings are blowing up, not falling down, anyone who believes a Ph.D. physicist who says that the official explanation is inconsistent with known laws of physics, anyone who believes expert pilots who testify that non-pilots or poorly-qualified pilots cannot fly airplanes in such maneuvers, anyone who believes the 100 or more first responders who testify that they not only heard explosions in the towers but personally experienced explosions, anyone who believes University of Copenhagen nano-chemist Niels Harrit who reports finding unreacted nano-thermite in dust samples from the WTC towers, anyone who is convinced by experts instead of by propaganda is dismissed as a kook.

In America today, and increasingly throughout the Western world, actual facts and true explanations have been relegated to the realm of kookiness.  Only people who believe lies are socially approved and accepted as patriotic citizens.

Indeed, a writer or newscaster is not even permitted to report the findings of 9/11 skeptics.  In other words, simply to report Professor Harrit’s findings now means that you endorse them or agree with them.  Everyone in the US print and TV media knows that he/she will be instantly fired if they report Harrit’s findings, even with a laugh. Thus, although Harrit has reported his findings on European television and has lectured widely on his findings in Canadian universities, the fact that he and the international scientific research team that he led found unreacted nano-thermite in the WTC dust and have offered samples to other scientists to examine has to my knowledge never been reported in the American media.

Even Internet sites on which I am among the readers’ favorites will not allow me to report on Harrit’s findings.

As I reported earlier, I myself had experience with a Huffington Post reporter who was keen to interview a Reagan presidential appointee who was in disagreement with the Republican wars in the Middle East.  After he published the interview that I provided at his request, he was terrified to learn that I had reported findings of 9/11 investigators.  To protect his career, he quickly inserted on the online interview that my views on the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions could be dismissed as I had reported unacceptable findings about 9/11.

The unwillingness or inability to entertain any view of 9/11 different from the official view dooms to impotence many Internet sites that are opposed to the wars and to the rise of the domestic US police state.  These sites, for whatever the reasons, accept the government’s explanation of 9/11; yet, they try to oppose the  “war on terror” and the police state which are the consequences of accepting the government’s explanation. Trying to oppose the consequences of an event whose explanation you accept is an impossible task.

If you believe that America was attacked by Muslim terrorists and is susceptible to future attacks, then a “war on terror” and a domestic police state to root out terrorists become necessary to make Americans safe. The idea that a domestic police state and open-ended war might be more dangerous threats to Americans than terrorists is an impermissible thought.

A country whose population has been trained to accept the government’s word and to shun those who question it is a country without liberty in its future.

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NATO Incorporates Libyan Experience For Global War Template


By Rick Rozoff

Global Research

As the West’s war against Libya has entered its fourth month and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has flown more than 11,000 missions, including 4,300 strike sorties, over the small nation, the world’s only military bloc is already integrating lessons learned from the conflict into its international model of military intervention based on earlier wars in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq.

What NATO refers to as Operation Unified Protector has provided the Alliance the framework in which to continue recruiting Partnership for Peace adjuncts like Sweden and Malta, Istanbul Cooperation Initiative affiliates Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates and Mediterranean Dialogue partnership members Jordan and Morocco into the bloc’s worldwide warfighting network. Sweden, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates also have military personnel assigned to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in the nearly ten-year-long war in Afghanistan. In the first case, troops from the Scandinavian nation has been engaged in their first combat role, killing and being killed, in two centuries in Afghanistan and has provided eight warplanes for the attack on Libya, with marine forces to soon follow.

The military conflicts waged and other interventions conducted by the United States and its NATO allies over the past twelve years – in and against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Macedonia, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan and Libya – have contributed to the American military budget more than doubling in the past decade and U.S. arms exports almost quintupling in the same period.

The Pentagon and NATO are currently concluding the Sea Breeze 2011 naval exercise in the Black Sea off the coast of Ukraine, near the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet based in Sebastopol. Participants include the U.S., Britain, Azerbaijan, Algeria, Belgium, Denmark, Georgia, Germany, Macedonia, Moldova, Sweden, Turkey and host nation Ukraine. All but Algeria and Moldova are Troop Contributing Nations for NATO’s Afghan war. The once-annual maneuvers resumed again last year after the Ukrainian parliament banned them in 2009. This year’s exercise was arranged on the initiative of chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen. Last year’s Sea Breeze drills, the largest in the Black Sea, included 20 naval vessels, 13 aircraft and more than 1,600 military personnel from the U.S., Azerbaijan, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Moldova, Sweden, Turkey and Ukraine.

This year the guided missile cruiser USS Monterey joined the exercise. The warship is the first deployed to the Mediterranean, and now the Black, Sea for the Pentagon’s Phased Adaptive Approach interceptor missile program, one which in upcoming years will include at least 40 Standard Missile-3 interceptors in Poland and Romania and on Aegis class destroyers and cruisers in the Mediterranean, Black and Baltic Seas. Upgraded versions of the missile, the Block IB, Block IIA and Block IIB, are seen by Russian political analysts and military commanders as threats to Russia’s long-range missiles and as such to the nation’s strategic potential.

As former Indian diplomat M K Bhadrakumar wrote in a recent column:

“Without doubt, the US is stepping up pressure on Russia’s Black Sea fleet. The US’s provocation is taking place against the backdrop of the turmoil in Syria. Russia is stubbornly blocking US attempts to drum up a case for Libya-style intervention in Syria. Moscow understands that a major reason for the US to push for regime change in Syria is to get the Russian naval base in that country wound up.

“The Syrian base is the only toehold Russia has in the Mediterranean region. The Black Sea Fleet counts on the Syrian base for sustaining any effective Mediterranean presence by the Russian navy. With the establishment of US military bases in Romania and the appearance of the US warship in the Black Sea region, the arc of encirclement is tightening.”

USS Monterey, whose presence in the Black Sea has been criticized as a violation of the 1936 Montreux Convention, will return to the Mediterranean where the U.S.’s newest nuclear supercarrier, USS George H.W. Bush, and its carrier strike group with 9,000 service members and an air wing of 70 aircraft is also present, having recently visited U.S. Naval Forces Europe/Africa and Sixth Fleet headquarters in Naples, Italy, due north of Libya.

Last week the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan engaged in a certification exercise with its French counterpart FS Tonnerre in the Mediterranean. The U.S. Navy website stated that the certification “will provide Tonnerre with additional flexibility during their support to NATO-led Operation Unified Protector,” the codename for the Alliance’s war against Libya. The USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group includes an estimated 2,000 Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit and dozens of warplanes and attack and other helicopters, and is poised for action in Libya and, if the pattern holds, Syria.

The U.S. and NATO allies and partners – Albania, Algeria, Croatia, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey – conducted the Phoenix Express 2011 maritime exercise in the Eastern and Central Mediterranean from June 1-15, which included maneuvers in support of the U.S.’s global Proliferation Security Initiative.

Also earlier this month NATO held this year’s Northern Viking air and naval exercise, the latest in a series of biennial drills under that name, in Iceland with 450 NATO military members from the U.S., Denmark, Iceland, Italy and Norway. The United States European Command website cited the Norwegian detachment commander saying, “exercises like [Northern Viking 2011] allowed the pilots to prepare for real-world scenarios, like Operation Odyssey Dawn,” the name for the Western military campaign in Libya from March 19-30.

This week NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen visited Britain and Spain, meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague in the first country and Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero, Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez and Defence Minister Carme Chacon in the second.

While in London Rasmussen focused on the wars in Libyan and Afghanistan, both under NATO command, and promoted the implementation of the European wing of the U.S. international interceptor missile system.

Perhaps in part responding to the dressing down NATO member states had recently received by the person Rasmussen truly, if unofficially, has to account to – U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates – he boasted:

“NATO is more needed and wanted than ever, from Afghanistan to Kosovo, from the coast of Somalia to Libya. We are busier than ever before.”

In Spain he addressed the nation’s upper house of parliament in a speech titled “NATO and the Mediterranean: the changes ahead” and, according to the bloc’s website, emphasized “NATO’s changing role in the Mediterranean, particularly focusing on Operation Unified Protector and NATO’s future role in the region.” He also pledged that “we can help the Arab Spring well and truly blossom.” Libya and Syria, tomorrow Algeria and Lebanon, come to mind as the objects of NATO’s false solicitude, and Egypt and Tunisia too, as Rasmussen has already mentioned, in regard to NATO training their militaries and rebuilding their command structures in accordance with Alliance standards, as is being done in Iraq.

The war against Libya, NATO’s first armed conflict in the Mediterranean and on the African continent, is solidifying control of the Mediterranean already established by the ongoing Operation Active Endeavor surveillance and interdiction mission launched in 2001 under NATO’s Article 5 collective military assistance provision.

While Rasmussen was in Britain, Russian ambassador to NATO Dmitri Rogozin said that the Atlantic Alliance “is being drawn into a ground operation,” and asserted “The war in Libya means…the beginning of its expansion south.”

Two days before, the U.S. and NATO completed Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2011, which included 20 ships from eleven European nations and the flagship of the Mediterranean-based U.S. Sixth Fleet, USS Mount Whitney, other American warships and Commander, Carrier Strike Group 8.

Concurrently in the Baltic Sea, the 11-day Amber Hope 2011 exercise was launched in Lithuania on June 13 with the participation of 2,000 military personnel from NATO members the U.S., Canada, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Poland and Partnership for Peace members Georgia and Finland. Former Soviet republics and Partnership for Peace affiliates Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova and Ukraine are attending as observers.

The second phase of the exercise will begin on June 19 and, according to the Lithuanian Defense Ministry, “troops will follow an established scenario based on lessons learnt by Lithuanian and foreign states in Afghanistan, Iraq and off the Somali coast,” in the last case an allusion to NATO’s ongoing Operation Ocean Shield. The bloc has also airlifted thousands of Ugandan and Burundian troops into Somalia for fighting in the capital of Mogadishu.

Earlier this week NATO also held a conference with the defense chiefs of 60 member and partner states in Belgrade, Serbia, which was bombed repeatedly by NATO warplanes 12 years ago, also focusing on the bloc’s current three-month-long war in Libya.

The Strategic Military Partner Conference was addressed by, inter alia, French General Stephane Abrial, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation based in Norfolk, Virginia, who said, “I’m convinced that the operation in Libya will be successful,” though conceding that the hostilities may be prolonged well into the future in his opening statement.

The Black Sea Rotational Force, a Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force, followed military training exercises in Romania with a two-week exercise in Bulgaria on June 13 with troops from the host nation and, for the first time, Serbia on one of the four air and infantry bases in the country the Pentagon has moved into since 2006. The earlier training in Romania was at one of another four bases acquired in that nation.

The local press reported that most of the U.S. Marines involved arrived at the Novo Selo Range “straight from Afghanistan” on Hercules-C-130 transport aircraft.

Lieutenant Colonel Nelson Cardella of the U.S. Marine Corps said of the drills, “Our troops will be trained to improve the interoperability of our staffs” for the Afghan and future wars.

Bulgaria’s Standart News announced that “next year the Black Sea Rotational Force exercise will take place in Serbia.”

The mission of the Black Sea Rotational Force, formed last year, is to integrate the armed forces of twelve nations in the Balkans, Black Sea region and Caucasus – Albania, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine – through NATO for deployment to Afghanistan and other war zones and post-conflict situations.

Each of the wars the U.S. and its NATO allies have waged since 1999 has gained the Pentagon and the Alliance new military bases and expeditionary contingents in subjugated and adjoining nations in Southeastern Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean and Persian Gulf, and South and Central Asia.

Just as the Yugoslav, Afghan and Iraqi wars contributed to developing a U.S.-led NATO international military intervention capability for use against Libya today, so the Libyan experience is being employed for future conflicts.

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The Destabilization of Syria and the Broader Middle East War


By Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research

What is unfolding in Syria is an armed insurrection supported covertly by foreign powers including the US, Turkey and Israel.

Armed insurgents belonging to Islamist organizations have crossed the border from Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. The US State Department has confirmed that it is supporting the insurgency.

The United States is to expand contacts with Syrians who are counting on a regime change in the country.

This was stated by U.S. State Department official Victoria Nuland. “We started to expand contacts with the Syrians, those who are calling for change, both inside and outside the country,” she said.

Nuland also repeated that Barack Obama had previously called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to initiate reforms or to step down from power.” (Voice of Russia, June 17, 2011)

The destabilization of Syria and Lebanon as sovereign countries has been on the drawing board of the US-NATO-Israel military alliance for at least ten years.

Action against Syria is part of a “military roadmap”, a sequencing of military operations. According to former NATO Commander General Wesley Clark–the Pentagon  had clearly identified Iraq, Libya, Syria and Lebanon as target countries of a US-NATO intervention:

“[The] Five-year campaign plan [included]… a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan” (Pentagon official quoted by General Wesley Clark)

In “Winning Modern Wars” (page 130) General Wesley Clark states the following:

“As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.

…He said it with reproach–with disbelief, almost–at the breadth of the vision. I moved the conversation away, for this was not something I wanted to hear. And it was not something I wanted to see moving forward, either. …I left the Pentagon that afternoon deeply concerned.”

The objective is to destabilize the Syrian State and implement “regime change” through the covert support of an armed insurgency, integrated by Islamist militia.

Media Disinformation

Tacitly acknowledged , the significance of an armed insurrection is casually dismissed by the Western media. If it were to be recognized and analysed, our understanding of unfolding events would be entirely different.

What is mentioned profusely is that the armed forces and the police are involved in the indiscriminate killing of civilian protesters. Press reports confirm, however, from the outset of the protest movement an exchange of gunfire between armed insurgents and the police, with casualties reported on both sides.

The insurrection started in mid March in the border city of Daraa, which is 10 km from the Jordanian border.

The Daraa “protest movement” on March 18 had all the appearances of a staged event involving, in all likelihood, covert support to Islamic terrorists by Mossad and/or Western intelligence. Government sources point to the role of radical Salafist groups (supported by Israel)

Other reports have pointed to the role of Saudi Arabia in financing the protest movement.

What has unfolded in Daraa in the weeks following the initial violent clashes on 17-18 March, is the confrontation between the police and the armed forces on the one hand and armed units of terrorists and snipers on the other which have infiltrated the protest movement.


What is clear from these initial reports is that many of the demonstrators were not demonstrators but terrorists involved in premeditated acts of killing and arson. The title of the Israeli news report summarizes what happened:  Syria: Seven Police Killed, Buildings Torched in Protests.

(See Michel Chossudovsky, SYRIA: Who is Behind The Protest Movement? Fabricating a Pretext for a US-NATO “Humanitarian Intervention”, Global Research,  May 3, 2011)

The Role of Turkey

The center of the insurrection has now shifted to the small border town of Jisr al-Shughour, 10 km from the Turkish border.

Jisr al-Shughour has a population of 44,000 inhabitants. Armed insurgents have crossed the border from Turkey.

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood are reported to have taken up arms in northwest Syria.

There are indications that Turkish military and intelligence are supporting these incursions.

There was no mass civilian protest movement in Jisr al-Shughour. The local population was caught in the crossfire. The fighting between armed rebels and government forces has contributed to triggering a refugee crisis, which is the center of media attention.

MB Rebels at Jisr al Choughour

Muslim Brotherhood Rebels at Jisr al Shughour Photos AFP June 16, 2011

In contrast, in the nation’s capital Damascus, where the mainstay of social movements is located, there have been mass rallies in support rather than in opposition to the government.

President Bashir al Assad is casually compared to presidents Ben Ali of Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. What the mainstream media has failed to mention is that despite the authoritarian nature of the regime, president Al Assad is a popular figure who has widespread support of the Syrian population.

The large rally in Damascus on March 29, “with tens of thousands of supporters” (Reuters) of President Al Assad was barely mentioned. Yet in an unusual twist, the images and video footage of several pro-government events were used by the Western media to convince international public opinion that the President was being confronted by mass anti-government rallies.


Syrians display a giant national flag with a picture of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad during a
pro-government rally at the central bank square in Damascus March 29, 2011. (Reuters Photo)

On June 15, thousands of people rallied over several kilometers on Damascus’ main highway in a march holding up a 2.3 km Syrian flag. The rally was acknowledged by the media and casually dismissed as irrelevant.

Thousands of supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad carry a 2,300-metre-long Syrian flag in a demonstration in  Damascus on Wednesday. The Syrian government is working to stop the spectacle of Syrians fleeing in terror from government troops trying to quell the three-month rebellion.  Muzaffar Salman/Associated Press


AP. Thousands of supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad carry a 2,300-metre-long Syrian flag in a demonstration in Damascus on Wednesday.

While the Syrian regime is by no means democratic, the objective of the US-NATO Israel military alliance is not to promote democracy. Quite the opposite. Washington’s intent is to eventually install a puppet regime.

The objective through media disinformation is to demonize president Al Assad and more broadly to destabilize Syria as a secular state. The latter objective is implemented through covert support of  various Islamist organizations:

Syria is run by an authoritarian oligarchy which has used brute force in dealing with its citizens. The riots in Syria, however, are complex. They cannot be viewed as a straightforward quest for liberty and democracy. There has been an attempt by the U.S. and the E.U. to use the riots in Syria to pressure and intimidate the Syrian leadership. Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, and the March 14 Alliance have all played a role in supporting an armed insurrection.

