Archive | July 24th, 2011

Norway attacks: London link exposed as Anders Behring Breivik publishes manifesto


Norway attacks: police investigate fears main suspect was part of a larger terror group


Anders Behring Breivik, the suspect in Norway’s twin attacks that killed at least 92 and wounded 97, admitted he perpetrated the atrocity but denied criminal responsibility as it emerged he left a 1,500 page manifesto of Right-wing ranting.

Police said that Breivik, 32, acted alone after some witness accounts said a second gunman had taken part in a mass shooting.

The internet document, posted online just hours before the attack, shows his rampage had been planned for at least two years.

It is part diary, part bomb-making manual and part political rant in which Anders Behring Breivik details his Islamophobia, attacks on Marxism and his initiation as a Knight Templar.

The document also describes a secret meeting in London, in April 2002, to reconstitute the “Knights Templar”, a Crusader military order. It doesn’t name anyone or

His “martyrdom operation” diary, titled “2083: A European Declaration of Independence”, shows he had been preparing the operation since at least autumn 2009.

It says he was part of a small group that intended to “seize political and military control of Western European countries and implement a cultural conservative political agenda”.

While the text is signed under the pseudonym “Andrew Berwick”, the author explains the origins of his real name – Anders Behring Breivik. Breivik lived in London at one stage with his father who worked in the Norwegian embassy.

Jens Stoltenberg, Norway’s prime minister, gave a moving speech at an Oslo memoral service attended by King Harald IV.

“Amid the tragedy I am proud to live in a country that has managed to stand firm. I am impressed over how much dignity, care and strength we have,” he said.

“We are a small country, but we are a proud people. We are still shaken, but we will never give up our values.

“Our answer is more democracy and openness, never naivety.”

Citing a girl He Cites a girl from the AUF camp (the youth Labour party): “If one man can show so much hatred, imagine how much love we can all show together.

The officer told how Breivik, after being surrounded by police, gave himself up rather than continuing to shoot. At the time he was in possession of two guns. It is not clear if he had run out of ammunition.

“The police caught him and when they did he put down his weapons,” said the spokesman, adding, “There’s a difference in calibre between the hand weapon and the automatic gun so forensics are now investigating whether there could have been more weapons used.”

As police tried to piece together Breivik’s movements in the days and hours before and after the attack, questions were being asked about why security was so lax in the streets around the Prime Minister’s official office and other government buildings, targeted by Breivik.

The explosion caused carnage at the heart of the Norwegian government. Seven people died in the blast and many dozens more were wounded, several of them suffering life-threatening injuries that required emergency treatment at hospitals in the city.

Victims have still to be named officially although it was confirmed last night two members of the Norwegian civil service were among those killed.

At the scene of the blast on Saturday, the carnage was evident. Windows were blown out in buildings as far as five blocks away while in the immediate vicinity of Grubbegata Street, which runs alongside the Ministry of petroleum and Energy and the Prime Minister’s office, there was utter devastation.

The road and the pavements around the building were still covered in twisted metal and broken glass yesterday while official documents blown out of offices by the force of the explosion still lay strewn in the street.

Other buildings badly damaged included the nearby Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Health.

With buildings so badly damaged, police were reluctant to search them until they had been made safe.

Eyewitnesses had described how the bomb went off at a 3.26 pm local time the day before, wreaking havoc. Bodies lay strewn in the street; torsos hanging out of office windows. Blood poured from the wounds of the injured as emergency services took the wounded to two hospitals in the city.

“Some people covered with blood are lying in the street,” said Ingunn Andersen, who had been drinking a coffee nearby, “There was glass everywhere. It was total chaos. The windows of all the surrounding buildings have been blown out.”

Precise details on how Breivik had struck remain scant. Police sources suggested the bomb was left in a brown delivery van parked on Grubbegata Street, just a few yards from the energy ministry. The van acted as shrapnel sending pieces of metal flying through the air, causing terror on a catastrophic scale.

Police were collecting CCTV footage from the site of the bomb blast and from toll road booths between the city centre and Utoya where Breivik went on a shooting spree killing a further 91 people – most of them teenagers – at an island youth camp.

Breivik is thought to have parked the van outside the oil ministry and walked away. The bomb was likely detonated by a timer device rather than by a more sophisticated remote signal.

An agricultural supply company Felleskjopet said yesterday the fertiliser had been delivered to Breivik on May 4, just ten weeks before the bombing. The scale of the delivery to a man who had set up a farming business in 2009 was not considered anything out of the ordinary, the supplier said yesterday.

The company’s spokeswoman Oddny Estenstad said yesterday that the company alerted police to the purchase after Breivik was named.

Police searching breivik’s farm found three tons of artificial fertiliser, suggesting as much as three tons went into making the bomb.

Fertiliser is highly explosive and has been used in past terrorist atrocities to starling effect. How Breivik learnt to make a bomb – and whether he had outside help – will be subject of the police investigation. Bomb-making guidance can be found on the internet.

Norway’s prime minister Jens Stoltenberg insisted Norway would not allow the attacks to undermine the fundamental values of its society. “We are an open society, a democratic society, we are a society where we have a very close relationship between politicians and the people,” he said.

At Ulleval Hospital – one of Oslo’s main hospitals, in the north west of the city – pairs of armed police were on guard duty outside the main entrance, as well as the hospital ward where some of the victims were being treated.

Beate Orbeck, a hospital spokeswoman, said that the hospital was treating 28 patients from both the island and central Oslo blasts. “Most of them are in a serious condition,” she said but declined to give further details.

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Oslo Suspect Wrote of Fear of Islam and Plan for War



OSLO — The Norwegian man charged Saturday with a pair of attacks in Oslo that killed at least 92 people left behind a detailed manifesto outlining his preparations and calling for a Christian war to defend Europe against the threat of Muslim domination, according to Norwegian and American officials familiar with the investigation.

As stunned Norwegians grappled with the deadliest attack in the country since World War II, a portrait began to emerge of the suspect, Anders Behring Breivik, 32. The police identified him as a right-wing fundamentalist Christian, while acquaintances described him as a gun-loving Norwegian obsessed with what he saw as the threats of multiculturalism and Muslim immigration.

“We are not sure whether he was alone or had help,” a police official, Roger Andresen, said at a televised news conference. “What we know is that he is right wing and a Christian fundamentalist.”

In the 1,500-page manifesto, posted on the Web hours before the attacks, Mr. Breivik recorded a day-by-day diary of months of planning for the attacks, and claimed to be part of a small group that intended to “seize political and military control of Western European countries and implement a cultural conservative political agenda.”

He predicted a conflagration that would kill or injure more than a million people, adding, “The time for dialogue is over. We gave peace a chance. The time for armed resistance has come.”

The manifesto was signed Andrew Berwick, an Anglicized version of his name. A former American government official briefed on the case said investigators believed the manifesto was Mr. Breivik’s work.

The manifesto, entitled “2083: A European Declaration of Independence,” equates liberalism and multiculturalism with “cultural Marxism,” which the document says is destroying European Christian civilization.

The document also describes a secret meeting in London in April 2002 to reconstitute the Knights Templar, a Crusader military order. It says the meeting was attended by nine representatives of eight European countries, evidently including Mr. Breivik, with an additional three members unable to attend, including a “European-American.”

The document does not name the attendees or say whether they were aware of Mr. Breivik’s planned attacks, though investigators presumably will now try to determine if the people exist and what their connection is to Mr. Breivik.

Thomas Hegghammer, a terrorism specialist at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment, said the manifesto bears an eerie resemblance to those of Osama bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders, though from a Christian rather than a Muslim point of view. Like Mr. Breivik’s manuscript, the major Qaeda declarations have detailed accounts of the Crusades, a pronounced sense of historical grievance and calls for apocalyptic warfare to defeat the religious and cultural enemy.

“It seems to be an attempt to mirror Al Qaeda, exactly in reverse,” Mr. Hegghammer said.

Mr. Breivik was also believed to have posted a video on Friday summarizing his arguments. In its closing moments, the video depicts Mr. Breivik in military uniform, holding assault weapons. Rarely has a mass murder suspect left so detailed an account of his activities. The manifesto describes in detail his purchase of chemicals, his sometimes ham-handed experiments making explosives and his first successful test detonation of a bomb in a remote location on June 13.

He intersperses the account of bomb-making with details of his television-watching, including the Eurovision music contest and the American police drama “The Shield.”

The manifesto ends with a chilling signoff: “I believe this will be my last entry. It is now Fri July 22nd, 12.51.”

Indeed, the operation appeared to have been extremely well planned.

According to the police, Mr. Breivik first drew security services to central Oslo when he exploded a car bomb outside a 17-story government office building, killing at least seven people.

Then he took a public ferry to Utoya Island, where he carried out a remarkably meticulous attack on Norway’s current and future political elite. Dressed as a police officer, he announced that he had come to check on the security of the young people who were attending a political summer camp there, many of them the children of members of the governing Labor Party.

He gathered the campers together and for some 90 hellish minutes he coolly and methodically shot them, hunting down those who fled. At least 85 people, some as young as 16, were killed.

The police said Saturday evening that they expected the death toll to climb. There were still bodies in the bombed government buildings in Oslo, and at least four people missing on Utoya.

The police also said that unexploded munitions were still in some downtown Oslo buildings, and they had not ruled out the possibility that Mr. Breivik had accomplices.

The police also said he had registered a farm in Rena, in eastern Norway, which allowed him to order a large quantity of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, an ingredient that can be used to make explosives. The authorities were investigating whether the chemical had been used in the bombing.

Besides the manifesto, Mr. Breivik left other hints of his motives.

A Facebook page and Twitter account were set up under his name days before the rampage. The Facebook page cites philosophers like Machiavelli, Kant and John Stuart Mill.

His lone Twitter post, while not calling for violence, paraphrased Mill — “One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests” — suggesting what he saw as his ability to act.

Those postings, along with what was previously known about Mr. Breivik publicly, aligned with but hardly predicted the bloody rampage he would undertake on Friday.

Before then, he had been a member of the right-wing Progress Party, which began as an antitax protest and has been stridently anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim.

Joran Kallmyr, a member of the party who is now Oslo’s vice mayor for transportation, said he met Mr. Breivik several times in 2002 and 2003 at local party meetings. “He was very quiet, almost a little bit shy,” Mr. Kallmyr said. “But he was a normal person with good behavior. He never shared any extreme thoughts or speech with us. There was absolutely no reason to expect that he could do something like this. We’re very shocked.”

Mr. Breivik quit the party in 2006, apparently disappointed by the party’s move toward the center.

“He didn’t like our politics, I guess, and moved on,” Mr. Kallmyr said.

His Internet posts also indicated contempt for the Conservative Party, which he accused of having given up the battle against multiculturalism.

But on Friday he directed his firepower at the center-left Labor Party, which leads the coalition government.

“Breivik feels that multiculturalism is destroying the society and that the enforcing authority is the prime minister and the Labor Party, the lead party of contemporary Norwegian politics,” said Anders Romarheim, a fellow at the Norwegian Institute for Defense Studies.

But the attacks, along with what appear to have been years of preparation for them, raised questions about whether the Norwegian security authorities, concentrating on threats of Islamic terrorism, had overlooked the threat from the anti-Islamic right.

“This is the Norwegian equivalent to Timothy McVeigh,” the right-wing American who bombed a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995, said Marcus Buck, a political scientist at the University of Tromso in northern Norway. “This is right-wing domestic terrorism, and the big question is to what extent Norwegian agencies have diverted their attention from what they knew decades ago was the biggest threat” to focus instead on Islamic militants.

The unclassified versions of the last three Norwegian Police Security Service reports assessing national threats all played down any threat by right-wing and nationalist extremists. Instead, the reports emphasized the dangers posed by radical Islam, groups opposed to Norway’s military involvement in Afghanistan and Libya, and others.

The 2011 report, released early this year, concluded that “the far-right and far-left extremist communities will not represent a serious threat to Norwegian society.”

Even after the attacks, that appeared to be the official position.

“Compared to other countries I wouldn’t say we have a big problem with right-wing extremists in Norway,” Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told reporters at a news conference on Saturday. “But we have had some groups, we have followed them before, and our police is aware that there are some right-wing groups.”

Even if the authorities had focused on right-wing groups, it was unlikely that they would have noticed Mr. Breivik.

Kari Helene Partapuoli, director of the Norwegian Center Against Racism, said Mr. Breivik did not belong to any violent neo-Nazi groups that she was aware of, and his Internet postings, before those of last week, did not espouse violence.

“The distance between the words spoken and the acts that he carried out is gigantic, because what he did is in a different league of what the debates have to do about,” she said.

Arild Groven, secretary general of the Norwegian Shooting Association, a sports group, confirmed that Mr. Breivik had belonged to Oslo Pistolklubb, one of the 520 clubs in the association.

“We all read and watch the news about the shootings in the United States,” Mr. Groven said. “But it doesn’t happen here.”

Mr. Romarheim said in some ways the homegrown nature of the attack made it harder for Norwegians to accept. “With 9/11 in America, people could ask, ‘Who are they?’ and could pour their rage out on someone else,” he said. “But we can’t disavow this person, he’s one of us.”

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Oslo attacker an anti-Islamic/conservative Christian




Anders Behring Breivik is a conservative Christian who enjoys classical music and the video game World of Warcraft.

