Archive | September 5th, 2011

Robert Fisk: A Decade Of Lies


For 10 years, we’ve lied to ourselves to avoid asking the one real question


Smoke spews from a tower of the World Trade Center

By their books, ye shall know them.

I’m talking about the volumes, the libraries – nay, the very halls of literature – which the international crimes against humanity of 11 September 2001 have spawned. Many are spavined with pseudo-patriotism and self-regard, others rotten with the hopeless mythology of CIA/Mossad culprits, a few (from the Muslim world, alas) even referring to the killers as “boys”, almost all avoiding the one thing which any cop looks for after a street crime: the motive.

Why so, I ask myself, after 10 years of war, hundreds of thousands of innocent deaths, lies and hypocrisy and betrayal and sadistic torture by the Americans – our MI5 chaps just heard, understood, maybe looked, of course no touchy-touchy nonsense – and the Taliban? Have we managed to silence ourselves as well as the world with our own fears? Are we still not able to say those three sentences: The 19 murderers of 9/11 claimed they were Muslims. They came from a place called the Middle East. Is there a problem out there?

American publishers first went to war in 2001 with massive photo-memorial volumes. Their titles spoke for themselves: Above Hallowed Ground, So Others Might Live, Strong of Heart, What We Saw, The Final Frontier, A Fury for God, The Shadow of Swords… Seeing this stuff piled on newsstands across America, who could doubt that the US was going to go to war? And long before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, another pile of tomes arrived to justify the war after the war. Most prominent among them was ex-CIA spook Kenneth Pollack’s The Threatening Storm – and didn’t we all remember Churchill’s The Gathering Storm? – which, needless to say, compared the forthcoming battle against Saddam with the crisis faced by Britain and France in 1938.

There were two themes to this work by Pollack – “one of the world’s leading experts on Iraq,” the blurb told readers, among whom was Fareed Zakaria (“one of the most important books on American foreign policy in years,” he driveled) – the first of which was a detailed account of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction; none of which, as we know, actually existed. The second theme was the opportunity to sever the “linkage” between “the Iraq issue and the Arab-Israeli conflict”.

The Palestinians, deprived of the support of powerful Iraq, went the narrative, would be further weakened in their struggle against Israeli occupation. Pollack referred to the Palestinians’ “vicious terrorist campaign” – but without any criticism of Israel. He wrote of “weekly terrorist attacks followed by Israeli responses (sic)”, the standard Israeli version of events. America’s bias towards Israel was no more than an Arab “belief”. Well, at least the egregious Pollack had worked out, in however slovenly a fashion, that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had something to do with 9/11, even if Saddam had not.

In the years since, of course, we’ve been deluged with a rich literature of post-9/11 trauma, from the eloquent The Looming Tower of Lawrence Wright to the Scholars for 9/11 Truth, whose supporters have told us that the plane wreckage outside the Pentagon was dropped by a C-130, that the jets that hit the World Trade Centre were remotely guided, that United 93 was shot down by a US missile, etc. Given the secretive, obtuse and sometimes dishonest account presented by the White House – not to mention the initial hoodwinking of the official 9/11 commission staff – I am not surprised that millions of Americans believe some of this, let alone the biggest government lie: that Saddam was behind 9/11. Leon Panetta, the CIA’s newly appointed autocrat, repeated this same lie in Baghdad only this year.

There have been movies, too. Flight 93 re-imagined what may (or may not) have happened aboard the plane which fell into a Pennsylvania wood. Another told a highly romanticised story, in which the New York authorities oddly managed to prevent almost all filming on the actual streets of the city. And now we’re being deluged with TV specials, all of which have accepted the lie that 9/11 did actually change the world – it was the Bush/Blair repetition of this dangerous notion that allowed their thugs to indulge in murderous invasions and torture – without for a moment asking why the press and television went along with the idea. So far, not one of these programmes has mentioned the word “Israel” – and Brian Lapping’s Thursday night ITV offering mentioned “Iraq” once, without explaining the degree to which 11 September 2001 provided the excuse for this 2003 war crime. How many died on 9/11? Almost 3,000. How many died in the Iraq war? Who cares?

Publication of the official 9/11 report – in 2004, but read the new edition of 2011 – is indeed worth study, if only for the realities it does present, although its opening sentences read more like those of a novel than of a government inquiry. “Tuesday … dawned temperate and nearly cloudless in the eastern United States… For those heading to an airport, weather conditions could not have been better for a safe and pleasant journey. Among the travellers were Mohamed Atta…” Were these guys, I ask myself, interns at Time magazine?

But I’m drawn to Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan whose The Eleventh Day confronts what the West refused to face in the years that followed 9/11. “All the evidence … indicates that Palestine was the factor that united the conspirators – at every level,” they write. One of the organisers of the attack believed it would make Americans concentrate on “the atrocities that America is committing by supporting Israel”. Palestine, the authors state, “was certainly the principal political grievance … driving the young Arabs (who had lived) in Hamburg”.

The motivation for the attacks was “ducked” even by the official 9/11 report, say the authors. The commissioners had disagreed on this “issue” – cliché code word for “problem” – and its two most senior officials, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, were later to explain: “This was sensitive ground …Commissioners who argued that al-Qa’ida was motivated by a religious ideology – and not by opposition to American policies – rejected mentioning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict… In their view, listing US support for Israel as a root cause of al-Qa’ida’s opposition to the United States indicated that the United States should reassess that policy.” And there you have it.

So what happened? The commissioners, Summers and Swan state, “settled on vague language that circumvented the issue of motive”. There’s a hint in the official report – but only in a footnote which, of course, few read. In other words, we still haven’t told the truth about the crime which – we are supposed to believe – “changed the world forever”. Mind you, after watching Obama on his knees before Netanyahu last May, I’m really not surprised.

When the Israeli Prime Minister gets even the US Congress to grovel to him, the American people are not going to be told the answer to the most important and “sensitive” question of 9/11: why?

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Rights orgs: Gaza siege illegal, Palmer recommendations fall far short of justice

by maureen

Major rights organizations say that recommendations made by a UN panel inquiry into Israel’s deadly use of force on the Mavi Marmara aid ship last year do not provide effective remedy for the victims and their families. The report was expected to be released today by the UN secretary-general but a copy was leaked yesterday to The New York Times.

The Palmer report, named after the former prime minister of New Zealand who chaired the panel of inquiry, which included former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and Israeli and Turkish representatives, recommends that Israel apologize to and compensate the families of those killed and injured during the maritime raid.

In his blog on The Electronic Intifada today, Ali Abunimah describes the Palmer report as “worthless,” given that the panel was “stacked for Israel” and includes “notorious human rights abuser” Uribe.

In a special report for The Electronic Intifada last summer titled “Uribe’s appointment to flotilla probe guarantees its failure,” Jose Antonio Gutierrez and David Landy detail Uribe’s long and shocking list of human rights abuses.

Abunimah also criticizes the report as it heavily relies on Israel as a primary source, which has “controlled and withheld most of the evidence.” As Amnesty International noted today, “The Panel did not have the power to compel witnesses to testify and based its review on the Israeli and Turkish national investigations into the incident, which reached very different conclusions.”

Amnesty: apology, compensation not justice

Statements issued by rights organizations today also find fault with the report.

While generally welcoming of the Palmer report, in its statement Amnesty International describes the report’s recommendations as less than full justice for the victims:

Amnesty International stresses, however, that an apology and compensation are only two elements of victims’ right to an effective remedy, which also includes accountability through criminal prosecutions where sufficient evidence is available.

The Palmer report also finds Israel’s naval blockade on Gaza — which the activists aboard the Mavi Marmara and other other ships among the Gaza Freedom Flotilla were attempting to break — to be legal, even though the Mavi Marmara was attacked in international waters.

This “finding” is essentially a hasbara gift to the Israeli government, which will use it to whitewash the cruel human experiment that is the siege on Gaza.

Amnesty International states:

The question of the legality of this closure regime, often referred to as the Gaza “blockade”, was not directly addressed by the Palmer report, which focused on the naval blockade of Gaza. The report does, however, note that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is “unsustainable”, and it calls on Israel to “continue with its efforts to ease its restrictions on movement of goods and persons to and from Gaza”.

Amnesty International believes that this recommendation is insufficient. Gaza’s 1.5 million residents should not simply be seen as recipients of humanitarian assistance, but as people with rights to health, education, work, an adequate standard of living, and freedom of movement, all of which continue to be violated by the Israeli-imposed siege. Israel should completely lift its illegal siege on Gaza, which violates the prohibition on collective punishment in the Fourth Geneva Convention. This means allowing exports as well as imports, fully opening all the crossing points under Israeli control, allowing Gazans to use arable land inside the Strip currently off limits due to the open-fire rules employed by the IDF [Israeli military] in the “buffer zone”, allowing Palestinian fishermen access to their coastal waters, and allowing travel between Gaza and the West Bank, which are considered as one territory under the Oslo Accords and international humanitarian law.

