Archive | September 1st, 2011

Arab Spring: Revolutions, Lies, and Intervention


By Devon DB

Global Research,

In 2011, the United States had its dominance of the Middle East seriously threatened due to massive peaceful protests that were sweeping the Arab world. No longer were people going to put up with corrupt and oppressive regimes that were backed by Washington. No longer would they put up with horrid dictatorships in which the only freedom they had was to obey. In 2011 began what would be known as the Arab Spring.


On December 17th, 2010, Mohammed Bouazizi was selling fruit without a license and when the authorities confiscated his scale, he became enraged. When Bouazizi confronted the police, he was slapped in the face. This led him to plead his case in the town’s government office, but when it was rebuffed, he went and lit himself aflame. This small act became noticed by the populace at large and the anger “spread to other towns in the interior of the country, where unemployment among university graduates was approaching 50 percent.” [1] Mass protests soon began with calls to end dictator Ben Ali’s rule and democratic elections, however, Ali turned to the police and the slaughtering of protesters began in earnest. 

The organization Wikileaks also played a role in starting up the protests, as files were released just days before Bouazizi lit himself aflame, which confirmed suspicions that many Tunisians already had: that Ben Ali was a corrupt dictator, that his family was extremely corrupt, and that life was incredibly difficult for the Tunisian poor and unemployed.

When this occurred, the US was deeply worried as Tunisia had significant military ties to the US. Tunisia cooperated “in NATO’s Operation Active Endeavor, which provides counter-terrorism surveillance in the Mediterranean,” participated in NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue, “and allow[ed] NATO ships to make port calls at Tunis.” [2] Every now and then the US would criticize Tunisia for its record on political rights and freedom of expression, yet “In parallel with these expressions of concern, the United States continued to provide military and economic assistance to the Tunisian government.” [3] Thus, the US began to play both sides. About two weeks after Ben Ali had fled the nation, America sent their top Middle East envoy to Tunisia and tried “to press its advantage to push for democratic reforms in the country and further afield.” [4] While it may have appeared that the US was quickly trying to position itself on Tunisia’s good side, they may have had a hand in Ali’s ousting as “According to some rumors in Tunis, the country’s army chief consulted with Washington before withdrawing his support from Ben Ali — a move which sealed the ousted president’s fate.” [5]

Almost as soon as the US was finished in Tunisia, they had even bigger problems on their hands with the protests in Egypt.


Due to being inspired by the success of the Tunisian protests, the Egyptian people launched their own protest movement, calling for the overthrow of US puppet Hosni Mubarak. However, the US was busy co-opting the protest movement.

The US used the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) as a cover to help co-opt the protest movement. Ironically, the NED is not used for the spreading of democracy, rather it was established by the Reagan administration to aid in the overthrow of foreign governments, after the CIA’s covert operations were revealed. The NED was supported “As a bipartisan endowment, with participation from the two major parties, as well as the AFL-CIO and US Chamber of Commerce, the NED took over the financing of foreign overthrow movements, but overtly and under the rubric of ‘democracy promotion.’” [6] Thus, the US supported both Mubarak and the protesters, in a bid to make sure that no matter what occurred, America would still get its way.

The civil society groups had a major influence on Egyptian activists as in May 2009 the activists

“spent a week in Washington receiving training in advocacy and getting an inside look at the way U.S. democracy works. After their training, the fellows were matched with civil society organizations throughout the country where they shared experiences with U.S. counterparts. The activists [wrapped]  up their program this week by visiting U.S. government officials, members of Congress, media outlets and think tanks.” [7] (emphasis added)

Thus, due to the US aiding the activists, the Americans ensured that the protesters owed them a debt and that US interests would be secure even if Mubarak was ousted. 

The US also had deep military ties to Egypt, seeing as how they were the largest recipient of US foreign aid next to Israel. Also, the US wanted to make sure that Israel wasn’t threatened, as both nations were worried that a new government in Egypt might cancel the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty.

While the Egyptian military is currently in control until elections, no matter what occurs, America will still have its way.


Protests also began taking place in Bahrain. The people were tired of a government which “ failed to abide by their own constitution, refused to investigate the crimes of torture and continued to expropriate more than half of the land of the country.” [8] The Bahrani government was controlled by the Al Khalifa family, which has ruled Bahrain for over 300 years and has created an economy where there is a powerful and wealthy Sunni minority while the Shiite majority constantly faces discrimination in jobs and education, has little political representation, and are barred from many government and military positions.

The US was deeply troubled because of the protests as the Al Khalifa regime allowed for the Americans to station their Fifth Fleet in the country, which allows the US to patrol “the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and the east coast of Africa,” “keep an eye on – and, if necessary, rattle sabers – close to oil shipping lanes, Iran, and the increasing activity of pirates,” and “ [provide] basing and overflight clearances for US aircraft engaged in Afghanistan and [help] cut off money supplies to suspected Islamic terrorists.” [9] Thus, the Bahraini regime was of major importance to US regional interests.

The US showed that it would do anything to make sure that its puppet stayed in power when they backed the Saudi military intervention in Bahrain. The Saudis intervened on the behalf of the Bahraini government and began shooting into crowds of Bahraini protesters. [10] However, even though the protesters were being gunned down, they still were determined to fight for their rights against America’s puppets.


The Arab Spring movement also reached all the way to Libya, however, things were quite different as instead of having peaceful protests, opposition forces were picking up arms and fighting the Libyan military. Due to the then-leader of Libya, Col. Mummar Gaddafi, having never truly been a Western puppet, America launched a propaganda war to allow the US-NATO war machine to intervene in Libya on the grounds of “humanitarian intervention.”

The question that must first be asked is why the West even wanted to intervene in Libya. The answer is because Libya has Africa’s largest oil reserves and Western oil companies wanted access to them. However, there are also larger economic reasons. Months prior to the intervention, Gaddafi had called upon African and Muslims nations to adopt a single currency: the gold dinar. This would have excluded the dollar as the gold dinar would have been used to purchase goods, thus threatening the economies of Western nations. However, the creation of a gold dinar may have also empowered the people of Africa, something black activists say the US wants to avoid at all costs.

“The US have denied self-determination to Africans inside the US, so we are not surprised by anything the US would do to hinder the self-determination of Africans on the continent,” says Cynthia Ann McKinney, a former US Congresswoman. [11]

There was also geopolitics at work as during the war, Gaddafi “vowed to expel Western energy companies from the country and replace them with oil firms from China, India, and Russia.” [12] This would have effectively excluded the West from ever getting at Libya’s oil. By ousting Gaddafi, the West would be able to have a puppet regime to counter Chinese and Russian moves in North Africa as well as access to Libyan oil.

What many of the media never asked until the conflict was nearing its end was who exactly were the rebels. In the Iraq war, most of the foreign fighters came from Libya and in that,“almost all of them came from eastern Libya, the center of the anti-Gaddafi rebellion.” [13] (emphasis added) A Libyan rebel commander even admitted that some of his soldiers had links to Al Qaeda:

In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Mr al-Hasidi admitted that he had recruited “around 25” men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq. Some of them, he said, are “today are on the front lines in Adjabiya”.

Mr al-Hasidi insisted his fighters “are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,“but added that the “members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader”. [14] (emphasis added)

Thus, the US and NATO were backing terrorists, yet they may have known seeing as how a 2007 West Point Study revealed that the Benghazi-Darnah-Tobruk area was a world leader in Al Qaeda suicide bomber recruitment. [15]

Due to the US and its NATO allies not wanting to look like the imperialists they truly were, Obama pressured the UN to pass a resolution allowing for the establishment of a no fly zone over Libya and an arms embargo on the nation. However, both were broken quite soon. The UN resolution clearly allowed all member states “acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, to take all necessary measures to protect civilians under threat of attack in the country, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.” [16] However, the imperialists admitted that they wanted to overthrow Gaddafi in an op-ed piece, when Cameron, Sarkozy, and Obama stated: “Our duty and our mandate under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 is to protect civilians, and we are doing that. It is not to remove [G]addafi by force. But it is impossible to imagine a future for Libya with [G]addafi in power.” [17] (emphasis added)The US and NATO clearly stated that their main goal was to overthrow Gaddafi.

The hypocrisy of the West ran deep as they found an excuse to intervene in Libya, but not in Egypt, Bahrain, Palestine, or any other location where people were being oppressed by local regimes. However, Western hypocrisy was shown near the outset of the conflict when it was reported that Egypt’s military had begun to ship arms to the rebels with Washington’s knowledge. [18] This clearly shows that supposed arms embargo on Libya was in reality, an embargo on Gaddafi’s forces.

