Archive | March 28th, 2012

استياء بالمؤسسات الإسلامية لتجاهل اختيار رموزها ضمن “التأسيسية”.. ومطالب بالرجوع لوثائق الأزهر لتحديد العلاقة بين الحاكم والمحكوم.. وحرية العقيدة والرأى مكفولة للجميع .. والمادة الثانية خط أحمر

الأزهر الشريف

كتب لؤى على –  اليوم السابع

حالة من الاستياء الشديد تفشت داخل أروقة الأزهر الشريف بسبب اختيار واحد فقط ممثلا للأزهر بكافة هيئاته فى اللجنة التأسيسية للدستور “مشيخة الأزهر والجامعة وقطاع المعاهد ومجمع البحوث الإسلامية والمجلس الأعلى للأزهر”، وهو الدكتور نصر فريد واصل مفتى الجمهورية السابق وعضو مجمع البحوث الإسلامية، كما تسيطر حالة من الغضب على أئمة وزارة الأوقاف لتجاهل تمثيلهم فى اللجنة أو من ينوب عن الوزارة، وكذلك الحال بدار الإفتاء المصرية، وأيضا جامعة الأزهر.

الأزهر الشريف دفع بثلاثة مرشحين وهم الدكتور نصر فريد واصل، ومحمد عبد السلام المستشار القانونى لشيخ الأزهر، والدكتور عبد الدايم نصير، مستشار شيخ الأزهر، ولم يتم اختيار سوى الدكتور نصر فريد واصل، وعلم اليوم السابع أن الاستياء بلغ ذروته خاصة أن الإمام الأكبر الدكتور أحمد الطيب، شيخ الأزهر، لم يتم اختياره ضمن الشخصيات العامة، رغم طرح أسمه على اللجنة لكنها لم تصوت له، بعد أن نادت بعض القوى بأن يكون على رأس تلك اللجنة.

كذلك الحال بالنسبة للدكتور على جمعة مفتى الجمهورية، والذى تم ترشيحه عن دار الإفتاء تارة، وآخرى عن مؤسسة مصر الخير، وأخرى من الشخصيات العامة، لكن لم يتم اختياره فى أى منها، كذلك الحال بالنسبة لعدد من علماء مجمع البحوث الإسلامية والأزهر بصفة عامة ممن تم ترشيحهم كشخصيات عامة أمثال الدكتور أحمد عمر هاشم، والدكتور سالم عبد الجليل وكيل وزارة الأوقاف، والدكتور حسن الشافعى، لكن لم يتم اختيار أحد منهم.

بينما تسيطر حالة من الغضب على جموع الصوفية والتى لم يتم تمثيل أحد عنهم ولا عن نقابة الأشراف، بعد أن دفعت بالدكتور عبد الهادى القصبى، شيخ مشايخ الطرق الصوفية وعضو المجلس الأعلى لنقابة الأشراف، والذى تم اختياره ضمن الشخصيات العامة دون أن يكون ممثلا للطرق الصوفية، كما تم الدفع بالشيخ محمد علاء الدين ماضى أبو العزائم، شيخ الطريقة العزمية، وعدد من رؤساء أحزاب التصوف كالمهندس أحمد أبو النظر رئيس حزب نهضة مصر الصوفى، والدكتور إبراهيم زهران رئيس حزب التحرير المصرى الصوفى، لكن لم يتم اختيار أحد منهم.

من جانبه قال الدكتور نصر فريد واصل، ممثل الأزهر فى اللجنة التأسيسية للدستور لليوم السابع، إنه سيركز على ضرورة استقلال الأزهر واعتباره مرجعية وتدعيمه، وبسؤاله عن المادة الثانية من الدستور أكد أن الأزهر ليس لديه ملاحظات على تلك المادة، وأنه لا يتطلع للتغير فيها.

من ناحية أخرى صرح مصدر مطلع بأنه سيتم المطالبة بالاسترشاد بوثائق الأزهر التى صدرت عنه، وسيرفض الاعتماد على وثيقة دون الأخرى، لأن كل تلك الوثائق والبيانات التى أطلقها الأزهر تعزز من دور مصر داخليا وخارجيا واستعادة دورها الريادى، كما أنها تحدد علاقة الحاكم بالمحكوم، وتحدد الحريات، مشيرا إلى أن الدستور لابد أن يواكب الحالة الثورية التى تعيشها مصر والقضاء على الاستبداد والظلم وكل ما أضر بمصر فى العهد البائد، مؤكدا أن المادة الثانية من الدستور خط أحمر.

وأضاف المصدر أن وثائق الأزهر تعتبر كنزا كبيرا بالنسبة لواضعى الدستور، ولابد أن يتم الاستعانة بها، خاصة أن القوى السياسية اتفقت عليها، مشيرا إلى أن تلك الوثائق ذكر فيها حرية العقيدة على سبيل المثال لا الحصر وهى تُعتَبر حريّةُ العقيدة، وما يرتبط بها من حقِّ المواطنة الكاملة للجميع، القائم على المساواة التامة فى الحقوق والواجبات حجر الزاوية فى البناء المجتمعى الحديث، وهى مكفولة بثوابت النصوص الدِّينية القطعيّة وصريح الأصول الدستورية والقانونية، وتجريم أى مظهر للإكراه فى الدين، أو الاضطهاد أو التمييز بسببه، فلكلِّ فرد فى المجتمع أن يعتنق من الأفكار ما يشاء، دون أن يمس حقّ المجتمع فى الحفاظ على العقائد السماوية، فللأديان الإلهية الثلاثة قداستها، وللأفراد حريّة إقامة شعائرها، دون عدوان على مشاعر بعضهم أو مساس بحرمتها قولاً أو فعلاً، ودون إخلال بالنظام العام.

كما تشتمل الوثائق على احترام حرية الاعتقاد رفض نزعات الإقصاء والتكفير، ورفض التوجهات التى تدين عقائد الآخرين، ومحاولات التفتيش فى ضمائر المؤمنين بهذه العقائد، بناء على ما استقر من نظم دستورية بل بناء على ما استقر، قبل ذلك، بين علماء المسلمين من أحكام صريحة قاطعة قرّرتها الشريعة السمحاء.

Posted in Arabic, EgyptComments Off on استياء بالمؤسسات الإسلامية لتجاهل اختيار رموزها ضمن “التأسيسية”.. ومطالب بالرجوع لوثائق الأزهر لتحديد العلاقة بين الحاكم والمحكوم.. وحرية العقيدة والرأى مكفولة للجميع .. والمادة الثانية خط أحمر

عرب الاعتدال وقمة بغداد: إنه يوم الحساب

مفارقة تاريخية أن تنعقد قمة بغداد في الذكرى التاسعة لغزو العراق (من 20 آذار إلى 9 نيسان)، وأن تكون المناسبة التي تدفع فيها أميركا وحلفاؤها العرب ثمن فشل سياستهم الإقليمية التي بدأت بإطاحة صدام حسين

إيلي شلهوب- صحيفة الأخبار اللبنانية

لعل الأبرز في انعقاد قمة بغداد، إلى جانب مكانها، ينحصر في توقيتها الذي يتزامن مع نقطة تحول إقليمية، تجاوزت المراكمة الكميّة التي ميّزت العام الماضي، إلى تغيير نوعي حسم الجدل في مجموعة من الأمور، لعل أهمها الهزيمة الأميركية في المنطقة، والنتائج الظاهرة للربيع العربي التي جاءت بعيدة عن الأحلام بولادة حكومات ليبرالية ديموقراطية تبشر بقيام دولة القانون والمؤسسات والعدالة الاجتماعية.

وهناك الصعود الكبير للتيار الاخواني والسلفي، والحال التي انتهت إليها الأزمات ـــ الثورات في الأماكن المضطربة (تونس ومصر وليبيا واليمن) والذي يبدو واضحاً أنه لا يرضي الولايات المتحدة لكنه في الوقت نفسه لا يخيفها في ظل وجود صمّامات أمان في كل من هذه البقاع (الجيش على سبيل المثال في مصر)، وجهود لا تهدأ لتكريس النسخة الإخوانية القريبة من النموذج التركي الذي لا يتعارض مع مصالح العم سام في المنطقة.
ولا يمكن في هذا السياق تجاهل سقوط الرهانات على أي تغيير في الموقف الروسي الجديد من وضع المنطقة. موقف بات واضحاً أنه يقوم على أسس مبدئية تأخذ في الاعتبار في المقام الأول مصالح الأمن القومي الروسي. يضاف إلى ذلك سقوط الرهانات على إمكانية إخراج الرئيس بشار الأسد من السلطة، في أعقاب فشل كل الخيارات السابقة من هجوم دعائي وحراك ميداني سلمي ومسلّح فعقوبات اقتصادية ومالية، والحسم في استبعاد خياري تسليح المعارضة وتوجيه ضربة عسكرية. وجاءت جولة الرئيس الاسد في بابا عمرو أمس كأفضل مؤشر على فشل معركة اطاحته عن السلطة.
بل بات واضحاً، من خلال التوافق الروسي الأميركي على مقترحات المبعوث الأممي العربي كوفي أنان، أن هذه الأخيرة باتت تشكل الإطار المقبول دولياً لحل في سوريا، في أوضح إشارة إلى البدء بالبحث عن مخرج يحفظ ماء الوجه للأطراف المعنية. مخرج، بحسب مقترحات أنان، لا يلحظ تنحّي الأسد، ويتضمن تكليف الحكومة السورية بقيادة الحل السياسي وفرض التهدئة ميدانياً. صحيح أن بيان مجلس الأمن الداعم لمقترحات أنان وما تلاه من حراك على أكثر من مستوى إنما يعبّر عن التوجه الأميركي الحالي حيال الأزمة السورية، التي يبدو جلياً أنها انتقلت من إطارها الميداني إلى الإطار السياسي الذي لن يخلو من الضغوط، مع التأكيد على أن افق هذا الحراك السياسي يقود الى تسوية لا الى انقلاب. وهناك أيضاً لغة جديدة من جانب الكويت والامارات العربية المتحدة تضاف إلى الانفتاح العماني التقليدي. ويمكن ادراج تصريحات حاكم امارة الشارقة وقائد شرطة دبي ضد تيار الاخوان المسلمين في هذا السياق. بينما يفسر كثيرون الحراك الكويتي بأنه رسالة اميركية.
مصادر خليجية وثيقة الاطلاع تؤكد أن العلاقة الشخصية بين القيادة السورية والقيادتين الكويتية والإماراتية في حالة جيدة جداً، وبنحو خاص مع ابن أمير الكويت، الشيخ ناصر، ومع الرئيس الإماراتي خليفة بن زايد وحاكم دبي محمد بن راشد، خلافاً للعلاقة مع ولي عهد ابو ظبي محمد بن زايد الذي توضح المصادر أنه يحلم بأن يكون شبيهاً بالأمير السعودي الشهير بندر بن سلطان ويؤدي دور رئيس الوزراء القطري الحالي حمد بن جاسم. وتضيف أن هاتين الدولتين أبلغتا القيادة السورية منذ بداية الأزمة أنهما ضد توجهات السعودية وقطر وتصرفاتهما لكنهما لا تستطيعان القيام بأي شيء حالياً، نظراً للضغوط التي تتعرضان لها وللحالة السلفية الموجودة داخل الكويت، مع تعهدات بأن تتخذا في الوقت المناسب الموقف الملائم من الأزمة السورية. وتتابع هذه المصادر «يبدو أن هذا الوقت قد حان»، مشيرة إلى «انفتاح إماراتي كويتي على سوريا يعبّر عن التغير في المزاج الأميركي من هذا الملف». علماً بأن المتداول منذ أشهر يشير إلى رأي خليجي قوي كان يقول منذ البداية بأن موجة الاحتجاجات العربية يجب أن تقف في سوريا وإلا اجتاحت دول الخليج كلها.
حتى الحراك التركي لا يخرج عن هذا الإطار. طهران تتحدث عن «صراخ تركي في الوقت الضائع» بانتظار ما ستسفر عنه زيارة رجب طيب اردوغان اليوم لإيران ولقاؤه المرشد علي خامنئي، للتباحث في وضع المنطقة ككل، علماً بأن قواعد الاشتباك الإيرانية مع تركيا تقضي بتجنب الصدام تحت أي ظرف لقضايا كثيرة ليست من بينها سوريا، وتتلخص في الموقع الجيواستراتيجي للبلدين، حيث تعد تركيا مدخل إيران لأوروبا، وإيران مدخل تركيا إلى آسيا الوسطى. أما دمشق فترى في الصراخ التركي محاولة للضغط على سوريا طمعاً بمكاسب من نوع ما، بعدما شعرت أنقرة بأن الولايات المتحدة وأوروبا قد خذلتاها. اللافت في أن الكل يجمع على أن الملف السوري خرج من يد السعودية وقطر، على قاعدة «خسرتما المعركة ولن نتحمل نتائج خسارتكما». بل يكثر الحديث في الغرف المغلقة عن أن الدور الخليجي لم يعد مرغوباً به بعد النتائج المخيبة التي حققها، وأن الملف السوري انتقل إلى الدائرة الأميركية – الروسية – الصينية – الإيرانية.
من هنا يظهر كيف خرجت السعودية من اللعبة وسلمت بالهزيمة الأميركية في المنطقة، لتدخل في اتون مصائبها الداخلية، وأهمها أزمة السلطة، حيث ولي العهد الأمير نايف يعيش وضعاً صحياً متفاقماً، في ظل خلافات حادة تعصف بأبناء عبد العزيز، وخاصة الأمير سلمان الذي يبدو أكثر امتعاضاً مما يجري، نظراً لقناعة آخذة في التبلور أن الملك عبد الله، وفي حال وفاة نايف، سيضع حداً لنفوذ الأمراء السديريين ويعزز نفوذ أمراء من مثل متعب بن عبد العزيز على حساب محمد بن نايف. كل ذلك في ظل صراع على السلطة بين 12 ألف أمير من سلالة عبد العزيز، يتوزعون على 3 أجيال، بعضهم من أبناء الملوك ممن يحتل قطاعات واسعة في الدولة، التي باتت مهددة باحتراب على مستوى العائلة المالكة ربما يتهدد وحدة التراب الوطني.
وأيضاً هناك قطر، التي يجري الحديث عن تغييرات مرتقبة فيها، وأن عملية نقل السلطة تجري على نار هادئة من الأمير حمد، إلى ولي العهد الأمير تميم.
حال هاتين الدولتين تستعجل على ما يبدو الانتهاء من الأزمة السورية، مع إدراك بأن بقاء الأسد على رأس السلطة سيتطلب تسوية ستكلّف الكثير سياسياً ومادياً ومعنوياً.
«أخشى ما أخشاه أن أضطر لأن أبوس لحية بشار مجدداً». جملة ينقلها سفير قطري في عاصمة إقليمية مؤثرة عن الشيخ حمد بن جاسم ربما تختصر الكثير مما يجري، وذلك رداً على سؤال السفير الكويتي في العاصمة نفسها عما ستفعله قطر مع تزايد المؤشرات إلى بقاء الأسد في السلطة. جملة ربما تعكسها مقابلة «الشيخ» على «الجزيرة» اليوم، ويرجح أن يعبّر عنها أداء عرب الاعتدال في قمة بغداد.

