Archive | December 5th, 2011

Imperialist warmongers set sights on Iran


Imperialism’s diplomatic and ideological aggression are the precursors of military aggression.

In July of last year, the Oxford Research Group (ORG) published a briefing paper, ‘Military action against Iran: impact and effects’. According to the report, “While [direct] US action against Iran may now be unlikely … Israel’s potential for action against Iran has increased [since the ORG’s last report in 2006]”.

This increased likelihood is the result of a series of moves made by Israel to increase its offensive capacity towards Iran, including the improvement of existing surface-to-surface missile programmes and the introduction of armed, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), as well as moves to further develop submarine-launched nuclear warheads. Subsequent to the ORG’s report, and in keeping with these trends, we may note the test-firing of a rocket propulsion system in early November of this year which, according to theGuardian, would be “capable of striking Iran”.(2 November 2011)

Beyond merely preparing for potential action, Israel and the US are both believed to have actuallycommitted a series of targeted violations of Iran’s national sovereignty in recent years. The Israeli secret service, Mossad, has been linked to a number of assassinations of key members of Iran’s scientific community, particularly those with links to the country’s nuclear development programme. It is also believed to be either Israel or the US that was behind the Stuxnet cyber-attack that threatened to cripple Iran’s nuclear programme last year.

More recently, a western intelligence source has claimed to Time magazine that Mossad was behind the explosion at an Iranian missile base that killed 17 people. (‘Was Israel behind a deadly explosion at an Iranian missile base?’, Time World, 13 November 2011)

The nuclear issue

The oft-cited excuse for Israel’s heightened aggression is Iran’s continued pursuit of nuclear energy. According to the ORG, “Israel believes it essential to its security that it is the only state in the region with a nuclear capability.” And indeed, Israel would seem to have form in this regard, having bombed other middle-eastern countries actually or allegedly attempting to develop their civilian nuclear capability, including Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007.

In fact, however, Israel’s main problem with Iran, as with Syria, is the country’s anti-imperialist stance. As US imperialism’s watchdog in the Middle East, Israel knows what is expected of it. Subsidies and armaments flow from the US to the zionist state not because of any innate love for the idea of a ‘jewish homeland’, but because Israel is paid to act as a gendarme for US imperial policy in the region.

Comrades of the CPGB-ML have always made it clear that our party believes all socialist or oppressed countries have the right to a nuclear deterrent while imperialism remains in the world, armed and dangerous and more than ready to use its industrial machinery of death against targets it perceives to be weak and unable to strike back. After all, both Iraq and Libya were invaded only after the imperialists were certain both countries had fully given up their nuclear programmes!

Nonetheless, for the record, a few essential points should be kept in mind regarding Iran’s supposed nuclear capacity. Uranium deemed ‘weapons-grade’ is that which has been enriched to a level of 85 percent or more. At present, Iran’s most highly-enriched samples only extend to between 20 and 25 percent, and even if the country decided to pursue further enrichment at break-neck speed it would take between three and seven years to develop between two and six useable nuclear weapons.

These two or six potential weapons contrast sharply with the actually existing, fully-developed arsenal of Israel, which is estimated to include around two hundred fully-useable nuclear weapons. In addition, delivery capacity is also a crucial factor to be considered. Iran has, at present, very few ballistic missiles capable of reaching Israel, and the shortest possible timeframe for sizeable improvement is estimated at around five years. Contrast this with Israel, which, according to ORG, already has the “ability to conduct major attacks on Iranian [targets]”.

The recent IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear capabilities, despite being presented as a ‘bombshell’ by most western commentators and politicians, did almost nothing to alter the details provided above. The section of the IAEA’s report on “Possible Military Dimensions” spanned just over a page of the entire document and provided no new statistical data and very little new anecdotal evidence.

This lack of evidence was somewhat masked, however, by overtly-political statements such as “the Agency has become increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organisations” – a clear sign of the heavy pressure being placed on the IAEA by imperialism under its newly compliant director general Yukiya Amano, after its 2007 report found no credible evidence of nuclear weapons development. (‘Board report on Iran’, IAEA, September 2011, emphasis added)

Meanwhile, despite attempts to paint the Iranian regime as being hell-bent on developing nuclear weapons, the statements coming from the country’s leaders suggest quite the opposite. Speaking earlier this month, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated: “We don’t need an atom bomb … We will not build two bombs in the face of your 20,000. We will develop something that you cannot respond to, which is ethics, humanity, solidarity and justice.” (‘Iran will not retreat “one iota” from its nuclear programme’,Guardian, 9 November 2011)

Who wants a war with Iran?

An important question, of course, is if Israel decides to take the lead in a direct military action against Iran, on whom can it rely for support? The ORG, as we noted earlier, thinks it “unlikely” that the United States would become directly involved (ie, commit active combat units) but it fully accepts that any Israeli military intervention in Iran would receive “tacit support” from the United States. Moreover, many influential figures in the US military-industrial complex are champing at the bit to launch an attack on Iran.

Speaking at a US congressional hearing in late October, retired general Jack Keane did not mince his words, stating bluntly: “We’ve got to put our hand around their throat now.” A retired air-force colonel and senior strategist at the American National War College, Sam Gardiner, touched directly on the issue of a potential Israeli attack on Iran, and remarked: “The US would have to be involved and finish it.” Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called for America to “unite the world in … dealing with the Iranians”.

As for claims that a Democrat president would be reluctant to order attacks on Iran, the Obama administration, which so many Americans hoped would be ready to extricate the country from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has instead sent tens of thousands more soldiers to Afghanistan, intensifying a war that had already devastated the country and brought it to the point of having the second-lowest life expectancy, the second-highest infant mortality rate and the highest maternal mortality rate in the world. Moreover, Obama’s regime has spread the Afghan war into Pakistan, where drone attacks have murdered thousands, and launched a bloody and devastating war against Libya, in which somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 people, mostly civilians, have been slaughtered so far.

Obstacles to war

Nevertheless, both Israel and the United States would undoubtedly prefer not to have to resort to direct military intervention against Iran. After years of occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan (occupations which have largely failed in their objectives notwithstanding the billions spent on them), the US treasure chest is empty, while its astronomical military spending has left the country teetering on the verge of bankruptcy.

More generally, Iran still enjoys a great deal of economic and geopolitical leverage that both Israel and the US need to take into account. Among the options open to Iran if it were attacked by either country would be: the closure of the Straits of Hormuz, one of the major Gulf shipping routes, resulting in an abrupt rise in global oil prices and a further destabilisation of the global economy; attacks on western Gulf oil production facilities, which would have a similar effect; and increased support for resistance movements in Iraq and Afghanistan, which would hamper imperialist efforts to exploit those countries and their natural resources.

It is undoubtedly these sorts of actions that the US defence secretary, Leon Panetta, had in mind when he warned in mid-November that military action against Iran could have “unintended consequences”.

A further deterrent to military intervention is the potential response of other countries. Though western imperialists frequently attempt to present a united international front against Iran and create the impression of worldwide condemnation of the Islamic republic, the reality is very different.

First and foremost, Iran has friends in the form of China and Russia, both of which have often supported the country in the face of imperialist aggression – though it should be remembered that both of them also tend to try to avoid confrontation with the aggressive imperialist powers if they can. Nevertheless, in mid-September of this year, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin did describe any potential for western or Israeli military action against Iran as “unacceptable”, and Russia has subsequently moved to strengthen its diplomatic and other ties with Iran, including talks concerning a possible mutual security pact.

Similarly, China has repeatedly expressed its support for Iran’s right to nuclear development and the country remains a major market for Chinese military exports, while of course China also has a voracious appetite for Iranian oil and gas.

At a recent international meeting in Honolulu, Obama failed to win over either the Chinese or Russian leadership even to the idea of further UN sanctions against Iran, let alone direct military action. As theWashington Post noted: “Russia and China remain a roadblock to the United States … Both are veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council and have shown no sign the new [IAEA] report will change their stand.” (‘Obama seeks US jobs’, Washington Post, 13 November 2011)

Other routes to regime change

It is the unappealing nature of direct military intervention in Iran that has spurred, and continues to spur, the use of non-military forms of aggression against the Iranian government and its people. Proletarian has already provided a great deal of coverage of this in the context of Iran (see, in particular, the article on Iran’s ‘disputed’ elections from the August 2009 edition), but it is probably worth reviewing some of the salient points.

Since 2005 the US State Department has been expending a great deal of time and money (by some estimates, upwards of $1bn) on ‘destabilisation techniques’ aimed at bringing down the Iranian government without the need to resort to military intervention. These techniques include everything from what the Daily Telegraph has described as “a propaganda and disinformation campaign” aimed at the Iranian people to the direct supply of financial aid to opponents of the Iranian government.

Opponents of the present government being funded by the United States include avowedly violent paramilitary groups, such as the People’s Mojahedin of Iran and the Jundallah (or ‘Soldiers of God’), but also include allegedly ‘non-violent’ ‘civil-society’ and activist groups, which ostensibly agitate on issues such as democracy and women’s rights but which, in reality, serve the interests of imperialism (and imperialist interests most certainly do not include either real democracy or real women’s rights!)

Often, these two sections of imperialism’s fifth column operate in tandem – such as during the 2009 Iranian election, where ‘democracy’ activists spread disinformation about President Ahmadinejad and accused him of ‘voter intimidation’ and ‘electoral fraud’, while the Jundallah bombed one of his campaign offices.

Adding to the ‘destabilisation’ effort are the incredibly harsh economic sanctions that have been placed on Iran by the imperialist nations. The United Nations and the European Union separately maintain swingeing sanctioning regimes that restrict everything from cross-border financial transactions to insurance provision for Iranian-owned companies. Meanwhile, Israel and the United States maintains an almost total economic embargo on Iran that includes prohibiting ‘unauthorised’ travel to and from the country.

The net effect of these sanctions is to make it difficult or impossible for Iran to sell its exports (with the aim of causing hardship to those who are engaged in the production of exports) or for the country to import necessities it cannot produce in sufficient quantities at home, such as refined petroleum (with a view to disrupting the country’s economic life). All this is intended to make the Iranian people suffer for overthrowing the Shah and to ‘persuade’ them that they would be much better off with a government subservient to imperialism against whom such sanctions would be unnecessary – all in the hope that a major thorn in imperialism’s side could be overthrown from within.

Sanctions, then, are a weapon of collective punishment, aimed at delegitimising and destabilising the Iranian government and fostering support for its overthrow amongst the domestic population. To describe them as merely ‘applying pressure’, as bourgeois commentators usually do, is profoundly disingenuous. One has only to remember the calculating attitude of the then US secretary of state Madeleine Albright towards the half a million children whose deaths had been brought about by the sanctions regime against Iraq 15 years ago, which she described as a “price worth paying”, to see what kind of ‘pressure’ the imperialists wish to apply.

Unfortunately for both the United States and Israel these destabilisation techniques have so far failed to produce real results. The protests and violence that followed the 2009 election were the closest that imperialism has come to realising its goals so far, but even they could not shake the broad support that the Iranian government continues to enjoy amongst the people.