The Palmer report’s finding that the naval blockade is lawful should not be interpreted to mean that the entire closure regime imposed on Gaza is legal.(emphasis mine)

 Center for Constitutional Rights: Israel cannot impose naval blockade

The New York City-based Center for Constitutional Rights also issued a statement today critical of the Palmer report, using even stronger language than Amnesty:

The Center for Constitutional Rights strongly denounces the conclusion by the Secretary-General’s Panel of Inquiry that the naval blockade of Gaza is legal, a finding that is inconsistent with international law as set forth by CCR in a legal analysis, and contradicted by conclusions of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations Human Rights Council Fact-Finding Mission to investigate violations of international law resulting from the Israeli attacks on the flotilla, as well as numerous human rights organizations.

Under international law, Israel cannot impose a naval blockade on Gaza, a territory it continues to occupy by exerting effective control over it. The blockade also constitutes collective punishment prohibited by the Geneva Conventions, and has caused excessive and disproportionate harm to the civilian population. The blockade of Gaza has led to a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions, widespread failure of public infrastructure, and chronic unemployment due to the blockade’s systemic undermining of Gaza’s economy.

The Center for Constitutional Rights does, however, agree with the panel that the human rights and humanitarian situation in Gaza is “unsustainable, unacceptable and not in the interests of any of those concerned.”

Notwithstanding the flawed legal analysis and suspect composition of the Panel of Inquiry, it does make some factual findings that are worth noting. The panel found that the way in which Israel boarded the flotilla was excessive and unreasonable, and that Israel had no satisfactory explanation for how nine passengers were killed, all of whom the evidence showed were unarmed. The panel found that United States citizen Furkan Dogan was shot multiple times, shot at extremely close range, and shot in the back of his head, and that the evidence suggests he may already have been lying wounded when the fatal shot was delivered.

The families of the nine passengers who were killed, the many passengers who were injured, and all those who have yet to receive their stolen property from Israel, including evidence, have a right to redress, justice and accountability. The United States government must assist the family of American human rights defender Furkan Doanan in particular in their quest for justice, and disclose any information it has on Israel’s attack on the flotilla. (emphasis mine)

Toward this end, the Center for Constitutional Rights adds:

In June 2010, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed eight Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests regarding the US government’s knowledge of, and actions in relation to, Israel’s attack on the flotilla. After fruitlessly working for nearly a year to obtain responses from the agencies, on May 24, 2011, CCR filed a civil complaint against eight departments of the United States government in order to get adequate responses. CCR has also been working with Professor Ahmet Dogan, the father of Furkan Dogan, the US citizen killed on the Mavi Marmara, to advocate for accountability in the United States.

In February of this year, Kristin Szremski interviewed Ahmet Dogan for The Electronic Inifada. Szremski reported: “[Dogan and his lawyers] want to ask the United States to initiate its own investigation into Furkan’s death. Dogan also wants to know why American authorities have shown such little interest in the execution of his son.”

The family of Furkan Dogan and the other eight victims of the flotilla raid still wait for justice for their loved ones.

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A subtle form of whitewash: the Palmer report on IsraHell’s attack on the flotilla


by Ali Abunimah 

Guest post by Sami Kishawi:

The report by the Palmer committee, appointed by the UN Secretary-General to look intoIsrael’s attack on the May 2010 Gaza-bound flotilla has been leaked. The PDF file can be found here.

The most prominent finding of this report is that Israel acted in properly and in complete “self-defense” although its military units acted with “excessive and unreasonable” force. This conclusion appears at face value to be openly critical of Israel’s military engagement of the flotilla, but it ultimately features a new and much more subtle form of whitewashing: it acknowledges Israel’s abuses but blatantly lets them slide, doing absolutely nothing about them except to passively pass along the blame to those in Gaza making the naval blockade necessary and “legitimate”.

Putting the occupier’s needs before those of the occupied

Here are some interesting quotes from the Palmer report and my take on them. Brackets indicate footnotes in the original document.

“We have made it clear that we consider that Israel was entitled to impose the naval blockade. It follows that Israel was also entitled to enforce it. The manner of its enforcement, however, raises serious issues of concern.” (Page 51)

The Palmer report openly justifies the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip which is one very critical aspect of the current Israeli siege over the territory that has been condemned by international agencies and governments as illegal for its role in denying basic human rights. The report attempts to balance the scales by investigating the flotilla raid within the following context:

a. “The security threat posed to Israel by militant groups in Gaza provides the foundation for its naval blockade” (page 67), and

b. “[C]oncern for the humanitarian situation in Gaza provides a motivation for more flotillas in the future” (page 67).

Based on these statements, the Palmer report admits that Israeli health and security concerns are more important than Palestinian health and security concerns. The naval blockade and its detrimental effect on Palestinian livelihood is justifiable so long as it secures Israeli livelihood. The report is tainted with its own apparent lack of humanitarian concern.

No evidence of lethal weapons

It is worth mentioning that Mr. Süleyman Özdem Sanberk, one of the panel judges, registered a statement on the final page of the report stating his disagreement with the alleged legality of the blockade on Gaza, reminding readers that the “UN Human Rights Council concluded that the blockade was unlawful” (page 105).

“No evidence has been provided to establish that any of the deceased were armed with lethal weapons. [429] Video footage shows one passenger [430] holding only an open fire hose being killed by a single shot to the head or throat fired from a speedboat. [431]” (Page 60)

A common misconception is that the activists aboard the Mavi Marmara were armed with lethal weapons, forcing Israeli commandos to eliminate the threat by shooting attackers dead. The report outlines the weapons used by the activists which include slingshots and iron bars removed from various parts of the vessel. The deceased were eliminated with intent even though the findings show that they indeed were unarmed and posed no threat to the Israeli soldiers. Others were injured within the same pretext. One individual remains in a coma upon publication of this analysis.

“Israeli Defense Forces personnel faced significant, organized and violent resistance from a group of passengers when they boarded the Mavi Marmara requiring them to use force for their own protection. Three soldiers were captured, mistreated, and placed at risk by those passengers. Several others were wounded.” (Pages 60-61)

There can be no denying that activists aboard the Mavi Marmara reacted with hostility, but the report seemingly denies these activists the right to self-defense while ensuring that Israeli action falls under the category of self-protection. The report regularly asserts that the involved Israeli commandos used force once it became clear that the raid could not be undertaken through covert means. Israeli commandos used force and flotilla participants used force, although not to the extent that the Israeli forces did. Assuming for the sake of the report that Israel had a legal right to raid the ships fully armed with lethal ammunition, the activists – as human beings – also have a due right to self-defense. This, however, goes unrecognized in the report.

At the same time, this statement alleges that the captured soldiers were mistreated by activists. This is noticeably inconsistent with the following statement:

“The Panel is not persuaded that claims that the three were taken below merely to receive medical assistance [395] are plausible, although it accepts that once below deck other passengers intervened to protect them and ensure that assistance was provided. [396] (Page 57)

Asserting that the Israeli commandos faced hostility from the flotilla passengers should not imply that they were abused while being held inside the ship. Again, the report makes the claim that the soldiers were “mistreated” even though, just four pages earlier, it reports that certain flotilla passengers intervened to protect and assist the captured soldiers. Although this might appear to be an issue of semantics, it is necessary to bring attention to this inconsistency so as to shed light on the accuracy or inaccuracy of the report’s conclusions and the contextual evidence the conclusions are based on.

“Forensic evidence showing that most of the deceased were shot multiple times, including in the back, or at close range has not been adequately accounted for in the material presented by Israel.” (Page 61)


On the issue of self-defense, I fail to see how shooting unarmed activists in the back accounts for self-defense. Autopsy reports and testimonies submitted by Turkish authorities and confirmed by the Palmer report’s panel investigators determined the following:

“Five of those killed had bullet wounds indicating they had been shot from behind: Cengiz Akyüz, [416] Çetin Topçuoğlu, [417] Necdet Yıldırım, [418] Furkan Doğan [419] and İbrahim Bilgen. [420] This last group included three with bullet wounds to the back of the head: Cengiz Akyüz, [421] Çetin Topçuoğlu [422] and Furkan Doğan. [423] İbrahim Bilgen was killed by a shot to the right temple. [424] … At least one of those killed, Furkan Doğan, was shot at extremely close range. [427] Mr. Doğan sustained wounds to the face, back of the skull, back and left leg. That suggests he may already have been lying wounded when the fatal shot was delivered, as suggested by witness accounts to that effect. [428]

Keep in mind that the nine deceased individuals do not fully reflect the full scope of Israel’s self-defense tactics. Dozens more injured, many sustaining critical and life-threatening wounds from live ammunition and other lethal weapons. These were, for the most part, unarmed civilians engaged in their fundamental right to self-preservation, a right denied by Israel’s weapons and subsequently by the Palmer report.

“Forensic evidence showing that most of the deceased were shot multiple times, including in the back, or at close range has not been adequately accounted for in the material presented by Israel.” (Page 61)

The Palmer Committee finds that there is no question most of the deceased were shot in the back or at close range. The evidence for this exists in the autopsy reports compiled by the investigators. Israel’s account of the flotilla raid does not account for these facts, but this is expected for two reasons:

a. The Palmer report is, essentially, a “second chance” for the Israeli government to regain composure and attempt to show the world that the flotilla raid was necessary and not as dramatic as previously reported. Hiding or downplaying these facts plays in Israel’s favor. Also,

b. The Israeli government chose to downplay rather deny this evidence because denying the forensic evidence would mean that the hostile confrontations indeed occurred. Israel confiscated almost all of the footage recorded on the Mavi Marmara in an attempt to control what details about the raid were made public. Immediately following the raid, Israel had virtually complete control over how the raid was framed through mainstream media. Details such as this forensic evidence were hidden from the public as part of Israel’s strategy to improve its image internationally. It is no surprise that these very same details were hidden from its own self-investigation that was recently submitted and analyzed by the Palmer Committee.

