Archive | September 12th, 2011

Palestinian factions divided over UN bid


From time to time, the Palestine Center distributes articles it believes will enhance understanding of the Palestinian political reality. The following article by Ayman Abu Shanab was published by Maan News Agency on 12 September 2011.

“Palestinian factions divided over UN bid”

By Ayman Abu Shanab

As President Mahmoud Abbas prepares to submit a bid for recognition of Palestine as the UN’s 194th member, Palestinian factions are divided over the campaign.

Abbas will head to New York on Monday ahead of the General Assembly’s annual session, while the US has already vowed to veto Palestine’s request for full UN membership at any Security Council vote.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine has announced its support for the UN campaign.

“We support the Palestinian leadership’s plan to go to the UN because that is a natural right of the Palestinians and part of the political battle against Israeli occupation,” says Kayid Al-Ghoul, member of the PFLP’s politburo.

Al-Ghoul believes the UN bid will mark the end of bilateral negotiations with Israel, after which the UN should try to find a new political process by holding an international conference. The main goal of this conference will be to approve mechanisms to put UN resolutions related to the Palestinians’ rights into effect.

“Regardless of the outcome, this step should be part of the political battle we fight against occupation. It will also be an opportunity to enlarge the circle of solidarity with the Palestinian people’s rights, and to expose Israel’s policies and the supportive US policy,” the PFLP official said.

Al-Ghoul says he is concerned that Palestinian officials have referred to the possibility of canceling the UN bid if they received new offers to resume peace negotiations with Israel.

Canceling the bid would harm the Palestinian position and create political rivalry, Al-Ghoul said, adding that it would suggest the whole campaign was just a tactic aimed at returning to negotiations.

The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine also supports the UN bid.

DFLP politburo member Salih Nasser says it is a Palestinian demand and a national necessity “to end the US domination of peace negotiations because it has been practically proved that the US is aligned with Israel.”

He added that the UN bid would urge the international community to uphold its responsibilities as well as putting pressure on Israel.

Nasser encouraged the Palestinian public to support the campaign.

The Popular Struggle Front considers the UN initiative an attempt to get the international community to take its responsibilities and face the Israeli violations against the Palestinian people.

The Palestinian National Initiative supports the UN bid as “the last option for two states,” secretary-general Mustafa Barghouti told reporters at a press briefing on Saturday.

“The time has come for an alternative. There is no space or place for talks,” Barghouti said, adding that the campaign was “an outcry toward the international community for a two-state solution.”

“We won’t be slaves to apartheid for the rest of our lives,” the PNI leader said. “If South Sudan could get statehood in 48 hours, then Palestinians should get it.”

Barghouti said the reaction of Israel and the US to the proposal convinced him that it “might be the right step.”

Hamas, however, does not support the bid for UN recognition on the grounds that it is a unilateral move by the president.

Hamas official Musheer Al-Masri says the bid is an “individual step taken by President Abbas without consulting any faction.”

Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar says the Gaza Strip, which Hamas controls, has been left out of the campaign.

“Nobody has asked the people in Gaza to take to the streets showing solidarity with the so-called September bid. If the Palestinian Authority calls for that, we will oppose it because they detain people in the West Bank. How can I give them the right to demonstrate in Gaza, while they do not give us that right in the West Bank?”

Islamic Jihad also criticized the PA for launching the bid unilaterally.

“This move needs to be studied to make sure it will not ignore major issues such as the right of return, and the future of the Palestine Liberation Organization as a umbrella for the whole Palestinian people,” said Islamic Jihad spokesman Dawood Shihab.

Shibab added that Islamic Jihad had reservations toward the UN bid, and that a state could not be announced under occupation.

The Islamic Jihad official said he expected the campaign to fail without Palestinian consensus.

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on Palestinian factions divided over UN bid

Walter Fauntroy, Feared Dead in Libya, Returns Home—Guess Who He Saw Doing the Killing? (Hint–It wasn’t the Libyans)


by Valencia Mohammed, Special to the AFRO

Former U.S. Congressman Walter Fauntroy, who recently returned from a self-sanctioned peace mission to Libya, said he went into hiding for about a month in Libya after witnessing horrifying events in Libya’s bloody civil war — a war that Fauntroy claims is backed by European forces.

Fauntroy’s sudden disappearance prompted rumors and news reports that he had been killed.

 In an interview inside his Northwest D.C. home last week, the noted civil rights leader, told the Afro that he watched French and Danish troops storm small villages late at night beheading, maiming and killing rebels and loyalists to show them who was in control.

“‘What the hell’ I’m thinking to myself. I’m getting out of here. So I went in hiding,” Fauntroy said.

The rebels told Fauntroy they had been told by the European forces to stay inside. According to Fauntroy, the European forces would tell the rebels, “‘Look at what you did.’ In other words, the French and Danish were ordering the bombings and killings, and giving credit to the rebels.

“The truth about all this will come out later,” Fauntroy said.

While in Libya, the former congressman also said he sat down with Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi for a one-on-one conversation. Gaddafi has ruled Libya since 1969, when he seized power in a military coup.

Fauntroy said he spoke with Gaddafi in person and that Gaddafi assured him that if he survived these attacks, the mission to unite African countries would continue.

“Contrary to what is being reported in the press, from what I heard and observed, more than 90 percent of the Libyan people love Gaddafi,” Fauntroy said. “We believe the true mission of the attacks on Gaddafi is to prevent all efforts by African leaders to stop the recolonization of Africa.”

Several months ago, Gaddafi’s leadership faced its biggest challenge. In February, a radical protest movement called the Arab Spring spread across Libya. When Gaddafi responded by dispatching military and plainclothes paramilitary to the streets to attack demonstrators, it turned into a civil war with the assistance of NATO and the United Nations.

Fauntroy’s account could not be immediately verified by the Afro and the U.S. State Department has not substantiated Fauntroy’s version of events. Fauntroy was not acting as an official representative of the U.S. in Libya. He returned to Washington, D.C. on Aug. 31.

When rumors spread about Fauntroy being killed he went underground, he told the Afro in an interview. Fauntroy said for more than a month he decided not to contact his family but to continue the mission to speak with African spiritual leaders about a movement to unify Africa despite the Arab uprisings.

“I’m still here,” Fauntroy said, pointing to several parts of his body. “I’ve got all my fingers and toes. I’m extremely lucky to be here.”

After blogs and rumors reported Fauntroy had been killed, the congressional office of Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) announced on Aug. 24, that she had been in touch with authorities who confirmed Fauntroy was safely in the care of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Inside his home, Fauntroy pulled out several memoirs and notebooks to explain why he traveled to Libya at a time when it was going through civil unrest.

“This recent trip to Libya was part of a continuous mission that started under Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he gave me orders to join four African countries on the continent with four in the African Diaspora to restore the continent to its pre-colonial status,” Fauntroy said.

“We want Africa to be the breadbasket of the world,” he said. “Currently, all the major roads in every country throughout Africa lead to ports that take its natural resources and wealth outside the continent to be sold to the European markets.”

Posted in LibyaComments Off on Walter Fauntroy, Feared Dead in Libya, Returns Home—Guess Who He Saw Doing the Killing? (Hint–It wasn’t the Libyans)

I’d rather not be Anna: Arundhati Roy

The Hindu

If what we’re watching on TV is indeed a revolution, then it has to be one of the more embarrassing and unintelligible ones of recent times. For now, whatever questions you may have about the Jan Lokpal Bill, here are the answers you’re likely to get: tick the box — (a) Vande Mataram (b) Bharat Mata ki Jai (c) India is Anna, Anna is India (d) Jai Hind.

For completely different reasons, and in completely different ways, you could say that the Maoists and the Jan Lokpal Bill have one thing in common — they both seek the overthrow of the Indian State. One working from the bottom up, by means of an armed struggle, waged by a largely adivasi army, made up of the poorest of the poor. The other, from the top down, by means of a bloodless Gandhian coup, led by a freshly minted saint, and an army of largely urban, and certainly better off people. (In this one, the Government collaborates by doing everything it possibly can to overthrow itself.)

In April 2011, a few days into Anna Hazare’s first “fast unto death,” searching for some way of distracting attention from the massive corruption scams which had battered its credibility, the Government invited Team Anna, the brand name chosen by this “civil society” group, to be part of a joint drafting committee for a new anti-corruption law. A few months down the line it abandoned that effort and tabled its own bill in Parliament, a bill so flawed that it was impossible to take seriously.

Then, on August 16th, the morning of his second “fast unto death,” before he had begun his fast or committed any legal offence, Anna Hazare was arrested and jailed. The struggle for the implementation of the Jan Lokpal Bill now coalesced into a struggle for the right to protest, the struggle for democracy itself. Within hours of this ‘Second Freedom Struggle,’ Anna was released. Cannily, he refused to leave prison, but remained in Tihar jail as an honoured guest, where he began a fast, demanding the right to fast in a public place.

For three days, while crowds and television vans gathered outside, members of Team Anna whizzed in and out of the high security prison, carrying out his video messages, to be broadcast on national TV on all channels. (Which other person would be granted this luxury?) Meanwhile 250 employees of the Municipal Commission of Delhi, 15 trucks, and six earth movers worked around the clock to ready the slushy Ramlila grounds for the grand weekend spectacle. Now, waited upon hand and foot, watched over by chanting crowds and crane-mounted cameras, attended to by India’s most expensive doctors, the third phase of Anna’s fast to the death has begun. “From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, India is One,” the TV anchors tell us.

While his means may be Gandhian, Anna Hazare’s demands are certainly not. Contrary to Gandhiji’s ideas about the decentralisation of power, the Jan Lokpal Bill is a draconian, anti-corruption law, in which a panel of carefully chosen people will administer a giant bureaucracy, with thousands of employees, with the power to police everybody from the Prime Minister, the judiciary, members of Parliament, and all of the bureaucracy, down to the lowest government official. The Lokpal will have the powers of investigation, surveillance, and prosecution. Except for the fact that it won’t have its own prisons, it will function as an independent administration, meant to counter the bloated, unaccountable, corrupt one that we already have. Two oligarchies, instead of just one.

Whether it works or not depends on how we view corruption. Is corruption just a matter of legality, of financial irregularity and bribery, or is it the currency of a social transaction in an egregiously unequal society, in which power continues to be concentrated in the hands of a smaller and smaller minority? Imagine, for example, a city of shopping malls, on whose streets hawking has been banned. A hawker pays the local beat cop and the man from the municipality a small bribe to break the law and sell her wares to those who cannot afford the prices in the malls. Is that such a terrible thing? In future will she have to pay the Lokpal representative too? Does the solution to the problems faced by ordinary people lie in addressing the structural inequality, or in creating yet another power structure that people will have to defer to?

Meanwhile the props and the choreography, the aggressive nationalism and flag waving of Anna’s Revolution are all borrowed, from the anti-reservation protests, the world-cup victory parade, and the celebration of the nuclear tests. They signal to us that if we do not support The Fast, we are not ‘true Indians.’ The 24-hour channels have decided that there is no other news in the country worth reporting.

