Archive | August 17th, 2011

Kamaludin Nabizada a Businessman in Northern Afghanistan


Kamaludin Nabizada a businessman in northern Afghanistan

by Zabi Rashidi

Every year the harsh winter hits Afghanistan and millions who are homeless suffer from lack of warmth, clothing, shelter, and a warm meal. During the past few years, Afghanistan has seen a major increase in the number of people living in devastating conditions due to the return of refugees from neighboring countries. Those returning back to Afghanistan are hit with the harsh reality of not having a decent place to live and many suffer from starvation and the bitter winter cold. With its broadcast around the world, ARZU Television Network and the Nabizada Foundation, both organizations owned by Kamaludin Nabizada, teamed up to make a difference. ARZU Television Network, launched in Afghanistan in the summer of 2011 and now broadcasting to Afghan audiences around the world, has been producing documentaries of people and their living conditions in Afghanistan. These programs portray the sufferings of the people in Afghanistan and the need for immediate intervention.


The number of families that received help and the provinces that benefited from winter aid as a result of this campaign included 300 families in Badakshan, 350 families in Faryab, 1,200 families in Bamyan, 400 families in Daikondi, 400 families in Herat, 250 families in Ghor, 410 families in Farah, , , 100 families in Taliqan, , 174 families in Kabul,.

With the rough terrain in Afghanistan, bad road conditions, and the winter weather, delivering the materials to some of these provinces proved to be extremely difficult. For example, it took about 28 days to get the products delivered from Kabul to Daikondi province. According to Kamaludin Nabizada, President of ARZU Television Network and Chairman of the Nabizada Foundation,

“These are the times that we need to come together and unite as a nation and help those in need in our country. We thank everyone who participated and helped support our efforts to help Afghanistan. It is Nabizada Foundation’s promise that we will be there every step of the way, to give a helping hand to Afghanistan as it continues to rebuild.”
Nabizada Foundation is the most active charity organization in Afghanistan. It has taken part in many reconstruction projects including hospitals, schools, clinics, and mosques, among others.

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Where’s Your OUTRAGE Regarding Your Financial Situation?


Posted by Lorimer Wilson


The mainstream media and our politicians are not telling us the truth. We are being told that we just need to accept our lower standard of living and most Americans seem willing to accept that reality because they keep sending most of the exact same bozos back to Washington D.C….Why are they not screaming to their political “representatives” that they are as mad as hell and not willing to take it any more?

To make ends meet many American families are going into even more debt and more American families than ever are turning to government assistance.  In fact, right now, more Americans than at any other point since World War II are flat broke and have lost hope.  Until this changes, the frustration level in this country is going to continue to grow.

Below are 10 facts about the financial condition of American families that will blow your mind:

  1. Only 58% have a job

  2. Only 56% are currently covered by employer-provided health insurance

  3. The median yearly wage is $26,261

  4. The average household debt is $75,600

  5. Only 5% of households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975

  6. Families are approximately $7.7 trillion poorer than they were back in early 2007

  7. The poorest 50% now own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States

  8. Approximately 21% of all children in the United States were living below the poverty line in 2010

  9. More than 44 million are living on food stamps, and nearly half of them are children

  10. Close to 20% of all men between the ages of 25 and 54 do not have a job

Where in the world did all of the good jobs go? Well, the truth is that millions of them have been shipped overseas. Our politicians promised us that merging our economy with the economies of other nations where it is legal to pay slave labor wages to workers would not create more unemployment inside America. They were dead wrong – the job losses continue to get worse – and as the U.S. economy has started to slow down again we are starting to see another huge wave of layoffs all over America.

It is not just the globalization of the economy that is destroying our jobs. The federal government bureaucracy has become so oppressive that hiring workers has become so complicated and so expensive that many small business owners want to avoid it at all cost. Frankly, it is amazing that anyone is still willing to hire workers in this day and age…Indeed, if you are a blue collar worker, you should give up hope that things are going to get better. The system has failed you – and you can stop waiting for the “good jobs” to come back. They aren’t coming back.

As our economic system continues to degenerate, Americans are going to become increasingly desperate and, sadly, desperate people do desperate things.  Already we are beginning to see signs that the fabric of American society is starting to be ripped to shreds.

There are many out there that still believe that America has a bright future ahead – but it is getting really hard to see why anyone could possibly believe that. While politicians gloat about our “recovery,” our poor are getting poorer, our average wages are still falling behind inflation, and social mobility is at an all-time low…

A look at some facts about life in the United States reveal some disturbing realities. Below are 15 charts that show the sad state of affairs in the United Staes today:

(To see those charts please visit our associate site here to read the article in its entirety.}


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European Unrest: Entirely Staged Political Theatre


“Blacks and Paki” Rioters Looking More and More Like EDL/Zionist Auxilliaries

David Cameron’s New Role as “Darkie Basher”

by  Gordon Duff, Senior Editor

The current civil unrest in Britain has been carefully staged by the government and security services working in concert with news media, and Israeli intelligence. 

A parallel government, a Freemasonorganization is now believed to have planned and executed the Norway killings with full complicity of police, courts and security apparatus. 

Playing the Rope-a-Dope Game

A quick look around the world gives us a picture worth noting.  The EU is in total economic collapse.  The war in Libya has failed, unrelated to rebels, there are dark secrets there.  Gaddafi had suckered Tony Blair, with the help of Israel, into a position to be blackmailed, arms and oil contracts, huge political payoffs, not just to Britain but across Europe.

Gaddafi had financed half of Europe’s elections and had bought the heart of Washington’s “neocons.” Gaddafi always knew where to put money, no reason to bribe honest people.  Always bribe crooks.

In Washington, this left everyone available, Gaddafi could pick and choose and he did.  Washington and London are terrified of what he knows.

Assassinating Gaddafi is their last hope.

Ahhh…Not Gone Yet !!!

Rupert Murdoch’s veneer of smut peddler s now shown to be what it has always been.  David Cameron, Tony Blair, even Netanyahu have always worked for him.

Murdoch was the “not so secret” prime mover in western politics, denying his Jewish heritage and religion when courting the hate mongers of the right and playing “most powerful Jew in the world” behind closed doors where he has chosen to wield real power, not just his friends that control the world’s press, the Federal Reserve system in the US but more.

Murdoch controls both political parties in Britain, controls the GOP in the US, a political group on a binge of total insanity for sure, even treason, but it goes further.

Then it all began to come apart, tap a few phones, hack a few computers, a movie star, rock musicians, cabinet ministers, heads of state, then get caught bribing and blackmailing.

The moves to put things back in order?

SEAL Chief Petty Officer – Brian Bill

Murdoch’s creation in the US, that he calls “the Tea Party,” crashed the world’s currency markets and set the planet spiraling to economic ruin.  Solutions that gut the consumer economies, stifle growth but have no revenue based “balance” are simply economic sabotage.

Murdoch and the Tea Party just murdered the United States.  The remnants of the real Republican Party found themselves alone and powerless with no ability to turn to Democratic leadership that had been, in itself, crippled, bought and bribed.

Look into Nancy Pelosi’s family finances for a good look at why America is where it is.  Shocked?  There are 400 members of congress worse, that’s the real shock.

But to understand this August, the month of slaughter, dead SEALS, riots, coverups, a month when talk should be holiday, you have to turn to Murdoch.

You also have to remember that, next month, Israel faces another humiliating vote in the UN where they will be labeled war criminals by most of the world.  Didn’t know that?  Hmm.

The obsession, Israel, security, myths of terrorism.

This is his organization, reaching out and crushing, not just President Obama, the man he believes threatens his beloved Israel’s desire to wipe Iran off the map with 300,000 American soldiers dead in the process, a plan developed by Paul Wolfowitz in 1999.

We had folks next to him at the time, after all Paul likes pretty girls and pretty girls talk.

Richard Clarke – Back in the 9-11 News

 Yesterday, Richard Clarke began talking about 9/11 and how the CIA had run the operation, the hijackers.  Close friends of Clarke, however, during the run up to 9/11, named him as the individual running back and forth between the Mossad and Pentagon.

In fact, Clarke himself, along with Steve Rosen, Condi Rice and others, had gone so far off the deep end during the early Bush years they began to think of themselves as gods.

The FBI recorded everything, bugging Clarke, bugging Rosen, every phone Wolfowitz and his staff used, all with the permission of Condi Rice.

The FBI had dozens of top Pentagon officials ready to break the biggest espionage case in American history, one that would have put many top “anti-defamation” and “pro-Israel” folks in prison cells like Jonathan Pollard.

Then the Attorney General ordered it all to stop.  His reason?  It would have brought down a presidency too.

National Security Council staff wore microphones, the Bush White House was bugged, including the private rooms for homosexual liasons, there were several of those.

The investigation?  Spying, nuclear secrets, war plans, military technology.  What they accidentally stumbled on was 9/11, White House, Pentagon, Israel, not all of it, but enough “snippets” to put things in perspective and point fingers.

Thus, Richard Clarke speaking out yesterday, this was the smell of fear.


Cameron should have resigned weeks ago, caught as were his security heads, working for Murdoch, working for Israel.  For the past several years, the British government has been investigating Tony Blair.

Tony Blair – Not of the Sopranos – Or Was He?

The accusations?  Blair, working with the above listed gang, helped stage the invasion of Iraq, knowingly lying every step of the way.

Behind it all is millions in campaign donations, some returned, some not to Blair at all, but all known by Blair and all dirty as hell, that and the murder of Dr. David Kelly.

Also behind it all is a nasty secret of 3 missing nuclear weapons, now being tracked by security services, weapons built by Israel in South Africa in the 1980s, weapons Blair told Bush were in Iraq.  There is new information on them.

Blair didn’t do this, he is only accused of knowing about the weapons, knowing they were never in Iraq but backing up the cover story he got from his masters, we can only guess who they are.  And for that, we have a money trail and every name involved.

The same Murdoch press, as it buries everything else, buried the John Anthony Hill trial, the man who calls himself Maud Dib, the man who proved to a British jury that Blair and his Israeli friends staged the 7/7 terror attacks, proved it so convincingly that anyone who sees his illegal video flies into a rage.

The riots, the killings in Norway, the next staged terror, the next planned disasaster, and there will be one, will make sure you remember nothing.

John Anthony Hill and the Jury Won His Case

There is one purpose to all of this.  A real patriot, a real hero will be crushed, feel alone, humiliated, isolated, surrounded by ignorance and treason, will live a life spurned, spat upon, railed against as a “nutter” or extremist.

Anger won’t fix things, not when government’s themselves set off exposions on the underground, crash planes into buildings, blow up churches just as easily as they lose trillions of dollars, just as easily as they send their mercenary armies across the world to “keep us safe.”

As background, Britain and America didn’t invade Iraq looking for chemical weapons.  The real reason is because three Hiroshima sized nuclear weapons had been stolen, weapons built by Armscorp in South Africa, the Pelandaba plant, designed by Israel.  There had been 10.

 One was tested in September 1979 off Prince Edward Island, south of Capetown.  The US discovered it, we have all the data on the explosion, all the signatures.  South Africa ended its WMD partnership which included huge operations in conjunction with both Israel and Colonel Gaddafi of Liyba, someone else with nuclear weapons.

Who Killed David Kelley ??

The last 9 weapons were to be decommissioned.  Dr.David Kelly, the murdered scientist and a young assistant, now current British Prime Minister David Cameron ran the operation.

 Three of the weapons were not destroyed but bought by Britain.  They were stolen and supposedly disappeared in Iran or Iraq or Syria, wherever Israel wanted suspicion cast.

Now we found they were moved to Cyprus, we know who, we know how.  At the time, the CIA had been told that 1200 pounds of Soviet uranium oxide had been smuggled in but it was nuclear weapons stored in the Turkish Cypriot north, part of the partnership between Israel and Turkey’s secret services thatSibel Edmonds stumbled on.

Secretly the Serbs were blamed.  Oh, this is going to upset a few people, as none of this in conjecture.  This was a very secret operation years ago, one that came to our attention when the powerful Cypriot lobby in the US went to Senator Ted Kennedy and others looking for support against the Turks and a reunification of Cyprus.

Those involved, oddly the group that put Mike Dukakis forward as president, were and are financially powerful, a group that had Israeli backing, secret ties to the PLO (furnished them passports) and laundered billions for the….

We stop there.  From there we move into the Senate Banking Committee, into organized crime investiations and groups I am not going to talk about.