Posted in Middle East, ArabicComments Off on عرب الاعتدال وقمة بغداد: إنه يوم الحساب

مراسلات إبراهيم هلال: وقائع هزيمة معلنة

إلياس مهدي- صحيفة الأخبار اللبنانية

من تظاهرة في دمشق
منذ فترة و«الجزيرة» تعاني من داء التسريبات داخل أروقتها. ولعل الأخطر كان اختراق «الجيش السوري الإلكتروني» المشغل الرئيسي «لقلعة الثائرين» وفق ما يصفها بعضهم، وكشف جزء يسير مما يحتويه هذا المشغل (السيرفير _ «الأخبار» 24 شباط/ فبراير 2012). «الأخبار» حصلت من مصادر داخل القناة على نسخة من «أمر اليوم» الذي صدر في مناسبة الذكرى السنوية الأولى للانتفاضة في سوريا. إنّه تعميم خاصّ وجّهه مدير الأخبار في القناة إبراهيم هلال إلى الموظّفين مؤرخ في 15 آذار (مارس) 2012 بعنوان «تغطيتنا للشأن السوري». اللافت في الرسالة هو تغيّر لهجة مدير الأخبار في المحطة بحسب الرسائل التي حصلنا عليها منذ تعيينه في تشرين الثاني (نوفمبر) 2011 حتى اليوم.

الرسالة الأخيرة التي بعثها هلال تندرج ضمن سياسة القناة القطرية التي نزعت قناع «الرأي والرأي الآخر» تدريجاً منذ انطلاق الانتفاضات، وخصوصاً في الملف السوري. بعد إطاحة وضاح خنفر المدير العام لشبكة «الجزيرة» إثر الفضيحة الشهيرة (الأخبار عدد ١٠ أيلول/ سبتمبر ٢٠١١)، حصلت تغييرات على مستوى إدارة الأخبار، فأوكلت إلى المصري إبراهيم هلال، خلفاً للجزائري مصطفى سوّاق الذي عين مديراً عاماً لقناة الجزيرة الناطقة باللغة العربية فقط، وعُيَِّن الجزائري محمد صافي في إدارة الإدخال (input) خلفاً للأردني محمد داوود، كذلك عيّن الجزائري عبد الحق صداح في إدارة التخطيط. هذه التغييرات جرت وفق منطق تصفية الحسابات الداخلية، ليبدأ عهد الصقور في القناة القطرية…
في البدء، حاول مدير الأخبار الجديد المصري إبراهيم هلال ترميم التصدّعات التي أصابت القناة في مقاربتها الإعلامية للانتفاضات في العالم العربي. وكان قد وصف أداء المحطة أمام بعض المقربين بغير المهني، وخصوصاً في ما يتعلّق بالملف السوري. وهنا استهل مهماته برسالة (مؤرخة في الرابع من ت2/ نوفمبر بعنوان «تحية طيبة لكم جميعاً») إلى قسم التحرير، والمراسلين والمذيعين ومديري الأقسام، حاول من خلالها استعادة شعار القناة «الرأي والرأي الآخر»، واحترام المشاهد وعدم الوقوع في فخّ «نفي الآخر» و«التسلّط في الرأي». حتى إنّه عند تعيينه، نقل بعضهم عن هلال قوله حرفياً: «مهمتي هنا استعادة «الجزيرة» من أيدي عيال بيلعبوا فيها».
حاول هلال في البداية الضغط لاعتماد المهنية والدقة، وتقليص مساحة الملف السوري ضمن التغطية اليومية للمحطة، وخصوصاً في النشرات الرئيسية وفي طليعتها نشرة «حصاد اليوم»، فضلاً عن تقصير مدة التغطية المفتوحة كل يوم جمعة. كان يرى أنّ تلك التغطية لا تعطي قيمة مضافة للقناة، بل تضعفها. وكان يؤكد أمام بعض العاملين الأساسيين في قسم الأخبار أنّه غير مقتنع بأعداد القتلى اليومية التي تزودهم بها الهيئة العامة للثورة السورية، لكنّه مضطر إلى تبنيها.
أما الحادثة التي دفعت هلال إلى الخروج عن طوره، فكانت مقتل الصحافي الفرنسي جيل كاجييه في حمص في 11 كانون الثاني (يناير) الماضي، وطريقة تعامل قسم التحرير مع الخبر، من حيث الإصرار على إبراز عدد القتلى السوريين وتضخيمه، على حساب خبر مقتل صحافي فرنسي لاعتبارات تحريضية برأيه. هكذا، بعث رسالة بعنوان «مقتل الصحافي الفرنسي» (مؤرخة بتاريخ 12 ك2/ يناير 2012) حيث انتقد هذا «الشغف بأعداد القتلى»، منتقداً بشدة فريق الأخبار الذي أصبح شغله الشاغل «الاحتفاء بعدد القتلى»، مشدداً مرة أخرى على ضرورة تقديس شعار «الرأي والرأي الآخر» وعدم «تبنّي مواقف لكسب حبّ الجمهور».
إذاً، محاولات متكررة قادها هلال لإعادة التوازن إلى أداء المحطة من دون جدوى. والنتيجة فشل ذريع لتلميذ مدرسة «بي. بي. سي» البريطانية. هذا الفشل أفضى إلى الإقرار بالأمر الواقع، والسير وفق السياسة الخارجية القطرية. وهذا ما بدا واضحاً من اللغة التي اعتمدها هلال في آخر تعاميمه. إنّها الرسالة المؤرّخة بتاريخ 15 آذار (مارس) الحالي. الإعلامي الذي كان يصف نفسه بالمهني، انقلب بسحر ساحر. في تلك الرسالة التي حملت عنوان «تغطيتنا للشأن السوري»، بدأ هلال بمطالعة تاريخية تفيد بأنّ الجمهورية العربية السورية دولة عربية ذات سيادة مستقلة ووحدة ترابية، ليكمل بأنّ «الشائعات» التي طاولت أداء «الجزيرة» في الملف السوري دليل قوة. علماً بأنّه في مجالس خاصة بكبار موظّفي القناة، يعلم الكلّ أنّه لا أحد من موظفي المحطة يستطيع التعبير عن رأي مخالف للتوجيهات الأميرية بشأن الملف السوري، وإلا فسيكون مصيره، إما الإقصاء أو الإحراج للإخراج.
لكنّ البند الأهم في تعميم هلال كان تشديده على عدم إبداء المحطة أي معارضة في أدائها التحريري، لقضية التدخل الأجنبي في سوريا، وعدم التشكيك في أغراض الجيش السوري الحرّ وإبراز دور المعارضين، وخصوصاً من ذوي الأقليات. هكذا، تغيّرت لهجة هلال، ولم يعد يرى أي شوائب في أداء هذه القناة التي نجحت في أحد الأيام في التربع على عرش الإعلام العربي قبل أن تتحوّل إلى فرع من فروع الديوان الملكي.

Posted in Arabic, SyriaComments Off on مراسلات إبراهيم هلال: وقائع هزيمة معلنة

NATO-backed outsiders failed in town where Jesus’ language is still spoken

NOVANEWS

by John Anngeister

 

The Syrian people of Maaloula tell the story of anti-Assad outsiders who tried to enlist the townspeople as agitators against the President and his government.  Both Muslim and Christian citizens rejected their invitation.

Correspondent Maria Finoshina gives a video report from the town , alleged to be the only place in the world where an entire community still speaks Aramaic as a living language (most scholars believe a form of Aramaic was the native tongue of Jesus of Nazareth).

Interviewed in the clip is Mother Pelagia Sayaf, Christian nun and schoolteacher at the town’s Monastery of St. Thekla:

“There were people who came here, they wanted to push us against the government, the President, the army… these people are receiving money and listening to orders.”

The town’s Muslim Imam reports the same:

“I remember last April, there were several men after Friday prayers, they tried to persuade Muslims to protest against the government, encouraging them to go and make trouble.”

The Imam said they had never seen most of those people before and had not seen them again since. “We are not talking about normal Muslims, but people with an extremist way of thinking…  We had a meeting with residents, and the people agreed to support the leadership [Assad].”

Mother Pelagia said “If you hear that the army enters this city and kills people, believe me – this is a mistake [a lie]… Our country before the crisis was going forward, now we are all losing ground… God bless Assad.”

In the words of another citizen interviewed:

“We used to live in peace – Muslims and Christians – of course we’re afraid people from outside the city and this country may come and destroy this unity. Assad became more than just the head of State. He’s a kind of international symbol of this fight for our life.”

My Comment: Prior to the rise of the NATO-backed and NATO financed Syrian ‘insurgency’, Assad’s secular state was one of the last governments in the Arab world under which a citizenry enjoyed peaceful coexistence of diverse religious and ethnic communities. The people know this, and they also know that the violent and random provocations of the murderous Arab mercenaries and outsiders (and the still bigger violence planned by their NATO handlers) have threatened the whole secular foundation for this peace.

In my unprofessional opinion, I think what we’re looking at in Syria is a fraudulent program of regime change.  Like Iran in 1953 , Guatemala in 1954 ,Vietnam in 1963 , El Salvador, Angola, etc., etc.  The Cold Warrior and Neocon do not understand true democracy or humanitarianism, and we see his/her unmistakeable signature in the great civilian tragedies resulting from all of the above covert actions, no less than in the more recently broken and utterly failed states of Iraq and Libya.

One can always spot the Neocon footprint in the wake of US/NATO’s self-serving efforts to effect changes in non-NATO countries: fraudulent opposition movements, phony replacement governments, ruined sovereignty, co-opted national resources, and untold civilian death .

Posted in PoliticsComments Off on NATO-backed outsiders failed in town where Jesus’ language is still spoken

AL QAEDA AND HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS: Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda…. An Incessant and Repetitive Public Discourse Part I

NOVANEWS
By Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

There is something disturbing in the nature of post 9/11 public discourse. Incessantly, on a daily basis, Al Qaeda is referred to by the Western media, government officials, members of the US Congress, Wall Street analysts, etc. as an underlying cause of numerous World events. Occurences of a significant political, social or strategic nature –including the US presidential elections campaign– are routinely categorized by referring to Al Qaeda, the alleged architect of the September 11 2001 attacks.

What is striking is the extent of media coverage of  “Al Qaeda related events”, not to mention the mountains of op eds and  authoritative “analysis” pertaining to “terror events” in different part of the World.

Routine mention of Al Qaeda “fanatics”, “jihadists”, etc. has become –from a news standpoint– trendy and fashionable. A Worldwide ritual of authoritative media reporting has unfolded. At the time of writing (March 24, 2012), “Al Qaeda events” had 183 million entries on Google and 18,200 news entries.

A panoply of Al Qaeda related events and circumstances is presented to public opinion on a daily basis. These include terrorist threats, warnings and attacks, police investigations, insurgencies and counter-insurgencies, country-level regime change, social conflict, sectarian violence, racism, religious divisions, Islamic thought, Western values, etc.