The violence in Syria has been supported from the outside with a view of taking advantage of the internal tensions… Aside from the violent reaction of the Syrian Army, media lies have been used and bogus footage has been aired. Money and weapons have also been funnelled to elements of the Syrian opposition by the U.S., the E.U….Funding has also been provided to ominous and unpopular foreign-based Syrian opposition figures, while weapons caches were smuggled from Jordan and Lebanon into Syria. (Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, America’s Next War Theater: Syria and Lebanon?, Global Research, June 10, 2011)

The joint Israel-Turkey military and intelligence agreement

The geopolitics of this process of destabilization are far-reaching. Turkey is involved in supporting the rebels.

The Turkish government has sanctioned Syrian opposition groups in exile which support an armed insurgency. Turkey is also pressuring Damascus to conform to Washington’s demands for regime change.

Turkey is a member of NATO with a powerful military force. Moreover, Israel and Turkey have a longstanding joint military-intelligence agreement, which is explicitly directed against Syria.

…A 1993 Memorandum of Understanding led to the creation of (Israeli-Turkish) “joint committees” to handle so-called regional threats. Under the terms of the Memorandum, Turkey and Israel agreed “to cooperate in gathering intelligence on Syria, Iran, and Iraq and to meet regularly to share assessments pertaining to terrorism and these countries’ military capabilities.”

Turkey agreed to allow IDF and Israeli security forces to gather electronic intelligence on Syria and Iran from Turkey. In exchange, Israel assisted in the equipping and training of Turkish forces in anti-terror warfare along the Syrian, Iraqi, and Iranian borders.”

Already during the Clinton Administration, a triangular military alliance between the US, Israel and Turkey had unfolded. This “triple alliance”, which is dominated by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, integrates and coordinates military command decisions between the three countries pertaining to the broader Middle East. It is based on the close military ties respectively of Israel and Turkey with the US, coupled with a strong bilateral military relationship between Tel Aviv and Ankara. ….

The triple alliance is also coupled with a 2005 NATO-Israeli military cooperation agreement which includes “many areas of common interest, such as the fight against terrorism and joint military exercises. These military cooperation ties with NATO are viewed by the Israeli military as a means to “enhance Israel’s deterrence capability regarding potential enemies threatening it, mainly Iran and Syria.” (See Michel Chossudovsky,“Triple Alliance”: The US, Turkey, Israel and the War on Lebanon, August 6, 2006)

Covert  support to armed insurgents out of Turkey or Jordan would no doubt be coordinated under the joint Israel-Turkey military and intelligence agreement.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with (former) Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (2004)

Dangerous Crossroads: The Broader Middle East War

Israel and NATO signed a far-reaching military cooperation agreement in 2005. Under this agreement, Israel is considered a de facto member of NATO.

If a military operation were to be launched against Syria, Israel would in all likelihood be involved in military undertakings alongside NATO forces (under the NATO-Israel bilateral agreement).  Turkey would also play an active military role.

A military intervention in Syria on fake humanitarian grounds would lead to an escalation of the US-NATO led war over a large area extending from North Africa and the Middle East to Central Asia, from the Eastern Mediterranean to China’s Western frontier with Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It would also contribute to a process of political destabilization in Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine. It would also set the stage for a conflict with Iran.

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Why Regime Change in Libya?


By Ismael Hossein-zadeh

Global Research,

In light of the brutal death and destruction wrought on Libya by the relentless  US/NATO bombardment, the professed claims of “humanitarian concerns” as grounds for intervention can readily be dismissed as a blatantly specious imperialistploy in pursuit of “regime change” in that country.

There is undeniable evidence that contrary to the spontaneous, unarmed and peaceful protest demonstrations in Egypt, Tunisia and Bahrain, therebellion in Libya has been nurtured, armed and orchestratedlargely from abroad, in collaboration with expat opposition groups and their local allies at home. Indeed, evidence shows that plans of “regime change” in Libya were drawn long before the insurgency actually started in Benghazi; it has all the hallmarks of a well-orchestrated civil war [1].

It is very tempting to seek the answer to the question “why regime change in Libya?” in oil/energy. While oil is undoubtedly a concern, it falls short of a satisfactory explanation because major Western oil companies were already extensively involved in the Libyan oil industry. Indeed, since Gaddafi relented to the US-UK pressure in 1993 and established “normal” economic and diplomatic relations with these and other Western countries, major US and European oil companies struck quite lucrative deals with the National Oil Corporation of Libya.

So, the answer to the question “why the imperialist powers want to do away with Gaddafi” has to go beyond oil, or the laughable “humanitarian concerns.” Perhaps the question can be answered best in the light of the following questions: why do these imperialist powers also want to overthrow Hugo Cavez of Venezuela, Fidel Castro (and/or his successors) of Cuba, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran,Rafael Correa Delgado of Ecuador,Kim Jong-il of North Korea, Bashar Al-assad of Syriaand Evo Morales of Bolivia? Or, why did they overthrow Mohammad Mossadeq of Iran, Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala, Kusno Sukarno of Indonesia, Salvador Allende of Chile, Sandinistas in Nicaragua,Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haitiand Manuel Zelaya in Honduras?

What does Gaddafi have in common with these nationalist/populist leaders? The question is of course rhetorical and the answer is obvious: like them Gaddafi is guilty of insubordination to the proverbial godfather of the world: US imperialism, and its allies. Like them, he has committed the cardinal sin of challenging the unbridled reign of global capital, of not following the economic “guidelines” of the captains of global finance, that is, of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and World Trade Organization; as well as of refusing to join US military alliances in the region. Also like other nationalist/populist leaders, he advocates social safety net (or welfare state) programs—not for giant corporations, as is the case in imperialist countries, but for the people in need.

This means that the criminal agenda of Messrs Obama, Cameron, Sarkozy, and their complicit allies to overthrow or kill Mr. Gaddafi and other “insubordinate” proponents of welfare state programs abroad is essentially part of the same evil agenda of dismantling such programs at home. While the form, the context and the means of destruction maybe different, the thrust of the relentless attacks on the living standards of the Libyan, Iranian, Venezuelan or Cuban peoples are essentially the same as the equally brutal attacks on the living conditions of the poor and working people in the US, UK, France and other degenerate capitalist countries. In a subtle (but unmistakable) way they are all part of an ongoing unilateralclass warfare on a global scale—whether they are carried out by military means and bombardments, or through the apparently “non-violent” processes of judicial or legislative means does not make a substantial difference as far as the nature or the thrust of the attack on people’s lives orlivelihoods are concerned.


In their efforts to consolidate the reign of big capital worldwide, captains of global finance use a variety of methods. The preferred method is usually non-military, that is, the neoliberal strategies of Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs), carried out by representatives of big business disguised as elected officials, or by the multilateral institutions such as the IMF and the WTO. This is what is currently happening in the debt- and deficit-ridden economies of the United States and Europe.But if a country like Libya (or Venezuela or Iran or Cuba) does not go along with the neoliberal agenda of “structural adjustments,” of outsourcing and privatization,and of allowing their financial system to be tied to the network of global banking cartel, then the military option is embarked upon to carry out the neoliberal agenda.


The powerful interests of global capitalism do not seem to feel comfortable to dismantle New Deal economics, Social Democratic reforms and welfare state programs in the core capitalist countries while people in smaller, less-developed countries such as Libya, Venezuela or Cuba enjoy strong, state-sponsored social safety net programs such as free or heavily-subsidized education and health care benefits.Indeed, guardians ofthe worldwide market mechanism have always been intolerant of any “undue” government intervention in the economic affairs of any country in the world. “Regimented economies,” declared President Harry Truman in a speech at Baylor University (1947), were the enemy of free enterprise, and “unless we act, and act decisively,” he claimed, those regimented economies would become “the pattern of the next century.” To fend off that danger, Truman urged that “the whole world should adopt the American system.” The system of free enterprise, he went on, “can survive in America only if it becomes a world system” [2].


Before it was devastated by the imperialist-orchestrated civil war and destruction, Libya had the highest living standard in Africa. Using the United Nations statistics, Jean-Paul Pougala of Dissident Voice reports,


“The country now ranks 53rd on the HDI [Human Development Index] index, better than all other African countries and also better than the richer and Western-backed Saudi Arabia. . . . Although the media often refers to youth unemployment of 15 to 30 percent, it does not mention that in Libya, in contrast to other countries, all have their subsistence guaranteed. . . . The government provides all citizens with free health care and [has] achieved high coverage in the most basic health areas. . . . The life expectancy rose to 74.5 years and is now the highest in Africa. . . . The infant mortality rate declined to 17 deaths per 1,000 births and is not nearly as high as in Algeria (41) and also lower than in Saudi Arabia (21).


“The UNDP [United Nations Development Program] certified that Libya has also made ‘a significant progress in gender equality,’ particularly in the fields of education and health, while there is still much to do regarding representation in politics and the economy. With a relative low ‘index of gender inequality’ the UNDP places the country in the Human Development Report 2010 concerning gender equality at rank 52 and thus also well ahead of Egypt (ranked 108), Algeria (70), Tunisia (56), Saudi Arabia (ranked 128) and Qatar (94)” [3].


It is true that after resisting the self-centered demands and onerous pressures from Western powers for more than thirty years, Gaddafi relented in 1993 and opened the Libyan economy to Western capital, carried out a number of neoliberal economic reforms, and granted lucrative business/investment deals to major oil companies of the West.


But, again, like the proverbial godfather, US/European imperialism requires total, unconditional subordination; half-hearted, grudging compliance with the global agenda of imperialism is not enough. To be considered a real “ally,” or a true “client state,” a country has to grant the US the right to “guide” its economic, geopolitical and foreign policies, that is, to essentiallyforgo its national sovereignty. Despite some economic concessions since the early 1990s, Gaddafi failed this critical test of “full compliance” with the imperialist designs in the region.


For example, he resisted joining a US/NATO-sponsored military alliance in the region. Libya (along with Syria) are the only two Mediterranean nations and the sole remaining Arab states that are not subordinated to U.S. and NATO designs for control of the Mediterranean Sea Basin and the Middle East. Nor has Libya (or Syria) participated in NATO’s almost ten-year-old Operation Active Endeavor naval patrols and exercises in the Mediterranean Sea and neither is a member of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue military partnership which includes most regional countries: Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Mauritania [4].


To the chagrin of US imperialism, Libya’s Gaddafi also refused to join the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), designed to control valuable resources in Africa, safeguard trade and investment markets in the region, and contain or evict China from North Africa. “When the US formed AFRICOM in 2007, some 49 countries signed on to the US military charter for Africa but one country refused: Libya. Such a treacherous act by Libya’s leader Moummar Qaddafi would only sow the seeds for a future conflict down the road in 2011” [5].


Furthermore, by promoting trade, development and industrialization projects on a local, national, regional or African level, Gaddafi was viewed as an obstacle to theWestern powers’ strategies of unhinderedtrade and development projects on a global level. For example, Gaddafi’s Libya played a leading role in “connecting the entire [African] continent by telephone, television, radio broadcasting and several other technological applications such as telemedicine and distance teaching. And thanks to the WMAX radio bridge, a low cost connection was made available across the continent, including in rural areas” [3].


The idea of launching a pan-African system of technologically advanced network of telecommunication began in the early 1990s, “when 45 African nations established RASCOM (Regional African Satellite Communication Organization) so that Africa would have its own satellite and slash communication costs in the continent. This was a time when phone calls to and from Africa were the most expensive in the world because of the annual$500 million fee pocketed by Europe for the use of its satellites like Intelsat for phone conversations, including those within the same country. . . . An African satellite only cost a onetime payment of $400 million and the continent no longer had to pay a $500 million annual lease” [3].


In pursuit of financing this project, the African nations frequently pleaded with the IMF and the World Bank for assistance. As the empty promises of these financial giants dragged on for 14 years,


“Gaddafi put an end to [the] futile pleas to the western ‘benefactors’ with their exorbitant interest rates. The Libyan guide put $300 million on the table; the African Development Bank added$50 million more and the West African Development Bank a further $27 million – and that’s how Africa got its first communications satellite on 26 December 2007.


“China and Russia followed suit and shared their technology and helped launch satellites for South Africa, Nigeria, Angola, Algeria and a second African satellite was launched in July 2010. The first totally indigenously built satellite and manufactured on African soil, in Algeria, is set for 2020. This satellite is aimed at competing with the best in the world, but at ten times less the cost, a real challenge.


“This is how a symbolic gesture of a mere $300 million changed the life of an entire continent. Gaddafi’s Libya cost the West, not just depriving it of $500 million per year but the billions of dollars in debt and interest that the initial loan would generate for years to come and in an exponential manner, thereby helping maintain an occult system in order to plunder the continent”[3].


Architects of global finance, represented by the imperialist governments of the West, also viewed Gaddafi as a spoiler in the area of international or global money and banking. The forces of global capital tend to prefer a uniform, contiguous, or borderless global market to multiple sovereign markets at the local, national, regional or continental levels.Not only Gaddafi’s Libya maintained public ownership of its own central bank, and the authority to create its own national money, but it also worked assiduously to establish an African Monetary Fund, an African Central Bank, and an African Investment Bank.


The $30 billion of the Libyan money frozen by the Obama administration belong to the Central Bank of Libya, which


“had been earmarked as the Libyan contribution to three key projects which would add the finishing touches to the African Federation – the African Investment Bank in Syrte(Libya), the establishment in 2011 of the African Monetary Fund to be based in Yaoundé (Cameroon) . . ., and the Abuja-based African Central Bank in Nigeria, which when it starts printing African money will ring the death knell for the CFA franc [the French currency] through which Paris has been able to maintain its hold on some African countries for the last fifty years. It is easy to understand the French wrath against Gaddafi.


“The African Monetary Fund is expected to totally supplant the African activities of the International Monetary Fund which, with only $25 billion, was able to bring an entire continent to its knees and make it swallow questionable privatization like forcing African countries to move from public to private monopolies. No surprise then that on 16-17 December 2010, the Africans unanimously rejected attempts by Western countries to join the African Monetary Fund, saying it was open only to African nations” [3].


Western powers also viewed Gaddafi as an obstacle to their imperial strategies for yet another reason: standing in the way of their age-old policies of “divide and rule.” To counter Gaddafi’s relentless efforts to establish a United States of Africa, the European Union tried to create the Union for the Mediterranean (UPM) region. “North Africa somehow had to be cut off from the rest of Africa, using the old tired racist clichés of the 18th and 19th centuries,which claimed that Africans of Arab origin were more evolved and civilized than the rest of the continent. This failed because Gaddafi refused to buy into it. He soon understood what game was being played when only a handful of African countries were invited to join the Mediterranean grouping without informing the African Union but inviting all 27 members of the European Union.” Gaddafi also refused to buy into other imperialist-inspired/driven groupings in Africa such as ECOWAS, COMESA, UDEAC, SADC and the Great Maghreb, “which never saw the light of day thanks to Gaddafi who understood what was happening” [3].


Gaddafi further earned the wrath of Western powers for striking extensive trade and investment deals with BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), especially with China. According to Beijing’s Ministry of Commerce, China’s contracts in Libya (prior to imperialism’s controlled demolition of that country) numbered no less than 50 large projects, involving contracts in excess of $18 billion. Even a cursory reading of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) strategic briefings shows that a major thrust of its mission is containment of China. “In effect, what we are witnessing here,” points out Patrick Henningsten, “is the dawn of a New Cold War between the US-EURO powers and China. This new cold war will feature many of the same elements of the long and protracted US-USSR face-off we saw in the second half of the 20th century. It will take place off shore, in places like Africa, South America, Central Asia and through old flashpoints like Korea and the Middle East” [5].


It is obvious (from this brief discussion) that Gaddafi’s sin for being placed on imperialism’s death row consists largely of the challenges he posed to the free reign of Western capital in the region, of his refusal to relinquishLibya’s national sovereignty to become another unconditional “client state” of Western powers. His removal from power is therefore designed to eliminate all “barriers” to the unhindered mobility of the US/European capital in the region by installing a more pliant regime in Libya.


Gaddafi’s removal from power would serve yet another objective of US/European powers: to shorten or spoil the Arab Spring by derailing their peaceful protests, containing their non-violent revolutions and sabotaging their aspirations for self-determination.Soon after being caught by surprise by the glorious uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, the imperialist powers (including the mini Zionist imperialism in Palestine) embarked on “damage control.” In pursuit of this objective, they adopted three simultaneous strategies. The first strategy was to half-heartedly“support” theuprisings in Egypt and Tunisia (of course, once they became unstoppable) in order to control them—hence, the military rule in those countries following the departure of Mubarak from Cairo and Ben Ali from Tunis. The second strategy of containment has been support and encouragement for the brutal crackdown of other spontaneous and peaceful uprisings in countries ruled by “client regimes,” for example, in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. And the third policy of sabotaging the Arab Spring has been to promote civil war and orchestrate chaos in countries such as Libya, Syria and Iran.


In its early stages of development, capitalism promoted nation-state and/or national sovereignty in order to free itself from the constraints of the church and feudalism. Now that the imperatives of the highly advanced but degenerate global finance capital require unhindered mobility in a uniform or borderless world, national sovereignty is considered problematic—especially in places like Libya, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Bolivia and other countries that are not ruled by imperialism’s “client states.” Why? Because unhindered global mobility of capital requiresdoing away with social safety net or welfare state programs; it means doing away with public domain properties or public sector enterprises and bringing them under the private ownership of the footloose-and-fancy-free global capital.