All this happened on the Bush #1 watch inititially.  I remember the negotations after Saddam went into Kuwait.  We were told he had been given the OK by the US.  Then everyone was told, during the first days, to get any country, no matter how small, to joing the US coalition.  Bush was willing to trade anything for support.  Cyprus came up and, as Turkey was playing ‘hard to get,’ Bush put backing for Greek Cyrpus on the table.

They were asked to furnish 300 military police but walked away from a deal, backing from the US that they had sought so hard, walked away for no reason.

They backed away because the Turks had a trump card, 3 nuclear weapons, held in trust for their Israeli friends.

Years later, 2009, one of those 3 weapons would explode in North Korea:


Then it happened, or did it?  North Korea built a nuclear weapon and exploded
it, an 18.2 kiloton “Hiroshima” type “gun” weapon they built themselves?  This
was May 25, 2009 when a country incapable of enriching uranium to “weapons
grade” exploded the impossible nuke, or did they?

Yes, there was an explosion, North Korea theoretically became a nuclear state
but, funny thing, the world never treated them as such.  Why is that?  What was
the secret?  Why was this so quickly forgotten?

The answer is simple, North Korea bought a nuclear weapon, one identical to
one exploded in 1979 by Israel and South Africa, one with a history.
Identifying the weapon was easy, the size and design said “Arms Core” and
“Pelandaba.”  The technology was American, the designers and builders Israeli
but the uranium signature was South African.

South Africa built 10, no, not the 6 spoken of, but 10 nuclear weapons.  The
rogue regime in South Africa was aided by Israel in building nuclear weapons, an
arrangement that begun in 1975, one violating every international law, perhaps
the single most serious crime of its type in our century.  South Africa had used
germ warfare in Africa, chemical weapons, spread anthrax, plague, small pox and
now, with the help of Israel, had nuclear weapons.

But, South Africa was collapsing and was going to be forced to release Nelson
Mandela from prison and turn the government over to him.  They weren’t going to
give Mandela 10 nuclear weapons, though.  Britain and the United Nations were
approached to dismantle the program in 1990.  Specialized equipment was designed
to hold the weapons in 20 foot containers and the 9 remaining weapons, after one
was tested on September 22, 1979, were to be shipped to the United States to be
dismantled.  6 came to America.  3 were sidetracked by Margaret Thatcher in
1991, purchased for 55 million pounds and shipped to Oman to be kept as
“blackmail” to frighten Saddam, or so it was explained.  In reality, Britain
hired the same arms dealers that were responsible for Iran/Contra to move the

Dr. David Kelly, once considered a suicide, now known to be a murder victim,
oversaw the project.  The bombs were stolen, Kelly knew and kept his mouth shut,
for awhile at least, and then threatened to go public, not just about the bombs
but about a 17,8 million pound “kickback” (backhander) paid by the bomb thieves
to certain prominent British politicians.  Kelly was murdered, “they” tried to
cover it up and now someone in Britain is going to jail over it, probably a

One of these weapons exploded in North Korea, an Israeli built nuclear
weapon.  It passed through the hands of South African and Saudi arms merchants,
one notorious Rhodesian and, we are told, into the open arms of those who built
the weapons originally, the bomb designers from Dimona.  Two of these bombs
remain, “out there.”


Norway Attacks – Not All Suffer Equally

Murdoch, key to all of this, has necessitated the bloodletting, the murder binge in Norway in partcularly.  These are the obvious inconsistencies.  At the lowest level, we have the initial car bomb, enough “fertilizer slurry” to fill more than a train car, put in the back seat of a rented sub-compact rental.

The forensics, as with 9/11, all “disappeared.”

We then have a second murder in Oslo, an arrest but a story and trail gone cold.  Other suspects were sought, we were told, but INTERPOL has no record of this.

The Norwegian Freemason police and security services, closely allied to the EDL, English Defense League, a group totally partnered with the rather large conspiracy responsible for the Norway killings, simply moved on, as though none of it ever happened.

The EDL?  This is a Freemason organization, closely tied to the Cameron government, allied to Israel, supposedly Nazi skinheads who carry the Star of David up and down the streets.  Any inconsistencies in this?

Who they really are is auxillary police and their real job is to orchestrate violence on cue, violence that makes David Cameron seem heroic.  For those who don’t travel much, it is hard to realize how many police are in Britain, the numbers boggle the mind.

I remember one day, moving out of a hotel in Central London, having to talk to 6 parking police in less than 5 minutes and a half dozen more other police.  Britain is a police state, cameras everywhere, police everywhere, citizens pulled over based on license plate reads for not paying insurance bills or being behind in obscure taxes.

No American would believe it. As for riots?  An impossibilty, Britain could quash them in seconds.  Britain’s police and security services aren’t “liberals.”  They are right wing, armed to the teeth, exist in unimaginable numbers, have top equipment and play hard.

Why Did Police State Cops Let This Happen ??

The riots were staged, police were pulled back, it was a game, part of the theatre to rebuild the reputation of David Cameron, spoiled rich kid, all to cover for Tony Blair, all to cover for Rupert Murdoch, all to cover for Israel and their plans for Iran, all to cover for a government bought by the Rothschilds, lock, stock and barrell.

Hey, America is worse, but few understand how and why.  With millions of Americans still talking about “liberals” and “birth certificates,” the signs of indoctrination into the slave mentality of the Murdoch machine for world conquest, there is little hope.

So Richard Clarke panicked yesterday and, for those with eyes to see, let the public know that he needed to try to blame the CIA and George Tenet for planning 9/11.

Tenet had nothing to do with it.  What Clarke was really screaming out was “Someone is getting too close.”  We want to know who?

YouTube – Veterans Today – – David Kelly -His Death – Documentary

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What Would a USD Collapse Mean for the World?

by Lorimer Wilson


I came to the conclusion several years ago that it was just a matter of time before the world realized that the relative functionality of the U.S. dollar was about to go belly up – to collapse  – and that that time happened to coincide with that fateful date all the prophecies are going crazy about – 2012!

I find this coincidence remarkable because, were the USD to actually collapse, just think of the many economic and political disasters that would indeed unfold. The U.S. economy would stop dead for a period of time and the rest of the world, hitherto dependent on the old industrial/consumer economic model, would have to find a new economic paradigm to plan their economies.

A USD collapse means the entire structure of the world economy would collapse for a period of time, with a collapsed supply chain, among other things. The world would also go through cataclysms politically during that period. That usually leads to massive wars, starvation and mass homelessness around the world. Interesting. That’s the same stuff being prophesied in many of the numerous 2012 prophecies of various major religions! That is quite the coincidence. The demise of the USD will collapse the entire world economy and lead to collapsed policies, and then a massive world war. Yep, it fits like a glove.

Of course, some people cringe at an analyst such as myself talking about ‘religious bunkum prophecies’ but consider that I am a mathematician and also a former Oracle database systems engineer. I’m not exactly some dreamer. I certainly know the analytical methods. So, why am I saying this stuff then? How can I combine prophecies with analytical methods? Well, for one thing, I have a thinking paradigm where ‘if it works, it must be true, don’t leave out weird things in analysis, insisting only on some calculation based prediction’. That’s what chartists do. I don’t. Everything must be analytical to lots of people, and that is totally wrong often! The trouble with being analytical all the time is that there are times, and this is proven, where chaos enters the picture and everything changes. Chaos, by definition, is not predictable…

So, What Would Happen in a USD Collapse? (To find out go to our associate site here to read the article in its entirety.)

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Imperial Plans for Libya Post-Gaddafi


 by Stephen Lendman


A previous article suggested NATO’s Libya war is unraveling, having misjudged the commitment of Libyans to resist, fight back, and support Gaddafi. Access it through the following link: Natos Liby War Unraveling

Nonetheless, daily bombings continue intensively, averaging 51 daily strike sorties in the last week alone, targeting Tripoli and other Gaddafi controlled areas mercilessly.

Despite clear evidence of war crimes, NATO claims civilians and civilian targets aren’t struck. In fact, they’re targeted deliberately and repeatedly, killing hundreds and injuring many more as part of a campaign to cow targeted populations into submission.

In the last 48 hours, Tripoli power facilities were bombed, knocking it out to parts of the city. Earlier, Libya’s Great Man-Made River system and a factory producing pipe for it were struck to reduce fresh water supplies. A food warehouse was destroyed to decrease available amounts.

Three ground-based satellites were disabled, killing three employees and injuring another 15. Hospitals and medical clinics are targeted so less healthcare can be provided, and oil facilities are bombed, reducing available stockpiles. Numerous other civilian targets are also struck repeatedly, including infrastructure and residential neighbors unrelated to military necessity.

As stated above, it’s part of NATO’s terror bombing campaign to cow Libyans. So far, they’ve become more embolden, knowing the unacceptable alternative.

On August 8, AFP reported at least 85 civilians killed in Majer village near Zlitan in western Libya. Government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim called it “a crime beyond imagination,” saying the dead included 32 women, 32 children, and 20 men from 12 families, massacred in cold blood.

NATO spokesman Col. Roland Lavoie called the farmhouses bombed (with civilian families, not belligerents) “legitimate target(s).”

He lied, saying “very clear intelligence demonstrat(ed) that ‘former’ farm buildings were being used as a staging point for (pro-Gaddafi) forces to conduct attacks against the people of Libya. We do not have evidence of civilian casualties at this stage….”

Reporting from Tripoli, independent journalist/activist Lizzie Phelan commented on how Libyans reacted to the massacre, saying:

“I watched their heartbroken and incensed loved ones bury the 33 children, 32 women, and 20 men NATO (called) ‘mercenaries.’ Most (people in) Zlitan….turned out for their burial, chanting furiously against NATO.”

“Person after person came to tell us how NATO was creating a generation of Libyans so filled with rage that they would see no recourse but to send themselves to martyrdom in revenge against the west.”

Farmhouses bombed were “some distance apart from one another.” They’d “been hosting scores of refugees from….Misrata, who fled from the horrifying (rebel) atrocities,” what NATO and western media never report.

In fact, many of those massacred came to help after bombing began. Follow-up attacks slaughtered them, unconscionable war crimes, including by pilots carrying out illegal orders.

“At the funeral, survivors said “they would sacrifice their lives for their leader Muammar Gaddafi.” Grief stricken children chanted, “The blood of our martyrs will not be forgotten.”

The attack followed a decision by National Transitional Council (NTC) head Mustafa Abdul Jalil to sack his entire executive committee, a sign of further disarray besides the assassination of rebel commander Adbul Fatah Younis and two of his aides last month, allegedly for holding talks with Gaddafi officials. If true, he wanted reconciliation to end the conflict.

For Washington, its NATO partners, and TNC puppets, however, peace and reconciliation aren’t options. As a result, Libyans can expect more attacks and/or destabilization to inflict relentless pain and suffering, even if fighting winds down to stalemate and Washington accepts a face-saving solution.

It may be no more than an unacceptable “Kosovo Model,” a fifth column resolution, giving anti-Gaddafi extremists a foothold to parlay toward total control.

Post-Gaddafi Planning

On July 25, the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) convened a conference, hosting 50 government, diplomatic, and other experts to assess the Libya war and way forward. It concluded the following:

(1) No military solution is possible because rebels can’t take Tripoli or other strategic Gaddafi-controlled areas. Moreover, Libya’s military adjusted “to its degraded condition, and defections slowed to a trickle. While time is not on Gaddafi’s side, neither” does it favor rebels.

(2) “Even so, the post-Gaddafi era” already began. Washington and its NATO partners should adapt to it that way.

(3) Giving too much money to TNC officials is as bad as too little.

(4) Washington shouldn’t “become wedded to the TNC,” but should flexibly “accept a wide variety of outcomes. TNC officials perhaps are “fragment(ed) and out-of-touch with conditions on the ground.”

(5) The UN has some legitimacy in Libya. Gaddafi only fears Washington. A possible new Security Council resolution will be needed for Libyan reconstruction that will be considerable with parts of the country turned to rubble, mostly non-military sites.

On August 9, the Australian posted a London Times Tom Coghlan article headlined, ” Iraq haunts plans for post-Gaddafi Libya,” saying:

Washington, its NATO partners and TNC officials “prepare(d) a (70 page) blueprint for a post-Gaddafi Libya (that) charts the first months after” he falls, believing it’s a fait accompli. In fact, it may be more imperial arrogance, similar to Iraq and Afghanistan, besides America’s humiliating defeat in Vietnam and Korea stalemate.