To whip up support for their “intervention,” a massive media propaganda campaign was conducted against Gaddafi. The mainstream media were reporting things such as Gaddafi gave his troops Viagra to rape women, bombed civilians, and that Libyan troops gunned down civilians. Despite these claims being false, the mainstream media still reported it. However, what many people ignored was the fact that the rebel and NATO war crimes. In mid-August, “a NATO bombing campaign near the Libyan city of Zlitan earlier this month reportedly killed almost 100 civilians — more than half of them women and children.” [19] However, NATO denied all claims arguing that they had struck legitimate targets. This is just one example of many NATO war crimes in Libya, ranging from killing civilians to bombing the rebels themselves. There were also reports that Libyan rebels were targeting and killing black Africans. All across eastern Libya the rebels “and their supporters [were] detaining, intimidating and frequently beating African immigrants and black Libyans, accusing them of fighting as mercenaries on behalf of [Gaddafi],” in some cases “executed suspected mercenaries captured in battle, according to Human Rights Watch and local Libyans,” and “arbitrarily killed some mercenaries and in others cases failed to distinguish between them and non-combatants.” [20] Yet, despite these and other numerous reports, the Libyan rebels excused their war crimes, saying that they didn’t have the structures in place to deal with matters such as these.

What was also somewhat ignored was the fact that the rebels were extremely fractured, only united in their goal to overthrow Gaddafi. This was clearly seen after the assassination ofGeneral Al-Younes and two top military commanders aides. Their deaths “resulted in internal fighting within the Transitional Council” with “Factional divisions [developing] within rebel forces.” [21] This factional divide may soon play itself out in the creation of a new Libyan government.

Finally, there was the fact that Western special forces were on the ground. The initial appearance of Western special forces was when British SAS troops were captured near Benghazi in March. However, US CIA agents were in Libya [22] and there may have been French and US special forces in Libya aiding the rebels. In a March interview on the O’Reilly Show, retired Colonel David Hunt of the US Army and Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, a former Army intelligence officer were interviewed about the situation in Libya. Hunt stated the following when asked about special forces being in Libya:

Yes, absolutely. You’ve got British service been in there about three weeks ago and actually got captured and released. The French GIGN have been in there and our special forces and our U.S. intelligence operatives and their assets. We do not conduct operations like this, large scale air operations, without people on the ground. They have been very successful, very good, not a lot of contact with the rebels because you don’t know who to talk to. But, yes, we have got intel gathering and rescue guys and special operations guys on the ground, have had them for about 12 days. [23] (emphasis added)

Shaffer agreed, saying:

Yes, I have heard from my sources — I got a call from one of my key sources on Monday and that’s exactly what’s going on. Let’s be really clear here. You have got to have these individuals doing what Dave just said, especially when you are talking about trying to protect, and the stated goal here, Bill, is humanitarian support. So you don’t want to have weapons hitting the wrong targets. So, Dave is very good on the fact that we have special operations guys sitting there with laser designators. Bill, you saw… [24] (emphasis added)

The Americans constantly denied that they had boots on the ground, yet, as usual, they were lying.

The imperialists already had plans for a post-Gaddafi Libya, which consisted of “proposals for a 10,000-15,000 strong ‘Tripoli task force’, resourced and supported by the United Arab Emirates, to take over the Libyan capital, secure key sites and arrest high-level Gaddafi supporters.” [62] However, the plan may be problematic as it is “highly reliant on the defection of parts of the Gaddafi security apparatus to the rebels after his overthrow.” [25] There were far reaching economic consequences as it was reported that the new government would favor Western oil companies at the expense of Russian, Chinese, and Brazilian firms. [26]

Due to the imperialists succeeding in Libya, many are worried that the US-NATO war machine may set its sights on a new target: Syria.


Protests in Syria began in earnest in May and have not let up since then. While there are calls for intervention into Syria, there is much at stake for America in terms of Syria’s relationship with Iran.

The Americans are quite interested in the link between Iran and Syria, noting that there have been several joint ventures between the two nations in the financial and manufacturing sectors, as it was noted that “there have been several reports of increased Iranian investment and trade with Syria,” “Iran has stated its intention to establish a joint Iranian-Syrian bank,  possibly involving Bank Saderat and the Commercial Bank of Syria,” and “the Iran Khodro Industrial Group has established a car assembly plant in Syria through a joint venture known as the Syrian-Iranian Motor Company.” [27] There are also military links as Iran supplies weapons to Syria which, from the US perspective, pose a threat to its ally Israel. “In June 2010, Iran reportedly sent Syria an air defense radar system designed to detect Israeli aircraft or possibly increase the accuracy of Syrian and Hezbollah missile strikes against Israel in the event of a regional war.” [28] Thus, the US was deeply worried about the link between two anti-American nations and the growing friendship between them.

Due to these worries, the US became involved in Syria’s protest movement, using methods that are similar to the ones the Americans used in the Egyptian revolution and in the Libya conflict.. 

For the past five to six years, the US policy toward Syria has used what could be called a two-pronged strategy to push for regime change. The US has supported “civil society” activists or external opposition organizations. It has also worked to delegitimize, destabilize and isolate the country through the application of sanctions and various other measures, which could be applied to exploit vulnerabilities. [29] (emphasis added)

One “civil society” organization that is being used by the US is the Movement for Justice and Development (MJD), which is “closely affiliated with the London-based satellite channel Barada TV, which started broadcasting in April 2009 but ‘ramped up operations to cover the mass protests in Syria.’” [30] The Americans may have wanted to work with MJD due to the fact that they are a moderate Islamic group which wants to end the Assad regime via democratic reform. This democratic reform may very well play right into America’s hands if the US does intervene in Syria, they can back the MJD and argue that they are the same as Libya’s rebels: people who want to end their oppressive regime and replace it with a democracy.

The US is using US organizations such as “Freedom House, American Bar Association, American University, Internews and work done by MEPI with the Aspen Strategic Initiative Institute, Democracy Council of California, Regents of the University of New Mexico and the International Republican Institute” [31] to aid in fomenting regime change in Syria by working with and funding Syrian “civil society” groups.

There have been many reports of the Syrian regime attacking unarmed protesters, however, one should be quite skeptical of these reports. The US media has reported that there are violent Syrian protesters [32], which should make one question the official narrative that the protesters are peaceful. One must also include the fact that there are absolutely no outside media sources in Syria whatsoever. Journalists have contacts whom they can get information from, but who says that these sources are being objective, much less telling the truth? All the reports that are being shown in the mainstream media may very well be half-truths, if not outright fabrications.

The US may very well plan to attack Syria if manipulating civil societies does not work.

The Arab Spring, while an overall movement to overthrow oppressive regimes, has too many times been co-opted by foreign powers who seek only their personal gain. Due to this, the Arab people may never experience true freedom. 

Devon DB is 19 years old and studies political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University. In addition to contributing to Global Research, he has recently become a staff member at The Progresssive Playbook


3: Ibid
5: Ibid
24: Ibid
26: Ibid
29: Ibid
31: Ibid
32: Ibid 

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on Arab Spring: Revolutions, Lies, and Intervention




BREAKING NEWS: NATO Destroyed Libya – Hugo Chavez


just as they destroyed Iraq, Afghanistan, and intend to destroy Pakistan, Syria and Iran

Posted in LibyaComments Off on BREAKING NEWS: NATO Destroyed Libya – Hugo Chavez

The Invasion of Libya, planned before the Revolution,US-Congressman D.Kucinich, NATO Crimes In Libya


No surprise there then – those Weapons of Mass DECEPTION proving deadly once again ….. for the unfortunate people of LIbya this time

Posted in LibyaComments Off on The Invasion of Libya, planned before the Revolution,US-Congressman D.Kucinich, NATO Crimes In Libya

Libya Truth


Everybody should watch this. As the West commits another horrendous atrocity through NATO, we have sat by and been manipulated once again. Tragic, what awaits the people of Libya, is the same old story. When will we stop this madness

Posted in LibyaComments Off on Libya Truth

Mondoweiss Online Newsletter


Here she comes to save the brand

Aug 31, 2011

Philip Weiss and Adam Horowitz


The map Martha stewart is using to plan her Israel trip. See the green line? neither do we. (h/t Maureen Murphy)

“Despite the horrible hurricane, a life must go on. Planning a wonderful trip to Israel!”

Martha Stewart’s tweetHaaretz says it could be soon. The Israeli Ministry of Tourism is organizing and funding the trip as part of a push to include the Dead Sea as one of the seven natural wonders of the world.