‘The Fast’ of course doesn’t mean Irom Sharmila’s fast that has lasted for more than ten years (she’s being force fed now) against the AFSPA, which allows soldiers in Manipur to kill merely on suspicion. It does not mean the relay hunger fast that is going on right now by ten thousand villagers in Koodankulam protesting against the nuclear power plant. ‘The People’ does not mean the Manipuris who support Irom Sharmila’s fast. Nor does it mean the thousands who are facing down armed policemen and mining mafias in Jagatsinghpur, or Kalinganagar, or Niyamgiri, or Bastar, or Jaitapur. Nor do we mean the victims of the Bhopal gas leak, or the people displaced by dams in the Narmada Valley. Nor do we mean the farmers in NOIDA, or Pune or Haryana or elsewhere in the country, resisting the takeover of the land.

‘The People’ only means the audience that has gathered to watch the spectacle of a 74-year-old man threatening to starve himself to death if his Jan Lokpal Bill is not tabled and passed by Parliament. ‘The People’ are the tens of thousands who have been miraculously multiplied into millions by our TV channels, like Christ multiplied the fishes and loaves to feed the hungry. “A billion voices have spoken,” we’re told. “India is Anna.”

Who is he really, this new saint, this Voice of the People? Oddly enough we’ve heard him say nothing about things of urgent concern. Nothing about the farmer’s suicides in his neighbourhood, or about Operation Green Hunt further away. Nothing about Singur, Nandigram, Lalgarh, nothing about Posco, about farmer’s agitations or the blight of SEZs. He doesn’t seem to have a view about the Government’s plans to deploy the Indian Army in the forests of Central India.

He does however support Raj Thackeray’s Marathi Manoos xenophobia and has praised the ‘development model’ of Gujarat’s Chief Minister who oversaw the 2002 pogrom against Muslims. (Anna withdrew that statement after a public outcry, but presumably not his admiration.)

Despite the din, sober journalists have gone about doing what journalists do. We now have the back-story about Anna’s old relationship with the RSS. We have heard from Mukul Sharma who has studied Anna’s village community in Ralegan Siddhi, where there have been no Gram Panchayat or Co-operative society elections in the last 25 years. We know about Anna’s attitude to ‘harijans’: “It was Mahatma Gandhi’s vision that every village should have one chamar, one sunar, one kumhar and so on. They should all do their work according to their role and occupation, and in this way, a village will be self-dependant.

This is what we are practicing in Ralegan Siddhi.” Is it surprising that members of Team Anna have also been associated with Youth for Equality, the anti-reservation (pro-“merit”) movement? The campaign is being handled by people who run a clutch of generously funded NGOs whose donors include Coca-Cola and the Lehman Brothers. Kabir, run by Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia, key figures in Team Anna, has received $400,000 from the Ford Foundation in the last three years. Among contributors to the India Against Corruption campaign there are Indian companies and foundations that own aluminum plants, build ports and SEZs, and run Real Estate businesses and are closely connected to politicians who run financial empires that run into thousands of crores of rupees. Some of them are currently being investigated for corruption and other crimes. Why are they all so enthusiastic?

Remember the campaign for the Jan Lokpal Bill gathered steam around the same time as embarrassing revelations by Wikileaks and a series of scams, including the 2G spectrum scam, broke, in which major corporations, senior journalists, and government ministers and politicians from the Congress as well as the BJP seem to have colluded in various ways as hundreds of thousands of crores of rupees were being siphoned off from the public exchequer. For the first time in years, journalist-lobbyists were disgraced and it seemed as if some major Captains of Corporate India could actually end up in prison. Perfect timing for a people’s anti-corruption agitation. Or was it?

At a time when the State is withdrawing from its traditional duties and Corporations and NGOs are taking over government functions (water supply, electricity, transport, telecommunication, mining, health, education); at a time when the terrifying power and reach of the corporate owned media is trying to control the public imagination, one would think that these institutions — the corporations, the media, and NGOs — would be included in the jurisdiction of a Lokpal bill. Instead, the proposed bill leaves them out completely.

Now, by shouting louder than everyone else, by pushing a campaign that is hammering away at the theme of evil politicians and government corruption, they have very cleverly let themselves off the hook. Worse, by demonising only the Government they have built themselves a pulpit from which to call for the further withdrawal of the State from the public sphere and for a second round of reforms — more privatisation, more access to public infrastructure and India’s natural resources. It may not be long before Corporate Corruption is made legal and renamed a Lobbying Fee.

Will the 830 million people living on Rs.20 a day really benefit from the strengthening of a set of policies that is impoverishing them and driving this country to civil war?

This awful crisis has been forged out of the utter failure of India’s representative democracy, in which the legislatures are made up of criminals and millionaire politicians who have ceased to represent its people. In which not a single democratic institution is accessible to ordinary people. Do not be fooled by the flag waving. We’re watching India being carved up in war for suzerainty that is as deadly as any battle being waged by the warlords of Afghanistan, only with much, much more at stake.

Posted in Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on I’d rather not be Anna: Arundhati Roy

Mondoweiss Online Newsletter


George W. Bush in the remainder bin of history

Sep 11, 2011

Lizzy Ratner

Earlier today I quietly imploded when I read that George W. Bush, our former man-child president, “drew a brief cheer from the crowd” before reading a letter from Abraham Lincoln to a Civil War mother at today’s Ground Zero ceremony.  George W. Bush! The man who froze over a copy of My Pet Goat when he learned that a commercial jetliner had struck the World Trade Center, whose response was to go cowboy, invading two countries not one while failing to capture Osama Bin Laden in either (for obvious reasons), who brought us Guantanamo, the Patriot Act, water-boarding, Abu Ghraib, AND a recession. This man belongs in a prison cell for war crimes, not on the receiving end of applause.

And yet, as I struggle to assimilate all of this, resist the urge to call it quits on this crazy country once and for all, I take some tiny shard of consolation — or pleasure, really — in a recent sight I was lucky enough to see at a Borders Bookstore bankruptcy sale near Cleveland, Ohio. There, on several prominent rungs of bookshelf, not far from the signs advertising $75 for a Borders light fixture (since everything must go!), I saw a large cache of unsold Bush biographies.Bush remaindered e1315792351636  Yes, I know, the book sold brilliantly when it came out last year, it was reassuring to know that at least in this one small eastern corner of the heartland, Bush and his presidential legacy were right where they belonged: unclaimed, rejected, floating in the remainder bin of a bankrupt cultural bazaar.


US ambassador to Israel calls for ‘stronger commitment to Zionist education’ in US to overcome young Jews’ disaffection

Sep 11, 2011

Philip Weiss

Dan Shapiro, the new ambassador to Israel for the Obama administration, is doing major outreach for Obama. He glowingly describes his Zionist bona fides in this speech to the Jewish People Policy Institute five days ago.

Not a word about settlements or the occupation or Palestinian human rights. (When even Ahmadinejad is criticizing Syria!) Here is the closest Shapiro comes to referring to settlements:

When an effort was made to insert the United Nations into matters that should be resolved through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians in February of this year, we vetoed it.

Then noting how committed he and his family are to Israel, he notes the American trend is against them:

The percentage of our friends who, like us, have chosen to address issues of concern to the Jewish community, including Israel, prominently in their professional lives never ceases to amaze me.  But it may be deceptive.  Much research has shown that growing numbers of younger American Jews feel disconnected, or at best ambivalent, toward Israel.  Valuable programs like Birthright have exposed many to this connection, but many more have not been reached.

As JPPI and others have observed, a stronger commitment to Zionist education for American Jewish youth could do much to strengthen bonds that we want to be even stronger in the next generation, but may not be if left untended.

Sullivan takes spears for Mearsheimer

Sep 11, 2011

Philip Weiss

Sullivan has an excerpt of a piece John Mearsheimer wrote in 2001 saying that the U.S. shouldn’t invade Afghanistan. Sullivan: “And this is another reminder of the strategic brilliance of Mearsheimer, a man subjected to a vicious smear campaign because of his resistance to the Greater Israel Lobby.”

This is courage. Sullivan has a mainstream perch. He is spending political capital on an important issue. As Mearsheimer himself says, Tenure means that you are supposed to speak out on important issues. And being a columnist is supposed to mean the same thing…

Krugman seems to want to talk about pundit-class responsibility for Iraq disaster

Sep 11, 2011


Krugman sounds pissed. His NYT 9/11 commemoration column is called The Years of Shame. It’s brief, this is half of it.

And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.

A lot of other people behaved badly. How many of our professional pundits — people who should have understood very well what was happening — took the easy way out, turning a blind eye to the corruption and lending their support to the hijacking of the atrocity?

The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.

I’m not going to allow comments on this post, for obvious reasons.


On September 11, 2011

Sep 11, 2011

Shakeel Syed

My tears are more than a drop – they are an ocean pregnant with silent sorrows

In it are my tears for the thousands on the morning of september eleven [1]
Those who were dressed in slacks and shorts, and
Those who were running or being run in the strollers
… full of colors and cheers were they.

They were each on their own way but apart from one another, and yet …
Every one of them were one created by the same One

My tears are more than a drop – they are an ocean pregnant with silent sorrows

In it are my tears for the millions since october seven [2]
Those who were shirtless and in jilbabs [3]
Those who were plowing their fields and playing with their children
… full of life and love were they.

They were each on their own way but apart from one another, and yet …
Every one of them were one created by the same One

My tears are more than a drop – they are an ocean pregnant with silent sorrows

In it are my tears for tens of thousands since march nineteen [4]
Those who were shoeless and in burqas [5]
Those who were idling around the corner and learning in madrassat [6]
… full of hope and happiness were they.

They were each on their own way but apart from one another, and yet …
Every one of them were one created by the same One

My tears are more than a drop – they are an ocean pregnant with silent sorrows

In it are my tears for the hundreds since january eleven [7]
Those who were innocent fathers and carefree sons
Those who were simply striving and shyly singing
… full of mercy and mischief were they

My tears are more than a drop – they are an ocean pregnant with silent sorrows

My tears are for all and not for some
My sorrow is same for the New Yorkers, the Baghdadis and the Kabulis
My grief is equal for the Washingtonians and the West Bankers
My love is for all and not only for some

My tears are more than a drop – they are an ocean pregnant with silent sorrows

Shakeel Syed is the Executive Director at Islamic Shura Council of Southern California.


[1] The infamous terrorist attack (9.11.2001)
[2] U.S. invasion on Afghanistan (10.7.2001)
[3] Head to toe skirt that Arab women wear
[4] U.S. invasion on Iraq (3.17.2003)
[5] The south Asian version of Arab women’s attire
[6] Literally – translated as a school
[7] First batch of detainees brought into Guantanamo (1.11.2002)


Guess it wasn’t Saddam after all: Israeli media now trying to pin 9/11 on Hezbollah and Iran

Sep 11, 2011


Was Iran behind 9/11?
Ynet: US lawsuit charges that Iran, Hezbollah involved in facilitation of September 11 attacks. Ynetnews presents special report about dramatic revelations that could change everything we knew about 9/11.