“Turkish Commission report, Annexes 6, 10. However, the report notes that the Mavi Marmara, when returned after being held in Ashdod for 66 days, had been scrubbed down thoroughly, blood stains completely washed off, bullet holes painted over, ship records, Captain’s log, computer hardware, ship documents seized, CCTV cameras smashed and all photographic footage withheld, see Turkish Commission report, at 6.” (Footnote 52, page 18)

Cleaning up the scene of the crime

Further analysis reveals Israel’s strategy to hide the reality of the raid, to downplay the unruly amount of force it exercised on a population of civilian passengers out at sea, and to withhold criticism by eliminating the physical evidence linking the Israeli commandos to the intentional deaths of nine individuals. It is doubtful that the Mavi Marmara was cleaned and fixed out of courtesy to Turkey. After all, Israel still refuses to apologize to Turkey for the deaths of its citizens. Footage was seized, records were destroyed, and the physical damage of a lethal assault was repaired in order to prevent independent investigation that would inevitably rule against Israel’s favor.

“Photographs show bullet marks on the funnel of the vessel, which appear consistent with firing from above. [380] The wounds of several of the deceased were also consistent with bullets being fired from above. [381] The explanation given in the Israeli report that these shots were fired from the roof or as victims were bending over is not dispositive on this point. [382] The Panel considers it unlikely that the soldiers fired as they descended, but does not rule out the possibility that live fire was directed from the helicopters once the altercation on board the vessel had begun.” (Page 56)

The Palmer report insists that the involved Israeli commandos acted completely within self-defense. However, shooting from helicopters is not an issue of self-defense. The hostilities occurred on and within the Mavi Marmara, not in the sky. The life ammunition that was fired from the helicopters indicates an indiscriminate use of force against a defenseless set of civilians. Interestingly enough, the Palmer report does not find this substantial enough to discredit Israeli claims of self-defense and, instead, implicitly accepts this action as necessary to protect the commandos already aboard the vessel. It is obvious that subjectivity and double-standards play a heavy role throughout this report.

“By the IDF’s account, 308 live rounds, 87 bean bags and 264 paint ball rounds were discharged. [402] Seventy-one fully armed naval commandoes were deployed during the take-over, [403] which lasted for over 45 minutes.” (Page 58)

Nothing short of an invasion

For forty-five minutes, hundreds of unarmed activists were forced to deal with a small army of fully-equipped elite commando units intent on forcefully seizing control of the ship. According to Isreal’s self-investigation, its commandos fired a total of 659 projectiles which is greater than the number of passengers aboard the Mavi Marmara.

This was nothing short of a maritime invasion.

Throughout the report, the flotilla participants are demonized for their use of blunt objects and slingshots against the raiding commandos, even though the report fails to explicitly acknowledge that the hostile activists comprised a small percentage of the group of participants aboard the Mavi Marmara. The use of these objects, ironically likened to lethal weapons, is recognized by the report as the main reason why Israel was forced to kill nine unarmed activists. The report denies the flotilla participants any right to self-defense and instead bestows that privilege upon the Israeli forces by validating their raid, justifying the Israeli government’s procedures, and simply writing off the deaths and injuries as unintended consequences of mistaken excessive force.

Although straightforward and seemingly objective, the report concludes its findings without equalizing the playing field. The Israeli military is given the moral high ground and, ultimately, the benefit of the doubt once the report identifies its acceptance of an unlawful siege and blockade on the Gaza Strip. In doing so, the report naturally gives Israel the leverage it needs to justify the raid as a tactic of self-defense that incidentally, although not necessarily regretfully, resulted in shooting unarmed civilians in the back.

It is clear that this report is not controversial in the sense that it does not challenge Israel’s military strategies. But more importantly, this report also fails to seek true justice. Although it urges Israel to issue a formal apology and provide the families of the deceased with some amount of compensation, the Palmer committee shamefully plays into the anti-Palestinian agenda by vilifying a humanitarian campaign to end an illegal blockade and relieving Israel of the responsibilities incurred through its occupation of Palestine

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Historic Declaration by Palestinians, IsraHell in Support of Israeli Social Protest, Anti-Colonial Struggle


Some 20 political parties and social movements from both sides of the Green Line issued an historic declaration in support of the social protests currently rocking Israel and their necessary linkage to the struggle against Israel’s occupation and colonial policies.


May 2011 Hebron conference, jointly organised by the left parties in Hebron, the AIC and Tarabut-Hithabrut. This joint declaration is one of the follow-up activities of the conference’s steering committee (Photo: Yousef Katalo for the AIC) 

Together for putting an end to occupation and racism, in support of the struggle of the Palestinian people to attain their national rights and against national and social oppression

Even in light of the encouraging developments in the Middle East, the wave of social protests and the awakening of the peoples’ struggles for freedoms and the right to live in dignity, the Palestinian people still live under the yoke of the Israeli occupation, despite their persistent and ongoing struggle for freedom. The international community, for its part, demonstrates its helplessness and does not lend a hand to support the Palestinian struggle for liberation and justice.

The protest movements and the winds of change blowing in the Arab world have aroused excitement throughout the world amongst freedom seekers, encouraging many to adopt the model of popular struggle. These protest movements have had a deep impact on various groups in Israel, amongst both Jews and Palestinians, and made an important contribution to the rise of the popular protest movement within Israel for social justice.

Moved by our aspiration to attain a just and fair peace in the region, a peace that is truly essential for the peoples of the region and can assist in promoting the struggle for justice and progress for everyone, we – Palestinian and Israeli social and political forces, representatives of women’s associations and young people from both sides of the Green Line – emphasise the need for a joint struggle, with the goal of liberating the peoples of the region from colonialism and hegemony, particularly that of Zionism, halting the occupation and Israeli military aggression and supporting the just struggle of the Palestinian people for fulfillment of its right for self-determination in accordance with the decisions of the international community.

We look forward to the liberation of all the region’s peoples from dictatorship, ruling tyranny and from all forms of national, social and economic oppression.Therefore, we the signatories on this document, emphasise:

1. We support the Palestinian September initiative in the United Nations, the body which carries responsibility for laying the foundations of peace internationally, in order to demand full membership for Palestine in the UN and recognition of a Palestinian state in the borders of 4 June 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital, and to strengthen the efforts to end the occupation of the Palestinian people’s lands, with preservation of the right of the Palestinian people to oppose the occupation and the right of return of the refugees in accordance with United Nations Resolution 194. In this context, we emphasise that the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) is the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, deriving its legitimacy both from the Palestinian people in the homeland and exile and from the recognition it received from the Arab League and the United Nations.

The UN initiative is a legitimate step. The United Nations must fulfill its responsibility to realize its responsibility to establish peace and justice on the international level. This is a step that strengthens the rights of the Palestinian people and in no way represents a threat to Israel, despite the great efforts of the Israeli government to present this step to the Israeli people as a declaration of war or harming the legitimacy of the existence of Israel.

2. We understand that one of the primary reasons for the social and economic distress of citizens in Israel, in addition to the capitalist economic policies, is the continuation of the occupation and excessive security budgets, which Israel’s government seeks to justify as needed for defending the security of the settlements on the one hand and the state borders on the other. We therefore believe that an end to the occupation and establishment of a fair and just peace are essential for a life of peace and welfare.

We welcome the participation and integration of the Palestinian population in Israel in the social protest. This is an important opportunity to present before various groups within Israeli society the distresses of the Palestinians and the injustices caused to them, so that these groups can take responsibility in the struggle against the marginalizing policies and ongoing discrimination against the Palestinians in Israel, for putting an ending to confiscation of lands and full equality, and an end to the occupation of the Palestinian lands that were occupied in 1967.

We warn again the familiar attempts by the occupation government to evade the crises and its internal crises and the pressure of the protest waves through the politics of fear which point to an external threat: Whether by presenting the Palestinian appeal to the UN as a “danger” or by military actions, as we have witnessed in the past few days in light of the harsh escalation in bloodletting of the Palestinian people in Gaza.

3. We recognize the right of the Palestinian people, living under occupation, to make use of all the legitimate forms of resistance in accordance with international norms for removing of the occupiers from its land and for self determination. In this context, we emphasise the importance of the joint popular struggle of Palestinians and Israelis. A popular joint struggle is one of the central guiding principles in the struggle against the occupation, the settlements, racism, colonialism, against policies of exclusion, weakening, impoverishment, and racist separation within Israel.