Claiming the document draws from lessons learned, it relies on Gaddafi defections after he’s ousted or killed. Whether rebel fighters will accept them is uncertain, given disparate elements in their ranks.

A United Arab Emirates-supported “10,000 – 15,000 strong ‘Tripoli task force’ ” is planned to control Tripoli, “secure key sites and arrest high-level Gaddafi” loyalists.

Whether true or not, it claims 800 government security officials are already covertly recruited, ready “to form the ‘backbone’ of a new security apparatus.” Another 5,000 non-ideologically committed Gaddafi loyalists will become part of the interim government’s forces “to prevent a security vacuum.”

In addition, it claims rebels in and around Tripoli have 8,660 supporters, including 3,255 in Gaddafi’s army. Moreover, mass high-ranking official defections are “considered highly likely, with 70 per cent of them (supporting) the regime out of fear alone.”

Again, these unverified claims may be more propaganda than factual. Leaking to the Times, in fact, may be to entice defections. In other words, if Gaddafi loyalists believe others are deserting, and the regime appears near collapse, they may not wish to feel like rats on a sinking ship so will come over to avoid going down.

Notably, TNC planner Aref Ali Nayed expressed regret about the leak, but said:

“It is important that (Libyans know) there is an advance plan, and it is now a much more advanced plan.”

Perhaps so or maybe it’s propaganda intimidation to discourage resistance and encourage giving up on Gaddafi to end bombings and fighting on the ground. Why continue if defeat is imminent, but is it?

Evidence shows Libyans are winning. Rebels are in disarray, and though NATO bombing inflicted extensive numbers of deaths, injuries and destruction, popular support for Gaddafi is strong. Moreover, Libyans remain emboldened to resist, steadfastly unwilling to have their country colonized and plundered.

Nonetheless, other document details include:

  • – securing key security, telecommunications, power, transportation infrastructure, and other important sites;

  • – deploying Nafusa Mountain and Zentan fighters, not rebels, in Tripoli;

  • – having mostly Tripoli residents serve as interim security forces in Gaddafi loyalist areas;

  • – providing an emergency one-month $550 million to supply gas and oil to western Libya after Gaddafi falls;

  • – having the UN provide humanitarian aid, supported by the UAE, Qatar and Turkey;

  • – “a pre-recorded program of announcements by rebel leaders and clerics would initiate the Tripoli task force plan, call for calm and warn against revenge attacks on regime supporters;” an out-of-country FM radio station was set up for this purpose;

  • – if Gaddafi is killed, negotiating with his sons, called “regime captains;” and

  • – “multiple rebel groups” will be avoided, as well as having a “clear plan to deal with a hostile fifth column.”

A Final Comment

Despite intensive bombing since mid-March, Gaddafi remains firmly in control, enjoying overwhelming support with good reason. The alternative is too grim to accept.

As a result, whether the above document is factual, wishful thinking, or propaganda, imperial Washington is a long way from prevailing.

Nonetheless, make no mistake. Libya is Obama’s war. At the same time, America hasn’t won one since WW II. Hopefully Libyans will keep that record intact and retain their sovereignty, free from intolerable imperial dominance.

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War for Fun and Profit


No Fun for the Troops, Big Profits for the Wealthy

by Michael Chester

“War is a Racket.”  This is the title of a book and a speech given by the late Major General Smedley Butler, USMC.  Long time readers of Veterans Today have probably heard of him, but despite the fact that he was a two time winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor, most history books leaveout his name.  Why do they do this?

Perhaps because after a very distinguished career in the Marines, he realized that most of his work in the military was in reality acting as a mob enforcer for the wealthy and their corporations.

Butler also deserves a special spot among America’s great for exposing the plot to stage a military coup and take control of the US government.  A coup in the USA?  Sounds like something you would expect in some “Banana Republic”, but never here. It would have probably succeeded if not for Butler’s patriotism, the real thing, not what now passes for patriotism.

Who plotted this coup and why?  In the summer of 1933, newly elected President Roosevelt was working hard to try to end the great depression.  Part of his plan included a redistribution of
wealth to aid the less fortunate.  This angered the rich and powerful who had made millions and billions during the depression mostly on the backs of the poorest. (Sounds a bit like today, doesn’t it)

Members of the most wealthy families and corporations joined in a secret plot to overthrow Roosevelt by military force.  The families leading the insurrection included the DuPonts, the Morgans, The Goodyears, the Bush family (Yes, that Bush family), General Motors leadership, Chase Bank, and many other of the rich and powerful.  They planned to recruit an army of 500,000 retired military to march on the White House and seize control of the government to again make this a safe place for robber barons.

Some of the other conspirators are listed below along with their credentials:

  • Irenee Du Pont – Right-wing chemical industrialist and founder of the American Liberty League, the organization assigned to execute the plot.

  • Grayson Murphy – Director of Goodyear, Bethlehem Steel and a group of J.P. Morgan banks.

  • William Doyle – Former state commander of the American Legion and a central plotter of the coup.

  • John Davis – Former Democratic presidential candidate and a senior attorney for J.P. Morgan.

  • Al Smith – Roosevelt’s bitter political foe from New York. Smith was a former governor of New York and a co-director of the American Liberty League.

  • John J. Raskob – A high-ranking Du Pont officer and a former chairman of the Democratic Party. In later decades, Raskob would become a “Knight of Malta,” a Roman

    Catholic Religious Order with a high percentage of CIA spies, including CIA Directors William Casey, William Colby and John McCone.

  • Robert Clark – One of Wall Street’s richest bankers and stockbrokers.

They needed a leader for this army, a man who would garner instant respect so they sent Gerald MacGuire,who was a bond salesman for Clark, and a former commander of the Connecticut American Legion to recruit Smedley Butler. Butler was famous at the time and was well respected in the general population as well as the military. What they did not count on, was Butler’s loyalty to the principles of the US Constitution and the rule of law.

He reported the conspirators to the Committee on Un-American Activities, and they eventually put an end to it. Being that the conspirators were among the country’s elite, it would have been too embarassing to persue their prosecution, so most got off without even a slap on the wrist.

Luckily for us, the plotters did not do proper research on the man they hoped would lead their privateers. If they had, they would have discovered that on August 21, 1931, Butler had given an impassioned speech to an American Legion convention in New Britain CT.  The person who gave this speech would be very unlikely to join their conspiracy. This video shows an actor re-creation of the exact words he spoke that day.

YouTube – Veterans Today –

The basic themes that Butler expressed were expressed again in 1961, in Dwight Eisenhower’s farewell address as president.

YouTube – Veterans Today –

Keep in mind that both of these men had long and distinguished careers in the military at the highest level, during wartime.  They knew war better than most at the top ever will.  Their opinions deserve the utmost respect.

Why is all of this history important now?  Because we are in the middle of repeating it.  This time the powerful chose a much safer and more effective method of carrying out their coup.  Instead of conquering the government militarily, they simply bought it.

It is no secret that it now takes enormous sums of money to run for office.  In the last presidential
election, hundreds of millions of dollars was spent by the two campaigns.  Where did all of this money come from?  Well some of it came from individual citizens as small contributions, but the bulk came from special interest groups of all stripes.  The Supreme Court has ruled that money is equal to free speech, so those with more money get to speak louder.  This has always been true, but now they don’t even need to hide it.  With the Supremes’ recent decision, even foreign corporations can get in on the bidding for candidates.

During WW-I and WW-II our civilian manufacturers quickly re-tooled to produce war materials.  The automakers suspended production of cars and produced military vehicles, sometimes for both sides.  (It was well known among Allied bomber pilots in WW-II that you were never to bomb the Ford plant in Germany. The locals even used the plant as a bomb shelter because they knew it was safe from bombing.

The Cold War brought a new breed of corporation, one that only made military hardware and software. This is a highly profitable business and they can afford to buy lots of influence.

The Official Fiscal Year 2012 Department of Defense budget requests a total of $670.9 billion. (source: DoD website)  This does not include the Black Ops budget or money spent by other departments to aid the DoD.  A large portion of this money goes to military suppliers.  Other money goes to in theater “contractors.”  I don’t like the term “contractor” when used in this context.

A contractor is the guy you hire to build grandma a new sun porch,not to kill, maim and torture people.  These people are mercenaries and should be called that.  A whole industry has grown around the supplying of mercenaries to do the tasks that our uniformed soldiers are unable to carry out due to that pesky Geneva Convention and the Code of Military Conduct.

The lesson that they learned at Abu Ghraib was not don’t torture people, but rather to have the mercenaries carry it out in some undisclosed location.  This gives the officials plausible deniability.  “We just hired the company; we are not responsible for what their employees do.”

All of this depends on the ignorance or indifference of the American people.  This is why we are fed a steady diet of “fast food news,” quick, easy, and not very healthy.  I just did a Google Search for President Barak Obama and got 233 million hits, a pretty fair number, but a search for Britney Spears yielded 259 million hits.  Do I really need to comment on this?

The news media and the entertainment media (Both controlled by the same group of people) are leading us away from asking tough questions of our leadership.

We get to vote for our leaders, but only get to choose between the two candidates chosen by the major parties, both bought and paid for, many times by the same people or corporations. One way to ensure having access to the winner is to give money to both sides.  When was the last time you actually liked the choice you had and felt good about casting your vote?  Most times it comes down to the lessor of two evils.

All that third party candidates seem to accomplish is to take votes away from the major candidate closest to his position.  In 1992, Ross Perot got no electoral votes, and pulled voters from both parties, but he pulled more from the Republicans, thus helping Bill Clinton.  In 2000, Ralph Nader took virtually all of his votes away from Al Gore, and G.W. Bush became president.

I could keep going, but I think you get my idea.  I will close with a video of the late George Carlin.  He was one of the best observers of people and of what was going on in the world of our generation  In case you never heard him perform, I should warn that he uses coarse language, so you might want to send the kids out of the room before playing it.  Then again, hearing a few curse words is probably less detrimental to their intelligence than the lies and half truths they hear every day at school and in the media.

YouTube – Veterans Today –

Posted in USAComments Off on War for Fun and Profit

Mondoweiss Online Newsletter


CODEPINK calls for investigation into ‘AIPAC loophole’ for Israel junkets

Aug 15, 2011

Adam Horowitz

CODEPINK sent out the following press release earlier today:

The peace group CODEPINK has filed a formal complaint with the Congressional Ethics Committee, calling for an investigation of the junkets to Israel paid for by the powerful Israel lobby AIPAC but channeled through their educational front group, The American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF). This summer recess, a staggering 81 Congresspeople—one out of five members—are participating in these trips.

According to the House Ethics Rules, Congress is prohibited from participating in any multiple-day trip that is planned, organized, requested, or arranged by a lobbyist. AIPAC skirts the law by funneling the trips through AIEF.

According to the latest publicly available tax returns, in 2009 AIEF did not even have paid staff, relying on AIPAC employees to do its work. AIPAC contributed more than $3.2 million of employee salaries to cover the staff costs of AIEF in 2009. In other words, a 501(c)(4) organization with registered lobbyists is paying for the staff of a 501(c)(3) organization to run congressional delegations that cannot legally be funded by an organization that employs registered lobbyists.

“AIPAC barely tries to hide that fact that AIEF is a front group,” says CODEPINK cofounder Medea Benjamin, who filed the complaint. “The groups are housed in the same offices, have overlapping boards of directors, share staff, employ the same Chief Financial Officer and are constantly moving funds from one entity to another. It’s time for Congress to put an end to this charade by closing the AIPAC loophole.”

Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen who helped draft federal lobbying and ethics reform legislation signed into law in 2007, agrees. “The House ethic rules do not allow a non-profit group like AIEF, which is controlled and directed by the lobby group AIPAC, to pay for travel junkets for members of Congress. This AIPAC loophole is rendering the travel rules meaningless and should be stopped,” says Holman.

“With constituents facing severe economic hardships, Representatives should be home in their districts during this August recess to tell voters how they will dig us out the mess they’ve created,” says Josh Ruebner, the national advocacy director at the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. “Instead many of them are spending part of their recess in Israel on a lobbyist-funded trip, being pressured into even more tax-payer-funded weapons for the Israeli military, weapons used to commit human rights abuses against Palestinians.”