In turn, Al Qaeda – War on Terrorism rhetoric permeates political discourse at all levels of government, including bipartisan debate on Capitol Hill, in committees of the House and the Senate, at the British House of Commons, and, lest we forget, at the United Nations Security Council.

All of these complex Al Qaeda related occurrences are explained –by politicians, the corporate media, Hollywood and the Washington think tanks under a single blanket “bad guys” heading, in which Al Qaeda is casually and repeatedly pinpointed as “the cause” of numerous terror events around the World.

Human Consciousness: Al Qaeda and the Human Mindset

How does the daily bombardment of Al Qaeda related concepts and images, funnelled into the Western news chain and on network TV, affect the human mindset?

Al Qaeda concepts, repeated ad nauseam have potentially traumatic impacts on the human mind and the ability of normal human beings to analyze and comprehend the “real outside World” of war, politics and the economic crisis.

What is at stake is human consciousness and comprehension based on concepts and facts.

With Al Qaeda, however, there are no verifiable “facts” and “concepts”, because Al Qaeda has evolved into a media mythology, a legend, an invented ideological construct, used as an unsubtle tool of media disinformation and war propaganda.

Al Qaeda constitutes a stylized, fake and almost folkloric abstraction of terrorism, which permeates the inner consciousness of millions of people around the World.

Reference to Al Qaeda has become a dogma, a belief, which most people espouse unconditionally.

Is this political indoctrination? Is it brain-washing? If so what is the underlying objective?

People’s capacity to independently analyse World events, as well as address causal relationships pertaining to politics and society, is significantly impaired. That is the objective!

The routine use of Al Qaeda to generate blanket explanations of complex political events is meant to create confusion. It prevents people from thinking.

The American Inquisition

The notion of Al Qaeda –“the outside enemy” which threatens Western civilization– is predicated on “an inquisitorial doctrine”. The Homeland Security State personifies what might be described as the “American Inquisition”.

As in the case of the Spanish Inquisition, the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) consensus cannot be challenged.

Reference to  Al Qaeda as a central paradigm used to understand the world we live in is ultimately intended to instil fear and insecurity. In the words of Britain’s comedy group Monty Python:  “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise…surprise and fear…fear and surprise…. Our two weapons are fear and surprise…and ruthless efficiency…. Our three weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency…and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope….”

Unconditional submission to the Homeland Security State in today’s America is not dissimilar from the process of“fanatical devotion” prevailing under the Spanish feudal order. What is at stake in our contemporary World, in the words of Monty Python, is “fear and surprise” and the unconditional compliance to the “ruthless efficiency” of a dominant political, economic and military order.

The American Inquisition redefines the entire legal and judicial framework. Torture and political assassinations are no longer a covert activity as in the heyday of the CIA, removed from the public eye. They are “legal”, they are the object of extensive news coverage, they are sanctioned by the White House and the US Congress. Conversely, those who dare confront the “War on Terrorism” consensus are branded as “terrorists”. Upholding true justice by challenging America’s “holy crusade” against Al Qaeda becomes an outright criminal act.

A new threshold in US legal history has unfolded. High ranking officials within the State and the Military no longer need to camouflage their crimes. In fact, quite the opposite. Torture of Al Qaeda suspects is a public policy with a humanitarian mandate:

“Yes we did order torture, but it isn’t really torture, its not really war, because these people are terrorists and “we must fight evil”. And the way to uphold democracy and freedom is to “go after the bad guys”, “wage war on the terrorists”. “Its in the public interest.”

Moreover, anybody who questions our definition of “fighting evil” (which of course includes torture, political assassination and concentration camps directed against “the bad guys”) is by our definition also “evil” and can be arrested, tortured and sent to concentration camps. (Michel Chossudovsky,The Spanish Inquisition, Made in America, Global Research, 2004,

Al Qaeda is presented to public opinion as the terror instrument of “radical Islam”, which threatens the Homeland, undermining Western civilization and moral values. Everybody must comply; nobody dares to question “the American Inquisition”.

Al Qaeda and the “Big Lie”

The Al Qaeda Legend sustains the “Big Lie”. It turns realities upside down. It creates both a perception and a belief which cannot be questioned. It permeates US foreign policy and the conduct of international diplomacy. Al Qaeda and the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) constitute a central component of US military doctrine.

“Al Qaeda did this”, “Al Qaeda did that” statements provide a simple and trouble-free elucidation of complex events, while disguising and concealing “the real reasons”, namely the unspoken and forbidden truth behind these events.

Nobody seems to take the time to examine “who is this elusive enemy Al Qaeda”, which has succeeded, with limited military means, in confronting America’s multibillion dollar war machine.

The Al Qaeda blanket explanation not only overshadows the normal channels of human comprehension, it also precludes a move to the next step of rational explanation, which consists in saying: if Al Qaeda is “the cause” as stated in numerous press reports, then: “What is Al Qaeda?” and “Who is behind Al Qaeda?”

But these are questions which in the post 9/11 era are rarely addressed. To investigate “Who is behind the terrorists” has become unmentionable, a political taboo, despite evidence pertaining to the historical role of  US intelligence in creating and promoting the Islamic jihad.

Today, if Al Qaeda were to be revealed for what it really is, –e.g  in the context of a specific false flag terrorist attack– the legitimacy of the “war on terrorism” and those officials in high office who support it, would collapse like a deck of cards.

While the identity of Al Qaeda is fully documented, including its links to US intelligence, the truth has not trickled down to the mainstay of public opinion.

Ronald Reagan meets Afghan Mujahideen Commanders at the White House in 1985 (Reagan Archives)

Al Qaeda and the Role of Western Intelligence [to be continued in Part II]

Acknowledged by the CIA, the Islamic jihad  “was” a US sponsored “intelligence asset” going back to the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war (1979-1989).

The intelligence community admits, yes we created the Mujahideen, we set up the training camps and the koranic schools together with Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). Acting on behalf of the CIA, the ISI was involved in the recruitment, training and religious indoctrination of the “jihadists” described by President Ronald Reagan as “Freedom Fighters”.

From the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war in 1979 to the present, various Islamic fundamentalist organizations became de facto instruments of US intelligence and more generally of the US-NATO-Israel military alliance.

Unknown to the American public, the US spread the teachings of the Islamic jihad in textbooks “Made in America”, developed at the University of Nebraska:

… the United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings, part of covert attempts to spur resistance to the Soviet occupation.

The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books,..

The White House defends the religious content, saying that Islamic principles permeate Afghan culture and that the books “are fully in compliance with U.S. law and policy.” Legal experts, however, question whether the books violate a constitutional ban on using tax dollars to promote religion.

… AID officials said in interviews that they left the Islamic materials intact because they feared Afghan educators would reject books lacking a strong dose of Muslim thought. The agency removed its logo and any mention of the U.S. government from the religious texts, AID spokeswoman Kathryn Stratos said.

“It’s not AID’s policy to support religious instruction,” Stratos said. “But we went ahead with this project because the primary purpose . . . is to educate children, which is predominantly a secular activity.”

… Published in the dominant Afghan languages of Dari and Pashtun, the textbooks were developed in the early 1980s under an AID grant to the University of Nebraska -Omaha and its Center for Afghanistan Studies. The agency spent $ 51 million on the university’s education programs in Afghanistan from 1984 to 1994.” (Washington Post, 23 March 2002)


The role of Western intelligence agencies in support of Al Qaeda affiliated organizations will be outlined in Part II

PART II: “WHO IS BEHIND AL QAEDA”

Posted in PoliticsComments Off on AL QAEDA AND HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS: Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda…. An Incessant and Repetitive Public Discourse Part I

Mondoweiss Online Newsletter

NOVANEWS

Sfard on Israeli Supreme Court ruling on Migron outpost: ‘It’s Our Brown v. Board’

Mar 27, 2012

Annie Robbins

MichLawyer web 1
Huma Rights Lawyer Michael Sfard

The ongoing battle to prevent the dismantlement of the illegal outpost of Migron took a nosedive on Sunday as Netanyahu’s ‘solution’ of extending the delay for years into the future was rejected by the Israeli Supreme Court, giving the settlers only thru August 1st 2012 to move out.

Legendary human rights lawyer Michael Sfard, representing six Palestinian petitioners who are registered owners of the land Migron occupies, was celebrating on Sunday.

AP:

JERUSALEM—The Israeli Supreme Court on Sunday rejected the state’s request to postpone dismantling a large, unsanctioned West Bank settler enclave until late 2015, dealing a serious blow to settler hopes to keep dozens of rogue outposts standing.

The ruling could ignite a violent showdown with settlers, who have vowed in the past not to abandon their hilltop stronghold, Migron. Settler leader Shimon Riklin, one of the enclave’s founders, told Israel’s Channel 2 TV that the evacuation of Migron “would not pass quietly.”

“The residents of Migron received today the harsh court ruling, which is based on the false claim of privately held land, and whose objective is the expulsion of peace-loving people,” said Migron spokesman Itai Chemo.

Attorney Michael Sfard, who represented the Palestinian landowners in court, welcomed the ruling and said he had no problem with the court’s agreement to extend the evacuation deadline to Aug. 1.

Marc Tracy interviews Michael Sfard at Tablet ‘It’s Our Brown v. Board

Congratulations.

I’m very … happy’s not the right word, but content. I think the ruling is important. The danger of an opposite ruling was really a big threat, because in some way Migron became Israel’s 21st-century test of whether we really uphold the rule of law and whether any communities amongst Israeli society is above the law. And I did feel, while litigating the case, that there was a huge clash between the executive and the judiciary here, and the question of who will prevail is extremely important here, not just for Migron.

Do you trust the government to abide by and implement the decision? Prime Minister Netanyahu said he would.

I don’t want to sound naive, but I truly believe that there are enough forces among Israeli society that would not allow the government to disobey a clear, final, and binding ruling of the highest court in our land. If I’m wrong, then on Aug. 2 Israel would not be the same country. It’s our Brown v. Board of Education. That case was about equality and integration, but I don’t mean that: I’m referring to the question of the importance of implementing final court decisions, and the analogy is that I hope our government will send the National Guard, or the equivalent, to make sure.

Why is Migron especially important?
It’s the biggest outpost in the West Bank. It houses the sons and daughters of the leadership of the settler movement. Migron is a flagship outpost in size and in coming from the aristocracy of the settlers.

…………

Some have said the Knesset can step in and prevent Migron’s evacuation. How does that work?

It’s difficult for me to explain it to myself. It’s a bit like children, when they are not happy with something, saying, “I’ll call my big brother, and he will show you.” When the court decided, the right wing said we will legislate in a way that will free us from this decision. The problem is that to circumvent the court decision by legislation, it must apply to the West Bank. Israeli legislation does not apply to the West Bank! Israel has never annexed or applied Israeli law to the West Bank. The Knesset doesn’t exercise jurisdiction over the West Bank. Even if it did, the kind of legislation needed would nationalize land, private property. That is not something that is constitutional. In the small number of exceptions that it is legal, it’s for very important public interests. There’s no public interest here, there’s only private interest. This is a bundle of nonsense.

Perhaps Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and his settler cohorts were in cranky moods when they severed ties with UN Human Rights Council yesterday after Sunday’s Israeli Supreme Court decision. And whether the proposed establishment of an international investigative committee on the West Bank settlements added an air of pressure we will never know. But in the ongoing saga of events surrounding the Migron affair, this is indeed a positive turn of events.

I recommend the remainder of Tabet’s interview with Sfard.

Hana Shalabi has been on hunger strike for 40 days– A call to action

Mar 27, 2012

Ahmed Moor

Hana+Shalabi
Hana Shalabi

It has been more than forty days since Hana Shalabi began her courageous fast – and her protest is still being ignored. A group of students from universities across the US and Europe have banded together to highlight her struggle and that of the Palestinians more broadly.

Those students issued the following call to action today:

HANA SHALABI: UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES STAND WITH YOU

As students from American and European universities, we stand in solidarity with Hana Shalabi and her pursuit of justice and human rights as her voice is silenced by arbitrary administrative detention. We call on you to stand this Thursday March 29, 2012 with Hana Shalabi on her hunger strike. On March 25th, 2012 Hana al-Shalabi’s appeal in Israeli Military courts against her re-arrest and placement under illegal administrative detention was rejected after 40 days in custody without charge or trial. Her re-arrest comes only four months after her release from over two years of administrative detention and was released in a prisoner exchange negotiated for the release of Gilad Shalit. Since her detention beginning February 16, 2012, Hana has been on an open-ended hunger strike in protest of Israel’s disregard to international law and basic human rights.