September 2011

Signed: Political parties, social organizations and young women and men Palestinian and Israeli activists (in alphabetical order)

Association of Palestinian Democratic Youth (Palestine)

Association of Progressive Students (Palestine)

Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (Palestine)

Democratic Front for Peace and Equality (Israel)

Democratic Teachers’ Union (Palestine)

Democratic Union of Professionals in Palestine (Palestine)

Democratic Women’s Movement in Israel (Israel)

Israeli Communist Party (Israel)

National Campaign for Return of the Bodies of Arab and Palestinian Martyrs Captured by the Israeli Government (Palestine)

Palestinian People’s Party (Palestine)

Popular Campaign for the Boycott of Israeli Products (Palestine)

Progressive Workers’ Union (Palestine)

Tarabut-Hithabrut – Arab-Jewish Movement for Social and Political Change (Israel)

The Alternative Information Center (Palestine/Israel)

Union of Palestinian Farmers’ Unions (Palestine)

Union of One World for Justice (Palestine)

Union of Palestinian Working Women (Palestine)

Workers’ Unity Bloc (Palestine)

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Labor’s Demise As A Countervailing Power: “Labor Day” should be renamed “Corporation Day” or “War Day”

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

It is Labor Day weekend, 2011, but labor has nothing to celebrate.  The jobs that once gave American workers a stake in capitalism have left and gone away.  Corporations in pursuit of near-term profits have moved labor’s jobs to China, India, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea and Eastern Europe. 

Labor arbitrage, that is, the substitution of foreign labor that is paid less than its productivity for American labor, has enriched Wall Street, shareholders and corporate CEOs, but it has devastated American employment, household incomes, tax base, and the outlook for the US economy.

This Labor Day week-end’s job report, announced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Friday, September 2, says zero net new jobs were created in August, a number 250,000 less than the amount of monthly job creation necessary to make progress in reducing America’s high rate of unemployment. 

The zero figure is actually an optimistic number. As John Williams ( has made clear, problems with the BLS’s seasonal adjustments and “birth-death” model during the prolonged downturn that began in December 2007 result in the BLS over-estimating new jobs and underestimating lost jobs. 

Seasonal adjustments and the “birth-death” model were designed with a growing economy in mind and result in miscounts during downturns. For example, the “birth-death” model estimates new jobs that are created from new start-up companies that are not yet reporting, and it estimates the job losses from companies that have gone out of business. In a growing economy, start-ups exceed jobs losses, but the situation reverses during downturns or during periods of sub-normal job growth. For the past forty-four months, the “birth-death” model has overestimated the number of new jobs created. When the annual revisions are made to the job reports, the excess jobs are taken out, but it is seldom headline news.

The reason that nearly four years of economic stimulus, consisting of large federal budget deficits and near zero interest rates, hasn’t revived the economy is that the jobs that Americans once had have been moved offshore. Stimulus cannot put Americans back to work in jobs that have been given to foreign countries. 

Post-World War II Keynesian economists, such as Paul Krugman and Robert Reich, think that if the federal government would add more stimulus by enlarging the already massive federal deficit, new jobs would somehow be created to take the place of those that have left.  This is a delusion. Not only have the supply chains necessary to support US economic activity been disrupted and broken by offshoring, but also the same incentive–excess supplies of foreign labor that produces more value than it is paid–that sent jobs abroad is still operative.

In a word, the US economy has been de-industrializing, moving from a developed to an underdeveloped economy, for the past two decades.  It has been the case for many years that when the US economy manages to eke out new jobs, they are in non-tradable domestic services, such as health care and social assistance, waitresses and bar tenders, retail clerks. Non-tradable employment consists of jobs that do not produce goods and services that could be exported to reduce the large US trade deficit. 

The long-term deterioration in the US economy has been covered up by “reforming” the official measures of unemployment and inflation.  The U3 measure of unemployment, the current 9.1% unemployment rate, only measures unemployment among those who are actively seeking a job. Those who have become discouraged by the inability to find a job and have ceased looking are not counted as being among the unemployed, and the U3 measure makes no adjustment for those who are forced into part-time jobs because there is no full-time employment.

The government knows that the U3 “headline” unemployment rate is seriously understated and provides a broader measure known as U6. This measure, which is seldom reported by the financial media, includes short-term discouraged workers (those who have not looked for jobs for six months or less) and an adjustment for those who wish full time employment but can only find part time work.  Currently, this measure of unemployment stands at 16.2%.

In 1994 the Clinton “progressive” administration defined long-term discouraged workers out of existence. Consequently, no official unemployment rate includes long-term (more than six months) discouraged workers as unemployed.  John Williams estimates this number and adds it to the U6 measure to produce a current rate of US unemployment of 22.7%, an unemployment rate 2.5 times higher than the official rate.  

Similar understatement exists in the measure of inflation known as the Consumer Price Index. In order to reduce cost-of-living adjustments to Social Security checks and to hold down other inflation adjustments, the “progressive” Clinton administration accepted the Boskin Commission’s recommendation to introduce substitution into what had been a fixed, weighted, basket of goods used to measure the cost of a constant standard of living. In the new “reformed” measure, if the price of an item increases, say New York strip steak, the index assumes that consumers switch to a less expensive cut, such as round steak. Thus, the price increase doesn’t show up in the CPI.

Consumers, or a number of them, do tend to behave in this way. However, since the basket of goods comprising the CPI is no longer constant, but changes with price changes, the CPI has become a variable measure of the cost of living that reduces the inflation rate by measuring a lower standard of living. 

John Williams estimates the CPI according to the previous official methodology that used a fixed basket of goods. He finds the rate of inflation to be much higher than is reported by the substitution-based methodology. 

The understatement of inflation serves to boost real Gross Domestic Product growth. In order to compare how much larger (or smaller) the economy is this year compared to last year, the GDP figure has to be adjusted for inflation.  If the economy grew 5% in nominal terms and inflation was 3%, then GDP grew 2% in real terms, that is, real goods and services, as opposed to mere price rises, increased 2% over the year.

When John Williams  adjusts US GDP with the former or traditional measure of inflation, he finds that there has been no growth in real GDP for several years. In other words, during the period of “economic recovery” the economy has actually been declining.

American economic decline began with offshoring during the Clinton administration. Instead of addressing this threat, the Clinton administration launched the neoconservative program of American Empire with American and NATO naked aggression against Serbia, sending the Serbian leader off to be tried as a war criminal for resisting the dissolution of his country.

The Bush/Cheney regime elevated the pursuit of American Empire under cover of “the war on terror.” Based entirely on lies and falsified intelligence, Bush/Cheney launched wars against the Taliban, who were unifying Afghanistan, and against Saddam Hussein in Iraq.  

In the 1980s Hussein was used by Washington to launch a war against the revolutionary government in Iran that had overthrown the American puppet government, headed by the Shah of Iran.  Ever since Washington lost its puppet rule over the Iranians, Washington has refused diplomatic relations with Iran. In the place of diplomatic relations, Washington demonizes Iran in order to set the country up for another attack a la Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan, and Yemen.  Syria is next.

Saddam Hussein’s service to Washington was overlooked when it became more important to eliminate support for Hamas and Hezbollah, two barriers to Israel’s expansion in the Middle East, than to maintain Washington’s gratitude to an Iraqi pawn.

Despite unequivocal reports from arms inspectors that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and most certainly had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11, top Bush/Cheney regime officials demonized Iraq as the greatest threat to America. The imagery of mushroom clouds from nuclear weapons was evoked, A war was launched entirely on false pretexts that destroyed a country and left over one million Iraqis dead and four million displaced. What Washington did to Iraq is what the Nazis were tried and executed for at the Nuremberg Trials. 

Obama was elected in order to stop the illegal and senseless wars.  Instead, Obama both continued the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and expanded the wars into Libya, Pakistan, and Yemen. Since the deregulation of the financial system under the Bush/Cheney regime and the “war on terror,” the entire economy of the US has been sacrificed for the benefit of the financial sector and the military/security complex. 

Labor Day is an anachronism. It should be renamed Corporation Day or War Day to celebrate the success of Bush/Obama in eliminating labor unions as a countervailing power to corporate power and the elevation of War as the highest goal of the American state.


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Friends of Al-Aqsa and IsraHell propaganda


A response to the deeply-misleading Meir Amit Report

It is the usual policy at Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA) not to respond to blatant attempts to discredit our work by Israel’s propaganda machine. Since 1997, many such attempts have been made, yet our organisation goes from strength to strength and our support base continues to grow. However, the Meir Amit Report on FOA is deeply and deliberately misleading and requires a response.

Since the inception of FOA almost 15 years ago, we have worked peacefully and tirelessly with individuals and organisations across the globe on highlighting the issue of Palestine, the Occupation and the threats posed to the sacred Al-Aqsa Sanctuary in Jerusalem. During this time we have witnessed innumerable human rights abuses, increasingly audacious attempts by Israel to “transfer” native Palestinians away from their homeland, and countless acts of aggression and escalating aggression labelled as “responses” to Palestinian threats.

Our data, literature and materials are all researched thoroughly and based on facts and statistics obtained by human rights organisations who work on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel itself. These include United Nations agencies and well-established and respected international human rights groups. We also consult Israeli and Palestinian organisations for verification of the materials’ accuracy where possible.

The staff and volunteers of Friends of Al-Aqsa are all British and based in Britain. Our views and narrative reflects this. We live in a real democracy and are able to decipher the difference between the equality afforded to, say, all British citizens, and Israel’s brand of apartheid, which is a deliberate denial of equal rights to almost a quarter of its citizens based purely on ethnic and religious factors, and to the Palestinian population which it controls through its military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Israel continues to flaunt itself as a democracy even though FOA’s work, and the work of hundreds of organisations like us around the word, has revealed numerous Israeli policies which contradict fundamental democratic principles. As a result, Israel has escalated its propaganda war against Friends of Al-Aqsa, relying on its own distorted vision to push it forward. This is clear in the latest Meir Amit Report which seeks to highlight issues to do with religion and ethnic origin as a means of distinguishing FOA from other British organisations. Unfortunately, Meir Amit’s internet-based research has failed to reveal the simple fact that FOA’s membership spans a cross-section of British society. It seems we are not as concerned about racial and religious segregation as Meir Amit.