And more news from Today in Palestine:

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

OCHA: Movement restrictions in occupied West Bank affecting 200,000 Palestinians
A fresh report by OCHA said that the Israeli occupation authorities set up 522 obstacles across the West Bank, marking a four percent increase since a similar report made June 2010.
link to Palestinian Information Center

Illegal in their own country
The Jaouni family, fighting for their right to remain in Jerusalem, is stuck in an area annexed to the capital but left outside the separation wall.
link to

Israel Targets Vittorio Arrigone School in Embattled Jordan Valley
As schools around the world begin another year of instruction, one school, near to completion in one of the most grief-stricken and resilient areas of occupied Palestine, has suffered a massive set-back because the Israeli military has carried away its infrastructure- the Vittorio Arrigone school, in the small village of Ras Al Auja
link to

In occupied Nablus, people live inside a 6-kilometer radius and dream of a normal life, Lynn Gottlieb
George Rishmawi is a dedicated activist from Beit Sahour who I’ve known since 1999 when we stood in front of Deiheshe Refugee Camp as he told the story of Palestinian nonviolent resistance against the background of the ordeals of occupation. Over the years we have visited each other’s homes and met at conferences. I have had the opportunity to travel with George through the varied landscapes of Palestine which he knows so well and meet his network of friends and associates from Hebron in the south to Jenin in the north. Today Dara, Jared and I joined George as he translated speeches from elected officials in Jenin to a special program out of the University of California schools called the Olive Tree Initiative. About 33 Jewish, Israeli, Palestinian, Muslim and Christian students travel together to learn each other’s narratives and develop a sensitivity to ‘the situation’ by being on the ground.


Press Release: Israeli settlers set fire to an house-tent in the palestinian village of Susiya
At-Tuwani – During the night between the 8th and the 9th of September settlers from the Israeli settlement of Suseya set fire to a house-tent in the palestinian village of Susiya. Around 1.00 am the settlers took a tyre that was inserted in a nearby wall, set fire to it and threw it against the outside wall of the house. The plastic tent covering the house took fire immediately. The owner, awakened by the smoke was able to move out a of the tent a gas cylinder that was near the fire; once out of the burning tent the man saw some torch lights in the valley below the village heading toward the settlement of Suseya. When Israeli army and police arrived, called by the villagers, the lights were still in sight but nor the soldiers nor the policemen followed or stopped the people carrying them.
link to

Salfit farmers say settlers unleashed pigs on their land
SALFIT (Ma’an) — Farmers say Israeli settlers unleashed pigs overnight Saturday to destroy their land in Salfit in the northern West Bank. Palestinian farmers told Ma’an that the pigs destroyed a fence and broke branches on fig trees. They said they were afraid to remain on their land and appealed for help to protect their property.
link to

French JDL recruiting Jews with military experience to ‘defend’ Israeli settlements
Rightist group, founded by late Rabbi Meir Kahane, is bringing volunteers to counter Palestinian marches on settlements planned for week of September 20.
link to

Palestinian Activism / Israeli Regime Against Protesters

Help us release Ni’lin’s Ibrahim Srour from Israeli prison
When I was in prison for organizing protest in my village of Bil’in, I knew that if I make bail or have to pay a fine to be released, someone would pay it. Worrying about such technicalities was literally the last thing on my mind. But now that I am free and other protesters are in prison, that knowledge has turned into a responsibility. My responsibility is to make sure other don’t have to worry about it as well.
link to

Two Arrested, Pepper Spray Used As Activists Try to Tear Down Fence In Beit Ommar
Today, twenty-five Palestinian, international, and Israeli activists peacefully marched towards an Israeli Apartheid fence built on Palestinian land in the village of Beit Ommar. When they reached the fence, several activists attempted to pull the fence down as an act of symbolism against the occupation and apartheid system in Palestine, while others peacefully demonstrated on the other side of the fence on Route 60. After ten minutes of trying to bring down the fence and protesting, several Israeli military jeeps arrived and the activists stopped pulling on the fence, and joined the others on the other side of the fence on the road.
link to

a-Nabi Saleh: demonstration dispersed before it begins
link to

Palestinians hold non-violent protests in four West Bank villages
This week, non-violent weekly protests in four villages were in support of UN resolution 194 and in support of the statehood bid at the UN later this month
link to

Israeli Apartheid Regime Violence

IOF troops bombard Gaza suburb, fishing boats
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) fired a number of artillery shells at agricultural land in Shujaia suburb east of Gaza city at an early hour on Friday, local sources said.
link to Palestinian Information Center

PA police dismantle Israeli ordnance near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma’an) – Palestinian police on Saturday dismantled ordnance left by Israeli soldiers in a village south of Nablus, officials said. Authorities responded to a call after a man discovered an ambiguous object in the Qabalan village, police said. The object was dismantled without causing any injuries, the officials said. Police reminded residents never to approach such objects, which could be dangerous.
link to

Medics: Israeli forces shell car in southern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Saturday fired an artillery shell at a civilian car in southern Gaza causing no injuries, medics said. Gaza medical services spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya said the car was shelled east of Khan Younis. Locals reported hearing a huge explosion near the border in the area. An Israeli military spokesman said he was not immediately aware of any shelling in the area but said he would look into it. [end] ViewDetails.aspx?ID=419067

Boycott, Sanctions & Divestment / Solidarity

How Kobe Bryant blows a hole in the Irvine 11 prosecution’s case, Max Blumenthal
Did the Irvine 11 really “shut down” Michael Oren? Or did he simply have better things to do than finish his engagement with a packed auditorium of avid pro-Israel supporters?
link to Electronic Intifada

US colleges to receive warning letters on anti-Semitism
Universities, colleges “may be liable for massive damages” if they fail to prevent anti-Semitism on campus, Israel Law Center warns. Hundreds of US college and university presidents were set to receive warning letters on Thursday morning, instructing them of their legal obligations to prevent anti-Semitism on campus. The letters also remind universities it is their legal duty to prevent university funds from being diverted to unlawful activities directed against the State of Israel.
link to

Siege on Gaza

Turkish PM will not visit Gaza (AP)
AP – Turkey’s foreign minister says the prime minister will not cross the border into the Gaza Strip during his trip to Egypt but warns that Israel faces “growing isolation” in the region.*

Haneyya: Erdogan’s visit to Gaza historic
Palestinian premier in Gaza Ismail Haneyya has said that his government was preparing for the historic visit of Turkish premier Recep Erdogan to the Strip even it was not yet formally determined.
link to Palestine Information Center

Tunisian aid convoy to enter Gaza soon
The Tunisian aid convoy Karama (dignity) left Carthage airport for Cairo on Saturday afternoon to deliver symbolic humanitarian assistance to the besieged Gaza Strip.
link to Palestine Information Center


Undercover Forces Kidnap Five Youths In Gaza
Eyewitnesses reported on Saturday evening that an undercover unit of the Israeli army infiltrated an area east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, and kidnapped five Palestinian youths, the Palestine-Info reported.
link to

Israeli navy abducts 7 Palestinian fishermen at sea
Israeli navy forces attacked and kidnapped seven Palestinian fishermen from Shati refugee camp to the northwest of Gaza city while fishing at sea off the coast of the Strip on Sunday.
link to Palestine Information Center

A Call To Release Palestinian Journalist
Lawmakers and human rights advocates must intervene to free Samer Allawi, a Palestinian who works as Afghanistan bureau chief for Al Jazeera, says the organization UFree in a press release issued today. Allawi was detained without charges by the Israeli military on Aug. 9 when he was attempting to cross into Jordan from the West Bank, where he had been visiting family. He has been held in jail ever since.
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Israel bars entry of books into jails
RAMALLAH: The Palestinian Prisoners Club (Nadi Al-Asir) on Saturday said that the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) barred the entry of books into prisons. The club said that the IPS barred the entry of books, of all its fields, into 23 prisons and detention camps as punishment against some 7,000 Palestinian prisoners. The club said that it prevented the families from bringing books to their relatives during their visitation. In early July, the Israeli security authorities decided to bar six Palestinian families from entering Israel for smuggling cell phones into prisons. It added that the Palestinian prisoners who are held in solitary confinement are “the biggest sufferers from the Israeli decision since the books are a sole source of engagement for them.”
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Racism / Discrimination

Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to dominate UN racism conference, Thalif Deen
A high-level UN meeting on racism, scheduled to take place later this month, looks set to be dominated by questions relating to Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
link to Electronic Intifada

Kiryat Arba culture center courts controversy
Kiryat Arba’s answer to artist boycott: The local council near Hebron where a culture center is set to open next week is mulling a proposal whereby only performers who served in the military will be welcome to perform at the center. The proposal also states that artists hoping to perform at the center will have to declare their loyalty to the State of Israel. But that is not all – they will be forced to undergo an “audition” from a spiritual committee led by Rabbi Dov Lior in order to certify that the content of the performance does not go against the character of the settlement.
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Political / Diplomatic / International

Since the Egyptian-brokered “tahdiya” (“calming”) between Israel and Palestinian groups in Gaza took effect June 19, rocket attacks from Gaza have decreased, and Israeli public pressure on the GOE to stop smuggling via tunnels into Gaza has relaxed. However, smuggling remains an important security issue. We are working closely with Egypt to develop a comprehensive counter-smuggling strategy. Assisting the GOE with deployment of a U.S.-supplied counter-tunneling system on the Egypt-Gaza border provides Egypt with an opportunity to more fully exploit tunnels and break up smuggling rings. As Egypt moves forward into a new phase of counter-smuggling efforts, we will continue our cooperation in a variety of areas: helping interdict smuggling on Egypt’s western, southern, and eastern borders; economic development in the Sinai; border security assistance; and de-mining. End summary.
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White House Memo: Obama and Abbas: From Speed Dial to Not Talking
President Obama’s relationship with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority has withered, creating more obstacles to Middle East peace.
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Abu Marzouk rules out unity deal will be implemented soon
Deputy chairman of Hamas’s political bureau Mousa Abu Marzouq has ruled out that the Hamas-Fatah unity deal signed on 4 May 2011 would be implemented anytime in the near future.
link to Palestinian Information Center

 Statehood Bid

 An Urgent Call for Transparency and Participation, Palestinian Grassroots Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign
At not more than 15 days from the UN General Assembly session on Palestine, during which the Palestinian official leadership will present an initiative on the Palestinian state to the world community, many pros and cons are being hotly debated. Yet, even without entering these debates, one of the most serious concerns is the fundamentally flawed process underlying the UN bid. It appears to be a distressing dejá-vu of past mistakes.
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 Palestinian UN envoy says delegation to announce moves regarding statehood Monday
Palestinian leadership to make decision during a meeting in Cairo that is likely to include supporters from other Arab nations.
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 Erekat says US veto will destroy peace process
JERICHO (Ma’an) — PLO official Saeb Erekat said Friday that a US veto at the Security Council of a Palestinian request to join the UN would amount to a rejection of the two-state solution, “destroying” the peace process.
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Mahmoud Abbas Hangs Tough on Palestinian Statehood ( – In a meeting with the Western press, Mahmoud Abbas talks about how the Palestinian Authority is going to push forward at the U.N. in September.*