This Thursday March 29th, at least one student from each of our participating campuses across the Americas and Europe will go on a 24-hour hunger strike in solidarity with Hana Shalabi, her family, and other Palestinian detainees held in Israeli administrative detention without charge or trial. Students are encouraged to hold a small solidarity action with Hana and other prisoners on their campuses, even one as short as 15 minutes, and send pictures or videos of their action to solidarity.actions@gmail.com. Students participating in the hunger-strike please send us a picture of yourself holding a sign saying:
#HanaShalabi #HanaShalabi

#Dying2Live OR #PrisonerOfConscience

Student groups who stand in solidarity with the action will wear orange ribbons around their arms to encourage others to ask questions and discuss administrative detention, Hana Shalabi’s case, and other ways to get involved such as putting pressure on those complicit in human rights violations

To further defy Israeli unjust security practices, hold those companies accountable for facilitating the violation of political prisoners’ rights. The security company contracted by Israeli prisons to conduct surveillance and imprison Palestinians on a daily basis is the same security company many of our campuses use to keep us safe at our universities – G4S. G4S is a UK and Denmark-based security company that systematically supports the Israeli occupation by providing security equipment and services to Israeli settlements, checkpoints, and prisons including where Hana is being held. By providing services to Israeli prisons, G4S contributes to the facilitation of Israel’s violations of rights of the Palestinian political prisoners. If your university uses G4S security services, ask them to immediately end their relationships with G4S and boycott their services. Draft letters to send to your university asking them to end contractual agreements with G4S can be found here. To send a letter to G4S to ask them to stop facilitating political prisoner rights, please send us an email and we will provide you with all necessary information.

All pictures and videos will be compiled into a montage and sent to Hana’s family and shared with the families of other detainees so they know they are not alone and their efforts are not in vain. Please let us know if your campus would like to get involved. Email: Solidarity.actions@gmail.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FreeHana

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”  –Desmond Tutu

 

Jewish establishment-backed mayoral candidates rush to denounce Park Slope BDS effort

Mar 27, 2012

Alex Kane

de Blasio
New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio (Photo: Maxine Dovere/The Algemeiner)

The campaign to boycott Israeli products at Brooklyn’s Park Slope Food Co-op takes a big step tonight, with members set to vote on whether to hold a referendum on the boycott question. And as Matthew Taylor notes here, the city’s leading officials have raced to see who can make the most hyperbolic claim about what the boycott movement represents (Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a man who flew into Israel just as the brutal assault on Gaza was getting underway, wins with his “massacre” line).

An important backdrop to the story is the upcoming mayoral race in 2013. As the New York Times notes, the top officials who have come out against the boycott–Christine Quinn, Scott Stringer and Bill de Blasio–are all likely candidates for mayor.

De Blasio is known as a progressive in city politics–but he hits the same note on the boycott that his establishment-backed mayoral rival Quinn does. This is because the continued backing of the Jewish establishment is important for all these candidates’ campaigns, and coming out strongly against the boycott efforts is one way to show off your Israel advocate credentials. You can’t be mayor of New York without those credentials, it seems.

The Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC), a coordinating body for major Jewish organizations in New York, must be happy. It spends time, and a lot of money, bringing elected officials to Israel to tour the country, as Quinn recently did. De Blasio and Stringer frequently show up to JCRC-organized events. And the JCRC has been actively fighting against the Park Slope BDS effort by advising the “More Hummus, Please” anti-BDS group that has formed within the Co-Op on how to get their message out. The JCRC is also part of the Israel Action Network, the $6 million initiative created at the urging of the Israeli government that aims to combat BDS efforts.

No wonder the boycott efforts have run into heavy opposition. But at least Jodi Rudoren, the incoming New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief, gets the absurdity of the situation. She tweeted a link to the Times article detailing city officials’ opposition to the boycott, and quipped, “mayor, would be mayors pledge allegiance to Israel.”

We’ll see tonight if the powerful opposition works.

JNF launches new ‘bluewashing’ website – PositivelyIsrael

Mar 27, 2012

Allison Deger

Screen shot 2012 03 27 at 1 31 19 PM
Screen shot of PositivelyIsrael.org

The Jewish National Fund (JNF) recently launched a blueshwashing website,PositivelyIsrael.org,  to inform how “Israel is changing the world – for the better.” The site includes a list of articles conveying: from the arts to green technology, Israel is globally improving the quality of human life.

Under the tag line, “Israel: making the world a better place,” the JNF’s new online resource describes how Israelis saved an endangered fish species, sent films to Sundance, and “vanquished” chemo induced nausea. Though this type of bluewashing, and the JNF’s specialty of greenwashing, is not new, Positively Israel takes hasbara to a relatively uncharted international focus; Israel is not just great for Israelis, Israel is great for the world. For example, one of the highlighted pieces of information on the site covers “Out of Israel to Africa” where an Israeli scientist offers “expertise to poverty-stricken Africa” on irrigation and agriculture. In another article, Israel is credited for teaching clean water technologies to India, the Ukraine, Thailand and Mexico.

Screen shot 2012 03 27 at 1 31 58 PM
Screen shot of PositivelyIsrael.

The new JNF website also includes the obligatory hasbara tools: pamphlets and films, access to the JNF speakers bureau and a pre-drafted letter to congress.

BDS victory: Norwegian retailer de-shelves Ahava
Mar 27, 2012

Allison Deger

norway
(Photo: Boikott Israel-kampanjen i Bergen)

The Norwegian retailer VITA announced on Friday they will no longer carry products made by Ahava, citing a decision to stop selling all settlement products produced in occupied Palestine. VITA’s decision to boycott the settlement company comes one month after a major Japanese retailer cut ties with the cosmetic company. Since 2007 Codepink’s Stolen Beauty campaignhas targeted Ahava for their role in profiting from the Israeli occupation.

Today the Norwegian People’s Aid and the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees posted the victory:

Norwegian retail chain VITA made public on Friday their decision to stop all sales of products originating from settlements in occupied Palestine. VITA will therefore stop selling products from the cosmetics brand Ahava. VITA has been the main retailer of Ahava products in Norway, and this decision will be a serious blow to the sales of Ahava products in Norway.

The principled decision by VITA not to buy products from Israeli settlements in the West Bank is based on a position of not wanting to contribute to violations of international law. This is also the position of Norgesgruppen, a company holding 49% of the shares in VITA. BAMA, another Norgesgruppen company has implemented the same policy regarding Israeli fruit and vegetables for several years already.

The VITA decision comes after a period of active lobbying from Norwegian People’s Aid and the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees (Fagforbundet), providing VITA and VITA’s owners with information about Ahava and their production in the Mitzpe Shalem settlement. Activists in Norway have also focused on Ahava and will now launch a new campaign to have other stores follow VITA’s example.

CCR: Israeli excavations continue in Jerusalem’s Mamilla cemetery despite Wiesenthal Center claims

Mar 27, 2012

Adam Horowitz

Yesterday the Center for Constitutional Rights sent out the following update:

March 26, 2012, Jerusalem, New York – New photographic and video evidence made public today for the first time by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) indicates that controversial archeological excavations by the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) have continued this month on the ancient Mamilla cemetery in Jerusalem. The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) seeks to erect a “Museum of Tolerance – Center for Human Dignity” on the site. The new evidence strongly suggests that the site still contains archaeological artifacts and human remains, contrary to SWC claims that bedrock has been reached on all portions of the site.

“Incredibly, the SWC and Israeli authorities continue to desecrate this ancient cemetery, ostensibly in the name of tolerance. Not only does this dishonor the descendants of those buried in Mamilla, it also reinforces the second-class citizenship of all Palestinians. It is time that Israel and the SWC heed the calls of prominent religious figures, human rights advocates, eminent archeologists and people all over the world to end this sacrilege,” said CCR President Emeritus Michael Ratner, who co-signed a recent letter to the SWC opposing the construction.

In 2010, CCR filed petitions with several United Nations officials on behalf of descendants of individuals buried in the cemetery. The petition argues that the IAA and the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s highly secretive removal of thousands of human remains during excavations and infrastructure work on the site demonstrates a lack of respect for Palestinian cultural heritage and human rights and for the dignity of the deceased and their living ancestors.

The current excavations are being conducted under cover of a plastic tarp, in a pit which has been dug several meters below the floor of the construction site bordering the remaining part of the undisturbed cemetery. The IAA excavation pit is within a fenced enclosure in the south-west perimeter of the larger SWC construction site. The inner enclosure also features high voltage electricity supply for excavation equipment in the pit and portable toilet facilities for on-site workers, as evident in the photos and video.

On March 1, 2012, prior to these revelations, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Campaign to Preserve Mamilla Jerusalem Cemetery sent a personal letter to Rabbi Hier of the SWC urging him to stop construction of the Museum in a section of the ancient Mamilla cemetery. The letter suggested that alternative options be considered and requested a meeting with Rabbi Hier to discuss the issue. It was copied to the Board of the SWC and foundations that support its work and to the Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, urging him to intervene to stop the controversial project. Neither Rabbi Hier nor Mayor Barkat have responded to the letter.

“This important historical, cultural and religious site has witnessed a terrible offense, which appears to be continuing as Israeli Antiquities Authority excavations persist. Rabbi Hier must realize the grave precedent he is setting by building in a historic Muslim cemetery, and agree to a different location in the interest of mutual respect and tolerance in the Holy Land,” said Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University and signatory to the letter to Hier.

For more see mamillacampaign.org.

‘Peter Beinart’s offense against liberalism’ and the spiritual crisis Zionism has wrought

Mar 27, 2012

Jack Ross

 

One could not ask for a more perfect museum quality specimen of the spiritual crisis and degradation that Zionism has wrought.  It is one thing for the Michael Walzer-Paul Berman-Alan Dershowitz school of masturbatory meditation on the “ethics” of war and occupation in the name of “liberalism” to be the basis of one’s politics. But for such political discourses to be the basis of a religious discourse is the moral monstrosity that has characterized most non-Orthodox Judaism for the last 70 years.

It is worth noting that this particular rabbi has been one of the chief ideologues of Reform Zionism in the last generation and, in saying he is “worried about Reform rabbis and rabbinical students” makes a point of identifying himself with the protestations of Daniel Gordis. “What does it say about the future of liberalism,” the good rabbi asks “if in less than a decade Peter Beinart has gone from hawkish liberalism to calling for a boycott of Israelis?” What indeed.

The avalanche of neocon hysteria that has rained down against Beinart even before the official release date of his book is frightening and unprecedented. It is the living confirmation of what I was always told by my elders that the people Norman Podhoretz most wanted to see shackled in a gulag were his progressive Zionist former friends.  What was once said of the expelled American Communist leader Earl Browder can thus now be said of Peter Beinart – there, but for an accident of geography, stands a corpse!

US Supreme Court: Courts to decide whether Congress can recognize Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem

Mar 27, 2012

Annie Robbins and Adam Horowitz

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The Supreme Court (Photo: Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg)

LATimes

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court weighed into one of the thorniest issues in the Middle East conflict — who has sovereignty over Jerusalem — ruling that courts have the power to decide whether Congress can order that passports for U.S. citizens born there list “Israel” as their birthplace.

The justices, ruling 8 to 1 on Monday, passed the decision back to a lower court. So Menachem Binyamin Zivotofsky, now 9, will have to wait to find out what his passport will look like.

The U.S. has long taken the position that sovereignty over Jerusalem, which Israelis and Palestinians both claim as their capital, must be resolved in negotiations, so the government does not recognize Israeli sovereignty there. But in 2002, Congress passed a bill urging that the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv be relocated to Jerusalem and ordering that “Israel” should be listed as the birthplace for those born in the city who request it.

The George W. Bush and Obama administrations argued that the law was unconstitutional because it impinged on the president’s right to conduct foreign policy.

………

Ultimately, the case probably will return to the high court. “I hope this gets resolved favorably so this boy can put Israel on his passport before his bar mitzvah four years from now,” said Nathan Lewin, his lawyer.

Fess up, we all know this is about much more than what Menachem wants for his bar mitzvah. This case is scary. Not only would it set a precedent of sorts regarding Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, but it also would play directly into the lobby’s hands if Congress is granted the power to conduct foreign policy. Coming soon – Ileana Ros-Lehtinen as secretary of state.

Vigilante settler seeks ‘strong men’ to evict Palestinians from East Jerusalem home

Mar 27, 2012

Allison Deger

Ras el amud 27052011 activestills OZ 5
Activists with Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity protesting the settlement where Aryeh King lives, East Jerusalem, 2011. (Photo: Activestills)

Following an extremist settler’s announcement to take over Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, the right-wing leader, Aryeh King published an ad in a newspaper seeking “strong men [who] are wanted to legally evacuate Arab squatters.” Adding, if the state will not remove the family,  “the Jews will do it without the police’s aid.” The settler leader, speaking toHaaretz, estimated his call will attract, “dozens of unmarried army veterans [will] arrive this week and clear out the [Palestinian] tenets.”

suleiman
Suleiman family. (Photo: Emil Salman)

King’s vigilante crew is poised to forcibly remove a Palestinian family, the Suleimans, from their East Jerusalem home. The family was recently cleared of an impending eviction notice from the government and King is hoping to re-instate the order, carrying it out himself.