The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre

The report by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre seeking to tarnish and discredit the work of FOA is an embarrassingly defective piece of work based; it would seem, wholly on internet research including our very own web-site.

Meir Amit is known unofficially as a branch of the Israeli Defence Forces; it peddles misinformation in a bid to make Israel’s untenable political positions and military actions seem justifiable and therefore acceptable. It plays a big role in Israel’s self-proclaimed drive against ‘de-legitimisation’, by attempting to discredit all those who take legitimate stands against Israel’s Occupation and human rights abuses. 

Thus, Meir Amit has produced an extremely poorly researched, deliberately misleading report on FOA.  It makes for embarrassing reading given that it has been produced by what is alleged to be one of the most sophisticated institutions supposedly monitoring terrorism. The report is inaccurate and deliberately obfuscatory, and attempts to place a sinister cloak over what is actually a very open organisation. Perhaps Meir Amit’s “researchers” need to be reminded that Friends of Al-Aqsa is based in Britain, not Israel. We have laws which apply to everyone equally, and we abide by them.

All the information compiled by Meir Amit pertaining to FOA and our Chairman Ismail Patel is available widely on the internet. The only information apparently not available is Mr Patel’s ethnicity, so Meir Amit seems to have decided to take a stab in the dark. Incidentally, he is not from Pakistan.

In order to confer the Report with credibility in the UK, Meir Amit has naively used the utterly vacuous blog “Harry’s Place” as a source. Clearly, news of the many actions for defamation springing from that website hasn’t filtered through. The sham articles on Harry’s Place are regurgitated against anyone who dares to take up the mantle of the Palestinian cause. The spineless writers behind Harry’s Place have no confidence in the veracity of their own output, so they cower behind pseudonyms in order to tarnish reputations without the need to substantiate their allegations.

Perhaps this is the new age of intelligence gathering which, rather like lazy journalism, can be accomplished by anyone with a laptop and access to the internet. We await eagerly Meir Amit’s promise to provide further evidence of FOA’s ‘written material’, but we rather suspect checking out may provide all the information needed.


Friends of Al-Aqsa – The Facts

  1. FOA Chairman Ismail Patel participated in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. He witnessed the murder of one Turkish peace activist who was shot right in front of him. His ordeal was detailed in a press conference and numerous interviews covered by dozens of TV Channels, radio stations and newspapers. 
  1. The website attracts hundreds of visitors daily who are looking for news and updates on Palestine. It carries detailed information about our vision, aims and ethos.
  1. FOA works with numerous organisations, including some run by Jews, Christians and people of no faith who share common goals. We all promote the boycott of Israeli goods as a means of opposing Israel’s Occupation and human rights abuses. We organise demonstrations and pickets in London and elsewhere as a means of getting the voices of ordinary British people heard.
  1. FOA has no need for ‘fine-tuning its rhetoric for Western ears’ and uses such terms as “peace in Palestine”, “respect for international law”, “respect for human rights”, and “implementation of UN resolutions” as they are commonly understood in British society. These are clear mission statements. We are part of the fabric of our societies and communities and we live in the West. Clearly, this makes our ‘ears’ also ‘Western’. We have no need to spin or ‘fine-tune’ propaganda the way Israel does.
  1. FOA does not support any particular Palestinian political party. We believe that the Palestinian people have a right to choose their own leadership. FOA has met with several Palestinian political leaders, figures and peace activists from a cross-section of Palestinian society. It does not discriminate amongst them based on political leanings.
  1. FOA supports the right of the Palestinian people to resist occupation strictly in accordance with international law. FOA strongly condemns all violence against civilians which have been perpetrated in the main by Israeli armed settlers and army personnel and to a lesser degree by armed Palestinian groups. The armed conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is unequal and the death toll on the Palestinian side bears testimony to this. Deaths of innocent civilians on both sides of this conflict are avoidable and this makes the losses even more tragic and damning.
  1. FOA believes that Israel’s policies against Palestinians who are Israeli citizens are discriminatory. Numerous policies including those relating to housing and schooling are racist in nature, providing Israel’s Jewish citizens with far more rights than its Palestinian citizens (Christian and Muslim) although all are expected to pay the same taxes.
  1. FOA believes that Israel’s policies on the ground in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, including settlement building, land expropriation and the building of the Wall on occupied land, have made a two-state solution to the conflict unviable. However, the ultimate decision rests with the Palestinians. 

About Meir Amit

The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre is based in Tel Aviv and is headed by a former Israeli Army Colonel, Reuven Erlich. According to the Washington Post, Meir Amit maintains an office at the Israeli Defence Ministry, and has close and direct connections with the Israeli government and Israeli lobby; the centre acts as a conduit for Israeli government propaganda.

These facts reflect the defective and predictable narrative emanating from the Centre and anyone wishing to obtain accurate information about the work of Friends of Al-Aqsa should not hesitate to contact us or simply visit our website.

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A Jewish girl away from home at college prank calls her parents and tells them she started dating an Italian guy. The father threatens to kill the guy and the mothers comments are priceless.





Book review: The Wandering WHO?

Gilad struggled with the conflict between his early experiences as an Israeli Zionist and his awakening as a humanist.


The Wandering WHO? navigates between thought-provoking personal experiences, historical and philosophical issues.

Gilad Atzmon, scholar, prolific writer and leading jazz saxophonist has authored the book The Wandering WHO? In it he astutely explores the identity crisis he himself experienced and one faced by many Jews.

Gilad struggled with the conflict between his early experiences as an Israeli Zionist and his awakening as a humanist.

His book reveals an innate ability to switch between the qualities of a down-to-earth artist (the successful sax player and word-smith) and the knowledgeable philosopher.

Without doubt, The Wandering WHO? will awaken many readers– pleasing some and disturbing others.

The pleased will include those who have experienced similar awakenings or resolved identity crises by continuously asking questions.

The book will also find welcome readers among those who have sought honest answers to the many contentious issues involving Jewish identity, Jewish politics and Israel.

The disturbed will include those Gilad might refer to as “separatist Jews…kind of a bizarre mixture of an SS commander and a Biblical Moses.”

Gilad will also face threats and complaints from those he calls “pro-war Zionist Islamophobes.”

He will undoubtedly find rejection from those who want “to stop proud, self-hating Jews (like Atzmon) from blowing the whistle.”

The Wandering WHO? navigates between thought-provoking personal experiences, historical and philosophical issues.

In the foreword, Gilad tells the most remarkable story of his Jewish upbringing and the challenging questions raised by his early experiences as an Israeli Zionist.

In the chapters that follow, Gilad remarks that “Israel is the Jewish state and Jewishness is an ethno-centric ideology driven by exclusiveness, exceptionalism, racial supremacy and a deep inherent inclination toward segregation.”

Atzmon draws a distinction between Jews as:

1. Those who follow Judaism.

2. Those who regard themselves as human beings that happen to be of Jewish origin.

3. Those who put their Jewish-ness over and above all their other traits.

“Zionism is not a colonial movement with an interest in Palestine, as some scholars suggest. Zionism is actually a global movement that is fuelled by a unique tribal solidarity…”

Suggests Gilad, read “Theodor Herzl to know that this is whatpolitical Zionism is all about: getting superpowers to serve the Zionist cause.”

“Jewish political discourse is always set as a form of negation,” according to Gilad, “The political Jew is always against something, or set apart from something else. This is far from being an ideal recipe for a peaceful, ethical life, driven by reconciliation and harmony.”

“Jews are often proud to define themselves as Jews. However, they will also be gravely offended if they are called a ‘Jew’ by others.

“Emancipated Jews are identified by negation – they are defined by the many things they are not.”

Gilad asserts that “The Holocaust religion is the conclusive and final stage in the Jewish dialectic; it is the end of Jewish history, for it is the deepest and most sincere form of ‘self-love’.”

Referring to himself as a Hebrew-speaking Palestinian, Gilad says, “The so-called ‘only democracy in the Middle East’ is also the one that has locked Palestine’s vast populations behind walls and barbed wire for decades.”

Gilad adds, “The Israel lobby and the Alan Dershowitzes of the world are the voices of Zionism; the third category socialists are there to stop proud, self hating Jews (like Gilad) from blowing the whistle.”

Even before the publication of his book, Gilad, his editor and publisher “have been subjected to immense and intense pressure that included harassment, intimidation, and even anonymous threats, as the demands mounted on my publisher to pull the book.”

Some of the gems of Gilad’s wisdom found in The Wandering WHO? include:

“It is not the idea of being unethical that torments Israelis and their supporters, but the idea of being ‘caught out’ as such.

“The more they (Israelis) insist on loving themselves for who they think they are, the more they loathe themselves for what they have become.

Otto Weininger helped me grasp who I am, or rather who I may be, what I do, what I try to achieve and why my detractors invest so much effort trying to stop me.