Breivik has been named by several Norwegian media outlets as the suspected shooter at a youth camp in Oslo, where 10 people were killed Friday and he may be linked to a bombing near the prime minister’s residence that killed seven others.

On his Facebook page, which appears to only have been started July 17, Breivik mostly posted music videos and said his interests include hunting and bodybuilding.

Under education, Breivik wrote he studied independently, noting he has “approximately 14,500 hours of study” equivalent to a bachelor of business administration and masters in history, as well as “3,000 hours of study in micro and macro finance, religion .”

His profile also says he’s a director at a company called Breivik Geofarm.

He lists himself as single and has five profile photos – four of which are headshots, and one of him at a wedding with two women, one of which is the bride.

A Twitter account is also being linked to Breivik, although there is just one tweet on July 17.

“One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests,” he wrote.

The television station TV 2 in Norway reported Breivik had right-wing extremist tendancies and had two guns registered under his name.

VGTV reported Breivik was unknown to police prior to Friday’s shooting.

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MSNBC discusses the urgency of the I/P issue, but promotes claim that ‘everybody knows minor land swaps’ will create two states

Jul 23, 2011

Susie Kneedler

A little forward movement the other day on MSNBC. First Martin Bashir’s guest hostRichard Lui allowed Anthony Summers (“The Eleventh Day” about Osama BinLaden and  Saudi royal funding of Sept. 11 attacks) to name “the Palestine/Israel issue” as “driving” the hijackers, as well as to conclude that solving the Israel/Palestine problem is central to US security.

Dylan Ratigan offered more discussion of that point, in a segment titled, “Israel-Palestine: Why It’s Key to Regional Stability,” which he began by announcing:

“The latest incursion: 15 activists deported from Israel after their Gaza-bound boat was captured by Israeli Navy commandos.”

Ratigan defines the boat to Gaza as an “incursion”–rather than explain Israeli government rule over the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including the illegal siege of Gaza, or the unlawful Wall and checkpoints in the West Bank.   That limit is only the start.  Ratigan invites Jeremy Ben-Ami, of J Street which is “Pro-Israel and Pro-Peace,” to discuss how his new book, “A New Voice for Israel: Fighting for the Survival of the Jewish Nation,” posits that the Arab Spring can only achieve stability through solving the Israel/Palestine conflict.

Ben-Ami tells us: “I begin with the commonly held understandings over decades among nearly every expert whether it’s on the Israeli or the Palestinian side or internationally about what the resolution of this conflict looks like.  The saddest thing about [this] conflict is–while it festers along, decade after decade–everybody knows the broad outlines of what the resolution looks like:…Two states for two peoples. The borders are on the ’67 lines with some moderate adjustments to keep the majority of Israeli settlers within Israel and you trade land to the Palestinians, you divide Jerusalem and you have the Palestinian parts under Palestinian rule and the Jewish parts under Jewish rule….”

Ratigan chimes in, “Two states, two peoples, ’67 borders with….”

Ben-Ami emphasizes, “Minor. Minor adjustments.”

Ratigan: “Minor finagling, and split Jerusalem….”

Ratigan asks what the “barrier” is to such an agreement.  Ben-Ami blames, “Lack of leadership on all sides…Israelis and Palestinians,” as well as “political constraints” in the United States, who he claims is the only credible arbiter in the international community.   But Ben-Ami unfortunately bows to those very political constraints when he fails to name the many Palestinian concessions for peace, which the Israeli government has invariably countered with new demands–like calling for Palestine to betray the twenty percent of Israeli Palestinian citizens, by recognizing Israel as “a Jewish and democratic state.”

Ratigan asks about benefits to the region, “How significant would that… agreement be…from Syria, to Egypt, to Libya…?”  Ben-Ami claims that the biggest beneficiary would be revived U.S. influence: “If America can help to broker that deal, it restores Ameican credibility in the region. This is a vital American national security interest.’

Matt Miller congratulates Ben-Ami on his book, then announces, “I’m an American Jew: I think I’m your target audience. I’ve felt some angst about the way American Jews participate in this debate.  What’s your message…to an American audience of how American Jews as they express themselves can help be a force for the kind of progress that you think needs to happen?”

Ben-Ami argues that “achieving the two-state-solution is the absolute existential necessity of the state of Israel” for “Israel itself is never going to make it as a Jewish and a democratic nation,” “if it doesn’t separate into two states and let the Palestinians have their freedom and independence in their own state.”  Miller and Ratigan ask about why “too many” in the U.S. resist the idea of a two-state solution,  inquiring about the “politics” and “the fear.” Ben-Ami answers, “Number one is physical security….Any Jew whether they live here or elsewhere” worries: “the concern is that you have Prime Minister Netanyahu who comes here and says that the ’67 borders are indefensible.”  Ben-Ami counters that anxiety: “But you have all these military experts” from “the Mossad and Shin Bet” who say that what is indefensible is the present situation, this is unsustainable….This is insecurity by definition.”

“The Washington Post”‘s Jonathan Capehart and Ben-Ami agree to dismiss the role that concern over Israel and its Occupation of Palestine played in the Arab uprisings, mistakenly narrowing their ideas: “The issue is the United States’s ability to play a new role in the new” “more democratic, more populist” “Middle East”–that is, not to be seen “on the wrong side of the grand scope of history.”  Imogen Lloyd Webber asks what the Obama Administration should do; Ben-Ami answers: pressure all sides equally.

Yet MSNBC’s title for the video clip is, “Author Jeremy Ben-Ami and panel debate whether the Arab Spring has recast the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”  What’s encouraging about this exchange is that all four panelists–far from debating–actually praise Ben-Ami’s prescriptions.  What’s discouraging is that all four panelists praise Ben-Ami’s perspective.

For Ben-Ami is wrong when he says that “minor” swaps will create a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines.  MSNBC floats maps in the background, comparing “1967” to “Today,” but no speaker points out the obvious: Palestinian areas have shrunk and dispersed.  No one considers how to inspire Israel to return the stolen lands, or whether such a necessity undermines Ben-Ami’s insistence that both sides are equally intransigent, requiring equal prodding.  That disintegration of territory parallels the shriveling of American debate about Palestine and Israel.   MSNBC–by inviting only a thinker whose “target audience” is “American Jew[s],” whose regressive goal is “fighting for the Jewish nation”– stunts the debate while trying to advance it.  No panelist mentions the sinister double meaning when Ratigan twice describes border swaps as “finagling,” or when Ben-Ami quotes Binyamin Netanyahu’s declaration that the 1967 lines are “indefensible.”  The unstated truth is that neither trickery can be defended.

Ben-Ami, Ratigan, and the rest focus on the so-called enlightened self-interest of the U.S. and Israel, playing down the claims of shared human values throughout Palestine and the world.  But their conclusion reminds us that enlightened self-interest is still selfishness, leaving us with a larger question.  How can the United States become “a [diverse] and democratic state,” in which reporters can look out for the inalienable human rights and “security” needs of all, including Palestinians–starting with the Rights of Return, self-determination, self-defense, freedom to move, and equality under the law?

‘Tears of Gaza’ – lest our tears dry up

Jul 23, 2011

Susan Abulhawa

Tears of Gaza‘ by Vibeke Lokkeberg is a documentary film that should be watched by every American, to see how Israel spends our taxes. Every European should watch it, to see the true face of Israel. It should be viewed by every Arab, to renew our resolve not to allow a racist nation to wipe Palestine and her children from the map and from history.

I had read the stories from Gaza after Israel’s so called “operation cast lead”. I had read the reports. I thought I had cried enough then not to cry again. But this film went to my heart, stirred everything up, made the tears fall and fall and here I am now, with a hollow, spooned out hole in my gut because bombs were dropped on sleeping children, helicopters rained the death and disfigurement of white phosphorous on terrified civilians huddling at a UN school for shelter…and no one is doing anything about it.

Tears of Gaza lays bare the lies, the cover ups and Richard Goldstone’s moral flip flopping. It takes you into the heart of Gaza’s tormented landscape to show the truth behind craven and mendacious headlines with words that describe Israel’s slaughter as an “incursion” or “self defense”. This film shows us these truths through the luminous spirits of children. It is not to be missed!

I first heard of “Tears of Gaza”, or “Gaza Traer” as the original Norwegian title is called, when Bernard Henri-Levi launched an attack against Lokkeberg and me in major newspapers throughout Europe. She and I were in touch after that and I was finally just able to get hold of the film to watch it. It is a monumentally important work. It is beautiful and painful and honest and devastating.

Vibeke Lokkeberg gives us the names, faces, and stories of three ordinary Gaza children with extraordinary spirits. We first fall in love with Yehya, a 12-year-old boy who wants to become a doctor so he can heal people who are shot by Israelis. We see him on a small motorboat, lost in the magic of childhood as he is taught to steer the boat. His beautiful eyes and brilliant smile during these moments make his tears all the harder to bear when he talks about his beloved father. The losses that follow in his life are incomprehensible and overwhelming merely to hear about.

Until you meet Amira, 14 years old, and walk through her world.

Amira is beautiful. It’s the kind of beauty that holds an ineffable pain not often seen in the young. Her life, too, is marred by death and destruction and disfigurement of her body by ammunition. She tells us that she wants to become a lawyer so she can take the Israelis to court for the crimes they’ve committed. Then, recalling her father and brothers, she admits wishing she had just “gone with them”.

Like Amira, Rasmia is far beyond her 11 years. Arabic speakers might detect things about her that non-Arabic speakers will not. This is largely because of the translation; and this is my only criticism of the film. When Rasmia goes into what seems like a waking trance, her mother tells us in Arabic that she is “imagining”. The translation says “memorizing”, which doesn’t make sense and it distracts from an important subtlety. Her mother explains that she sometimes just “imagines” things from the attacks. I suspect that most psychologists witnessing those scenes and hearing her mother’s explanation would agree that she was experiencing flashbacks and exhibiting clear signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Another example where the wrong translation obscures important nuances is when Yehya is telling us about losing his father. He is, in fact, speaking in the third person: “when someone loses their father, it’s like they’ve lost the whole world” etc. But his words are translated as if in the first person: “when my father died, it’s like I lost the whole world.” The distinction might not seem important, until you realize that he cannot get the words out without breaking down when he speaks in the first person. It’s a faint distinction, but one that makes your heart break even more.

And we should all allow our hearts be broken over Gaza. It’s the least we can do. To hear these three children and ask others to hear them is the very least we can do. Vibeke Lokkeberg has given us a monumentally important record of what happened in December 2009 to January 2010; so no one can ever say “I didn’t know”.

Lest we forget, lest our tears dry or outrage subside, and lest our hearts heal before Palestine is free, I hope this film will be shown throughout the world, across university campuses, communities, organizations and living rooms. Take this not just as a review, but a call to action.

 Susan Abulhawa is the author of Mornings in Jenin (Bloomsbury 2010) and the founder of Playgrounds for Palestine.

This article is crossposted @ Palestine Chronicle

Sullivan’s rule, or How the paradigm of Jewish liberalism morphed into selfish blindness

Jul 23, 2011

Philip Weiss

Andrew Sullivan quotes Michael Koplow on the boycott legislation in Israel, then offers a rule:

“Israel cannot afford to erode its liberal democratic credentials much further.”

And yet it does. Because that is what domestic politics in an increasingly religious and illiberal Israel demand. The only thing you can depend on: the American Jewish Establishment will always look the other way.

Thanks to Peter Voskamp.

The Norway massacre and the nexus of Islamophobia and right-wing Zionism

Jul 23, 2011

Alex Kane

Details on the culprit behind yesterday’s massacre in Norway, which saw car bombings in Oslo and a mass shooting attack on the island of Utoya that caused the deaths of at least 91 people, have begun to emerge.  While it is still too early for a complete portrait of the killer, Anders Behring Breivik, there are enough details to begin to piece together what’s behind the attack.

Although initial media reports, spurred on by the tweets of former State Department adviser on violent extremism Will McCantslinked the attacks to Islamist extremists, it was in fact an anti-Muslim zealot who committed the murders.  An examination of Breivik’s views, and his support for far-right European political movements, makes it clear that only by interrogating the nexus of Islamophobia and right-wing Zionism can one understand the political beliefs behind the terrorist attack.

Breivik is apparently an avid fan of U.S.-based anti-Muslim activists such as Pamela GellerRobert Spencer and Daniel Pipes, and has repeatedly professed his ardent support for Israel.  Breivik’s political ideology is illuminated by looking at comments he posted to the right-wing site, which author and journalist Doug Sanders put up.

Here’s a sampling of some of Breivik’s comments:

And then we have the relationship between conservative Muslims and so-called “moderate Muslims”.

There is moderate Nazis, too, that does not support fumigation of rooms and Jews. But they’re still Nazis and will only sit and watch as the conservatives Nazis strike (if it ever happens). If we accept the moderate Nazis as long as they distance themselves from the fumigation of rooms and Jews?

Now it unfortunately already cut himself with Marxists who have already infiltrated-culture, media and educational organizations. These individuals will be tolerated and will even work asprofessors and lecturers at colleges / universities and are thus able to spread their propaganda.

For me it is very hypocritical to treat Muslims, Nazis and Marxists differ. They are all supporters of hate-ideologies…(page 2-3)

What is globalization and modernity to do with mass Muslim immigration?