 PFLP says it will back UN bid for membership
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine has decided to support the Palestinian bid for membership in the United Nations, the faction’s deputy secretary-general said Saturday. [end]
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 Ethan and the Israelis are “horrified” In Seeking Statehood, Palestinians Stir Concern, Ethan Bronner
Israel is horrified. To abandon Oslo, its leaders say, is to destroy any hope of negotiations, because that will rip up the legal basis for talks. If a United Nations resolution defines Palestine as within the 1967 lines, that means 500,000 Israelis will be defined as occupiers in another country. To pre-empt that, there are suggestions here to annex certain areas first or withdraw travel privileges for Palestinian officials in the West Bank. “If the Palestinians go to the United Nations, it will begin a long funeral for the peace process and negotiations,” Yuli Edelstein, Israel’s minister for public diplomacy, told a group of visitors in Tel Aviv on Thursday night.
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Egypt officer shot by Israeli forces dies from injuries
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — An Egyptian police officer shot by Israeli forces near the Egyptian border in August died from his injuries on Saturday, a rights group said. Egyptian Federation of Human Rights chairman Nadeeb Jubrail said he was informed by the military hospital in Cairo that Imad Abdul Malak had died.
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Remember that Obama never expressed concern over Cast Lead slaughter of Gaza civilians: US ‘deeply concerned’ by anti-Israel violence in EgyptWASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States is “deeply concerned” about violence in Cairo where protesters stormed the Israeli embassy, and is doing all it can to keep vital Egypt-Israel ties from fraying further, the State Department said Saturday. “We have been in contact with the Egyptian and Israeli governments about this serious incident,” and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has “reached out” to Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Amr to highlight US concerns, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
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Tantawi didn’t respond to Netanyahu, Barak during crisis
Egyptian officials claimed head of Supreme Military Council ‘could not be located’. Stranded Israeli security guards evacuated from embassy while wearing keffiyehs and Muslim garments.
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Israel sends jets to Cairo to rescue diplomats after embassy is stormed
Israel yesterday sent two airforce jets to evacuate more than 80 diplomats and family members after its embassy in Cairo was stormed by demonstrators. Six Israeli security guards were trapped until they were finally rescued by an Egyptian commando unit.
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U.S. told Egypt it must rescue Israeli embassy workers or suffer ‘consequences,’ sources say
Officials involved in attempt to resolve mob attack on Israeli embassy in Cairo say U.S. Secretary of Defense Panetta managed to speak with head of Egypt’s ruling military only after 2 hours of repeated calling.
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Netanyahu: Egypt turmoil proves need for security assurances in Mideast peace deal Speaking less than a day after Israel’s Cairo embassy was attacked by protesters, PM says Israel committed to its peace treaty with Egypt, would work to restore Turkey ties.
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Israeli exporters fear drop in Egypt trade following embassy attack; Export figures to Egypt for the first half of the year have already dropped 33%
Israeli exporters to Egypt fear a further weakening of trade between the two countries in the wake of the riots that left Israel’s embassy in Cairo ablaze over the weekend. Egypt’s government declared Saturday it is reinstating emergency laws following the protests, which reportedly left three dead and 1,000 injured and prompted the evacuation of Israel’s ambassador to Egypt and 80 other embassy staff and dependents.
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The storming of Cairo’s Israeli embassy: an eyewitness account (part I)
Despite Israeli denials, eyewitnesses verify that indeed revolutionaries broke into the Israeli Embassy in Giza, sending hundreds of documents out of the building and into the streets below.
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It’s all revolution goddamit, Sarah Carr
I don’t usually like to expound on events I haven’t witnessed first hand (I was stuck at home with flu) but can’t shut up about what happened at the Israeli Embassy last night, or more specifically the response to what happened at the Israeli Embassy last night.
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Israel is paying for Gaza war with Turkey and Egypt crises
During that fateful Hanukkah, the Israel Defense Forces attacked failing to see that war on their televisions as people saw it in Istanbul and Cairo.
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Crises with Turkey and Egypt represent a political tsunami for Israel
Netanyahu now hopes that Israel might be able to get close with Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States, who also seek to block the possibility of an Arab Spring in the region.
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BS alert, there was never peace between the people it was peace between a dictator and an apartheid regime:Beyond Cairo, Israel Sensing a Wider Siege, Ethan Bronner “Seven months after the downfall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime, Egyptian protesters tore to shreds the Israeli flag, a symbol of peace between Egypt and its eastern neighbor, after 31 years,” Aluf Benn, the editor in chief of the left-leaning Israeli newspaper Haaretz, wrote Saturday. “It seems that the flag will not return to the flagstaff anytime soon.”
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The dumbest comment of the day, As’ad AbuKhalil
“4.43pm: US blogger Daniel Serwer, who is in Cairo, reckons last night’s violence at the Israeli embassy had more to do with discontent against Egypt’s military rulers than Israel. He also suggests (see 11.12am post) that many of those protesting could be regarded as football hooligans.”  Basically, I was expecting that they would soon call the protesters terrorists.  But when I read the New York Times today, I realized that they will settle on describing them as “football hooligans”.  My Egyptian comrade who shared pictures of the protest with me yesterday (I posted them here) does not fit the New York Times’ profile and this dumb description by this “US blogger”–whoever he is–because she holds a PhD from Oxford University and is a young academic.  But let us go along with the “US blogger”–whoever he is: so according to him the crowd was mad at the Military Council so they take it out on the Israeli embassy? Why not the Swedish embassy or Chinese embassy?  Secondly, let us say that they are “football hooligans”: are they not Egyptians with rights? I mean, Zionist hooligans are so obvious when they are in denial and when they strive to twist and spin the news in way less damaging to Israel.
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 Israeli media denials, As’ad AbuKhalil
As Egyptian protesters yesterday were storming the Israeli embassy in Cairo, Israeli media were insisting that all is well and that no Egyptian has entered the embassy building.  Only when Al-Masri Al-Yawm newspaper aired footage from inside the embassy did they shut up.
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 Moment in the Egyptian uprising, As’ad AbuKhalil
Mark my word: what happened in Cairo yesterday was a watershed in the history of the on-going Egyptian uprising, and even in the history of the Arab uprisings.  It will cause the inevitable split between the radicals and the liberals–some of whom were tools for Mubarak regime.
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Erdogan slams Obama for silence on Israel’s Gaza flotilla raid
Turkish premier reiterates Ankara’s intent to refer legality of Israel’s blockade on Gaza to The Hague, saying the world will see ‘who is standing alongside the victims’.
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Turkish official slams mooted Israeli reprisals
ANKARA (AFP) — Turkish parliament speaker Cemil Cicek on Saturday blasted ideas attributed to hawkish Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman for hitting back at Ankara in the row between the two countries. Israel’s Yediot Aharonot daily reported Friday that Lieberman had suggested supporting recognition by the US Senate of Armenian genocide by Turkey, backing the Kurdish separatist PKK and launching a diplomatic offensive against Ankara.
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Turkey on FM’s plan: No one will extort us
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu responds to an Israeli report according to which Avigdor Lieberman plans to ‘punish’ Ankara by cooperating with its rivals, says ‘PKK has become a tool for anyone wishing to harm Turkey’
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 Turkey wants strong ties with Arab Spring countries
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will on Monday begin an “Arab Spring” tour to Egypt, Tunisia and Libya in a bid to forge stronger ties as relations with Israel are sinking to new lows over a flotilla row. The visit to Egypt comes amid a state of high alert declared on Saturday in Cairo after protesters stormed the building housing Israel’s embassy and clashed with police, prompting a mass evacuation of the ambassador and other staff, a Turkish diplomat said.
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STATE Official: “For decades we have counted on two rock-solid constants in Israel’s favor: good relations with Turkey & Israel. Both these are now in doubt”
The many events marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, including a keynote speech on counter-terrorism strategy by Secretary of State Clinton and the threat of a new attack on an American city, will have a lasting impact on US attitudes to the Middle East. The ideological divisions about the US reaction to 9/11 still run deep in the foreign policy community and the wider public. The US orientation to the Islamic world will undoubtedly feature – often in lurid terms – in the forthcoming election cycle. The implications are important in relation to policy toward Israel. Here, Obama has telephoned his Prime Minister Netanyahu to express sympathy over the September 10th attack on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo. Among Administration officials there is rising concern about Israel’s growing isolation in the region. As a senior State Department official explained privately to us: “For decades we have been able to count on two rock-solid constants in Israel’s favor: good relations with Turkey and Israel. Both these are now in doubt.” As a result, second thoughts are emerging about the US posture toward the reform movement in Egypt. An NSC official commented to us: “We want to keep the Israeli factor entirely separate from the Arab Spring. If public opinion starts to be inflamed on this issue, it could turn the movement in ugly directions.”  The Administration continues to work hard to deflect the potential damage from the likely vote in the UN General Assembly to recognize Palestinian statehood. Officials now see very little prospect of avoiding this, but are firm in their opposition. To compensate for its stance on this issue, US officials are, as we have noted, increasing their references to Iran as a destabilizing element. We judge this to be mainly rhetorical at this stage. Even the most hawkish opponents of Iran are not calling for military action.
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Israel to defend gas after Turkey vows to boost navy patrols in Mediterranean
Energy Minister Uzi Landau says Israel will secure its rigs after Erdogan threatens to make its presence felt in the eastern Mediterranean.
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Barak: Israel must address its growing political isolation
Defense Minister calls for special cabinet session, says spiraling events in the Middle East are not within Israel’s control, but ‘we can certainly affect the way we face them’.
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Question from an Israeli teacher on the 1st anniversary of 9/11: ‘So looking back, how did we benefit from September 11th?’, Keren Carmeli
“So looking back, how did we benefit from September 11th?” my teacher with the lazy eye asked as we all sat around in a circle in my 9th grade classroom in Or-Akiva on the first anniversary of the event. I’d been going to Israeli schools since my family relocated to Caesarea when I was four years old and as such those around me would often forget the fact that I was half-American.

 ‘DailyKos’ bans Simone Daud, who sought to inject Palestinian view into US political discourse
DailyKos, the popular political site whose goal is to elect “more and better Democrats”, has silenced yet another wonderful strong Palestinian voice, Palestinian Israeli blogger Simone Daud (formerly known as palestinian professor). The move comes on the same day that the Palestinian Authority officially applied to the UN for the recognition of Palestinian statehood and seems to possibly reflect pressure on DailyKos’s moderators to tamp down divisive argument over the US alliance with Israel.