“Thanks to Weininger, I realised how wrong I was – I was not detached from the reality about which I wrote, and I never shall be. I am not looking at the Jews, or at Jewish identity, I am not looking at Israelis. I am actually looking in the mirror. With contempt, I am actually elaborating on the Jew in me.

“…the bitterest anti-Semites are to be found amongst the Jews themselves.

“Jewish lobbies in the USA and Britain openly advocate for the extension of the ‘War Against Terror’ against Iran, Islam and beyond. I would never claim that this type of warmongering is inherent to Jews as a people, yet, unfortunately, it is rather symptomatic of Jewish political thinking – left, right and centre.

“A Judeo-centric political exercise, namely self-determination, which comes at the expense of others.

“From Karl Marx through Leon Trotsky to Herbert Marcuse, a sizable fraction of the revolutionary anti-capitalist literature has been authored by Jews.

“As a young man, I myself took part in some Jewish righteous parades, ready to grab my sword and join the hunt for a Tsar, a capitalist or any other enemy who might cross my way. But then the inevitable happened: I grew up.

“Robbery and hatred is imbued in Jewish modern political ideology on both the left and the right.

“‘The Israeli’ robs in the name of ‘home-coming’, the progressive Jew in the name of ‘Marx’, and the moral interventionist murders in the name of ‘democracy’.

“Pre-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (Pre-TSS) is a fundamental tenet of Jewish and Israeli culture.

“The people who rained Lebanon in 2006 with more than a million cluster bombs and showered Gaza with white phosphorus (2008-9) are projecting their homicidal zeal onto their victims, and even onto their future victims.

“The more hopeless and defenceless the Palestinians are, the more vicious the Israeli becomes. And yet, the more vicious the Israeli is, the more he or she is horrified by ‘terror’. In reality, the Israelis are actually horrified by their own cruelty.

“The ‘Jewish people’ is a made-up notion, consisting of an imaginary past with very little to back it up forensically, historically or textually.

“Nor has much been found in the Sinai Desert to prove the story of the legendary Egyptian exodus – apparently 3 million Hebrew

men, women and children marched there for forty years without leaving a single Matzo Ball behind.

“Jews do not have a common origin, that their Semitic origins are a myth. Jews have no origin in Palestine whatsoever, and therefore their act of so-called ‘return’ must be realised as pretext for a tribal expansionist invasion.

“If  Shlomo Sand is correct, then the Jews, rather than being a race, comprise a collective of many people who have been hijacked by a national movement based on myths.

“If Jews are not a race and have nothing to do with Semitism, then ‘anti-Semitism’ is, categorically, an empty signifier. In other words, criticism of Jewish nationalism, Jewish lobbying and Jewish power can only be realised as a legitimate critique of ideology, politics and practice.

“Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz, a Latvian-born philosopher at the Hebrew University, was probably first to suggest that the Holocaust has become the new Jewish religion.

“This new religion is coherent enough to define its ‘antichrists’ (Holocaust deniers), and powerful enough to persecute them (through Holocaust denial and hate-speech laws).

“The Holocaust religion serves both right and left Jewish political discourse, but it appeals to the goyim as well, especially those who preach and advocate killing in the name of ‘freedom’, democracy and ‘moral interventionism’.

“That which maintains the Jewish collective identity is fear.

“To a certain extent, the Holocaust religion signals the final Jewish departure from monotheism, for every Jew is potentially a little God or Goddess. Abe Foxman is the God of anti-defamation, Alan Greenspan the God of ‘good economy’, Milton Friedman is the God of ‘free markets’,Lord (Peter) Goldsmith the God of the ‘green light’, Lord (Michael) Levy the God of fundraising, Paul Wolfowitz the God of US ‘moral interventionism’. AIPAC (the American–Israel Public Affairs Committee) is the American Olympus, where mortals elected in the US come to beg for mercy, forgiveness for being Goyim and for a bit of cash.

“To be a Jew is to see a threat in every Goy, to be on a constant alert.

“…whatever is good for the Jews is simply good.

“The Jewish population in the UK is 280,000 or 0.46 per cent. There are 650 seats in the House of Commons so, as a proportion, Jewish entitlement is only three seats. With 24 seats Jews are eight times over-represented. Which means, of course, that other groups must be under-represented, including Muslims. If Muslims, for instance, were over-represented to the same extent as the Jews (i.e. eight times) they’d have 200 seats. All hell would break loose.

“Jewish history engages with the basic question of whether a given account is ‘good for the Jews’ or not.

“The dismissal of factuality or lack of commitment to truthfulness are actually symptomatic of contemporary Jewish collective ideology and identity politic.

“In the Jewish intellectual insular world, one first decides what the historic moral is, then one invents ‘a past’ to fit.

“As long as we fail to ask questions, we will be subjected to Zionist lobbies and their plots. We will continue killing in the name of Jewish suffering. We will maintain our complicity in Western imperialist crimes.

“With millions of besieged Palestinians, Israel has given itself the reputation of a pariah state.

“How is it that, in spite of the Holocaust, Israel and Jewish lobbies invest so much energy in evoking hatred towards enemies of Israel and world Jewry?

“…envisage an horrific situation in which an Israeli so-called ‘pre-emptive’ nuclear attack on Iran escalates into a disastrous nuclear war, in which tens of millions of people perish.

“What do modern emancipated Jews want?”

In his Epilogue, Gilad illustrates the difficulties he faced as an inquiring youth:

“I asked the emotional tour guide if she could explain the fact that so many Europeans loathed the Jews so much and in so many places at once. I was thrown out of school for a week.

“It seems I didn’t learn the necessary lesson because when we studied the middle age blood libels, I again wondered out loud how the teacher could know that these accusations of Jews making Matzo out of young Goyim’s blood were indeed empty or groundless. Once again I was sent home for a week. In my teens I spent most of my mornings at home rather than in the classroom.”

The Wandering WHO? provides a rare perspective on Jewishness, Judaism, Jewish politics, Zionism, identity crises, self-hate and self-love.

It’s a book that will awaken many.



You can now pre-order Gilad Atzmon’s New Book on  or

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The Split


From the Book

RADICAL PEACE: People Refusing War

By William T. Hathaway

Published by Trine Day

Stan and Hannah Cooper are friends of mine from college days. Both are Jewish, but they have diametrically opposed views about Israel, and their differences have become so bitter that they’ve decided to divorce. As the three of us talked about this, it became clear that their dispute is a microcosm of the conflict that is tearing the Jewish community apart and also destroying lives in an increasingly large part of the world.

William: Your differences must have become quite serious if you’ve decided to end your marriage after all these years.

Stan: Well, these are very serious issues. If you take the Holocaust seriously, you have to support Israel. And Hannah doesn’t. If she has her way, if the people she supports come to power in Israel and the USA, they’ll stop resisting the terrorists and become holier than thou pacifists while the Arabs push the Jews into the sea and blow up half the USA. Then the pacifists will cry about what a tragedy it all is.

Well, I’m not going through another tragedy. I’m not going to see America and Israel destroyed because we didn’t have the courage to stand up to fanatics. I’m not going to have our generation go through something like our grandparent’s went through. Once is enough, once was way too many, and now we finally have to defend ourselves.

Hannah: No way am I in favor of pushing the Jews into the sea. Whenever we talk about this, you exaggerate my position. You get very thin skinned and go into your attack mode.

Stan: Yeah, I admit, I and lots of other Jews are thin skinned about this issue. But when you think about how many Jewish skins got stretched over lampshades not so long ago, it’s understandable that we might feel a tad oversensitive. My grandmother’s brother, my great uncle, got gassed in Auschwitz. And her cousin got shot in the neck in Sachsenhausen.

Hannah: You know I lost family too. They didn’t even make it to the concentration camps. They were murdered in the Kiev ghetto by the German SS. I’m not playing this down. I’ve got relatives in Israel just like you do, and I don’t want them killed. But the Zionists have tunnel vision about this issue. They focus just on one part of it — preventing another Holocaust, no matter what. But I’m convinced that what the Zionists are doing now is making another Shoah more likely. Their moral compass has got thrown off by the trauma they went through. It’s making them do things that violate the basic principles of Jewish ethics. The moral sensitivity, the qualities that make me most proud to be a Jew are getting destroyed by these Israeli militarists.

Stan: Self defense isn’t unethical. The Torah never said lie down and let people kill you. We have to survive. If we’re attacked, we have to fight back. Hannah pooh-poohs anti-Semitism, says it’s not so bad anymore, don’t be paranoid. But the fact is it’s getting much stronger, and that’s world-wide.

I’ll give you an example of something that happened to me just last year. I walked into my high school classroom one morning, and someone had written “Jews are dog shit” on the board. Some students were already in the room, and they all said it was there when they got there. I erased it, but next day it was there again, “Jews are dog shit.” Nobody saw who did it, or so they claimed. It kept happening, couple of times a week. The students still played dumb. I thought they really knew who was doing it, but I couldn’t prove it. I’d get there early, trying to catch them at it, but never could. I asked the janitors to check the room, but I don’t think they actually did. They didn’t really care.

One night about ten o’clock the doorbell rang at home. I opened the door, and a fire was burning on the front porch, a brown paper bag going up in flames. The porch is wood. I was afraid the whole house would catch fire. When I stomped out the blaze, I found out the bag was filled with dog shit, got it all over my shoes.