This explains why the corporate media, political pundits and other mouthpieces of imperialism are increasing talking about Western powers’ “responsibility to protect,” by which they mean that these powers have a responsibility to protect the Libyan (or Iranian or Venezuelan or Syrian or Cuban or … )citizens from their “dictatorial” rulers by instigating regime change and promoting “democracy” there. It further means that, in pursuit of this objective,the imperialist powers should not be bound by “constraints” of national sovereignty because, they argue, “universal democratic rights take primacy over national sovereignty considerations.”In anotoriously selective fashion, this utilitarian use of the “responsibility to protect” does not apply to nations or peoples ruled by imperialism’s client states such as Saudi Arabia or Bahrain. [6].


This also means that the imperialist war against peoples and states such as Libya and Venezuela is essentially part of the same class war against peoples and states in the belly of the beast, that is, in the United States and Europe. In every instance or place, whether at home or abroad, whether in Libya or California or Wisconsin or Greece, the thrust of the relentless global class war is the same: to do away with subsistence-level guarantees, or social safety net programs, and redistribute the national or global resources in favor of the rich and powerful, especially the powerful interests vested in the finance capital and the military capital.


There is no question that global capitalism has thus woven together the fates and fortunes of the overwhelming majority of the world population in an increasingly intensifying struggle for subsistence and survival.No one can tell when this majority of world population (the middle, lower-middle, poor and working classes) would come to the realization that their seemingly separate struggles for economic survival are essentially part and parcel of the same struggle against the same class enemies, the guardians of world capitalism. One thing is clear, however: only when they come to such a liberating realization, join forces together in a cross-border, global uprising against the forces of world capitalism, and seek to manage their economies independent of profitability imperatives of capitalist production—only then can they break free from the shackles of capitalism and control their future in a coordinated, people-centered mode of production, distribution and consumption.


Ismael Hossein-zadeh, author of The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism (Palgrave-Macmillan 2007), teaches economics at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa.



1.Michel Chossudovsky, “When War Games Go Live: Staging a ‘Humanitarian War’ against ‘SOUTHLAND’ Under an Imaginary UN Security Council Resolution 3003,”Global Research

2. D. F. Fleming, The Cold War and Its Origins (New York: Double Day, 1961), p. 436.

3. Jean-Paul Pougal, “Why the West Wants the Fall of Gaddafi?”Dissident Voice

4. Rick Rozoff, “Libyan Scenario for Syria: Towards A US-NATO ‘Humanitarian Intervention’ directed against Syria?” Global Research:

5. Patrick Henningsten, “WEST vs. CHINA: A NEW COLD WAR BEGINS ON LIBYAN SOIL,” 21st Century Wire:

6. For an insightful and informative discussion of this issue see (1) F. William Engdahl, “Humanitarian Neo-colonialism: Framing Libya and Reframing War—Creative Destruction Part III,” Global Research; (b) Marjorie Cohn, “The Responsibility to Protect – The Cases of Libya and Ivory Coast,” Counter Punch

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Saudi Arabia/Pakistan: Who Remains in Control of Pakistan



Pakistan is a country which responds best when it is under a veiled military rule.  The parties in Pakistan which are viewed in theory as democratic parties are parties whose primary members have paid their price for the position held.  They may be the party in power at the moment but in many ways it is more of a puppet government for in the background the Army is the force with the influence and the clout.

Yet even within Pakistan’s mighty army there are internal conflicts.  The most powerful men in Pakistan’s Army are the twelve corps commanders who control the country, its security, stability and resources.  The corps commanders are hardened men who have all faced the sternest of challenges.  The basic training a Pakistan army official goes through makes many other armed services around the world appear to have ‘charm schools’ as a training ground.

The majority of officials in Pakistan’s army will spend time in Siachen, Kargill and among other highest peaks in the world each year when Pakistan and India play their annual roulette against each other.  No other armies in the world gain that kind of experience battling the extreme elements as well as the enemy.

But speaking of its enemies, Pakistan can be more Arab than the Arab in an ‘eye for an eye.’ Within the Pakistan Army is a brotherhood that only an inner core will ever have the opportunity to enter.  That inner core decides the strategies and decision of Pakistan, even whether to have harbored Usama bin Laden.  Since bin Laden’s death, the inner core is seeking its retribution against those who sided with the U.S.government to aid and abet the raid on the Usama bin Laden compound.

In most places human intelligent sources are given every opportunity and precise plans with contingencies for the protection and security of their lives.  Yet the Pakistan army with its far reaching tentacles like an octopus was able to dig and uncover the identities and roles of some of the human sources.  The army felt betrayed and wanted its vengeance on multiple fronts.  The army had been ‘found out’ for harboring and supporting bin Laden.  That is a lot of egg on the face that won’t go away easily. The Pakistan army prides itself on its control and secrecy yet there was a breach leading to the middle of the night American raid.  The army knows that the fine dance it had been playing with the U.S. Government is over and a different tune not to its liking will take its place.

Does Pakistan still require the United States?  How important is it for the United States to maintain strong relations with Pakistan?  Where does Saudi Arabia fall in the equation?  Among Pakistan’s close allies and partners are China and Saudi Arabia.  The relationship between the United States and these countries is also undergoing change.

The United States will need to rebuild its intelligent network in Pakistan to keep apprised of plans, intentions, strategies, and the security of Pakistan’s nuclear program.  The Federally Adminstrated Tribal Areas (FATA) will continue to be a haven and breeding ground of terrorism and anti-west rhetoric.  There are numerous transit points between the FATA, Northern Areas and Afghanistan for Taliban, Al-Qaeda and other rogue operatives to flourish.  Baluchistan remains a pinnacle hotbed.  Yes; there are many reasons for the United States to have its eyes and ears to the ground of Pakistan.  Pakistan has become the bigger magnet than perhaps Saudi Arabia or Yemen for the Arab fighters to continue to gather and plan.

This may be the pivotal time for intelligence techniques and methods to be dramatically revised and molded from traditional Western practices to the embodiment of Arab methods.  While networks may plant their nest in Pakistan there targets and goals are usually farther afield.  In addition to plotting against the West there are also those who roost in Pakistan and continue to plan a downfall against Saudi Arabia and its ruling family.

In closing, the relationship between Pakistan and the United States has taken a hard blow.  It is a critical time for the US Defense Department and Intelligence services to evaluation their programs, modus operandi and aid which has been given to Pakistan since 1989.  Pakistan will take what is offered but as history has shown repeatedly is that the other hand remains a closed unyielding fist.

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Bilderberg 2011 – The Rockefeller World Order and the “High Priests of Globalization” X


By Andrew Gavin Marshall

Global Research

To say we were striving for a one-world government is exaggerated, but not wholly unfair. Those of us in Bilderberg felt we couldn’t go on forever fighting one another for nothing and killing people and rendering millions homeless. So we felt that a single community throughout the world would be a good thing.[1]

– Denis Healey, 30-year member of the Steering  Committee of the Bilderberg Group

The ‘Foundations’ of the Bilderberg Group

The Bilderberg Group, formed in 1954, was founded in the Netherlands as a secretive meeting held once a year, drawing roughly 130 of the political-financial-military-academic-media elites from North America and Western Europe as “an informal network of influential people who could consult each other privately and confidentially.”[2] Regular participants include the CEOs or Chairman of some of the largest corporations in the world, oil companies such as Royal Dutch Shell, British Petroleum, and Total SA, as well as various European monarchs, international bankers such as David Rockefeller, major politicians, presidents, prime ministers, and central bankers of the world.[3] The Bilderberg Group acts as a “secretive global think-tank,” with an original intent to “to link governments and economies in Europe and North America amid the Cold War.”[4]

In the early 1950s, top European elites worked with selected American elites to form the Bilderberg Group in an effort to bring together the most influential people from both sides of the Atlantic to advance the cause of ‘Atlanticism’ and ‘globalism.’ The list of attendees were the usual suspects: top politicians, international businessmen, bankers, leaders of think tanks and foundations, top academics and university leaders, diplomats, media moguls, military officials, and Bilderberg also included several heads of state, monarchs, as well as senior intelligence officials, including top officials of the CIA, which was the main financier for the first meeting in 1954.[5]

The European founders of the Bilderberg Group included Joseph Retinger and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. Prince Bernhard had, incidentally, been a member of the Nazi Party until 1934, three years prior to his marrying the Dutch Queen Juliana, and had also worked for the German industrial giant, I.G. Farben, the maker of Zyklon B, the gas used in concentration camps.[6] On the American side, those who were most prominent in the formation of the Bilderberg Group were David Rockefeller, Dean Rusk (a top official with the Council on Foreign Relations who was then the head of the Rockefeller Foundation), Joseph Johnson (another Council leader who was head of the Carnegie Endowment), and John J. McCloy (a top Council leader who became Chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank in 1953 and was also Chairman of the Board of the Ford Foundation).[7]

The fact that the major American foundations – Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Ford – were so pivotal in the origins of the Bilderberg Group is not a mere coincidence. The foundations have, since their founding at the beginning of the 20th century, been the central institutions in constructing consensus among elites, and creating consent to power. They are, in short, the engines of social engineering: both for elite circles specifically, and society as a whole, more generally. As Professor of Education Robert F. Arnove wrote in his book Philanthropy and Cultural Imperialism:

Foundations like Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Ford have a corrosive influence on a democratic society; they represent relatively unregulated and unaccountable concentrations of power and wealth which buy talent, promote causes, and, in effect, establish an agenda of what merits society’s attention. They serve as “cooling-out” agencies, delaying and preventing more radical, structural change. They help maintain an economic and political order, international in scope, which benefits the ruling-class interests of philanthropists and philanthropoids – a system which… has worked against the interests of minorities, the working class, and Third World peoples.[8]

These foundations had been central in promoting the ideology of ‘globalism’ that laid the groundwork for organizations such as the Council on Foreign Relations and the Bilderberg Group to exist. The Rockefeller Foundation, in particular, supported several organizations that promoted a ‘liberal internationalist’ philosophy, the aim of which:


was to support a foreign policy within a new world order that was to feature the United States as the leading power – a programme defined by the Rockefeller Foundation as ‘disinterested’, ‘objective’ and even ‘non-political’… The construction of a new internationalist consensus required the conscious, targeted funding of individuals and organizations who questioned and undermined the supporters of the ‘old order’ while simultaneously promoting the ‘new’.[9]


The major foundations funded and created not only policy-oriented institutes such as think tanks, but they were also pivotal in the organization and construction of universities and education itself, in particular, the study of ‘international relations.’[10] The influence of foundations over education and universities and thus, ‘knowledge’ itself, is unparalleled. As noted in the book, Philanthropy and Cultural Imperialism:


The power of the foundation is not that of dictating what will be studied. Its power consists in defining professional and intellectual parameters, in determining who will receive support to study what subjects in what settings. And the foundation’s power resides in suggesting certain types of activities it favors and is willing to support. As [political theorist and economist Harold] Laski noted, “the foundations do not control, simply because, in the direct and simple sense of the word, there is no need for them to do so. They have only to indicate the immediate direction of their minds for the whole university world to discover that it always meant to gravitate to that angle of the intellectual compass.”[11]


The major philanthropic foundations created by America’s ‘robber baron’ industrialists and bankers were established not to benefit mankind, as was their stated purpose, but to benefit the bankers and industrialist elites in order to engage in social engineering. Through banks, these powerful families controlled the global economy; through think tanks, they manage the political and foreign policy establishments; and through foundations, they engineer society itself according to their own designs and interests. Through these foundations, elites have come to shape the processes, ideas and institutions of education, thus ensuring their continued hegemony over society through the production and control of knowledge. The educational institutions train future elites for government, economics, sciences, and other professional environments, as well as producing the academics that make up the principle component of think tanks, such as the Bilderberg Group.


Foundations effectively “blur boundaries” between the public and private sectors, while simultaneously effecting the separation of such areas in the study of social sciences. This boundary erosion between public and private spheres “adds feudal elements to our purported democracy, yet it has not been resisted, protested, or even noted much by political elites or social scientists.”[12] Zbigniew Brzezinski, foreign policy strategist, former director of the Council on Foreign Relations, Bilderberg member and co-founder with David Rockefeller of the Trilateral Commission, wrote that the blurring of boundaries “serves United States world dominance”:


As the imitation of American ways gradually pervades the world, it creates a more congenial setting for the exercise of the indirect and seemingly consensual American hegemony. And as in the case of the domestic American system, that hegemony involves a complex structure of interlocking institutions and procedures, designed to generate consensus and obscure asymmetries in power and influence.[13]


In 1915, a Congressional investigation into the power of philanthropic foundations took place, named the Walsh Commission, which warned that, “the power of wealth could overwhelm democratic culture and politics.”[14] The Final Report of the Walsh Commission “suggested that foundations would be more likely to pursue their own ideology in society than social objectivity.”[15] In this context, we can come to understand the evolution of the Bilderberg Group as an international think tank aimed at constructing consensus and entrenching ideology among the elite.


At their first meeting, Bilderbergers covered the following broad areas, which remained focal points of discussion for successive meetings: Communism and the Soviet Union; Dependent areas and peoples overseas; Economic policies and problems; and European integration and the European Defense Community.[16]


Nearly every single American participant in the Bilderberg meetings was also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Among the notable American members of the Bilderberg Group in its early years were David Rockefeller, Dean Rusk, John J. McCloy, George McGhee, George Ball, Walt Whitman Rostow, McGeorge Bundy, Arthur Dean, and Paul Nitze. As Political Scientist Stephen Gill wrote, “Prominent in the American section were the network of Rockefeller interests.”[17]


Certainly, while Rothschild interests have remained in the Bilderberg Group, as evidenced by Edmond de Rothschild having been a member of the Steering Committee, and Franco Bernabe, Vice Chairman of Rothschild Europe being a current Steering Committee member,[18] the Rockefeller interests seem to be most dominant. Not only is David Rockefeller sitting as the single individual of the Member Advisory Group of the Steering Committee, but close Rockefeller confidantes have long served on the Steering Committee and been affiliated with the organization, such as: Sharon Percy Rockefeller; George Ball, a long-time leader in the Council on Foreign Relations, who was Undersecretary of State for Economic Affairs in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations; Henry Kissinger, long-time Rockefeller aide and American imperial strategist; Zbigniew Brzezinski, who co-founded the Trilateral Commission with David Rockefeller; Joseph E. Johnson, former U.S. State Department official and President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; John J. McCloy, former Chairman the Council on Foreign Relations (superceded by David Rockefeller), former Assistant Secretary of War, Chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank (where he was superceded by David Rockefeller), former Trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation, Chairman of the Ford Foundation, and President of the World Bank; and James Wolfensohn, former President of the World Bank and Trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation.


One current Steering Committee member, who is representative of not only a continuation of Rockefeller interests, but also of the continuing influence and role of the major foundations is Jessica T. Matthews. She is President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, who had served on the National Security Council under Zbigniew Brzezinski, was a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (at which David Rockefeller remains as Honorary Chairman), is a member of the Trilateral Commission, is a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation, and has served on the boards of the Brookings Institution, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Joyce Foundation.


Bilderberg and the European Union


Joseph Retinger, one of the founders of the Bilderberg Group, was also one of the original architects of the European Common Market and a leading intellectual champion of European integration. In 1946, he told the Royal Institute of International Affairs (the British counterpart and sister organization of the Council on Foreign Relations), that Europe needed to create a federal union and for European countries to “relinquish part of their sovereignty.” Retinger was a founder of the European Movement (EM), a lobbying organization dedicated to creating a federal Europe. Retinger secured financial support for the European Movement from powerful US financial interests such as the Council on Foreign Relations and the Rockefellers.[19] Important to note is that following World War II, the CFR’s main finances came from the Carnegie Corporation, Ford Foundation and most especially, the Rockefeller Foundation.[20]


Apart from Retinger, the founder of the Bilderberg Group and the European Movement, another ideological founder of European integration was Jean Monnet, who founded the Action Committee for a United States of Europe (ACUE), an organization dedicated to promoting European integration, and he was also the major promoter and first president of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the precursor to the European Common Market.[21]


Declassified documents (released in 2001) showed that “the US intelligence community ran a campaign in the Fifties and Sixties to build momentum for a united Europe. It funded and directed the European federalist movement.”[22] The documents revealed that, “America was working aggressively behind the scenes to push Britain into a European state. One memorandum, dated July 26, 1950, gives instructions for a campaign to promote a fully-fledged European parliament. It is signed by Gen William J Donovan, head of the American wartime Office of Strategic Services, precursor of the CIA.” Further, “Washington’s main tool for shaping the European agenda was the American Committee for a United Europe, created in 1948.