Can US Congress see beyond the orchestration and opulence in Tel Aviv?, Rev. Carolyn L. Boyd
Despite the many pressing and unrelenting national challenges facing the United States, a record 81 House members, about a fifth of the chamber, spent a week in Israel last month, courtesy of a foundation set up by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the largest pro-Israel lobby group in the US.
link to Electronic Intifada

Does Zionist lobby feel comfortable with fascists marching alongside them for Israel?, Antony LoewensteinIt would seem so, as I’ve read no condemnation by the lobby of the far-right supporting Max Brenner at a protest in Sydney and Melbourne over the weekend. Being “pro-Israel” clearly trumps decency, strategic depth or human rights…
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 Pappe reassesses legacy of Palestinian dynasty, Asa Winstanley
Ilan Pappe’s new political biography, The Rise and Fall of a Palestinian Dynasty, profiles the history of one of Jerusalem’s predominant Palestinian families.
link to Electronic Intifada

 Science, technology, education and research: these must become the new front lines of the Arab Revolt, Rami Zurayk
In every confrontation between the powerful and the weak there is a critical point when the everything suddenly becomes clear and the reality appears as it truly is. This is when the (formerly) weak realize that the powerful are made of flesh and bones, and not very strong ones too. The realization that the strong can can be hugely weak and cowardly and that they cry and lie and cheat is a pivotal step in every liberation struggle.
link to Al-Akhbar


Question from an Israeli teacher on the 1st anniversary of 9/11: ‘So looking back, how did we benefit from September 11th?’

Sep 11, 2011

Keren Carmeli

“So looking back, how did we benefit from September 11th?” my teacher with the lazy eye asked as we all sat around in a circle in my 9th grade classroom in Or-Akiva on the first anniversary of the event. I’d been going to Israeli schools since my family relocated to Caesarea when I was four years old and as such those around me would often forget the fact that I was half-American.

I was appalled. How could she ask that? Who the hell was she? Who even thinks about benefiting from such a disaster, even if it is true?

Yes, Israel did benefit from September 11th. Just like the riding instructor at my barn said while the towers were falling, as we all sat on the floor of the nearby restaurant watching CNN International: “now those Americans will know how it feels.” And we felt it- in a big way.

Suddenly it was Us, Americans, Israelis, Europeans, against Them. Dark skinned people with outdated laws and obscure traditions. Those people with their terrible dictators (who we of course had no hand in appointing) and fanatic, merciless ideology. Them.

A new level of “understanding” was forged between Americans and the Israeli people; “they’ve lived in terror for years”, “their children are scared”, “how do they cope?” “trains, buses, cafés- we’re next if we don’t do something about this NOW!”

And we loaded our sons and daughters into air crafts and waved and saluted them as they took off, then saluted them again when they returned in coffins.

“I think it’s disgusting to think about what we’ve gained as the result of such a tragedy.”

Did I really just say that? I spoke up?

My teacher’s eye looked at the wall behind me, which let me know that in her mind she was addressing me. She’s embarrassed. She must have forgotten there was an American in her class. Now she’ll pay, I think to myself.

“How does anyone benefit from thousands of deaths?”

“Well, I just meant politically, ever since the attack Israel’s popularity abroad has increased, there’s no denying that. George Bush’s government has pledged more support for Israel than ever before.”

“How can you say that? So many people are dead.”

A guy who later on in the year would ask me out for my first date began arguing with me. He said that objectively, realistically, Israel was benefiting from the aftermath.

I knew it was true but how could you admit it out loud and discuss it in a group setting, in a classroom, so academically, so matter-of-fact? Like we were discussing a chapter in a history book which in a way we were. A chapter that was being written as we spoke and which would later

Posted in Nova NewsletterComments Off on Mondoweiss Online Newsletter

The Decline of the United States of America: The Moral, Political and Economic Causes

By Prof. Rodrigue Tremblay

“The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded.” Montesquieu, (Charles Louis de Secondat)  (1689-1755)

“I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews, I am doing the Lord’s work.” Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), German politician and future German Chancellor, Mein Kampf, chap. 2, 1925

I believe that God wants me to be president.”George W. Bush, American 43rd president, speech in Washington D.C., June 1, 2004

“This economy of ours is on a solid foundation.” George W. Bush, American 43rd president, January 4, 2008 (N.B.: the U.S. economy was about to enter into recession.)

“I believe that the Iraqi people will greet us as liberators.” Sen. John McCain, March 20, 2003

“We used to hustle over the border for health care we received in Canada. And I think now, isn’t that ironic?” Sarah Palin, American politician and former governor of Alaska, (admitting that her family used to get treatment in Canada’s single-payer health care system, despite having demonized such government-run programs as socialized medicine that will lead to death-panel-like rationing, March 6, 2010)

“The Lord says be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your husbands.” Michele Bachmann, Rep. of Minnesota and 2012 Republican presidential candidate, (on the question of submitting to the authority of her husband, 2006). Rep. Bachmann is also a graduate of Oral Roberts University.

“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”
The Bible (New Testament), 1 Timothy 2:11-12

Think of the American economy as a large apartment block. A century ago—even 30 years ago—it was the object of envy. But in the last generation its character has changed. The penthouses at the top keep getting larger and larger. The apartments in the middle are feeling more and more squeezed and the basement has flooded. To round it off, the elevator is no longer working. That broken elevator is what gets people down the most.” Lawrence Katz, Harvard University economist, 2010

The American economy is in the Doldrums, the American Political System is Dysfunctional and Paralyzed

Around the world, many are baffled by what’s happening to the United States. It seems that all at once the wheels are going off the cart. The American economy is in the doldrums, the American political system is dysfunctional and paralyzed, and a series of elective, far away foreign wars is ruining the country.

The U.S. economy used to be an engine of economic growth and the American political system used to be a well-oiled checks-and-balances machine that was geared toward progress and that could accommodate both leadership and compromise. Moreover, Americans can be proud that their constitution, at least on paper, is one of the best in the world, having been crafted by enlightened founders who believed in individual and democratic freedom.

In this short article, I will identify what I think to be the two major causes of America’s current decline. (I welcome comments.)

-The first cause is a moral one: it is related to the widespread corruption that permeates many institutions and sectors of the U.S. society, the most corrupt of them all being the political system and the corporate system. It is no accident that the epicenter where these two corrupt systems meet is at the Pentagon, an agency that reports upon reports picture as a cesspool of corruption.

The result of that widespread corruption is that the United States is now generating a sub-standard class of politicians to administer its affairs who are not the servants of the common good, but who rather serve happily the narrow money interests that finance them. The U.S. corporate elite, for the most part, has abandoned all loyalty to its country while it roams the world in order to make short-term profits at all costs and avoid paying taxes in its country of origin.

The result: wacky politicians and greedy business people are in charge.

The same can be said about the biased corporate media who have also abandoned all pretenses of neutrality and objectivity in informing the people and who have rather donned the mantle of unadulterated propaganda in order to cynically manipulate information and public opinion, to the delight of their money masters.

Things were never perfect in the past, but I would argue that the current level and scope of corruption in the U.S. society is unprecedented and is a root cause of the decline of the United States.

The second cause of American decline is more structural and more economic in nature. It is related to a widespread ignorance of the practical consequences of economic and financial globalization that began under the Nixon Republican administration (1969-1973) and which accelerated under the Republican administrations of Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) and of George H. Bush (1989-1993).

I shall tackle each of these causes separately.

I-  The U. S. has abandoned its Democratic Ideals and the Quality of its Politicians is Sub-Standard

Let’s talk first about the moral and political causes of American decline.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874-1965) once quipped that “democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”! Indeed, democracy is a very fragile political system that can sometimes fail the very people it is designed to serve. American president Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) defined it as “a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

But democracy is at its worst when an oligarchy takes control of a country’s institutions and imposes its agenda. Such is the case with today’s United States. Money interests, not the sovereign people, control the political system today; they control the corporate media system, they control the U.S. Supreme Court and much of the judicial system and, I would argue, they control a large chunk of the academic system.

The results are everywhere to be seen. The United States has reached levels of inequality in wealth and income that used to be seen only in some backyard third-world countries.

Another form of political corruption and of intellectual decay is the widespread refusal nowadays to abide by article VI of the U.S. Constitution. Indeed, article VI expressly stipulates that “no religious Test  shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” This would seem to me to be clear enough.

Some fifty years ago, in 1960, Sen. John F. Kennedy was elected president of the United States, stating that his religious beliefs were his own personal affair and that, as an elected official for all the people, he was going to use his best judgment in his public decisions, and not be obligated to follow the diktats of any established religion, not even of his own, the Roman Catholic Church, nor its foreign Pope.

As an indication of how much the United States has regressed on the question of separation of Church and State, consider that a presidential candidate of the quality of Sen. John F. Kennedy would most likely not be elected to office today with such a stand of intellectual independence. Mind you, most of the Fathers of the U.S. Constitution could not be elected either, a clear indication that the United States has strayed away from its founding principles.

Consider what President James Madison (1751-1836) had to say about religion in politics: “The number, the industry, and the morality of the priesthood, and the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the Church from the State.” Do you really believe that President Madison could be elected today? Nowadays, in fact, religious zealots dominate the Republican party while some half of democrats think that a presidential candidate must have “strong religious beliefs” to be considered for public office. The only problem is that such a view is in direct conflict to what the U.S. Constitution says!

Mixing personal and official religion with democratic politics is a form of intellectual corruption. —It’s dynamite. If the United States continues in the same destructive direction that many theocratic Muslim countries have followed for centuries, with disastrous results, I would not hesitate to predict that the U. S. will self-destruct.

II- The Widespread Confusion Between What Works in an Open Economy as Compared with a Closed Economy

Let’s talk economics.

The U. S. economy, like most industrial economies, is an open economy. This means that goods and services can be exported and imported while facing a minimum of border taxes and other barriers to international trade. For a quarter of a century now, it has also meant that the U. S. economy is part of the economic globalization model. The latter goes much further than free trade: it means that corporations and banks can move their capital, technology and production plants around the world in search of the greatest profit and the best investment environment. I happen to believe that this globalization model has been pushed too far and has become a major cause of economic stagnation in the industrial economies.

When it comes to economic policies, what can work in a closed economy does not necessarily work in an open economy. Consider macroeconomic policies to stimulate a stagnant economy. In an open economy, keynesian-type stimulus policies of deficit government spending or of tax reduction do not work properly, essentially because stimulus policies of this type are the equivalent of heating a house in winter with the windows and doors wide open. The new deficit spending may help the world economy, since much of the new spending ends up abroad, but the domestic multiplier effect of such spending can be very low. This means that such an economic stimulus in an open economy may not be as effective in stimulating economic activity as hoped and, in some circumstances, it can do more harm than good.

Nevertheless, many politicians (and some economists!) cling to the old idea that lowering taxes for the rich when the government is in deficit or new non-infrastructure government deficit spending can stimulate the economy. This obviously does not work, at least not if the new deficit spending is not focused domestically. Spending deficit money in Afghanistan or in Iraq doesn’t much stimulate the U.S. economy!