Next morning I go into the classroom, and on the board is “Jews house burn like dog shit.” Students just sitting there. And of course whoever did it didn’t even make it grammatical, and it was an English class.

I asked the police to watch the house, but they said they didn’t have the manpower for that. All I could do was get new smoke alarms, install motion detectors, leave lights burning all night in the yard, and increase the fire insurance on the house. Do you know what it’s like trying to fall asleep in a house that might burn down any night? I was afraid to take sleeping pills because I might not hear the smoke alarm. I was a wreck, and nobody gave a damn. Not even you, Hannah. You said it was just a prank.

Hannah: I said it was a vicious prank. But no, I didn’t think they’d actually burn down the house. They’d already achieved what they were after — they’d made your life miserable.

Stan: Well, Jews are tired of having their lives made miserable. Far worse anti-Semitic attacks than this are happening all over the world. The neo-Nazis are on the rise in Germany. Jews get beaten up in Russia. Synagogues in Paris and Rome have to be guarded by the police. All this proves that the Jews need a secure homeland, a place they can go where they’ll be safe.

And seeing how most of the world doesn’t give a damn if Israel lives or dies, that changed me. I stopped being a left-winger when I saw how they fawn over the Palestinians. They make excuses for al-Qaeda. They defend Iran. And they oppose the only progressive, democratic country in the Mideast. Left-wingers have lost whatever meaning they ever had, so I’m not one of them anymore. Their policies will destroy our freedoms.

Hannah: Our freedoms are being destroyed now under capitalism. They don’t apply to everyone anymore, only to those who don’t rock the boat. You remember what happened to that client of mine?

Stan: Right. The Arab again.

William: What happened?

Hannah: He was an agricultural science student from Morocco and spoke at an anti-war demonstration here on campus, everything legal and peaceful. The police photographed him and got the university to let them examine their file photos of foreign students. The cops identified him and searched his dormitory room, where they found a Koran, prayer rug, some ammonium fertilizer, and several Arabic language magazines, one of which had a picture of Osama bin Laden. They confiscated his computer and found he had the al-Jazeera website bookmarked and had written e-mails to people in Morocco with insulting comments about the American president. They searched his car and found a timer from a clothes dryer. And with that they arrested him for violating the Patriot Act. Front page story in the paper: “Terror Suspect Arrested, Bomb Materials Found.”

It turned out the fertilizer was for a research project he was doing, measuring plant growth rates with different types of ammonium. He had just a small amount, not enough to make a real bomb even if he’d wanted to. He took me to the greenhouse and showed me the project — twenty little pots of plants and charts for how much they’re growing.

He was working in a coin laundry near the campus, doing everything from cleaning up to simple repairs. The timer on one of the dryers was broken, so he’d taken it out. He couldn’t fix it, so he called the main office, and they told him to bring it in and they’d give him a new one. He put it in his car, where the cops found it.

They had no case at all, and it wasn’t hard to convince the district attorney of that. The university confirmed his research project, an explosives expert confirmed that the amount of fertilizer was too small, and the laundry company confirmed they’d told him to bring in the broken timer.

The DA told the cops he was going to drop the charges, but they said they had an additional lead and needed another search warrant. They got it, and when they searched his room this time, they “found” cocaine.

This student was a devout Muslim, not the cocaine type at all, very traditional and old fashioned, like yeshiva school boys used to be. I’m one hundred percent certain the cops planted the drugs. They were determined to get him on something. He was an Arab speaking out against the war and saying unflattering things about the president. That meant he was an enemy and had to be got rid of.

The DA didn’t want to believe the city’s finest would set someone up, but he did offer that if the student turned in his visa and left the country in two weeks, he’d drop the charges.

I hated to go along with this deal, but I knew the kid didn’t have a chance of getting a fair trial. He agreed and told me terrible stories about how other students had treated him. He left the USA bitter at having his education snatched away from him because of ignorant prejudice.

Stan: Like I said at the time, I’m glad you helped the guy. You saved him from jail. And all pro bono.

I think it’s terrible when innocent people get swept up in all this. But what about all the innocent Israelis who are dying and the three thousand innocent Americans in 9-11? You don’t seem to care about them.

Hannah: This idea that Israelis and Americans are innocent victims of terrorists is a myth. It’s created to justify our aggression. Just like the belief that Islamic fundamentalists are the main terrorists in the world. It’s Orwell’s Big Lie. The USA and Israel started this battle. We’ve been abusing the Arabs in all sorts of ways for decades. We’re the main terrorists. For every American killed in 9-11, we’ve already killed a hundred Muslims, and more every day. It’s the same in Israel.

The targets of 9-11 were soldiers in the Pentagon and financial managers in the World Trade Center. Both those groups are terrorists, just a subtler kind of terror. We don’t see it that way here, we just reap the benefits. We’re conditioned to think of that as normal. But what the global poor suffer under our corporations and the International Monetary Fund and World Bank is economic terror. And what they suffer under military dictatorships supported by the Pentagon is physical terror.

Even things that seem harmless to us like missionaries, pop music and movies become a form of cultural terrorism in a traditional society. The garbage that Hollywood is pouring into those countries is debasing their culture, just like it has ours. We’re used to it, but they don’t want to get used to it.

When Muslims fight back against us, we label them terrorists. But terrorism means intentionally killing innocent civilians, and the financial manipulators and Pentagon officers aren’t innocent.

But no one deserves to be killed, innocent or not. Bombing anybody is barbaric and abhorrent. The USA and Israel are dropping bombs all the time, though, and the civilians they kill are just collateral damage to them. If we do it, we have to expect that people will do it to us. Violence creates counter-violence.

From the Arab point of view, the Israelis are invaders, millions of Europeans who are pushing them off their land. It’s like what happened in America. Millions of Europeans poured in and pushed out the people who were living here. The natives defended themselves by attacking white wagon trains and settlements, killing everyone they could — men, women and children. The whites called them terrorists, savages.

Now the Arabs are fighting back. But like the Indians, their weapons aren’t nearly as powerful as the Europeans’. What was it Mike Davis said? “The car bomb is the poor man’s air force.” The rich have Stealth bombers, the poor have Toyota Corollas, both filled with explosives. The bombers are a lot bigger and kill many more people.

One of the reasons the Western powers supported the formation of Israel was that they thought the Arabs were passive, they wouldn’t defend themselves. But they’ve surprised us. They may win.

Stan: William, as a Gentile, you can’t imagine how offensive it is to me to hear drivel like this, especially from a fellow Jew … and one I’m married to.

William: You’re right, I probably can’t.

Hannah: I’m not singling out the Jews with this. They’re no worse than any other European group. Western civilization has produced more violence than any other. Our history is a chronicle of atrocities. From the Romans on, it’s been ghastly. We make Genghis Khan look like a pacifist. That’s why I think our day is passing — we’ve harmed too many other peoples, and now we deserve to go under.

But what breaks my heart is that before this the Jews hadn’t been cruel and militaristic. We were peaceful. But we’ve became just as vicious as the goyim. What a loss! Now it’s obvious that the diaspora was a blessing. We were freed of the disease of nationalism. Now we’re dying of it.

I admit that after what they’d been through, it was understandable that the Zionists would feel they needed their own country and it should be around Jerusalem. They grew up reading in the Torah that God personally gave them that land. They’re convinced it’s theirs forever. And every Passover they vow, ‘Next year in Jerusalem.’ They’re fixated on this area, even though it hasn’t been theirs for two thousand years.

But the fact that it’s understandable doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t justify what they’ve done to the Arabs to get the land. Their own suffering has blinded them to the suffering they’re causing others. That’s what makes it so tragic.

There are hundreds of ethnic groups in the world that don’t have their own country. But if we needed our own, the land should have been taken from the Germans. That would’ve been fair. The Arabs didn’t have anything to do with the Holocaust or with the expulsion by the Romans.

For the Zionists, Israel was a wonderful dream — a place where Jews could be safe and our culture could flourish. But it’s a terrible reality — war and the oppression of another people.

William: Do you see any way out?

Hannah: Well, I do. But this could be just wishful thinking, trying to see a glimmer of good in all this grief. It seems to me that this horrible insoluble dilemma is generating a crux of pressure, a desperate energy that may be able to spring humanity into its next stage.

Stan: And what might that be? Pray tell.

Hannah: I know this sounds grandiose and impossible, but so have a lot of major shifts in human development right before they happened. I’m hoping this is the start of our species finally outgrowing its need for group identities. Having all these groups — familial, tribal, ethnic, national — leads to battles. But now we may be getting ready to view humanity as one unified group. We could be going through the birth pains of a new era in which we realize the whole world is our family.

This terrible knot of problems in Israel/Palestine comes from group identities — religion, ethnicity, nationalism. It seems to be a knot that can’t be untangled, so we’ll have to cut through it. We’ll have to start cutting loose from these identities, leaving them behind, dismantling the structures, stop thinking of ourselves as Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians, get beyond the whole deadly game of separation. This might be a long, slow process, but now is the time to start. Every step we can make in that direction will help. There’s no other way out.

The problems around Jerusalem are really a microcosm of the problems of the world. Since they’re most intense there, that’s where the breakthrough can happen. Whatever we can do to reduce the separating identities — tear down national boundaries, dissolve ethnicity, eliminate the gap between rich and poor — will bring us closer to being a human family. I’m not saying do away with differences, just divisions.