Moves towards war

The blunt fact of these failings is not lost on either Israel or the US, and it is for this reason that we have seen them ‘testing the waters’ of international public opinion, as it were, with the recent IAEA report and escalated scaremongering about Iran’s nuclear development (which we discussed earlier), but also with the alleged ‘terror plot’ that the United States claimed to have uncovered, in which it is alleged that members of Ahmadinejad’s government were conspiring to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States.

Ignoring the highly implausible backstory behind the supposed ‘plot’ – Mexican drug cartels, used car salesmen and rogue elements in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard (as one former CIA agent told theGuardian at the time, “this stinks to holy hell”) – the language used by many in the American establishment at the time revealed the real motivation. On the back of the ‘plot’ being ‘uncovered’, Hillary Clinton called for a “strong message” to be sent to Iran, the potential substance of which was somewhat fleshed out by President Obama when he stated: “We don’t take any options off the table.”

Clearly, the groundwork is being laid for something stronger than further sanctions against Iran.

Another important purpose of this three-ring media circus was to help form a potential international ‘coalition of the willing’ in support of military action, such as we saw before the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. The fabricated terror plot claims have been taken up with alacrity by Saudi Arabia as a ploy for mobilising against Iran, with the Saudi government calling for Iran to “pay the price” for its alleged actions. King Abdullah has already been exposed by WikiLeaks to be calling on the US to “cut off the head of the snake”, highlighting the real agenda behind this risible farce.

The British prime minister, David Cameron, also clearly recognises a profitable bandwagon when he sees one. He described the Iranian ‘plot’ as “shocking” and stated: “We will support measures to hold Iran accountable for its actions.”

How far Britain was prepared to give its support was indicated by the Guardian a few weeks later, when it reported that: “Britain’s armed forces are stepping up their contingency planning for potential military action against Iran … British officials say that if Washington presses ahead [with attacks on Iran] it will seek, and receive, UK military help for any mission.” (‘UK military steps up plans …’, Guardian, 2 November 2011)

Whether or not they are able to drum up much international support for war against Iran, if they remain unable to destabilise the Iranian regime internally, the US and Israel may well feel ‘forced’ to take decisive action, with or without a ‘coalition of the willing’.

An anti-imperialist cause

Iran continues to present itself as a model of autonomous national development in a region whose natural resources and geopolitical significance are of crucial importance to the imperialists. Further, however unlikely it may be in the near future, if Iran were to arm itself with nuclear weapons it would render itself effectively un-targetable by imperialist aggression and could potentially form a stable hub of anti-imperialist resistance in the region.

There remains every possibility that Israel and the United States may feel that they must “put their hand around Iran’s throat” (to paraphrase former US General Jack Keane) while they still have the option to do so.

If an attack on Iran were to occur, it would certainly not be a swift victory for imperialism. According to the Oxford Research Group, any attack on Iran would result “in prolonged conflict – the start of a long war with potential regional and global consequences”. Whatever the outcome of such a war, it would be the responsibility of all progressive forces to stand firmly behind Iran and the right of nations to self-determination free from imperialist interference in their affairs, and work to ensure that the working classes of their respective nations were not deceived into passive acceptance as they were during the bombing of Libya.

Some who consider themselves to be Marxists may question why it is necessary to offer a sustained defence of the Iranian government, considering that Iran remains a capitalist country and the Iranian state remains in the hands of Iran’s national bourgeoisie. The answer to this question was provided by Joyce Chediac in a speech at the national conference of the US Workers World Party, earlier this year. She explained:

“Marxists call governments like those in [Iran] ‘bourgeois nationalist’ – nationalist because they seek to develop their countries free from imperialist domination and bourgeois because they are ruled by an exploiting capitalist class. They seek to push out the imperialists to better exploit the workers, but they have common interest with the workers when imperialism threatens the country’s sovereignty.

“Marxist Leninists support these governments unconditionally against imperialism because they are manifestations of the self-determination of the oppressed.” [Emphasis added]

Equally important is an understanding of the methods and tactics of imperialism in overthrowing anti-imperialist nations. Often its efforts take the form, of providing funding and support for opposition groups that give the impression of being ‘popular’ and/or ‘democratic’ movements, whose cause is then loudly trumpeted by western media outlets. In every instance Marxist Leninists must ask, “What is the real nature of these opposition groups? Do they ultimately tend to strengthen or weaken imperialism?”

Moreover, when a nationalist bourgeoisie is prepared to stand up to imperialism, communists within such a country have a duty to form an anti-imperialist alliance with the nationalists against the comprador classes and their backers in order to maximise the chances of successfully defeating imperialist interference. (See the article on communists and anti-imperialism elsewhere in this issue for more details on this.) The alliance does not change the fact that the bourgeoisie and the working class stand in contradiction to each other – it is just that imperialism stands in contradiction to both of them and it is in the class interests of both to defeat imperialism.

Because of this, both classes – the national bourgeoisie and the working class – will make concessions to the demands of the other in order, in their best class interests, to preserve their alliance against the outside enemy. And all this will be met with a chorus of condemnation from Trotskyites in all the imperialist countries, who denounce each and every one of the concessions made by the working class in the oppressed nations as an inexcusable betrayal. Can it be a coincidence that it is only imperialism that will gain if the working class and national bourgeoisie of the oppressed country turn against each other while both are under attack from imperialism?

Unsurprisingly then, the plethora of Trotskyist organisations in Britain have consistently failed to reach this genuinely Leninist stance. In February of this year, the International Marxist Tendency (Socialist Appeal) joined US and British imperialism in calling for “the overthrow of the regime” in Iran (via a general strike, of course), and then followed it up in April with a three-part examination on the prospects for a “socialist revolution in Iran”. It described the Iranian government as “totalitarian” and accused it of leaving the Iranian people in “misery and poverty”.

The dubious justification for calling for the overthrow of the Iranian administration was the imperialist-engineered ‘controversy’ surrounding the recent elections (which IMT, dutifully echoing western imperialism, of course described as “rigged”), the bleed-over from which these wiseacres apparently view as a “progressive mass movement”. (‘Iran: In the footsteps of Tunisia and Egypt’, In Defence of Marxism,11 February 2011)

The CWI (Socialist Party) has likewise provided sympathetic coverage of opponents of, and opposition movements against, the Iranian government, parroting sensationalist claims of “brutal repression” without concern for evidence (or objective coverage in general). In April it called for the working class of Iran to be “involved” in “the fight against the regime”. (‘Iran: Victory for oil workers on strike’, Socialist World, 27 April 2011)

What these counter-revolutionaries should be asked is what an anti-imperialist government under threat from such an overwhelmingly powerful enemy as imperialism should do with those who are actively engaged in trying to sabotage its anti-imperialist endeavours? What should they do with those who openly side with the country’s enemies? What should be done with those who demand the right to sell their country’s sovereignty to imperialism?

By a strange coincidence, leaving them free to spread confusion and demoralisation among the population is exactly what suits imperialism, so it seems self-evident to any counter-revolutionary Trotskyite that this is what they must be allowed to do!

The Socialist Workers Party (SWP) consistently makes all manner of unsubstantiated claims about Iran’s imperialist-backed and imperialist-funded opposition movements, including the bizarre claim that they are, in fact, popular mass movements that are opposed by western governments … despite admitting (in the very same article) that western leaders have publicly supported them! (‘Workers, women and the Islamic Republic’, International Socialism, Winter 2005)

The SWP has called for socialists to support the so-called ‘democracy movement’ in Iran regardless of whether it has any socialist character whatsoever (and, apparently, regardless of the fact that the ‘movement’ is heavily infiltrated and funded by imperialist agents). It would seem, therefore, that Trotskyites don’t after all have a problem in supporting bourgeois movements – just so long as they are counter-revolutionary and pro-imperialist!

Just as they did during the recent intervention in Libya, and quite irrespective of whether a few of their more gullible members may do so with ‘good intentions’, these seeming r-r-revolutionaries are giving cover to the imperialist cause and weakening the position of the besieged anti-imperialist nations by depriving them of vital allies wherever they can. Their ultra-revolutionary rhetoric must be unmasked for what it truly is: counter-revolutionary nonsense.

Marxist Leninists must support Iran against imperialist attacks on its sovereignty, regardless of the form they take – whether it be external intervention or internal subversion. As Stalin reminded us, every step along the road of national liberation “is a steam-hammer blow at imperialism, ie, is undoubtedly a revolutionary step”. (The Foundations of Leninism, 1924)

No to imperialist intervention!

Hands off Iran!

Posted in IranComments Off on Imperialist warmongers set sights on Iran

Syria war threat grows Hands off Syria! Victory to Assad!


By: Proletarian

With imperialism temporarily triumphant in Libya, the danger of an all-out war against Syria is increasing by the day.


Syria’s is the strongest anti-imperialist voice currently remaining within the Arab world. It is a major backer of the Palestinian resistance – at least 11 Palestinian fighting organisations, including Hamas, are based in Damascus – and of the Lebanese anti-imperialist resistance movement, Hizbollah. It is the only regional ally of Iran, which itself is also under intensified threat. And it is home to Russia’s only remaining naval base outside the territory of the former Soviet Union.

In early October, months of lobbying and pressure by the United States and the European imperialists came to nothing when Russia and China jointly vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that would have opened the way to another Libyan-style intervention.

But this by no means signalled the end of imperialism’s drive to war. With Russia and China presently retaining their determination not to repeat the disastrous error they made in the case of Resolution 1973 on Libya, imperialism is taking further unilateral steps, as well as giving free rein and full backing to both domestic counter-revolutionary forces and their regional collaborators, the Arab despots and the Turkish reactionaries.

The pretence – for such it always was – that the Syrian government was only facing peaceful unarmed demonstrators, rather than the reality of a well-armed and well-financed terrorist and insurrectionary movement, has now been cast aside as superfluous to requirements. On 20 November, the so-called ‘Free Syrian Army’ (FSA) launched a rocket propelled grenade attack on the headquarters of the ruling Arab Ba’ath Socialist Party in the heart of Damascus. Three days earlier they had attacked an air force intelligence complex in a Damascus suburb.

The FSA’s claims that they are not calling for foreign intervention in Syria are completely devoid of credibility as the actual content of their demands is for the imposition of a ‘no-fly zone’, the creation of so-called ‘protected zones’ and the supply of weapons. Decoded, these demands are simply a call for the same kind of all-out war that was waged against Libya by Nato and its Gulf stooges.

Syria’s membership of the Arab League has been suspended after the country was deemed to have ‘failed to comply’ with a supposed regional ‘peace plan’ – after just a few days!

In reality, Assad’s government was perfectly prepared to accede to the plan’s demands. It was the counter-revolutionary opposition that was not. But as with Iraq before and Libya more recently, the idea was never that Syria be either able or allowed to comply. With demands enforced on only one side in a conflict, the choice is no choice – surrender and be toppled or refuse and be attacked.