CODEPINK, which organizes citizen diplomacy delegations to Israel and Palestine, including Gaza, believes these AIPAC trips give the participants a skewed view that hides the oppressive nature of the Israeli government. “The trips are designed to push the U.S. Congress into supporting AIPAC policies of unconditional support for the Israel government, such as continuing to give $3 billion of our taxdollars to Israel and vetoing the upcoming Palestinian call for statehood at the UN,” said Benjamin. “AIPAC puts the interests of Israel before U.S. interests, which makes these Congressional junkets dangerous and downright un-American.”

More about MEMRI (the State Department’s grantee) and Natan Sharansky

Aug 15, 2011

Philip Weiss

Many of you have checked out the GangreenTV videos of Israeli government ministers saying things that– if they were American public officials saying this stuff, they would be out of office tomorrow. In the second video, the Israeli Justice Minister Ya’akov Ne’eman says that African immigrants converting to Judaism are the great threat to Israel, whereas in the U.S. it’s all the Jews marrying non-Jews that’s the threat– “accomplish [ing] what the accursed Hitler did not.”

Well Anatol Sharansky shares a stage with both ministers making these repellent remarks, and in the second instance, he appears to approve the message, clapping Ne’eman on the back at the end of his statement against Africans (4:06).

Sharansky is on the board of advisers of MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, which got a $200,000 grant from the State Department last week, from State’s Office of International Religious Freedom. Gosh, are these really the ideas that the State Department wants to be associated with?

Why I’m saving up for a punching bag

Aug 15, 2011

Jehan Alfarra

Imagine a tumor, a big lump of frustration muddled up with helplessness settling inside your heart and getting pumped through your veins and the entirety of your body, and it has no cure. You only wish you can reach down, thrust your hand into your heart and squash that toxic chunk of aggravation between your wobbly fingers. Eradicating it, though, is a treatment you are denied; the only eradication that you can have is the Israeli termination of your life, and along with it the termination of your despair. You may only resort to immunotherapy, which very much depends on your creativity in enhancing your immune system and endurance levels. It would be safe to say that every Palestinian is, one way or another, inflicted with this malignant cell. Where I live in Palestinian Gaza, people are inflicted with this helplessness and hopelessness, but to make matters worse, there is also a time bomb planted inside of their chests as well, ticking away and ready to detonate any passing moment. Life is a mere existence rather than real living. At times, escapism and absolute indifference are your only means of relative happiness.

In Gaza, men have ‘learnt at a very young age what it was to be angry- angry and helpless’. They are encompassed by a cloud of vulnerability and are impelled to watch their integrity being ripped out at every uncertainty and inability to do and be, but as Gaza men are transported with rage, the defiance and struggle against the nasty tumor knows no break. It is a full time job.

In Gaza, even the most moderate and serene women are intensely preoccupied with a paradoxical desire and passion for ranting, cursing, and at times, simply crying. Watching their lives, and if married the lives of their children and their husbands preordained and constrained by what Israel, coordinating with Egypt, permits.

At times even the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza contributes to this blazing fury. The disengagement and isolation from even your occupier contributes to this agonizing helplessness, where the simplest forms of Palestinian resistance and expression of dissatisfaction with Israel’s ruthlessness and severe injustice is denied- that of hurling stones at the reason behind your misery and destitution.

In Gaza, the level of deprivation is bottomless. Being careful not to compare it, as many so ignorantly and idiotically do, with Somalia or the like famine-hit areas. No, Gaza is a different story. It is a beautiful place where large fragments of contradictions, and a struggle to be, blend to create a chained splendor, a troubling aesthetic. Gaza is not a poor place, it is a made-poor and isolated-from-the-world place. In one area you will find Gazan refugee camps’ alleys flooded with stories of horror and torment, and in another, you will find an extravagant villa and a blooming luxurious hotel where tunnel-smuggled-goods nosh its restaurants. It is an economy kept by Israel at the brink of collapse. It is a place of so much competence and potential, subjugated and suppressed by Israel on a daily basis, and thus crushing every ambition, every dream, and every attempt at blossoming. Water theft, trade constraints, electricity control, and movement restrictions are all but few practices by Israel aiming at turning the life of every Gazan into what a friend would put it- a coping mechanism.

To me, and to many Gazan Palestinians I know, my coping mechanism resides in my virtual world. Ranting and venting can indeed be therapeutic, and dwelling in the twitter world of mine could suffice to chase away the angry being lurking in my heart. This anger has been enhanced with so much fear and uncertainty, not only from Israel’s hidden plans for us, particularly after the recent blackout, but also from our obtuse leadership who might be blowing our decades-long struggle and butchering every dream of return in a dull-witted and selling-out move.

For my own emotional safety, I will be saving up for a punch bag- a pink one too. Something I can confide in and unleash my wrath at every unfairness, especially when I am denied even twitter by Israel. This is what Gazans really do need. For those who are thinking of forming a new convoy to Gaza, I once suggested a convoy of books, but now I say a convoy of punch bags. A more dignified stance of solidarity, and a true remedial aid.

(Crossposted @ Jehan Alfarra’s blog And Thereby Hangs A Tale… )


In dawn raid in Jerusalem, Israeli forces arrest boys– 11 and 13 years old

Aug 15, 2011


and other news from Today in Palestine:

Israeli forces

IDF raids same West Bank town 5 times in last 2 weeks / Alex Kane
Residents of Beit Ommar have already gotten used to military incursions and prevention of access to land, but some residents believe the increase in recent raids is connected to the army’s effort at deterrence ahead of the anticipated popular unrest in September  — Beit Ommar, West Bank 14 Aug — The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is meant to be a time for reflection and spirituality.  But for the 16,000 residents of this rural, agricultural village near Hebron in the occupied West Bank, it has been an unusually tense one. A spate of Israeli army raids at night and arrests of young Palestinians have occurred since the beginning of August, shattering any hope for calm during Ramadan … Witnesses to the raids and local activists say that the Israeli army has been shooting tear gas, sound bombs and flares into residential areas — in some cases causing injuries — and have arrested fifteen young Palestinians under the age of eighteen this month … “It just looked like a training exercise.  It just looked like they were practicing coming into town tear gassing people back and practicing flares,” said one international activist with the Palestine Solidarity Project (PSP) … The Israeli army’s repression in the village has not been limited to night raids, though….
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Israeli forces arrest 4 youth in dawn raids
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 13 Aug  — Israeli forces arrested 4 minors at dawn on 10 August. They are reported to have been charged with participation in demonstrations against Israeli policy in the district. The 4 arrested are brothers Mohammed Abu Sanad, 17, Alla Abu Sanad, 15, from al-Bustan neighborhood, and Ahmed Abu Nab, 17, from al-Ein al-Fouqa and Ameer al-Qaraeen from Wadi Hilweh
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Israeli forces build up heavy presence in Silwan
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 13 Aug  — A build-up of Israeli forces in Silwan has been underway since early this morning. Soldiers, deployed to all districts, have been reported to be harassing residents and stirring unrest. Several youth confronted troops this morning, with confrontations now erupting on a daily basis between local youth and Israeli forces. Tensions continue to mount as authorities pursue their policy of home demolition and settlement expansion in the region.
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Israeli police arrest 3 children in Silwan
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Aug — An undercover unit of the Israeli forces arrested two Palestinian children and one teenager from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Sunday, a local committee member and Israeli police spokesman said. Abed Al-Karim, member of a local Silwan committee which protects land from annexation, said that Israeli forces arrested Musellem Mousa Auda, 11, Mohamad Auda, 13, and Kathem Abu Shafee, 17. Undercover units raided Silwan at 11.30 a.m. on Sunday morning, Al-Karim told Ma‘an radio, arresting the three boys without providing any justification.
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VIDEO: Just because he can
[arrogant soldier] By Tamar Goldschmidt of Mahsanmilim — 1st Friday of Ramadan 2011. Qalandiya Checkpoint.
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Night Video: Army invades Beit Ommar for third time in a week
2:44 minutes PSP 12 Aug — At around 10pm on the night of the 11th August, the Israeli army once more invaded the town of Beit Ommar. Around eight jeeps and more than twelve soldiers entered the town and advanced along the main road, closing off the entrance to the village behind them, preventing residents returning to their homes. The soldiers proceeded to fire dozens of rounds of teargas into highly residential areas, accompanied by concussion grenades and flares. Several families inside their homes suffered the effects of teargas inhalation and required medical treatment, some being taken by ambulance to hospital in Hebron. The soldiers remained in the town until 1am, during which time they continued to fire rounds of teargas regularly. No arrests were made, and there remains no apparent reason for the raid. The Abu Maria family were one such household affected by the raid. Their family home was struck by two teargas canisters, forcing the family to flee the building with their 1-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter. The ground floor of their house remained uninhabitable for the night due to the lingering gas.
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Israeli soldiers torch dozens of olive trees in West Bank village
QALQILIYA (PIC) 13 Aug — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) set fire to dozens of fruitful olive trees, some of them perennials [very old?], in Kafr Kadum village, Qalqiliya city. Eyewitnesses reported that the trees were burnt down after the Israeli troops fired tear gas and stun grenades on them. 32 olive trees were burnt after the villagers were able to stop the fire from spreading to other trees.
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Israeli forces detain 3 Palestinians near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 14 Aug — Israeli forces detained three Palestinians from Balata in the northern West Bank before dawn Sunday, witnesses and the army said. Witnesses said Israeli soldiers entered Balata, east of Nablus, at 2 a.m. and ransacked several homes before detaining three men. Locals identified those detained as Saber Salman, Jabr Jiaan and Thaer Masoud.
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Israeli forces conduct military training in Jordan Valley, continue harassing its residents
JENIN (WAFA) 14 Aug — Israeli forces are conducting large-scale military training on Palestinian lands adjacent to residents’ houses in the northern Jordan Valley areas, in Tubas Governorate, Sunday said Ahmad Asaad, in charge of settlements file in Tubas. Witnesses said that Israeli artillery enforcements raided al-Boke’a area and al-Aqaba, a village in the valley, and carried out surveillance and inspection campaigns in addition to repeated extensive military trainings, which lead to the destruction of the infrastructure and fields as well as prevent shepherds from herding their cattle
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Teenager hurt by suspicious object in Tubas
TUBAS (Ma‘an) 13 Aug — A Palestinian teenager suffered moderate injuries to his hand Friday after an Israeli explosive device detonated in Tubas, Palestinian officials said.  Ahmed Saraia, 17, was taken to Rafidia hospital in Nablus where the tips of several fingers on his right hand were amputated due to damage sustained from picking up the object, Tubas police said in a statement. Police urged residents to alert authorities about such objects, and not to handle them. Residents should be particularly cautious in the Al-Aghwar area, which is near an army training site [but inhabited by Palestinians. Apparently it was not a land mine, as reported by PIC]
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Israel army plants new mines along Syria border
JERUSALEM (AP) 13 Aug — Israel’s army is planting new land mines along its border with Syria in an attempt to dissuade protesters from rushing into the Golan Heights, according to a report in an Israeli military magazine. The preparations come as part of Israel’s beefed-up measures ahead of rallies that Palestinians are planning to hold in September, the magazine Ba’mahaneh reported over the weekend … The army decided to go ahead with the move after older mines failed to detonate when the Syrians crossed in June, the magazine reported … The magazine reported that the military was taking other measures, including reinforcing fences along the Golan border, increasing infantry troop numbers, posting more snipers and digging trenches.
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VIDEO: Lebanon’s female cluster bomb disposal team
6:09 minutes Guardian 12 Aug — Five years after the Israel-Hezbollah war, southern Lebanon is still riddled with thousands of unexploded cluster bombs. A group of extraordinary women is helping to rid the countryside of this deadly legacy – formerly teachers, nurses and housewives, they have been trained by the NGONorwegian People’s Aid to clear unexploded ordnance from the fields
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IDF budget in the crosshairs of government’s socioeconomic panel
Haaretz 14 Aug — In bid to solve middle-class woes, Trajtenberg proposes heavy cuts to defense budget, expected to draw strong objections from Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
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The state of Israel and its neighbor, the IDF / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 14 Aug — Since its establishment, the state of the Israel Defense Forces has lived amicably alongside the State of Israel. Borders between the two states are well-known, and are defensible — …Even when thousands gathered last Saturday night on the border of the neighboring country, no border incidents were recorded. Demonstrators marched toward the fences of its capital, Hakirya, but they didn’t address anyone inside it. They saw the luxurious towers; they knew that the laws applying within them are unlike ones in effect in their state; though these laws might be to the detriment of the protesters, that did not cause them to direct their rage, or their distress, at the capital of this neighboring country, the only place which can provide them salvation.
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MP Attoun: Less than minimal being done for Jerusalem
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 14 Aug — Exile-threatened Palestinian MP Ahmed Attoun called for creating practical steps and clear positions to defend Jerusalem from the Israeli occupation, saying that what is currently talked about is less than the minimal requirement … The statement came as dozens of Palestinian leaders responded to an invitation to break fast with Palestinian politicians ordered to leave their native city of Jerusalem. In attendance were a variety of Palestinian figures, including Arab members of the Israeli Knesset, party chairmen, former ministers in the Palestinian government, businessmen, religious figures, and reporters. Jerusalem Grand Mufti Ekrima Sabri, who spoke at the occasion, lauded the exile-threatened men, saying their steadfastness has served as a lesson for holding fast to the land and not abandoning the holy city. The men have been seeking asylum at the Jerusalem Red Cross after the Israeli occupation authorities ordered them to leave their native city.
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Waqf spokesman denies renovation of King Hussain palace
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) — The head of the Islamic endowment, or Waqf, in Jerusalem Azzam At-Tamimi denied Israeli media reports on Sunday that Jordan is preparing to renovate the King Hussein palace in Jerusalem. “The department of the Islamic endowment was not designated to renovate the palace but only was instructed to install a fence around the land of the royal palace, upon the request and the insistence of those near the land,” At-Tamimi told Ma‘an. He confirmed that a fence had been installed 12 days ago around more than forty seven dunams of land. However, Palestinian witnesses claim that Israeli authorities removed the fence on Sunday, apparently under the pretext that the land belongs to an Israeli environmental authority.
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Otherwise Occupied: I’m not a cop but I play one in Jerusalem / Amira Hass
Haaretz 14 Aug — In Walajeh, officially part of the capital, the IDF arrested a number of protesters, even though it did not have jurisdiction to act within the city … Col. Alalouf and his soldiers apparently committed a double violation: sealing an area inside Jerusalem where they do not have jurisdiction, and arresting citizens inside the capital. The IDF spokesman: “The claim is being reviewed.”
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Neglected no longer — Cultural revival in East Jerusalem
Economist 12 Aug — The air of a ghost town has long pervaded East Jerusalem, the Arab part of the city Israel occupied in 1967. Harassed by settlers intent on turning it Jewish, and mostly ignored by an Israeli municipality that invests far more in Jewish than Arab residents, and a Palestinian Authority (PA) that is busy building Ramallah not Jerusalem as Palestine’s cultural and economic capital, its numerous Palestinian residents have long felt abandoned. A towering separation wall that Israel erected over the past decade severs its centre from Arab suburbs and the broader Palestinian hinterland. Of late, though, the despair has begun to lift. Frustrated by the failure of negotiators and outside mediators to deliver them from their 43-year limbo, East Jerusalemites are reviving the city themselves … “The main battle is cultural,” says Suhail Khoury, who runs the city’s Edward Said Music Conservatory, which is preparing to open in a renovated Palestinian mansion in the bedraggled city centre. “You can rebuild demolished homes within months, but a destroyed identity takes generations to rebuild.”
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Gaza’s sole power plant at risk of closure
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 Aug  — Gaza’s electricity company may have to turn off the sole power station in the coastal enclave, a company official warned Sunday. Chief Executive Officer Walid Sad Sayel said the company would delay switching off the station until Sunday even though it needed repairs and should have been shut down on Wednesday. The company had reached an agreement with power authority officials in Gaza to delay the closure after the Hamas officials agreed to transfer $4 million to pay for spare parts, Sayel said in a statement. A further $1 million was needed to pay Ashdod port authorities to release the parts, Sayel added. He warned that if the clearance money wasn’t paid in the coming hours, the generators would be shut off individually and the plant would be closed until the end of August. The electricity company official added that the management of Ashdod port were threatening to auction off the spare parts at the end of August if the storage bill and port fees for the equipment remained unpaid.
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US resumes operations of its aid organizations in Gaza
Reuters 14 Aug — The United States on Sunday resumed the operations of the aid organizations it funds in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip after the Islamist group retracted its demand to scrutinize confidential documents about their work, a U.S. official said. On Friday, USAID partner organizations stopped work after Hamas closed one of the non-governmental organizations, the International Medical Corps (IMC), when officials there denied the Islamist group access to documents. It was allowed to reopen on Sunday.
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Gaza’s Hamas rulers: Foreigners must now obtain visa to enter territory
AP 13 Aug –A spokesman for Gaza’s Hamas rulers says foreigners must now obtain visas to enter the Gaza Strip. Ihab Ghussein’s comments Saturday come a day after the United States warned it would cut $100 million in American aid money if Hamas continues its “unwarranted audits” of local American non-profit organizations. Hamas recently shut down a U.S.-financed aide group that refused an audit. Ghussein says the government must know who is staying in Gaza in order to protect foreigners. If implemented, the visa demand could complicate the work of international aid groups in Gaza since the U.S. and U.N. consider Hamas a terrorist organization. As such, many international aid groups are prohibited from having direct contact with Hamas or providing the Islamic group with cash.
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Hamas interior minister denies reports of Gaza visas
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 Aug — The Ministry of Interior in the Gaza Strip on Sunday denied reports that foreigners must obtain visas from the Hamas government to enter the coastal enclave.
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‘UNRWA Watch’ looks to improve refugee agency
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Aug — Palestinian academics and others have announced the establishment of a watchdog group to observe UNRWA’s performance in the Gaza Strip, the head of the body said Saturday. At a news conference in Gaza City, Hossam Adwan said ‘UNRWA Watch’ would prioritize observing the performance of the Palestine refugee agency with the hope of guaranteeing refugee rights. The committees are specializing in education, healthcare, the environment, housing, projects, emergency operations, relief projects, and works, Adwan explained. They will staff six offices throughout the enclave … UNRWA has defended itself against a series of complaints and accusations in recent months, as staff joined strikes and the heads of the West Bank and Gaza Strip divisions resigned early this year.
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Israeli gunboats target Palestinian fishermen in Gaza
PalTelegraph 11 Aug — Gaza Strip, (Pal Telegraph)-Israeli gunboats opened fire on Thursday morning  at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of central Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported. Local sources said that Israeli gunboats targeted Palestinian fishermen despite being  in a close area off Gaza shores, forcing them to leave the sea in order not to be hurt by Israeli intensive fire.
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Rafah crossing open Monday for August applicants
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 Aug — The Ministry of Interior in Gaza said Sunday that travel via the Rafah crossing on Monday will only be for passengers who registered to travel on August 8 and 9.
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Largest ever Gaza convoy next December
LONDON (PIC) 13 Aug– A pro-Palestinian organization in Britain has announced that the largest ever siege-busting convoy would head to Gaza by the end of 2011. On its official website, Viva Palestina said the convoy would be the largest yet since the pro-Palestinian movement was formed five years ago in the wake of Israel’s siege on the Gaza Strip. The convoy is expected to witness major involvement from the Egyptians. The statement calls for contributors to collect donations for the convoy, which is expected to arrive 27 December, with the goal of supplying the Gaza Strip with sensitive medical supplies it has lacked in light of the siege.
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Questions raised over looted mosaic
Sydney Morning Herald 14 Aug — In 1917, a Byzantine mosaic created during the reign of Emperor Justinian was removed by Australian troops from the ruins of a church near Gaza. The Australians knew they were plundering the priceless antiquity during World War I, two authors now claim. In a new book, authors Paul Daley, a Sun-Herald columnist, and Michael Bowers, raise questions about Australia’s continued possession of the mosaic, which has been in the Australian War Memorial collection since 1941.
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Activism / Solidarity / Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions

VIDEO: One Palestinian arrested and beaten at Beit Ommar demonstration
6:28 minutes PSP 13 Aug — Around 40 demonstrators – comprising residents of the village of Beit Ommar, and Israeli and international activists – gathered for a demonstration against the illegal Karmei Tsur settlement. The demonstrators, carrying flags and banners commemorating the anniversary of the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were met by a large and heavily armed military presence. As the protesters marched through Beit Ommar fields, the soldiers reacted violently, pushing several protesters to the ground, and others down steep rocky drops. After a short speech, the protesters decided to end their demonstration. At this point, local resident Sakhar Abu Maria was arrested by the military, for no apparent reason. He was then blindfolded for 20 minutes, placed in the back of a jeep, and driven to the Karmei Tsur settlement. Once there, he was beaten by soldiers, who threatened to raid his family home, and taunted him by repeatedly offering him food and drink after learning he was fasting for Ramadan, pouring glasses of coca cola and pushing them towards him. He was released after 90 minutes.
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Boycott rally held in Jenin
JENIN (Ma‘an) 13 Aug — Activists in Jenin held a rally Saturday urging shopkeepers and residents to boycott Israeli goods. The local campaign against the wall and settlements and the Independent Youth Movement organized the march, which toured the West Bank city’s streets. Demonstrators held banners with slogans saying the boycott was a national and religious duty, and that buying Israeli produce was like buying bullets which would be used against Palestinians. Coordinator Khaled Mansour said the rally was part of a series of events planned to empower people to boycott. Organizers were studying the reasons for the failure of previous campaigns, he added.
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In photos: Boycott activists rally in Ramallah
Ma‘an 12 Aug — Protesters in Ramallah’s Manara square call on businesses and shoppers to boycott Israeli goods, holding signs reading “Don’t pay for their bullets” and “Boycott their goods, boycott their terrorism.” The campaign is part of a nationwide effort throughout the occupied territories during Ramadan to educate Palestinians about local efforts to boycott Israeli products and what they can do to help.
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VIDEO: BDS brides boycott SodaStream and Ahava sales at Bed Bath & Beyond
12 Aug — In August, 2011 a group of concerned brides held a mock wedding inside Bed Bath & Beyond in Los Angeles, CA to affirm their commitment to peace, justice, and avow to boycott SodaStream and Ahava, both illegally-made Israeli settlement products. Do you cherish human rights? Sign the pledge to boycott at:
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An interview with The Australian newspaper on BDS – or, What The Australian doesn’t tell its readers
13 Aug — I did a 10 minute interview with Stewart and was informed that an article would be appearing in Saturday’s paper. Well, the article, was published in The Australian on Saturday but given the pro-Zionist bent of the paper, it was unsurprising to discover that the majority of what I had told Stewart in the interview was not included.
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UNRWA concerned about heavy gunfire into Palestinian refugee camp in Syria
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 14 Aug — The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, is gravely concerned about reports of heavy gunfire from Syrian security forces into the Palestinian refugee camp situated in the El Ramel district and surrounding areas of the Syrian port city of Latakia, including heavy fire from gunboats, according to a statement by UNRWA Spokesman, Chris Gunness on Sunday. Reports from various sources indicate deaths and casualties among the Palestinian refugee population, although poor communications make it impossible to confirm the exact number of dead and injured, he said.
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Free to be human: visit to the Aida refugee camp / Alexandra Salomon
AIC 13 Aug —  The Aida refugee camp lies between Bethlehem and Beit Jala, in Area A of the West Bank. The entrance to the camp is marked by an arch with a model of a large key propped on top. While it is difficult in most ways to differentiate between the refugee camp and its surrounding residential area, numerous plaques on the camp walls detail the villages from which the refugees came, the Israeli army units that displaced them and the number of residents exiled. We started the day, driving through the main checkpoint into Bethlehem. I observed the yellow sign warning ‘No entrance to Israelis’ with apprehension, but flashed my European passport like a seasoned pro, attempting not to betray the nervousness I felt inside.  And then it hit me. It was like someone had just punched me in the stomach. The Separation Wall with all its weight bears down, the impact of everything it stands for immediate and overwhelming …We were then taken to meet Faizeer, a woman who was about 12 years old when Israeli soldiers entered her village in 1948 and who now lives not far from the local UNRWA office. Faizeer is a survivor from the Ajjur village. Ajjur is now the site of the Jewish National Fund (JNF-KKL) British National park. For me, this word, survivor always had connotations attached to those who survived the Nazi holocaust in Europe. This was a new reality I was experiencing
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Palestinian refugee camps in Syria: an overview
PalTelegraph 11 Aug — For the Palestinian Return Centre JPRS Magazine – Syria has served as a host country to Palestinians fleeing Apartheid Israel’s policies of expulsion, extermination, murder and occupation of Palestinian land since1948. In fact, 85 percent of Syria’s Palestinians fled their homes in 1948. Another influx came in 1967, when more than 100,000 fled the Golan Heights. Then, in 1982, the Lebanese conflict led more to seek refuge. The last significant migration occurred during the 1991 Gulf War. A majority of what Syria’s Palestinians call home is now recognized by the International community as the northern part of Apartheid Israel. There are approximately 460,000 Palestinian refugees living in Syria, representing three percent of the country’s total population … There are a total of 13 refugee camps inside Syria, only 10 of which are officially recognized by UNRWA.
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International assassinations