Palestinians with eviction orders rarely receive injunctions. Typically, once a Palestinian house receives an eviction notice, the residents have about 30 days before they must vacate, which makes the Suleiman’s case extremely rare. But for Jewish Israelis, evictions stays are common and often applied to illegal outposts. For example, a few years ago when Hagit Ofran was describing her work with Peace Now’s settlement watch to me, she said most of the illegal outposts she had visited have multiple eviction (or demolition) orders, which were never implemented.  Ofran also said some outposts have as many as eight written notices. A recent manifestation of this no-eviction-for-Israelis policy is found in the controversial settlement ofMigron, home to some of the “price tag” hilltop youth.  For nearly a decade, the outpost has been marked for eviction. Finally in 2011 Migron was temporarily evicted and demolition. But after the bulldozers left, settlers returned and re-built the camp. They now have a two year stays on the eviction order and support from a Knesset working group.

King thinks the Suleiman’s eviction was held off due to Netanyahu’s recent visit to the U.S.; the Suleimans were spared as a way to keep the prime minister’s visit scandal-free. And, he might be right.

But King is determined to remove the 18-person Palestinian family, including one pregnant woman, from their house. “I’ve got no problem. You want us to wait until she gives birth?” King said to Haaretz, continuing, “we’ll do it, but in the presence of a lawyer and a left-wing public figure as a witness. They keep wasting time and don’t give us answers.” And as one would imagine, the Suleimans are not cowering to King. “I told Aryeh King I wasn’t going to get out, they can kill us, but we won’t get out,” said Khaled Natcha. He continued, “we’ll die on this land and won’t get out. It’s our land, our father’s – so why should we leave?”

The Suleimans say their family has owned the East Jerusalem house since 1935, however, King claims the Palestinians are squatters.  King also claims the Suleimans moved into the property in 2002 and insists a Jewish Israeli owns the house.

King’s group, the Israel Land Fund (ILA), has a history of vigilante Palestinian home evictions in East Jerusalem. The ILA believes these Palestinians are squatters and strives to remove them in order to construct an “eternal homeland” for “Jewish pioneers.”

King’s Israel Land Fund delivering eviction notices claiming the Palestinians are “illegally squatting on Jewish owned land in Anata, East Jerusalem,” 2007.

The ILA’s website states, “house by house, lot by lot, the Israel Land Fund is ensuring the land of Israel stays in the hands of the Jewish people forever.” The minimum amount to purchase a Jewish only lot with the ILA is $6,000.

US ‘understands’ Israel’s decision to cut ties with UN Human Rights Council

Mar 27, 2012

Today in Palestine

US ambassador to Israel says Human Rights Council obsessively focuses on Israel instead of other critical issues in Syria, Iran.
Meetings with Austrian, Belgian ambassadors come hours after Foreign Ministry severs ties all contact with the UN human rights council over establishment of an investigative committee on West Bank settlements.
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon, stated Sunday that Israel will not cooperate with the United Nations Human Rights Council and its investigation committee, and will not allow committee members to enter the country, the Arabs48 News Website reported.

link to www.imemc.org

Israel escalates UN rights spat
Israel has cut working relations with the UN Human Rights Council, officials say, after it decided to investigate settlements in the West Bank.
link to www.bbc.co.uk

Gaza
Fayyad says Hamas officials no show at Cairo fuel talks
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Sunday an expected Hamas delegation had not arrived in Cairo to join talks on ending the Gaza Strip’s fuel crisis. Palestinian officials headed to Egypt on Saturday to discuss the mechanism for ongoing fuel pumping into Gaza after Egypt cut off supplies through an underground tunnel network.  While an Egyptian security official said Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar crossed from Gaza to Egypt on Egypt, Fayyad said a Hamas delegation did not join talks.
link to www.maannews.net

 

Land Theft & Destruction / Ethnic Cleansing / Apartheid / Refugees
B’Tselem center for human rights revealed an Israeli plan to expel the Palestinian Bedouin communities from Area C of the West Bank, which is under Israel’s control, to other areas.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
Eight children from Beit Ummar facing suspension from their village of residence
Eight children between the ages of 14 to 17 years old were arrested in Beit Ummar during night raids from 6th to 11th of March conducted by the Israeli occupation forces following a nonviolent solidarity demonstration for the hungerstriker Khader Adnan on the 21st of February. On Tuesday 20th of March the youth went to court at the Israeli military court at Ofer and faced a sentence of being banned from Beit Ummar, where they live with their families, for a period of 6 months. The youth are being accused of throwing stones at Israeli military installations. The detainees are Ayesh Khalid Sabri Awad (17 years), Basil Khalid Hassan Abu Hashim (15 years), Zain Hisham Khalil Abu Maria (15 years) Sami Amer Ahmed Abo Joudeh (16 years), Emad Mohammed Saed Solaiby (16 years), Mohab Jawdat Adi (14 years), Bilal Mahmud Awad Ayyad (16 years), and Ahmed Ali Mahmoud Solaiby (16 years)
link to palsolidarity.org

The Judaisation of Jerusalem
The Judaisation of Jerusalem has occupied a prominent place in the Arab and Muslim media recently, and is the focus of many statements made by officials and heads of state on the grounds that the city’s future concerns those who care about Islamic and Christian holy sites there. Recent conferences in Doha and Beirut released statements confirming Jerusalem’s Arab identity and the need to protect the holy places as well as cultural and historical monuments which characterise the city.
link to www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk

Violence Against Palestinians

Settlers Attacks Leave One Injured; Troops Arrest Nine Civilians in Dawn Invasions
A Palestinian farmer was injured when Israeli armed settlers attacked a group of farmers near the northern West Bank city of Nablus on Monday.
link to www.imemc.org

Hana Shalabi

Hospital ‘may consider force-feeding’ Shalabi, Published yesterday
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The ethics committee of Meir Hospital may consider force-feeding hunger-striking detainee Hana Shalabi, human rights organizations said Monday., The committee will meet Tuesday to discuss Shalabi’s case and could discuss force-feeding her, Addameer prisoner rights group and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel said in a joint statement., Amnesty International warned forcible feeding “could constitute cruel and inhuman treatment,” a release from the group said.

Hana Shalabi’s hunger strike has put her life in danger but she charges on in her battle against Israel’s practice of imprisonment without charge. Ramallah – Islamic Jihad spokesperson and former detainee Khader Adnan won the battle of “empty stomachs” and handed the torch to Hana Shalabi, another fierce warrior who refuses to give up on her rights. On Sunday, Shalabi completed 40 days of an open hunger strike for “victory or martyrdom.” She is protesting against being held by Israeli occupation forces without charge, a procedure known as administrative detention. Her body is frail but she is defiant and intent on continuing her protest.

Hana Shalabi Enters Day 40 of Hunger Strike
Israeli Military Court refuses to shorten administrative detention order of Hana Shalabi, who is in critical condition on this 40th day of her hunger strike.
link to www.alternativenews.org

Six citizens from Nablus on hunger strike in solidarity with Shalabi
Six Palestinian citizens from Nablus, held in Israeli administrative custody, have gone on hunger strike in solidarity with hunger striker Hana’a Shalabi topped by 72-year-old MP Ahmed Al-Haj Ali.

Other Hunger Striking Detainees 

Megiddo prison administration blocks visits to hunger strikers
The administration of the Israeli Megiddo prison has blocked visits by lawyers to their clients in the jail as a punishment for going on hunger strike.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Palestinian detainees take on Israel with hunger
Inspired by Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan, who pressured Israel with a 66-day hunger strike, a growing number of his fellow detainees are launching similar protests.
link to news.yahoo.com

Political Prisoners & Detainees

Israeli court extends detention of 7 Palestinian children for 100 days
An Israeli military court has extended the detention of seven Palestinian children from Al-Khalil for 101 days for further interrogation.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

IOF soldiers arrest 9 Palestinians, field interrogate others
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up nine Palestinian citizens in the provinces of Al-Khalil and Bethlehem at dawn Monday.

IOF soldiers arrest six Palestinians, summon liberated prisoner
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) launched a search campaign in various West Bank areas at dawn Sunday that ended with the arrest of six Palestinians.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

ISRAEL-OPT: Helping ex-detainee children cope with trauma
RAMALLAH, 26 March 2012 (IRIN) – A year after his arrest and detention by the Israeli military in Bethlehem, Hamza, a 17-year-old Palestinian from the West Bank, is seeing a social worker to try and overcome the trauma he suffered in a small cell with 10 other people.  “They blindfolded me, tied my arms together and took me away to prison in an army jeep. We were 10 people in a small cell, and they kept asking me why I threw stones a few times every day,” he told IRIN, as he waited for the social worker at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) office in Beit Sahour. When Hamza was detained about a year ago, he was 16. “There were settlers outside our school and then clashes broke out. I threw stones and got caught,” he said. “During four and a half months in detention, I was not allowed to see my family once. When I got out of prison, I just didn’t know where to begin,” he added.

RAMALLAH (Reuters) — From his cell in an Israeli prison, one of the most revered figures in Palestinian politics called on Monday for a new wave of civil resistance in the decades-long quest for statehood, and for severing all ties with Israel. Marwan Barghouti is a leading figure in the Fatah movement. His leadership and charisma were seen as a driving force behind the last intifada, or uprising, against Israeli occupation launched in late 2000.

link to www.maannews.net

Detained commander: We are entitled to resist occupation
Detained Qassam Brigades commander Abdullah Al-Barghouthi has said that the Palestinian people are entitled to resist occupiers of their country.

link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Solidarity / Actvism / Popular Protests / BDS

Israeli diplomat chased out of Morocco after mass protest

Yesterday, Israeli diplomat David Saranga was chased out of Morocco after a mass demonstration for Palestinian rights spread across the capital. Saranga told the Jerusalem Post that he did not feel in danger, but he chose to leave Morocco at the behest of a security officer. The protests began in Morocco last Thursday, when the diplomat first arrived and continued to grow through the weekend, until Saranga left the country. “As early as Saturday, when

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A. Loewenstein Online Newsletter

“Paper of record” still too keen to report US/Israeli view over Iran

 

Posted: 27 Mar 2012

 

Editor of the New York Times Jill Abramson claims her paper’s coverage on Israel and Iran is impartial and there’s no chance the “flawed” 2003 reporting over Iraq could happen again (via Politico):

Q: What are the concerns and considerations you take into account when covering the tensions between Israel and Iran, especially in light of some to the Times’s failures in the build-up to Iraq?

ABRAMSON: The key issue for us is, there’s murky intelligence on the current state of Iran’s nuclear program. There’s no dispute that they have one, the dispute is Iran saying that it’s for civilian use, and other intelligence saying that it could be for military use.

The debate, at least in Washington, is a little more limited than in 2003, because we’re talking about something that — either on the Israeli end or more broadly — would be a targeted military strike. It’s not the kind of debate we had in 2003 about a full-blown boots on the ground invasion.

In 2003, the Times had flawed coverage on the intelligence concerning WMD. I think a big factual difference is that at least the administration as it shapes its policy is not  actively promoting a policy to strike Iran. That’s a huge, fundamental difference.

But certainly I’m well aware that there are all kinds of parties, analysts, members of congress, people inside the administration — We just had a piece on some of the more hawkish voices back in 2003, and some of them are trying to have more influential voices, some of the same people.

It’s a highly politically charged issue. And it involves intelligence that is somewhat murky.

Q: How do you respond to critics on the right who say that, because of what happened in 2003, the Times is being overly cautious?

ABRAMSON: I think we are criticized by both of the most highly charged voices on this. There are also critics saying, there they go again.

 The reality, however, is rather different as Fair and Accuracy in Reporting regularly show.

Iran’s horrific death penalty poison

 

Posted: 27 Mar 2012

 

Amnesty International releases its 2012 report on executions globally and Guardian Films features one story from Iran about a lawyer who saves juveniles from the hangman:

 

One loaded British Tory who just happened to love Libyan rebels

 

Posted: 27 Mar 2012

 

This is how power works, a rare window into modern politics. If you thought the war in Libya was truly about liberating the Libyan people, 99% of players behind it had other ideas. Here’s the UK Telegraph:

A major Tory donor whose oil firm was given government help to set up a supply deal in Libya was a dinner guest at Downing Street, it has been disclosed.

David Cameron invited Ian Taylor, the boss of the oil company Vitol, weeks after it emerged that a secret “Libyan oil cell” run from the Foreign Office had brokered a lucrative deal for Vitol to supply oil to rebel forces in the north African country.

When the controversy blew up last September, No 10 had to fend off accusations that Vitol, which has close links to the international development minister, Alan Duncan, was given preferential treatment.

Weeks later, on Nov 2, Mr Taylor, who has donated £466,100 to the Conservative Party since Mr Cameron became leader, was one of six guests at an intimate dinner party with the prime minister in Downing Street.

Last night Opposition MPs demanded to know whether Vitol’s deal with the National Transitional Council in Libya was discussed at the dinner, which was also attended by Mr Taylor’s wife, Christine. Labour said the dinner added to “the perception that policy is purchased by donors”. Downing Street said Mr Taylor, 55, was invited to “the social dinner for strong and long-term supporters of the party”.