The Arab League has now also imposed swingeing sanctions on Syria, including a halt to dealings with the central bank, travel bans, asset freezes and the scrapping of economic projects.

It will be no surprise to readers of Proletarian to learn that the leading voice in the league’s chorus of condemnation against Syria has been Saudi Arabia, with enthusiastic support from Qatar and Bahrain. Already notorious worldwide as barbaric feudal autocracies, and totally reliant on imperialist support for their survival, the Saudi and Bahraini dictatorships only this year provided a vivid example of what the really brutal suppression of a genuine democracy movement actually looks like when they jointly turned their guns on unarmed protestors in Bahrain. The Bahraini government then went on to demonstrate its humanitarian credentials further by imprisoning medics for the ‘crime’ of treating the wounded victims of that barbarous assault.

Qatar, meanwhile, already home to the US Fifth Fleet, has earned itself new notoriety by the actions of its state-owned broadcaster Al Jazeera, which not only aired but actually built a set and created faked footage of the alleged ‘liberation of Green Square’ in Tripoli in August – thus playing a central role in the psychological and propaganda war being waged by the Nato aggressors. Judging by its coverage of the Syrian contras so far, Al Jazeera stands ready to repeat its criminal services in aid of the imperialist plan to topple the Assad government.

Meanwhile, the Turkish government and the British puppet king of Jordan have joined the US, Britain and France in calling for the Syrian government to step down. And both France and Turkey are preparing to set up ‘humanitarian corridors’ to ‘deliver aid’, which, despite the apparently innocuous words, represents a sure way to trigger a wider assault, not least on the pretext of the provision in the Nato charter that any ‘attack’ on one member state is deemed to be an attack on all. France intends to table the proposal at an EU foreign ministers’ meeting this month.

In the face of this mounting aggression, President Assad told the Sunday Times in an interview: “The conflict and the pressure to subjugate Syria will continue. I assure you that Syria will not bow down and that it will continue to resist the pressure being imposed on it.”

He added that, in the event of foreign intervention, he personally would definitely be prepared to fight and die: “This goes without saying and is an absolute.”

The working-class movement and all genuine anti-war forces need to stand 100 percent behind the Syrian government and its armed forces, demanding:

Hands off Syria! Victory to Assad!

No more wars of aggression!

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Syria war threat grows Hands off Syria! Victory to Assad!

EU cotton: made by children in Uzbekistan


Dear Friend,

The start of the school year normally means nervous excitement, but for children in Uzbekistan it’s a feeling of fear as hundreds of thousands are forced from their schools to pick cotton in life-threatening conditions.

Schools are closed down for the three-month cotton harvest and children, some as young as nine, are forced to pick cotton by hand. Students who fail to meet their targets or refuse to work are beaten or can face expulsion from school.

And the single biggest destination for this Uzbek cotton? The European market.

Gemma Wolfes from Anti-Slavery International set up a petition on calling for the European Union to end the trade preferences on Uzbek cotton imports. This week, a group of school children from Eastbourne will be presenting the petition to the European Parliament in Brussels.

Click here to add your name to the campaign and join them in speaking out against child labour.

Uzbekistan is the third largest exporter of cotton worldwide — almost half of that cotton is picked by state-sponsored forced child labour. Children suffer appalling conditions during the cotton harvest. Many contract hepatitis from insanitary conditions and there have even been reports of police throwing stones at children who weren’t picking cotton because they were sick.

Thanks to public pressure from human rights organisations, several UK retailers including Tesco and Marks & Spencer have already taken action to ban Uzbek cotton from their products — but the European Union has failed to take action on the issue.

Thousands of signatures from across Europe will show the EU that citizens do not want cotton produced by forced child labour. Please add your name to the “Cotton Crimes” petition and call on the President of the European Parliament to end trade preferences on Uzbek cotton imports and stop child slavery now:

Thanks for being part of this,
– Brie and the team

P.S. Thousands of people are changing the world through petitions on every week. Here are some petitions started by people in the UK that need your support now:

Posted in Human RightsComments Off on EU cotton: made by children in Uzbekistan




Dershowitz is desperate. In a recent TV appearance, in a mere seven minutes the notorious Zionist mouthpiece, manages to exhibit just about every single ugly Hasbara symptom.

And what is Dershowitz so desperate about? Dershowitz, is desperate to stop ‘The Wandering Who’. Why? Because ‘The Wandering Who’ is probably the only contemporary text that offers a complete and comprehensive reading into, not only Jewish Identity politics in general but also into Dershowitz’ own particular psychosis and duplicitous behaviour.

Speaking of duplicitous behaviour, being a prime Hasbara agent and well used to ‘the ways of deception’, Dershowitz fails to produce a single truthful statement in the entire program. He lies all the way through. But lies and deception are not going to help Dershowitz.

To read a complete expose of  Dershowitzes Lies and Glitches

Dershowitz, a largely despised supremacist Zionist, wants to ‘shame’ two of America’s most distinguished professors. However, in pleading with academics and students to carry out the ‘shaming’, Dershowitz actually follows one of the most disturbing of all Talmudic rituals – the Cherem.

Why does Dershowitz believe he has the moral authority to ‘shame’ two of the world’s leading humanists? Is it because he believes himself to be intellectually or morally superior, or is it that he is just, quite simply ‘chosen’?

It’s about time that Dershowitz accepts that American universities are not Yeshivas and he should rein in his mediaeval rabbinical approach to political and intellectual discourse.

Being an ex-Jew, I ask no-one to ‘shame’ Dershowitz in return. This sad, vindictive man brings more than enough shame on himself – and on anyone within the Jewish community who identify so disastrously with his repellent behaviour.

The Wandering Who is now a best seller, it is endorsed by a huge list of academics and humanists and its message spreads like fire in a field. Needles to mention that I am thankful to Dershowitz and other Hasbara agents for their free publicity.


The Wandering Who-A Study of Zionist and Hasbara tactics  or


Posted in PoliticsComments Off on DESPERATE DERSHOWITZ

Dorothy Online Newsletter


Dear Friends,

Although the 2 items below are ones that I hope that you will read, this is also a trial.  I wanted to send them last night, but couldn’t find the commands.  Am doing better, but still have lots to learn.  Hopefully these will come out ok at  your end of things. One positive aspect of all this for me is that it keeps my mind on technicalities instead of what is happening on the ground.  Well—maybe not positive, but in a sense a relief.  Hopefully by this evening or tomorrow at the latest will get the hang of this thing and get back to work as usual.

Meanwhile, have a good day/evening



1,02:03 04.12.11

Israeli journalists are censoring themselves

Israeli journalism’s dereliction of duty began long before now, and before we declare war on those outside who would do us harm, we should first look deep within.

By Gideon Levy

Hundreds of Israeli journalists will gather in Eilat today for their annual professional conference. They have little to be proud of. It’s true that threats hang over this conference, the threat of politicians to injure journalistic freedom, the threat of the economic crisis to harm the media and the threat of technology to eliminate print journalism, but Israeli journalism’s dereliction of duty began long before this frightening twilight hour. And what they face today is entirely their own fault.

Before we declare war on those outside who would do us harm, we should first look deep within.

For many years, until just recently, Israeli journalism enjoyed great liberty. Military censorship contracted significantly; unacceptable institutions like the Editors’ Committee effectively ceased to exist and the pressures placed on journalists were negligible.

In addition, most branches of the media were in good shape economically. It is ironic that Israeli journalism is falling down on the job precisely in such excellent circumstances. Come the day of reckoning it will be found wanting for these years of blindness, complacency and extreme nationalism.

Israeli journalism censors itself to the point of harm. Part of it has become a means of entertainment while inciting our more base passions. Part of it now appeals to emotions, not reason, and deals with trivial rather than important issues, taking part in the campaigns of denial and obfuscation. No one asked this of it, it did so on its own. It often turned propagandist, too. Journalism hasn’t been conscripted. It signed up itself.

The journalistic tom-toms were beating before the most recent wars, calling in unison for another ferocious assault. The media lined up in support of every war, offering no criticism. That came only afterward, when it was too late to repair the damage. Israeli journalists authorized nearly every transgression, and many forgot the difference between public diplomacy and journalism.

The images the world saw of Operation Cast Lead, for example, were not the ones shown to Israelis. Some of the military correspondents liken themselves to spokesmen. Nowhere else in Israeli journalism is criticism of the establishment so lax.

The version of events offered by the Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson’s Office is always victorious and often the only version available. Its delegitimization campaigns against such organizations as Breaking the Silence and Anarchists Against the Wall received full cooperation from the media. No Israeli journalists have been allowed into the Gaza Strip for five years, and no one utters a word in protest.

Israeli journalism is the senior partner to the delegitimization campaign against the Palestinians; it is the most important tool for maintaining the occupation. It isn’t an issue of right and left, it is a betrayal of its purpose. It broadcasts false fears, from “all of Gaza is booby-trapped” on the eve of Operation Cast Lead to “Iranian weapons are smuggled through the tunnels” to the lie of calling that one-sided assault a war.

Israeli journalism adopts every military euphemism in the book and collaborates with the distortion of reality. There’s nothing like Israeli journalism when it comes to saving people from moral qualms over what is being done in their name.

Journalists serve unholy goals with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, too: When Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas presented his borders proposal to the Quartet last week, it was barely reported. Israeli journalism swallows whole the government’s claim of there being “no partner” for talks, and to hell with the truth.

It called the Mavi Marmara activists “terrorists” and labeled the Gaza-bound aid flotilla a “threat.” Any justified criticism of Israel is immediately branded as anti-Israeli, not to mention anti-Semitic.

Any “friend of Israel” is a friend of wars and the occupation. Israeli journalism practices the religion of the military and sanctifies the ritual of death. The same is true for social issues: It practices the rites of the rich (until recently) and turns away from need.

The list goes on. The media can also claim many accomplishments, such as courageously investigating numerous scandals and fighting steadfastly against corruption and the threats to democracy. But at the end of the day, at the end of the years of darkness, we are at least partly responsible for more than a few of the ills that are now rising against us to silence us.


2  Haaretz

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Israel has responsibilities as a U.S. ally

Obama and his team clarify what it means when they say that Israel is an ally, a close ally: it must take into account American interests, and in alliances, the obligation is mutual.

By Amir Oren

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak received a loud slap from Leon Panetta, U.S. Secretary of Defense in the Obama administration. Speaking at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy (at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. ), Panetta took a stance clearly opposing their position on the Iranian nuclear issue, and Netanyahu’s negotiations freeze toward the Palestinians, which Barak failed to melt. The former head of the CIA praised his former Mossad counterpart, Meir Dagan, a bitter rival of the two. Sitting in front of Panetta as he spoke was their main rival in the upcoming elections for the Knesset, Tzipi Livni.

Panetta’s Italian origin emerged during his speech in the use of colorful language, repeating three and four times “Get back to the damned [negotiating] table,” a call to Netanyahu and Abbas. His language was particularly blunt when he diverted from the written speech, prepared by his staff, ditching diplomatic jargon and enunciating what’s really bothering him and his president.