And you may not have heard and Japan and South Korea? These are successful and modern regimes even if they rejected multiculturalism in the 70’s. Are Japanese and South Koreans goblins?

Can you name ONE country where multiculturalism is successful where Islam is involved? The only historical example is the society without a welfare state with only non-Muslim minorities (U.S.)…(page 7)

We have selected the Vienna School of Thought as the ideological basis. This implies opposition to multiculturalism and Islamization (on cultural grounds). All ideological arguments based on anti-racism. This has proven to be very successful which explains why the modern cultural conservative movement / parties that use the Vienna School of Thought is so successful: the Progress Party,Geert Wilders, document and many others…(page 13)

I consider the future consolidation of the cultural conservative forces on all seven fronts as the most important in Norway and in all Western European countries. It is essential that we work to ensure that all these 7 fronts using the Vienna school of thought, or at least parts of the grunlag for 20-70 year-struggle that lies in front of us.

The book is called, by the way 2083 and is in English, 1100 pages).

To sums up the Vienna school of thought:

-Cultural Conservatism (anti-multiculturalism)

-Against Islamization


-Anti-authoritarian (resistance to all authoritarian ideologies of hate)

-Pro-Israel/forsvarer of non-Muslim minorities in Muslim countries

– Defender of the cultural aspects of Christianity

– To reveal the Eurabia project and the Frankfurt School (ny-marxisme/kulturmarxisme/multikulturalisme)

– Is not an economic policy and can collect everything from socialists to capitalists…(page 20)

Daniel Pipes: Leftism and Islam. Muslims, the warriors Marxists Have Been praying for.

link to

The following summarizes the agenda of many kulturmarxister with Islam, it explains also why those on death and life protecting them. It explains so well why we, the cultural conservatives,are against Islamization and the implementation of these agendas… (page 27)

We must therefore make sure to influence other cultural conservatives to come to our anti-rasistiske/pro-homser/pro-Israel line. When they reach this line, one can take it to the next level…(page 41)

Breivik’s right-wing pro-Israel line, combined with his antipathy to Muslims, is just one example of the European far-right’s ideology, exemplified by groups such as the English Defense League (EDL).  The EDL, a group Breivik praisesalong with the anti-Muslim politician Geert Wilders, share with Breivik an admiration for Israel.

Anti-Muslim activists and right-wing Zionists share a political narrative that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is a “clash of civilizations,” one in which Judeo-Christian culture is under attack by Islam.  Israel, in this narrative, is the West’s bulwark against the threat that Islam is posing to Europe and the United States.  The nexus of Islamophobia and right-wing Zionism was clearly on display during last summer’s“Ground Zero mosque” hysteria, which culminated in a rally where Geller and Wilders addressed a crowd that included members of the EDL waving Israeli flags.  

This comment by Breivik is one example of the twisted way in which Islamophobia and a militant pro-Israel ideology fit together:

Cultural conservatives disagree when they believe the conflict is based on Islamic imperialism,that Islam is a political ideology and not a race.

Cultural conservatives believe Israel has a right to protect themselves against the Jihad.

Kulturmarxistene refuses to recognize the fact that Islam’s political doctrine is relevant and essential. They can never admit to or support this because they believe that this is primarily about a race war – that Israel hates Arabs (breed).

As long as you can not agree on the fundamental perceptions of reality are too naive to expect that one to come to any conclusion.Before one at all can begin to discuss this conflict must first agree on the fundamental truths of Islam’s political doctrine.

Most people here have great insight in key Muslim concepts that al-taqiiya (political deceit), naskh (Quranic abrogation) and Jihad. The problem is that kulturmarxister refuses to recognizet hese concepts.They can not recognize these key Muslim concepts. For if they do so erodes the primary argument that Israel is a “racist state” and that this is a race war (Israelis vs. Arabs) and not defense against Jihad (Kafr vs. Ummah)

Breivik’s admiration for the likes of Daniel Pipes is also telling, and should serve as a warning that, while it would be extremely unfair and wrong to link Pipes in any way to the massacre in Norway, Breivik’s views are not so far off from some establishment neoconservative voices in the U.S.  For instance, both Pipes and Breivik share a concern with Muslim demographics in Europe.  In 1990, Pipes wrotein the National Review that “Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene…All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most.”

Pipes was appointed by the Bush administration to the U.S. Institute of Peace, andsits on the same board than none other than the Obama administration’s point man on the Middle East, Dennis Ross.

Pipes’ and Breivik’s concern about Muslim and Arab demographics also recall the remarks of Harvard Fellow Martin Kramer, who infamously told the Herzliya Conference in Israel last year that the West should “stop providing pro-natal subsidies for Palestinians with refugee status…Israel’s present sanctions on Gaza have a political aim, undermine the Hamas regime, but they also break Gaza’s runaway population growth and there is some evidence that they have.”

Adding to the Israel/Palestine angle here is the fact that the day before the attack on the island of Utoya, a Palestine solidarity event was held there.

Why Breivik, and his accomplices if he had any, would attack young Norwegians remains unclear.  But it probably had something to do with Breivik’s belief that European governments, and the Norwegian government, were run by “Marxists” allied with Islamist extremists who were bent on destroying Europe through “multiculturalism.”

Of course, support for Israel and its current right-wing policies do not automatically translate into support for extremist right-wing violence.  But Palestinians, and the larger Arab and Muslim world, know far too well the consequences of Islamophobia and far right-wing Zionism.  Now, it seems that Norwegians do too.  While much remains to be learned about the attacks in Norway, it has exposed the dangerous nexus of Islamophobia, neoconservatism and right-wing Zionism, and what could happen when the wrong person subscribes to those toxic beliefs.

Alex Kane, a freelance journalist currently based in Amman, Jordan, blogs on Israel/Palestine at  Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

Are you stupid enough to be a blogger for the Washington Post? Take the Norway test

Jul 23, 2011

Philip Weiss

Amazing. Neoconservative Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin blames the Norwegian horror on jihadists, and Jim Fallows nails her. Rubin:

We don’t know if al Qaeda was directly responsible for today’s events, but in all likelihood the attack was launched by part of the jihadist hydra.

She says we need to keep funding the war on terror and drags Gary Schmitt of American Enterprise Institute into it. He says: “But as the attack in Oslo reminds us, there are plenty of al-Qaeda allies still operating. No doubt cutting the head off a snake is important; the problem is, we’re dealing with global nest of snakes.”


Seven Seventeen hours after the Post item went up, six sixteen hours after its claims were shown to be false and hysterical, it’s still there, with no correction or apology.

Steve Clemons also weighs in on Rubin’s “fearmongering.”

Perhaps you should link the extremist violence from right wing fanatics, Christian religious zealots within our countries — within the US, within Norway, and elsewhere — to your pet causes.  Would at least be more technically correct.


UN reports increase in ‘forced displacement’ of Palestinians under occupation (and 2500 Bedouins at risk in Jerusalem)

Jul 23, 2011


and other news from Today in Palestine:

Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid

IDF Civil Administration pushing for land takeover in West Bank / Akiva Eldar
Haaretz 22 July — Inclusion of Jordan Valley, northern Dead Sea and area surrounding Ariel in ‘settlement blocs’ whose takeover the administration is advancing, would prevent establishment of Palestinian state with territorial contiguity … Until now it was not known that the administration, which is a military agency, was charged with distinguishing between the blocs Israel is demanding to annex as part of a final-status agreement and the rest of the settlements … the scope of land in question thwarts the possibility of exchanging areas in a peace settlement, according to the formula presented by U.S. President Barack Obama on May 19. This is because on the western side of the Green Line there is not enough open land to compensate the Palestinians for such an extensive annexation
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UN: Marked increase in forced displacement of Palestinians
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 21 July — The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs released a report Thursday documenting alarming trends in the forced displacement of Palestinians in Area C. The OCHA report found that more demolitions have taken place so far in 2011 than in all of 2009 and 2010 combined. The Khan Al-Ahmar village [see Al Jazeera video about this threatened village] near Jerusalem received four stop work orders last week, the report said, and there are ongoing demolition orders against another two hundred and fifty structures in surrounding communities. Around twenty Bedouin communities with a population of 2,353 people live in the Jerusalem periphery with over 80 percent of them at risk of displacement due to the expansion of the Maale Adumin settlement and the separation wall … Thousands are at risk of displacement, the report added.

West Bank village: Home demolitions by Israel have risen
Press Release: United Nations –– New York, Jul 21 2011 – Two senior United Nations officials today visited a Bedouin community in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) amid increasing home demolitions by the Israeli authorities, who have control over security, planning and zoning in the area. Maxwell Gaylard, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for oPt and David Hutton, the acting Director of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), visited the village of Khan Al Ahmar where more homes have been razed this year than in the previous two years.
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Law would put settlement museums under Israeli law
JPost 21 July — Wednesday threw its support behind a Knesset bill regarding museum funding, which, according to its creator MK Uri Ariel (National Union), was designed to start a legislative process that would take a step toward annexing Judea and Samaria. The move comes amid failed attempts by right-wing politicians to generate legislative and governmental support to fully annex Judea and Samaria, which is under military rule. As such, Israeli law does not fully apply there.
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Palestinian National Trail to open over weekend
JPost 22 July — Over 10,000 km. of trails crisscross Israel, and most are marked with simple dots or shapes to guide hikers. But the Palestinian National Trail, a new footpath in the West Bank to be unveiled on Saturday, is lined with a more detailed — and political — symbol. Small Palestinian flags painted on large boulders now demarcate the 15-km. trail, which starts near the Green Line (across from Meitar northeast of Beersheba), and runs to Khirbat Zenuta, south of Hebron. The trail was created by Israelis and Palestinian affiliated with Combatants for Peace, a movement of Israelis and Palestinians committed to “ending the cycle of violence and the occupation.” The organizers hope that the trail will become a Palestinian alternative to the Israel National Trail, which runs 940 km. from Dan in the Galilee panhandle to Eilat. They view the new trail as a statement of the Palestinian’s right to independence and of Israeli’s right to be free from the cycle of violence. On Saturday, about 100 Israeli and Palestinian activists plan to complete the path and meet Arab villagers who may face eviction. All participants must vow not to act violently or even shout, event organizers said.
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IOA to confiscate 136 dunums of OJ land
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 22 July — The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) has declared intention to confiscate 136 dunums of Palestinian land in occupied Jerusalem. The organization and construction committee in the IOA-controlled Jerusalem municipality said that 102 dunums would be expropriated in the Ras Al-Amud and Wadi Qaddoum areas. It said that another 34 dunums would be confiscated south of Silwan town. Municipality teams escorted by security forces glued orders to that effect on houses in those districts.

Israeli authorities to demolish three Palestinian dwellings
SALFIT (WAFA) 21 July — The Israeli authorities Thursday handed three Palestinians demolition orders for one house and two shacks in Zawyah village in Salfit in the northern West Bank, according to mayor of Zawyah, Khadr Shqair. The mayor said a resident of Zawyah received an order to demolish his house near the northern entrance of the village, even though the house has been built for about 25 years. Two other residents also received orders to demolish their shacks, built more than 10 years ago and adjacent to other houses in the village.

Israeli bulldozers uproot olive trees in Jerusalem
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 21 July — Israeli bulldozers early Thursday uprooted dozens of long-standing olive trees belonging to three Palestinian families southwest of Beit Iksa, a village in Jerusalem, according to witnesses.  Farmers told WAFA that Israeli bulldozers uprooted the olive trees planted in the lands adjacent to Ramot, a Jewish settlement illegally built on Beit Iksa land, to build a wall around the remaining south and west parts of the village after sealing it off with the Apartheid Wall. Hamada Gaith, one of the land owners, called upon all parties concerned to intervene and pressure the Israeli authorities to stop destroying agricultural lands, the main source of livelihood for village residents after they were banned by Israeli authorities from working in Israel … Meanwhile, Israeli authorities arrested Palestine TV crew as they were covering the incident, in addition to a number of Beit Iksa residents who were trying to stop the bulldozers.

No place for Muslims to pray in Beer Sheva / Jillian Kestler-D’Amours
EI 20 July — Encircled by a grey, metal fence, the Big Mosque in Beer Sheva is an impressive Ottoman-era structure with a towering minaret, white dome and intricate metal detailing on its many windows. Closed off by the Israeli authorities since 1991, it is suffering from neglect. And after the Israeli high court ruled last month that it should be turned into a museum of Islamic culture instead of being open to prayer, the mosque is once again at the heart of a battle between the area’s Muslim residents and the municipality.   “All the Arab citizens in Beer Sheva don’t have a mosque or place to pray. They asked the city to renovate the mosque so that they can use it to pray and the city refused,” explained Jaber Abu Kaf, a resident of Umm Bateen, a Bedouin village just south of Beer Sheva and a representative of the Regional Council for Unrecognized Bedouin Villages (RCUV) in the Negev.
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Brother of Sarhan martyr arrested at Bir Ayyub checkpoint
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 21 July — Residents of Bir Ayyub district of Silwan were targeted by Israeli forces on the pretext of traffic control yesterday. Palestinian drivers were stopped and searched at a Bir Ayyub checkpoint, with Samah Sarhan, 17, arrested from inside his vehicle. Sarhan is the younger brother of martyred Samer Sarhan, who was killed last year by an Israeli settler guard amidst intense riots

fascinating take on Israeli destruction of Mamilla cemetery:
Work resumes on removal of 500 fake gravestones in capital
JPost 21 July — After nearly a year, the Israel Lands Authority this month resumed work removing 500 fake tombstones from the Muslim Mamilla Cemetery in downtown Jerusalem, prompting furious condemnation from Muslim groups. Last August, Jerusalem municipality officials, working in conjunction with the ILA and the Israel Antiquities Authority, removed around 300 counterfeit tombstones, calling their erection “one of the largest acts of deception in recent years.” … The issue started in 2007, when members of the Islamic Movement appealed to the Jerusalem Municipality for a permit to renovate and clean graves in the cemetery. The request was granted, but authorities are accusing the Islamic Movement of hastily erecting new gravestones in an effort to “illegally seize state land,” the municipality said last summer …
Dr. Said Khalidi, a leader in the Campaign to Preserve the Mamilla Jerusalem Cemetery, agreed that some of the tomb renovations were hastily done and insufficient, but argued that the new gravesites still marked hallowed areas containing the remains of local Muslim families dating back 800 years … if you have an old tomb that’s renovated with new stones, it doesn’t look old,” he said. But the gravestones are not the most important aspect of the site, Khalidi argued. “It doesn’t matter what’s on top, it matters what’s beneath the ground…” [I suppose the repaired/replacement gravestones in the 17th-century cemetery near my US town are ‘fake’ too….]