Mr Cameron went ahead with the dinner despite a series of questions about possible preferential treatment for Vitol, the world’s largest oil trader.

The Government had admitted that a secret committee, said to have been set up at the suggestion of Mr Duncan, arranged meetings between Vitol and the Libyan rebels fighting Col Muammar Gaddafi. Mr Duncan is a close friend of Mr Taylor, having worked for Vitol in the 1990s, and as a consultant for Arawak, a company part-owned by Vitol.

Mr Duncan said the work of the oil cell was above board and other companies were not prepared to take the risk of opening a supply route to the Libyan rebels. But oil industry insiders suggested that Vitol benefited from “good contacts”. Last night Michael Dugher, shadow minister without portfolio, said: “Questions have to be asked about the Prime Minister’s relationship with Ian Taylor.”

The private dinner in November was one of four disclosed by Downing Street yesterday that were attended by people who have donated more than £50,000.

How Australia enjoys being a client state part 975432

 

Posted: 27 Mar 2012

 

The Washington Post explains how Canberra is desperate to help America maintain hegemony:

The United States and Australia are planning a major expansion of military ties, including possible drone flights from a coral atoll in the Indian Ocean and increased U.S. naval access to Australian ports, as the Pentagon looks to shift its forces closer to Southeast Asia, officials from both countries said.

The moves, which are under discussion but have drawn strong interest from both sides, would come on top of an agreement announced by President Obama and Prime Minister Julia Gillard in November to deploy up to 2,500 U.S. Marines to Darwin, on Australia’s northern coast.

The talks are the latest indicator of how the Obama administration is rapidly turning its strategic attention to Asia as it winds down a costly decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. The U.S. government is finalizing a deal to station four warships in Singapore and has opened negotiations with the Philippines about boosting its military presence there. To a lesser degree, the Pentagon is also seeking to upgrade military relations with Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.

Although U.S. officials say the regional pivot is not aimed at any single country, analysts said it is a clear response to a rising China, whose growing military strength and assertive territorial claimshave pushed other Asian nations to reach out to Washington.

The Pentagon is reviewing the size and distribution of its forces in northeast Asia, where they are concentrated on Cold War-era bases in Japan and South Korea. The intent is to gradually reduce the U.S. military presence in those countries while enhancing it in Southeast Asia, home to the world’s busiest shipping lanes and to growing international competition to tap into vast undersea oil and gas fields.

“In terms of your overall influence in the Asia-Pacific zone, the strategic weight is shifting south,” said a senior Australian official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the military talks. “Australia didn’t look all that important during the Cold War. But Australia looks much more important if your fascination is really with the Southeast Asian archipelago.”

Hello America, my name is Australia and we’d love to help you isolate Wikileaks

 

Posted: 26 Mar 2012

 

Is there anything Canberra won’t do to please its Washington masters (hint: no)?

New Matilda reveals just the latest episode:

As Julian Assange tilts at the Senate, new laws have been passed that will make it harder for organisations like Wikileaks to operate legally – and there are more to come, writes Matthew da Silva

The Labor Government is tightening up Australian law in areas that will have a direct impact on organisations such as WikiLeaks. Only the Greens are challenging the new bills in parliament, and they are receiving scant media attention.

There’s a new extradition law that will make it easier for foreign governments to request extradition of Australians and a new spying law that broadens ASIO’s reach, which has been dubbed the WikiLeaks Amendment.

And finally there’s a bill that will make it easier to retain digital data for Australians, and easier also to pass that information to overseas law enforcement agencies. Senator Scott Ludlam, the Greens’ spokesperson for communications, told New Matilda that the Attorney-General wants all digital records for all people for all time to be trapped and recorded so that intelligence agencies, law enforcement agencies, and welfare agencies can mine the data.

The new extradition law contains elements that make it easier for foreign governments to request that people be extradited from Australia. The new federal law also enables people to be prosecuted in Australia for alleged crimes overseas.

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NOVANEWS

 

Dear Friends,

 

I hadn’t intended to introduce any of the articles below.  However, the first 3 really call for comment, if only brief.

 

Item 1 by Amira Hass reminds us that Israel rules the Palestinian roost, but allows the rest of the world to pay for it.  At one point, some time back, Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) threatened to throw all the West Bank back into the lap of Israel, that is, to insist that Israel as occupier pay for its occupation,  just as it did before Oslo.  In other words, Israel would be responsible for Palestinian education, health, welfare, etc.  Abbas should carry out his threat.  Then occupation would cost Israel a pretty penny.  The way things now stand, Israel occupies but pays not a cent for it.

 

Item 2 gives me hope.  If Bradley Burston, who is hardly a leftie, can realize that all chance for 2 states is gone, and speak of one state as a solution, there is then some teensy spark of light at the end of this long long tunnel.  When a Burston speaks of this, he very likely represents a segment of opinion, which if not yet very vocal, is likely to become so.

 

Item 3 says that the Pentagon plans to ask Congress to approve more money for more Iron Domes.  Well,  American citizens should start shouting and tell Congress that they need the money at home, and not to spend a penny more on iron domes or other paraphernalia that Israel wants for its wars.  Imagine, were there peace Israel would need nary a gun much less an iron dome!  Tell Israel to make peace or to shut up.

 

The next 2 items are about criticism of Israel.  And then comes Today in Palestine for the 27th—a particularly disturbing one.  Imagine 7 teenagers are not only torn from the bosoms of their families, but are chucked out of their community, meaning also school and friends and the rest.  How would you take it if the army came in in the middle of the night and kidnapped your 14 or 15 or 16 or 17 year old son or daughter?  How do the kids feel?  And is this supposed to make them love Israel?  Or is this to create the future anti-Israel generation?  Also in ‘Today’ are updates on Hana Shalabee, going into her 40th day of hunger strike, along with others who have begun their own hunger strikes.  Not very pleasant reading this “Today,” but full of information, most of which you are unlikely to find in your own local newspapers or Israeli ones.

 

I had intended to leave item 7 out, but at the last moment decided that you should know that Israel’s leaders are still thinking of attacking Iran.  If this disturbs a German official, just imagine how I feel!

 

 

All the best,

Dorothy

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1 Haaretz

March 26, 2012

 

Ignoring Israel’s complete domination

Israel’s position in its periodic report to the donor-coordination group for the Palestinian Authority reminds one of the boy who kills his parents and then demands an orphan’s pension.

 

http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/ignoring-israel-s-complete-domination-1.420709

 

By Amira Hass

Tags: Palestinians

Israel’s position in its periodic report to the donor-coordination group for the Palestinian Authority reminds one of the boy who kills his parents and then demands an orphan’s pension. Israel describes the failings of the Palestinian economy as if the colonialist occupation is not their primary cause.

 

The authors of the report express the view that the dependence of the Palestinian Authority on foreign aid will not diminish in the coming years. In doing so, they are showing disrespect for the intelligence of the donor countries’ representatives, who met last week in Brussels. Who better than these delegates knows the great service the family of nations is doing to Israel by providing massive, ongoing aid to the Palestinians? Taxpayers around the world are the ones who are relieving Israel of its obligations as an occupying power and repairing the damage it is causing. It turns out it’s easier for the family of nations to fund the occupation than to force Israel to put an end to it. The guys in our finance and defense ministries – upon whose data the report is based – state, in fact, that the donor countries should get their checkbooks ready, because our policy this year won’t be different.

 

With smug arrogance, the report’s authors ignore Israel’s complete domination over the resources essential to economic progress and expansion: land, water, time, a Palestinian population registry, currency, territorial expanse, air space, radio-frequency spectrums, territorial contiguity, banking services and television broadcasts, freedom of movement, border crossings, foreign nationals who are allowed entry and the duration of their stay, highways, and personal and communal security.

 

With all the precision of a shopkeeper, the drafters of the report recount all of the measures that Israel, in its great magnanimity, has taken “to support economic growth in the West Bank.” But beyond all the means of support detailed in the report, there are the unmentioned hours wasted by Palestinian, American and European bureaucrats seeking to convince their Israeli counterparts to put them into practice.

 

The number of tourists coming to the West Bank city of Bethlehem last year, for example, was 1,174,280 (compared to 1,092,811 – note the precision! – in 2010 ), according to the report. Then there was the extension of the hours of operation at checkpoints; the agreement over the Palestinian police presence in Area B (which is under Israeli military control and Palestinian civil responsibility ); construction of a visitors’ lounge for meetings between Palestinian and Israeli business people at one of the checkpoints; the drilling of four wells in a nature reserve’s eastern aquifer; 17 (again, note the precision! ) preparatory meetings (regarding water infrastructure ) with representatives of the U.S. State Department and USAID; one meeting with a Dutch representative over Israeli-Palestinian cooperation; 434,382 cars, owned by Palestinian citizens of Israel, that were allowed passage via the West Bank town of Jenin; consideration of a Palestinian request for a customs exemption for cars owned by foreign investors and the disabled; and approval of 2,777 requests for changes of address on ID cards from Gaza to the West Bank (of 3,857 people who sought approval ).

 

With a whiff of the theories of economist Milton Friedman, the report sneers at the size of the Palestinian public sector. But if there is anything that assures Palestinian social stability – and in turn quiet and prosperity for Israel – it is the regular (if unreasonably low ) salaries paid to that public sector. Since the Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO were drafted in the 1990s, payment of wages has been a major means by which support of and dependence on the PA leadership has been buttressed. The adaptability of the Palestinian leadership to Israel’s policy of carving out Palestinian territorial enclaves was based in part on that very internal instability.

 

And what about the bloated Palestinian security forces, which are an inseparable part of the public sector? They are subcontractors for the Israeli Shin Bet security service and the Israeli army, who have tasked them with participating in controlling, suppressing and containing the various manifestations of Palestinian resistance. It’s as if the big Israeli boss is not only benefiting from the workers supplied by the subcontractor, but is also complaining that there are too many of them.

++++++++++

2  Haaretz

March 27, 2012

 

One state – one vote: Rethinking an Israeli Spring

There is no denying that settlement construction, Palestinian disunity, and other factors are fast rendering the two-state concept impracticable.

 

http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/a-special-place-in-hell/one-state-one-vote-rethinking-an-israeli-spring-1.421087

 

By Bradley Burston

 

A beleaguered Democratic president, beset by an unpopular war overseas and raging polarization at home, clamps heavy pressure on Israel to make a dramatic gesture over the future of the West Bank.

 

Israel’s cabinet convenes to discuss the White House initiative. A minister-without-portfolio, less than three months in his first cabinet post, asks for the floor. He has a proposal regarding the Palestinians of the West Bank: Offer them citizenship and the right to vote.

 

Under the plan, “If an Arab from Shehem (Nablus) wants to become a citizen of the state of Israel, he’s entitled,” the minister says.

 

“We want a Jewish state with a large Arab minority. So what do we need to do? First of all, we’re capable of keeping a Jewish majority.

 

“Of course, if that majority were to break down, our situation would be a bitter one. We are not South Africa, nor Rhodesia,” he declared. “The Jewish minority will not rule over Arabs.

 

The date is August 20, 1967. The minister is Menachem Begin.

 

The minutes of the cabinet meeting are classified Top Secret and kept under wraps for 44 years.

 

There is something fitting about the timing of the release of the transcripts, declassified in recent weeks at the request of former senior Begin aide Prof. Aryeh Naor for a book he is completing about the late prime minister.

 

At this, the anniversary of the Arab Spring, there has been something of a Jewish Spring in rethinking the future of Israel and its relationship to the Palestinians, the Mideast, and the Jewish people.

 

Peter Beinart’s very public and also very personal act of biur hametz, his call in The New York Times for a targeted boycott against settlements, has spurred many Jews to re-examine and re-define their own positions with respect to Israel and the territories.

 

The AIPAC conference’s laser focus on the Iran issue has, paradoxically or not, encouraged a widening debate over the necessity and the wisdom of calls for pre-emptive strikes on Tehran’s nuclear sites.

 

And in an essay which is as revolutionary as it is calmly argued, Noam Sheizaf, editor of the online +972 Magazine, manages the impossible: explaining Israelis to Israelis.

 

Sheizaf’s thesis: The status quo of an occupying Israel – inherently immoral as even some rightists now acknowledge – “represents the most desirable political option for Israelis.” Regardless of developments on the Palestinian side, for Israelis, “keeping things as they are will remain preferable to the alternatives of either pulling out of the West Bank or to annexing it.”

 

Sheizaf stirred wide debate in 2010 with an article in Haaretz that quoted a string of prominent Israeli hard-liners advocating versions of what Menachem Begin appeared to be suggesting in 1967. One of them, columnist Emily Amrousi, who lives in a settlement and promotes dialogue between settlers and Palestinians, told Sheizaf that the status quo must change “because it’s really not moral. It’s impossible to go on like this, with a situation in which my Palestinian neighbors have to cross three checkpoints to get from one village to another – we can’t go on accepting this.”

 

Admittedly, across the political spectrum, the citizenship concept is much easier to dismiss than to seriously consider, as are other alternatives, such as a Palestinian-Israeli confederation, possibly including Jordan as well.