The chairman was Donovan, ostensibly a private lawyer by then,” and “the vice-chairman was Allen Dulles, the CIA director in the Fifties. The board included Walter Bedell Smith, the CIA’s first director, and a roster of ex-OSS figures and officials who moved in and out of the CIA. The documents show that ACUE financed the European Movement, the most important federalist organisation in the post-war years.” Interestingly, “the leaders of the European Movement – Retinger, the visionary Robert Schuman and the former Belgian prime minister Paul-Henri Spaak – were all treated as hired hands by their American sponsors. The US role was handled as a covert operation. ACUE’s funding came from the Ford and Rockefeller foundations as well as business groups with close ties to the US government.”[23]


The European Coal and Steel Community was formed in 1951, and signed by France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Newly released documents from the 1955 Bilderberg meeting show that a main topic of discussion was “European Unity,” and that “the discussion affirmed complete support for the idea of integration and unification from the representatives of all the six nations of the Coal and Steel Community present at the conference.” Further, “A European speaker expressed concern about the need to achieve a common currency, and indicated that in his view this necessarily implied the creation of a central political authority.” Interestingly, “a United States participant confirmed that the United States had not weakened in its enthusiastic support for the idea of integration, although there was considerable diffidence in America as to how this enthusiasm should be manifested. Another United States participant urged his European friends to go ahead with the unification of Europe with less emphasis upon ideological considerations and, above all, to be practical and work fast.”[24] Thus, at the 1955 Bilderberg Group meeting, they set as a primary agenda, the creation of a European common market.[25]


In 1957, two years later, the Treaty of Rome was signed, which created the European Economic Community (EEC), also known as the European Community. Over the decades, various other treaties were signed, and more countries joined the European Community. In 1992, the Maastricht Treaty was signed, which created the European Union and led to the creation of the Euro. The European Monetary Institute was created in 1994, the European Central Bank was founded in 1998, and the Euro was launched in 1999. Etienne Davignon, Chairman of the Bilderberg Group and former EU Commissioner, revealed in March of 2009 that the Euro was debated and planned at Bilderberg conferences.[26]


The European Constitution (renamed the Lisbon Treaty) was a move towards creating a European superstate, creating an EU foreign minister, and with it, coordinated foreign policy, with the EU taking over the seat of Britain on the UN Security Council, representing all EU member states, forcing the nations to “actively and unreservedly” follow an EU foreign policy; set out the framework to create an EU defence policy, as an appendage to or separate from NATO; the creation of a European Justice system, with the EU defining “minimum standards in defining offences and setting sentences,” and creates common asylum and immigration policy; and it would also hand over to the EU the power to “ensure co-ordination of economic and employment policies”; and EU law would supercede all law of the member states, thus making the member nations relative to mere provinces within a centralized federal government system.[27]


The Constitution was largely written up by Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, former President of the French Republic from 1974 to 1981. Giscard d’Estaing also happens to be a member of the Bidlerberg Group, the Trilateral Commission, and is also a close friend of Henry Kissinger, having co-authored papers with him.


The Treaty, passed in 2009, created the position of President of the European Council, who represents the EU on the world stage and leads the Council, which determines the political direction of the EU. The first President of the European Council is Herman Van Rompuy, former Prime Minister of Belgium. On November 12, 2009, a small Bilderberg meeting took place, hosted by Viscount Etienne Davignon (Chairman of the Bilderberg Group), and including “international policymakers and industrialists,” among them, Henry Kissinger. Herman Von Rompuy “attended the Bilderberg session to audition for the European job, calling for a new system of levies to fund the EU and replace the perennial EU budget battles.”[28]

Following his selection as President, Van Rompuy gave a speech in which he stated, “We are going through exceptionally difficult times: the financial crisis and its dramatic impact on employment and budgets, the climate crisis which threatens our very survival; a period of anxiety, uncertainty, and lack of confidence. Yet, these problems can be overcome by a joint effort in and between our countries. 2009 is also the first year of global governance with the establishment of the G20 in the middle of the financial crisis; the climate conference in Copenhagen is another step towards the global management of our planet.”[29]


As indicated from leaks of the recent 2011 Bilderberg meeting in Switzerland, the euro-zone is in a major crisis, and Bilderberg members are struggling to keep the house of glass from shattering to pieces. One major subject discussed at this year’s meeting, according to Bilderberg investigative journalist, Daniel Estulin (who reportedly has inside sources in the meetings who leak information, which has proved quite accurate in the past), the Bilderberg meeting discussed the situation of Greece, which is likely to only get worse, with another bailout on the horizon, continuing social unrest, and a possible abandonment of the euro. The problems of Greece, Ireland and the wider global economy as a whole were featured in this year’s discussions.[30] Representatives from Greece this year included George Papaconstantinou, the Greek Minister of Finance, among several bankers and businessmen.[31]

Among the EU power players attending this years meeting was the first President of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, who was appointed as President following an invitation to a private Bilderberg meeting in November of 2009, at which he gave a speech advocating for EU-wide taxes, allowing the EU to not rely exclusively upon its member nations, but have its “own resources.”[32] Van Rompuy, who previously stated that, “2009 is also the first year of global governance,” is no surprise guest at Bilderberg. Other key EU officials who attended this year’s meeting were Joaquín Almunia, a Vice President of the European Commission; Frans van Daele, Chief of Staff to European Council President Van Rompuy; Neelie Kroes, a Vice President of the European Commission; and of course, Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank.[33]


As with each meeting, there is the official list of participants, and then there are those participants who attend, but whose names are not listed in any official release. At this year’s meeting, some reports indicate that attendees whose names were not listed included NATO Secretary-General Anders Rasmussen, which is not surprising considering that the NATO Secretary-General has generally been present at every meeting; Jose Luis Zapatero, Spanish Prime Minister; Angela Merkel, German Chancellor; Bill Gates, Co-Chairman of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and former Microsoft CEO; and Robert Gates, the outgoing U.S. Secretary of Defense.[34] The Guardian also reported that these “unofficial guests” were spotted at the conference or had their attendance ‘leaked’.[35] Angela Merkel has reportedly attended meetings in the past, which would make her current attendance less than surprising.[36]


At the recent meeting, EU officials were discussing the need for the EU to undertake a “massive power grab” in the face of the massive economic crisis facing Europe and indeed the world. Without such a power grab, the euro and indeed the Union itself would likely collapse; a scenario anathema to everything the Bilderberg group has tried to achieve in its 57-year history. The aim, put simply, would be to have the EU police itself and the nations of the Union, with the ability to punish nations for not following the rules, and as one Bilderberger reportedly stated at the meeting, “What we are heading towards a form of real economic government.”[37] Now while this statement cannot be independently verified, there is much documentation within the public record that several of the European attendees at the meeting could have easily made such a statement.


Prior to the meeting, European Central Bank President, Jean-Claude Trichet, “said governments should consider setting up a finance ministry for the 17-nation currency region as the bloc struggles to contain a region-wide sovereign debt crisis.” Trichet asked: “Would it be too bold, in the economic field, with a single market, a single currency and a single central bank, to envisage a ministry of finance of the union?” Further in line with this thought, and with the ideas laid out in the Bilderberg meeting in favour of a ‘power grab’, Trichet said he supports “giving the European Union powers to veto the budget measures of countries that go ‘harmfully astray,’ though that would require a change to EU Treaties.” Such a finance ministry would, according to Trichet, “exert direct responsibilities in at least three domains”:


They would include “first, the surveillance of both fiscal policies and competitiveness policies” and “direct responsibilities” for countries in fiscal distress, he said. It would also carry out “all the typical responsibilities of the executive branches as regards the union’s integrated financial sector, so as to accompany the full integration of financial services, and third, the representation of the union confederation in international financial institutions.”[38]


Last year, Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme endorsed such an idea of a ‘European Economic Government’ when he stated:


The idea of strengthened economic government has been put on the table and will make progress. In the end, the European Debt Agency or something like it will become a reality. I’m convinced of this. It’s about Europe’s financial stability and it’s not an ideological debate about federalism. I myself am a federalist. But more integration and deeper integration are simply logical consequences of having a single currency.[39]


This is of course, not surprising, considering that Leterme’s predecessor is Herman van Rompuy, the current Bilderberg participant and EU President, a strong-headed advocate of an ‘economic government’ and ‘global governance.’ The plans for an ‘economic government’ require the strong commitment of both France and Germany, which may explain Merkel’s reported appearance at Bilderberg. In March of 2010, the German and French governments released a draft outline that would “strengthen financial policy coordination in the EU.” The plan, seen by German publication Der Spiegel, “calls for increased monitoring of individual member states’ competitiveness so that action can be taken early on should problems emerge.” Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker stated in response to the plan, “We need a European economic government in the sense of strengthened coordination of economic policy within the euro zone.”[40] In December of 2010, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble stated that, “In 10 years we will have a structure that corresponds much stronger to what one describes as political union.”[41]


As reported by the German press in early 2011, Germany and France were split on several aspects of such an ‘economic government.’ However, as Merkel stated, “We have obviously been discussing the issue of an economic government for a long time,” and that, “What we are currently envisioning goes yet another step in this direction.” Yet, the differences between the two approaches are mainly as follows:


France would prefer to see the European Council, which comprises the heads of state and government of the EU’s member states, turned into a kind of economic government. Since only euro-zone member countries would be involved initially, French Finance Minister [and past Bilderberg participant] Christine Lagarde has dubbed the project “16 plus.”


The Germans are focused on completely different things. Their preference would be to see the current rescue fund replaced by the so-called European Stability Mechanism in 2013. According to this arrangement, in return for any help, cash-strapped countries would have to subject themselves to a strict cost-cutting regimen.[42]


Mario Draghi is the current President of the Bank of Italy, as well as a board member of the Bank for International Settlements – the BIS (the central bank to the world’s central banks). In an interview posted on the website of the BIS in March of 2010, Mario Draghi stated that in response to the Greek crisis, “In the euro area we need a stronger economic governance providing for more coordinated structural reforms and more discipline.”[43] Mario Draghi also attended the 2009 conference of the Bilderberg Group.[44] Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mario Draghi has been backed by the euro-area finance ministers to be the successor to Jean-Claude Trichet at the European Central Bank, who is due to step down in October of 2011.[45]


Certainly, the objective of a ‘European economic government’ will continue throughout the coming years, especially as the economic crisis continues. As Dominique Strauss-Kahn, outgoing Managing Director of the IMF and long-time Bilderberg participant stated, “crisis is an opportunity.”[46] Bilderberg, while not omnipotent by any means, will do all in its ability to prevent the collapse of the euro or the ending of the European Union. Bilderberg has, after all, from its very beginning, made ‘European integration’ one of its central objectives. In an official biography of Bilderberg-founder and long-time Chairman Prince Bernhard, the Bilderberg Group was credited as “the birthplace of the European Community.”[47]


Regime Change at the IMF?


Christine Lagarde, the French Finance Minister who has been pivotal in the process towards drafting and proposing a ‘European economic government’, is also considered the front-runner for the job of Managing Director of the IMF. The Managing Director of the IMF is always in attendance at Bilderberg meetings, except for this year, considering outgoing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn is facing sexual assault charges in New York; yet, the top job is usually set aside for those who have been invited to at least one meeting of the Bilderberg Group. While the race has yet to finish, perhaps it is noteworthy that Christine Lagarde attended a Bilderberg meeting in 2009.[48] Could this make her the supreme choice, or is there a surprise in the near future?


A Place for China in the New World Order?


Investigative journalist Daniel Estulin’s report of inside sources in this year’s meeting indicated a rather extensive discussion on the role of China, which is hardly surprising, considering this has been a central topic of discussion in meetings for a number of years. China emerged in discussions on Pakistan, as China has become increasingly Pakistan’s closest economic and strategic ally, a trend that is continuing as America continues to spread the Afghan war into neighbouring Pakistan. China is also a major player in Africa, threatening the West’s stranglehold over the continent, in particular through the World Bank and IMF. Most importantly, however, and not unrelated to its role in Pakistan and Africa, China has become the greatest economic competitor for the United States in the world, and as the IMF even admitted recently, its economy is expected to surpass that of the United States by 2016. Bilderberg paid attention to this issue not simply as a financial-economic consideration, but as a massive geopolitical transition in the world: “the biggest story of our time.”[49]


What made the discussion on China at this year’s meeting unique was that it actually included two attendees from China for the first time ever. The two guests were Huang Yiping, a prominent economics professor at Peking University (China’s Harvard), and Fu Ying, China’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs.[50] This is especially unusual and telling of the importance of the discussion at hand, considering that Bilderberg is exclusively a European and North American (Atlantic) organization, and in the past, when Bilderberg memebers David Rockefeller and Zbigniew Brzezinski suggested Japan be allowed to join in 1972, the European rejected the proposition, and instead the Trilateral Commission was formed in 1973 to integrate the elites of Western Europe, North America, and Japan. The Trilateral Commission eventually expanded the Japanese section of the group into a ‘Pacific Asian Group’ in 2000 to include not only Japan, but South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.


In 2009 the G20 was endowed with the task of ‘managing’ the global economic crisis – to include the ‘emerging’ economic giants, notably China and India – and as Bilderberg member Jean-Claude Trichet stated, this marked “the emergence of the G20 as the prime group for global economic governance.”[51] That same year the newly-appointed European Union President Herman van Rompuy declared to be “the first year of global governance.” No surprise then, that also in 2009, China and India were invited as official members of the Trilateral Commission.[52] This indicates a growing role for India and especially China in global affairs, and participation in Bilderberg meetings emphasizes the aim to not alienate China from the established institutions, ideologies and systems of global power, but to more fully integrate China within that system.

The aim of the global elite, perhaps best represented by Bilderberg, is not to allow for the collapse of the American empire and the rise of a new one; rather, it is to manage the collapse of American hegemony into an entirely new system of global governance. This ‘big idea’ is not possible without the participation of China, and thus, as Bilderberg has long been saturated with the ideology of ‘global governance,’ it cannot be seen as too surprising to see China invited. Perhaps the surprise should be that it simply took this long.


Is Bilderberg Building a Global Government?


Jon Ronson wrote an article for the Guardian paper in which he managed to interview key members of the Bilderberg Group for an exposé on the organization, attempting to dismantle the “conspiracy theories” surrounding the secrecy of the meetings. However, through his interviews, important information regarding the social importance of the group continued to emerge. Ronson attempted to contact David Rockefeller, but only managed to reach his press secretary who told Ronson that the “conspiracy theories” about Rockefeller and “global think-tanks such as Bilderberg in general” left David Rockefeller “thoroughly fed up.” According to his press secretary, “Mr. Rockefeller’s conclusion was that this was a battle between rational and irrational thought. Rational people favoured globalisation. Irrational people preferred nationalism.”[53]


While dismissing “conspiracy theories” that Bilderberg “runs the world,” Ronson did explain that the Bilderberg members he interviewed admitted, “that international affairs had, from time to time, been influenced by these sessions.” As Denis Healey, a 30-year member of the Steering Committee, himself pointedly explained:


To say we were striving for a one-world government is exaggerated, but not wholly unfair. Those of us in Bilderberg felt we couldn’t go on forever fighting one another for nothing and killing people and rendering millions homeless. So we felt that a single community throughout the world would be a good thing… Bilderberg is a way of bringing together politicians, industrialists, financiers and journalists. Politics should involve people who aren’t politicians. We make a point of getting along younger politicians who are obviously rising, to bring them together with financiers and industrialists who offer them wise words. It increases the chance of having a sensible global policy.[54]


Will Hutton, the former Editor of the Observer, who had been invited to Bilderberg meetings in the past, once famously referred to the group as “the high priests of globalization.”[55] Hutton has said that “people take part in these networks in order to influence the way the world works,” and to create, as he put it, “the international common sense” of policy. The Chairman of the Bilderberg Group, Viscount Etienne Davignon, stated that, “I don’t think (we are) a global ruling class because I don’t think a global ruling class exists. I simply think it’s people who have influence interested to speak to other people who have influence.”[56]


G. William Domhoff is a professor of Psychology and Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and has written about the Bilderberg Group. In an interview, he discounted the notion that the study of such groups is relegated to the realm of conspiracy theory, and instead explained that he studies “how elites strive to develop consensus, which is through such publicly observable organizations as corporate boards and the policy-planning network, which can be studied in detail, and which are reported on in the media in at least a halfway accurate manner.”[57]


Bilderbergers have long been advocates of global governance and ‘global government,’ and ‘crisis’ is always an excellent means through which to advance their agendas. Just as the Greek crisis has stepped up calls for the formation of a ‘European economic government,’ an idea which has been sought out for much longer than Greece has been in crisis, so too is the global economic crisis an excuse to advance the cause of ‘global economic governance.’ Outgoing Managing Director of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, stated in May of 2010 that, “crisis is an opportunity,” and he called for “a new global currency issued by a global central bank, with robust governance and institutional features,” and that the “global central bank could also serve as a lender of last resort.” However, he stated, “I fear we are still very far from that level of global collaboration.”[58] Unless, of course, the world continues to descend into economic and financial ruin, as any astute economic observer would likely warn is taking place.