Swedish chain boycotts ‘Sodastream’ (West Bank fizzy-water device sold at Brooklyn’s Park Slope coop)

Aug 31, 2011


and other news from Today in Palestine:

Land theft / Ethnic cleansing

Netanyahu examining future borders of a Palestinian state
Haaretz 30 Aug — Ehud Olmert’s map adviser, Colonel ‏(res.‏) Danny Terza, steering the current prime minister; Terza considered one of leading experts on issues of Palestinian state borders.Terza [is] a 52-year-old resident of the Kfar Adumim settlement….
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Google Street View comes to Israel but won’t reveal its plans for the occupied territories / Benjamin Doherty
The unique problem for Google Street View in Israel is where is Israel? According to the JTA,“Google reportedly plans to photograph only Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa”. Whether this includes parts of Jerusalem occupied by Israel in 1967 is not clear. In other reports, representatives of Google Israel refused to say where they intend to operate.
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Video: Halhul and settlements
AIC video (2:22 min.) 30 Aug — Saeed Madia of the Halhul Popular Committee – The Palestinian town of Halul counts 20,000 residents and sits in the southern portion of the occupied West Bank. Much of the village’s lands have been annexed to build the nearby Jewish-only settlement of Karmei Tzur, and Palestinian farmers continue to have their work impeded by the presence of Israeli settlers and the Israeli military. The settlement is between Halhul and Beit Ommar.
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Israeli court rejects Al-Walaja’s appeal against wall / Jillian Kestler-D’Amours
EI 29 Aug — For Sheerin al-Araj, the Israeli plan for the occupied West Bank village of al-Walajais clear: make daily life impossible for its Palestinian residents in an effort to force them off their ancestral lands and empty the village entirely.. They cannot afford [to displace] people by force, in front of cameras with little children and women crying and screaming. So they have to do it more strategically. And the way to do it is by making life impossible for us, and making life impossible is actually building a wall, building a settlement, [building] a gate where we will all be hostage to one 18-year-old [Israeli soldier who] will decide for us when to leave and when to come in,” al-Araj, a member of the Walaja Village Council, explained.
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VIDEO: Turning tables: ‘Israel illegal occupier if Palestine recognized’
Russia Today 30 Aug — ‘Every settlement is basically a military base’ — The Israeli Defence Force is reportedly preparing settlers for the mass uprising of Palestinians, expected after the UN votes on a Palestinian statehood in September. The preparations include handing out tear gas and stun grenades to civilians. Military resistance to Palestinians will only bring international sanctions on Israel after Palestine is recognised in September’s vote. That’s the view of Jeff Halper, a political activist and co-founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.
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Israeli military arms settlers in preparation for Palestinian protests / Harriet Sherwood
Guardian 30 Aug –The Israeli military is arming and training West Bank settlers in preparation for mass protests by Palestinians that it expects to erupt around the time that the UN is asked to recognise a Palestinian state, according to a leaked document. Teargas and stun grenades are being distributed and training sessions held with settlement security teams, according to the document obtained by Haaretz.
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Jewish settlers attack Qasra village and damage hundreds of olive trees
NABLUS, (PIC)– …Ghassan Daghlas, in charge of settlements file in the northern West Bank, said in a press statement that settlers from the Aish Kodesh settlement outpost attacked the village and started inflicting damage to fields planted with olive trees. He pointed out that this was the second attack by the settlers on the village in 48 hours, as the settlers attacked the village two days earlier and damaged dozens of olive trees before the villages confronted them and chased them away. Local sources also said that settlers Monday night uprooted 270 olive saplings from villagers’ fields at the edge of the village and that the settlers’ attacks increased since evening hours.
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Israeli forces

Israeli occupation closes August with one demonstrator shot in Ni‘lin
Ni‘lin Village 29 Aug — For more than three weeks Ni‘lin village has been witnessing several brutal midnight invasions and raids of local houses. But this time it’s different. The raids are not for arresting people, but instead just for training and getting ready to suppress the popular struggle uprising next September in different villages of the West Bank such as Ni‘lin, Bil‘in, Nabi Saleh, Ma‘sarah and Beit Ommar.
The Israeli army is adding new units of soldiers who are in the army reserve, training them to get ready for this event. The recent night raids into the West Bank village of Ni‘lin over the past three weeks, as well as comments made in Israeli media, attest that a new type of gas has been developed for next September which causes the diarrhea. Demonstrators in Ni‘lin on 26 August reported a new type of gas being used by military in the last peaceful demonstration.
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Border tension – Egypt/Gaza/Israel

IDF remains on high alert in south
Ynet 30 Aug — IDF forces stationed in the southern sector and on the Israel-Egypt border remained on high alert Monday night, as military intelligence indicated a viable terror threat in the area.  The southern sector, and especially the area adjacent to the border, has been virtually flooded with military forces, deployed in a manner defined by one security source as “unprecedented.”
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Report: Israel sends 2 warships to Egyptian border
News agencies 30 Aug — The Israeli Navy (INF) has decided to boost its presence and patrols near Israel’s maritime border with Egypt due to a viable terror threat in the area.
Israeli security sources told the Associated Press on Tuesday that two additional warships have been dispatched to Israel’s Red Sea border with Egypt. Another source stressed that the operation was routine, telling Reuters that “two naval craft have been sent to the Red Sea. This is not unusual.”
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Report: Egyptian forces raid Jihad cells in Sinai
Ynet 30 Aug — Egyptian daily al-Masry al-Youm quoted Egyptian security sources as saying that forces continue to raid terrorist strongholds in Sinai as part of a special operation on the event of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan. The operation includes some 1,500 soldiers as well as tanks and armored vehicles … The newspaper noted that Egyptian security forces have raised the level of alert for fear of acts of violence during the holiday. They are scanning the border areas of Rafah, El-Arish and Sheikh Zweid, working alongside Bedouin tribal leaders who are trying to convince the [Islamic] Jihad operatives to abandon violence.
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VIDEO: Gazan students restricted from study abroad
Al Jazeera 30 Aug — A group of Palestinian students who have won scholarships to study abroad should be getting ready for the new experience. Instead, they are stuck at home in Gaza because their government will not let them leave. Al Jazeera’s Stafanie Dekker reports from Gaza.
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Miles of Smiles and Africa 1 convoys reach Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 30 Aug — Miles of Smiles and Africa 1 aid convoys reached the Gaza Strip on Monday evening through the Rafah border crossing. The higher committee for receiving delegations in Gaza said that Miles of Smiles5 from Europe which was dubbed the “border martyrs” to honour the Egyptian soldiers killed by the IOF, and Africa 1 convoy arrived at the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing at sunset (time for iftar) on Monday.
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Gaza NGOs express ‘horror’ at new Hamas travel restrictions on Palestinians / Amira Hass
Haaretz 30 Aug — Anyone leaving Gaza in the framework of NGO activity must now provide details of the trip to the government — The Hamas government in the Gaza Strip recently imposed new travel restrictions on Palestinians active in non-governmental organizations in what the Palestinian NGO Network regards as another Hamas attempt to control and hamper them. 
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Hamas journal: Mashaal to discuss Shalit deal in Cairo
Ynet 30 Aug — Hamas Politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal will arrive in Cairo next weekend together with fellow officials to discuss a prisoner exchange deal, Hamas journal al-Risala reported Tuesday. A Palestinian source told the paper that the delegation members will be briefed by the Egyptians on recent talks between Egypt and Israel regarding a prisoner exchange deal which will see Gilad Shalit released. Meanwhile, prominent US Muslim figures, including two congressmen, have sent a letter to Mashaal calling him to release the captive IDF soldier.
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The loneliness of Gaza’s long-distance runner / Donald Macintyre
The Independent 30 Aug — Nader al-Masri is battling the stopwatch – and Israel’s blockade – to secure his Olympic dream — As the sun sinks slowly behind the stands of the Yarmouk Stadium, it feels a fraction cooler after a day of blistering August heat. Which is just as well, as it is Ramadan and Nader al-Masri, 31, has not eaten or drunk anything since before dawn and will not do so until dusk, still a couple of hours away.  Before that, this quiet, slightly built man will have completed 25 circuits of the stadium in around 45 minutes, concealing the arduousness of the task by his straight-backed but graceful, easy running style.
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Trial of West Bank organizer Bassem Tamimi to resume Sunday
PSCC/ISM 30 Aug — After telling the judge that he does not recognize the legitimacy of the court and of military law during his arraignment on June 5th, Bassem Tamimi’s trial is expected to open this coming Sunday, when prosecution witnesses will take the stand for the first time. On June 14th, the EU has expressed its concern over Tamimi’s incarceration in a statement given during the 17th session of the UN’s Human Rights Council. Tamimi is incarcerated since late march and the coming hearing, after more than 5 months of imprisonment, is the first in which the allegations will actually be discussed in court. Proceedings in the case have been prolonged after prosecution witnesses did not bother to show up to a previous hearing on June 27th
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Child arrests: Mohmad Ibrahim Abu Maria
PSP 29 Aug — The past year has seen a rapid increase in child arrests in Beit Ommar, as the Israeli army escalates this tactic of occupation. Last week, PSP visited the family home of one of these children. Mohmad Ibrahim Abu Maria is a 16-year-old high school student from Beit Ommar. His case is one which sounds all too familiar in Palestine. Seven months ago, the Israeli army arrested him from the passenger’s seat of his father’s car. He is still in jail today, and has yet to be tried for any offence. Mohmad’s father, Ibrahim Abu Maria, told us more about his story.
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Palestinians call for investigation into high incidence of illness in Israeli jails
MEMO 30 Aug — …The Palestinian Centre for Defending Detainees stated that hundreds of detainees develop serious and chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, pleurisy, kidney failure, back pain, persistent headaches and ulcers while in Israeli prisons. These are all exacerbated by the apparently deliberate Israeli policy of medical neglect and lack of adequate treatment. The PCDD added that Israeli prisons lack specialist doctors and Palestinian detainees are given nothing but pain killers.
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Interview sheds light on Israel prison-colonial complex
ISM 29 Aug — …We were keen to know about what kind of treatment the recent detainees could expect, and [Bardran Jabbal] seemed to be the perfect person to speak to, considering he has spent 20 years in Israeli prisons over the course of his life as have each of his sons, under the British mandate laws that allow people to be arrested without any evidence or charge for up to six months, a sentence which can be renewed at any time … Discussing what conditions the prisoners could expect to face, he told us [because of] that human rights organizations’ pressuring since the 80s, the torture has shifted more to psychological methods. One example he provided was when they produced a fake document from the International Red Cross Society saying that his wife had died and that his five children were now living on their own. They wanted him to sign it to “hand custody over to their grandparents.”
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Israeli court extends remand of Palestinian responsible for Tel Aviv attack
Haaretz 30 Aug — The Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday extended the remand of the Palestinian man suspected of carrying out the recent terror attack in Tel Aviv, which left eight people wounded. The court extended the man’s remand by 10 days, despite the police’s request that it will be extended by 15 days. The Petah Tikva court has imposed a gag order on the entire investigation, and the court hearing was held behind closed doors. link to