Iran vows to protect nuclear scientists
Ynet 14 Aug — Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi announced last week that the regime will increase security around its research staff, according to the Iranian news agency. This is said to be a first step in a series of measures to protect Iran’s nuclear scientists. The announcement is a first indicator that the regime is concerned about the fact that four key individuals involved in the development of the Iranian military’s nuclear program were assassinated over the past two years, Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Sunday.
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PA cooperation with Israel, US, NATO

BDS action at Palestinian-Israeli controlled Bethlehem checkpoint / Emma Mancini
AIC 14 Aug — Checkpoint 300, separating Bethlehem from Jerusalem, worsens. On the second Friday of Ramadan, Palestinian police join the Israeli army in controlling the movement of Palestinian residents from the Bethlehem district who are allowed to reach an armored Jerusalem and the Al Aqsa Mosque. In a shocking atmosphere of normalisation and uncritical acceptance, Palestinian policemen monitor the queue and communicate easily with the Israeli soldiers on the other side of the checkpoint. During Ramadan, the Palestinian security forces are the watchdog and perform the job usually done by Israeli forces … A man, about 40 years old, bursts into tears while facing the Palestinian policemen: “I just want to pray in Al-Aqsa, I just want to pray freely”.
link to www.alternativenews.orgisraeli-controlled-bethlehem-checkpoint-

PA security officials meet in camera with American counterparts
RAMALLAH (PIC) 13 Aug — US security officials held a secret meeting in Ramallah with Palestinian Authority security leaders to discuss security developments, the Hebrew radio reported on Saturday. It quoted well informed Palestinian sources as saying that several such meetings were held before in Ramallah to discuss “horizons of security cooperation with Israel”.
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Hizb ut-Tahrir accuses PLO of betrayal
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 13 Aug — The Islamist Hizb ut-Tahrir movement has slammed as “betrayal” President Mahmoud Abbas’ remarks about a possible NATO presence in a future Palestinian state. The president’s “call for international forces would bring a new crusader occupation,” the movement said Friday in a statement saying the plan would lead to “colonizing Palestine and desecrating the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
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Palestinian bid for statehood

UN bid coincides with Lebanese presidency
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 13 Aug — The leadership in Ramallah chose to submit their bid for statehood in September to coincide with Lebanon’s presidency of the UN Security Council, the Palestinian Authority foreign minister said Saturday. “We chose to submit it in September because the Lebanese envoy will be president of the Security Council and plays a pivotal role,” Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki said. The minister told reporters at his office in Ramallah that President Mahmoud Abbas would submit the bid personally, adding that he would visit Lebanon on Tuesday to discuss the campaign.
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West Bank: Palestinians determined to get more recognition
LA Times 13 Aug — The Palestinian Authority is doubling its efforts to get as many countries to recognize it before September, when it plans to officially ask the United Nations for recognition and membership. Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad Malki said on Saturday that “we have made very important breakthroughs, but we need to do more and build on what we have achieved so far.” Malki was talking about 19 countries in Central America and the Caribbean who still have not made up their mind regarding recognition. He had recently visited most of these countries, including Caribbean Sea islands with a population not exceeding 45,000 people but nevertheless sovereign U.N. member states, in an attempt to persuade them to recognize Palestine as a state. He has to wait until the Caribbean Common Market and Community (CARICOM) and the Central American SICA group convene their joint meeting Aug. 19 before he gets their final answer. So far, the situation does not look good since El Salvador, seat of SICA, has refused to place Palestine’s request on its agenda, nor invited the Palestinian Authority to attend the meeting.
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Palestinians set date for UN statehood bid
AFP 13 Aug — The Palestinians will present their bid for membership of the United Nations on September 20, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki told AFP on Saturday.  “Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas will personally present the request to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon … at the opening of the sixty-sixth session,” on September 20, Malki said.
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Ambassador: Abbas to discuss UN bid in Beirut
BEIRUT (Ma‘an) -14 Aug — President Mahmoud Abbas will coordinate efforts to seek membership of the UN during his upcoming visit to Lebanon, Palestinian ambassador in Beirut Abdullah Abdullah said … Abbas’ visit is important as Lebanon will take over presidency of the UN Security Council in September, when Palestinians will submit their bid for membership of the world body, the ambassador said. Abdullah said the issue of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon should also be discussed during the president’s visit. “We respect Lebanese sovereignty […] The Palestinian presence in Lebanon is indeed temporary and we are determined to return back.
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Abbas on official visit to Sarajevo
SARAJEVO (WAFA) 14 Aug — President Mahmoud Abbas arrived Sunday in Sarajevo, capital of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in an official three-day visit, where he met with the Bosnian President Baker Ali Izzet Begovic
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PA eyes ‘protest blitz’ ahead of September
Ynet 14 Aug — The Palestinian preparations for September’s UN bid for statehood are gathering speed: On Saturday, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki announced that Palestinians will present their application for United Nations membership on September 20 – the first day of the UN General Assembly’s 66th session.  Several days of world leaders’ speeches are expected to follow, and the Palestinians hope to schedule President Mahmoud Abbas’ speech for the following Friday, September 23.  Choosing Friday for Abbas’ speech is not coincidental: Friday is the day in which Arabs traditionally hold mass prayers, and since the onset of the Arab spring, it is the day in which masses across the Arab world take to the streets to protest against their regimes. The Palestinians hope to draw out the same masses in capital cities not only in the Arab world, but in the West as well, in support of their bid for a Palestinian state.
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China army chief on ‘historic’ visit to Israel
JERUSALEM (AFP) 14 Aug — China’s army chief was due to arrive in Israel on Sunday for talks with top defense officials, the Israeli military said. The Israeli army said China’s “Chief of the General Staff, General Chen Bingde […] will meet senior security officials and attend strategic and security briefings, visit the IDF Urban Warfare Training Centre, and observe a display of IDF forces training.” … Israeli army radio, describing the visit as “historic,” said Chen was to meet Defense Minister Ehud Barak late on Sunday … Chen’s visit comes as Israel seeks to convince the international community to vote against a bid by the Palestinians for recognition of a state at the UN General Assembly in September. Israel has in the past also sought tougher measures from Beijing, a key UN Security Council member, against Iran’s controversial nuclear program.
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Video: Fatah activists urged to return to Gaza
PressTV 13 Aug — The Hamas resistance movement has called on Fatah activists that fled Gaza in 2007 following a rift between the two Palestinian factions to return to the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave. “All Palestinians are welcomed to return to Gaza especially our brothers from the Fatah movement who fled during the sad events of 2007,” Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri told Press TV on Saturday.
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Hamas accuses Fatah of violating reconciliation agreement
Reuters 14 Aug — Hamas spokesman says voter registration that opened in West Bank on Saturday violates call on both sides to avoid unilateral steps that jeopardize reconciliation pact signed in Cairo in April.
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Abu Marzouk: Any premier should be nationally agreed upon
CAIRO (PIC) 13 Aug — Deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau Moussa Abu Marzouk said there would be no new government unless its premier receives a national consensus, affirming that Salam Fayyad is part of the division in the Palestinian arena. “If Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) had respected what was agreed upon, the government would have been formed by now and its ministers would have assumed their jobs since last May,” Abu Marzouk told the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper before leaving Cairo.
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Anti-corruption commission investigates economy minister
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 14 Aug — The Palestinian Authority anti-corruption chief Rafiq An-Natseh said Sunday that a commission had begun investigating Minister of Economy Hassan Abu Libdeh. “The interrogations are still at the beginning and it’s difficult to talk about the charges against the minister, while many other interrogation sessions will be held with him,” An-Natseh told a Ma‘an correspondent.
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Elections commission begins registration
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 13 Aug — The Palestinian Central Elections Commission has announced that registration for local elections will resume Saturday across the occupied West Bank … Hisham Ikheil, head of the elections commission, said 907,000 citizens, or 82 percent of those who have the right to vote, have already registered. He said elections would take place at 295 sites in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. There are 93 municipal councils in addition to 12 local councils, 183 village councils, and seven project committees. The Palestinian Authority cabinet has decided that local elections will be held on Oct. 22.
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Fatah ratifies Dahlan’s final sacking decision
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 14 Aug — Fatah Central Committee Member, Jamal Mheisen, said Sunday that the movement has resolved the case of its former member, Muhammad Dahlan, with a final dismissal from the movement, According to ‘Al-Makshoof’ program aired on the Palestinian TV. Mhaisen said that “the decision is now final. It can’t be appealed or canceled.”
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Egypt deploys thousands of troops and tanks in Sinai in coordination with Israel
Haaretz/dpa 15 Aug — Egypt, in coordination with Israel, has deployed its military in the northern Sinai Peninsula in order to gain control over the anarchy that has taken hold of the region, a senior Israeli defense official said on Sunday … The aim of the operation was to halt Bedouin control of the northern Sinai area, which allows for the transfer of weapons to the Gaza Strip through underground tunnels. The Israeli government approved the operation, which places Egyptian infantry, armored vehicles, and tanks in Sinai in contravention with the 1978 Camp David Accords. This is the second time Israel has approved an Egyptian operation in Sinai in recent months.
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Al Hayat: UN striving to demilitarize southern Lebanon
Haaretz 14 Aug — UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has disclosed that UN peacekeeping forces are working to enforce the demilitarization of southern Lebanon, below the Litani River. The UN hopes to gain the cooperation of the Lebanese Army, the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported Saturday. The area involved was declared off-limits to the Shi’ite Hezbollah militia at the end of the 2006 Second Lebanon War … reports have increased over the past two years of the establishment of dozens of strongholds and weapons caches by Hezbollah. This has happened despite the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon [UNIFIL] to verify that Hezbollah is not conducting operations in the area.
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Report: IDF to deploy 6 drones in N. Iraq
Ynet 14 Aug — The IDF has recently stepped up its operations in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Region and is planning to deploy six unmanned aerial vehicles, intelligence agents and military consultants in the region, Iran’s Press-TV has reported. According to the report, Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani has agreed to the concession in return for the admission of a number of Iraqi Kurd students to Israeli universities. Barzani has reportedly approved the deployment without the permission of the central government in Baghdad.
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Egypt: Israeli ‘Mossad agent’ to be tried in absentia
AFP/Ynet 14 Aug — An Israeli and a Jordanian are to go on trial in Egypt on charges of spying for Israel’s intelligence services, Cairo’s news agency MENA reported on Sunday.  Ibrahim abu-Zaid, a telecoms engineer from Jordan and Israeli Ofir Harrari, who the Egyptians say is an “officer with the Mossad” are to go on trial in Egypt’s State Security Court on charges of “spying for a foreign country with the purpose of harming Egyptian national interest,” the report said.
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Livni blames PM for Palestinian UN bid
Ynet 13 Aug — State officials say Palestinians’ plan to seek recognition of independent state on September 20 “proves Abbas has decided to forgo direct negotiations.” Opposition chairwoman: Only one person responsible for this diplomatic failure
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Abbas, Peres held ‘4 secret meetings’
RAMALLAH (AFP) 13 Aug — President Mahmoud Abbas revealed he held four secret meetings with his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres in a bid to revive stalled peace talks, a Palestinian official said Saturday … The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, added that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had thwarted those efforts.
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Israel rejects ‘message of weakness’
PressTV 13 Aug — Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has voiced his opposition to an apology to Turkey for the deadly Israeli attack on a Gaza-bound aid convoy that killed nine Turkish citizens. In an interview with an Israeli radio station, Lieberman said an apology is a sign of weakness “and they don’t like weakness here. It is forbidden to be weak, and an apology is first and foremost a message of weakness.”
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Other news