What works in an open economy are policies geared toward changing relative prices in order to encourage domestic production and employment. First of all, a lowering of the real exchange rate can encourage net exports and stimulate domestic production and employment, provided the government does not sustain excessive domestic absorption through unproductive large deficits.

Another approach to skew relative prices in favor of domestic production and employment is to use the tax system accordingly. Presently, many American corporations are hardly taxed at all on their profits when they operate abroad. Some appropriate taxation of these profits can encourage repatriation of capital and support additional domestic investments. It may be argued that the American political system is not flexible enough to allow for the use of tax policies to encourage domestic production and employment. If so, this would be another indication that the current state of the political system in the U. S. is inimical to economic progress.

These are only a few examples of public policies that can have a positive impact on the functioning of the economy.

In general, and that will be my conclusion, I would say that it is in the interest of any country to avoid giving power to idiots, ignoramuses, incompetents, devious and delusional characters or to demagogues. If not, watch out. —More countries are destroyed by their own politicians than by foreign armies.

Posted in USAComments Off on The Decline of the United States of America: The Moral, Political and Economic Causes

Who Is Osama Bin Laden? (2)

by Michel Chossudovsky



A few hours after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, the Bush administration concluded without supporting evidence, that “Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda organisation were prime suspects”. CIA Director George Tenet stated that bin Laden has the capacity to plan “multiple attacks with little or no warning.” Secretary of State Colin Powell called the attacks “an act of war” and President Bush confirmed in an evening televised address to the Nation that he would “make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them”. Former CIA Director James Woolsey pointed his finger at “state sponsorship,” implying the complicity of one or more foreign governments. In the words of former National Security Adviser, Lawrence Eagleburger, “I think we will show when we get attacked like this, we are terrible in our strength and in our retribution.”

Meanwhile, parroting official statements, the Western media mantra has approved the launching of “punitive actions” directed against civilian targets in the Middle East. In the words of William Saffire writing in the New York Times: “When we reasonably determine our attackers’ bases and camps, we must pulverize them — minimizing but accepting the risk of collateral damage” — and act overtly or covertly to destabilize terror’s national hosts”.

The following text outlines the history of Osama Bin Laden and the links of the Islamic “Jihad” to the formulation of US foreign policy during the Cold War and its aftermath.

Prime suspect in the New York and Washington terrorists attacks, branded by the FBI as an “international terrorist” for his role in the African US embassy bombings, Saudi born Osama bin Laden was recruited during the Soviet-Afghan war “ironically under the auspices of the CIA, to fight Soviet invaders”. 1

In 1979 “the largest covert operation in the history of the CIA” was launched in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in support of the pro-Communist government of Babrak Kamal.2: 

With the active encouragement of the CIA and Pakistan’s ISI [Inter Services Intelligence], who wanted to turn the Afghan jihad into a global war waged by all Muslim states against the Soviet Union, some 35,000 Muslim radicals from 40 Islamic countries joined Afghanistan’s fight between 1982 and 1992. Tens of thousands more came to study in Pakistani madrasahs. Eventually more than 100,000 foreign Muslim radicals were directly influenced by the Afghan jihad.3

The Islamic “jihad” was supported by the United States and Saudi Arabia with a significant part of the funding generated from the Golden Crescent drug trade:

In March 1985, President Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive 166,…[which] authorize[d] stepped-up covert military aid to the mujahideen, and it made clear that the secret Afghan war had a new goal: to defeat Soviet troops in Afghanistan through covert action and encourage a Soviet withdrawal. The new covert U.S. assistance began with a dramatic increase in arms supplies — a steady rise to 65,000 tons annually by 1987, … as well as a “ceaseless stream” of CIA and Pentagon specialists who traveled to the secret headquarters of Pakistan’s ISI on the main road near Rawalpindi, Pakistan. There the CIA specialists met with Pakistani intelligence officers to help plan operations for the Afghan rebels.4

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) using Pakistan’s military Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) played a key role in training the Mujahideen. In turn, the CIA sponsored guerrilla training was integrated with the teachings of Islam:

“Predominant themes were that Islam was a complete socio-political ideology, that holy Islam was being violated by the atheistic Soviet troops, and that the Islamic people of Afghanistan should reassert their independence by overthrowing the leftist Afghan regime propped up by Moscow.”5

Pakistan’s Intelligence Apparatus

Pakistan’s ISI was used as a “go-between”. The CIA covert support to the “jihad” operated indirectly through the Pakistani ISI, –i.e. the CIA did not channel its support directly to the Mujahideen. In other words, for these covert operations to be “successful”, Washington was careful not to reveal the ultimate objective of the “jihad”, which consisted in destroying the Soviet Union.

In the words of CIA’s Milton Beardman “We didn’t train Arabs”. Yet according to Abdel Monam Saidali, of the Al-aram Center for Strategic Studies in Cairo, bin Laden and the “Afghan Arabs” had been imparted “with very sophisticated types of training that was allowed to them by the CIA” 6

CIA’s Beardman confirmed, in this regard, that Osama bin Laden was not aware of the role he was playing on behalf of Washington. In the words of bin Laden (quoted by Beardman): “neither I, nor my brothers saw evidence of American help”. 7

Motivated by nationalism and religious fervor, the Islamic warriors were unaware that they were fighting the Soviet Army on behalf of Uncle Sam. While there were contacts at the upper levels of the intelligence hierarchy, Islamic rebel leaders in theatre had no contacts with Washington or the CIA.

With CIA backing and the funneling of massive amounts of US military aid, the Pakistani ISI had developed into a “parallel structure wielding enormous power over all aspects of government”. 8 The ISI had a staff composed of military and intelligence officers, bureaucrats, undercover agents and informers, estimated at 150,000. 9

Meanwhile, CIA operations had also reinforced the Pakistani military regime led by General Zia Ul Haq:

‘Relations between the CIA and the ISI [Pakistan’s military intelligence] had grown increasingly warm following [General] Zia’s ouster of Bhutto and the advent of the military regime,’… During most of the Afghan war, Pakistan was more aggressively anti-Soviet than even the United States. Soon after the Soviet military invaded Afghanistan in 1980, Zia [ul Haq] sent his ISI chief to destabilize the Soviet Central Asian states. The CIA only agreed to this plan in October 1984…. `the CIA was more cautious than the Pakistanis.’ Both Pakistan and the United States took the line of deception on Afghanistan with a public posture of negotiating a settlement while privately agreeing that military escalation was the best course.”10

The Golden Crescent Drug Triangle

The history of the drug trade in Central Asia is intimately related to the CIA’s covert operations. Prior to the Soviet-Afghan war, opium production in Afghanistan and Pakistan was directed to small regional markets. There was no local production of heroin. 11 In this regard, Alfred McCoy’s study confirms that within two years of the onslaught of the CIA operation in Afghanistan, “the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderlands became the world’s top heroin producer, supplying 60 percent of U.S. demand. In Pakistan, the heroin-addict population went from near zero in 1979… to 1.2 million by 1985 — a much steeper rise than in any other nation”:12

CIA assets again controlled this heroin trade. As the Mujahideen guerrillas seized territory inside Afghanistan, they ordered peasants to plant opium as a revolutionary tax. Across the border in Pakistan, Afghan leaders and local syndicates under the protection of Pakistan Intelligence operated hundreds of heroin laboratories. During this decade of wide-open drug-dealing, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in Islamabad failed to instigate major seizures or arrests … U.S. officials had refused to investigate charges of heroin dealing by its Afghan allies `because U.S. narcotics policy in Afghanistan has been subordinated to the war against Soviet influence there.’ In 1995, the former CIA director of the Afghan operation, Charles Cogan, admitted the CIA had indeed sacrificed the drug war to fight the Cold War. `Our main mission was to do as much damage as possible to the Soviets. We didn’t really have the resources or the time to devote to an investigation of the drug trade,’… `I don’t think that we need to apologize for this. Every situation has its fallout…. There was fallout in terms of drugs, yes. But the main objective was accomplished. The Soviets left Afghanistan.’13

In the Wake of the Cold War

In the wake of the Cold War, the Central Asian region is not only strategic for its extensive oil reserves, it also produces three quarters of the World’s opium representing multibillion dollar revenues to business syndicates, financial institutions, intelligence agencies and organized crime. The annual proceeds of the Golden Crescent drug trade (between 100 and 200 billion dollars) represents approximately one third of the Worldwide annual turnover of narcotics, estimated by the United Nations to be of the order of $500 billion.14

With the disintegration of the Soviet Union, a new surge in opium production has unfolded. (According to UN estimates, the production of opium in Afghanistan in 1998-99 — coinciding with the build up of armed insurgencies in the former Soviet republics– reached a record high of 4600 metric tons.15 Powerful business syndicates in the former Soviet Union allied with organized crime are competing for the strategic control over the heroin routes.

The ISI’s extensive intelligence military-network was not dismantled in the wake of the Cold War. The CIA continued to support the Islamic “jihad” out of Pakistan. New undercover initiatives were set in motion in Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Balkans. Pakistan’s military and intelligence apparatus essentially “served as a catalyst for the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the emergence of six new Muslim republics in Central Asia.” 16.

Meanwhile, Islamic missionaries of the Wahhabi sect from Saudi Arabia had established themselves in the Muslim republics as well as within the Russian federation encroaching upon the institutions of the secular State. Despite its anti-American ideology, Islamic fundamentalism was largely serving Washington’s strategic interests in the former Soviet Union.

Following the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1989, the civil war in Afghanistan continued unabated. The Taliban were being supported by the Pakistani Deobandis and their political party the Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI). In 1993, JUI entered the government coalition of Prime Minister Benazzir Bhutto. Ties between JUI, the Army and ISI were established. In 1995, with the downfall of the Hezb-I-Islami Hektmatyar government in Kabul, the Taliban not only instated a hardline Islamic government, they also “handed control of training camps in Afghanistan over to JUI factions…” 17

And the JUI with the support of the Saudi Wahhabi movements played a key role in recruiting volunteers to fight in the Balkans and the former Soviet Union.

Jane Defense Weekly confirms in this regard that “half of Taliban manpower and equipment originate[d] in Pakistan under the ISI” 18

In fact, it would appear that following the Soviet withdrawal both sides in the Afghan civil war continued to receive covert support through Pakistan’s ISI. 19

In other words, backed by Pakistan’s military intelligence (ISI) which in turn was controlled by the CIA, the Taliban Islamic State was largely serving American geopolitical interests. The Golden Crescent drug trade was also being used to finance and equip the Bosnian Muslim Army (starting in the early 1990s) and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). In last few months there is evidence that Mujahideen mercenaries are fighting in the ranks of KLA-NLA terrorists in their assaults into Macedonia.