Cairo called to oversee reconciliation after Ramadan prisoner deal breached
RAMALLAH (PIC) 28 Aug — The families of the West Bank political prisoners committee have released an important report documenting statistics on the West Bank security services in Ramadan as the holy month comes to a close. Officials from Hamas and Fatah met in Cairo before Ramadan when promises were made to release all political prisoners in the occupied territories before Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the month. However, arrests across the entire West Bank continued even after those agreements were made. In conjunction with an arrest campaign by the Israeli occupation authorities, the sweeps saw the detention of more than 150 of Hamas’s supporters.
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Palestinians in Jordan refugee camp long to return / John Ridley
EI 30 Aug — The market is busy, shop and stall owners are shouting to advertise their wares to the crowds on the street; food and essential goods only … The sense of community is apparent, everyone has a purpose, many stop to welcome me, or just shake hands and say “hello.” But just beyond the bustling market lays the reality of Baqaa. Mahmood, my guide, explains — “Four generations of refugees have grown up with little hope of escaping poverty, let alone reaching their true potential; despite their hardships the community remains strong.”
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Swedish chain kicks out drink machines made in Israeli settlements
EI 29 Aug Stephanie Westbrook — …Meanwhile, in Sweden, the Israeli maker of home carbonation devices, Sodastream, took a direct hit when the Coop supermarket chain announced on 19 July that it would stop all purchases of its products due to the company’s activity in illegal Israeli settlements. This marked another important victory for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, as Sweden is Sodastream’s largest market, with an estimated one in five households owning a Sodastream product.
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Rights activist: Israeli government should finance couples forced to wed abroad
Haaretz 30 Aug — …”Some 300,000 immigrants from the former Soviet Union are not recognized as Jews according to the halakha and are denied the right to marry in Israel,” says Alex Tentzer, an activist for civil marriages in the Russian-speaking community … “Until there’s a law in Israel stipulating that everyone can get married here, the trip abroad must be financed by the state. If the state denies people their civil rights, it must pay up,” he says.
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Statehood bid

House bill to cut funds to pro-Palestine UN groups

WASHINGTON (AP) 30 Aug – The head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee is asking Congress to block U.S. funds for any United Nations entity that supports giving Palestine an elevated status at the U.N.  Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., in legislation unveiled Tuesday, also would ban U.S. contributions to the U.N. Human Rights Council and an anti-racism conference seen as a platform for anti-Israel rhetoric … The bill, with 57 cosponsors, comes forth as the U.N. General Assembly prepares to vote on recognizing Palestinian statehood regardless of the outcome of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks. In an op-ed in the Miami Herald on Sunday, Ros-Lehtinen said her bill follows the example of George H.W. Bush, who in 1989 succeeded in stopping the U.N. from recognizing a Palestinian state by threatening to cut off U.S. financial support.
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Israel warned against sending Peres to UN vote on Palestinian state
Haaretz 30 Aug — Sending President Shimon Peres to the United Nations General Assembly for the vote on Palestinian statehood in September will only harm Israel’s interests and give more weight to the Palestinian move, pro-Israeli diplomats in New York warned Tuesday.
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St. Vincent and the Grenadines recognizes Palestinian state
IMEMC 30 Aug — The Palestinian Mission at the United Nations received, on Monday evening, a letter from the country of St. Vincent and the Grenadines officially recognizing an independent Palestinian State.
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Other political / diplomatic / international news

Palestinian medical group headed to Libya to help treat wounded
Ramallah (Pal Telegraph) 29 Aug – President Mahmoud Abbas is going to send a medical delegation to Libya to contribute to alleviating the suffering of the Libyan people and to treat the wounded, Monday said official sources. Minister of Health Fathi Abu Mughli said Abbas issued instructions to send a medical team specialized in disaster treatment to Benghazi after the Eid Al-Fitr holiday. He said that he will personally head the team, which will include a staff of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and administrators from the ministry of health, to contribute to ease the Libyan people’s suffering in the hard times they are going through.  He stressed that in spite of the Palestinian Authority’s critical economic situation in Palestine and its negative effects on the medical sector, the medical delegation will nevertheless carry take with it medical equipment, medicine and supplies.[including those rightfully belonging to Gaza, by any chance?]
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Egyptians demonstrate outside the Israeli embassy on Eid day
CAIRO (PIC) 30 Aug — Dozens of Egyptians demonstrated on the first day of Eid outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo to protest the flying of the Israeli flag on the embassy after it was removed by a protester a few days ago. The demonstrators reiterated their demands to expel the Israeli ambassador, close the embassy and retaliate to the killing of Egyptian soldiers by the IOF. They said that the fact that it was Eid day did not stop them from demonstrating for the lives of the soldiers who were killed and chanted to this effect.
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WikiLeaks: Special treatment gives Israeli mobsters free access to US soil / Ali Abunimah
EI blog 28 Aug — Known Israeli organized crime bosses are able to travel freely to the United States, unlike counterparts from Italy, China and Central America, because the State Department has failed to apply US law to them. It appears that at least one prominent Israeli crime family member was able to reach the United States with a specific intent to commit murder, as a result of this exemption. This revelation comes in a May 2009 cable from the US Embassy in Tel Aviv titled “Israel: A Promised Land for Organized Crime?”
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Other news

In photos: Al Quds Day at Qalandia
Pal. Monitor 29 Aug — Photos by Michele Monni and Silvia Boarini. Written by Michelle Monni. On the last Friday of Ramadan (the holy month for Muslims), around 100 members of the “Olive Revolution” movement gathered at Qalandiya checkpoint to protest against the severe restrictions for Palestinians who wish to reach Jerusalem. Most Palestinians in attendance wanted to pray at Al Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site for Islam. Protesters, and those who were refused to get through, decided to pray in front of the soldiers standing at the entrance of the checkpoint. Following prayers, participants started singing for the freedom of the Palestinian people and against the Israeli occupation. After a short while, the IDF shot tear-gas canisters and sound bombs to disperse the demonstration.
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In photos: Ramadan in the Old City of Jerusalem
Pal. Monitor 30 Aug — Photos taken by Silvia Boarini through Ramadan, the holy month of Islam, in and around the Old City of Al Quds, Jerusalem.
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Analysis / Opinion

Israel’s image won’t improve without policy changes / Gary Wexler
Forward 29 Aug — Sexy Photo Shoots Amount to Marketing Mission Impossible — …The unfortunate truth, though, is that “Israel,” associated with anything except hi-tech and security products, is proving to be an increasing liability, especially when it is identified with mass consumer goods. Even with all the efforts of Camera, the Israel Project, the Jewish Federations and all the other organizations that blast my email inbox daily with defensive statements, Israel is increasingly emerging as the world’s pariah nation. Yet, as strange as it may sound coming from a marketer with an advertising background, who has represented hundreds of Jewish organizations worldwide, I have arrived at the conclusion that the solution will not be found in branding, marketing, public relations or the writings of political pundits.
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The OECD has lost 4 million Palestinians / Shir Hever
JNews blog 26 Aug — The OECD’s recent report on the statistics of Israel shows that the Israeli government succeeded in manipulating the organization into accepting Israel’s perspective – according to which Palestinians simply do not exist.
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On hasbara visit to U.S. MK Wilf praises Fayyad as ‘first Palestinian leader to stop focusing on what the Jews are doing’

Aug 31, 2011

Eleanor Kilroy

Last year, Shimon Peres famously dubbed Salaam Fayyad “the Palestinian Ben-Gurion.” Yesterday, Knesset Member Einat Wilf of the Haatzmaut, or ‘Independence’ party gushed about Fayyad during a press briefing organized by the Israel Project in Washington D.C. to derail the Palestinian push for state recognition at the UN. Wilf said the UN effort is “a non-violent strategy with very violent purposes.” From the Israel Project:

Wilf praised Palestinian Authority President Salaam Fayyad for his practical work in creating the infrastructure for a future Palestinian state and for condemning what he has declared as unconstructive Palestinian efforts at the UN.

The former IMF economist “is truly the first Palestinian leader to stop focusing on what the Jews are doing and actually focus on how to build a Palestinian state,” Wilf said.’

Perhaps because he has been paid to look the other way.

Wilf is on a four-day speaking tour in D.C. and New York sponsored by The Israel Project, an organization which aims to help ‘protect Israel, reduce anti-Semitism and increase pride in Israel’ and whose annual budget has surpassed $7 million. The same woman championing Fayyad spoke at the Glenn Beck rally earlier this month. Fayyad’s friend is also the former foreign policy advisor to the then Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres, and it seems she is going places; Le Figaro, looking into its crystal bollock 20 years into the future, has designated Einat Wilf as Prime Minister of Israel.