Following the April 2009 G20 summit, “plans were announced for implementing the creation of a new global currency to replace the US dollar’s role as the world reserve currency.” Point 19 of the communiqué released by the G20 at the end of the Summit stated, “We have agreed to support a general SDR allocation which will inject $250bn (£170bn) into the world economy and increase global liquidity.” SDRs, or Special Drawing Rights, are “a synthetic paper currency issued by the International Monetary Fund.” As the Telegraph reported, “the G20 leaders have activated the IMF’s power to create money and begin global ‘quantitative easing’. In doing so, they are putting a de facto world currency into play. It is outside the control of any sovereign body.”[59] The Washington Post reported that the IMF is poised to transform “into a veritable United Nations for the global economy”:


It would have vastly expanded authority to act as a global banker to governments rich and poor. And with more flexibility to effectively print its own money, it would have the ability to inject liquidity into global markets in a way once limited to major central banks, including the U.S. Federal Reserve… the IMF is all but certain to take a central role in managing the world economy. As a result, Washington is poised to become the power center for global financial policy, much as the United Nations has long made New York the world center for diplomacy.[60]


While the IMF is pushed to the forefront of the global currency agenda, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) remains as the true authority in terms of ‘global governance’ overall. As the IMF’s magazine, Finance and Development, stated in 2009, “the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), established in 1930, is the central and the oldest focal point for coordination of global governance arrangements.”[61] Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank (ECB) and long-time Bilderberg participant, gave a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in April of 2010 in which he explained that, “the significant transformation of global governance that we are engineering today is illustrated by three examples”:


First, the emergence of the G20 as the prime group for global economic governance at the level of ministers, governors and heads of state or government. Second, the establishment of the Global Economy Meeting of central bank governors under the auspices of the BIS as the prime group for the governance of central bank cooperation. And third, the extension of Financial Stability Board membership to include all the systemic emerging market economies.[62]


In concluding his speech, Trichet emphasized that, “global governance is of the essence to improve decisively the resilience of the global financial system.”[63] The following month, Trichet spoke at the Bank of Korea, where he said, “central bank cooperation is part of a more general trend that is reshaping global governance, and which has been spurred by the global financial crisis,” and that, “it is therefore not surprising that the crisis has led to even better recognition of their increased economic importance and need for full integration into global governance.” Once again, Trichet identified the BIS and its “various fora” – such as the Global Economy Meeting and the Financial Stability Board – as the “main channel” for central bank cooperation.[64]


For more on ‘Global Government’ and the global economic crisis, see: Andrew Gavin Marshall, “Crisis is an Opportunity”: Engineering a Global Depression to Create a Global Government, Global Research, 26 October 2010.

Rockefeller’s Dream


David Rockefeller celebrated his 96th birthday during last weekend’s Bilderberg meeting, and is one of if not the only remaining original founders of the group in 1954. If the Bilderberg Group represents the “high priests of globalization,” then David Rockefeller is the ‘Pope’.


James Wolfensohn represents the importance of the Rockefellers to not only America, but to the whole process of globalization. James D. Wolfensohn, an Australian national, was President of the World Bank from 1995-2005, and has since founded and leads his private firm, Wolfensohn & Company, LLC. He has also been a long-time Steering Committee member of the Bilderberg Group, and has served as an Honorary Trustee of the Brookings Institution, a major American think tank, as well as a Trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Wolfensohn’s father, Hyman, was employed by James Armand de Rothschild of the Rothschild banking dynasty, after whom James was named.

His father taught him how to “cultivate mentors, friends and contacts of influence.”[65] Wolfensohn rose quickly through the financial world, and as his father had lived in service to the Rothschild’s – the dominant family of the 19th century – James Wolfensohn lived in service to the Rockefellers, arguably the dominant family of the 20th century. On the event of David Rockefeller’s 90th birthday, James Wolfensohn, speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations, stated:


[T]he person who had perhaps the greatest influence on my life professionally in this country, and I’m very happy to say personally there afterwards, is David Rockefeller, who first met me at the Harvard Business School in 1957 or ‘58… [At the beginning of the 20th century] as we looked at the world, a family, the Rockefeller family, decided that the issues were not just national for the United States, were not just related to the rich countries. And where, extraordinarily and amazingly, David’s grandfather set up the Rockefeller Foundation, the purpose of which was to take a global view.


… So the Rockefeller family, in this last 100 years, has contributed in a way that is quite extraordinary to the development in that period and has given ample focus to the issues of development with which I have been associated. In fact, it’s fair to say that there has been no other single family influence greater than the Rockefeller’s in the whole issue of globalization and in the whole issue of addressing the questions which, in some ways, are still before us today. And for that David, we’re deeply grateful to you and for your own contribution in carrying these forward in the way that you did.[66]


David Rockefeller has been even less humble (but perhaps more honest) in his assertion of his family’s and his own personal role in shaping the world. In his 2002 book, Memoirs, David Rockefeller wrote:


For more than a century ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents such as my encounter with Castro to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure–one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.[67]


As if this admission was not quite enough, at a 1991 meeting of the Bilderberg group, David Rockefeller was quoted as saying:


We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost 40 years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But the world is more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.[68]


So, happy 96th birthday, Mr. David Rockefeller! But I am sorry to say (or perhaps not so sorry) that while the mainstream media have “respected their promises of discretion,” the new media – the alternative media – have not. As you said yourself, “It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years,” it seems that the “lights of publicity” are now descending upon your “plan for the world,” making it all the more difficult to come to pass.

Indeed, “the world is more sophisticated,” but not because the world is ‘ready’ for your plan, but because the world is getting ready to reject it. While national sovereignty certainly has problems and is hardly something I would consider ‘ideal’, the “supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers” is about the worst scenario one could imagine. So as a birthday present to you, Mr. Rockefeller, I promise (and I am sure that I am speaking for a great many more than simply myself) that I will continue to expose your “plans for the world,” so that your dream – and our nightmare – will never become a reality. The light will shine, and in due time, the people will be ready to follow its path.

Andrew Gavin Marshall is a Research Associate with the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).  He is co-editor, with Michel Chossudovsky, of the recent book, “The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century,” available to order He is currently working on a forthcoming book on ‘Global Government’.




[1]        Jon Ronson, Who pulls the strings? (part 3), The Guardian, 10 March 2001:

[2]        CBC, Informal forum or global conspiracy? CBC News Online: June 13, 2006:

[3]        Holly Sklar, ed., Trilateralism: The Trilateral Commission and Elite Planning for World Management. (South End Press: 1980), 161-171

[4]        Glen McGregor, Secretive power brokers meeting coming to Ottawa? Ottawa Citizen: May 24, 2006:

[5]        Stephen Gill, American Hegemony and the Trilateral Commission (Cambridge University Press: New York, 1990), page 129.

[6]        Bruno Waterfield, Dutch Prince Bernhard ‘was member of Nazi party’, The Telegraph, 5 March 2010:

[7]        Joan Roelofs, Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism (New York: State University of New York Press, 2003), page 52.

[8]        Robert F. Arnove, ed., Philanthropy and Cultural Imperialism: The Foundations at Home and Abroad (Indiana University Press: Boston, 1980), page 1.

[9]        Inderjeet Parmar, “‘To Relate Knowledge and Action’: The Impact of the Rockefeller Foundation on Foreign Policy Thinking During America’s Rise to Globalism 1939-1945,” Minerva (Vol. 40, 2002), page 246.

[10]      Ibid, page 247.

[11]      Robert F. Arnove, ed., Philanthropy and Cultural Imperialism: The Foundations at Home and Abroad (Indiana University Press, 1980), page 319.

[12]      Joan Roelofs, “Foundations and Collaboration,” Critical Sociology, Vol. 33, 2007, page 480

[13]      Ibid, page 481.

[14]      Ibid, page 483.

[15]      Erkki Berndtson, “Review Essay: Power of Foundations and the American Ideology,” Critical Sociology, Vol. 33, 2007, page 580

[16]      Joan Roelofs, Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism (New York: State University of New York Press, 2003), page 52.

[17]      Stephen Gill, American Hegemony and the Trilateral Commission (Cambridge University Press: New York, 1990), pages 131-132.

[18]      Bilderberg Meetings, Former Steering Committee Members,; Steering Committee:

[19]      Holly Sklar, ed., Trilateralism: The Trilateral Commission and Elite Planning for World Management. (South End Press: 1980), 161-162

[20]      CFR, The First Transformation. CFR History:

[21]      William F. Jasper, Rogues’ gallery of EU founders. The New American: July 12, 2004:;col1

[22]      Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Euro-federalists financed by US spy chiefs. The Telegraph: June 19, 2001:

[23]      Ibid.

[24]      Bilderberg Group, GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN CONFERENCE. The Bilderberg Group: September 23-25, 1955, page 7:

[25]      Who are these Bilderbergers and what do they do? The Sunday Herald: May 30, 1999:

[26]      Andrew Rettman, ‘Jury’s out’ on future of Europe, EU doyen says. EUobserver: March 16, 2009:

[27]      Daily Mail, EU Constitution – the main points. The Daily Mail: June 19, 2004:–main-points.html

[28]      Ian Traynor, Who speaks for Europe? Criticism of ‘shambolic’ process to fill key jobs. The Guardian, 17 November 2009:

[29]      Herman Van Rompuy, Speech Upon Accepting the EU Presidency, BBC News, 22 November 2009:

[30]      Daniel Estulin, Bilderberg Report 2011,, 14 June 2011:

[31]      Bilderberg Meetings, Bilderberg 2011: List of Participants,, June 2011:

[32]      Bruno Waterfield, EU Presidency candidate Herman Van Rompuy calls for new taxes, The Telegraph, 16 November 2009:

[33]      Bilderberg Meetings, Bilderberg 2011: List of Participants,, June 2011:

[34]      PrisonPlanet, Exclusive: Unnamed Bilderberg Attendees Revealed, Gates Violates Logan Act, Prison Planet, 11 June 2011:

[35]      Charlie Skelton, Bilderberg 2011: The opposition steps up, The Guardian, 11 June 2011:

[36]      SwissInfo, World’s Powerful Bilderberg Group Meets In St Moritz, EurasiaReview, 9 June 2011:

[37]      Daniel Estulin, Bilderberg Report 2011,, 14 June 2011:

[38]      Bloomberg, European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet calls for Euro Finance Ministry, The Economic Times, 3 June 2011:

[39]      Daniel Hannan, European economic government is inevitable, Telegraph Blogs, 17 March 2010:

[40]      Spiegel, Plans for European Economic Government Gain Steam, Der Spiegel, 1 March 2011:,1518,680955,00.html

[41]      ANDREW WILLIS, Germany predicts EU ‘political union’ in 10 years, EU Observer, 13 December 2010:

[42]      Peter Müller and Michael Sauga, France and Germany Split over Plans for European Economic Government, Der Spiegel, 3 January 2011:,1518,737423,00.html

[43]      Mario Draghi: “We need a European economic government” – interview in Handelsblatt, The Bank for International Settlements, March 2010:

[44]      Bilderberg Meetings, Participants 2009,, May 2009:

[45]      Ecofin: Finance Ministers Back Mario Draghi To Lead ECB, The Wall Street Journal, 16 May 2011:

[46]      Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Concluding Remarks by Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, at the High-Level Conference on the International Monetary System, Zurich, 11 May 2010:

[47]      Stephen Gill, American Hegemony and the Trilateral Commission (Cambridge University Press: New York, 1990), pages 131-132.

[48]      Bilderberg Meetings, Participants 2009,, May 2009:

[49]      Daniel Estulin, Bilderberg Report 2011,, 14 June 2011:

[50]      Bilderberg Meetings, Bilderberg 2011: List of Participants,, June 2011:

[51]      Jean-Claude Trichet, Global Governance Today, Keynote address by Mr Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank, at the Council on Foreign Relations, New York, 26 April 2010:

[52]      The Trilateral Commission, About the Pacific Asian Group, May 2011:

[53]      Jon Ronson, Who pulls the strings? (part 2), The Guardian, 10 March 2001:

[54]      Ibid.

[55]      Mark Oliver, The Bilderberg group, The Guardian, 4 June 2004:

[56]      BBC, Inside the secretive Bilderberg Group, BBC News, 29 September 2005:

[57]      Chip Berlet, Interview: G. William Domhoff, New Internationalist, September 2004:

[58]      Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Concluding Remarks by Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, at the High-Level Conference on the International Monetary System, Zurich, 11 May 2010:

[59]      Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The G20 moves the world a step closer to a global currency. The Telegraph: April 3, 2009:

[60]      Anthony Faiola, A Bigger, Bolder Role Is Imagined For the IMF, The Washington Post, 20 April 2009:

[61]      Amar Bhattacharya, A Tangled Web, Finance and Development, March 2009, Vol. 46, No. 1:

[62]      Jean-Claude Trichet, Global Governance Today, Keynote address by Mr Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank, at the Council on Foreign Relations, New York, 26 April 2010:

[63]      Ibid.

[64]      Jean-Claude Trichet, Central bank cooperation after the global financial crisis, Video address by Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank, at the Bank of Korea International Conference 2010, Seoul, 31 May 2010:

[65]      Michael Stutchbury, The man who inherited the Rothschild legend, The Australian, 30 October 2010:

[66]      James D. Wolfensohn, Council on Foreign Relations Special Symposium in honor of David Rockefeller’s 90th Birthday, The Council on Foreign Relations, 23 May 2005:

[67]      David Rockefeller, Memoirs (Random House, New York: 2002), pages 404 – 405.

[68]      Gordon Laxer, “Radical Transformative Nationalisms Confront the US Empire,” Current Sociology (Vol. 51, Issue 2: March 2003), page 141.

Posted in Campaigns1 Comment

WRITE! for Justice, Human Rights, and International Law in Palestine

The Miami Herald has published an op-ed by Brian Siegal of the American Jewish Committee ‘Second Gaza Flotilla Looks for Trouble’ (6/17) which disparages the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and repeats numerous standard talking points of the Israeli government in an attempt to justify the continuation of the blockade.  Siegal even maintains that the Free Gaza Movement and the European Campaign to End the Siege are “naive” to believe that the blockade is oppressing Palestinians.

Unfortunately for Siegal, the facts tell a different story with 95 percent of the water in Gaza unfit for drinking, one of the highest levels of unemployment in the world at 45 percent, 53 percent food insecurity, critical medicines routinely in short supply, and the absence of adequate building materials for the thousands left homeless by Operation Cast Lead — the illegal blockade has taken a devastating toll on Palestinians in Gaza and the international community has done virtually nothing about it.  However, the flotilla is not ultimately about bringing humanitarian supplies — but the right of people to be free from tyranny and live a decent life and this is precisely in line with the spirit of the ‘Arab Spring’ and not counter to it as the author suggests.

Please WRITE! to the Miami Herald at or use the feedback form in order to correct the record.  Letters should be kept under 150 words and be sure to include your name, address, and phone number for verification purposes.

For further information:

Tell President Obama to ensure safe passage of the Freedom Flotilla 2
Kathy Kelly: Don’t Look Away — The siege of Gaza must end
Richard Falk: A UN Secretary General v. the Freedom Flotilla 2
Nobel Laureates Letter to Ban Ki-moon: Safe passage for Gaza Flotilla
Second Gaza flotilla looks for trouble
Amid dramatic events unfolding across the Middle East, the pending Gaza Flotilla II is a looming danger to regional peace.
The event is scheduled for later this month, a year after the first flotilla, consisting of six ships, was stopped by Israeli naval vessels. One of the ships resisted an Israeli boarding party, and nine passengers were killed, triggering international condemnation of the Jewish state.
Ostensibly, Flotilla II, as well as its predecessor, intends to bring humanitarian supplies by sea through the Israeli blockade and deliver them to the supposedly desperate residents of Gaza to improve their situation. But even the International Red Cross reports “there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza.” Flotilla II is actually aimed at provocation.
Flotilla II is expected to be larger than its predecessor, with 15 ships and some 1,500 people from all over the world. The aim is clearly to place Israel in an impossible dilemma. If it stops the ships, Israel suffers another severe public-relations setback, especially if blood is shed once again. Should Israel let it through, the blockade is effectively negated. And now that post-Mubarak Egypt has opened its border with Gaza, the sea blockade is even more vital.
Israel’s blockade of Gaza accords with international law.
Israeli officials inspect all items entering Gaza by land, allowing in some 50,000 tons of goods and humanitarian aid biweekly. The blockade was imposed with international support after the radical Islamist group Hamas violently seized control of Gaza in June 2007. Hamas, explicitly dedicated to the elimination of Israel and designated a terrorist organization by the United States and European Union, has fired thousands of rockets and missiles at Israeli civilians across the border. Indeed, Israel’s blockade is intended to prevent the entry of materiel that can be used for these attacks and other threats to Israeli security.
The only way to head off the new flotilla is for the nations from whose ports the ships will sail to recognize that since the Israeli blockade is legal, necessary for Israel’s security and conducted in a humane manner, those seeking to break it will be aiding Hamas and its Iranian sponsors in their war against Israel. As it happens, there is plenty of evidence that such is the case.
Behind both flotillas is a coalition of pro-Palestinian groups. Some, such as the Free Gaza Movement and the European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza, seem to reflect a sincere if naive assumption that the Israeli blockade is indeed oppressing the Gazans.  Not so the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, which provided three of the six ships in the original flotilla and was the only sponsoring body to advocate, and practice, violence.
The IHH is an NGO based in Turkey. It was officially registered in Istanbul in 1995, originally to aid Bosnian Muslims, and, more generally, to provide humanitarian relief to those suffering in areas of war, earthquake, hunger and conflict. However, evidence of cooperation with Hamas and al Qaeda has led Israel and the Netherlands to ban the IHH as a terrorist organization.
While the U.S. has not yet followed suit, the IHH is a member of the Union of the Good, a Saudi-based umbrella group of Muslim charities set up by Hamas that the U.S. Treasury has designated a terrorist organization. French counterterrorism experts discovered, in the 1990s, that the IHH was orchestrating attacks by Islamists in Europe, and Turkish authorities found weapons, explosives and forged passports at IHH headquarters.
The “Arab spring” that is painstakingly replacing one-man rule in countries of the Middle East, and the elimination of Osama bin Ladin as a symbol of fanatical Islamism, give hope for a turn away from terror in the region and its replacement by a peacefully functioning democratic system, including a Palestinian state living alongside Israel.
A second Gaza flotilla could help sabotage such hopes, however. It is up to the community of nations to prevent the ships from sailing. All governments should heed the words of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who called on them “to use their influence to discourage such flotillas.”
Brian D. Siegal, is regional director of the American Jewish Committee for Miami and Broward counties.