Palestinians in no hurry to join housing protests
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Aug — Palestinian citizens of Israel “will not put their eggs in the same basket” with demonstrations sweeping Israel, a senior trade union official said Saturday. Muhammad Zeidan said the Arab community in Israel’s struggle was something quite different than the predominantly Jewish-Israeli movement calling for social equality and affordable rent.
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Tens of thousands take to streets in social protests across Israel
Haaretz 13 Aug — Mass demonstrations take place in Haifa, Be’er Sheva and Afula with smaller protests taking place elsewhere throughout Israel.
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Open letter to Israeli security apparatus from Jenin’s Freedom Theatre
AIC 13 Aug — This is an open letter from representatives of the international volunteers and staff members, the friends, supporters and foundation of The Freedom Theatre in Jenin to the Israeli security apparatus, including the Shabak, the IDF and Israeli Police. After the attack on The Freedom Theatre’s office and multimedia centre, during which you arrested our head technician Adnan Naghnaghiye and Bilal Saadi, the chairperson of The Freedom Theatre Board in Jenin; and after you have for two weeks refused Adnan and Bilaal access to a lawyer, treated them inhumanely and denied them their basic human rights, and after the arrest of our acting student Rami Hwayel, we hereby state:  “We encourage all efforts to find whoever is responsible for the brutal murder of Juliano Mer Khamis and we are deeply concerned over the fact that the murderer has not yet been found. Nevertheless we reject the inhumane methods that you apply in investigating the murder. The Freedom Theatre has been seriously damaged by your actions which have further implanted fear and trauma not only among our students and employees but also into the very society we aim to empower. By acting the way that you act you have once again proved to the residents of Jenin refugee camp as well as to the outside world that the only methods you know are the ones involving violence, terror and fear. 
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Social media offers last keffiyeh factory lifeline
BBC 8 Aug — Hirbawi Textiles is located on a nondescript road on the outskirts of the Palestinian city Hebron … three years ago the factory became the focus of the world’s media, when it became apparent it was the last in the Palestinian Territories to produce the keffiyeh, the traditional Arab headdress and favourite of former leader Yasser Arafat … Following the media attention came a flood of inquiries about the factory. Capitalising on the public’s interest, the Hirbawi family set up an web page so orders from foreign countries could be placed. Around the same time the story had caught the eye of the ‘Young Professionals for Palestine’, a group of internet activists based at the time in Kuwait. Group founder Noora Kassem says they were concerned foreign imports were destroying the meaning of the Palestinian scarf.

Building a home in the village of Thabrah
Thabrah (PNN) 13 Aug — A group of 12 young people from the United States and Canada, volunteering with the North American organization Hope Equals, helps rebuild a house for a Palestinian family in the village of Thabrah near Bethlehem … The last week they spent building a home for a Palestinian family who live in an unsanitary house in Thabrah.The house has been inhabited by the family for 54 years. Built on the edge of a hill, the house is unstable and the floor is hollow. The ceilings and walls, particularly in the bedrooms, are rotten. Eleven people live together in this house, composed of two bedrooms and a living-room. But for the last few years, all the members of the family have been sleeping in the same room. The parents explained that due to the precarious state of the house, they don’t want to leave their children alone in a separate room in case something happens to the house. Hope Equals is building strong foundations for the house.
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Continued efforts to establish a national center dedicated to treating cancer patients in Palestine / Ali Samoudi
Jenin (PNN) 14 Aug — Statistics and official data show that Palestinian society is prone to very high incidences of cancer, without a doubt due to a number of known factors: the absence of any institutions or officials to deal with the disease and an absence of the awareness of the disease and the possible mechanisms of treatment. Without an institution that can help deal with the patients and their family’s plight as well as teaching the community, many families who deal with cancer have no-one to turn to for help and for knowledge and so the psychological burdens on their life only increases. Amid this reality, I sat down with a group of young Palestinian university students and a group of doctors and volunteers to discuss the issue of cancer patients in Palestine. This group was not a random selection however; after seeing the suffering of others and some having suffered family and friend losses due to cancer, this passionate group of individuals came together earlier this year to launch the “National Assembly for the Care and Support of Cancer Patients in Palestine.”
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Film review: Women footballers struggle, play, and win / Michelle Gyeney
EI 12 Aug — One of the greatest obstacles for Palestinian football or soccer players in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip is simply getting to practice. Israeli military checkpoints made practicing on a real grass pitch nearly impossible for the Bethlehem-based Palestinian Women’s National Football Team, as accessing the limited facilities within the West Bank between 2003 and 2009 required several hours of travel each way for each player. The team’s struggle to play is documented in celebrated filmmaker Sawsan Qaoud’s new film Women in the Stadium.
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Israeli Ministers promote racist vision for Israel (and Judaism)

Aug 15, 2011


In June of this year, Israeli President Shimon Peres convened a conference
in Jerusalem called “Tomorrow 2011“, which was attended by intellectuals
and industry leaders from all over the world. At one of the conference’s
most well-attended panel discussions, two of the highest-ranking
government ministers presided: Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister
Eli Yishai and Justice Minister Ya’akov Ne’eman.

The panel in question dealt with a controversial issue: Will conversions
officiated by non-ultra-Orthodox streams of Judaism be recognized by all
of the governing bodies in Israel, which are dominated by the
ultra-Orthodox? Most Jewish people living outside of Israel are
non-Orthodox; but in Israel, the political establishment is beholden to
ultra-Orthodox parties, who reject the legitimacy of the more liberal
streams of Judaism.

The two Israeli ministers who spoke on the panel, Yishai and Ne’eman, made
scandalously racist remarks. Yishai touted non-existent scientific studies
that purport to prove there is a ‘Jewish gene’, echoing eugenics theories
first proposed by the Nazis. Ne’eman then warned that Africans must not be
allowed to convert to Judaism, and repeated the disgusting refrain that
Jews who assimilate are perpetuating a second Nazi Holocaust.

The preoccupation with a fictional Jewish race — maintaining its purity
and increasing its numbers — represents the lowest form of fear-mongering
and panders to our basest xenophobic instincts. Of course, it is
inevitable that every ethno-cultural group will spawn its own racist
extremists. But it is disappointing and pathetic that these Jewish
supremacists are allowed to occupy positions of power in the Israeli

gangreentv is an Israeli activist. You can see previous Mondoweiss posts from them here.

No level playing field for Palestinian athletes

Aug 15, 2011

Samah Sabawi

With much fanfare, the Peace Team has come once again to Australia to compete in the Australian Football League International Cup. Indeed, what can be more appealing for those of us who are passionate about peace in Israel/Palestine than to welcome this team of Palestinian Israeli youth who have learned to play and interact together not as enemies but as teammates? The answer: the idea that when members of this team return to their homes, the Palestinian players would not have to go through dehumanising checkpoints, around high barbed wire walls and into Bantustans surrounded and suffocated by a matrix of Jewish-only roads, settlements and security zones.

The AFL Peace Team was created in 2008 in order to compete in the AFL International Cup. It is made up of an equal number of Israeli and Palestinian players supported by the Israeli Peres Center – an Israeli organisation that aims to promote “peace and reconciliation”. However, the team has come under heavy criticism from Palestinian and other human rights groups who insist that reconciliation is the process of bringing two people together and establishing friendly ties between them after an argument or a disagreement has ended. Reconciliation is the healing phase and as such, cannot be implemented while the environment that breeds the mistrust and the conflict continues to exist.

So far this year, Israel has announced the building of thousands more new Jewish-only homes on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank. According to UN agencies and human rights groups, Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israel at record rates this year. Israel still maintains a crippling inhumane siege against Palestinians in Gaza while it continues to pursue a process of Judaisation in East Jerusalem that is rapidly driving Palestinian residents out of their homes to be replaced by Jewish settlers. In such an environment, how can reconciliation even begin?

The Peres Center fails to understand that peace cannot be achieved by parading Palestinians in the Peace Team around the world in efforts to showcase Israel’s ‘fair play’ in sports without even once addressing the real challenges Palestinian athletes face as a result of Israel’s 43 years of occupation and the devastating impact Israel’s policies have had on Palestinian sports and sports infrastructure. The Peres Center would have met its goals of laying the foundations of ‘peace and reconciliation’ better had it issued a statement calling on its government Israel to lift its crippling blockade and siege of Palestinian sports’ events and athletes.

While the peace team promotes the illusion that Palestinian athletes have equal opportunities to compete and to excel in their fields, in reality, the effect of Israel’s policies tell a different story. The Palestinian National Football (soccer) Team, which was founded in 1952 but only became recognised by FIFA after the creation of the Palestinian Authorities in 1998, has faced insurmountable challenges imposed by Israel aiming to isolate Palestinians in all fields, sports as well as academic, medical and cultural. This year, Israeli policies of occupation have sabotaged the Palestinian team putting them at a great disadvantage as key members of the team were prevented from travelling into the West Bank from Gaza.

This is not news for those who follow this conflict. Many Palestinian athletes have in the past suffered Israel’s blanket boycott on Palestinian sports. Palestinian Olympic players and youth teams are frequently denied both exit and re-entry when travelling from Gaza to the West Bank. In the qualifying rounds for the 2006 World Cup, five key players were prevented exit from Gaza by the Israeli authorities and so as a result Palestine failed to qualify. A year later the Palestine National Team was prevented by Israel from travelling to play a World Cup Qualifier in Singapore and so it was eliminated. In May 2008 the same team was unable to attend the AFC Challenge Cup, which meant they were denied qualification for the 2011 Asia Cup.

This system of Israeli permits that restrict and confine Palestinians, denying them their right to travel, reminds us of the “pass laws” of Apartheid South Africa that were put in place to limit the movement of Black South Africans and keep them in their segregated communities. Such blanket confinement of an entire population is a form of collective punishment and is in violation of Article 33 of the Geneva Conventions.

Unfortunately, Israel’s assault on Palestinian sports and athletes is not limited to its system of permits. During Operation Cast Lead in 2008-09 Israel’s indiscriminate bombardment of Gaza, which destroyed huge areas of the city, flattening houses, schools, hospitals and mosques also destroyed the Rafah National Stadium. Over 1,400 people in Gaza were killed including football players Ayman Alkurd, Shadi Sbakhe and Wajeh Moshate.

So while Israel’s Peres Center parades its token ‘peace team’ of Palestinian and Israeli athletes in a clear effort to normalise the occupation and to reduce the criticism and pressure Israel faces from human rights groups and the international community over its oppression of Palestinians, let us take a moment to consider the harsh conditions that Palestinian athletes endure in their daily lives. Of course an Israeli Palestinian team is worth celebrating, but only if it comes from an Israeli Palestinian society that is free of discrimination, where Palestinians and Israelis live as equals both on and off the playing field.

Samah Sabawi is an Australian Palestinian writer and political analyst. She is Public Advocate for Australian for Palestine.

On the refusal to recognize Palestine

Aug 15, 2011

Matthew Graber

I’ve been reading Judith Butler and Edward Said a lot lately. I’m interested in power dynamics and what it is that drives people to do terrible things in this world.  When I came to Said’s commentary (The Question of Palestine, p.9) on the Zionist slogan of Israel Zangwill for Palestine – “A land without people for a people without land” – I was stirred. Suddenly I had flashes to all of those comments that I see posted all over the internet, on Youtube and Mondo. It was a very visceral reaction to Said’s words.

Some people argue that there has never been a land known as Palestine. Some of these people may point out that, within the Western construct of nation-states, the term “Palestine” has been used to denote a land in the Middle East only as an administrative term during the Roman Empire and then under British mandate in 1922 following the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

And I wanted to verbalize to some of my friends and acquaintances why I am ever frustrated by the refusal of Palestine, and to explain how this refusal constitutes racism and allows for continuing violence against the Palestinian people to this day.

An Arab people living, as they referred to it, in a land known as Palestine is documented back to at least the 7th century (Guy Le Strange, Palestine Under the Moslems: A Description of Syria and the Holy Land from A.D. 650 to 1500 Translated from the Works of the Medieval Arab Geographers).

But we needn’t consult a geographer or historian to recognize this as true. We just need to listen to a Palestinian.

And herein lies the problem that I have.

In order to listen to a Palestinian, one must be able to hear their voice, and to give that voice consideration and legitimation. The refusal to recognize a land known as Palestine coincides with the refusal to consider the Arab people who live there – to refuse to recognize their existence, their humanity, their mortality, and their voices.

And so refusing to recognize a land as Palestine and a people known as Palestinian actually is to refuse to recognize the violence that the Zionist project of Israel has inflicted upon the Arab people of Palestine, and to refuse to recognize the continuing violence of that project today.