No doubt, this explains why Washington has closed its eyes on the reign of terror imposed by the Taliban including the blatant derogation of women’s rights, the closing down of schools for girls, the dismissal of women employees from government offices and the enforcement of “the Sharia laws of punishment”.20

The War in Chechnya

With regard to Chechnya, the main rebel leaders Shamil Basayev and Al Khattab were trained and indoctrinated in CIA sponsored camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan. According to Yossef Bodansky, director of the U.S. Congress’s Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, the war in Chechnya had been planned during a secret summit of HizbAllah International held in 1996 in Mogadishu, Somalia. 21 The summit, was attended by Osama bin Laden and high-ranking Iranian and Pakistani intelligence officers. In this regard, the involvement of Pakistan’s ISI in Chechnya “goes far beyond supplying the Chechens with weapons and expertise: the ISI and its radical Islamic proxies are actually calling the shots in this war”. 22

Russia’s main pipeline route transits through Chechnya and Dagestan. Despite Washington’s perfunctory condemnation of Islamic terrorism, the indirect beneficiaries of the Chechen war are the Anglo-American oil conglomerates which are vying for control over oil resources and pipeline corridors out of the Caspian Sea basin.

The two main Chechen rebel armies (respectively led by Commander Shamil Basayev and Emir Khattab) estimated at 35,000 strong were supported by Pakistan’s ISI, which also played a key role in organizing and training the Chechen rebel army:

“[In 1994] the Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence arranged for Basayev and his trusted lieutenants to undergo intensive Islamic indoctrination and training in guerrilla warfare in the Khost province of Afghanistan at Amir Muawia camp, set up in the early 1980s by the CIA and ISI and run by famous Afghani warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. In July 1994, upon graduating from Amir Muawia, Basayev was transferred to Markaz-i-Dawar camp in Pakistan to undergo training in advanced guerrilla tactics. In Pakistan, Basayev met the highest ranking Pakistani military and intelligence officers: Minister of Defense General Aftab Shahban Mirani, Minister of Interior General Naserullah Babar, and the head of the ISI branch in charge of supporting Islamic causes, General Javed Ashraf, (all now retired). High-level connections soon proved very useful to Basayev.”23

Following his training and indoctrination stint, Basayev was assigned to lead the assault against Russian federal troops in the first Chechen war in 1995. His organization had also developed extensive links to criminal syndicates in Moscow as well as ties to Albanian organized crime and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). In 1997-98, according to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) “Chechen warlords started buying up real estate in Kosovo… through several real estate firms registered as a cover in Yugoslavia” 24

Basayev’s organisation has also been involved in a number of rackets including narcotics, illegal tapping and sabotage of Russia’s oil pipelines, kidnapping, prostitution, trade in counterfeit dollars and the smuggling of nuclear materials (See Mafia linked to Albania’s collapsed pyramids, 25 Alongside the extensive laundering of drug money, the proceeds of various illicit activities have been funneled towards the recruitment of mercenaries and the purchase of weapons.

During his training in Afghanistan, Shamil Basayev linked up with Saudi born veteran Mujahideen Commander “Al Khattab” who had fought as a volunteer in Afghanistan. Barely a few months after Basayev’s return to Grozny, Khattab was invited (early 1995) to set up an army base in Chechnya for the training of Mujahideen fighters. According to the BBC, Khattab’s posting to Chechnya had been “arranged through the Saudi-Arabian based [International] Islamic Relief Organisation, a militant religious organisation, funded by mosques and rich individuals which channeled funds into Chechnya”.26

Concluding Remarks

Since the Cold War era, Washington has consciously supported Osama bin Laden, while at same time placing him on the FBI’s “most wanted list” as the World’s foremost terrorist.

While the Mujahideen are busy fighting America’s war in the Balkans and the former Soviet Union, the FBI –operating as a US based Police Force- is waging a domestic war against terrorism, operating in some respects independently of the CIA which has –since the Soviet-Afghan war– supported international terrorism through its covert operations.

In a cruel irony, while the Islamic jihad –featured by the Bush Adminstration as “a threat to America”– is blamed for the terrorist assaults on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, these same Islamic organisations constitute a key instrument of US military-intelligence operations in the Balkans and the former Soviet Union.

In the wake of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, the truth must prevail to prevent the Bush Adminstration together with its NATO partners from embarking upon a military adventure which threatens the future of humanity.

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Ten Years Later: Who Is Osama bin Laden? (1)

By Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

This article below entitled Who is Osama bin Laden? was drafted on September 11, 2001. It was first  published on the Global Research website on the evening of September 12, 2001.

Since 2001, it has appeared on numerous websites. The original September 12, 2001 posting is one of the most widely read articles on the internet, pertaining to Osama bin laden and Al Qaeda.

From the outset, the objective was to use 9/11 as a pretext for launching the first phase of the Middle East War, which consisted in the bombing and occupation of Afghanistan.

Within hours of the attacks, Osama bin Laden was identified as the architect of 9/11. On the following day, the “war on terrorism” had been launched. The media disinformation campaign went into full gear.

Afghanistan was identified as a “state sponsor of terror”. The 9/11 attacks were categorized as an act of war, an attack on America by a foreign power.

The right to self-defense was put forth. On September 12, less than 24 hours after the attacks, NATO invoked for the first time in its history “Article 5 of the Washington Treaty – its collective defence clause” declaring the 9/11 attacks on  the World Trade Center (WTC) and the Pentagon “to be an attack against all NATO members.”

What happened subsequently, with the invasions of Afghanistan (October 2001) and Iraq (March 2003) is already part of history. In the wake of the NATO sponsored “Liberation” of Libya (August 20011), Syria and Iran constitute the next phase of the US-NATO military roadmap.

9/11 remains the pretext and justification for waging a war without borders. In a bitter irony, the global war on terrorism (GWOT) is waged not against the terrorists but with “with the terrorists” (WTT), with the full support, as in Libya, of Al Qaeda affiliated paramilitary brigades under US-NATO supervision.

Michel Chossudovsky, September 07, 2011

Excerpts from the Preface of America’s “War on Terrorism”, Second edition, Global Research, 2005.

At eleven o’clock, on the morning of September 11, the Bush administration had already announced that Al Qaeda was responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC) and the Pentagon. This assertion was made prior to the conduct of an indepth police investigation.
That same evening at 9.30 pm, a “War Cabinet” was formed integrated by a select number of top intelligence and military advisors.  And at 11.00 pm, at the end of that historic meeting at the White House, the “War on Terrorism” was officially launched.The decision was announced to wage war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in retribution for the 9/11 attacks. The following morning on September 12th, the news headlines indelibly pointed to “state sponsorship” of the 9/11 attacks. In chorus, the US media was calling for a military intervention against Afghanistan.Barely four weeks later, on the 7th of October, Afghanistan was bombed and invaded by US troops. Americans were led to believe that the decison to go to war had been taken on the spur of the moment, on the evening of September 11, in response to the attacks and their tragic consequences.Little did the public realize that a large scale theater war is never planned and executed in a matter of weeks.

The decision to launch a war and send troops to Afghanistan had been taken well in advance of 9/11. The “terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event” as it was later described by CentCom Commander General Tommy Franks, served to galvanize public opinion in support of a war agenda which was already in its final planning stage.The tragic events of 9/11 provided the required justification to wage a war on “humanitarian grounds”, with the full support of World public opinion and the endorsement of the “international community”.Several prominent “progressive” intellectuals made a case for “retaliation against terrorism”, on moral and ethical grounds.

The “just cause” military doctrine (jus ad bellum) was accepted and upheld at face value as a legitimate response to 9/11, without examining the fact that Washington had not only supported the “Islamic terror network”, it was also instrumental in the installation of the Taliban government in 1996.In the wake of 9/11, the antiwar movement was completely isolated. The trade unions and civil society organizations had swallowed the media lies and government propaganda. They had accepted a war of retribution against Afghanistan, an impoverished country of 30 million people.I started writing on the evening of September 11, late into the night, going through piles of research notes, which I had previously collected on the history of Al Qaeda.

My first text entitled “Who is Osama bin Laden?” was completed and first published on September the 12th. (See full text of 9/12 article below).From the very outset, I questioned the official story, which described nineteen Al Qaeda sponsored hijackers involved in a highly sophisticated and organized operation. My first objective was to reveal the true nature of this illusive “enemy of America”, who was “threatening the Homeland”.The myth of the “outside enemy” and the threat of “Islamic terrorists” was the cornerstone of the Bush adminstration’s military doctrine, used as a pretext to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention the repeal of civil liberties and constitutional government in America.Without an “outside enemy”, there could be no “war on terrorism”. The entire national security agenda would collapse “like a deck of cards”.

The war criminals in high office would have no leg to stand on.It was consequently crucial for the development of a coherent antiwar and civil rights movement, to reveal the nature of Al Qaeda and its evolving relationship to successive US adminstrations. Amply documented but rarely mentioned by the mainstream media, Al Qaeda was a creation of the CIA going back to the Soviet-Afghan war. This was a known fact, corroborated by numerous sources including official documents of the US Congress. The intelligence community had time and again acknowledged that they had indeed supported Osama bin Laden, but that in the wake of the Cold War: “he turned against us”.

After 9/11, the campaign of media disinformation served not only to drown the truth but also to kill much of the historical evidence on how this illusive “outside enemy” had been fabricated and transformed into “Enemy Number One”.

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Alternatives: Close the £120bn Tax Gap


This post is another in our series exploring the alternatives to the cuts and austerity agenda of the ConDem coalition. In this post I will look at the tax gap, which costs the treasury an estimated £120bn every year, and what we can do to close this gap.

My expert witness for this is Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK. His Tax Justice Manifesto (PDF) outlines the scale of the problem and some ways in which this problem could be dealt with.

The tax gap comprises of three parts – tax avoidance (£25bn), tax evasion (£70bn) and uncollected tax (£25bn).

Tax avoidance is legal. It is defined as a scheme that has been setup purely for the purposes of shifting profit from one country to another, in order to pay lower rates of tax.

Tax evasion is illegal. This includes tax fraud, undeclared earnings and the purchase of smuggled tobacco or alcohol amongst other things.

Uncollected Tax is tax that has not been collected due to error or inefficiency on the part of HMRC.

UK Uncut activists in Birmingham protest at Vodafone’s £6bn tax dodge

Of the three, it is tax avoidance that has come under the most scrutiny, thanks to the actions of UK Uncut, who have taken direct action by occupying high street stores around the UK to highlight the tax dodging of multinational corporations and wealthy individuals such as Vodafone and Philip Green.
Vodafone’s tax avoidance scheme is simple. When Vodafone UK purchased Mannesman (a German mobile network), it did so through a Luxembourg subsidiary. The effect of this is that profit that should be declared in the UK is in fact declared in Luxembourg. HMRC said that this was not a legal scheme, but instead of pursuing Vodafone for the full amount (£6bn according to Private Eye), they settled for just £1.2bn, thus allowing Vodafone to cheat nearly £5bn out of the UK taxpayer (the scheme ran for around 8 years).
Philip Green is one of the richest men in Britain. He runs the Arcadia group which owns high street names including Topshop/Topman, BHS, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge and Burtons. In 2005, having transferred ownership of the company to his wife, who lives in Monaco, Philip generously paid her a £1.2bn dividend, thus avoiding paying £285m in income tax. Mrs Green has never done a minutes work for the company that Philip runs. Had this been a small company, HMRC would look at prosecutions for revenue splitting, but not in this case.Just to make it clear what this means,Birmingham City Council is cutting £212m from its budget this year, at the cost of around 7,000 jobs, pay cuts for tens of thousands of workers and the closure of many services which support vulnerable people in this city. In just one year, Philip Green avoided more than that. Had he paid the tax, he would still have earnt around £900,000,000 that year.