Posted in GazaComments Off on WRITE! for Justice, Human Rights, and International Law in Palestine

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Same day as Bahraini blogger’s brave appearance at Netroots, State Department shifts its line

Jun 20, 2011

Philip Weiss

Mother Jones reported on Friday:

Since the onset of anti-government protests in Bahrain, the US has refrained from taking substantial steps to pressure the Bahraini government to stop its crackdown on protesters. That changed yesterday during a speech to the UN Human Rights Council, when Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, US ambassador to the UNHRC, included Bahrain on the list of human rights offenders in need of the Council’s attention. Some of the other countries on the list: Iran, Burma, North Korea, and Zimbabwe. Donahoe told the UNHRC that Bahrain “has arbitrarily detained medical workers and others perceived as opponents.” She ended her comments on Bahrain by saying that the country must “follow through on its commitment to ensuring that those responsible for human rights abuses are held accountable.”

Let’s be clear about the sequence here. On Thursday at Netroots, Ali Gharib at Think Progressdid a great piece calling out the State Department on its hypocrisy re Bahrain, reporting on Lamees Dhaif’s smashing appearance that morning at Netroots–a Bahraini blogger who is here as a guest of the State Department and who savaged Hillary Clinton for her hypocrisy. Oh, yeah, and I did a post on Dhaif the same day. Gharib and I reported Dhaif’s assertion that the State Department knew all the details of the treatment of writers and doctors but was saying nothing.

And that day the State Department finally said something….

Let’s also be clear that Lamees Dhaif fears for her family. Her sister spent 50 days in prison in Bahrain because of Dhaif’s brave writing. Now it looks like the State Department is signalling: We support this blogger.

Thanks to Steve Horn for making the connection!

Update: An earlier version of this post mistakenly stated that the State Department statement followed Dhaif’s appearance by a day. They were the same day. But Horn notes that the State Department had to know Dhaif was going public. She’s State’s guest.

On World Refugee Day 2011: Put Palestinian refugees back on the agenda

Jun 20, 2011

Badil Resource Center

The following statement was issued by the Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights:

Palestinian refugees, constituting the largest and longest-standing refugee community in the world, continue to be sidelined and neglected by nearly all parties mandated to search for just and durable solutions to their displacement. On the occasion of World Refugee Day 2011, BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights calls on the international community to promote and protect the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, national independence, sovereignty and return to the homes and properties from which they have been forcibly displaced.

Seven out of every ten Palestinians are persons displaced at some point during the past 63 years as a result of Israel’s ongoing policy of forced population transfer. Of these refugees, the majority are not protected by the UNHCR (the organizer of World Refugee Day) and have had the body responsible for providing them with protection, the UN Conciliation Commission for Palestine (UNCCP) largely de-funded and de-activated. As such, most Palestinian refugees are left without an effective agency to provide for protection and promotion of their rights and are only afforded humanitarian assistance by UNRWA.

Meanwhile, in the official discourse, refugees remain nowhere to be seen as politicians instead focus on resuscitating the ‘peace process’ or on declaring Palestinian statehood; two strategies which remain ambiguous on the future of Palestinian refugees. The latest plan by Obama to move the peace process forward on the basis of “territory and security” repeats the mistakes of previous negotiation processes by ignoring international law and continuing to insist that Palestinian refugees should wait indefinitely to return home.

In response to this continued neglect, Palestinian refugees and IDPs have taken it upon themselves to force the international community to recognize their rights and place them at the center of the region’s political agenda. On May the 15th 2011 (Nakba Day) thousands of Palestinian refugees, continued the long tradition of struggle in the face of international apathy and complicity by marching to the borders of their homeland and attempting to return home; an action met with deadly fire by the Israeli army. The subsequent return of Palestinians to the border on June the 5th showed that despite the brutal use of force by Israel, in the new Middle East, the legitimate rights of the people of the region can no longer be suppressed.

The deep respect in international law for the right of return and the insistence of refugees themselves on their rights highlights that there is no solution to the ongoing colonial conflict in Palestine which does not address the rights of Palestinian refugees to return, restitution and compensation. Any declaration of statehood is incomplete if it does not explicitly insist upon the rights of Palestinian refugees and actively work for their realization. A ‘peace process’ which delays refugee rights and does not reference international law, such as suggested in Obama’s recent speech, is destined to go the way of the numerous other initiatives which have lead to 20 years of failed negotiations, a failure which further amplifies the need for a principled rights-based strategy including Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law.

As part of ongoing efforts to promote refugee rights, BADIL Resource Center is pleased to launch the following Q and A on Palestinian refugee rights which addresses frequently asked questions about Palestinian refugees and IDPs.


Israeli Cabinet strips Barak of ability to stop settlements– opening floodgates?

Jun 20, 2011

Philip Weiss

“Opening the floodgates?” is Lara Friedman of Peace Now’s line re the decision by the Israeli cabinet yesterday.  Here is an account of the cabinet meeting:

Sunday, June 19, 2011 Cabinet Communique: Consent of DM [Defense Minister] not required for activities of Rural Settlement Division

[Dr. Aaron Lerner – IMRA [Independent Media Review Analysis]: Until the cabinet decision today, DM [Ehud] Barak was effectively stopping almost new activity of the Rural Settlement Division in Judea and Samaria. The decision today strips him of his veto power in this matter.]…

In continuation of its 22.7.07 and 19.7.09 decisions, and pursuant to Article 31d of Basic Law: The Government, the Cabinet decided to transfer responsibility for the World Zionist Organization Rural Settlement Division from the agriculture and Rural Development Ministry to the Prime Minister’s Office. This decision will be submitted for Knesset approval.

[AL: from the Hebrew explanation: “in Section D government resolution No. 601, the words “will be brought for pre-approval of the Defense Minister and if necessary the approval of the Prime Minister” shall be deleted and replaced with: “shall be made in coordination with the Defense Minister. That is to say that coordination does not require consent.”

Thanks to Ali Gharib.

Rafah chaos escalates as Gazans continue to wait for the border to open

Jun 20, 2011

Ruqaya Izzidien

Waiting at Rafah. (All Photos: Ruqaya Izzidien)

Arms grappled through the black metal barrier that separates Palestinians from the Rafah terminal. A barrier which only ever shifts to let through ambulances, press and- very occasionally- a busload of travellers, successfully making it out of Gaza.

Elderly ladies wait for hours brandishing their passports through the bars. Welcome to the new, improved, siege-free Gaza.

When the gate opens, it traps those loitering beside it between its two frames, and people hurriedly look for a gap in the guards’ attention through which they could make a break for it.  Those who found a seemingly unguarded exit route where manhandled back behind the fence.

Currently officials at the Rafah border are working their way through an ever-growing backlog of registered travellers. Until the quota of up to 400 travellers per day is lifted, the mayhem at Rafah will only intensify. “I know today is the 18th June,” a guard announced over a loudspeaker, “but today only people registered to cross between 6 and 10 of June will be crossing.”

When the border closed at around 2pm that day, it came with another announcement via loudspeaker, “this isn’t from us; it’s because of Egypt.”

When the Rafah ‘reopening’ was first announced in April, Gazans were promised a border that would permit women, children and the elderly to travel freely, as well as men who had registered to in advance.  Currently none of this is true.

Qasem and Qayis Farah.

Qasem and Qayis Farah are two British-Palestinian children who are have been trying, with their mother, Wesam, to get home to Sheffield in the UK. I first met them on June 16.

“We are trying to get out of this terrible place” eight-year-old Qasem explained.  Every time the family was given a window in which to cross, it was retracted. Qasem added, “I miss my dad, I miss all my friends, I miss my best friend, I miss my house, I miss my home; home sweet home.”

The Farah family made it through the Rafah barrier but after waiting for six hours, they were returned to Gaza. They were back at the Rafah crossing when it reopened on 18 June, determined to cross once more.

“When we finally got through last time,” Qasem said, “they just took us back and we had to go through the border again. They just surrounded us and every time we wanted to get through the guards would tell us that your passport is not in, you’ve not got any permission to come through.”

rafah2The line at the Rafah crossing.

This experience is typical for Gazans wanting to cross into Egypt. Shahd Abusalama has a summer leadership programme scholarship in the University of Delaware, USA. She was registered to cross the border on June 18, five days before her flight out of Cairo.

“I feel so worried, I’ve been working hard to get this scholarship and everything depends on the border. I can’t leave and move freely, it’s really hard. After the Egyptians said that Rafah border is going to be open permanently, we had lots of hope that we would be able to leave freely and have no more difficulties but everything was an illusion. The reality is far different to what the media and leaders say, the reality is that sometimes the border is open, sometimes it is closed, and sometimes not all buses are allowed to enter. I’ve heard of people who come to the border every day for a whole week in order to enter. It’s like a torment. It makes me feel like I’m less than human.”

But inhumane border regulations are just part of the humiliation that Gazans face at the border. Before being allowed to enter the Gazan Rafah terminal, they must wait in a metal shed, filled with plastic chairs and toilets which are so smutty-looking that they make you want to wash your eyes for just looking at them. A Gazan must stay seated:

“Sit in your chairs and an explanation will be given to you,” the loudspeaker rang out. A Gazan cannot challenge the guards without being escorted from the building. It was like being transported into George Orwell’s mind; people are crammed into an eerie shed which still bears bullet holes I could fit my fist through as the Rafah sub-culture takes hold of everyone by the wrist.

“If you want to get out, sit down in your chairs” the loudspeaker dictated again. Shahd Abusalama’s father looked at me, “This is the system; this is their system.”

Qasem Farah recalled, “We had to stay sitting down because if we didn’t, they would take us back to the border. I don’t think we need permission, we just came in to see our family.”

Border control forces are overwhelmed by the numbers crossing and while the travellers quota remains (currently permitting between 300 and 400 out of Gaza per day), the situation will only escalate as Palestinian authorities attempt to work their way through the ever-increasing backlog of registered travellers.

Shahd Abusalama was sent back from the border, twice, like hundreds of other Palestinians. She is still trying to make it out in time for her scholarship.


Ruqaya Izzidien is a British journalist and cartoonist based in Gaza.

Britain’s denial of democracy and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine

Jun 20, 2011

Nu’man Abd al-Wahid

“The British government have promised that what is called the Zionist movement shall have a fair chance in this country, and the British Government will do what is necessary to secure that fair chance…We cannot tolerate the expropriation of one set of people by another or the violent trampling down of one set of national ideals for the sake of erecting another…”

Winston S. Churchill to an Arab delegation, 30 March 1921.[1]

“I do not admit that the dog in the manger has the final right to the manger, even though he may have lain there for a very long time…I do not admit, for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America, or the black people of Australia…I do not think the Red Indians had any right to say, ‘The American Continent belongs to us and we are not going to have any of these European settlers coming in here’. They had not the right, nor had they the power.”

Winston S. Churchill to the Peel Commission on Palestine, 12th March 1937.[2]


By the end of the official British presence in Palestine in mid May 1948, four hundred thousand Palestinian Arabs had been expelled, directly and indirectly from the country and 225 villages, towns and centres had more or less been ethnically cleansed of their indigenous inhabitants. Most of the villages were reduced to rubble by the Zionist forces, in order to prevent the Palestinians from ever returning.

The four hundred thousand that fled during the final six months of the Britain’s rule in Palestine made up half of the indigenous Palestinians that were eventually cleansed by the end of 1948.[3]

The question that inevitably needs to be asked is, what role Britain played in laying the foundations of what became known as the al-Nakba or the ethnic cleansing of Palestine?

The British Empire obtained eventual control of Palestine and other areas of Arabia by convincing Arabs to side with it, against the Ottoman Empire during World War One. The flags of self-determination and independence were waved by Blighty and proved partly enough to entice Arabs in Palestine and elsewhere to enter an agreement.

Imperial Britain’s agreement with the Arabs are contained in what are known as the Hussain-McMahon letters. So named after the Sharif Hussain bin Ali leader of the Hijaz region of the Arabian Peninsula and Henry McMahon, the British High Commissioner in Cairo.[4]

Unbeknown to the Arab leadership, Britain made two simultaneous commitments during this period. One was an agreement with the French, known as Sykes-Picot, to carve up the Arab territories under Ottoman Empire. Named after the British official Mark Sykes and the French diplomat, Francois Georges-Picot. The other is the Balfour Declaration issued from London. This declaration committed the British government to,

“…view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object…”[5]

Below, I argue that the denial of representative government and democracy to the Arab Palestinians was the founding facilitation of British rule in Palestine and subsequently one of the key building blocs in the creation of Israel and the eventual ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

What became known as Palestine and is now known as Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, that is the territory west of the river Jordan, had a population of over 90 percent Arab and about 8 percent at the time of Britain’s entry into the region.

The Arabs formed an overwhelming majority. Naturally any nation or people would have opposed the colonisation of their country by foreign settlers with a view to establish a national home therein. Representative government in Palestine was a threat to the British-Zionist project and as such needed to be forestalled.

David Lloyd George, the then British Prime Minister in a meeting with Chaim Weizmann, leader of the Zionist movement in the UK and Lord Balfour, British Foreign Secretary, instructed Winston Churchill, the Colonial Secretary of the period that “he mustn’t give representative Government to Palestine.”[6]

In this same meeting both Balfour and Lloyd George confined and confirmed to Weizmann that by Jewish National Home they actually “meant an eventual Jewish State.”[7]

Lord Balfour confirmed that the denial of representative government and democracy was British policy, “..In Palestine, we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country…” because Zionism, “be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long tradition, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who know inhabit that ancient land.”[8]

The denial of democracy was not only agreed to by the British political right wing but was also very much supported by the British Labour left wing.

Ramsay MacDonald, the future leader of the Labour Party and the first ever Prime Minister of a Labour Government wrote that Palestinian demands for self-determination were deprived of “complete validity” because the biblical stories he was reared on as a child rendered that, “Palestine and the Jew can never be separated.”[9] Furthermore, Palestinian Arabs were incapable of developing the resources of their country and as such there is an “alluring call”[10] for “hundreds of thousands of Jews” [11] to colonise Palestine under a British mandate which sanctimoniously but verily deny representative government to the indigenous Palestinians. Colonel Josiah Wedgwood, a prominent Labour (and former Liberal) politician in the inter-war period agreed to democracy in Palestine but not until the “Jews are in a majority”[12] and once the “higher civilisation” of immigrant Jewish settlers “is numerous and wise enough to make democracy safe for all” they would then be able to “range up beside the other self-governing dominions”[13] of the British empire.

In effect, the founding strategy of Zionism in Palestine was the cross-party, British denial of representative government and democracy to the indigenous Arab population.

With this cross-party founding strategy in place, both Conservative and Labour politicians justified Britain’s Zionist project in respect to their own ideologies. The Conservatives proffered right-wing reasons for supporting Zionism and Labour, left-wing reasons.

Firstly, for the British right-wing, Zionist colonialism represented an opportunity to also solve a domestic political consideration. Namely, Jewish immigrants or refugees fleeing anti-semitic pograms in eastern Europe. Rather than they fleeing to the West, they could go to Palestine. As Harry Defries has shown in his book on the Conservative Party attitude to Jews, “support for a territorial solution for the Jews be it in Palestine or elsewhere, was to find favour with many…who opposed Jewish immigration into Britain.”[14] In an earlier period, Joseph Chamberlain, who claimed that he only despised one race, that is the Jews, [15] had found himself agreeing with Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism, that the solution is “to find some country in this vast world of ours where these poor exiles can dwell in safety without interfering with the subsistence of others.”[16]

Another justification the Zionist initiative was supported amongst the right-wing was to pre-empt Jews from joining revolutionary socialist or communist organisations. As Churchill wrote in his essay, “Zionism vs Bolshevism”, after strongly implying that Jews were responsible for the French and Russian revolutions, it would therefore be “important to foster and develop any strongly-marked Jewish movement which leads directly away from these fatal associations. And it is here that Zionism has such a deep significance…” As such, once “millions” of Jews have migrated to Palestine they “would be especially in harmony with the truest interests of the British Empire.” i.e. the Suez Canal and Britain’s oil interests of the Persian Gulf. [17]

The harmony and security of the British Empire also featured in left-wing justifications for British engineered, Zionist colonialism. Colonel Wedgwood in his Zionist tract, “The Seventh Dominion”, wrote that Palestine was geographically the “Clapham Junction” of the British Empire.  As such a “friendly and efficient population” is required to settle there. The criteria of the new settlers in Palestine are “men on whom we can depend, if only because they depend on us…The Jews depend on us.”[18]

The Wilsonian notion of self-determination was also utilised by the British left-wing to justify Britain’s Zionist project. Woodrow Wilson, the American president had arrived at the Peace Conference in 1919 brandishing his idealistic strategy with a view to prevent future conflict and establish peace.[19] The argument had a short shelf life as firstly there were simply not enough Jews in Palestine to determine an independent state and therefore, secondly, even if there were, why should Jewish self-determination be given priority over Arab self-determination?[20] Partly, on this basis Labour politicians reverted to socio-cultural type and imperialist racial dehumanisation. H.N. Brailsford, a former Guardian journalist, seconded MacDonald’s opinion and justified Zionist colonialism on the basis that the Arabs were incapable of developing Palestine because they were “degenerate semi-savages” who had no right to “exclude millions” of settlers. [21]

From another angle left-wing justifications were utilised to misconstrue Arab opposition to the Balfour Declaration. Following the lead of Zionist labour propagandists, Colonel Wedgwood was at the forefront in arguing that Arab opposition was one based not on self-determination, but on economic class. The Zionist were raising the living standards of the indigenous population and the Arab elite in Palestine were opposed to this development. Wedgewood claimed that the Zionist were ‘teaching’ native Arabs how to claim for higher wages from their elite and this is why there was opposition to Britain’s Zionist project.[22]

In the Anglo-French carve up of the region, the Sykes-Picot agreement, Palestine covers a larger land mass than it does now. The original Palestine also covered the land mass east of the river Jordan, that is now known as Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

The idea to wrench this part of Palestine into a separate entity didn’t arise until the very early 1920’s. The most popular reason for its creation rotates around the shenanigans of Emir Abdullah, the son of the “duped” Sharif Husain.[23] The story has it that Abdullah was on his way to what is now known as Syria to liberate it from the French, after they had thrown out his brother Faysal as its ruler.