Settlers attack shepherd in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 22 July — Israeli settlers on Friday attacked a Palestinian shepherd in Qusra village in the northern West Bank and killed two of his sheep, witnesses said. Ma‘an’s correspondent in Nablus said minor clashes broke out after the incident as locals tried to defend the shepherd, and Israeli forces detained 17-year-old villager Mazen Muhsen.
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Settlers start fires across the West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 22 July — Palestinian firefighters have been battling blazes across the West Bank as Israeli settlers set fire to land in multiple locations on Thursday night. Reports earlier on Friday said that settlers had torched agricultural fields near the village of Burin in the West Bank city of Nablus … Reports also emerged that fires had been started by settlers in the districts of Nablus, Salfit, Tulkarem and north of Jerusalem. After nine hours, firefighters finally managed to extinguish a blaze started by settlers in Al-Badhan village, north of Nablus, which destroyed 150 dunams of land and olive trees, the Palestinian Civil Defense said Friday. Fires in other West Bank districts also reportedly destroyed hundreds of dunams of Palestinian land.
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Jewish settlers return to evacuated settlement
JENIN (PIC) 22 July — Jewish settlers returned to the evacuated settlement of Homesh, south of Jenin city, at dawn Friday and offered Talmudic rituals, as Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrived to the scene to provide protection for them. Local sources said that the settlers spread in the olive groves between Burqa and Seelat Al-Dhaher villages. Herds of settlers routinely storm the same area during which they attack Palestinian civilian property ever since Homesh was evacuated in 2005.
The IOF troops at dawn Friday stormed Yamun village, west of Jenin city, and combed the area between it and Burkin village and intercepted farmers while on their way to tend to their fields.

Settlers rally at Migron ahead of demolition of 3 homes
JPost 22 July — Settlers said they expect a massive show of resistance against any attempts by the state to demolish three permanent structures at the Migron outpost in Samaria. They spoke with The Jerusalem Post as they gathered Thursday night at the outpost in advance of an anticipated move against the three outpost homes. The state has promised the High Court of Justice it would remove the homes by Sunday, July 24. As of late Thursday night, all attempts to broker a compromise to stave off the demolitions had failed.
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Might some stay?
NABI SALAH (The Economist) 21 July — Every Friday and often after school on other days, Israeli soldiers fire tear-gas and sonic bombs at the Palestinian children as they approach a spring. It sits in a valley that separates Nabi Saleh, an Arab village of 500 people half an hour’s drive north of Jerusalem, from Halamish, a religious Jewish settlement. On most nights jeeps roll through the village; over the past 18 months the Israeli army has detained 32 of its children, some as young as eleven. Many have been taken from their beds, kept in pre-trial detention for months, and brought to court in shackles, there to be convicted of stone-throwing. For some of Halamish’s settlers, irritated by the tear-gas that wafts into their living rooms from across the hill, this is not harsh enough. “The soldiers don’t maim enough Palestinians,” complains Iran Segal.
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Palestinian sources deny allegations that settler was shot at
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 22 July  — Palestinian sources denied allegations that an Israeli settler was shot at near the town of Azzun on Friday, east of the West Bank city of Qalqiliya. The sources confirmed that a settler had passed nearby the town while a wedding was taking place, during which time fireworks had been set off in celebration. Gunshots were not fired, the sources said. An Israeli settler claimed earlier on Friday that he came under fire while passing near the Palestinian town in the northern West Bank.
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Israeli forces

PCHR Weekly Report 14-20 July: One civilian killed, ten wounded by Israeli forces this week
IMEMC 22 July — …Israeli forces conducted 32 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank this week, during which they abducted 13 Palestinian civilians, including a child. In one example of this week’s 32 incursions, on Sunday July 17th, at approximately 13:00, Israeli forces moved into Qaryout village, southeast of Nablus. They patrolled in the streets and violently beat Yazid Sarham Kassab, 30, who is physically disabled. At approximately 17:00, they stopped two children: ‘Abada Mo’men Mousa, 14; and Hamza Mohammed Mousa, 14. They handcuffed and blindfolded ‘Abada. His mother intervened to prevent them from arresting him, but they told her that they would release him in 10 minutes. However, they later took him away from the area. See Full Report
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Twilight Zone: Blood on the tracks / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 22 July — Ibrahim Sirhan bled to death after being shot by Israeli soldiers last week in al-Fari’a, a refugee camp near Nablus that can’t escape its tortured past…. Our two escorts … take us to the rear wing of the prison, which hasn’t been renovated — the wing where the Shin Bet security service conducted interrogations and perpetrated torture. Anyone who wants to know how the Shin Bet interrogated Palestinian detainees, how they tortured them and with what appalling instruments they pressured them to become collaborators, is invited to visit this place. Words are inadequate. The sights are straight out of Abu Ghraib, where Iraqi prisoners were tortured by members of the U.S. army. Here, in the courtyard, is where Abu Rob was tied to the wall and, bound and blindfolded, spent nine successive days, with two one-minute toilet breaks a day. Here are the solitary confinement cells, excruciatingly narrow; here the concrete cubes on which the lucky prisoners were made to stay for days and nights at a time, bound hand and foot, two of them on each cube, back to back, in rain and sun. Here are the isolation rooms, the ‘asfurs’, and here, in a tiny hut in the inner courtyard, under a pine tree, is where those being interrogated were tied to a hook by their hands for protracted periods, until they agreed to talk.
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Israeli soldiers severely beat Palestinian worker in Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 21 July – Israeli soldiers Wednesday severely beat and injured a Palestinian worker near checkpoint 300, north of Bethlehem. Israeli soldiers stopped Mohammad Harizat, 52, a resident of the town of Yatta in Hebron, south of the West Bank, as he was returning from his workplace in Jerusalem and severely beat him, causing him multiple injuries. He was transferred to Beit Jala hospital for treatment. A medical source at the hospital said Harizat sustained a head injury and a broken left hand.

3 bombs dismantled in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) — Explosive experts from the Palestinian Authority police department were able to dismantle three unexploded bombs Wednesday in the village of Taluza near Nablus. The police received a phone call from a villager who reported the discovery of an unexploded bomb on village land. They then searched the area and found three unexploded bombs which were dismantled and removed to protect the public. Nablus police urged people to stay away from any ambiguous objects and to call the police. It is believed the bomb was of Israeli origin and likely a remnant from a previous incursion.

Is the IDF becoming an Orthodox army? / Amos Harel
[see photo of ‘Ceremony marking the end of basic training of a Nahal Haredi battalion’] Haaretz 22 July — Documents drawn up by high-ranking army officers show that IDF regulations aimed at accommodating religious male soldiers are restrictive and even damaging vis-à-vis female soldiers — …According to the IDF journal Ma’arachot last year, the proportion of religiously observant cadets in infantry officers courses leaped from 2.5 percent in 1990 to 31 percent in 2007. Zamir provides a complimentary statistic: Between 1994 and 2009, the proportion of graduates of state-religious schools who are serving as majors in combat units rose from 6.9 percent to 20 percent. ‏
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Al-Qassam Brigades fighter dies in tunnel collapse
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 21 July — The military wing of Hamas, the Al-Qassam brigades, announced the death of one of their members Thursday in a tunnel collapse in the Gaza Strip. The military wing told Ma‘an that Muhammad Junid, 25, from Jabalia died at dawn on Thursday as a tunnel used for smuggling goods collapsed.

Israeli gunboats fire at Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza
KHAN YOUNIS (WAFA) 21 July — Israeli gunboats fired at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Khan Younis south of Gaza, in the early hours of Thursday, according to witnesses. No injuries were reported.

Video: Gazans fear more Israeli offensives
PressTV 21 July — Residents in the besieged Gaza Strip fear that Israel might escalate attacks on the impoverished enclave when Palestinians request statehood at the United Nations in September … Palestinians will attempt to obtain recognition of a sovereign state when the UN General Assembly meets in September. Washington and Tel Aviv remain opposed to the initiative. Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon has claimed that such a decision could lead to “disappointment and maybe violence” in the occupied territories and Tel Aviv might “dissolve agreements with the Palestinians.”

Israeli restrictions ensure slow pace of Gaza reconstruction
RAMALLAH (IRIN) 21 July — The housing crisis in the Gaza Strip is not going to be resolved any time soon: Only a small number of the 40,000 units needed to meet natural population growth and the destruction of homes in Israeli military operations are being built, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Israel restricts the import of building materials deemed to be of potential military benefit to Gaza’s Hamas government. A limited number of international, mainly-UN-backed, building projects are being allowed to go ahead, but the Israeli checking process is causing delays. Israel’s spokesperson for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the (Palestinian) Territories (COGAT), Guy Inbar, told IRIN that COGAT reviews all international projects due to security concerns. “COGAT wants to have supervision that the projects are not being implemented near Hamas facilities, and to ensure that construction material goes only to the [Israeli-approved international] projects and not to Hamas.”

Egyptian authorities thwart smugglers at tunnel
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 21 July — Egyptian authorities thwarted an attempt on Thursday to smuggle building materials into Gaza via a tunnel south of the Al-Barahmeh neighborhood in Rafah. “Egyptian security departments in Rafah had received information on a group of Egyptian and Palestinian smugglers trying to transport large amounts of cement and metal into Gaza via a tunnel in Al-Barahmeh neighborhood on the border,” Egyptian security officials told Ma‘an.

MB: Open Rafah border without hindrance
CAIRO (PIC) 21 July — The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has called on the Egyptian foreign ministry to shoulder its responsibilities regarding the Palestinians and open up the Rafah border crossing without hindrance. The group, a major constituent of the Egyptian revolution, urged Egyptian foreign politicians to lead other Arab states into supporting Palestinian rights, and at least open the Rafah crossing for people and goods.

Israel sees Libya as new source of smuggled weapons for Gaza
Reuters 21 July — Libya has become a new source of smuggled weaponry for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, a senior Israeli official said on Thursday. With eastern Libya largely held by rebels who rose up against Muammar Gadhafi in February, arms were being brought across the border, through neighboring Egypt, to the Islamist Hamas-ruled territory, Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon said.

OPT: NGOs in standoff over Hamas audit demand
GAZA (IRIN) 19 July — Various international NGOs working in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) have questioned a demand by the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip to audit their books, saying the move could jeopardize vital operations. “We have nothing to hide but obviously there are concerns about what other information they may want to look at or have access to, including beneficiary lists and contact details for staff, which are normally kept in HR folders,” said one aid agency employee who requested anonymity. According to aid workers, the motives behind the audit are unclear … Some suspect the demand could be a pre-emptive move by Hamas to begin collecting income tax from agency staff in Gaza. Currently, under a presidential decree from Ramallah, Gaza humanitarian staff do not pay income tax.

UNRWA headquarters closed off for second day
GAZA (PIC) 21 July — Dozens of Palestinian refugees have closed the doors of the UN Relief and Works Agency headquarters in Gaza city and sat in there for the second day to protest the agency’s decline in services and removal of the words ”relief and works” from its title and logo … UNRWA stopped giving aid to tens of thousands of Palestinians claiming that its budget could not provide for that.

UNRWA threatens Palestinian refugees with halting operations
GAZA (PIC) 22 July — The UNRWA threatened Thursday that it would mull halting all of its operations in Gaza Strip if popular protests against reducing its services to the Palestinian refugees continue, drawing wide condemnation from the refugees committee in the Strip. Chris Gunness, the spokesman of the UNRWA, warned that if gates of UN agency remained blocked by the protesters then the UNRWA would completely halt its operations in the populated Strip within one week.

New Gaza mall opens despite Israeli blockade
Xinhua 21 July — Dozens of people entered the Al- Andalusya mall in Gaza City after the automatic sliding door opened, looking up at the ceiling where cool air came from and then down at their feet trying carefully to stand on the escalator.  The people fanned out across the supermarket and the clothes store in the first and second floors of the shopping center. The third story is designated to have a restaurant, cafe shop, children cinema and a video games corner, but it is not yet ready. Calling it a mall might be possible in Gaza, but it is too exaggerated when comparing it to some major shopping centers in nearby Egypt for example. It has no underground parking, and it is good to visit only when you want to buy clothes and food. But for the owners of the enterprise, a group of private investors, this project challenges Israel’s blockade that has been imposed in the Gaza Strip since 2007.