 

There is no denying, however, that settlement construction, Palestinian disunity, and other factors are fast rendering the two-state concept impracticable. I say this with profound regret, as someone who still believes that two independent states would provide Israelis and Palestinians with their best chance for a future of freedom, justice, security and well-being.

 

A new reality is already in place, however. There are children being born who constitute the third generation of West Bank settlements.

 

When Begin addressed the cabinet in 1967, he outlined the concept of a “bi-ethnic” state, allowing both Jews and Arabs to develop as culturally distinctive peoples, and ruled by the majority, rather than a bi-national state with power shared equally, regardless of the numerical majority or minority.

 

In contrast with a bi-national state, “We have never ruled out a bi-ethnic state, and the difference is crucial,” Begin said. “Zionism, as I have known it, has never viewed the state as mono-ethnic.”

 

Even as I look into Begin’s proposal, which raises more questions, and suspicions, than it answers, I can feel another, deeper response welling up. Fear. The same fear that keeps Israelis, this one included, from fully committing to a substantive change in an intolerable reality.

 

“If every path seems to reach an impasse,” Sheizaf quoted former Netanyahu chief of staff Uri Elitzur, a fierce, even radical rightist and also an early advocate of citizenship for Palestinians, as writing, “usually the right path is one that was never even considered, the one that is universally acknowledged to be unacceptable, taboo.”

 

The rule of fear is the underpinning, the psychic secret police, of the dictatorship of the status quo. To use Begin’s word, we are all n’tinim, subjects, of the rule of fear.

 

In another week, it will be Pesach. The enemy of fear. Time to cast out the chametz, which is everything we put up and hoard and refuse to part with and acquire and consume too much of, as our insulation against everything that scares us. Ideas included.

 

Time to burn it. Time to burn what we are so comfortable believing, knowing to be true.

 

It’s Spring. Time to start again. Time to think again, to leave behind what we know. Time to hit the road. Even if we can see that the route leads between gigantic, threatening walls, with nothing visible holding them from falling in on us, drowning us, annihilating us. Nothing, that is, but faith and a willingness to try something we hadn’t, until now, considered.

++++++

3  Haaretz

March 27, 2012

 

Pentagon to seek additional Iron Dome funding, U.S. official says

Statement by Department of Defense spokesperson comes after U.S. officials initiate Iron Dome Support Act meant to allow purchase of additional anti-missile systems.

 

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/pentagon-to-seek-additional-iron-dome-funding-u-s-official-says-1.421113

 

By Natasha Mozgovaya

 

The Pentagon will approach Congress to enlarge the amount aid the United States awards Israel toward the production of the Iron Dome anti-missile systems, a U.S. official said on Tuesday.

 

Last week, Rep. Howard L. Berman introduced the Iron Dome Support Act (IDSA) authorizing U.S. President Barack Obama to provide assistance if requested by the Israeli government to procure additional Iron Dome systems.

 

While the Iron Dome Support Act was still in initial stages of the legislation process, it has already won support from both parties. Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen was one of the initial supporters of the bill, along with four other congressmen from both parties.

 

In a statement released by the Pentagon on Tuesday, spokesman George Little said that “supporting the security of the State of Israel is a top priority of President Obama and Secretary Panetta,” adding that last year the US provided 205 million dollars for the system.

 

“The Department of Defense has been in conversations with the Government of Israel about U.S. support for the acquisition of additional Iron Dome systems and intends to request an appropriate level of funding from Congress to support such acquisitions based on Israeli requirements and production capacity,” Little said.

 

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, in response to the Pentagon’s statement, said that the decision was “another indication of the depth of the security relationship between the United States and Israel, and a badge of honor to the Israeli security industries which developed the Iron Dome and which are working on developing a multilayered interception system.”

 

“I congratulate the American administration for aiding the bolstering of Israel’s security,” Barak added.

 

Congressman Steve Rothman, a member of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, said in a statement following the Pentagon’s announcement that he was “pleased to see that Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and the Obama Administration understand the importance of and remain committed to funding the life-saving rocket defense program, Iron Dome.”

 

“We must continue to stand with Israel to make sure that our most important strategic ally in the region has the additional Iron Dome batteries it needs to protect its population from rocket attacks. As a member of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, I will continue to work with my colleagues to robustly fund Iron Dome,” Rothman added.

+++++++++

4 Seattle Times

March 26, 2012

Sponsors of Israeli group weren’t here for open dialogue

The Seattle LGBT Commission was right to cancel the reception for visiting Israeli gay leaders and its decision opens the door for true, inclusive dialogue, writes guest columnist Stefanie Fox.

 

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2017845797_guest27fox.html

 

By Stefanie Fox

 

Special to The Times

 

I love to talk. As a child, my mother constantly had to remind me not to share widely my recently memorized phone number and address. “You should know who you’re talking to first!” she’d chastise. As a community organizer, I joke that I’m in it for the conversation. I truly believe social change is built in the relationships between people.

 

So why did I ask the Seattle LGBT Commission to cancel its recent event? And as a Seattle citizen who is queer and Jewish, with a lifelong commitment to peace between Israelis and Palestinians, why did the commission’s decision make me proud of our city?

 

Because — just as my mother taught me — you have to know to whom you’re talking, and why they are interested in talking to you. The planned event has been presented to many as a group of Israeli LGBT activists here in Seattle simply to share stories cross-culturally. That is a lie.

 

The flier for the event indicates that among the primary sponsors are the Israeli government, through its Consulate General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest, and the hawkish right-wing Israel advocacy group, StandWithUs (SWU). These sponsors are not interested in promoting open, inclusive or honest conversation about LGBTQ rights in the Middle East.

 

I may love to talk, but I don’t trust a conversation about my rights as a queer person led by an organization that cozies up to some of the most vicious homophobes on record.

 

SWU, which tellingly claims Israel’s settlements in the West Bank are legal despite the fact that virtually every country in the world, including the United States, says they are not, also has an ongoing alliance with the virulently homophobic pastor John Hagee and his group Christians United For Israel (CUFI). The organization’s director, Roz Rothstein, has given a featured keynote at CUFI’s conference. Hagee infamously argued that “Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans,” because “there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that Katrina came.” He also claimed the anti-Christ was “a homosexual.”

 

Furthermore, SWU members are on record bullying with homophobic and racist taunts, and in one case physical violence, those seeking peace and justice in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

 

So why is SWU bringing LGBT Israelis to Seattle if they don’t care when Hagee or the organization’s own members spout homophobic hatred? The answer is simple: to cynically co-opt LGBT identity and issues in order to shift perception of Israel.

 

Indeed, this well-documented “pinkwashing” tactic is part of “Brand Israel,” a campaign launched by Israel in 2005 to counter its increasing international isolation. Rather than address Israel’s human rights violations, the root reasons for concern in the international community, the Israeli government decided instead to direct international attention away from its treatment of Palestinians by promoting Israel as a model of progressive modernity.

 

Many of us actively support LGBTQ friends and relatives in Israel and their struggle to live a life free of discrimination, but advances for Jews have not affected Palestinians living under occupation, including those who are LGBTQ, who suffer from discrimination, persecution, restriction, and daily threats of violence from Israel.

 

LGBTQ Palestinians don’t have a special line at checkpoints; special body armor when Israeli bombs drop on hospitals, schools and civilian homes; or magic wands to stop the weaponized bulldozers that tear down homes and uproot orchards. And Palestinians living inside Israel are treated as second-class citizens, regardless of sexuality.

 

The LGBT Commission’s responsibility is to LGBTQ people in Seattle, not the Israeli government and groups that cynically exploit our LGBT community to justify Israel’s illegal occupation. The voices of Palestinian queers and queer Jews like myself are systematically silenced by the kind of “Brand Israel” propaganda SWU and the Israeli Consulate advance. The commission’s decision opened the door for real, inclusive dialogue about LGBTQ issues in Seattle and the Middle East.

 

Stefanie Fox, a lifelong Washington resident, is the director of grass-roots organizing for Jewish Voice for Peace, which promotes Middle East peace through justice and equality for both Palestinians and Israelis.

 

+++++++

5 Haaretz

March 27, 2012

 

Pro-Palestinian activists disrupt meeting with Israeli MKs in U.S.

WATCH: Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine, the same group which interrupted a speech by former minister Avi Dichter in 2011, chanted at the meeting: Knesset is silencing dissent and civil and human rights.

 

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/pro-palestinian-activists-disrupt-meeting-with-israeli-mks-in-u-s-1.421108

[use this link to see the video—about 2 minutes]

 

By Haaretz

Tags: Jewish World Knesset

U.S. pro-Palestinian protesters disrupted a panel comprised of Israeli MKs in Massachusetts on Monday, a year after the same activist group interrupted a speech by Kadima MK and former minister Avi Dichter.

 

The incident took place during a Town-Hall style meeting in Temple Emanuel in the town of Newton, participated by Likud MK Ofir Akunis, Yisrael Beitenu’s, Lia Shemtov and Faina Kirshenbaum, as well as former Labor minister Raleb Majadle and Meretz MK Ilan Gilon.

 

According to a statement by Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine, members of the group, as well as activists from affiliate groups, wearing t-shirts displaying the word “apartheid” in Hebrew letters, “mic-checked the panel, protesting the undemocratic nature of the Israeli apartheid state and notified the offending officials that until their government ceased its discriminatory policies they were not welcome by students at Brandeis University community events.”

 

“The activists were pushed outside the hall by police officers and private security guards. One Brandeis student was arrested and another was injured while being thrown to the floor by a police officer,” the statement added. A video of the incident was uploaded to YouTube.

 

Activists chanted at the panel: “Israel is an apartheid state and the Knesset is an apartheid parliament,” as well as: “We will not welcome Israeli officials to any Brandeis University event until apartheid ends.”

 

 

They also charged Akunis and. Kirshenbaum for “sponsoring fascist legislation in the Knesset, targeting legitimate human rights organizations.”

 

“Mr. Akunis and Ms. Kirshenbaum, how does it feel to be silenced? The Knesset is silencing dissent and civil and human rights,” the activists said.

 

In response to the protest, MK Kirshenbaum released a statement, in which she said: “I don’t understand the audacity and hypocrisy of the protestors.”

 

“The State of Israel is one of the biggest democracies, perhaps the only one, in the Middle East,” she wrote, while Syrian President Bashar “Assad is massacring his people and enforcing a dictatorial regime in his state. I didn’t see the activists protesting before us provoke or engage in violence to stop the Holocaust experienced by the Syrian people.”

 

Kirshenbaum indicated that her fellow delegation member was Raleb Majadle, “who was the first Arab Minister,” asking: “How can the protesters call us fascists when there was an Arab minister in the Israeli cabinet.”

 

In April 2011, Avi Dichter was interrupted by Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine activists as he stood up to speak to an audience of hundreds of students at Brandeis University near Boston. Several students got up out of their seats and called Dichter a war criminal, both in English and Hebrew. The incident was captured on video and uploaded to YouTube.

 

Students hurled insults at Dichter and accused him of torture and crimes against humanity. Brandeis University is considered to be a bastion of liberal politics in the United States and has a large Jewish student population.

 

++++++

6 Today in Palestine

March 27, 2012

 

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/f_shadi/message/3439

++++++++

7 Haaretz

March 27, 2012

 

Germany official: Meeting with Israel’s Barak left me ‘more concerned’ of war with Iran

Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere says feels some Israeli cabinet members do not give enough thought to the negative consequences that could develop in wake of a strike of Iran’s nuclear facilities.

 

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/germany-official-meeting-with-israel-s-barak-left-me-more-concerned-of-war-with-iran-1.421058

 

By Ofer Aderet

Tags: Iran nuclear Iran threat Ehud Barak Barack Obama

Germany’s defense minister Thomas de Maiziere said that a recent meeting with Defense Minister Ehud Barak left him “more concerned” as to the possibility of war with Iran, an interview published on Tuesday indicated.

 

Get all the updates on Haaretz.com’s Facebook page

 

De Maiziere’s comments came after U.S. President Barack Obama said on Sunday there was still time to resolve the Iranian nuclear standoff through diplomacy, indicating, however, that the window for such a solution was closing.

 

Obama reiterated his position on the Iran nuclear issue after talks with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on the eve of a nuclear security summit in Seoul.

 

 

“I believe there is a window of time to solve this diplomatically, but that window is closing,” Obama told reporters.

 

Obama has pressed Israel to hold off on any attack on Iran’s nuclear sites to give sanctions and diplomacy time to work, but has said military action remains an option if all else fails.

 

In an interview with German newspaper Bild published on Tuesday, de Maiziere was asked whether his meeting with Barak gave him any indication as to the possibility of war with Iran, to which de Maiziere said: “I don’t know, but from my talks, including with Israel’s defense minister, I have become more concerned that secure.”

 

“We’re doing everything we can to discourage Iran from its nuclear program. First and foremost using sanctions. But the Israeli side doesn’t believe the sanctions are successful,” the German defense minister said.