Therefore to forestall any dispute with its co-imperialist, the British eventually placated Abdullah by making him ruler, firstly on a six month probation and then permanently, of this geographical patch of Palestine, the area east of the river Jordan. It became known as Trans-Jordan. In the negotiations conducted with the head of the Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill in Jerusalem Abdullah, did ask whether:

“His Majesty’s Government mean to establish a Jewish kingdom west of the Jordan and to turn out the non-Jewish population?..that men could be cut down and transplanted in the same way as trees.”[24]

Churchill denied that this was to be the case. Indeed, he claimed that such assertions were “groundless apprehension among the Arabs in Palestine.”[25] Yet Alec Kirkbride who had served in Trans-Jordan in various capacities [26] since its concoction as well as being an “immense influence” [27] on Emir Abdulla strongly implies in his autobiography that there may already had been a sinister motive. He states that the country was created because the British had intended it:

“…to serve as a reserve of land for use in the resettlement of Arabs once the National Home for the Jews in Palestine…became an accomplished fact.” [28]

With the denial of representative democracy for the indigenous population firmly entrenched in British imperial governance, the total amount of European Jewish settlers in Palestine increased from 60,000 to 180,000 by the end of the 1920’s.

In August 1929, major disturbances took hold of Palestine which resulted in the deaths of 133 Jews and 116 Arabs. The British government’s then Colonial Secretary, Lord Passfield, launched a commission to investigate the causes of the disturbances. The Shaw report, so-called after Walter Shaw, reported back to parliament in March 1930.

The report partly concluded that the disturbances were not pre-meditated and furthermore that the indigenous Palestinians were fearful of their future. Land they had tilled for centuries was being sold by absentee landlords and they were being thrown off by the new Zionist landlords. The new landlords employed only Jewish labour, in accordance with Zionist principles and this had led to apprehension.

Assuredly, certain strategies remained the same. On the eve of the report’s publication Lord Passfield confessed to Weizmann that he opposed “a representative legislative council” because he “feared that such elected bodies might become focuses of legal resistance to the proclaimed policy of the Government and the obligations it had undertaken…”i.e. the Balfour Declaration and the commitment to Jewish immigration. [29]

On the back of this report, the government appointed John Hope Simpson to mainly look into how settlement issues in Palestine could be ameliorated.

While Hope-Simpson was conducting his survey in Palestine, Zionist representatives in London met with the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Colonies, Dr. Drummond Shiels. Shiels informed the Zionists that Hope-Simpson’s mission was “to examine the possibilities for settlement of Arab fellaheen (i.e. peasants) in Transjordan and Jews in Western Palestine.” [30]

The Shaw Commission’s report and the Hope-Simpson report remained loyal to British Zionism’s gradualist approach in establishing a Jewish majority. This gradualism occasionally came into conflict with the flamboyant Zionism of the representatives of the European settler Jews, who wanted more mass immigration into Palestine. What united British governors and Jewish Zionist was their agreement to deny representative government to the indigenous Palestinians. [31]

Both of these reports formed the basis of the proposed governmental policy known as the Passfield White Paper of October 1930 which aimed to ostensibly restrict Jewish immigration. Others have had a more cynical interpretation of the reports. The author and son of Mark Sykes, Christopher Sykes, claimed that these reports were a:

“…starting point of a certain rhythm to be noticed from then on in the affairs of Palestine under the Mandate. A Royal Commission goes off to the troubled land; its recommendations lead to the sending of a subsidiary commission to make definitive proposals on how to put the recommendations into effect; the proposals conflict with too much of settled conviction and involve too much political risk to be acted on; both Commissions prove to have been a waste of talent and time. This frequent sending of abortive commissions to Palestine was part of that belief which continues at the present time, namely that if one can only get a clear statement of any problem, its solution must likewise become clear. The belief appears to be true of only a few areas of experience and was never to be true of Palestine.” [32]

Indeed, the White Paper was “aborted” in Parliament by Ramsay MacDonald on 13th February 1931. MacDonald read a letter which in effect abrogated the reports and continued to commit the British government to the Balfour Declaration and implicitly the denial of representative government to Palestine.

A Zionist historian has argued that it was this repudiation of the reports in this letter which heralded the mass immigration of the early 1930’s. Between 1931 and 1935, Jewish immigration more than doubled to 400,000. [33] Needless to say the horrific growth of anti-semitism in Europe played no small part in Jews fleeing their homes and seeking salvation in either Palestine or elsewhere.

The intensification of British engineered Zionist colonial immigration coupled with denial of representative government led to the three year Palestinian Arab Revolt which began in April 1936.

Amidst the revolt, Britain launched a Royal Commission enquiry. Yet the Colonial Secretary in this period, William Ormsby-Gore, knew all too well what was at root of the latest disturbances. In June 1936, he stated in parliament that:

“…The Arabs demand a complete stoppage of all Jewish immigration, a complete stoppage of all sales of land, and the transfer of the Government of Palestine…to what they call a National Government responsible to an elected democratic assembly. Those are their three demands, and quite frankly, those demands cannot possibly be conceded.” [34]

The Royal Commission was appointed on the 29th July 1936 and was headed by Lord Peel and included five other emissaries, including Professor Reginal Coupland. This Commission is more commonly known as the Peel Report on Palestine and it reported back to parliament on the 7th July 1937.

The commission interviewed 66 witnesses and although Arabs did initially boycott the process, by the time they decided to co-operate, it may have been too late. On the eve of the Commission meeting its first Arab witness for the report, Coupland informed Weizmann that partition and the establishment of a Jewish state would inevitably be recommended. [35]

It just maybe a case of extreme coincidence that the reports recommendations dovetailed with British intentions, as expressed in private by Lloyd-George and Balfour almost 20 years previous, in creating a Jewish state.

Along with partition the commission also recommended population transfer between Britain’s Zionist colonisers and the indigenous population. The report acknowledged that the Palestinians will need to bear the brunt of the population transfer and it also recognised that there are not enough areas for them to be transferred to within Palestine. As the report states:

“It is the far greater number of Arabs who constitute the major problem; and while some of them could be re-settled on the land vacated by the Jews, far more land would be required for the re-settlement of all of them.” [36]

Therefore, as Alec Kirkbride informed us in his biography and as Emir Abdulla had originally feared:

“…the execution of large-scale plans for irrigation, water-storage, and development in Trans-Jordan…would make provision for a much larger population than exists there at the present time.” [37]

The report also deceptively charged that the uprising was due to “present antagonism between the races.” That is, the uprising arose from racial conflict and not because Britain continuously denied representative democracy to Palestinians so as to guarantee Zionist immigration and colonisation of Palestine.

In conclusion, the report envisioned that partition and population transfer could be achieved in “less than three years.” [38]

Just after the publication of the report, Weizmann offered Ormsby-Gore, Zionist assistance in transferring the Palestinains of the Galilee to Trans-Jordan. [39]

The report’s findings heralded not only an intensification of the revolt, but also an intensification of British counter-insurgency operations. As such, it was largely in this period that the “best endeavours” aspect of the Balfour Declaration manifested itself into naked British Imperialist power.

Dr. Laleh Khallili has written how in this period Palestine became a “hub” for British counter-insurgency methods.[40] These methods were imported from its other colonies such as South Africa or Peshawar, India and then utilised and “consolidated” in Palestine, with the results later to be used in Kenya, Malaya or Oman in the post Word War 2 period. Blockhouses, barriers and fences were used to limit or contain population movement. Barbed wire was purchased by Zionist settlers from Mussolini’s Italy for the fences.

Dobermans from South Africa were imported into Palestine to intimidate Palestinians; the use of human shields which was used in Peshawar, India was incorporated by the British in Palestine. More often than not, when an operation was finished the British patrol in the vehicle would sharply break, for the Arab to fall off the bonnet and then be deliberately run over. [41]

British officers destroyed, vandalised and looted villages. [42] At times, burning the villages and making a mockery of their hoarded food stuffs. [43]  Waterboarding, [44] blowing up a bus full of Arab detainees in a collective punishment reprisal [45] and extrajudicial killings [46] and of course that Balfourian “best endeavour” of them all, robbing children of their pocket money [47] were all methods utilised to crush the revolt. However,

“…the most significant legacy of British counterinsurgency in the Arab Revolt was the training of men who were to become the founding fathers and highest ranking officers of the Israeli military…” [48]

As such it is difficult not to notice the strong, if not overbearing, similarities between the practises of the Zionist forces in 1947-48 and the British counter-insurgency operations during the Arab revolt of the late 1930’s. Some of these practises continue to this day in occupied Palestine. [49]

The revolt was finally crushed in 1939. According to Ghassan Kanafani, the deaths and causalities inflicted on the Palestinians in this period would have been proportionally equivalent to 200,000 Britons killed, 600,000 wounded and 1,224,000 arrested. [50] In other words Palestinian society was politically and militarily decimated.

In the same year, Britain revoked the Peel report as well another subsidiary report with the 1939 White Paper. Christopher Sykes argued that this was done largely to placate the Arab populations of the Middle East because,

“The concern of the Arabic-speaking world with Palestine was not a chimera imagined by orientalists and Arabophils. It was a real fact and an extremely dangerous one.” [51]

with a view to keeping Arabs on side in Imperial Britain’s war with Nazi Germany:

“…the White Paper…did succeed, very imperfectly but in the main, in its primary object. It cut the ground away from extremist agitators. Slowly rebellion died away in Palestine, and throughout the war years there was no formidable Arab rising against the British in the country.” [52]

Once the war was over, and Britain handed over the Mandate to the United Nations, it is no surprise that although it abstained, it insisted on the four commonwealth countries to vote for the partition resolution in November 1947. [53]

The resolution heralded a new chapter in Palestinian history. With the indigenous Palestinians still reeling from British violence and brutality of the late 1930’s, Kanafani argued that the ensuing ‘civil war’ in 1947-48 was merely a belated cleaning up operation by the British trained Zionist forces. He states the Zionists were plucking “the fruits of the defeat of the 1936 revolt which the outbreak of the war had prevented it from doing sooner.” [54]

Can one really be surprised that Britain failed to keep law and order between November 1947 and the official end of the Mandate in May 1948 when half of the actual ethnic cleansing of Palestine took place?

Sixty years later, Lord Balfour’s distant successor, the British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, addressed the Labour Party’s Friends of Israel, Annual Lunch and endorsed the conclusions of the Peel Report. He claimed the then vision to partition Palestine was “good”. [55]

Naturally, he failed to mention that this “good” vision was and is firmly rooted in Britain’s brutal denial of democracy to the indigenous Arab population with a view to establish a Jewish majority in Palestine.

The utilisation of European Jewish suffering in the first half of the twentieth century in arguments to impose Zionist-Jewish immigration and colonialism on Palestine, are if not disingenuous, then certainly incorrect. The British project to colonise Palestine with Zionist Jews predates the intensification of Jewish persecution, the kristallnacht and the Nazi holocaust.

What mattered to Imperial Britain was the supposed security of the Suez Canal and it wanted to plant, what it thought would be a reliable population in Palestine with a view to secure it. As the political academic (whose family were early settlers in Palestine), Mayer Verete argued:

“…the British wanted Palestine – and very much so – for their own interests, and it was not the Zionists who drew them to the country…had there been no Zionists in those days the British would have had to invent them.” [56]

Indeed, from the early 1940’s onwards Britain began floating the idea of Jewish-Zionist colonisation of what is now eastern North Africa and specifically Libya, which according to Churchill would be “linked (if they so chose) with a Jewish home in Palestine.” [57] European Zionists did not seem to be as enthusiastic as British imperialists with this idea. [58]

In conclusion, the “only democracy in the Middle East” as Israel’s supporters fondly refer to the British engineered colonial entity, is founded not only on ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian population but also on Imperial Britain’s denial of democracy to the Palestinians during the mandate period.

Nu’man Abd al-Wahid is a UK-based freelance Anglo-Yemeni writer specialising in the political relationship between the British state and the Arab World.


1. PRO FO 371/6343.

2. Quoted in Angela Clifford, “Serfdom or Ethnic Cleansing? – A British Discussion on Palestine – Churchill’s Evidence to the Peel Commission (1937), Athol Books, Belfast and London, 2003, pg. 34

3. For an account of the ethnic cleansing that took place under the British Mandate see, Rosemarie M. Esber, “Under the Cover of War”, Aribicus Books and Media, Alexandria (V.A), 2009. For an account of the entire ethnic cleansing see Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Oneworld Publications, Oxford, 2007.

4. George Antonious, The Arab Awakening, Simon Publications, Florida (2001) Appendix A and D.

5. Christopher Sykes, “Cross Roads to Israel”, Collins, London, 1965, pg. 15

6. Randolph Churchill, “Winston S. Churchill – Companion Volume 4, Part 3”, Heinemann, London, 1977, pg.1559.

7. ibid. Meeting took place in July 1921.

8. Quoted in Sykes, op. cit. pg.17

9. Ramsay MacDonald, “A Socialist in Palestine”, Jewish Socialist Labour Confederation – Poale Zion, 1922, pg.18

10. Ibid. pg.17 1

1. ibid. pg.19

12. Josiah Wedgwood, “The Seventh Dominion”, The Labour Publishing Company Limited, London, 1928, pg. 4

13. Ibid. pg. 33

14. Harry Defries, Conservative Party Attitudes to Jews, Frank Cass, London, 2001, pg. 32.

15. ibid. pg. 24

16. ibid pg. 45

17. Winston Churchill, “Zionism vs. Bolshevism”, Illustrated Sunday Herald, (London), 8th February 1920. (accessed 14th June 2011).

18. Wedgewood. op cit. pg3

19. Margaret Macmillan, The Peacemakers, John Murray, London, 2003, pg.19-21.

20. Paul Kelemen, “Zionism and the British Labour Party: 1917-1939”, Social History, Vol. 21, No.1, January 1996, pg73

21. ibid.

22. Commons Debates, Fifth Series, Vol. 143, Column 307, 14th June 1921

23. T.E.Lawrence (“of Arabia”) quoted in Ma’an Abu Nowar, “The History of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan: Vol. 1”, Icatha Press, Oxford, 1989 pg.10

24. CAB 24/126

25. ibid.

26. Abu Nowar, op cit, pg.25, pg.31, pg.172 and pg.195

27. Ilan Pappe, Britain and the Middle East Conflict 1948-1951, MacMillan Press, London, 1988, pg.xiii.

28. A.S.Kirkbride, A Crackle of Thorns, John Murray, London, 1956, g. 19.

29. Joseph Gorney, The British Labour Movement and Zionism, Frank Cass and Company Limited, London, 1983, pg.69.

30. ibid. pg. 72

31. ibid. pg. 72-75

32. Sykes, op. cit. pg.144

33. Gorny, op. cit. pg.103-104.

34. Commons Debates, Fifth Series, Vol. 313, Column 1324, 19th June 1936.

35. Sykes, op. cit. pg 192 and pg. 198-203.

36. Report of the Palestine Royal Commission, Cmd. 5479 (London, 1937), pg. 391.

37. ibid.

38. ibid.,pg.395.

39. Philip Mattar, The Mufti of Jerusalem: Al-Hajj Amin al-Husayni and the Palestinain National Movement, Columbia University Press, New York, 1988, pg.81.

40. Laleh Khalili, The Location of Palestine in Global Counterinsurgencies, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 42, Issue 3(2010), pg 413-433.

41. Matthew Hughes, The Banality of Brutality: British Armed Forces and the Repression of the Arab Revolt in Palestine, 1936-1939, English Historical Review, 124 (2009), pg. 329

42. ibid. pg.320-322

43. ibid. pg.338-339

44. ibid. pg.331

45. ibid. pg.337

46. ibid. pg.347

47. ibid. pg.328

48. Khalili, op. cit, pg. 418.

49. ibid. For example Khalili draws attention to the destruction of old city of Jaffa by the British in the 1930’s and recent Israeli practices in the ‘West Bank’ of Palestine, specifically, Jenin.

50. Ghassan Kanafani, ‘The 1936 – 39 Revolt in Palestine’, Tricontinental Society, London, 1980, pg27. (accessed 14th June 2011).

51. Sykes, op. cit, pg.238

52. ibid pg.239.