Yesterday he had the wording prepared, key parts of which – with dos and don’ts for Israel – had been disseminated in advance. There were also improvised responses and Q&As, which set aside the refined formats and captured Obama’s stance in a few words: Do not bomb Iran because you will undermine an essential interest of ours. Return to dialogue with the Palestinians – in other words, make more concessions than Netanyahu has so far agreed to. Improve your relations with key countries in the region: Turkey, Egypt and Jordan. Consider yourselves, along with the necessary operational measures, as part of the region that is finally moving toward democracy.

In recent weeks, senior administration officials were keen to give Israel the title of “ally.” Two weeks ago National Security Adviser Tom Donilon described Israel as “our closest ally in the Middle East,” and Barack Obama said last week, during a fund-raiser among the Jewish community in New York, that “no other ally is more important than Israel.” Part of this is an effort to compete with the language of Republican candidates in the race for the White House. In practice, it is a loaded statement, placing on Israel duties along with the rights that are granted with it.

During the first decades of its existence, Israel dreamed of a move closer to the Americans, from just a “friend’ to the status of “ally.” In the 1980s, Republican presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush finally granted this status. For the Americans, this is not an empty word. They went to two World Wars alongside allies. They then established contractual alliances around the world, first and foremost with NATO. Every alliance limits the freedom of action of the President and may embroil his country in some foreign adventure, contrary to the warnings of George Washington in his farewell address, and requires the approval of the Senate. Only in terms of security assistance do Israel and other Asian countries have the status of “a main ally which is not in NATO”; not really a Ph.D., just an honorary doctorate.

Now comes Obama and his team responsible for defense. They also care about his reelection, and clarify what it means when they say that Israel is an ally, a close ally, in the region and in general. A close ally has responsibilities. It must take into account American interests, especially when it is defined as “essential.” In alliances, the obligation is mutual. There are allies who contribute forces to a joint mission, in order to assist in a substantive way, or just symbolically; and there are those whose active involvement is problematic and therefore their role is to avoid action, in order not to make things complicated. An ally is not the boss; it does not drag the U.S. behind it.

The basic assumption of Obama and Panetta is diametrically and publicly opposed that of Netanyahu and Barak. The regime in Tehran is determined to go nuclear, but is in the process of becoming weaker from abroad and at home. An Iranian bomb will block this trend and undermine regional stability, which is a security asset for Israel. The joint aim, of preventing a nuclear Iran, does not justify the means which is so desired by Netanyahu and Barak, certainly not before an election test for themselves and Obama.

Panetta is demanding that, for now, for a year, they make do with economic and political pressure. There can be no clearer message to the Israeli leadership and, no less, to its voters.

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Israeli lawmaker targeting dissidents praises… Joe McCarthy’s ‘every word’

Dec 04, 2011

Philip Weiss

Ofir Akunis
Ofir Akunis

Joe McCarthy
Joe McCarthy

Haaretz, on the case:

Likud MK Ofir Akunis, who sponsored the bill to limit foreign funding to Israeli human rights organization, stood behind Senator Joseph’s McCarthy’s actions in the 1950s. Speaking on Sunday on the “London and Kirshenbaum” television show on Channel 10, Akunis said McCarthy – who in the 1950s presided over a committee that investigated Americans suspected of harboring Communist views – said “was right in every word, the fact is -there were Soviet agents.”According to the bill, which was proposed by Akunis and has been backed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, political NGOs in Israel would not be allowed to receive donations exceeding 20,000 shekels provided by foreign governments and international organizations, such as the UN and the European Union.

Joe McCarthy


Letter from Cairo: A general’s torture– Nada Zatouna’s story

Dec 04, 2011

Scott Long

Nada Zatouna

Nada Zatouna (photo courtesy of Zatouna)

Nada Zatouna is 23 and an independent filmmaker. Originally from Aswan in upper Egypt, she lives in Cairo. She’s been an activist since the Revolution began in January, “involved with Tahrir from the start,” she said, “as an Egyptian citizen, and as an Egyptian woman.”

“I have my work, and my tools as a filmmaker,” she explained, “and I wanted to use them for my country. For my Revolution, to document what was going on – on our side, the victories, and also the things they did against us.

Police arrested Nada on Sunday, November 20, early in a week of steady fighting in downtown Cairo. The battles began when the military junta’s security forces raided a sit-in occupying Midan Tahrir. After that, police kept raiding Tahrir and seizing activists, using nearby Mohamed Mahmoud Street (which leads from Lazoghly Square and the Ministry of Interio) as a point of entry. Protesters started confronting them along the street. Days of fighting ensued. Tear gas filled the city. Police snipers fired directly in demonstrators’ faces, and many lost their eyes permanently. More than 40 protesters died.

Nada herself was held for over a day, and tortured. Here is her story.

In the middle of the week, Thursday and Friday and Saturday [November 17-19], I was in a camp near Alexandria — we go there and take a rest from life. After that, I returned to Cairo, and was I shocked by what was happening in Tahrir Square and Mohamed Mahmoud. I called one of my friends, and he said, “Don’t go, Nada, it’s very dangerous.” But I decided to go, and take a camera, any camera, to document what was going on.

When I got there, I began to go deeper and deeper down Mohamed Mahmoud Street to where the worst of the fighting was. I found a lot of people from different classes, different sects, different identities — anything, everything. But they were falling down right and left from tear gas and from rubber bullets. Everyone was extremely tense. They were shouting: “No SCAF [Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the ruling junta], no police! We want to see the military go!”

I reached the front lines. Between me and the police and the CSF [Central Security Forces, Amn el-Merkazi, a division of the national police] there were only about twenty meters. There were maybe forty people there. I saw two or three other women there. But there was no talking in the chaos.

Once we got there, I noticed that when guys stopped throwing stones at the CSF and police, the CSF would come forward with police cars and grab them. Or they would fire tear gas directly at them. So I felt we all had to take defensive measures. But at the same time, I was trying to document things with my small camera. And in the middle of that, I found at least six or seven CSF soldiers came on me — in just two seconds, they were very fast; people beside me ran quickly, and I couldn’t run quickly.

And they beat me on the head, grabbed me by the hair — I was shocked, I didn’t know what to do — they broke my camera, they were kicking me, beating me with sticks, everything. One of them, wearing civilian clothes, grabbed me by the shirt and dragged me down the street. I was dizzy, I was a bit unconscious from the beating on my head. He began to ask me: “How much do they pay you to do this?” And things like that.

They marched me to the Ministry of Interior [nearby at Lazoghly Square] on foot. I was alone – they caught each one alone. They put me in a sort of kiosk, a small office in front of the Ministry of Interior, inside the gate. There were officers beating me once we arrived. One of the officers was high rank – there were three stars on his epaulets. He used an electric stick on my arm, and he kept doing this again and again. I was saying “Stop!” – I was trying to get him away.

Then they shoved me in the kiosk. In a while one of the officers [inside], who was a little bit nice, told me to come behind him – to stand behind his back and he wouldn’t let anyone reach in and beat me from outside.

They began to go through my bag and throw everything on the floor. And they began to push other people in the kiosk. Within two or three minutes this space was full of guys – a lot of them teenagers, maximum fourteen years old, just kids. They were all beaten – there was blood everywhere. My head was also bleeding from the injuries, and my lips and mouth too.

They took our mobile phones, and our sim cards and everything. They took my ID. And they kept calling us names. The [CSF] soldiers outside the kiosk acted as if they wanted to grab me and drag me outside again to beat me again. They were saying to the officers, “Let her outside and we’re going to fuck her! We’ll screw her whole life!”

After a while a van came, to deliver us to the police station. The officer who had told me to stay behind him, came to me to prevent anybody from beating me – to prevent the soldiers outside. As I walked out, he was holding me between his arms, to guard me. Then I went inside the car. [The CSF outside] kept on trying to get me, to pull me out. But one of the officers pushed them away: “Enough, she’s a girl and she’s young, stop!”

After this, we went to Abdeen police station [in central Cairo]. The prisoners in the van were something like forty men, and I was the only woman.

I was the first one who got down. I told one of the CSF officers there, “Please don’t let anybody beat me again.” But inside the station, an officer who was standing on the stairs kept looking at me, up at down, and calling me names and threatening me – very bad. He’d say, “Get her upstairs. We’re going to fuck her, we’ll screw her life, do a lot of bad things to her.”

We all had to go upstairs, into an office. And there, they threatened me again: “We are going to hang you on the wall. And we’ll bring a woman in to beat you.” There was blood everywhere on the walls – we kept asking, “What is this?” It’s like psychological war.

We stayed upstairs for something like seven hours. We wanted to go to the bathroom: they told us it’s forbidden. It’s funny, almost – no; it was horrible, really. At 2 A.M. they got all of us downstairs to go to the truck again, and go to the niyaba [the public prosecutor].

We went to a civilian, not a military niyaba – that at least was a relief. But it was 5 A.M. by the time we got there. They put us in a cage, maybe three meters by three meters. And when it was my turn I went in to meet the niyaba. He acted very civil; he told me, “Don’t worry, sit down, how did they arrest you? You are young, you’re a girl, you look peaceful. I have been in Tahrir Square myself; I was calling for change. Don’t worry, I am going to release you.” And so on.

He kept writing, questions. And he was giving the answers instead of me: “No,” “I don’t know,” “It didn’t happen.” As if he were going to help me. I didn’t tell him about the torture. [Prosecutors are required by Egyptian law to include accounts of torture in their reports if prisoners give them, or if they see evidence of torture.] But he could see – I was bruised and bleeding. He didn’t ask me about it. And of course he already knew that the police do this.

I went out. We were all waiting for six hours to know what was going to happen to us. They kept telling us, “After five minutes there will be a decision from the general prosecutor.”

At first we were all in one cell, but after a while another group came, and there were something like 100 of us, or 150—I was still the only woman. They then took me out of the cage, and let me sit on the floor between two cages in the same area. By two or three in the afternoon, we were all starving. This was now Monday. All the guys were screaming, “We’re hungry, we’re human!”

There was a lower-ranking guy who kept harassing me all that day. I was completely terrified of him. While I was waiting between the two cages, I was alone, and he entered the area, and was trying to touch me, stroke me, touch my shoulder, and I was trying to push him away. Another officer entered and scared him, and he went away from me

At 6 P.M., they told me, “We’ll release you — you just have to go back to Abdeen station to process the release.” But the lower-ranking officer came along in the van. And in the van he kept telling me, “I want you.” All this in front of other soldiers, and officers – until finally one of them told him, “Stop, Osama. It’s enough, yanni.”

The car kept taking turns and detours—going in circles. We realized we weren’t going to Abdeen. People were singing at first, but then they started asking, “Where are we going? What’s happening?” Suddenly we saw through the cracks he’d entered a road to the desert. And we reached a military camp, and stopped. We were all so depressed and discouraged — really shocked. They’d tricked us.