Gaza passengers await the unknown / Mohammed Omer
Al Jazeera 22 July — Despite Egypt “opening” the Rafah crossing, Palestinians living in Gaza have seen no change in border restrictions — The morning sky is blue and bright at 7am in the southern Gaza Strip. More than 30 people wait patiently at the door of Lieutenant Colonel Ayyoub Abu Shaar’s house – their suitcases, duffle bags and gear strewn haphazardly at their feet. Abu Shaar is the man in charge of the Rafah Crossing and, thus, the man in charge of each person’s fate. Collectively, the small crowd turns as they see his black government Hyundai vehicle approaching. Restlessness descends. Tentatively, they move forward holding their passports, visas, medical records and flight reservations. Abu Shaar sees this scene every day. Families, students, those seeking work outside of Gaza, the elderly and the infirm – silent, waiting and hoping … Abu Sahaar says he regularly requests more people be allowed through. Egypt, however, is steadfast: 400 people each day and no more.
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Rafah crossing to be closed Saturday as Egypt marks 1952 revolution
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 July — Egyptian authorities have announced that they will close the Rafah crossing on Saturday as the country marks the anniversary of the July 23 revolution in 1952. “The Rafah crossing will be closed on Saturday by the Egyptians because of the holiday and will be re-opened Sunday,” Palestinian head of the Rafah crossing Ayoub Abu Shaar said Friday.  The number of registered [actual or would-be?] travelers has surpassed 30,000 and is increasing due to the large number of Gazans on summer vacation.
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51 Palestinians arrive in Gaza from Libya
GAZA (PIC) 22 July — The Egyptian authorities said on Friday that 61 Palestinians who were stranded in Libya had returned to the Gaza Strip last night via the Rafah border crossing. A responsible source said that the group assembled at the Sallum crossing between Egypt and Libya before being taken to Rafah then into Gaza. Another batch of 44 Palestinians crossed into Gaza a few days ago. Egyptian statistics indicated that 48,825 Palestinians crossed the Rafah border terminal both ways since its re-opening on 28 May. [how can that be if only 400 are allowed each day, and some days no one can cross? Need some clarification here.]

British charity sends Gaza aid via Egypt
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 11 July — Four tons of medical equipment donated by a British charity arrived Thursday in Egypt’s Alexandria port en route to the Gaza Strip, head of the Egyptian Red Crescent Jaber Al-Arabi said. Al-Arabi said the UK-based Palestinian Center for Justice sent five truckloads of aid, including 35 hydraulic beds and electrocardiogram equipment, to be delivered by the Red Crescent via the Rafah crossing … Meanwhile the Islamic Relief Committee in New Zealand sent 100 tons of meat to Gaza and Egyptian companies sent four tons of aid for pregnant women and children, Al-Arabi said, adding that the goods would arrive Friday. Al-Arabi said the union of Egyptian doctors also donated around 25 tons of medicine and medical equipment which would be delivered to the coastal enclave in the coming days.
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UNRWA visit to Gaza denied by spokesman
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 July — UNRWA spokesman Adnan Abu Hasneh has denied reports that a delegation from the organization visited Gaza on Thursday.
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Detention / Court actions

Court won’t allow Gaza couple to testify by video in suit
JPost 22 July — The Abu Azers should travel to a neutral country to give evidence, says Nazareth court judge says on couple’s lawsuit against the state. Khaled and Adia Abu Azer, residents of the Gaza Strip, are suing the state in a civil suit in the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court over the death of their daughter. The couple claims that the girl, named Amira, was killed by IDF gunfire in the northern Gaza Strip in 2007. The state says that the death occurred in a war zone, and therefore there is no need to pay compensation to the family … In upholding the state’s appeal to disallow the videoconferencing, Judge Avraham Avraham noted the state’s policy to refuse residents of Gaza, an enemy territory, entry into Israel except in extraordinary cases. Because of this policy, the Abu Azers cannot enter Israel — even though they are required to testify about events connected to their lawsuit.
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Israeli forces detain 7 people in Nablus
HEBRON (Ma‘an) — Israeli forces detained seven people from Al-Thahriyeh village south of Hebron on Wednesday night after raiding their houses. Israeli forces entered the village and broke into the home of Muhammad Al-Batat detaining him and his two sons Haitham and Adham, local witnesses said. Israeli forces also detained Rateb Samara, Mutab Wridat, Rasem Al-Tal and Ashraf Wridat and took them to an unknown destination.

IOF soldiers detain 16 Palestinians including Hamas leader, children
NABLUS (PIC) 21 July — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up 16 Palestinians in various West Bank areas at dawn Thursday including Hamas leader and well-known reformist Ghanim Sawalme. Relatives of Sawalme told the PIC reporter that more than 30 IOF soldiers broke into the family home in a pre-dawn raid and ordered his brother Ghalib, after detaining all other family members in one room, to lead them to Ghanim’s home under gunpoint. They said that the soldiers then stormed Ghanim’s home and took him away blindfolded and handcuffed after checking his ID…
The Israeli radio said that the IOF troops arrested 16 Palestinians in the West Bank for questioning including four children form Kober village near Ramallah.
The IOF troops had detained on Wednesday 150 Palestinian workers including 30 women while heading to their workplaces in 1948 occupied Palestine from the West Bank.

Shabak agents kidnap Palestinian prisoner from his jail cell
RAMALLAH (PIC) 21 July — Israeli Shabak officers stormed a room for Hamas prisoners in Hadarim jail and kidnapped Akram Jibrin after handcuffing him in front of his jail mates in the first such incident in Israeli jails.  Reliable sources in the jail told Ahrar Baladna website that the incident took place on Tuesday evening, noting that it was the first time Shabak agents storm prison cells and take away prisoners.

Soldiers break into room of detained Fatah leader Barghouthi
IMEMC 21 July — Palestinian Ministry of Detainee at the dissolved government in Gaza reported Thursday that Israeli soldiers broke, on Wednesday at night, into the room [cell] of detained Fateh leader, Marwan Barghouthi, before forcing him into solitary confinement.The Israeli Prison Administration claimed that Barghouthi was using a mobile phone, yet, did not confirm the claimed phone was ever located. [that’ll teach him to urge mass protests]

Strike to be organized in solidarity with prisoners
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 21 July — The Palestinian Center for Detainees announced Thursday that it is organizing a general strike in solidarity with detainees on hunger strike. The strike also aims to bring attention to the poor health of two detainees currently on hunger strike, Yousef Skafi and Atef Rweidat, who are in Ramla prison hospital. The date of the strike is to be announced. A lawyer who visited the two detainees on Tuesday told Ma‘an that both were confined to wheelchairs and in poor health.

PA security arrests two Hamas supporters, summons others
RAMALLAH (PIC) 21 July — West Bank security agencies have continued to persecute Hamas’s supporters at a time when the political leadership of the Fatah party, which governs the West Bank, has issued statements on its commitment to reconciling with Hamas.

Israel forces detain Palestinian businessman in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) — Israeli forces on Thursday detained a Palestinian businessman at a checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah, a prisoners’ society said. Mohammad Turman, 31, was detained at Qalandia checkpoint and taken to a police station in Ariel settlement, the society said in a statement. Turman owns Ojan restaurant, where he held an event to honor the families of Palestinians held for over 20 years in Israeli jails. The society denounced the arrest, which it said aimed to thwart popular participation “in our just causes.”
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Mother of 2 detainees dies
JENIN (Ma‘an) 22 July — A mother of two detainees died Friday in a refugee camp in Jenin in the northern West Bank, a prisoners’ rights group said. Two of Hajjeh Najiyeh Sibani’s children are held in Israeli prisons. The 78-year-old was devastated when she learned that her daughter was on hunger strike in jail, the organization said. The center said the parents of detainees lived in a constant state of grief at Israel’s imprisonment of their children.
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Activism / Solidarity

3 arrested and 2 injured in Nabi Saleh rally
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 22 July — Two people were injured and three others arrested in a weekly rally in the village of Nabi Saleh on Friday. Israeli soldiers had tried to raid the village but were confronted by local residents. Soldiers then fired stun grenades and canisters into the crowds, injuring dozens who inhaled the tear gas. “Anan Najeh At-Tamimi, 11, and another resident were lightly injured when an Israeli soldier fired a stun grenade at them,” a member of the popular youth committee said. There were reports of tense scenes in the the village of Nabi Saleh on Thursday as Israeli soldiers attempted to remove a protest tent erected by young people from the Popular Resistance movement. “Dozens of Israeli soldiers had tried to raid the village but the young men who were in the tent confronted the soldiers and prevented them from proceeding to the center of the village,” locals told Ma‘an. The tent is seen as a symbol of popular resistance against Israeli occupation.
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One injured, dozens treated for tear gas in Bil‘in
IMEMC 22 July — A Palestinian journalist was wounded in his right foot in the village of Bil‘in near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, on Friday. Haitham Al-Khatib, cameraman working for the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem was hit by a tear gas canister fired by Israeli troops to disperse nonviolent protesters during the weekly nonviolent protest in the village. A group of Italian supporters joined the villagers and marched to the land, recently retrieved by the court ruling. When they reached the new section of the wall, Israeli soldiers showered them with tear gas; many were treated for tear gas inhalation.
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IOF soldiers quell peaceful Palestinian marches
RAMALLAH (PIC) 22 July — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) quelled peaceful anti wall marches in Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Al-Khalil villages using rubber bullets and tear gas canisters. Local sources in Nabi Saleh village, Ramallah province, said that two citizens were slightly injured while three others were arrested by the IOF troops including a paramedic. Similar confrontations were reported in Bil‘in and Ni‘lin villages in addition to Ma‘sara in Bethlehem and Beit Ummar in Al-Khalil.

Israeli army acquires new weaponry to combat slated September protests for Palestinian statehood
Bethlehem (PNN) 22 July  – The Israeli army has worked diligently to strengthen its arsenal of military weapons in preparation for the wide scale demonstrations that are set to occur in the West Bank as the Palestinian Authority takes its case for statehood to the United Nations. The army has recently purchased a device called the ‘scream’ that emits bursts of sound at such levels that it leaves those nearby nauseated. The army also plans to use a new device; similar to the ‘skunk cannon’ that sprays a foul smelling liquid at demonstrators, but in the form of a bomb. Along with new weapons the army has stocked up on tear gas and rubber bullets, according to a report in the Israeli news source the Jerusalem Post. The army has also began to issue a new receiver for the M-16 semi-automatic rifle that takes .22-calibre rounds, which are less deadly than the traditional 5.56 mm bullet.
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Beit Hanoun: 63 and 500 meters later
ISM 19 July — The Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, happened sixty three years ago.  The theft of Palestinian land continues even today.  Every Tuesday, for the last three years, the people of Beit Hanoun have protested both the occupation and Israel’s three hundred meter “buffer zone” which Israel has declared on Palestinian land near the border of Gaza .. Local farmers warned us that for the last couple of days Israeli forces had been camped out in the abandoned houses near the border.  Just as their grandfathers were driven from their homes by Zionist violence, so these farmers were driven out of their homes by Zionist violence.  Sometimes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Over the weekend six were injured in Beit Hanoun when Israel bombed a well in the middle of a residential district.

Personal testimony — Arrested and beaten yet Palestinians remain in prison
ISM 20 July — Today, Friday 15 of July, the Israeli army violently repressed the weekly non-violent demonstration of the Palestinian city of Nabi Saleh. During the repeated attacks on the peaceful demonstrators four activists were arrested: two Palestinians, one Italian and one Israeli.  The following is the testimony of the Italian activist … I resisted being put into the Jeep. There were many of them trying to force me into the vehicle and they started using violence on me. They were hitting me on the legs and the soldier next to me first showered me with water using the little water pipe coming out of his helmet, then he elbowed my groin. Another soldier put his fingers on my throat, trying to prevent me from talking. He then threatened to pepper spray my face, if I wouldn’t tuck my legs in the vehicle. But it was an empty threat he did not carry out. They couldn’t manage to place me in the jeep fully, so they began to move the vehicle with the back door open and my legs dangling out. They brought me to the junction or entrance of the village, where the rest of the troops were gathered and loaded me on another military jeep. A man with a camera filmed everything and from the second jeep I managed to describe to him what they did to me during the arrest, stressing that I was a peaceful demonstrator and I did nothing illegal. The soldiers did not like that and as soon as the jeep moved and they closed the backdoor the physical abuse began.

Refugee children rally to save Bethlehem playground / Abla Darwish
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 20 July —  “I have a right to play”, “I have a right to live in a clean environment”, “I have a right to express myself.”  Those were some of the signs and slogans carried by children at a recent protest at ‘Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem. Some of these young protesters were barely five years old … We got a clearer picture of the situation after conversing with some youths who were guiding the summer camp in Laji Center. They explained that the owner of the land allowed the children to play there, because there were no other space for them to play inside the camp. The children’s efforts in planting and taking care of the land prevented Israel from confiscating it with the wall, they say. However, serious problems began with the landlord and he closed off the playground anyway.