53. Professor Walid Khalidi, “From 1947 to 1897: From Partition to Basle”, Palestine Conference: The Nakba: Sixty Years of Dispossession, Sixty Years of Resistance, London School of Oriental and African Studies, 21st February, 2009. The author was present. Indeed, the first time I heard, in a blunt manner, that Israel was based on the denial of Paestinian democracy was here.

54. Kanafani, op. cit, pg. 30.

55. David Miliband, “Prospects in the Middle East”, Annual Lunch of Labour Friends of Israel, London, 4th November 2008. (accessed 13th June 2011).

56. Mayir Verete,“From Palmerston to Balfour: Collected Essays of Mayir Verete”,London, Frank Cass, 1992, pg.3-4

57. Gorney, op. cit. pg. 175. British Labour Party support for “throwing open Libya…to Jewish settlement” (Hugh Dalton, British Chancellor 1945-47) see John Callaghan, ‘The Labour Party and Foreign Policy: A history’ Routledge, London, 2007, pg. 158.

58. For a British discussion of this initiative see, W. R. Louis, Imperialism at Bay, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1977, pg.58-62

Identity booster & the ideology machine – Behind the scenes of Birthright Israel

Jun 20, 2011

Kiera Feldman

Editor’s note: Kiera Feldman has an important article in the current issue of The Nation pulling back the curtain on Birthright Israel – the all expenses-paid trips to Israel for 18-26 year old North American Jews. It discusses the history, ideology and goals of the program which until now has received barely any critical attention in the mainstream press. Below is a slightly expanded version of a passage from the piece that describes one of the key parts of the trip – the mifgash (or encounter) between the young Jews participants and Israeli soldiers:

Birthright co-founder Charles Bronfman, the billionaire heir to the Canadian Seagram’s liquor empire, began directing his philanthropic dollars to teen Israel trips in the late 1980s. “To me, in order to be a complete Jew, one must have an emotional and physical attachment to Israel,” Bronfman says. But he was bothered that the kids on those early trips weren’t bonding with their Israeli peers. Bronfman’s answer: developing the mifgash—the encounter—between Jewish Israeli teens and their diaspora counterparts. This made the tour bus less of “an isolated bubble,” according to Elan Ezrachi, the Israeli educator who developed the mifgash on Bronfman’s dime. Birthright adapted the mifgash by way of IDF soldiers. These encounters between American youth and youthful Israeli soldiers “move very fast to what we call ‘hormonal mifgashim,’” Ezrachi told me. “Things happen.”

Soldiers meet Birthrighters in full uniform, spend the remainder of the mifgash in civilian clothing and then dress back in uniform for the encounter’s final day: the Holocaust Museum followed by a visit to the graves of Theodor Herzl and fallen soldiers. Lynn Schusterman, a Birthright funder and board member, told me the bonds formed during the mifgash help participants gain an understanding of soldiers’ “moral and ethical standards.” After the 2006 Lebanon war, Brandeis researchers found that Birthright alumni were more likely than other young American Jews to view Israel’s military conduct as justified.

The originator of the Birthright idea was Yossi Beilin, a Labor Party stalwart and an instrumental figure in the Oslo Accords. Widely considered an archliberal and reviled by Israel’s right, Beilin is an unlikely figure to boast the moniker “godfather of Birthright.” In a recent phone interview, Beilin compared his worries about intermarriage and Jewish identity to “the personal feeling of an old man who wants to see that his family is still around.” Among Beilin’s top goals for Birthright: “to create a situation whereby spouses are available.” An ardent Zionist and longtime friend of Bronfman, Beilin unsuccessfully pitched Birthright to him and co-founder Michael Steinhardt in the mid-1990s.

Eventually, Barry Chazan writes in 10 Days of Birthright Israel, Steinhardt saw Birthright’s potential to “plug the dam of assimilation,” and Steinhardt got Bronfman on board. “The people we wanted were those who were not committed,” Bronfman says. “The only thing that would get them to Israel is a free trip.”

The common denominator of the Birthright experience is the promotion—by turns winking and overt—of flings between participants and the IDF soldiers who accompany them. “No problem if there’s intimate encounters between participants,” an Israel Outdoors employee told American staffers during training. “In fact, it’s encouraged!” Between 1999 and 2009, one popular tour provider, Momo Lifshitz, instructed 50,000 Birthrighters to see the sights, be afraid of the Arabs, and “make Jewish babies.” When co-founder Michael Steinhardt visits Birthright groups to play matchmaker, he asks participants, “How many of you want to be fixed up?” Birthright boasts alumni are 51 percent more likely to marry other Jews than non-participants.

“The bus is a love incubator,” Elissa Strauss writes in What We Brought Back, a glowing essay collection from Birthright’s alumni program. “It works.” Strauss’s entry is written with her husband, whom she met, naturally, on Birthright. Many groups pass a night in a fake Bedouin tent, where participants sleep crowded together, a setup conducive to first kisses.

Early Zionism, too, was marked by alarm over intermarriage and demographic decline. Zionists saw the answer in the creation of a “new Jew,” a virile conqueror and tiller of the land who would channel sexual energy into nation-building. Today, the goal is a new diaspora Jew who channels that energy into Zionist activism.

In November, Jewish Voice for Peace created a satirical website, “Birthright For Us All,” which criticized Birthright’s fear of “miscegenation.” Promising to “bear witness to the occupation,” the fake trip was advertised for Jews and Palestinians. Barry Chazan, the architect of Birthright’s curriculum, told me that such a mifgash would never happen on Birthright. “This is about a Jewish journey,” he said. One wonders where it will lead.

Read the entire article “The Romance of Birthright Israel” here.

Challenging Israeli apartheid, starting at Ben Gurion Airport

Jun 20, 2011

Laura Durkay

From July 8-16, I will join hundreds of internationals for a week of solidarity actions in coordination with 15 Palestinian civil resistance organizations in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.  To my knowledge, this will be the first attempt to bring such a large number of internationals—already over 500, according to organizers—to the West Bank and East Jerusalem in a coordinated manner.  While Freedom Flotilla 2, sailing in the coming days, rightly puts the spotlight on Israel’s cruel blockade of Gaza, we intend to show that Israeli repression in the rest of historic Palestine—the West Bank, Jerusalem, and what is now Israel—is no less important and is part of the same project of ethnic cleansing and colonization.

The opening act of our week of nonviolent resistance is, in my opinion, its most creative and daring component.  On a single day, July 8, hundreds of internationals and Palestinians living abroad will fly in to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport and perform one simple but radical action: refuse to lie about the fact that we are there to travel to the Occupied Territories and visit Palestinians.

Anyone who has traveled to Palestine knows the potential risks associated with this action.  Israel controls all entry points into Palestine, except for the Rafah crossing into Gaza, which is controlled by Egypt and has its own Kafkaesque challenges.  The Israeli government routinely denies entry to people it knows or simply suspects of being Palestine solidarity activists; journalists, academics and cultural workers sympathetic to the Palestinians; even people coming to do volunteer or charity work in the Occupied Territories.

This means that for years, the most common strategy among solidarity activists entering Palestine has been to keep your head down and lie about why you are there.

Plenty of us know the routine.  You say that you’re a tourist.  You play dumb about history and politics, and you never say you are going to visit Palestinians.  You don’t point out the fact that every person of color in your group just got picked out for questioning.  You submit calmly to interrogation and construct non-offensive half-truths, conveniently leaving out certain parts of your itinerary.  When they search your stuff, you nod and say you understand it’s for “security reasons.”  You swallow every rebellious instinct that brought you to Palestine in the first place and temporarily submit to a racist, invasive, intimidating security apparatus in the hope that they will deign to let you in to Palestine, and accept that this is the price to be paid for being able to do the work you want to do.

For the record, I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with this strategy.  In any given situation, the most useful way to interact with agents of the Israeli state is a tactical decision.  I understand there are many groups of people who do not have the luxury of pissing off Israeli security: people who depend on free movement in and out of Palestine for work, study, or to see family; those engaged in long-term projects in the region for whom maintaining access to the Occupied Territories is crucial; those engaged in critical media work that gets Palestine’s story out to the world; those who may be in a more vulnerable position for any number of reasons.

But at the same time, we should be clear that Israel’s border controls and repressive entry policies are part of the apartheid system—a big part.  Entry restrictions on solidarity activists, journalists, and NGO workers are a natural outgrowth of the restrictions that prevent a large percentage of the worldwide Palestinian population from returning to their own country and/or moving about freely within it.  They are a component of the elaborate matrix of borders, walls, checkpoints, permits, soldiers and secret police by which the Israeli government exerts a choke-hold on free movement and political activity throughout occupied Palestine.  They are part and parcel of the occupation machinery that seeks to isolate the Occupied Territories and make life there unbearable so that Palestinians will leave, and that frequently forces them out whether they want to go or not.  And like all other parts of the apartheid system, they deserve to be challenged.

This year’s Nakba and Naksa Day protests saw Israel besieged on every one of its garrisoned borders by unarmed Palestinians simply wanting to return home.  At the end of this month, Freedom Flotilla 2 will defy Israel’s punitive and illegal naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.  We see the July 8 fly-in as our contribution to the new movement that is chipping away at Fortress Israel.

Some fellow activists have raised the possibility that this action will result in nothing more than hundreds of us being summarily deported, and possibly banned from entering Palestine in the future.  It is entirely possible that this will happen, and anyone participating in this action should be aware of the risk.  It seems to me a very small risk to take in comparison to the crushing violence Palestinians have stood up to for over 60 years.  While this action is not for everyone, I believe the time is right for those in a position to expose and nonviolently resist Israel’s repressive entry policies to do so on a mass scale.

Just as no one thinks one flotilla (or two or three) is going to bring the siege of Gaza to an end, no one believes this one day of action will immediately alter the state of affairs at Ben Gurion Airport and the rest of Israel’s borders.  In the short term, it is possible that it may even make airport personnel more suspicious and aggressive.  That is how oppressors respond to acts of resistance.  They often become more aggressive before they are defeated, because they rightly sense that the momentum is on the side of justice.

July 8, and the week of solidarity it opens, is one step in the long process of taking down the apartheid system.  The Arab revolutions, the growing BDS movement, and Israel’s own increasingly hysterical reactions to nonviolent protest have radically accelerated the timeline of that process from what many of us believed possible only a few years ago.  Israeli apartheid’s days are numbered, and now is the moment to challenge it on every front.

Laura Durkay is a member of Siegebusters Working Group and the International Socialist Organization in New York City.  You can follow updates from the week of solidarity on her personal blog, Laura on the Left, and on Twitter at @lauradurkay.

Individuals interested in participating in the July 8-16 week of solidarity should email or visit for more details.

Congressmen warn Obama of ‘revolution’ in Democratic Party as he becomes the LBJ of AfghanistanJun 20, 2011 09:15

21.June 2011

Philip Weiss

One of the highlights of the Netroots convention that ended yesterday was a panel on getting out of Afghanistan that included the threat by two House Democrats to work with antiwar Republicans to undermine the Obama war program in coming weeks.

Below I’m going to provide some of the back-and-forth from that panel to convey the intensity and eloquence of that leftwing criticism, at a time when the Congressmen said that the White House is reexamining its Afghan commitment. And if you don’t read everything in this dialogue– well, be sure to read General Paul Eaton’s Arlington Cemetery story 1/2 way down.

REP. JIM McGOVERN of Massachusetts: “We’re being called by the administration and being told about all these successes in Afghanistan. ‘We secured this village, this [other] one’… The question is, is any of this sustainable without a prolonged military presence? Everything we do requires us to be there forever… And I wouldn’t trust the government of Afghanistan to tell me the correct time, based on their record of corruption.”

STEVE CLEMONS of the New America Foundation, and leader of an Afghan Study Group, pointed out that we are spending nearly $120 billion a year in a country that has a GDP of $14 billion. Couldn’t that money be better spent than on military actions? Clemons named Republicans who are making hay by questioning Afghanistan, including Michelle Bachmann, Michael Steele, Ann Coulter, Bing West (a former Reagan Defense official), Grover Norquist, and likely presidential candidate John Huntsman Jr.

The White House figured that when leftwingers abandoned them on Afghanistan, they still had the right wing. But Clemons arranged for a poll of conservatives. “Once they knew of the costs, support collapsed.”

MCGOVERN. “The president still hasn’t gotten it yet.”

CLEMONS: “The president could be in an LBJ position.” Nixon was elected to end LBJ’s war– a war Republicans “could blame on the incumbent president.”

JOHN GARAMENDI, Democratic congressman in the Bay Area of California: “That didn’t turn out well for our team, did it– Vietnam… If the president doesn’t move… he will face a revolution in Congress … [of] ‘hell no we’re not going’… It’s coming to that.

“It’s really important what Jim said: you’ve got to get the message out now, because this decision is being made in the White House now, and they’re listening. They really need to listen to their base.”

CLEMONS said that all American “strategic ambitions” around the world “are stuck because we’ve created a Moby Dick in Afghanistan.”

McGOVERN: “The fundamental point [is that] … the killing of Osama bin Laden has created this moment for the president to pivot. … [we need to] light a bonfire to get him to move in the right direction on this… I’m not sure that there will be another time like this… [And] this is Barack Obama’s war, he owns it. He owns it because he called for a surge.

MAJOR GENERAL PAUL EATON, warning that what he was about to say was emotional:

“On Memorial day I went to Arlington Cemetery. My father was killed in Vietnam, and in the grave next to his is a soldier recently killed in action, and there were his mom and dad, and they were doing a recording of their feelings at that moment.

“And that is an active part of Arlington, Section 60, and other families were sitting there, some in chairs, some with umbrellas. No picnicking– picnicking is not allowed. But there was …. a mother with scissors trimming the grass around the headstone of her child…

“If I were asked, could I justify what has happened very recently to Americans who were killed in what we are talking about?… Every operation order has a Why. It’s an emotive event but really part and parcel of what we’re talking about.”

DARCY BURNER, former congressional candidate, Microsoft executive, now a Netroots leader, said that if she were “going to wave my magic wand” for 2012, she would create a very short online video with General Eaton’s story of Arlington, and the fact that the Afghan war is costing us nearly $120 billion a year, and the statistics on how many teachers we are laying off this fall. Then air that video in states Obama will have to win in 2012.

“He will lose the election if the Republican candidates are calling for an end to the war in Afghanistan and progressives are calling for an end to the war in Afghanistan, and he is wrong on the issue.”

GARAMENDI: “How did Barack Obama become a credible candidate? Iraq… Is Barack Obama Lyndon Johnson and is Michelle Bachmann Richard Nixon?”

McGOVERN: “We need to find more conservatives and Republicans. … Progressives in Congress [have been] cheap dates in terms of standing up on this issue… We’ve been too quiet for too long… [We can] halt the debate on the Defense Appropriations bill on this issue.” When Bush was president, Republicans said they didn’t want to alienate one of their own on the Iraq war. “But that time is over for progressives… It is time to speak loudly and clearly and demand a fundamental change in this policy.”

DARCY BURNER: “I am of the opinion and this is my opinion, that the fundamental human rights of every human being on this planet ought to be a priority for all of us…. And the idea that cultural differences ought to be a reason for us to deprive people of fundamental human rights… doesn’t fly with me…. How do we end the war in Afghanistan… and how do we pursue the protection of basic human rights for everyone on the planet…”

MCGOVERN: “The status quo policy is the wrong policy and it’s bankrupting us, it’s undermining our moral authority, it’s undermining our national security interest. It’s not doing anything that it is supposed to be doing.”

Most Israelis don’t see Jordan Valley as occupied

Jun 20, 2011

Philip Weiss

Dimi Reider at +972mag, yet another report on the meaninglessness of the old Green Line in Israeli consciousness:

poll conducted by our esteemed Dahlia Scheindlin (for ACRI’s Action a Day campaign) indicates a sweeping majority of Israelis – 63.5%, to be exact – think the Jordan valley is part of Israel; in other words, not part of the West Bank; or, in plain words, don’t understand why or how Israeli presence there is being called into question.

The special status of the valley in the Israeli collective consciousness is nothing new.

Settlers destroy a herders’ ancient cistern outside Hebron, and IDF follows by demolishing people’s tents

Jun 20, 2011

Philip Weiss

From a source who has read UN reports on the latest demolitions, today:

Today the Israeli army demolished six tents in Khirbet Bir al Idd in Hebron, displacing eight families (68 people, among them 45 children). Some 30 vines were cut down and the electricity lines damaged. The demolition was carried out following a demolition order for lack of permits.

Khirbet Bir al Idd has suffered from settler violence (Mitzpa Yair outpost), causing them to be expelled from their lands. Rabbis for Human Rights took up the case and the High Court ruled in 2009 that the community should be allowed to return to lands that had not been designated for such use as archaeological or closed military zone.

However, their original homes were now uninhabitable and, in late 2009, UN Humanitarian Response Fund support was used to provide shelter for the community and livestock. Tents and livestock shelters were provided, as well as water and cisterns rehabilitation.

In December 2009, the Israeli Civil Administration issued 17 demolition orders for tents for four old structures (stone animal pens) and the tents and animal shelters. Rabbis for Human Rights continued to work on the case to prevent the imposition of the demolition orders.

Then on Saturday 18 June, settlers demolished a cistern in Kisan, Rashayida located between two settlements. The cistern of approximately 250m3 was used by herders for their flocks. The ancient cistern is underground but all infrastructure above the ground (canals, basin,…) and the access to the cistern were demolished.

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