The separations have developed out of fear, because primitive life was such a struggle and humans felt so weak and vulnerable. They needed groups to survive. But now we’re at another level, and the groups have become a threat to our survival. We need to leave them behind before we can have world peace. The horrors of the Mideast could be forcing us all to this new evolutionary step.

Stan: Hosanna, Hannah! Praise the Lord! Very convincing. You’re good at arguments. That’s why you’re a good attorney. Too bad you’re not a divorce lawyer — we could save a bundle.

But the end result of all this idealism is that Israel goes down the tubes.

Hannah: Maybe so, as the first of many obsolete nations to fall apart and evolve into something more humane — a world family.


“The Split” is a chapter from RADICAL PEACE: People Refusing War, which presents the experiences of war resisters, deserters, and peace activists in the USA, Europe, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Other chapters are posted on a page of the publisher’s website at

William T. Hathaway is an adjunct professor of American studies at the University of Oldenburg in Germany. His previous book, SUMMER SNOW, tells of an American warrior in Central Asia who falls in love with a Sufi Muslim and learns from her an alternative to the military mentality. His other books include A WORLD OF HURT (Rinehart Foundation Award) and CD-RING. A selection of his writing is available at

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Libya: NATO’s Latest Charnal House

by Stephen Lendman


When NATO intervenes, massacres, mass destruction, and indescribable human misery follow. Libya is its latest trophy.

Judge for yourself. View another snapshot of the “new Libya:”

Once Africa’s most developed country, it’s now a horrific charnal house. No one knows the true toll or ever will, but minimally it includes tens of thousands dead, multiples more injured, vast destruction across large parts of the country, terrified millions not knowing what’s next, imperial occupation, plunder of Libya’s resources, and continued conflict and violence like Afghanistan and Iraq.

As a result, expect Libya to boil for years, and why not with recruited rebel gangs enlisted to reign terror. Many are members of the Al Qaeda linked Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), terrorists opposed to Gaddafi since the mid-1990s.

On December 8, 2004, the US Treasury Department designated LIFG a Foreign Terrorist Organization, saying it:

“threatens global safety and stability through the use of violence and its ideological alliance with (Al Qaeda) and other brutal terrorists organizations.”

Directed on the ground by US, UK, Qatari, and Jordanian special forces, insurgents also include untrained Libyans and civilians from regional countries, as well as recruited members of Gaddafi’s military.

Appointed top military commander last March, Khalifa Hifter is in charge, a man who spent two decades in suburban Virginia, about 20 miles from CIA headquarters. In fact, since the 1980s, he’s been an anti-Gaddafi CIA asset.

Now he’s directing paramilitary killers terrorizing areas they control, exposing Washington’s contempt for human life and welfare everywhere, including at home.

On August 29, headlined: “KILLINGS: Libya rebels said to be murdering Black Aftican migrant workers,” saying:

African Union (AU) chairman Jean Ping said “Libyan rebels may be indiscriminately killing black people,” believing migrant guest workers are pro-Gaddafi mercenaries.

On August 29, described a Libyan “bloodbath,” affecting Black Africans found murdered with their hands tied behind their backs.

Earlier images showed beatings, summary executions, lynchings, beheadings, desecrated corpses, and at least one instance of a Gaddafi loyalist suspended upside-down soaked in blood. Alongside him stood a rebel fighter with a long knife alternatively hacking and sawing on his neck.

As a result, tens of thousands of innocent civilians now face possible revenge killings, summary executions and mass slaughter either for seeking work in the wrong country at the wrong time or being a Gaddafi loyalist.

On August 30, Amnesty International (AI) headlined, “Libya: Fears for Detainees Held by Anti-Gaddafi Forces,” saying:

Black Africans are especially at risk. AI representatives “witness(ed their) being targeted in Tripoli on Monday.”

“Within an hour, (AI saw) one man being hit and (another) dragged out of his hospital bed to an unknown fate. We have to fear for what may be happening to detainees out of the sight of independent observers.”

On August 29, Canada’s Globe and Mail writer Graeme Smith headlined, “Atrocities raise concerns about Libyan rebels’ ability to control country,” saying:

A Gaddafi soldier tried to surrender and was shot in a hail of bullets. In Tripoli alone, mass graves were discovered, “and reporters noticed many more bodies lying beside the road.”

Every new report about rebel atrocities “adds to concerns about whether they can keep control of the country. (They) also cause concern among foreign supporters,” especially because NATO recruited, funded, armed, and continues to direct them.

According to University of Ottawa Professor Stuart Hendin, “Individuals within the NATO command structure could be exposed to allegations of aiding and abetting.”

In fact, of course, NATO orchestrated what’s ongoing, with US, UK and other special forces directing it.

On August 31, Mathaba headlined, “Rebel atrocities and ability to control Libya,” saying:

“Mass graves, racist atrocities, (and) prisoner abuse(s) (have been discovered) in rebel controlled areas.”

“More than 30,000 Libyan civilians have been massacred in the first week of the NATO-supported ground invasion, led by Al-Qaida and European special forces working side by side.”

France 24 correspondent Matthieu Mabin wrote:

“We are undoubtedly entering the saddest phase of the conflict, and it is likely that the (National Transitional Council) and the rebels will have to account for their abuses. We have reached a degree of cleansing that appears to be totally out of control….”

AI’s Diana Eltahawy said captured Gaddafi loyalists face torture, other forms of abuse, and summary executions.

In July, Big Peace writer John Rosenthal said:

“There is extensive and virtually incontrovertible evidence of horrific atrocities committed by rebel forces,” including unaired Western media graphic images of “grotesquely inhumane and demeaning treatment of prisoners.”

After insurgents entered Tripoli, it got worse. AP reported “streets where rebel fighters bombarded snipers loyal to (Gaddafi were) strewn with bullet-ridden corpses from both sides Thursday. Streams of blood ran down the gutters and turned sewers red.”

In areas under rebel control, death, destruction, mass looting, lack of public services, and terrorized civilians are the order of the day.

More of the same is likely ahead, but don’t expect Western media to explain or even stay on the Libya story once the “euphoria” of NATO triumphalism subsides.

Of concern are recent polls showing Gaddafi enjoyed overwhelming support. As a result, most Libyans remain vulnerable to revenge killings or other abuses.

Western Media Complicit in Inciting Genocide

Throughout months of conflict, Western media, especially America’s, cheerled what they should have condemned. As a result, international law holds them culpable for “direct” and “public” incitement to commit Genocide.

A previous article explained, accessed through the following link: Nato’s Genocidal Rape of Libya

After rebels entered Tripoli guns blazing, a reprehensible August 22 Washington Post editorial headlined, “US action helped cause of freedom in Libya,” saying:

“The initial euphoria in Tripoli and Benghazi represents the beginning of a new chapter for Libya….(Ahead), look at the benefits if Libya begins to move toward democracy. (It) means young Libyans may be able to envision a healthy future for themselves instead of joining terrorist groups out of frustration and anger.”

The piece praised Obama for making it possible. In fact, he’s a multiply unindicted war criminal for waging six wars and numerous proxy ones.

One day, his legacy will highlight his culpability for unconscionable crimes of war and against humanity, not least of which includes using thousands of US Special Forces death squads in at least 75 countries.

As part of a global killing machine, they’re unaccountable lawless assassins, murdering thousands where they’re deployed with impunity. Some are in Libya directing insurgents for the same purpose.

Expect them to remain to keep reigning terror ahead. That’s the new reality on the ground, not one Obama called free “in the hands of the Libyan people.”

Fact checking the Post editorial

Expecting full disclosure truth from any Western media source is self-delusion at best, clueless acceptable of what should be condemned at worst.

In fact, Washington-led NATO lawlessly attacked a nonbelligerent country, turning it into a hellish inferno – a dystopian charnel house.

Obama, Cameron, Sarkozy and other NATO partners are war criminals.

Their contempt for rule of law principles, democracy, and human rights is palpable.

They plan colonizing, occupying, exploiting, and carving up the Libya corpse for profit.

Pre-NATO Libya no longer exists.

In its place stands a cauldron of violence, desolation, depravation, despair, fear, and hatred for Western enemies of Libyan freedom.

Ahead, expect protracted conflict, internal strife, resistance to foreign occupiers, and violence as a way of life instead of peace and personal welfare.

Moreover, gone are Gaddafi-provided free education to the highest level (including abroad), first world healthcare, housing assistance, and other social services to be privatized and sold at high prices to Libyans able to afford them.

In an August 30 Minneapolis speech to the American Legion, Obama praised “our brave forces who helped the Libyan people finally break free from the grip of (Gaddafi).”

On August 22, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen claimed “they have a chance for a new beginning,” adding:

“Now is the time to create a new Libya – a state based on freedom, not fear; democracy, not dictatorship; the will of the many, not the whims of a few.”

No matter that 85% of Libyans support the “old” Libya under Gaddafi and want him retained.

Moreover, they revile NATO partners and rebel killers with good reason. They plan continued terror under occupation, plundering Libya’s resources, exploiting its people, and militarizing the country for enforcement.

Like Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis and others, Libyans know Washington and NATO plan dominance, persecution and exploitation, not liberation, equal rights, and efforts to promote human welfare, notions they find abhorrent.

As a result, hopefully, they’ll resist heroically to be free from what no one should tolerate.

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