Freedom Flotilla II

Ship to Gaza website in ‘cyber attack’
IceNews 22 July — Activists on the Swedish Ship to Gaza have claimed that a cyber attack on their website is the latest attempt to sabotage the aid mission of the Freedom Flotilla II … “Since Friday morning our server supplier has been under attack, which means that our website is down. We can’t say for sure if it is directed against us, but it is obviously an advanced attack,” Ship to Gaza wrote in a statement. Information from the organisation, which is undertaking a second attempt to break the Israeli-enforced blockade on Palestinian Gaza, has been moved to a temporary blog page. The activists are considering whether to report the matter to the police, but claim the action has not disrupted their progress.
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Interview: Amira Hass reports on Israeli navy seizure of only Gaza-bound ship to sail in aid flotilla
Democracy Now 21 July 7:32 minutes long — Democracy Now! interviews Ha’aretz correspondent Amira Hass, one of the few journalists who was aboard the ship. Hass is also the one of the only Israeli journalists to have spent several years living in and reporting from Gaza and the West Bank.

Racism / Sexism / Discrimination / Repression of dissent

‘Full integration of women into IDF would be good for Israel’s security’
Haaretz 21 July — In Wednesday’s Haaretz, Amos Harel reported on a document written by the outgoing head of the Israel Defense Forces’ Personnel Directorate, Avi Zamir. In it, Zamir called for stemming the army’s rising tide of religious extremism, which is expressed to a large extent in excluding or otherwise discriminating against women. This trend was confirmed by a recent report by the chief of staff’s advisor on women’s affairs.

Activists: Housing problem is far worse in Arab sector
JPost 21 July — Galilee Society NGO says housing issues have been a concern for the Arab sector for years but received scant media coverage.

Tibi petitions High Court over ‘Nakba deniers’ bill
Ynet 21 July — MK demands explanation into Knesset presidium’s decision to dismiss debate on bill proposing to take way funds from groups denying ‘Nakba’ … Tibi admitted that the bill has no chance of being approved by the Knesset but said he regards it as an essential part of his role as an MK.,7340,L-4098354,00.html

NGO Monitor smear video comes straight from the sewer / Benjamin Doherty
EI 20 July — A new video from NGO Monitor promotes a project to expose the network of funding behind the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. NGO Monitor is an extreme right-wing Israeli organization with close ties to the Israeli government, the West Bank settler movement, the military and notorious Islamophobes in the United States.They say the European Union funds Human Rights Watch, the Alternative Information Center, Amnesty International, BADIL, Coalition of Women for Peace, Mada al-Carmel: Arab Center for Applied Social Research, PACBI, and The Electronic Intifada, and all of these organizations work to delegitimize Israel through “campus activity, holocaust rhetoric and flotillas.” The video was posted to YouTube today, but the “BDS Sewer System” was launched in March 2011 to respond to Israel Apartheid Week activities around the world. In typical NGO Monitor style, they provide no evidence to back up these claims.
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Political / Diplomatic / International news

Ashrawi slams US for imposing Israeli position on Quartet
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 July — PA official Dr. Hanan Ashrawi issued a statement Tuesday strongly condemning a draft statement the United States tried to impose on Quartet members during their meeting in Washington last week.  “Not only has the United States adopted wholesale the extreme positions advocated by Israel’s current hard-line government, it is also trying to bring the other members of the Quartet into acquiescence by adopting these same unjust positions and distorting their own official policy,” Dr Ashrawi said in a statement released by the PLO Executive Committee.

Abbas: UN bid will not affect peace process
BARCELONA (AFP) 21 July — Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said his efforts to seek UN membership for the Palestinians would not affect negotiations “that we want to continue to have” with Israel … The speech came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was willing to hold peace talks with the Palestinians immediately.

Abbas in Turkey for Palestinian envoys’ meeting
AFP 21 July — Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas arrived here on Thursday for a gathering with his envoys abroad ahead of a Palestinian bid for UN recognition, Anatolia news agency reported. ‘Abbas is to meet with Palestinian ambassadors, convening in Istanbul at the weekend, before leaving Turkey on Saturday afternoon, a Turkish diplomat said earlier Thursday. He is also to have talks with Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who have been invited to the meeting.

Israeli PM turns to Arab TV in call for peace
JERUSALEM (AP) 21 July — With a September deadline looming, Israel’s prime minister turned to the Arabic media Thursday for the first time since taking office two years ago in an attempt to lure the Palestinians back to peace talks, saying “everything is on the table.” Benjamin Netanyahu’s interview with the Al-Arabiya satellite channel reflects Israeli concerns over Palestinian plans to seek U.N. recognition of their independence this fall. But it also highlights Netanyahu’s new strategy of engaging directly with the Arab public.

Fayyad: Salaries won’t be paid if financial crisis continues
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) — Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayyad confirmed Thursday that if the financial crisis affecting the PA is not solved soon there will be difficulty in paying salaries to civil servants this month.

Israel urged to stop faking passports
Ynet 21 July — Various countries send strong message to Israel saying they are aware their passports are being used by Mossad agents,7340,L-4098315,00.html

AG to Netanyahu: Apologize to Turkey or face indictments for IDF troops
Haaretz 21 July — Sources say Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein believes apology would convince Turkey not to file lawsuits against IDF officers who took over the Mavi Marmara in 2010.
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Senior Israeli ministers to decide next week whether to accept reconciliation with Turkey
Haaretz 22 July — The senior ministers’ “Forum of Eight” will convene next week to decide whether to accept a reconciliation agreement with Turkey, entailing Israel’s apology for killing nine Turkish nationals during its raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla in May 2010. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has withdrawn twice at the last moment from signing a similar agreement over the past year, due to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s strong objection,

Israeli media warns of escalation in international legal action against senior officials
MEMO 21 July — Media sources in Israel have warned about the escalation of international legal campaigns to pursue Israeli officers and officials on charges on war crimes against the Palestinian people. According to Channel 10 television, three new lawsuits have been filed recently against senior Israeli officials in the Spanish Courts by participants of the 2010 Freedom Flotilla. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Minister of Defence Ehud Barak all face legal action, as does the Commander of the Israeli Navy and various other government ministers, the papers against whom were all filed earlier.

‘Israeli commandos enter South Lebanon’
PressTV 21 July — Israeli commandos have reportedly advanced into Tel Aviv-occupied territory in southern Lebanon, conducting sweeping operations there. On Thursday, 20 of the crack forces changed positions from the Ruweisat Alam village to the Sheba‘a Farms, a Press TV correspondent reported. Tel Aviv retains a state of hostility with Beirut by refusing to return the Farms, which it occupied alongside vast expanses of other Arab territories in 1967. The forces carried out military operations over great swathes of land for an hour. The military did not cross the United Nations-drawn Blue Line. However, Israel’s unmanned reconnaissance aircraft flew for more than two hours over the occupied area and the Lebanese territory.

Over 100 Palestinian NGOs call for political reconciliation
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 July — Over 100 Palestinian NGOs issued a call on Wednesday urging the implementation of political reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah … The signatories urged both parties to develop the agreement and form a government of technocrats and professionals without delay, noting that the longer the process dragged on the more negative the effect would be on the Palestinian people. The statement called for the reactivation of the Palestinian Legislative Council, the reopening of non-governmental societies and unions, and an end to restrictions on press freedom, publishing and peaceful gatherings.
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PA to appoint ambassador to South Sudan
ISTANBUL, Turkey (Ma‘an) 22 July — The Palestinian Authority is preparing to dispatch veteran diplomat Kamel Abdallah Qazzaz to South Sudan as ambassador to the world’s newest state, PA officials told Ma‘an. Qazzaz is currently the PA’s ambassador to Djibouti in Northeast Africa. He is dean of the PLO’s diplomatic corp and manages Palestinian embassies in many African countries.
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UN ready to intervene in dispute over maritime border
BEIRUT (Daily Star) 22 July –The United Nations is ready to get involved in the dispute over Lebanon and Israel’s maritime borders as tension over who gets to claim vast oil and gas reserves in the east Mediterranean basin continues to rise, according to a senior diplomatic source … “The point of getting a border in place is to avoid sources of conflict. And this is the major source of conflict,” the source said. Geological surveys have suggested there are extensive oil and gas reserves under the sea bed off Lebanon and Israel’s eastern shores. Reports from occupied Jerusalem suggest Israel is far closer to being ready to extract the fossil fuels — and reap the economic windfall such action would spark.
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New layer of gas discovered at Tamar field off coast of Haifa
Haaretz 22 July A deeper layer of natural gas has been discovered at the Tamar field, off the coast of Haifa, according to a report published on Thursday by Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration. The impact of the newly discovered reserve has not yet been analyzed nor released in full … The Lebanese proposal of its maritime border with Israel that is currently under dispute does not include the Tamar and Leviathan gas prospects.
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Other news

Ashams Radio launches campaign against murder of Arab women
JPost 22 July — A major Arab-Israeli radio station based in the Nazareth area launched a campaign this week aimed at stamping out the homicide of women within the Arab community. Organizers from the Ashams radio station have collected thousands of signatures on a petition calling for an end to the homicide of women within the community, adding that their goal is to gather 100,000 signatures. “The decision was taken due to the increase in the number of murders in general, and against women, particularly in recent years — with the last incident taking place just last weekend. Six women were murdered in the Arab community in Israel since the start of the year, and 10 were murdered last year,” according to a statement by the station.
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In West Bank city of Nablus, archaeologists uncover biblical ruin
AP 22 July — Dutch and Palestinian archaeologists are preparing to open the site of the ancient city of Shekhem as an archaeological park next year … The city of Shekhem, positioned in a pass between the mountains of Gerizim and Eibal and controlling the Askar Plains to the east, was an important regional center more than 3,500 years ago … The identity of the city’s residents at the time remains unclear. One theory posits that they were Hyksos, people who came from northern Syria and were later expelled from Egypt. According to the Bible’s account, the city was later Canaanite and still later ruled by Israelites, but archaeology has not corroborated that so far, van der Kooij said.
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Israel PM guards tell women reporters to remove bras
JERUSALEM (AFP) 22 July  — Foreign journalists on Friday spoke of their distress after being asked to remove their bras for a security check before being allowed into the offices of Israel’s prime minister … Sara Hussein, who works for Agence France-Presse, described the incident as utterly humiliating. “I can only describe the experience as among the most humiliating in my life,” she wrote in a complaint to the FPA. “I have covered meetings of presidents at the White House and not been subjected to anything similar.”
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This week in history: The King David Hotel bombing
JPost 22 July — By bombing J’lem hotel, Irgun believed it could send strong message to British, whom it actively fought to end Mandate, establish Jewish State. On July 22, 1946, three phone calls were placed to the King David Hotel, an adjacent building and to The Jerusalem Post (then The Palestine Post), warning of an imminent bombing. Minutes later, a blast ripped through the historic hotel and then-headquarters of the British Mandate for Palestine’s civilian and military authorities, killing 91 people and injuring nearly 50. In 1946, the King David Hotel was the headquarters of the British Mandate government
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Analysis / Opinion

Boycott the state, not just the settlements / Yousef Munayyer
Al Jazeera 20 July — West Bank settlements would not be viable without government aid, so boycotts should target the Israeli state as well … While increased discussion about BDS will only strengthen the movement, a troubling trend has become apparent in some of the commentaries on BDS written in response to the passage of the “Anti-BDS” bill. This is the assertion that boycotting colonies or settlement goods is acceptable, while boycotting the Israeli state or Israeli products outside of the occupied territories is somehow unacceptable … But while varied approaches to BDS enlarge the tent, they also can be misleading and dangerous. The idea that colonies are legitimate BDS targets while the state of Israel is not creates the illusion that somehow these colonies exist in a vacuum without tacit and direct support from the Israeli state.
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Freedom and dignity are basic rights for all, even Palestinians / Randa Abdel-Fattah
SMH 20 July — There was an element of tragicomedy to the situation. Me, the daughter of a dispossessed Palestinian, dressed up as a settler in order to enter the Israeli city of Jaffa. With me was my American host, Sophie, who in April invited me as a writer-in-residence in Ramallah. An expert in checkpoint avoidance, she has lived with her Palestinian boyfriend for seven years and renews her visa every three months by pretending to have a lesbian Jewish lover. As we approached the fortified checkpoint, we tied a scarf at the nape of our necks and proceeded to pose as settlers (lose the panicked ”will they let me pass or harass me?” look, sit up tall, act like you own the place). After days of dehumanising encounters with heavily armed soldiers, this simple act raised us to the ranks of the privileged. The soldier waved us through with a conspiratorial smile — no need to worry, you’re not one of them … after my visit, I would argue that the oxygen feeding such injustices is a pervasive racism that simply sees Palestinians as inferior. I witnessed and experienced it first-hand. On our arrival at the Sheikh Hussein bridge, a soldier wagged his finger at my father, born in Palestine in 1945, and warned him that he was visiting a Jewish state. ”Adnan,” he said, ”I will let you stay for seven days only.” It was not lost on me that this ”boy” wasn’t even born when my father’s family endured the horrors of 1948, or were rendered stateless in 1967.