Overall the level of tax avoidance, at around £25bn, could replace a years worth of cuts. In practice of course it would not be possible to get all of this money back (not least because you’d have to spend some money with HMRC to do so), but we could look at a net increase in income of at least £10bn if we genuinely sought to close the tax loopholes that allow this avoidance to occur.
Combined with increased money to tackle tax evasion, and to eliminate errors to reclaim that £25bn of tax that goes uncollected each year, we could seriously reduce the need for cuts to our services. The impact on the economy of effective tax rises would be less than that of spending cuts, and those people who rely on services would not see them disappear.

So, what is our government doing? They are cutting HMRCs budget. So much for that then.

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Jewel In The Crown Of The Arab Spring


Hamas has said it will accept a state on the 1967 borders and has pledged to refrain from opposing the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002. It has now backed the upcoming move at the UN.

by Sami Moubayed

The Arab Spring has given an interesting twist to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Young Arabs on the streets of major capitals have realised that the real problem is not only Israel but the Arab environment that has surrounded the Palestinians, using and abusing them, since 1948.

For far too long, Arabs have paid a heavy price, all in the name of a “raped Palestine.” Their governments militarised entire societies and spent billions on armaments, legitimising crackdowns on thought and conduct, all because of their “commitment” to the “first Arab Cause.” At the end of the day, they produced backward societies, poor in education, science and technology, weak and defeated from within — unable to advance the Palestinian Cause an inch.

Had the Palestinians been surrounded by democracies, we would have had a very different Middle East, ordinary Arabs are now saying. Arab states would have muscled Israel with the will of their people, as was the recent case with Egypt when it withdrew its ambassador to Israel after Israeli soldiers killed three Egyptian troops on the border — forcing the Israelis to apologise. Early Saturday morning, young Egyptians even stormed the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, sending a strong message to Tel Aviv. The new Egyptian government, after all, is sensitive to the wishes of its people.

As a result of the Arab wake-up call, young Arabs are now focused on democratising their countries, one by one, which will play out in favour of the Palestinians. Arab leaders, however, are too busy with their own streets to intervene in the Palestinian cause. That has given Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas room to manoeuvre, building up international support for an upcoming resolution at the United Nations aimed at creating the State of Palestine this month.

Abbas plans to submit an application for international recognition of statehood at the 66th annual session of the UN General Assembly on September 14, for a state that will include the West Bank, Gaza and Occupied East Jerusalem. That, of course, is only 22 per cent of historical Palestine. The last time the question of Palestine was raised at the General Assembly was in November 1947, when the UN proposed a two-state solution, known as the UN Partition Plan. Back then, the Arabs famously thundered: “Either all of Palestine, or nothing!”

They went to war against the Israelis, and for 63 years ended up with nothing. Reportedly, 120 states have already backed the Palestinian bid for statehood on the 1967 borders. This includes the European Union and hardline countries such as Syria, which had previously refused to accept anything less than 1948 Palestine.

As a first step towards achieving the new state, Fatah and Hamas set aside their differences earlier this year to reunite the West Bank and Gaza, which have been divided since the 2007 Hamas takeover of the Strip. UN recognition of the Palestinian State would enable the Palestinians to now tap into official channels, taking their cases to human rights bodies and the International Court of Justice.

The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the EU have all declared that Palestinian institutions, regardless of how weak, are ready for statehood. President Abbas explained the upcoming move, saying, “When recognition of our state on the 1967 borders happens, we will become a state under occupation, and then we would be able to go to the UN [with demands].” Once it happens, Israel would effectively be occupying lands belonging to a UN member state and building illegal colonies within them.

The international community, in theory, would not be able to sit back and watch as aggression takes place against a member state of the UN. The Israelis are well aware of the dangers posed to their international standing by the upcoming Palestinian move, with Israel’s defence minister Ehud Barak saying: “We are facing a diplomatic-political tsunami that the majority of the [Israeli] public is unaware of and that will peak in September. It is a very dangerous situation. Paralysis, rhetoric, inaction will deepen the isolation of Israel.”

Despite support from US President Barack Obama, the US executive and legislative branches have been opposed to the new Palestinian State, threatening cut-offs in aid while realising how damaging such a move would be to the reputation of Israel in the international community.

Many are questioning how effective the Palestinian State will be, if colonies continue to mushroom, if the issue of refugees is not dealt with, and while Palestine’s navy, ground and airports remain firmly controlled by the Israelis. Palestinian lawmakers are arguing that it is a step in the right direction, which would give them their overdue seat at the UN, enabling them to advance their cause through legal channels in the international community, rather than through street warfare of the intifada, which 11 years down the road, failed to achieve statehood, end the occupation and defeat the Israeli army.

Many would have expected Hamas to oppose a state on the 1967 borders but the fervour of the Arab Spring and the assurances it got from the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood have moderated the group’s positions. Hamas has said it will accept a state on the 1967 borders and has pledged to refrain from opposing the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002. It has now backed the upcoming move at the UN.

Probably the most important lesson to be learnt from the Arab Spring is that legitimate aspirations cannot be ignored forever — be they Tunisian, Egyptian, Libyan, Syrian, or Palestinian. Angry Arabs have taken their demands to the streets since January, effectively copying what the Palestinians have been doing for more than 60 years, with much more successful results. Popular and armed resistance didn’t work for the Palestinians, however, forcing them to take the matter to the UN in a new kind of intifada — a diplomatic one — that will achieve for them what 60 years of armed resistance failed to bring about. Is the Palestinian State part of the democratic awakening of the Arab world?

For all practical purposes, it certainly is the jewel of the crown of the Arab Spring.

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Egyptians Break Down Wall Around IsraHell Embassy


“A security wall erected around the Israeli embassy, a strong reminder of the West Bank barrier, was totally unacceptable in Cairo.”

Dr. Ashraf Ezzat

The construction of the cement security wall around the Isareli embassy in Cairo

Last week, in the wake of  public anger over the killing of five Egyptian police officers and soldiers at the borders with Israel who were reported caught up in the crossfire while the Israeli forces were hunting down a group of infiltrators who carried out the Eilat ambush, Cairo witnessed yet another week of popular rage.

The ensuing Egyptian anger targeted the Israeli embassy as thousands of protesters rallied around the embassy for almost a week calling for the expulsion of the ambassador and the whole diplomatic mission.

The Egyptian interim government convened on the night of the border killings and actually released a statement via email to the press stating that the Egyptian ambassador in Tel Aviv has been officially instructed to return to Cairo until further notice.

The complete cement wall erected around the premises of the Isareli embassy in Cairo

A few hours later, during which lengthy deliberations between the military council and Esaam Sharaf, the Egyptian prime minister, seemed to have taken place,  and a statement by the spokesman of the prime minister’s office was issued saying that the earlier email should be disregarded since it was mistakenly sent.

This cover up story was hard to digest by the angry Egyptian public opinion and it proved that the prime minister has been out-muscled by Egyptian military generals.

What made things worse and added up to the anger of the Egyptian street is the sudden decision of the care-taker military council to build a cement wall/ barrier around the premises of the Israeli embassy to protect the embassy from any future anti-Israeli rallies.

The West Bank wall

The erected wall, of 3 meters high; kind of reminded the Egyptians of the Israeli barrier in the west bank, a situation that was totally unacceptable inside the Egyptian capitol.

Friday, September 9 started with a pro-reform rally in Tahrir square but a group of protestors branched off to head towards the embassy, tearing down part of the security wall around the building.

It seems like a group of protesters managed to enter the embassy’s premises, located only on the top floor of a high building in central Cairo as thousands of pages of documents were tossed into the rallying crowd from the Cairo building that houses  the Israel’s embassy. And for the second time in less than two weeks the Israeli flag has been taken down and replaced with the Egyptian flag.

The Turkish Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdogan.

The Egyptian revolutions, like the rest of the Arab spring revolts, is still dominated by the power of the people with no apparent strong leadership lurking in the distance.

Turkey is the only country that has yet managed to gain the respect of most of the Arab peoples, especially after the strong response it showed toward the Israeli arrogance and piracy the whole world witnessed last year when the Israeli commandos attacked the Mavi Marmara ship, part of the Gaza aide flotilla, killing 9 unarmed activists most of them Turkish.

The Turkish diplomacy and its endeavors to win the favor of the angry Arabs who are experiencing one of the most turbulent phases in their modern history is not so hard to notice.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Obviously these conspicuous anti-israeli sentiments in the Arab world will continue to rise adding more to not only the political isolation of Israel in the Middle East, a situation that has recently been worsened by the Turkish-Israeli stand-off, but more seriously to the popular resentment of the Jewish country and its aggressive policies in the region and nothing, in my opinion, seems able to mitigate this anti-Israeli sentiments in the Arab world now, not even the latest statements by Mr. Obama sympathizing with Bibi in his dilemma facing the most fluctuating and unpredictable outcomes of the Arab awakening.

The Israeli prime minister denounced the attack on the embassy as a “serious incident” and a “blatant violation of international norms.” And that in itself was a very interesting statement issued by a bully state whose political core doctrine is primarily based on doing away completely with all of the international norms.

Egyptian boy knocks down a concrete wall built in front of the Israeli embassy in Cairo September 9 2011. The message on the wall reads, Egypt is over all and Down Israel.

The Turkish Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdogan, is due to arrive in Cairo on Monday to sign military pact with Egypt, after cutting trade ties with Israel and expelling the Israeli ambassador in Istanbul.

At the end of his visit to Cairo Mr. Erdogan is scheduled to make his first official visit to Gaza via the Egyptian border crossing point of Rafah. But the odds of the Turkish Prime Minister to stick to the schedule of his visit amidst the current Egyptian-Isareli rising tension seems unlikely.

With Yitzhak Levanon, the Israeli ambassador who has just arrived from his holiday in Israel but still in the Cairo airport waiting for the situation to calm down or otherwise the instructions to go back to Tel Aviv what are the chances of him bumping into Mr. Erdogan arriving in Cairo airport as he is still waiting for his departure flight.

Well, the chances are zero, for the Israeli ambassador, his family, security and staff have boarded the first Israeli flight heading back to Tel Aviv as I was winding up this update from Cairo in the first hours of Saturday morning of September, 10, 2011.

For more articles by Dr. Ashraf Ezzat visit his website

YouTube – Veterans Today -Protesters tearing down the wall in front of israel embassy in Cairo

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