Colonel Qaddafi’s Tech Support

Aug 31, 2011

Paul Mutter

Reporting from Tripoli, The Wall Street Journal’s Paul Sonne and Margaret Coker reveal the depths of collusion between Colonel Qaddafi’s spooks and their foreign tech support:

The recently abandoned room is lined with posters and English-language training manuals stamped with the name Amesys, a unit of French technology firm Bull SA, which installed the monitoring center. A warning by the door bears the Amesys logo. The sign reads: “Help keep our classified business secret. Don’t discuss classified information out of the HQ.”

French-owned Amesys was just one of those whose wares were on display. Narus, a subsidiary of Boeing, the ZTE Corporation of China and a small (but apparently important) South African firm called VASTech SA (Pty) were all represented. Other names will likely follow. So far, they are all following the hush-hush urgings of the Amesys sign, offering limp responses to the WSJ’s inquiries, or just declining to comment.

But the HQ records speak for themselves: the government recorded thousands of online conversations, phone calls and web histories, from regular citizens to human rights activists (those who had overseas contacts were priority targets, of course). And just in case the snoops heard something good on all those hours of recordings, the place was also equipped with “a windowless detention center,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

As the Wall Street Journal points out, none of this is especially shocking. Foreign companies and their products have been actively involved in suppressing the Arab Spring, and from the Middle East to East Asia, multinationals have made hefty profits from providing surveillance capacity, security contracting and arms sales to repressive regimes. This SIGINT Road, if you will, is the e-version of the old Silk Road running from Beijing to Tunis with many stops along the way.

Libya is a good example of the political dealings that are so common when multinational corporate interests stand to gain. When Qaddafi extended an olive branch as the Second Gulf War began, Western (and non-Western) governments and firms leaped at the chance to do business with a seemingly older and wiser dictator.

International trade and arms sanctions were imposed on Libya between 1988 and 1992 in response to the country’s support for terrorist organizations. These sanctions were lifted from Libya starting in 2003 because Qaddafi agreed to disclose and dismantle its nuclear program,help track down Libya’s international nuclear black market contacts and started “cooperating” with the UK’s Lockerbie bombing investigation.

Qaddafi made a shrewd choice when he decided to cooperate with the U.S., the UK and the IAEA. Having seen where the WMD “smoking gun” justification had led the U.S. in Iraq, he had no desire to give the Marine Corps cause to pay a visit to “the shores of Tripoli” once again. A grateful West began restoring diplomatic niceties.

But there were other benefits as well. Diplomatic niceties paved that way for what the Libyan government really wanted: new technology and new money to help maintain its power at home. Qaddafi looked at Western arms manufacturers, investors, security-surveillance providers and oil majors in the same way that a tech junkie would salivate over an Apple Store’s fancy gadgets and efficient tech support.

Big EU arms manufacturers like BAE Systems and the Finmeccania Group basically just picked up where they left off in 1992, selling everything from surveillance networks, firearms, andaircraftOil majors, discouraged from going into Libya during the Cold War because of nationalization efforts and Libya’s late pariah status started negotiating contracts.

If there was one sector of Libya’s economy that Qaddafi believed benefited from free enterprise and globalization, it was the surveillance market. The aforementioned Finmeccania Group, (although not mentioned in the article) also helped the Libyans with surveillance work, according to a report put out a few years ago by the partly-government owned Italian multinational.

So what will happen to all these poor multinationals now that their chief Libyan sugar-daddy is gone? Don’t cry too hard for them. Ever resourceful, some are already dipping their toes into post-Qaddafi waters to keep or expand these contracts – joined by security contractors who hope to do a brisk business protecting VIPs and pricey machines. Let the second surveillance rush begin!

Rep. Allen West says Obama is Neville Chamberlain (to Arab Nazis)

Aug 31, 2011

Philip Weiss

Florida congressman Allen West just returned from a visit to Israel. He sent out a long letter to his constituents. These are extended excerpts, and boy are they wild. (Photos here. In the first one, titled The Wall, West is accompanied by a man I believe is Dan Senor.) Paragraphing below is mine. My headline comes from an insight the congressman conveys a few paragraphs from end of this note. 

Having just returned earlier today- Sunday, August 28th- I want to first extend my sincere thanks to all the great Americans and Israelis that I met on this trip who came up to meet me to personally shake my hand. This was my second visit to the modern State of Israel and it will certainly not be my last.

People always ask you, “What did it feel like to be in Israel?”

For me, the response is quite simple. America is my physical homeland. It is a Constitutional Republic in which my entire adult life has been spent under an oath to support and defend. It embodies the fundamental principles of liberty, freedom of will and conscience, and democracy. Israel, however, is my spiritual homeland. It is a place about which I have read and studied my entire life. It is the place where my Judeo-Christian faith heritage was born. Israel is the place that completes me as a person.

When you consider the shared values, culture, faith, and commitment to democratic principles, it is easy to understand why many believe America is not complete without Israel.

…Our delegation visited the so-called “settlements” and all we found were neighborhoods and suburbs. When we went to Bethlehem to visit the birthplace of Jesus- a Jew- our group was not allowed to have our regular Jewish guides or bus drivers because Israeli citizens are not allowed in Bethlehem or the ancient city of Jericho where the Bible teaches us that Joshua blew down the wall with trumpets….

I believe the most important question we must begin to ask ourselves is, “What is Palestine?”…

The Peel Commission, the British Mandate, and the United Nations Mandate all sought to create a region where both Jew and Arab could coexist, which the Jews accepted, but the Arabs rejected. Therefore, let us no longer operate under the misconceived notion that Palestine has anything to do with being Arab. For those who tout, “Free Palestine,” I agree, return it back to the inhabitants who had the land taken from them back in the early 1st Century AD by the Romans.

When we walked last week through a 2,000-year-old tunnel under the ancient City of David to the Western Wall, there can be no historical or archaeological argument to refute that there has always been a nation of Israel. It is a nation whose borders are clearly stated in the Bible, Numbers Chapter 34, a people who have a definitive bond to the land, their homeland.

So where does that take us today? As one sits back and assesses the strategic and operational environment across the Middle East and the Maghreb, one thing becomes quite apparent. This so-called “Arab Spring” is less about a democratic movement, than it is about the early phase of the restoration of an Islamic Caliphate, the last being the Ottoman Empire. We are witnessing secular Muslim leaders being deposed in very volatile and unstable nations. This growing Islamic Totalitarianism manifested in militant Islam has had a modus operand of capitalizing on unstable political situations (Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia). Now we see these same types of instances occurring in Egypt, Libya, and Syria and the rose-colored glasses of some seek to portray this as a great awakening of liberty. History does not support this in the Middle East.

We must evaluate these occurrences through the prism of keen strategic and operational insight which looks out 10, 20, or 30 years. If we had done so during the deposing of the Shah of Iran, we might have been able to prevent what arose. The Iran with which we must contend today is the major exporter of Islamic totalitarianism and state sponsored terrorism. In the midst of it all is Israel, that tiny defiant bastion of freedom, liberty, and democracy in an evolving storm.

One only needs to survey a map of the Middle East, and the immediate peripheral states to see the very threatening situation. And with that analysis, comes the resulting conclusion that Israel lacks one clear asset, and that is strategic depth for defense. This is why any intonation of reverting to pre-1967 lines for Israel is not just ludicrous, but insane, and clearly evidences a lack of strategic security intelligence.

Slowly Israel is being surrounded on all sides: Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, an unstable Egypt and Syria, and a theocratic regime in Iran led by a 21st century “Madman.” As well, Israel must contend with an internal infiltration. How many Americans would tolerate having some 50-100 rockets and missiles launched across its border? Then why should we expect Israel to tolerate the same? The objective could not be any clearer to a seasoned military strategist: isolate and eliminate the modern day Jewish state of Israel. And what is most appalling, western civilization is watching it happen, again.

It all comes back to visionary leadership. Israel has it with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, whom I had the distinguished honor of meeting. America is so severely lacking this type of leadership, which is why the enemy is making its move now. The enemy knows that America has a Chamberlain, not a Churchill at the helm.

During our trip, we met with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad. He spoke of freedom and dignity — but what of recognition and respect of Israel? Let me be clear, I do not see a credible peace partner in the Palestinian Authority. While we were in Israel, the PA never denounced the most recent heinous terrorist attack….

If the United Nations really wanted to do what is right, they would settle the homeland situation for the world’s largest ethnic group without a homeland, our dear friends, the Kurdish people. In closing, let us realize that the Muslim Brotherhood is not a college fraternity but an organization with a well-developed strategic plan.

Let us no longer operate in the realm of irrational emotionalism, but rather study and come to learn true geopolitics based upon history and fact. There is an inextricable bond between America and Israel, and we must stop denying it or feeling ashamed about it. …

Meanwhile, in Israel . . .