We entered this camp. I saw from the little window more soldiers from CSF surround the car, with sticks and everything. The officers inside the car were laughing: they told us “These people will screw your life, motherfuckers, they will beat you to the edge of your life.” They were very happy! I was so down. I told one of the officers, “Please don’t let anyone beat me again.”

And we go down. I told myself, “OK, it’s my destiny, I will stay here forever.” They beat all of them, but this time, not me. The police took off their belts, and used them to beat them, and punched them on their backs, and kicked them.

There were two cages, each about four meters square, with a little distance between them. Ad there were sixty or so men from the van, and me. The officer at the camp asked, “Where are we going to put this girl?” I was so down. I thought, “OK, do whatever you want with me.”

They put me in one cell, alone, with everyone else in another, and they let an army soldier stay with me. I asked him, “Please get me a blanket, it’s too cold for me” — I was sleeping on the floor. I spent two hours asking for a cover, and he finally consented to get me one, this way: He told the other soldier outside to get a cover for him. That soldier asked, “Is it for you or her?” He said, “For me, don’t worry.” So after one or two hours, the other soldier brought the blanket, and this one let me have it. Then I slept. I was telling myself, “Nada, you are going to live here for days. You don’t know what will happen to you. There’s nothing you can do.”

Suddenly at 10 P.M. they open the door, and they tell me they will release us. But seven of us will stay with them. Among those who stayed were people with very serious injuries. Among us was a young guy both of whose arms had been completely broken. They didn’t release him – they didn’t want the injuries to be public. They also kept others from the April 6 Movement [the April 6 Youth Movement is one of the main revolutionary coalitions]. I didn’t want to believe them again. But they took our fingerprints, and then they really released us in front of the camp.

We were outside eastern Cairo, and we had to make our own way back.

Talking and talking is useful for me. Saying what happened, it’s very useful for me. Just now, before we met to talk, when I was in the street after finishing my work, I decided to pass by in front of the Ministry of Interior where I was beaten. I was scared at first, it was heavy: it was not easy, psychologically, for me. But I told myself, “You have to do this, to feel OK.” And I passed in front of cars, and soldiers, and I wasn’t … Well, I thought they might identify me, and I didn’t have an ID on me [Egyptians are legally obliged to carry identity papers]. The street was closed to cars, but they let pedestrians pass, and I walked by. But I wasn’t afraid in the end.

And after this, I felt so proud of myself, and I was so happy that I could do this.

I’ve changed as a person since the Revolution, and because of the Revolution. I feel stronger than before. I can say loudly, “I want this and this and this.” I can be myself more and more, in my personal life, in society. That’s what the Revolution means to me, that strength. Before the Revolution, what they did to me might have broken me. But not now. Not now.

This post originally appeared on Scott Long’s blog, A Paper Bird.


Students stage dramatic walkout on Avigdor Lieberman mouthpiece in Michigan

Dec 04, 2011

Philip Weiss

Bilal Baydoun, a senior at the University of Michigan, writes:

Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE) at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor recently staged a walkout on Israeli Bedouin diplomat and Ministry of Foreign Affairs apologist Ishmael Khaldi. He came to our campus at the invitation of Israel lobby group CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) to whitewash the marginalization of minorities in Israel. I’ve included a video of our walkout.


Israeli forces prevent Palestinians from reaching their fields as gov’t announces another 650 settlement units

Dec 04, 2011


and other news from Today in Palestine:

Clinton concerned over Israeli democracy
US secretary of state voices deep concern over wave of anti-democratic legislation, particularly bill targeting leftist organizations; criticizes exclusion of women from public life in Israel.
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Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid / Restriction of movement / Refugees

Israel Approves 650 Units In Pisgat Zeev Settlement
The Israeli “Regional Construction and Planning Committee” at the Jerusalem Municipality approved a plan to construct 650 units in Pisgat Zeev settlement that was built in 1985 on lands that belongs to Palestinian residents of Beit Hanina and Hizma, north of occupied Jerusalem.

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Israel paving road to link East Jerusalem neighborhoods to city center
Akiva Eldar – Haaretz – Peace Now representatives argue that the “road`s current route isn`t legal, since the plan designates occupied territory for permanent infrastructures for the occupying power, while completely disregarding the needs of the Palestinian residents in Beit Hanina and the area.”
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JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — A joint Muslim and Christian organization warned Thursday that the rabbi of the Western Wall plans to build a second level at the holy site abutting Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. The Islamic Christian Commission in Support of Jerusalem and the Holy Sites said the design was highly dangerous to the Haram al-Sharif compound as it would involve drilling directly under complex housing the mosque and the Dome of the Rock.

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Earlier this year, the group 1948 Lest We Forget filed an application to the World Monuments Fund (WMF) to include the Palestinian village of Lifta in its 2012 World Monuments Watch List. The WMF was chosen because it accepts nominations from individuals, institutions and organizations without the need for national or state endorsement. The fund is an independent organization registered as a charity and based in New York City. It is concerned with saving some of the world’s most treasured places, whether great buildings, sites or singular monuments. In preparing the application, we carried out extensive research on Lifta — its rich history, its unique architectural, cultural and social character — and found it to be an embodiment of everything Palestinian.

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BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces closed the West Bank’s Allenby crossing to Jordan on Thursday evening, witnesses told Ma’an. The terminal, the sole entry and exit point for Palestinians in the West Bank to travel abroad, was shut down around 5 p.m. as ambulances, fire services, and Israeli police entered the closed zone, travelers said.  Crossings authorities could not be reached to comment on the unscheduled closure.

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Israel Prevents Thirty Farmers From Entering Their Lands
The Israeli Authorities prevented on Thursday thirty Palestinian farmers from Anin village, west of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, from entering their lands and orchards isolated behind the Annexation Wall in the area.
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HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli forces blocked a group of Palestinians from working on their land in southern Hebron on Thursday, farmers told Ma’an.  Ibrahim Abu Subha said around 30 farmers went to the fields near Susiya village, close to the southern edge of the West Bank, on Thursday morning. When they began work, Israeli forces arrived and ordered them off the land, declaring the 2,000 dunum area a closed military zone. Settlers from nearby Jewish-only communities inside the West Bank “incited forces against the Palestinians,” when the group told soldiers they owned the fields, Abu Sabha said.

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As part of the weekly nonviolent protests against the occupation, settlements, the Wall, and the illegal Israeli attempts to annex lands that belong to the Cremisan Christian Monastery In Beit Jala, Palestinian Christians held prayers on lands that belong to residents of the town, located near the West Bank city of Bethlehem.
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Israeli academics have condemned the construction of the so-called “Museum of Tolerance” on the site of a historic Muslim cemetery in Occupied Jerusalem. They have also warned that should the museum on top of the Ma’aman Allah Cemetery go ahead, Israel risks major and bitter confrontation with the Muslim world. The comments were made at a seminar organised by the Jerusalem Institute for Israeli Studies on Wednesday, November 30, to mark the publication of a book by Yitzhak Reiter about the Ma’aman Allah Cemetery and the construction of the museum in question. Speakers said that building the museum in such a location will have dangerous repercussions at local and international levels. They suggested that the decision to build should be reversed, especially in the light of the increasing international objections to the project.

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Israeli Aggression

PCHR Weekly Report: 2 Palestinians wounded, 23 abducted by Israeli troops this week

In its Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 24- 30 Nov. 2011, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights found that two Palestinians were wounded when Israeli forces attacked peaceful protests in the West Bank. Troops also abducted 9 Palestinians in the West Bank.

link to www.imemc.orgClashes between Palestinians and occupation forces at Sha’fat roadblockIsraeli occupation forces arrested on Thursday evening eight Palestinian youth from the Sha’fat refugee camp to the north of occupied Jerusalem during a to

NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli settlers assaulted a 60-year-old man cultivating land in the northern West Bank on Saturday morning, a Palestinian Authority official said.  Najih Abdul-Qadir was tilling his fields near the illegal Itamar settlement east of Nablus when a group of ultra-orthodox Israelis approached him and beat him severely, PA settlement monitoring official Ghassan Doughlas told Ma’an.

Jewish settlers attack Salem village in Nablus
Dozens of Jewish settlers under military protection savagely attacked Saturday morning Salem village east of Nablus city and assaulted its Palestinian farmers.

Settlers Attempt to Enter Beit Ommar After day of Demonstration

Today, Saturday, December 3, residents and the Popular Committee of Beit Ommar, along with international and solidarity activists, held their regular demonstration at the illegal Israeli settlement, Karmei Tsur. Demonstrations have been held at Karmei Tsur, a religious extremist settlement built on privately-owned Palestinian land, regularly for nearly 3 years. Today, the demonstration was met with a small force of soldiers, and though demonstrators were pushed and hit as they tried to pass the line of soldiers, there were no arrests and the demonstration ended without incident.
Detention / Courts / Other Prisoner News

Palestinian children imprisoned in violation of international law
In September 2009 Israel established the Military Youth Court. Two years later, in September 2011 Israel finally met its obligations under international law and raised the age of majority in the military courts from 16 to 18. However, none of these changes brought major improvements in practice and the abuse of Palestinian children arrested and detained by Israeli authorities continues…link to www.alternativenews.orgIOF soldiers detain young woman, four Jerusalemite schoolchildrenIsraeli occupation forces (IOF) detained a Palestinian young woman at a roadblock leading to the Ibrahimi mosque in Al-Khalil on Thursday, local sources to

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained a young man seeking medical treatment in Israel at the Erez crossing from Gaza, a prisoners organization said on Thursday. Ahmad Khamis Alika was leaving for an urgent eye operation in an Israeli hospital when he was detained on Wednesday, the Hussam prisoners organization said. Alika’s father received a phone call from Israeli intelligence services notifying him of the detention, the group said. An Israeli army spokesman said he could not confirm the detention.

IOF soldiers round up 9 PFLP activists including one with disability
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) launched a large scale search operation in Jenin before dawn Thursday and rounded up nine activists of the popular front for the liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

Troops Arrest Three Residents In Balata
Israeli soldiers arrested, on Friday at dawn, three Palestinians in the Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus city in the northern part of the West Bank, the Palestine News Network reported.
NABLUS (Ma’an) — An Israeli military court extended the detention of a Fatah lawmaker for a further six months on Thursday, months after he was imprisoned without charge, the party’s press office said. Hussam Khader, who is also chairman of the Committee for the Defense of Palestinian Refugee Rights and a known champion of reconciliation with Hamas, was detained by Israeli forces on June 2.
PA security arrest seven Hamas supporters in the West Bank
PA security agencies arrested seven Hamas supporters in the districts of Tulkarem, Salfit and Qalqilya. The same agencies got a teacher sacked and summoned a university student for interrogation.
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Two journalist organizations in the West Bank have accused Gaza’s security services of detaining five journalists, but the government says the group are working for the rival government in Ramallah. The Union of Journalists in Ramallah and the Fatah bureau for journalists said in a statement Friday that security forces in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip detained four male and one female journalist last week after ransacking their homes and offices.