Freedom of expression subverted in Israel, US / William A. Cook
Al Jazeera 21 July — Both the US Congress and Israel’s Knesset have passed profoundly anti-democratic measures in recent months … Contrary to Fox News and Benjamin Netanyahu, democracy is neither alive nor well in the United States and Israel. Indeed, it is dying a slow, agonising death as each nation writhes in pain in adjoining beds, unaware that the intravenous feeding tubes controlled by their respective Knessets drip poison into their life-sustaining veins … Curiously, the US does not have a newspaper as brave and open to civil discourse as Haaretz. Instead, we rely on the New York Times, infamous for promoting the Iraq war on its front page, thus benefiting the war industry and its corporations that control Congress. Yet Congress, like its twin in Israel, has adopted similar anti-democratic resolutions that curtail freedom of speech and action not only of American citizens, but also of the representatives of the United Nations.

Murdoch is not the only maggot in the rotten apple / Stuart Littlewood
Sabbah 20 July — Having disposed of the Murdoch menace – for the moment anyway – it’s time for the British public to turn the spotlight on the other villains our craven politicians pay homage to. Public enemy Number One is the pro-Israel lobby. An organization called the Conservative Friends of Israel states it has “twin aims of supporting Israel and promoting Conservatism. With close to 2000 activists as members – alongside 80% of Conservative MPs – CFI is active at every level of the Party”.And the rot goes all the way to the top, with Conservative prime minister David Cameron endorsing it enthusiastically …The Liberal Democrats allow a similar lobby group to flourish within their ranks … Britain, as everyone knows, has carved an unfortunate niche for itself as America’s poodle. But not enough people ask the key question: whose poodle is America? American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has the private parts of US Congress in such a vice-like grip that the Zionist regime’s interests come first in Washington … It is amazing how many people with dual passports stalk the corridors of power in Washington.
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The glue holding Netanyahu’s coalition: hatred for liberal values / Carlo Strenger
Haaretz 20 July — I think that this coalition is genuinely only held together by its hatred of the institutions that continue to represent liberal values in Israel: academia, mainstream culture, a free press, and Israel’s – as yet – independent judiciary. Because when you look at the right-wing coalition that currently governs Israel it is remarkably diverse.

Israelis pay price of persecuting Palestinians with soaring cost of living / Vita Bekker
National 21 July — TEL AVIV // Danny Tavory regularly shows up at Tel Aviv’s biggest marketplace just before it closes for the night, when vendors sell fruit, vegetables and other products at large discounts or give them away. This week, he and hundreds of other young Israelis living in Tel Aviv erected dozens of tents on the Rothschild Boulevard, one of the city’s most luxurious avenues, joining a growing protest against the high housing prices in Israel’s seaside cultural and business centre … Some commentators have drawn a connection between the housing protest and the conflict with the Palestinians. They say the tent protest is also a reminder of the billions of shekels Israel has spent for decades on settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank, at the expense of investing in areas such as housing inside its recognised borders. “When we talk about the housing crisis … it’s important to remember the choice that Israel has made,” Ben Caspit, a political commentator for the mass-selling Maariv newspaper, wrote this week.
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US House committee saves Israel aid in foreign aid cut
Washington 21 July — The US House Foreign Affairs Committee slashed foreign aid for the Palestinians, Egypt, Lebanon, and Yemen — The US House Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday cut the Obama administration’s $51 billion 2012 budget request for the State Department and foreign aid by $6.4 billion, but kept unchanged the $3 billion in military aid for Israel. Commentators say that the committee vote is a direct challenge to President Barack Obama. The Republican majority in the House of Representatives is trying to limit Obama’s freedom of action in handling foreign policy and to minimize US contributions to international organizations – especially the UN.
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Poll: Majority of US Jews support Mideast peace plan based on 1967 borders
Haaretz 21 July — A J Street poll published Thursday shows that 57% of U.S. Jews back a Middle East peace plan based on 1967 borders with mutually agreed-upon land swaps, while 43% opposed such a move. According to the poll, 83% of the American Jews support a U.S.-brokered solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
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Islam-baiting doesn’t work / Stephan Salisbury
Al Jazeera 22 July — …as the 2012 campaign ramps up along with the anti-Muslim rhetoric machine, a look back at 2010 turns out to offer quite an unexpected story about the American electorate. In fact, with rare exceptions, ‘Islam-bashing’ proved a strikingly poor campaign tactic. In state after state, candidates who focused on illusory Muslim ‘threats’, tied ordinary American Muslims to terrorists and radicals, or characterized mosques as halls of triumph (and prayer in them as indoctrination) went down to defeat.
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Israeli affairs behind incident in Washington
Washington, CT (LCT) 22 July — Emotions that arise from the tension between Israel and the Palestinian territories reportedly led to an incident at an art exhibit opening last week that left one local activist taking the issue to police… resident Ken Cornet, who with his spouse, Joe Mus­tich, publicly supports hu­­­man­­i­tarian aid to the Pal­­estinian people, said a recent confrontation brought him alarmingly close to the polarized pro-Israel perspective … In mid-conversation, Mr. Cornet said he was approached by someone he knew who was also at the exhibition opening. “He comes up and says, ‘I’m Jewish, and I was sent by a group to watch you,'” recalled Mr. Cornet. According to Mr. Cornet, the man told him to be mindful of things he says and does. Furthermore he offered some “friendly advice,” that Mr. Cornet should watch what he eats. [just a harmless nutcase, one hopes]
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Pakistan-US Relations: American Aid


Its not the AID that the US provides to Pakistan but its the cost of services rendered by Pakistan that the US has to reimburse.

By Shahid Zahur

US lawmakers have rejected the bill regarding stoppage of aid of Pakistan but have agreed to attach strings to it as have been done in the past. The Pressler amendments and many others are on the record. Earlier after 2nd May incident, lot of dirt was thrown on Pakistan and its institutions.  Army will continue to fight terrorists, using its own resources was the response of Pakistan on stoppage of so called aid. President Obama’s Chief of Staff, William Daley announced the decision of suspension of $800 million military aid. This 800 million is not aid but some of the expenses which USA agreed to pay under Coalition Support Fund (CSF) being the Coalition partner on fight against extremists.

It’s a fact that  Pakistan alone has deployed more than1,40,000 soldiers as compared to only 50,000 to 60,000 troops operating in Afghanistan for the last 10 years except the period of troops surge. Pakistan has spent a lot but US has not paid reimbursed the money therefore has not honoured its commitments. USA and NATO are using the Pakistan’s Sea port Karachi and land route to transport more than 70% of its supplies to Afghanistan. Out of more than $13billion claims since 2002, only $8.6  billion have been paid and $3.5billioin were taken away for the services, training  imparted to Frontier Constabulary (FC) and pay of American trainers and their visits etc. US dollars, 1.8bn are still outstanding,  since Jul 2010 no payments have been made. Pakistan can’t coup up the huge expenditure being occurred on fighting the terrorists. America by design got assisted by the NATO and other Coalition partners.

Sectary of Defence Leon Panetta, during his visit to Afghanistan on 9th Jul said “USA is spending $10billion a month in Afghanistan”. After spending the Trillions of dollars the end results are not very encouraging but question of these peanut $8billion given to Pakistan is being raised every now and then. I think the fault is not of the US, our policy makers either didn’t ink the agreements or gave away under pressure. No country alone can tackle or fight the terrorist’s organizations which have spread like an epidemic in the world. Unfortunately Pakistan and Afghanistan were made hubs to fight the Soviets; therefore all these people (Muslims) were welcomed from the world over on the plea of doing Jihad (holy war) and later on abandoned. After 2 May incident, Pakistan took a firm and right stand due to which American presence were significantly cut down. Being the sole super power, the USA often violates the human rights, kills civilians including children and even violates the sovereignty on the pretext of saving Americans which is a dangerous trend. The lives of American citizens must be precious but the life of a citizen of a poor or third world country should be equally precious.

Pakistan has been subjected to sanctions number of time including 11 years in 1990’s. After the Soviet withdrawal, USA walked away and similarly again it is leaving Pakistan high and dry to keep its tradition of entrusted friend. We lost more than $60bn dollars in this war, our economy has been ruined, people are being killed daily due to suicidal or drone attacks but the blame game is still on. Pakistan is being let down intentionally by not sharing the intelligence and by not giving the tools to combat terrorism. New York Time is leveling baseless allegations without quoting the sources as it did during invasion of Iraq and later on had to apologize. A prominent Kashmiri leader Dr Fai has been arrested on the bogus charges of having links with ISI. This appears to be a move to please the Indians.

All guns are being directed against Pakistan not only by US but the Indian and western media also. Indian External Affair Minister Kirishna welcomed the decision as it always tries to have the hegemony in the region. Now USA is strengthening its new love with nuclear deals, sale of sophisticated weapons and opening of more than a dozen consulates to check China and Pakistan. Hillary recent visit to India was for the same purpose. The need of the hour is that US must understand the ground realities and national interests of Pakistan. Pakistan’s hands are already full, maximum forces are conducting operations to combat the extremism and as army spoke person said, “We will continue our operations to get rid of the menace of terrorism”.  Instead of appreciating its efforts, Admiral Mike Mullen said that Pakistani security services may have sanctioned the killing of journalist Saleem Shahzad.

Similarly advancing the blame game, the US Defence Secretary said that Zawahri could be in Pakistan, if that’s true then US must provide the intelligence not the allegations so that actions could be taken. US Chief of Staff Bill Daley acknowledging Pakistan’s role said, “Pakistan is an important alloy in the fight on terrorism. They’ve been the victim of enormous amounts of terrorism” and on the other hand Carnege Endowment expert Mr Perkovich hailed the stoppage of aid and said, “We’ve been trying for many years to get, persuade, push the Pakistani Army to conduct military operations, especially in North Waziristan”. These contradictory statements show the American mind set. The fact is that Pakistani forces killed and captured hundreds of terrorists but do more mantra is continuing.

Having all the resources of the world at their disposal and so called best forces (US & NATO) available they could not achieve any miracle in Afghanistan but want Pakistan to do everything for them. These terrorists were regarded as mujahidin but were abandoned after the job well-done. Pakistan was similarly left alone to deal with these people who have now become the monster. No attack took place in US or western countries after 9/11 or 7/7 but terrorist’s attacks are a daily routine in Pakistan.

The decision was also expected as USA is preparing to pull out from Afghanistan. The opportunity must be taken by Pakistan not to weaken but strengthen the resolve to root out the menace of terrorism due to which Pakistan is burning. The founder of Pakistan Quaid e Azam’s saying, Work, Work and Work should be a beacon of light for all of us.

To withdraw from Afghanistan US is throwing the mess on Pakistan. In an article An unlikely pair, published in Guardian, Elizabeth Kolsky wrote that when it comes to US foreign aid, Pakistan and Israel should just say no, while there is much to be lost in dollar terms, there might be more gained from a peace dividend that would allow all people greater opportunity, an end to war and the possibility of living without fear. The Americans normally complain that Pakistani don’t like them is somewhat true but is US is sincere with Pakistanis is a billion dollars question. If we review the history of Pak – US checkered relations then we will come to know that America always gave Pakistan the fish and not the fishing rod.

There is not even a single mega project established by USA for the people of Pakistan, where as even Soviet Union with whom Pakistan did not enjoyed good relations being US ally built the Steel Mill. Japan invested in automobile industry and it’s China who is always helping Pakistan in its pursuit of self reliance. The money provided by USA is normally used for the purchase of arms and ammunition or training by the Americans; hence it goes back to them because their economy is running on the war material producing factories. Similarly, US is not comfortable with Iran – Pakistan gas pipe line and civil nuclear assistance from China to overcome the devastating energy crises. Actions speak louder than words, so seeing this entire, how people can believe that America is our well wisher. As Henry Kissinger wrote that enmity of USA is bad but friendship is dangerous is proving correct.

The friendly relations can be maintained without aid because then both countries would be on equal footing. Let us take this opportunity to strengthen our self, stand on own feet and to decide ourselves that what is right or wrong for the country. The dictation from US and West should be stopped. We have survived from the sanctions in the past and will come out with flying colours, if we get united to protect the sovereignty of Pakistan, use own resources judiciously and above all control the corruption. The way forward is that both countries be sincere to each other, if we have to fight the common enemy. If America is genuinely keen to see a stable and prosperous Pakistan then it had to shun the role of master, avoid playing the double game and take a step forward, the Pakistani would reciprocate more than that. Choice is open.

Posted in Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on Pakistan-US Relations: American Aid

That Viking Jihad, again


posted by lenin

So, it turns out that the Norwegian terror suspect who murdered an estimated 91 people, most of whom were kids, was in contact with the EDL, whom he admired and wished to emulate:

The man arrested for yesterday’s murderous attacks in Norway admires Britain’s far right English Defence League and claimed to have held discussions with it.