Aug 31, 2011

Adam Horowitz

‘Chicago Tribune’ runs Khalidi piece faulting Rep Jackson for going on ‘magical mystery tour’ to Israel

Aug 31, 2011

Jeffrey Blankfort

What is not as important as Rashid Khalidi’s restrained, but nonetheless perceptive critique of Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.’s trip to Israel, courtesy of AIPAC, is the fact that the Chicago Tribune elected to run it. Jackson Jr. has been one of the most unabashed supporters of Israel within the Congressional Black Caucus, at one point even disassociating himself from his father’s criticism of Israeli policies. Given the mood of the times and the serious economic problems facing the voters in his district, however, he may now begin to have second thoughts about where his priorities should be. Khalidi:

Jackson also approvingly quoted Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who has called for the forcible transfer of Israel’s Palestinian citizens and whose stances have regularly been criticized internationally for their thinly veiled bigotry. The day that a prominent African-American and the son of a civil rights icon embraces a man like Lieberman for the sole purpose of greasing wheels in Washington is a sad one for anyone who cares about equality and justice.

Jackson’s submission to the lobby of a foreign state is a tragic illustration of the abdication of progressives and others in the United States over the rights of Palestinians. Such behavior is one of the reasons Israel has been able to dominate Palestinians for decades with little protest from the United States.

It is no wonder then, that peace and security for all in the region is still so elusive.

Seeing past Rothschild Blvd

Aug 31, 2011

Gabriel Ash

Joseph Dana and Max Blumenthal published their promised article on the J14 protest movement, and it is disappointing. The only part of Israel they see is the Ashkenazi middle class of Tel Aviv. That, the protest of that sector, which started the #J14 events, they dismiss as nothing more than an attempt to return to the Zionism of the “good old days.” Fair enough. Everything they say about the limitations of the protest movement, I agree. Although their attempt to offer a pop psychology of the “radical Israeli left” (two people, to be precise) should have been beneath them.

Then there is the bad part. Look at whom they interview, a media professional, a mainstream journalist, a young labor apparatchik, a think tank fellow. That is Israeli society? Tent protests happened all the way from Sderot to Kyriat Shmone, places as far in social outlook from Rothschild Blvd as Gary, Indiana is from the East Village. Even in Tel Aviv there were multiple protests, of very different social make up. Dana and Blumenthal note how the Rothschild encampment chose its location to resonate with the Zionist narrative. Yet veteran Mizrahi activists set up an alternative camp near the “New” central station, amidst piss poor residents, emaciated sex workers, Sudanese refugees and foreign laborers, picking a pre 1948 Arab-Jewish neighborhood destroyed by Zionist “development” as a counter-historical symbol of the crushing brutality and racism of Zionism in Tel Aviv itself. The authors apparently were in Tel Aviv, so why not interview activists who specifically decided against joining the Rothschild camp? Dana is Israeli and Blumenthal is American. Why is it that the only Israel they notice, the only people they care to ask for their opinion, even if only to dismiss them, are the Ashkenazi middle class of Tel Aviv? Is it because these are the people in Israel who are most like themselves?

Then there is the question of expectations. They challenge the idea that this protest movement could “initiate a process that will eventually lead to the unraveling of the occupation and discrimination against Palestinians.” There are no doubt those in Israel, as well as in the world, who want to see Israelis leading the movement for Palestinian liberation. It is therefore essential to repeat a thousand times. Only a Palestinian led movement can liberate Palestinians. Besides, Palestinians have already initiated that process. So there is nothing for #J14 to initiate. But unless the Palestinian strategy involves new weapons coming out of science fiction movies, changing Israeli consciousness is going to be part of the struggle and part of the victory. That cannot happen overnight. It will be a process. Nor can it happen of itself. Activists are going to be an essential ingredient, and they will have to have strategies of engaging with that process that is going to be messy and often unpleasant. Israelis cannot see the occupation. That some of them might be able to see the state’s war against the Bedouins, perhaps for the first time, matters. That’s what a process means. This by no means implies that the process has a predetermined direction. On the contrary, the odds are bad, all the exits are in the wrong direction, and it would take both labor and luck to steer it anywhere better. Radical left activists in Israel only stand a chance of succeeding to turn their society around if BDS succeeds in the West and if the Arab revolutions really fulfill their promises, which is far from guaranteed. These different tracks impact each other even if they are not communicating with each other. This is what the petulant keyboard brigadiers like Yossi Gurvits, who whine about lacking “solidarity,” don’t understand, that what the left in Israel (the real left) needs most, is not a pat on the back, but our success in all the struggles that relate to Israel. On the other hand, it could probably do without being criticized for not staying home and watching TV.

This post originally appeared on Jews Sans Frontieres.


1948 tents versus 2011 tents

Aug 31, 2011

Ali Zbeidat

I was asked about my stance on the Israeli protest movement that has been taking place for over two weeks, and the effect of the so-called Arab Spring on these protests, and most importantly: what the role of Palestinians living in the colonial state of Israel should be in these protests. Should they join these protests and tents and adopt the same demands? Should they erect their own tents and make demands relative to the Palestinian cause? Or should they quit, stand aside, and say: These protests don’t concern us at all?

Ultimately, the main theme of the Israeli protests, taken from the Arab Spring movement, and tweaked, is: “The people demand social justice!” This slogan summarizes the essence of previous, current and future Israeli protests. First: when they define “people”, we, the Palestinians, find our selves not only outside of this definition, but in the category of “enemy of the people”. Second, what does social justice mean when the entire state, from its inception, has survived on social oppression embodied in colonizing the land of Palestine and displacing its people.

Hence, I came to a definite non-negotiable answer: Any struggle in the State of Israel is necessarily a reactionary struggle as long as it opposes and ignores the struggle for natural rights for indigenous Palestinian people, including the liberation of the land and the return of the refugees.

In summary, The Israeli protest movement is reactionary regardless of its demands and our attempt to give ideological excuses/explanations to it, as some parties are trying. The demands of young couples, university students, doctors, and others can not be progressive demands if they ignore the demands of the indigenous people and instead race to steal their land and destroy any person opposing them.

The aim of these protests is to improve the situation of the colonizers/occupiers while our job is to hold them accountable. Is it my job, as a homeless Palestinian refugee, to make certain that my occupier can live a nice life and acquire a bigger and cheaper apartment on my land? Let this occupier go to hell and wander homeless on the streets. What do the inhabitants of these new, clean, colorful, tents in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem think of the black Palestinian tents that filled the area in 1948? Do they recognize their responsibility to these tents? Anyone who wants to live in a comfortable apartment at reasonable price cannot ignore these questions!

Social demands cannot be separated from political demands, especially in this country.

I am not, nor will I fall into the Zionist traps. I am not claiming that the Israeli society does not suffer from class struggles, nor am I someone who is narrow-minded by my nationalist ideals. I do not believe that the “Jewish nation” is an exceptional case because I simply do not believe in the existence of a Jewish nation outside of the sick imagination of some racist Zionists. We have enough meaningless bickering between the Israeli Communist Party and the BALAD party (party that represents Palestinian), which is just as Israeli as the Communist Party.

What I have said above does not lessen the significance of the Israeli protest. In actuality, a positive and important consequence of these events is the truth that came out about our local leadership and political parties. In spite of our continuous empty talks about housing problems, lack of building permissions and land confiscations, our leadership was too cowardly to take initiative and waited two weeks into the Israeli protest movement to join, fearing we wouldn’t be welcomed among the various Israeli protest groups.

Another reason for the importance of the protest movement is its expression of the crisis of the Israeli state locally, and the rising crisis with capitalist systems worldwide.

Finally, these protesters, united, from the right and left, liberals and conservatives, will find themselves faced with a question that will continue to follow them as they attempt to escape it: Will the State of Israel give them any solutions? Or will they discover that the State is in fact their real problem?

Ali Zbeidat is a writer and political activist from occupied Palestine 1948. He writes the blog Good Morning Sakhnin.

In the sacred story of American empire, Israel is the ultimate symbol, dammit

Aug 31, 2011

Jack Ross

Jewish Ideas Daily has run a critical review, by Lawrence Grossman, of Jack Ross’s important new book, Rabbi Outcast. Ross responds:

The review itself begins with a very intellectually dishonest premise. In the context of negotiations with Palestinian Arabs at a minimum, the demand that Israel be recognized as a “Jewish state” is entirely new to Netanyahu’s current administration, and if it is in fact now American policy – and it is not clear that it is – it can not have been for more than three or four months.

The author goes on to make the ad hominem insistence that it is “factually inaccurate” that “the Conference of Presidents functions as the mythical elders of Zion” and that “AIPAC was implicated in the genesis of the Iraq War”. The point is that Rabbi Elmer Berger and the American Council for Judaism foresaw that Zionism, particularly with its insistence on the emergence of an “official governing body” of American Jewry obsessed with enforcing “the communal consensus” would bring to life the anti-Semitic myths typified by the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

The sole commenter on the review poses the following question:

Whether the book’s author, Jack Ross, is capable of making the distinction between the anxieties of, say, pre- and post-1989 Zionism. From the birth of Zionism, through both World Wars and after, US (and British, etc.) anti-Zionism (non-Communist anti-Zionism, at least) asserted that Zionism was a threat to the perceived and actual loyalty and Americanism (Britishness, etc.) of the national Jewish community. Whereas the anti-Zionism of Tony Judt, Phil Weiss and Max Blumenthal (to name exemplars of 3 generations) is anxious to identify itself not with patriotism toward one’s own nationality, but patriotism to something larger and better – “progressive politics,” “good Europeanism and anti-nationalism, anti-xenophobia and anti-racism.