Soldiers Attack Detainees In Nafha Prison
Israeli soldiers attacked on Thursday several detainees held in the Nafha detention camp, in the Negev Desert. In a letter sent to Husam Society, the detainees said that they have been without electricity since more than three days.

Palestinian prisoners in Nafha jail on 2nd day of hunger strike
Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli desert prison of Nafha have gone on hunger strike since Wednesday in protest against Israeli penal measures, the Wa’ad for prisoners affairs said on Thursday.

Large participation in the sit-in to demand release of political prisoners

Palestinians in large numbers on Thursday participated in the weekly sit-in to demand the release of political prisoners from PA jails in light of the claimed major progress in the to Health ministry: Gaza lacks 260 types of medicine

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip has said that there is a medical crisis in the coastal enclave, with over 260 types of medicines unavailable to residents. On Saturday, the ministry called on President Abbas to protect the rights of sick Gaza residents, a statement said. It urged international and local humanitarian organizations to pressure the Palestinian Authority to better regulate the quantities of medicine exported to the Gaza Strip, which it said were only half of the amount hoped for by the World Bank. The ministry in Ramallah is not following the principles of reconciliation, the Gaza ministry added.

Israel faces legal challenge over block on Palestinians exiting Gaza to sue state
Human rights body says those seeking damages for actions of Israeli military are refused entry to the country to appear in courtAn Israeli human rights organisation has launched a legal challenge to the state’s policy of denying Palestinians permission to leave Gaza to pursue claims for damages resulting from military action, which has led to dozens of cases being dismissed by the Israeli courts.

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Residents of the Gaza Strip urged officials on Saturday to resolve an electricity crisis which has engulfed the coastal enclave. “The electricity crisis in Gaza has been worsening for days without solving the issue by the government. This is unacceptable, we are during winter time and we need to get warmth,” Abdullah Abu Shaban Taleb told Ma’an. The shortage in electricity has been exacerbated by the breakdown of a sea line which has only worked for 20 hours since it was fixed on Nov. 17.

It’s 6.30am when Ahmad’s fishing boat leaves the Gaza City fishing port. Together with his three nephews and a friend, he will stay at sea for 48 hours, trying to catch as many fish as possible within the Israeli-imposed 3 nautical-mile limit.  Ahmad (Abu Mahmoud) Sha’ban al-Hissi turned 60 a week ago and has been working as a fisherman since he was 18 years old. As we look back and see how Gaza City becomes smaller and smaller, Ahmad speaks about the hardship he has faced in his four decades as a fisherman: “The sea is like a prison. We can’t move here freely. Our entire lives have become like prisons.”link to

Turkey To Grant Hamas $300 Million
Turkish sources reported that Turkish Prime Minister, Receb Tayyip Erdogan, sent a confidential letter to Ismail Haniyya, Prime Minister of the Hamas-led government in the Gaza Strip, inviting him to visit Turkey, and informing him that he decided to grant the government $300 Million.

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — An Egyptian official denied on Saturday rumors that the country is planning to open an embassy in the Gaza Strip, Arabic media reported. The unnamed official told London-based newspaper Al-Hayat that Egypt has no problem opening a representative office or embassy in Gaza, but only after a reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas has been completed. Egypt brokered the deal signed by the rival factions in May, and hosted party leaders last week in a push to move the deal uniting Gaza and the West Bank forward.

A delegation of Russian journalists, media figures and writers intends to visit the Gaza Strip in the coming days in the context of a solidarity program in support of the besieged to

“Where Should the Birds Fly?” is the story of two women in Gaza – the filmmaker, Fida Qishta, and a young survivor of Operation Cast Lead, Mona al Samouni. Through their eyes, we learn how people live, survive, and dream of a normal life, while facing Israeli attacks. We are more than halfway to the finish line in raising the money we need to complete “Where Should the Birds Fly?”.  Please donate generously and email your friends and lists and urge them to support this project.  You can see a short trailer of the film and make a tax deductible contribution at link to
Activism / Solidarity / Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions
HEBRON, December 3, 2011 (WAFA) – Israeli forces Saturday arrested an international activist and a Palestinian who were protesting in the weekly non-violent demonstration against settlements and the Apartheid Wall in Yatta, a town south of Hebron, according to a local activist. The Popular Committee Coordinator in Yatta, Rateb Jabour, said that Israeli soldiers assaulted dozens of demonstrators who protested against the Israeli arbitrary policies, demolition of Palestinian property and the demolition notice for Susiya school. Soldiers arrested an international activist and a Palestinian, and battered protesters causing bruises to several of them.
Tristan Anderson civil suit delayed as new evidence emerges
A civil suit filed by the family of Tristan Anderson, a US activist seriously injured by the Israeli army during a protest, has been delayed due to the revelation of new material evidence.

Israeli Repression / Discrimination & Racism
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities have extended the closure of four Palestinian NGOs in Jerusalem for another year, the Palestinian Authority said Friday. Police sealed the entrance of the four NGOs on Wednesday, said a statement calling the action reflective of a policy to control and undermine the role of Palestinian civil society in Jerusalem. The NGOs provide services for Palestinian community in Jerusalem, the PA says.  The statement listed the closed institutions as the Shua’a Women Association, the Al-Quds Development Foundation, Work Without Borders, and the Saeed Educational Center.
Freedom of expression and freedom of assembly are under attack, according to Association for Civil Rights in Israel.
“Every year the [population] gap between the Arab citizens of Israel and the Jewish citizens of Israel is closing by 60,000 a year. So we need 60,000 Jews a year to come to freeze the gap between us and the Arabs.
Settlers claim presence of Evangelical volunteers in religious community violates fabric of their society. Community Rabbi Eliezer Melamed approves their stay, says ‘they’re not missionaries’
Rabbi Shmuel Tal, head of the Torat Haim Yeshiva, calls the state an ‘abomination’ and says he has cut himself off from ‘the secular leadership.’

Row over UK lawmaker’s “Jewish” comments a reminder that Zionism is anti-Semitism, Ali Abunimah
Controversy has broken out in the UK over alleged anti-Semitic comments made by Labour MP Paul Flynn about the British Ambassador in Tel Aviv. According to The Jewish Chronicle (a publication whose record demonstrates that its accuracy can never been taken for granted) Flynn questioned whether Gould could be properly loyal to the UK because he is Jewish and has declared himself a Zionist…

link to

Political / Diplomatic News

Barhoum: Accepting the Quartet’s conditions eradicate Palestinian fundamentals
Hamas spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum, affirmed his movement’s rejection of the International Quartet’s conditions, pointing out that the government that will be formed as a result of the to

Qasem: The PA proposal presented to the quartet destructive to Palestinians
Political science professor, Dr. Abdel-Sattar Qasem said that the PA proposal to the quartet “takes the Palestinian people toward destruction”.

Haaretz: Palestinian Authority accepts a demilitarized state
Hebrew press sources revealed that the Palestinian Authority presented a new proposal on the “final status” issues to be settled between the Palestinians and the Zionist entity.

Panetta: Israel must get to the “damn” peace table (Reuters)Reuters – Defense Secretary Leon Panetta urged Israel on Friday to get back to the “damn” negotiating table with Palestinians and take steps to address what he described as the Jewish state’s growing isolation in the Middle to blames Palestinians for deadlock in talks

A day after U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta urged Israeli leaders to ‘just get to the damned table,’ Netanyahu spokesman says Palestinians ‘playing games.’

link to

AMMAN (Ma’an) — The Palestinian ambassador to Jordan lauded the role of King Abdullah in pushing Israel to release frozen tax revenues to the PA, Jordanian media said Saturday. Ambassador Atallah Khayri told Amman-based daily Al-Arab Al-Youm that the Jordanian king secured international and regional pressure on Israel to unblock the held funds. Khayri said King Abdullah’s efforts — including contact with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the British Prime Minister David Cameron — paid off when Israel finally released the payments on Dec. 1.

link to

In interview with Avi Issacharoff, Palestinian PM says it ‘was an honor for me to serve and I will continue to do so until my last day in the j

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ROME (Ma’an) — Italy has upgraded the top Palestinian diplomat in the country to the level of ambassador, official Palestinian Authority media said Thursday. The head of the Palestinian delegation to Italy Sabri Attiyah, will be made ambassador as part of Italy’s efforts to raise the level of the Palestinian representative office in the country, Wafa said, citing the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

link to www.maannews.netPLO subpoenas Palestinian who spied for IsraelPalestine Liberation Organization served Mosab Hassan Yousef, who says he is a former Shin Bet spy, with a subpoena in the U.S. last month; PLO wants his notes, details of his Israeli spy to www.haaretz.comEgypt

JERUSALEM (Reuters) — Israel is preparing for a more precarious future with neighbor Egypt where Islamist power appears to be a rising tide forecast by Israeli leaders at the beginning of Arab unrest 10 months ago. Already preoccupied with the nuclear ambitions of Iran, the widely predicted electoral triumph for mainstream and ultraconservative Islamist groups in Egypt has strengthened the sense of encirclement.

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) — Israel voiced deep concern on Saturday at the electoral rise of Islamism in Egypt but urged the Arab power to consider it had “no alternative” to maintaining its peace accord with Israel. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which had been curbed under former President Hosni Mubarak’s US-backed regime, expects to win the most seats in the new assembly after this week’s first round of voting, with ultra-conservative Salafis the likely runner-up.

link to“As long as they remain steadfast and hold their ground in Tahrir, my son Ahmed is alive.”, Max Ajl
After the atrocious massacre that began on the 19th of November, and following the aggressive charade staged by the MB and the SCAF since Monday, the revolution continues throughout the country.  Please watch this video and circulate it as widely as possible throughout the day. Follow @mosireen( ) for more documentary footage, interviews and ongoing coverage of the continuing uprising in Tahrir and around the Cabinet, as well as testimonies from victims of CSF & military violence, torture, and military to www.maxajl.comYossr Abdel Hadi: I stand with TahrirAfter a career in a deeply corrupt organisation, high-ranking Police Officer Yossr Abdel Hadi says that it is still possible for his institution to be purged of corruption and transformed into force that serves the people rather than harries and robs to League gives Syria deadline on observers
Regional bloc slaps sanctions on 19 Syrian officials and gives Damascus until Sunday to accept monitors.

Syria now in a civil war with 4,000 dead: United NationsCivil war has been the worst-case scenario in Syria since the revolt against Assad began eight months ago. Damascus has a web of allegiances that extends to Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah movement and Iran’s Shiite theocracy, raising fears of a regional conflagration.

Syrians Say They Are Feeling Grip of Economic Sanctions
Measures by Turkey, the Arab League and others are already unraveling the most significant change of President Bashar al-Assad’s tenure: linking Syria to the global economy.

A Syria run by the country’s main opposition group would cut military ties to Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas, the group’s leader told the Wall Street Journal in an articlepublished Friday.