Just earlier this week Israel authorized the construction of 1,600 homes in East Jerusalem – constituting even more land stolen from Palestinians for the state of Israel. The apartheid wall being built by Israel continues to confiscate Palestinian land for the exclusive use of Israelis. Farmers across the West Bank have their farmland taken and their crops destroyed. The blockade of Gaza at all ports of entry – land, sea, and air – does not allow for enough food or medical supplies to reach the 1.5 million people living there. The Palestinian people in the West Bank are allowed 50 gallons of water a day per household (the UN says that people need at least 75 gallons to survive) while the Israelis in the settlements of the West Bank use 250 gallons of water a day per household. Palestinian children are abducted and coerced by Israeli soldiers. Palestinians are harrassed at the over 200 Israeli checkpoints throughout the West Bank. Thousands of Palestinians linger in Israeli jails.

This is not historical violence. This is what is happening today, August 15th, 2011, in the Middle East.

And so, I want you to consider who it is that considers Palestinian voices. Why doesn’t the press talk about this violence inflicted upon the Palestinian people? Why don’t people – you, me, people the world over – protest this violence? What happens during the daily protests of Palestinians?

So every time you hear somebody say, “There has never been a country called Palestine,” I want you to consider this note. And I want you to say, “Hey! That’s racism” And then consider how that racism pervades our society. And fight back.

Nurit Peled-Elhanan on Israeli textbooks: ‘I didn’t know I would fall on so much racism’

Aug 15, 2011


Nurit Peled-Elhanan discussing her new book Palestine in Israeli School Books: Ideology and Propaganda in Education:

Peled-Elhanan: I didn’t know I would fall on so much racism…..

Palestinians are, if they are represented, usually they’re are not represented at all……….they don’t exists, nothing of their culture/customs nothing only as problems..and to  represent people as problems is racism. Visually you don’t see even in all Israel books….in none of them can you find a photograph of a Palestinian person..a teacher a doctor whatever nothing you only find racists icons of Ali Baba

Clark: Cartoons?

Peled-Elhanan: Cartoons with the camel and the primitive farmer. All these icons when you look at the literature of racist representation they are there….the most racist icon or the representation of the 3rd world. It exists in other countries too regarding the 3rd world but in Israel it is crucial to understand that becasue this is all the children know about their Arab neighbors.

Clark: Because they don’t meet them?

Peled-Elhanan: They never meet them they are drafted into the army right after school. ..they know they are a problem that should be solved, eliminated, that they are intruders, that they are deviant, criminal, primitive, shouldn’t be here.

Clark: Enemy?

Peled-Elhanan: And of course enemy…whole..industry, and a very sophisticated one that, really make them disappear. Because if you see graphs or diagrams you don’t suspect they are not objective. You don’t expect scientific representations not to be scientific so you always have this little asterix saying that the graph represents only the Jewish population which is unscientific not only racist. Or maps…..none of the maps in Israel, if you go to post offices and hospitals and  banks and schools and school books, show the children the real borders of the state..they don’t know the real borders of the state, they don’t know there is occupation. People here think the whole, what is called  ‘greater land of Israel’ is ours and if it is not it should be and they present it as a geographic entity with the use of the bible and archeology and all these tricks and I really think the whole discourse in very racist..but children are initiated and then they are educated in discourse to an extent they don’t even know it’s racist. They are not equipped to distinguish between racism and tolerant kind of speech, they don’t know anything is wrong with that.

Racism doesn’t stop with the Arabs it goes into Jewish ethnicities too like Jews who came from Arab countries are discriminated in the state but also in education, they are not represented anywhere. They never see anything wrong with it , integration means they must loose themselves to commit cultural suicide.

Benny Morris says he was pursued by ‘bearded, caftaned Muslims’ in London– like Brownshirts in Berlin

Aug 15, 2011

Philip Weiss

You might remember the street action surrounding Israeli historian Benny Morris’s lecture at the London School of Economics in June. Well London activists are now saying that his response to that protest was… racism. At London BDS, they offer this mind-boggling quote from Morris (from the National Interest) about the street protest:

As I walked down Kingsway, a major London thoroughfare, a small mob—I don’t think any other word is appropriate—of some dozen Muslims, Arabs and their supporters, both men and women, surrounded me and, walking alongside me for several hundred yards as I advanced towards the building where the lecture was to take place, raucously harangued and baited me with cries of “fascist,” “racist,” “England should never have allowed you in,” “you shouldn’t be allowed to speak.” Several spoke in broken, obviously newly acquired, English.

Violence was thick in the air though none was actually used. Passersby looked on in astonishment, and perhaps shame, but it seemed the sight of angry bearded, caftaned Muslims was sufficient to deter any intervention. To me, it felt like Brownshirts in a street scene in 1920s Berlin—though on Kingsway no one, to the best of my recall, screamed the word ‘Jew’….

Uncurbed, Muslim intimidation in the public domain of people they see as disagreeing with them is palpable and palpably affecting the British Christian majority among whom they live, indeed, cowing them into silence.

London BDS then links to this video below, showing Morris’s walk to the LSE in June at minute 31 or so– with deconstruction of his claims. Yes, people are hurling accusations at Morris, but his version of events seems, well… Islamophobic.

Washington Post columnist warns that Palestinian statehood initiative could keep Gaddafyi and Assad in power

Aug 15, 2011

Philip Weiss

I do not know of a better example of blaming the victim than the Washington Post’s Jackson Diehl’s screed against the Palestinian statehood initiative for allegedly threatening to throw the Middle East into “violent upheaval.” The initiative is a “desperate gambit,” Diehl says, as it will be accompanied by Arab-spring-style protests that could produce a third intifadah. As if the Arab spring is supposed to convulse every Arab society but Palestine. As if any people should take Jim-Crow-status lying down. As if the world’s promises of a state for Palestine over the last 63 years have produced one iota of self-determination, even as Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, Uzbekistan, East Timor, Pakistan, etc get their states without a peep out of the Washington Post.

When Diehl says that the initiative will produce no jobs, I think of our own revolution. We didn’t want an economic peace. We threw the tea into the sea. Remember? But no protests for Palestine… Diehl’s warning:

[Palestinians say the Arab-spring-like] rallies will be carefully policed; they will be restricted to West Bank towns, far away from Israeli soldiers and settlers. Officials around Abbas say they recognize that if the demonstrations turn into a “third intifada,” they will be the losers: They will be swept from power by a more militant group of leaders.

Israelis, too, know they have much at stake. “Ten bodies could change the Middle East,” said the senior Israeli official I spoke to, who also said that Israeli army and police officials are engaged in intensive preparations aimed at avoiding violent clashes.

It’s not hard to imagine what could go wrong in a “third intifada.” The embattled dictatorships of Bashar al-Assad in Syria and Moammar Gaddafi in Libya could get a saving break as Arab attention focused on a new Israeli-Palestinian fight. Syria and Iran could promote new marches on Israel’s borders from the Golan Heights and Lebanon. Extremists in Egypt could use anger against Israel to whip up support in crucial elections scheduled for November. And so on.

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Syria: Desperate Zionist Lies for a Collapsing Gambit


TIME claims to “sneak” into Syria, still bases entire report on “witness” accounts.

By Land Destroyer

Claiming to be written in Hama, Syria, TIME’s latest article “Exclusive: A Visit to Hama, the Rebel Syrian City that Refused to Die” attempts to reestablish the US State Department’s sagging narrative regarding unrest they themselves funded, organized and are now openly promoting, this time, (allegedly) directly on the ground at the epicenter of the unrest. TIME’s report runs immediately into convenient obstacles preventing them from accessing anything remotely resembling evidence and instead, defers once again to eye witness accounts by admitted members of the opposition.

TIME first describes two of Hama’s hospitals guarded by the Syrian army which our intrepid reporter is unable to approach. Acknowledging the impossibility of verifying opposition claims, TIME decides to air them anyway stating, “by some accounts, security forces were killing wounded protesters in the hospitals,” echoing the now verified lies used to initiate war with Libya. TIME continues making a mockery out of journalism by citing “residents” who “speak of being unable to reach bodies in the streets, of snipers targeting people in their homes, of house-to-house searches, mass indiscriminate detentions, looting and even rape.” Of course, despite TIME being on the ground in Hama, they are unable to provide a single shred of evidence to confirm any of these claims.

TIME continues with a tale of an anonymous man who brings them a bag of spent anti-aircraft shells which TIME solemnly reminds readers are “not supposed to be used on civilians,” despite providing no proof that they were. TIME describes residents as supposedly not angry with Syrian troops despite just claiming they pillaged and raped their city, but are instead resolved to only bring down Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad.

In fact everything in TIME’s “hard hitting” “on the ground” report is based only on witness accounts, the same dubious unverified reports that preceded the current ongoing NATO war crimes in Libya, and the same unverified reports that have been filtering out of London-based Syrian “human rights groups” for months now. The only “evidence” TIME seems to have provided in their daring “clandestine” reporting is graffiti allegedly left on Hama’s streets which TIME claims is “deeply offensive” to Hama’s “religiously conservative majority.”

The Rest of the Story

What is absent in TIME’s reporting, and what is now beginning to appear even in the corporate media are reports that these “pro-democracy” protesters are in fact armed militants, the resurgence of the Muslim Brotherhood (known to be “religiously conservative”) who in the late 1970′s and early 1980′s waged armed insurrection against the Syrian government. A recent CBS article, “No revolution in Syria’s 2 biggest cities, yet” notes what genuine geopolitical analysts have been saying for months now, that Damascus and Aleppo are devoid of anti-government “protests” and that the majority of the unrest is split along ethnic, not political lines.

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Turkey issues ‘final word’ to Syria



Zionist puppet Turkish FM Davutoglu tells Assad violence must end immediately and unconditionally, otherwise ‘steps will be taken’


Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Monday told Bashar Assad military operations against civilians must end immediately and unconditionally, warning the Syrian president that these were Ankara’s “final words”.

“This is our final word to the Syrian authorities, our first expectation is that these operations stop immediately and unconditionally,” Davutoglu told a news conference.

“If these operations do not stop there will be nothing left to say about the steps that would be taken,” he said, without elaborating.

Turkish leaders, who once backed Assad, have repeatedly urged him to end violence and make reforms after street protests against his 11 years in power erupted five months ago.

Meanwhile, the Spanish newspaper El Pais reported that the Syrian president had rejected a proposal from Madrid for political asylum for himself and his family, as well as a plan to end violence in Syria.

According to the report, Madrid sent one of President José Luis Zapatero’s aides to Damascus last month to convince Assad to accept the plan.

The Spanish proposal included three stages: Immediate cessation of the violent crackdown, a conference of all parties to the conflict in Madrid, and the establishment of a new government with representation to the opposition.

The Spanish aide told the paper he got the impression Assad would not compromise and that Syrian officials were all “out of touch with reality.”

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Syria denies pounding district in coastal Latakia with gunboats



Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) denied Sunday media reports that Syrian gunboats pounded the impoverished al-Ramel neighborhood in Latakia with heavy machine guns.

Law-enforcement members are hunting down armed men, who responded with machine guns, grenades and explosive devices in al- Ramel neighborhood, SANA said.

Those armed men are terrorizing people, sabotaging public and private properties and firing machine guns and explosive from rooftops, it said.

The agency quoted the head of the health department in Latakia as saying that hospitals in the city had received bodies of two law-enforcement members as well as other four of unidentified gunmen.

Residents of al-Ramel neighborhood had made distress calls for the authorities to put an end to the gunmen practices, said SANA.

Meanwhile, the Doha-based al-Jazeera TV cited activists and witnesses as saying that Syrian gunboats firing heavy machine guns pounded the al-Ramel neighborhood in Latakia, killing at least 21 people.

It is difficult to verify the activists’ accounts as journalists are banned from heading to restive areas.

The Syrian leadership has come under a crescendo of international condemnation over its alleged crackdown on opposition protesters as well as its military operations in restive cities.

The U.S. broadened its sanctions on the Syrian leadership on Wednesday, which affected the state-run Commercial Bank of Syria and its Lebanon-based subsidiary, the Syrian Lebanese Commercial Bank.

Sanctions were also imposed on Syria’s largest Mobile phone provider Syriatel because, according to David Cohen, the U.S. Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, it is controlled by “one of the regime’s most corrupt insiders.”

Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron on Saturday called for an “immediate halt of all bloodshed and violence” against the protesters in Syria, the White House said.

The Syrian authorities have repeatedly brushed off the international pressures as “interference in the country’s affairs” and blamed the violent acts on armed thugs and ultraconservative Muslims who want to establish Islamic emirates nationwide.

The Syrian government pledged that there would be no letup in its crackdown on those gunmen to restore stability and security to the country.

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