That there could be some embarrassing manifestations of ACJ “Americanism” I do not deny. The key to understanding it, however, and where I see continuity today, is that the America they loved and was inseparable from their Jewish identity was a very different America – the America that was still a republic, not an empire, before World War II resulted in the American empire whose founding myth is that they were the saviors and redeemers of Israel.

Speaking only for myself, I would be perfectly happy to care as little about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as I do about the war in the Congo, with the fact that one of the two sides is Jewish making as little difference as that one of the sides in the Congo is Catholic does to the average American Catholic. The problem is that in the sacred story of the American empire, Israel is the ultimate symbol of itself as force for good in the world. Therefore, as a Jew and as one who as a small-r republican patriot would like to see America dismantle its empire, I can only regard the tabernacle of American nationalism that is the State of Israel and its official ideology of transnational Jewish “peoplehood” as an idol that must be smashed.

As for the question with which the review concludes – “One wonders which Jews Ross has been spending time with” – three words: ask Daniel Gordis.

Read Jack Ross’s explanation of his book’s mission here.

Posted in Nova NewsletterComments Off on Mondoweiss Online Newsletter

Do’not vote for the government’s dangerous NHS plans


UPDATE: It’s starting to work – this morning’s papers are reporting that key government MPs will refuse to vote for the government’s dangerous NHS plans.

That’s great news – and it comes after tens of thousands of us emailed our MPs. But more pressure is needed. Can you forward the email below to all your contacts and ask them to email their MP as well?

The crunch vote is on Tuesday. Many MPs are still making their mind up. So please forward this email to all your friends and family today – let them know how quick and easy it is to email your MP and tell them to vote to save the NHS.

Tuesday’s email:

Dear All,

In just one week, your MP has to vote on massive changes to our NHS. But 38 Degrees members now have something our MPs don’t –thorough, independent legal advice about what these changes really mean.

Our expert legal advice is sobering. Despite the “listening exercise”, the government’s changes to the NHS plans could still pave the way for a shift towards a US-style health system, where private companies profit at the expense of patient care.

MPs are being told by the government that the NHS is safe. If they read our evidence, they’ll know that the spin doesn’t stand up.We can put them under massive pressure to vote to save our NHS. So we need to work together to get the legal advice to our MPs right now!

Email your MP now:

Our independent lawyers identified two major problems in the new legislation:

  • The Secretary of State’s legal duty to provide a health service will be scrapped. On top of that, a new “hands-off clause” removes the government’s powers to oversee local consortia and guarantee the level of service wherever we live. We can expect increases in postcode lotteries – and less ways to hold the government to account if the service deteriorates.

  • The NHS will almost certainly be subject to UK and EU competition law and the reach of procurement rules will extend across all NHS commissioners. Private health companies will be able to take new NHS commissioning groups to court if they don’t win contracts. Scarce public money could be tied up in legal wrangles instead of hospital beds. Meanwhile, the legislation lifts the cap on NHS hospitals filling beds with private patients.

So who are MPs going to listen to when casting their vote – you, or lobbyists from private health companies? This is our NHS, and it’s up to us to defend it. Email your MP now:

It’s pretty extraordinary what we’ve managed to achieve together already. Nearly half a million of us have signed the petition to save the NHS. And after Andrew Lansley announced the last round of changes, thousands of 38 Degrees members immediately chipped in to get top independent legal advice on the new plans.

Barrister Rebecca Haynes found that the government’s plans could pave the way for private healthcare companies and their lawyers to benefit most from changes, not patients. Another barrister, Stephen Cragg, found that we were right to be worried that Andrew Lansley was planning to remove his duty to provide our NHS.

This is the conclusion of a top legal team paid to have no other interest at heart but yours.

MPs vote in just seven days. Seven days to not only get the evidence, but be convinced there’s way too much public concern to ignore it. The good news is, with over 800,000 of us now armed with expert legal advice, we are just the people to speak up. Let’s give MPs from all parties the mandate they need to think again and vote against these changes to the NHS.


Johnny, David, Cian, Becky, Hannah, Marie and the 38 Degrees team.

Thousands of us chipped in to pay for lawyers to get a clear understanding of Lansley’s new proposals. This shows what we can all do together to make a difference. Right now, we can use this evidence to tell our MPs to face down NHS changes in Parliament next Tuesday.

You can view the full report from the legal team here:

Posted in HealthComments Off on Do’not vote for the government’s dangerous NHS plans

More Corroboration, Gaddafi Nanny Torture


“Wingnut Monsters” Claim Injuries Faked By “Rebels”

By Gordon Duff, Senior Editor

When Shwygar Mullah, nanny to the children of Hannibal and Aline Gaddafi, was found, burned over 70% of her body, bloggers claimed she was faking her injuries, part of a conspiracy to discredit the Gaddafi family hatched by NATO, Israel and Al Qaeda working together, a new, all encompassing “axis of evil.”

Dozens of bloggers on conspiracy websites across the internet said Schygar was faking her injuries and had been coerced to lie to the press.  Today, doctors in Libya tell of her history, medical care withheld at the orders of Gaddafi, part of her torture, servants confirming all of it as do hospital records and testimony from medical staff.

What was her crime?  She was unable to force a child to stop crying.

Why would the child of a family of monsters cry?

While the Gaddafi family has fled to Algeria and others are in hiding, some bloggers claiming to be “press,” attack anyone exposing Gaddafi crimes.  The prime subject of recent attacks is the former nanny to the children of Hannibal Gaddafi and his wife.  Video released yesterday showed her being freed, burned over much of her body, her statements to the press that she had been systematically tortured by Hannibal Gaddafi and his wife Aline.

Gaddafi defenders claimed she had faked injuries and was induced to make false statements to the press.  In fact, though nearly 50,000 Libyan civilians arrested by Gaddafi secret police are now “missing,” many presumed among the burned bodies and mass graves being uncovered hourly, still bloggers write of these reports, these videos as being wild fabrications, part of “Zionist plots.”

The Huffington Post and CNN report the following:

Though it’s likely to be a long recovery process, the badly burned nanny of Muammar Gaddafi’s grandchildren has just begun receiving treatment in a Tripoli hospital this week.

As CNN is reporting, Shwygar Mullah is finally beginning to get the antibiotics and medical attention she needs after allegedly being brutally abused at the hands Hannibal Gaddafi’s wife, Aline. According to Mullah, Aline repeatedly scalded her with boiling water when she refused to beat one of the children.

After she was discovered at a ransacked Gaddafi family residence Sunday, the 30-year-old Mullah said she had never been paid for her work.

Doctors who spoke to CNN with surprising candor said actually began treating Mullah back in June, but say they were ordered to stop treatments after being bullied by the Gaddafi family. “There’s no humanity,” Dr. Rowida Zawiya said.

“…Maybe they’re insane.”

Doctors treating Shwygar Mullah are seen removing her ”imagary bandages” over her “imaginary wounds.”  The history of her “imaginary torture” is supported by “imaginary medical records.”

Watch this “imaginary video” and cry a tear for Gaddafi and his family and wonder where the bodies of the endless thousands they ordered murdered may be tonite.


Every news agency in the world with the exception of Russia Today is reporting this story, clear evidence of a worldwide Zionist conspiracy to invade Libya and install an Al Qaeda government controlled by the CIA and oil companies that will set up a central bank run by the Rothschilds.

These are the tales repeated ever day, the “talking points” meant to rehabilitate “Gaddafi the victim,” though too late to save him now.  Despite mounting evidence of Gaddafi’s ruthlessness and cruelty, a cult of acolytes has sprung up, America haters, closet communists and “tin foil hat” conspiracy nuts, seething with anger at a world turned against Libya’s Gaddafi, someone only weeks before few of them had ever heard of.

Gaddafi and his insane family aren’t the only monsters among us.

Posted in LibyaComments Off on More Corroboration, Gaddafi Nanny Torture

NATO’s Ugly Face


by Stephen Lendman

View it yourself!

Images don’t lie, except NATO’s fake ones produced in Doha, Qatar and perhaps elsewhere on Hollywood sound stages.

For months, NATO marauders and rebel killers gang raped Libya – murdering, destroying, ravaging on the pretense of protecting.

On August 22, Obama, a duplicitous unindicted war criminal, described the above images as “basic and joyful longing for human freedom.”

On August 25, Secretary of State Clinton, another unindicted war criminal, said “(t)he events in Libya this week have heartened the world.”

Let them and their conspiratorial allies go to Tripoli, Brega, Misrata and other ravaged Libyan cities and see for themselves.

Let them view streets filled with mangled corpses, blood, agony on the face of the living, destruction everywhere in sight, and human misery beyond what scales can measure.

Let them see firsthand the fruits of their victory. Let them taste, smell, and witness Tripoli’s growing humanitarian disaster.

On August 27, Russia Today reported “widespread shortages of fuel, water and electricity, and humanitarian aid supplies are yet to reach the country. The situation on the ground is very close to a catastrophe.”

“Tripoli is now facing severe shortages of running water, electricity, gasoline and medicine….The city’s municipal services are paralyzed.”