Burhan Ghalyun presents his credentials to American Zionism, As’ad AbuKhalil
I read the interview with Burhan Ghalyun in the Wall Street Journal.  It is quite revealing.  It comes to vindicate my stance against the Syrian Military Council (I fiercely oppose the council to the same degree that I oppose the Syrian regime).  The interview should be read as an attempt to present the credentials of the council to American Zionism.  It was quite telling.  On the Golan, this major body of the Syrian opposition, which for decades rightly mocked and ridiculed the Syrian regime stance on the Golan, now says–as Ghalyun told the WSJ–that it will get back the Golan through negotiations and not through armed struggle.  THAT IS EXACTLY THE POSITION OF THE LOUSY BA`THIST REGIME, Mr. Ghalyun. So basically you promise to continue to the walk on the path of the Syrian regime.  Ghalyun said all the “the right things” against Iran and Hizbullah (not clear why Hizbullah is brought into the picture even if Ghalyun rightly opposes its verbal support of the lousy regime), but noticeably did not say one word against Israel.  Ghalyun now speaks like a typical Arab government official: he explained the absence of Kurdish and Christian representation on his council by saying that Kurds have too many parties and that Christians, well he never managed to explain that one.  Ghalyun is being dishonest and he knows it.

The Ghalyun Interview: he offers more than normalization, As’ad AbuKhalil
This is a remarkable interview and should dispel any illusions some progressive supporters of the Syrian National Council may have had.  So he said that he would reclaim the Golan through “negotiations” with Israel. That can mean one thing only: that Ghalyun is willing to offer Israel more than what the lousy Syrian regime has offered: full normalization.  So Ghalyun’s new slogans in the Arab-Israeli conflict should be: more than normalization.  That is a logical inference form the interview.

Why Russia is backing Syria
Russia isn’t just protecting its business interests – it fears Syrian civil war could have knock-on effects in Dagestan and beyond. While an international noose is tightening around the neck of Bashar-al Assad’s regime in Syria, with Turkey this week doing most of the pulling, one country, other than Iran, is intent on bucking the trend – to / Other Mideast NewsRights group urges Bush’s arrest during tour
Amnesty says Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia have an “obligation” to bring former US president “to justice”.link to

Posted in Nova NewsletterComments Off on Mondoweiss Online Newsletter

URGENT: Appeal from family members of Dr Abuzaid Omar Dorda


Dear Friends of Libya,

We have just received this most URGENT Appeal from family members of Dr Abuzaid Omar Dorda, an honourable and good person presently being held in illegal custody by Rebels in a Hospital in Tripoli being refused treatment.

The ICRC has lied about their involvement in visiting and ensuring Dr Dorda’s rights under the Articles of Geneva Conventions regarding Civilian Political Prisoners have been verified, had this been the case then proper Medical Treatment would have been given by Doctors.

Message received from Dr Dorda’s family is as follows:


My mother (wife of Dr Abuzaid Omar Dorda), just called me With new information on my dad.
Saying that he is still in the hospital in the hands of the same militia that tried to kill him 4 times.

She said that he is hasn’t moved from his bed since the day of the incident. My mother is still in Libya and was once visited by the same militia trying to steal what they can but she called friends to scare them away, and one of the militia men threatened my mom saying he will be the one to kill my father.

The militia refuses to take him to a proper hospital for an MRI and a proper check up even though the Dr begged them to let him take my dad but they refused and my dad is still in bad shape mentally and physically he refuses to eat because his food is always drugged his blood sugar and pressure level has been unstable ever since he was taken and only when he stopped eating thre food did it stabilize.

We are worried that they might try something before our friends can move him.


We urge everyone in this list to appeal to everyone as this is about the life of a much respected and loved human being, please urge anyone and everyone to save this man and each and every Libyans’ life, they are all precious people.

Kindly email back to let us know what actions are being taken.

To all Press and Media, especially Russia Today, Press TV and any other respected Media outlet please get in touch to arrange for an interview with Dr Dorda’s brother who is the Spokesperson for the family.

Treat as most URGENT PLEASE.

Global Peace-keepers Team.

Posted in Human Rights, LibyaComments Off on URGENT: Appeal from family members of Dr Abuzaid Omar Dorda

Assault On Main Street America


Are We Losing Our America – To Whom, and Why?

by  Sami Jamil Jadallah        …US Army 1966-68

I came home to a country still divided between “liberal “ and “conservative” with Liberal being defined as un-American, godless, devil like bunch of people who really do not belong to America.

It’s a country and state (VA) where Conservative Republicans present themselves as as God fearing, loyal and patriotic Americans, who rule with a fatal indifference to the nation and people, with narrow-minded views of the problems facing the nation and even narrower views of the solutions.

Coming home for Thanksgiving is my favorite of all religious and national holidays. I remember my first one in the US in Rockford, Ill when my late Dad and us kids drove the distance from Gary, Indiana to Rockford to attend our first Thanksgiving.

It was snowy, beautiful small towns and it has such a lasting impact on me and the things I most remember about being in America.

Of course living in the Greater Washington DC area one could not help but follow the national and local news and of course, all do not speak well for America or the American people.

Following the Republican presidential debate and campaigning, one has to wonder is this what America is all about, guys like Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann or Herman Cain, or that creepy chameleon Newt Gingrich and his $100 million enterprise (Praise the Lord). Thank God we no longer have Sarah Palin as a candidate!

Newt – Playing his Siren Flute

One has to wonder how a guy who made a “Contract against America” the center of his congressional career, can earn over $100 million, money he earned from groups and organizations that has vested business with the government, like Freddie Mac and health care industry. 

Money made from speaking engagements to stupid fools and organizations that pays him some $60,000 for one hour speech, more money than a hard working steel mill worker in Ohio makes an entire year.

There is something very wrong with our beloved America and with us a people and citizens to have this bunch running for the presidency.

Even more pathetic is candidate Herman Cain with his 9-9-9 tax policy, a man who was too busy hustling women than running the National Restaurants Association.

I really have no idea what this man has to offer the nation and why is he running for the highest office in the land, perhaps to set him up like Newt to earn millions afterwards.

I never can understand why this great nation with so many brilliant people can only offer the nation the likes of Herman Cain, or Rick Perry, or Michele Backmann or Newt Gingrich.

Republican Presidential Candidates for 2012

Watching footage of past Republican presidential debates, I was wondering how can these guys or gal really think they are fit and qualified to lead this nation? With “leaders” like this for sure we will not be a great nation for too long.

There is something fundamentally wrong with our police process that allows the likes of Herman Cain, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich or Michele Backmann to compete for the presidency.

Since the Reagan years I believe and I am convinced that Main Street and the American people have been under assault by narrow minded incompetent and unfit politicians colluding with God’s representative on earth such as Pat Robertson, the late Jerry Falwell. 

And you can add in colluding with international bankers, Federal Reserve and greedy corrupt Wall Street, while the nation and the economy were going down hill, and with tens of millions of people losing their jobs and homes that the nations’ leading think tanks were providing..

More troubling is the main stream media was bogged down in trivial issues as Monica Lewinski and her bra and  dress, or celebrities while other nations specially China was rebuilding and re-inventing itself to become an international power.

Think tanks, investment bankers, leading businessmen even politicians were looking at China as a great potential market for “made in America” products.

Within twenty years, most “Made in America” products disappeared with most if not all American homes having “made in China” products.

Thanks to companies like Wal-Mart, Sears, JC Penny, Home Depot, Best Buys we became a nation of minimum wage, that is if we can find a job. And China became an industrial giant with millions of millionaires, an economic power to reckon with.

Well that should tell us something about the smart and competence of our nations’ “think tanks”, our leading politicians and investment bankers. While American executives where thinking of selling Pepsi and Coke to the China, the Chinese leadership were thinking of selling every thing to America, making America “Made in China” product.

Within a span of 30 years the nation became dependent on China and other countries to keep it financially afloat. This country of ours that helped rebuild Western Europe, Germany and Japan became a second rate industrial power with millions of jobs in manufacturing lost forever.

One has to wonder what WalMart with its vast investment in China has done to Main Street America? And how many hundreds of thousands of small business had to close down forever because WalMart killed Main Street and that is true all over America?

Cheap money creates bubbles;

Other than a lone gas station, Main Street, as we knew it, almost disappeared even fast food joints closed down because Main Street was simply abandoned.

We all have to remember the numbers of times Wall Streets and its army of criminal crooks and its sponsors on Capital Hill fleeced us of our savings, of our investments with series of well organized, criminally minded.

Next they his us with well planned economic and financial schemes and scandals, such as the Saving and Loan Associations scandal, the Junk Bonds scandal, the Internet Bubble, the Enron Scandal, the Telecommunications Scandals, and most recently the Sub-prime Loans scandals.

Trillions of dollars simply disappeared from institutional balance sheets such as municipal and state retirement funds.

Stocks in major corporations became worthless, with hundreds of billions disappearing from our 401Ks. With the exception of few cases, these major criminals are on the loose making tens of millions in bonuses.

This money, our money, simply did not disappear it went into the accounts of Wall Street investment executives and bankers, it went into political contributions to our national politicians and political parties, and that explain how someone like Gingrich can pull in $100 million in few years.

Our leading national politicians, Wall Street investment bankers and lawyers, the nations’ leading Oligarchs all have conspired against Main Street and subsequently against America and its citizens.

Question, will we the people do something about it in the next national election? Will we allow Wall Street, American Oligarchs, foolish and reckless leadership to take us for another ride?

Posted in USAComments Off on Assault On Main Street America

Bailouts, Bondage and Political Bankruptcy


by Stephen Lendman

Europe and America perhaps face their gravest ever economic crisis. Growing millions are impoverished, unemployed, and out of luck.

Hunger and homelessness are increasing. So is unaddressed anger over handouts to bankers, not people facing crushing hardships.

Economist Michael Hudson calls finance a new mode of warfare. Generalissimo bankers run everything. Co-opted politicians serve them. In return, they’re rewarded handsomely.

Ordinary people lose out entirely. So do economies being strip-mined for profit. Hudson asks what’s to stop major Western banks from creating any amount of money they wish?

With it they can “buy up all the bonds and stocks in the world, along with all the land and other assets for sale, in the hope of making capital gains and pocketing the arbitrage spreads by debt leveraging at less than 1% interest cost?”

What’s to stop them from bankrupting nations to buy valued assets cheap? Who’ll stop them when governments play ball? Bankers, in fact, run countries like Greece, Italy, America and Britain. Washington is Wall Street occupied territory. So is London.

Scottish political commentator Ian MacWhirter calls bankers “an untouchable elite, beyond any civil constraint.” Once upon a time, governments ran countries. Today it’s bankers, at least in America and Europe.

They care nothing about legal standards or public need, just profits, limitless amounts to make more of them.

“Are we perhaps moving to a kind of financial feudalism,” asked MacWhirter, “in which immensely wealthy robber barons command a disproportionate share of society’s wealth and subject the people to a kind of debt peonage?”

Indeed so! Waging financial war lets banker bandits create credit in any amount for speculation and whatever assets they want globally.

“Who needs an army,” asked Hudson, “when you can obtain monetary wealth and asset appropriation simply by financial means?” Economies able to create most credit profit most – using computer keyboards, not guns and bombs.