More than 80 people attending a Labour Youth gathering were shot dead near the Norwegian capital Oslo when a man dressed in a police uniform opened fire.
A car bomb killed seven people earlier the same day outside Norway’s main government building in central Oslo.
Members of the ruling Labour Party were the targets in both cases. The killings have sent shockwaves around the world.
The media and “security experts” rushed to blame Islamic terrorists. But Norwegian police have arrested a Norwegian man, Anders Behring Breivik.
Breivik posted messages on a Norwegian website expressing his admiration for the English Defence League.
Among rants about Islam and Communism is the following (roughly translated from Norwegian):
“I have on some occasions discussed with SIOE [Stop Islamification Of Europe] and EDL and recommended them to use conscious strategies.
The tactics of the EDL is now out to “entice” an overreaction from Jihad Youth / Extreme-Marxists something they have succeeded several times already. Over The reaction has been repeatedly shown on the news which has booster EDLs ranks high.
This has also benefited BNP. WinWin for both.
But I must say I am very impressed with how quickly they have grown but this has to do with smart tactical choice by management.
EDL is an example and a Norwegian version is the only way to prevent Flash / SOS to harass Norwegian cultural conservatives from other fronts. Creating a Norwegian EDL should be No. 3 on the agenda after we have started up a cultural conservative newspaper with national distribution.
The agenda of the Norwegian cultural conservative movement over the next 5 years are therefore:
1 Newspaper with national distribution
2 Working for the control of several NGOs
3 Norwegian EDL”

There has been a lengthy queue of ostensible experts filing into broadcasting suites and newsrooms – and no doubt policy chambers and intelligence briefing rooms as well – who have maintained until the last hour that this was definitely jihadism.  The basis for this was feeble from the beginning.  They said it must be the cartoons controversy, or Afghanistan (though Norway is a secondary player in that crusade).  They said it must be Mullah Krekar, the small-time Kurdish Islamist, taking revenge for actions taken against him by the Norwegian state.  (Ironically, even the meshuggeneh Harry’s Place has done better on average than most of the papers.)  I don’t mind telling you that I think this was wish fulfilment.  That is, I think that these pundits and their employers largely would have liked nothing better than for it to be an Islamist attack, because then they have a set of responses that they can energetically put into motion, and a pre-determined narrative around which they can cohere those responses.  Far right racists murdering young leftists, on the other hand, is not a subject on which they can rapidly form plausible responses.

Now, readers of this blog will be aware that there have been many, many foiled terror plots by far right activists in the UK alone.  This has failed to receive the sort of attention that similar attempts by Islamists would generate.  With the spread of fascism across Europe, these people are beginning to receive a degree of ideological and organisational sustenance that they might previously have lacked.  It’s no good looking to security measures or intelligence-led operations to deal with this problem.  It is a political problem, and it has to be combatted politically through the assembly of anti-fascist coalitions capable of frustrating and isolating the organisational bases of fascism in the continent.  This is a task that becomes all the more urgent in the high stakes battles over austerity.

Posted in CampaignsComments Off on That Viking Jihad, again

NYT Iran Scare Piece Just Lies, Innuendo


 Scott Horton

David Sanger carries on Walter Duranty, Judith Miller and Michael Gordon’s lying legacy at the New York Times. In his new piece, co-written with William J. Broad, Sanger spends eleven-hundred words speculating and propagandizing about what it might meant that an Iranian scientist got a promotion.

Eat your heart out, George Jahn.

Sanger’s* entire argument – it ain’t reporting – is that the new enrichment facility at Qom exists. He repeats the tired, nonsensical lie, which first appeared in Sanger’s “journalism” at the time, that the Iranian government disclosed the existence of the new facility they were building there back in September 2009, as he now puts it, “only after learning that the United States and European powers were about to announce that they had discovered the complex, deep inside the Iranian base.”

What a bunch of nonsense. How in the world could the Iranian government know that President Obama, French President Nicholas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown were “about to announce that they had discovered the complex”? Is it (Broad and) Sanger’s case that Iranian Intelligence infiltrated the American president’s speech writers’ offices? That they have a high-level mole inside the CIA? The MI-6?

Of course not. These are simply hollow lies fed to Sanger by his anonymous government sources, and uncritically passed by him to the rest of the mindless media.

The Iranians simply abided by their Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA and notified them that they would be introducing nuclear material into equipment to be installed at a new facility they were building long before the required 6 months out.

Under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran is required to maintain a “Safeguards Agreement,” which allows IAEA inspectors access to Iran’s nuclear material to verify its non-diversion to military purposes, and requires notification in due time before the introduction of nuclear materials new locations so that the verification of non-diversion will not be interrupted. (The NPT also guarantees the “unalienable rights” of all signatories to the use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.)

But, since hardly anyone else in the world was aware of the Qom disclosure to the IAEA, the Western politicians decided they would seize the opportunity – four daysafter the disclosure – to pretend they had caught Iran “red handed,” making a “secret” uranium enrichment site.

Sanger bought it. Or at least sold it. “They only admitted it first because somehow they knew we were about to call them on it,” unbelievably, became the linchpin of the entire government/media argument of Iran’s corrupt deception at Qom.

One may wonder why they even need arguments at this point.

But this one did serve the administration’s purpose of finding a way to refuse to accept Iran’s damn-near complete acceptance [.pdf] of the 20% enriched u-235 fuel swap deal that Obama had offered them in the first place, and complain that the end-of-2009 deadline for falling in line and avoiding more sanctions had been violated by the Iranians.

Once the IAEA was done looking around the facility that November, then-director Mohamed ElBaradei said it was “nothing to be worried about.” It was just a hole in the ground then, and has taken all this time to be ready for use. Apparently Sanger has trouble remembering things from a year and a half ago, if they’re true.

The rest of Sanger and Broad’s harangue is simply innuendo stemming from the obvious-to them premises that 1: the Qom facility must have been constructed for nuclear weapons development and 2: that if an Iranian nuclear scientist (that the U.S. and/or Israel has tried to murder**) who used to work with another man Sanger claims is “suspected” of unspecified nuclear weapons work inside the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps has been made the new head of their Atomic Energy Agency, and he continues on the exact same path of enriching small amounts of uranium up to 20% for alleged medical uses that his predecessors were on, then that could only mean one thing: an atom bomb program.

Yet the American intelligence community is unanimous [.pdf] in this year’s National Intelligence Estimate that the Iranians have no nuclear weapons program, secret or declared, as they’ve said since 2007 [.pdf], long after, as Glenn Greenwald has pointed out, they claim to have discovered the existence of the Qom site.

As even Sanger admits in the article, the administration doesn’t see any cause for alarm here, other than the typical “they’re not supposed to be enriching at all” boilerplate – an answer given only when pressed by the Times. And we know Obama will use any excuse to start a war.

And why should weapons development be the most likely reason for 20% enrichment, Qom’s construction or this scientist’s promotion?

Yes, 20% enriched uranium is closer to the 90-plus percent required to make atom bombs than the rest of Iran’s stockpile of 3.6% enrichment for their electricity program, but it’s also needed for targets in their medical isotope reactor that the U.S.A. helped build for them back in the 1970s when their dictator was our loyal puppet.

During the so-called negotiations of 2009, Iran’s counter-offer to Obama that they swap their 3.6% LEU for finished 20% fuel rods, instead of their relying on the good faith of the French to honor the agreement was perfectly reasonable, as was the Turkish-Brazilian efforts to arrange the swaps on their territory. It was the U.S. government that was the intransigent party in all this, refusing to take Iran’s initial counter-offer as an opening to further talks, and even – shades of Dick Cheney –loudly criticizing the Brazilian and Turkish governments’ good faith efforts to bring a resolution to the dispute.

It is the president and secretary of state who deserve the blame from those worried about Iranian production of 20% enriched U-235, but they should also relax a bit because, after all, the Iranians have remained prepared to negotiate away production at those levels as recently as a few months ago – not the best way for them to stockpile eventual weapons material, right?

Why should the construction of a new uranium enrichment facility at Qom be an indication of a future weapons program? After all, the U.S. and Israel have threatened to bomb Iran for years under the pretext that their open, declared nuclear electricity facilities amount to a weapons program already. Why shouldn’t they diversify their supply and harden their defenses?

And why should the promotion of this one scientist be viewed as as some game-changing milestone on the road to the apocalypse in the context of the rest of these facts? Oh, right, these facts are here, not in the Times piece. So there you go.

*I pick on Sanger because Broad’s work is okay when he writes with Mark Mazzettifor example.

**Such attacks continue.

Posted in IranComments Off on NYT Iran Scare Piece Just Lies, Innuendo

Poor little Murdoch hacks don’t like being challenged


Wendy Bacon, professor of journalism at the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism at the University of Technology, Sydney, writes today that the empire is feeling real pressure for the first time in living memory:

On Thursday, with News Corporation awash in allegations of criminality and failed corporate governance, I sent an email to John Hartigan, the chief executive of its Australian arm, News Limited.

Hartigan was in damage control. He had hastened to reassure local audiences that illegal practices such as phone hacking were not used in Australia and, in order to make sure of this, that he would carry out an independent internal audit of editorial spending.

But that missed a vital point. While no one was suggesting that phone hacking was occurring in our far-from-competitive media scene, News is a vertically and horizontally global media company.

This means that even if you were not a News of the World reader, if you bought News Ltd papers here, you could still read News of the World ”scoops” about, say, the sexual activities of Jude Law, who is now suing The Sun and News of the World for hacking his phone.

News Ltd papers in Australia had continued to draw on News of the World stories even after the phone hacking scandal became a serious issue.

This was just one issue I had in mind when I emailed Hartigan some questions. They included: Do you consider that bias by newspapers in cities where only one company owns a newspaper could ever be an issue? How do you monitor whether fair means of reporting the news are being applied across the company? What auditing or monitoring mechanisms do you apply? Are there occasions when you do take up matters of bias with editors? Do you think that it would be a good idea if the Australian Press Council became an independent body with funding from both media and other sources, including government?

I received this reply:

”Your bias against our organisation over many years and the errors and omissions in your recent New Matilda piece renders your right to answers from me completely redundant. It is deeply troubling to me and to all of our editors that someone like you has any role in teaching young journalists in Australia.”

Hartigan did not elaborate on my errors or omissions. Nor, to my knowledge, has he pointed these out to online magazine New Matilda (which has a policy of publishing corrections).

But it seems an extraordinary and evasive response from a media organisation which daily seeks answers and information from people big and small, powerful and powerless, in the name of the public’s ”right to know”. Some might also say that it illustrates a bullying mindset that has grown in a too-powerful media organisation that owns more than 70 per cent of this country’s newspapers.

Posted in UKComments Off on Poor little Murdoch hacks don’t like being challenged

Hasbaranik places “IsraHellis” in Spain in 1936


I can’t quite do justice to what’s happened here but there was a letter in the Jewish Chronicle on 8 July from a Martin Sugarman who has a certain amount of form for bogus Israel advocacy.  The letter claimed that the largest contingent of volunteers for the International Brigade against Franco in 1930s Spain was “Israeli”.

I thought it was a strange claim given that there was no such thing as an Israeli then but I couldn’t argue because I didn’t know enough detail.  Never mind. David Rosenberg of the Jewish Socialist Group is a good enough historian for me and way to good for Martin Sugarman.  His letter was published in the latest JCprint edition. They don’t publish their letters on line but I’m well connected so I didn’t need to copy it out:

It was very moving to see David Lomon and fellow International Brigade veteran Thomas Watters laying their wreaths at the International Brigade annual commemoration last weekend, recalling the volunteers for liberty who went to Spain to fight against Franco’s forces. However Martin Sugarman’s claim (JC letters 8 July 2011) that Lomon is “the last surviving British-Jewish member of the International Brigade” will come as news to Stepney-born Brigade stalwart Lou Kenton who is approaching his 103rd birthday in a few weeks.

I’m sure that was an honest mistake. but then Sugarman goes on to claim that “the Israelis” per head of population “sent the largest contingent from any nation”, a claim made presumably so that those who support Israel today should feel a vicarious pride in those who courageously volunteered to fight against Franco.

The truth may be less palatable to them. There was no State of Israel in 1936, but there were Jewish immigrants in Palestine. The 300 Jews who went to Spain from that community (of whom 70 were killed) were overwhelmingly Communists who were committed to creating a bi-national state built on workers unity between Jew and Arab – a far cry indeed from the current state of Israel.

Moreover, the leaders of the Zionist movement in the Yishuv – left and right – completely disapproved of them going to Spain rather than staying in Palestine to work to create a Jewish state. Zionist leaders coined the phrase “Hanita before Madrid”, referring to a kibbutz that had been established in Northern Palestine. But the volunteers for the International Brigade went anyway, having decided that the fight against international fascism must take precedence.  Their conflicted lives have been celebrated in the film “Madrid Before Hanita” made by the Israeli film-maker Eran Torbiner.[links added by me]

Now consider why anyone would seek to misrepresent the identity of those fighting fascism?

More recent anti-fascism here.

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What, no Muslims?



Antony Lerman has a good piece on the killings in Norway two days ago.

The herd mentality of pundits and commentators was on display as they fell over each other to immediately blame the Norway killings on Muslim extremists. It wasn’t long before it became clear that the culprit, Anders Behring Breivik, was a blond Norwegian far right sympathiser, an Islamophobe, a Christian fundamentalist and an admirer of the English Defence League and of Geert Wilders.

Muslim extremists have indeed been responsible for atrocities in Europe, but this fact has merged with a more generalised anti-Muslim prejudice to produce a fixation with Muslims as the source of numerous negative trends afflicting Europe. We’re constantly being warned about the dangers of ‘Islamo-fascism’, a seriously flawed concept, while the European fascism that we know and love is being shortsightedly neglected.

You only need to read this article by Gary Younge, dating from 2008, to realise that the heirs of Hitler and Mussolini are once again flexing their muscles as they benefit from alarm over immigration, the failures and iniquities of capitalism, the greed of bankers and high unemployment. Or follow the work of Cas Mudde who warns that the new right as represented by Wilders and others are still closely attached to the ideas of the traditional far right.

And check out who has been cheering for Wilders lately.

Posted in CampaignsComments Off on What, no Muslims?

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