Destruction, garbage and maggot-infested corpses fill streets. Communicable and other disease outbreaks may follow, including from contaminated water, soil, and air.

Let them imagine hidden rage and the popular will to resist this and much more.

Let them consider what may, in fact, unfold ahead – continued resistance, struggle, and commitment for real freedom, not serfdom under NATO pillagers.

Not banker occupation. Not Big Oil plundering their resources. Not Washington, London and Paris deciding what’s “best” for Libya.

Not settling for servitude under monstrous rulers there to destroy their life force, spirit, and will to say this won’t stand!

Not surrendering on their knees. Choosing death on their feet instead, committed to struggle for real liberation. Willing to pay the price because the alternative is too grim to accept, and won’t be.

Through at least August 27, independent journalists remained trapped, virtual prisoners, inside Tripoli’s Corinthia Hotel, unable to provide real news and commentaries on this and other vital events in Tripoli and other areas.

Their reports are sorely missed. Hopefully efforts continue to free them safely to return home.

On August 26, the International Action Center headlined, “LIBYA – Resistance to US/NATO Conquest Continues,” saying:

Despite NATO’s full force and the worst kind of insurgent banditry, “heroic resistance to imperialist conquests” continues.

“All the corporate media (deception) claiming mass surrender,” Gaddafi fleeing, his sons arrested, and other disinformation “turned out to be nothing but lies and psychological warfare.”

As in Iraq and Afghanistan, “arrogant(ly) declar(ing) victory and ‘mission accomplished’ ” won’t end popular struggles continuing in “many forms.”

Libyans “heroically withstood not only (months of bombing), but also….racist corporate media propaganda (portraying America and) NATO’s military machine….as great white liberators.”

Now they face pillaging on a grand scale. Responsibility to protect, in fact, disguises an opportunity to plunder, once killing and destruction end or at least subside.

Disaster capitalism is planned for Libya. Naomi Klein explained it in “The Shock Doctrine,” exposing the myth of free market democracy. She revealed how neoliberal pillaging exploits security threats, terror attacks, economic meltdowns, natural disasters, and wars.

Ahead expect social services ended, public ones privatized, and freedom on the chopping block to be lost. Planned is a new Western version of Libya, replacing a socially responsible one under Gaddafi.

It was a key reason why he was targeted for removal so corporate predators could swoop in to pick apart Libya’s corpse.

As a result, spoils will be divvied up among them. Then on to the next target, and ones after that until all Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia are colonized, occupied by one means or other, and plundered.

In fact, parasitic pillaging is Washington’s idea of free market triumphalism, including privatizing public enterprises, regulatory freedom, tax cuts for the rich, impoverishing the rest, exploiting them, corporate handouts, and militarized control for enforcement.


It supports the Bilderberg notion of a global classless society – a New World Order with rulers and serfs. No middle class, no unions, no democracy, no equity or justice, just empowered oligarchs, freed to do as they please under a universal legal system benefitting them.

It’s right out of Milton Friedman’s play book, articulated in his 1962 book, “Capitalism and Freedom,” saying:

“only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When a crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around…our basic function (is) to develop alternatives to existing policies (and be ready to roll them out when the) impossible becomes the politically inevitable.”

Friedman believed that government’s sole function is “to protect our freedom from (outside) enemies (and) our fellow-citizens. (It’s to) preserve law and order (as well as) enforce private contracts, (safeguard private property and) foster competitive markets.”

Everything else in public hands is socialism, an ideology he called blasphemous. He said markets work best unfettered of rules, regulations, onerous taxes, trade barriers, “entrenched interests,” human interference, and the best government is practically none.

In other words, anything government does business does better so let it. Ideas about democracy, social justice, and a caring society, he believed were verboten because they interfere with free-wheeling capitalism.

He said public wealth should be in private hands, profit accumulation unrestrained, corporate taxes abolished, and social services curtailed or ended. He believed “economic freedom is an end to itself (and) an indispensable means toward (achieving) political freedom.”

Applied to Libya, neither one is possible unless popular resistance prevents or regains what Washington and its allies plan to take, leaving nothing but servitude for Libyans.

That harsh reality has to be resisted, no matter what it takes or for how long. Hopefully, Libyans are up to the task. Given their rage against planned NATO occupation and plunder, very likely quitting is something they don’t contemplate.

Perhaps it’s the wild card Washington doesn’t expect. A previous article headlined, It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over. Another was titled, Libya: Keep the Freedom Flame Alive.

Remember John Lennon’s lyrics imagining “Nothing to kill or die for….Living life in peace, and “hop(ing) someday….the world will live as one.”

So why not if enough in it try.

Accomplishing tough things take a while. The impossible takes a little longer.

Step one is ending Friedman’s version of the best of all possible worlds, NATO, and corporate occupation of Washington.

Achieving that would be a major step toward freeing Libyans and perhaps finishing the job elsewhere for the kind of world everyone deserves.

It’s there for the taking with enough commitment.

Posted in LibyaComments Off on NATO’s Ugly Face

9/11 Unveiled (Part 4 of 10): The Hijackers


by Enver Masud


On September 12, 2001 ABC News reported that “investigators have identified all the hijackers”.

Among those identified was “Satam Suqami, a Saudi national on American Airlines Flight 11, whose passport was [miraculously] recovered in the rubble.”

The next day, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller announced that the FBI had “identified most of the hijackers responsible”. Mueller is reported to have said (CBS, 60 Minutes II, September 10, 2003):

A flight attendant on American Flight 11, Amy Sweeney, had the presence of mind to call her office as the plane was hijacked and give them the seat numbers of the hijackers.

Peter Finn and Charles Lane wrote that an attendant on Flight 11 used a cell phone (Washington Post, October 6, 2001), but six years later, the FBI admitted that two low-altitude calls from Flight 93 were the only cell phone calls made from all four of the 9/11 planes (Griffin, Canadian, October 8, 2007).

If an Airfone was used, billing records could provide confirmation of Sweeney’s phone call.

On September 21, 2001, Nick Hopkins of the Guardian reported:

After analysis of the passenger lists of the four hijacked flights and other immigration documents, investigators identified Salem Al-Hazmi and Abdulaziz Al-Omari as two of the terrorists.

The real Salem Al-Hazmi, however, is alive and indignant in Saudi Arabia, and not one of the people who perished in the American Airlines flight that crashed on the Pentagon

On September 23, 2001 BBC News reported that four of the hijack “suspects”—Waleed Al Shehri, Abdulaziz Al Omari, Saeed Alghamdi, and possibly Khalid Al Midhar were—alive, and Director Mueller acknowledged “that the identity of several of the suicide hijackers is in doubt.”

The same day, David Harrison of the Telegraph reported:

The men—all from Saudi Arabia—spoke of their shock at being mistakenly named by the FBI as suicide terrorists. None of the four was in the United States on September 11 and all are alive in their home country.

On September 17, 2001, the Associated Press published passenger lists for AA Flight 11, UA Flight 175, AA Flight 77, and UA Flight 93, based on information supplied by “family members, friends, co-workers and law enforcement”—the same list appears on CNN and the websites of several other news organizations.

There were no Arab names on these lists!

The “terrorist ringleader Mohamed Atta”—identified by a suitcase and will allegedly  left behind at Boston airport (Peter Finn, Washington Post, October 6, 2001)—was not listed on the passenger list for American Airlines Flight 11.

Hani Hanjour’s “name was not on the American Airlines manifest for the flight because he may not have had a ticket” according to the Washington Post. How then did he get on the flight?

The passenger lists published by the Associated Press, USA Today, and others note that these are, “Partial lists of passengers and crew killed in Tuesday’s terrorist attacks, according to family members, friends, coworkers and local law enforcement.”

“This is a very strange way to source such information,” said Gerard Holmgren. He asks,

Why not get it from American Airlines or the FBI? If neither of these were consulted, how did USAT know who’s “family members, friends, co-workers” to go looking for? Or if AA and the FBI were the first source of inquiry, why a partial list from hearsay sources?

Gary North, an historian, also expressed concern:

How did the airlines know how many people were on each of these flights? The airlines must have had a list for each flight. What possible reason could they have had for not releasing the full lists?

On April 19, 2002, Mueller said in speech at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco,

In our investigation, we have not uncovered a single piece of paper—either here in the United States, or in the treasure trove of information that has turned up in Afghanistan and elsewhere—that mentioned any aspect of the September 11 plot.

In July of 2006, in connection with the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui—the “20th hijacker,” the U.S. government published documents containing the names of the alleged hijackers, and aircraft layouts showing the seats occupied by the hijackers.

The 9/11 Commission Report, published July 22, 2004,  left unresolved the discrepancies in the passenger lists.

Jerry Markon and Timothy Dwyer wrote (Washington Post, March 21, 2006):

An FBI agent who interrogated Zacarias Moussaoui before Sept. 11, 2001, warned his supervisors more than 70 times that Moussaoui was a terrorist and spelled out his suspicions that the al-Qaeda operative was plotting to hijack an airplane, according to federal court testimony yesterday.

Lawyers for Moussaoui who pleaded guilty, and is the only person criminally charged by the U.S. with participating in 9/11, allege that the government knew more about the conspiracy than did the defendant (CNN, February 2, 2006).

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