Today, America, Japan, and Eurozone countries face crushing debt burdens. Solutions require adding more, they claim. Imagine the folly of using fuel to extinguish fires. Imagine trying to lose weight by eating more.

Imagine reducing debt burdens with more of it. Imagine hypocritical politicians selling this snake to unwitting populations. Imagine angry people saying no more.

Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises (1881 – 1973) once said:

“There is no means of avoiding a final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as a result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.”

Washington and Eurozone chose the later route. Hudson explained that America reached its debt limit and entered its insolvency phase. The end of an era, he calls it. Debt pyramiding scams will end. It’s not if, but when.

Economist Hyman Minsky (1919 – 1996) once described “Ponzi finance” during prolonged expansions and booms. Speculative excesses create bubbles. They, in turn, trigger instability, then asset valuation collapse that turns euphoria to revulsion and market crashes.

Cyclical shorter-term crashes are bad enough. Secular Great Depression ones create enormous protracted hardships and human suffering. Catastrophic conditions result when people are harmed to save bankers.

They also follow more debt on top of already insurmountable burdens. Worse still is adding greater amounts for speculation, not economic growth. Today it’s rewarded, not prevented by regulatory constraints.

Before Nixon closed the gold window in 1971, Hudson said “nations settled their balance of payments in gold or silver.” Dollars were backed by 25% gold at $35 an ounce.

Countries got more gold through trade surpluses. In 1950, America had 80% of the world’s gold. “This made the dollar a virtual proxy for” it. Post-WW II militarism changed things. Once begun, military spending takes on a life of its own. Combined with banker bailouts it’s bankrupting America.

US Treasuries substitute for gold. So do stocks and bonds. Transformed global finance became debt-based in exponential amounts. Unsustainable levels have accumulated. They’re exacerbated by adding more. Debts that can’t be paid, won’t be, explains Hudson.

Restructuring and orderly defaults are needed. Let bankers pay, not people or economies hammered to save them. Eurozone countries are especially entrapped in the euro straightjacket. Former bank regulator/financial fraud expert Bill Black explained their plight, saying:

“A nation that gives up its sovereign currency by joining the euro gives up the three most effective means of responding to a recession.”

“It cannot devalue its currency to make its exports more competitive. It cannot undertake an expansive monetary policy. It does not have any monetary policy, and the EU periphery nations have no meaningful influence on the ECB’s monetary policies.”

“It cannot mount an appropriately expansive fiscal policy because of the restrictions of the EU’s growth and stability pact. The pact is a double oxymoron – preventing effective counter-cyclical fiscal policies harms growth and stability throughout the Eurozone.”

In other words, 17 Eurozone nations surrendered their monetary and fiscal sovereignty to central bank authority in charge of controlling their economic and financial policies, not themselves. It works in good times, not bad.

Today, it’s crushing debt-burdened Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Belgium, Spain and Italy. Expect the Netherlands, Austria, France, and perhaps Germany to follow if they keep throwing good money after bad.

Nothing’s more counterproductive than pursuing wrongheaded policies and expecting one day they’ll work. Economies become subordinate to financial oligarchs. Debt slavery and insolvency follow. Nations become fiefdoms. People face neoserfdom. Freedom heads for extinction. Can revolutions be far behind?

New York Times in Denial

Pursuing its familiar supportive wealth and power role, a November 29 Times editorial headlined, “Germany’s Denial, Europe’s Disaster,” saying:

Facing “economic meltdown,” Germany’s Merkel “is still blocking what is needed: a real bailout of Europe’s weakest economies by their richer neighbors or the European Central Bank.”

Fact check

Times editors know nothing about economics and finance. In addition, their support for wealth, power and bankers at the expense of people is palpable. The above analysis explains their wrongheaded position. What’s needed, of course, is mirror opposite.

Moreover, imagine asking Germany’s $3.5 trillion economy to rescue other Eurozone ones with a combined $9 trillion GDP. Might as well ask a minnow to swallow a whale.

“The markets have clearly figured out that a meltdown of the euro would impose enormous costs on Europe’s most solid economy, too. But German officials are still insisting that their profligate neighbors need to pay for their sinful ways….”

Fact check

Troubled Eurozone countries must opt out of crushing straightjacket policies. Economic recovery depends on reclaiming monetary and fiscal sovereignty. They never should have surrendered it in the first place. Nothing deters regaining it, just enough political will to act.

“What makes this even more absurd is that Europe has the resources – if Germany would drop its objections.”

Fact check

Times editors expect more debt will solve today’s burdens. Instead it will turn Europe’s blaze into a firestorm. Strong countries will be consumed with weak ones. An economics 101 refresher might help change their misguided notions of reality.

Continuing bad policies makes them worse. “The system has to be purged,” says Progressive Radio News Hour regular Bob Chapman.

There’s no other way. It’s that simple, no matter the pain because the alternative’s much worse.

Posted in USAComments Off on Bailouts, Bondage and Political Bankruptcy

My Open Letter To “Canada’s Foremost Philosopher Of War

by Kevin Barrett

Joshua Blakeney’s Open Letter to Dr. Viminitzinspired mine

It never ceases to amaze me: The academy, whose job is to speak truth to power, has effectively banned serious questioning of what happened on 9/11/2001.

If you’re a professor, you can say just about anything. You can even defend the mass slaughter of non-combatants on 9/11 and cheer the perpetrators – as long as you toe the party line that it was al-Qaeda that did it. Take Paul Viminitz – please.

Viminitz, a pro-Zionist Jew who poses as a big al-Qaeda supporter, is regularly invited to lecture at universities around the world. (See my open letter to him below.)

But because I, like almost all Muslims, question the official story of 9/11, those organizing my February 1st talk at the University of Minnesota-Duluth cannot find a single faculty sponsor. The thousands of experts who question the official story of 9/11 are effectively blacklisted from the academy and the mainstream media, just as I remain blacklisted from teaching in the University of Wisconsin system.

Please ask the University of Minnesota-Duluth Philosophy Department to sponsor my February 1st talk “9/11 and the Neocon Agenda.” (I will be critiquing Straussian neoconservatism, the most influential movement in contemporary political philosophy, and presenting my Socratic questioning of the “war on terror“.) Write to David Cole, Chair, at or send snail-mail to:

Philosophy, Department of
University of Minnesota Duluth
A. B. Anderson Hall 369
1121 University Drive
Duluth, MN 55812-3027

Another open letter to Dr. Paul Viminitz

Subject header: J’accuse


I just read Joshua’s open letter and thought I’d add my two cents’ worth.

First: If you really believed that 9/11 was a glorious and effective and ethically-defensible strike by radical Muslims, you would indeed be sincerely puzzled by the fact that you are never harassed in airports (as I am); and you might even wonder why you haven’t been sent to Guantanamo or targeted by a predator drone, asAnwar al-Awlaki was, ostensibly for voicing opinions similar to yours. You would be nonplussed at being allowed to continue to teach at a major Canadian university without suffering the sort of persecution that people like me (career destroyed, $2 million lifetime earnings stolen) and Tony Hall (harassed, regularly slandered in media, etc.) and Steven Jones (forced into early retirement) and Four Arrows (career destroyed, forced into exile) and Jimmy Walter (forced into exile) have to put up with due to our work for 9/11 truth. You would be amazed that you are highly in-demand as a speaker at official institutions, and astounded that you are being paid very well by the Western powers-that-be to argue that al-Qaeda did 9/11, had every right to do it, and is winning the war it launched in such an auspicious fashion.

You would also be astounded that 80% of the world’s Muslims – the most anti-imperialist 80%, a group to which I belong – believe that 9/11 was an inside job. After all, if your analysis were correct, we anti-imperialist Muslims would be cheering the 9/11 kamikazes and celebrating the war we are winning. Anyone blaming 9/11 on Zionists and the war party, as most anti-imperialist Muslims do, would be a traitor to the Islamic world’s struggle for freedom.

But I don’t think you are genuinely puzzled at all. Rereading your emails below, and your dialogue with Joshua, it has become clear to me that you are acting in bad faith. Or to put it in less philosophical terms: You are full of shit.

You know full well that Zionists and their US assets did 9/11 as the Coup d’Etat outlined in Luttwak’s manifesto of that name. And as a philosopher of war, you are participating in the war, in good Straussian fashion, by reinforcing the noble lie.

You know that 9/11 was designed to pre-empt the growing strength of Islam and the Islamic world, and provide “a clean break” to help Israel “transcend” its enemies. As a philosopher of war, you are undoubtedly familiar with Wolfowitz’s lifelong obsession with remarks by Albert Speer, to the effect that if Germany had been blessed with a Pearl Harbor it would have won World War II. You know the immense strategic value of false-flag operations and orchestrated war-trigger incidents, which have launched ever major US war since the Mexican War of 1846.  You understand perfectly well that it was false-flag Algerian government terror that destroyed that country’s Islamist movement in the 1990s, false-flag British terror that destroyed the IRA, false-flag US-NATO terror that kept Europe from “going pink” during the Cold War, false-flag apartment bombings that made it possible for Putin to seize power and keep Chechnya under Russian control; and so on. THAT is the esoteric, Straussian meaning of your “defense of terrorism.”

So you understand perfectly well why your bizarre, seemingly treasonous contribution to the “war on terror” is appreciated, and well-remunerated, by the Zionist-imperialist institutions that dominate your society. And you understand just fine why people like me, who pursue truth at any price, are witch-hunted, slandered, and marginalized by those same institutions.

You have accepted a worldview in which your group, a self-styled neocon Zionist-Jewish elite, is doomed to wage all-out war against my groups, Muslims and humanists and others who believe in God and/or the Good. And you are playing your part in that war, by propping up the big lie on which your side’s hopes of victory rest.

In short, you have chosen the way of Thrasymachus, and I have chosen the way of Socrates.

If I am wrong about this, please come on my radio show and explain why. (Spontaneous conversation is a better format for gauging an opponent’s sincerity than email exchanges.)  Most Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 3 to 4 and/or 4 to 5 pm are open beginning after the first week in December.


Kevin Barrett
Staff Writer, Veterans Today
Radio Journalist,

* * *

Paul Viminitz’s response

Once again, Dr. Viminitz declined to appear on my radio show.  He stated that he didn’t care whether or not 9/11 was an inside job, and doesn’t have much of an opinion one way or the other. He said that some people worry about 9/11, while others worry about global warming, peak oil, or whether to use cloth or plastic diapers, and that while we need people to be concerned about each, it’s ridiculous to insist that everyone should be concerned about every issue. 9/11, he says, “is just not MY thing.”

* * *

I replied:

If the official story is the genocidal big lie we (1.2 billion Muslims plus almost all independent folks who have studied the issue) say, your book(s) and lecture(s) presupposing the truth of the official story are despicable, Goebbels-style crimes against humanity. So you damned well had better study it.  In fact, you should have studied it before you authored those books and lectures.

Posted in PoliticsComments Off on My Open Letter To “Canada’s Foremost Philosopher Of War

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