Later on, de Maiziere was asked on the possibility of an Israeli attack in Iran, saying: “Iran is trying to hide a considerable part of its nuclear program deep in the ground. If that succeeds, it would hinder an Israeli attack.”

 

“But some Israeli cabinet members don’t estimate enough the negative consequences of such attacks. I told Ehud Barak that it was hard to calculate the consequences, and one mustn’t take uncalculated risks,” de Maiziere said, adding that, “as a result,” as Israel’s friends, we warned it against such a move.”

 

 

Posted in Nova NewsletterComments Off on Dorothy Online Newsletter

The Massacre of the Afghan 17 and the Obama Cover-Up

NOVANEWS

When the extreme measures have run their course there will be nothing to fall back on and nothing can save the president of a collapsing empire from the revolt of its citizens and soldiers.

 

by Prof. James Petras

 

The March 11 Massacre of the 17 Afghan citizens, including at least nine children and four women, raises many fundamental issues about the nature of a colonial war, the practices of a colonial army engaged in a prolonged (eleven-year) occupation and the character of an imperial state as it commits war crimes and increasingly relies on arbitrary dictatorial measures to secure public compliance and suppress dissent.

After the cold-blooded murder of the 17 Afghan villagers in Kandahar Province the US military and the ever-complicit Obama regime constructed an elaborate cover-up, exposing the Administration up to charges of conspiracy to suppress the essential facts, falsify data and obstruct justice:  All are grounds for criminal prosecution and impeachment.

This massacre is just one of several hundred committed by US armed forces according to the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai. It could ruin the Obama presidency, by putting him on trial for conspiracy to obstruct justice and arguably send him to jail for war crimes.

Obama’s deliberate lies about the events surrounding the massacre and the fundamental responsibility of the high military command for the crimes committed by its troops underscores the breakdown of the occupation of Afghanistan, the very centerpiece of Obama’s war policy.  The President of the United States has personally played a major role in the cover-up.  From a political vantage point, the executive conspiracy charge has wider and deeper implications than the massacre itself, as horrible as it is.

The Massacre, the ‘Official’ Story (1st version) and the Cover-Up

According to the US military command in Afghanistan and the Obama regime, at 3am on March 11, 2012 a deranged soldier walked off a Special Forces Base in rural Kandahar Province and without command authority entered two villages (two miles apart), shot and killed 17 unarmed civilians, mostly women and children and wounded an unspecified number of villagers; then he doused their bodies with gasoline, set them on fire and hiked back to base to surrender himself to his commanders.

This ‘surrender’, the Pentagon claims, was recorded on video and no less than the President of the United States, Barack Obama, vouched for its authenticity as conclusive proof for the story of a lone, unbalanced mass murderer.

The military command quickly whisked the initially unnamed murderer out of the Afghanistan to the maximum security federal prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and only then identified the madman as a 38-year old, multi-decorated, 11-year army veteran, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales.

The US has rejected all attempts by the Afghan President, the Afghan Army Chief and members of the Afghan Parliament to interview Sgt Bales, gather testimony and bring the suspect to trial in Afghanistan.

According to an independent Afghan parliamentary investigation led by Sayed Ishaq Gillami, and initial investigations by General Sher Mohammed Karimi of the Afghan Army, who interviewed residents of the two villages, there are significant contradictions in the US military’s and President Obama’s “official story”.  Eye witnesses have testified that up to 20 soldiers were involved, aided by a helicopter.  What they described was typical of a US Special Forces’ night time raid, which involved the systematic breaking down of doors, rousing the sleeping families and shooting Afghan victims.

A US Special Forces night raid in an Afghan family home in September, 2011. “Study: US Night Raids Aimed at Afghan Civilians (Obama Death Squads)”

 Gordon Duff, senior editor of Veterans Today, finds the villagers version of events quite plausible for the following reasons: The villages, where the murders occurred, were two miles apart, making it highly unlikely that a lone, fully armed solder could haul a multi-gallon jerry can of gasoline from his base to the first sleeping village, break down the doors of one or more homes, commit the murders, douse and burn his victims and then proceed on foot two miles further on to the second village, shoot, kill and burn the next set of unarmed villagers and then walk back to his base and surrender.

Shekiba Hashimi, a Member of Parliament who was reading the report of their investigations mentioned that the Governor of Kandahar and the NATO forces’ Chief Commander in Kandahar both lied to Afghan people. There was not only one soldier killing all those civilians. Our investigations shows that a team of U.S. soldiers were involved in that massacre, Mrs. Hashimi added. Mrs. Hashimi mentioned that two helicopters were supporting this operation and at least 15 U.S. soldiers were involved in this barbaric action. All female victims were naked, Mrs. Hashimi added.

Shekiba Hashimi, a Member of Parliament who was reading the report of their investigations mentioned that the Governor of Kandahar and the NATO forces’ Chief Commander in Kandahar both lied to Afghan people. There was not only one soldier killing all those civilians. Our investigations shows that a team of U.S. soldiers were involved in that massacre, Mrs. Hashimi added. Mrs. Hashimi mentioned that two helicopters were supporting this operation and at least 15 U.S. soldiers were involved in this barbaric action. All female victims were naked, Mrs. Hashimi added.

It makes far more sense that a heavily armed group of Special Forces troops, engaged in village ‘pacification’ operations, left their base in military vehicles, passed through the gate  in the wee hours of the morning, on a routine official operation, authorized by the bases military command and something went wrong. What was supposed to have been a typical midnight assault on a “pacified” village in search of Taliban supporters, turned into the mass murder of children and their mothers in bed with virtually no adult males (husbands, fathers, uncles or brothers) present to protect them.

Typically, all Afghan farmers keep weapons in their homes, but these villages had been disarmed by the Special Forces and the adult men had either been detained in earlier sweeps or were in hiding from just such brutal operations in the expectation that their wives and children would not be attacked.

Whatever triggered the mass murder of mothers and children in their nightclothes in those villages in Kandahar, one thing is clear: the President of the United States conspired with the US military command to obstruct justice in the cover-up of a heinous war crime, a felony punishable with impeachment.

When the implausibility first ‘official’ story became embarrassingly evident to the most superficial observer, the Obama ‘cover-up’ crew released a new version on March 26:  According to the revised version of events, the lone, deranged Sgt. Bales committed the first massacre in the early morning hours of March 11, walked back to base for breakfast and lunch and then walked out again to a second village for another round of mass murder – before returning and turning himself in to his commander posing for the video.

Why the Obama Cover-Up:  Military Demoralization and the Iran War

Why would President Obama engage in such a clumsy cover-up further eroding US relations with the Afghan President Karzai, the Afghan military and especially the Afghan people?  Why would he risk charges of conspiracy to protect war criminals by insisting on an easily refutable cover-up?

The story of the alleged assassin, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, provides some leads about the larger crisis facing the imperial military.  Bales is a ‘decorated’ soldier rewarded for his three tours of combat duty in Iraq and his more recent Afghan assignment where he would have participated in similar types of Special Pacification Operationsamong civilians in the countryside in  Afghanistan. In the days after news of the massacre leaked out, a furious Afghan President Karzai claimed that “hundreds” of similar massacres had been perpetrated by US and NATO forces and had gone unreported in the Western media and unpunished.   Karzai has repeatedly called for an end to US Special Forces’ night raids on sleeping villages.  But, until now, there had been no need for a US Presidential cover-up up.  With the approaching US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the growing expressions of militant Afghan nationalism, the Obama regime must hide the true nature of the occupation.  Washington’s Afghan clients can no longer ignore US war crimes against innocent children and women and other non-combatants.  This is especially  true in the so-called ‘pacified’ villages where the adult Afghani men have already been arrested in sweeps or driven into hiding and with the few remaining, disarmed and ‘under the control’ of the US Special Forces.

Considering even the US official story, why would the Special Forces commanders in charge of the Sgt. Bales base ignore the loud bursts of gunfire and screams of women and children in a village within 100 meters of its perimeter at 3 am?  According to their official version, the base command only became aware of the massacres when Sgt. Bales walked back to base, raised his hands high for a video-op and confessed to killing and desecrating the bodies of 17, mostly children and women.

Obama has tried to sell the ‘confession’ video as proof of the ‘official version’ of events to a skeptical Afghan President Karzai who contemptuously demanded the ‘alleged’ video be turned over for a detailed examination for authenticity.  Obama’s refusal to release the video tends to confirm his role in the cover-up. Obama’s contention that a ‘lone unbalanced gunman’ committed the crime is completely self-serving and exposes serious and deep structural problems with the war in Afghanistan.

US combat troops in Afghanistan are demoralized and angry because their military commanders have marched them into a cul de sac – a dead end.  They are engaged in a long, losing war where every dead US soldier is accompanied by scores who are maimed, blinded and mentally traumatized.

In Obama’s war, the wounded are patched up and recycled back into the same meat grinder in an increasingly hostile environment, where rape, torture, maiming and murder become their only ‘recreation’.  Sgt. Bales was coerced into multiple tours of duty in Iraq and then shipped off to Afghanistan, contrary to his expectations of a promotion and an end to overseas combat assignments.

 

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales (L), one of the soldiers accused of involvement in the recent massacre of Afghan civilians, at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California, August 23, 2011

There is a huge gap between the world of the political warlords in Washington and their accomplices among the warmongering ‘lobbies’ and that of the soldiers who risk their lives in imperial wars of occupation.

These dispensable soldiers are repeatedly deployed to brutal colonial wars thousands of miles from their homes to confront an ‘enemy’ they cannot possibly understand.  They end up brutalizing the families, friends, neighbors and compatriots of the elusive Afghan anti-colonial fighters – who are everywhere.

Back in the Washington none of the political war-mongers ever experience the pain and suffering of a prolonged war, which for any soldier on the battlefield, is ever present, everywhere.  Soldiers, like Sgt. Bales, operate in a very hostile environment where, a roadside bomb or a grenade thrown from a motorcycle, or even a ‘trusted’Afghan ally, who might turn his gun on his US ‘mentors,’ are omnipresent threats to their ever returning home in one piece.

Speaking January 5 alongside his Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the president announced a shift in strategy for the American military, one that emphasizes aerial campaigns and proxy wars as opposed to “long-term nation-building with large military footprints.”

Obama has to conspire with the Pentagon in covering up this mass murder, defending the officers in charge of these ‘pacified’ villages, because there are no alternatives, no back-ups, no new recruits eager to engage in the 12th year of war in Afghanistan. There are only the re-cycled killers, willing to pursue their career in ‘Special Forces’ involving ‘kill and destroy’ operations.  Furthermore, Obama cannot rely on the international allies who are rushing to withdraw their own troops from this quagmire.  And Obama has a problem with his allied Afghan warlords and kleptocrats, who managed to run off with over $4.5 billion dollars in 2011 (half of the entire state budget) (Financial Times, 3/19/12, p. 1).  President Obama cannot allow an entire garrison, including their commanding officer to be put on trial for the war crimes in this massacre.

Holding anyone, besides the hapless Sgt. Bales, accountable for the massacre would incite a general rebellion within the armed forces, or, at a minimum, further demoralize the elite Special Forces who are expected to man these long-term engagements after the regulars withdraw, which in the case of Afghanistan could last until 2024.

This issue has implications far beyond Afghanistan:  Obama has developed his entire new counter-insurgency strategy centered on the easy entry and bloody exits of US Special Forces targeting over seventy-five countries.  The Special Forces figure prominently in Obama’s military preparations for Syria and Iran, which have been developed at the behest of his Zionist overlords.

In the final analysis, the entire imperial military apparatus of the Obama regime, while formidable on paper, depends on the ‘Special Operations’ formations.  As such, they are the centerpiece of the new imperial warfare, developed as a response to the demands for reduced ground forces, budgetary constraints and growing domestic discontent.  Their ‘actions’ are designed to leave no witnesses and no embarrassments.  They may be the butchers of children, women and unarmed civilians but they are the White House’s butchers.

Despite all their crimes and cover-ups, the Obama regime’s priority is to defend the empire with whatever personnel is available at his disposal.  So while Sgt. Bales is in Leavenworth, the Afghan elite cry injustice, the families in Kandahar mourn their dead and the Taliban plan their revenge.

On the domestic front, Obama faces strong popular opposition to the costly unending wars, which have destroyed the US economy, and growing anger and demoralization in the armed forces.  As a result of the massive popular discontent among the American people with politicians of both parties who have recklessly sent troops into anachronistic colonial wars, which serve the interest of foreign powers, the President has issued an executive decree, allowing him to assume dictatorial powers in order to militarize the entire economy, its resources and its work force.  On March 16, 2012 Barak Obama issued an Executive Order-National Defense Resource Preparedness in order to sustain the global empire.

Clearly prolonged colonial wars cannot be sustained through the consent of the citizens and such wars cannot be prosecuted according to military manuals and the Geneva Conventions.  At this point, only Presidential ‘rule by decree’ can secure compliance of the citizens at home and only massacres and cover-ups can sustain the colonial occupations abroad.  But these are desperate and temporary:  When the extreme measures have run their course there will be nothing to fall back on and nothing can save the president of a collapsing empire from the revolt of its citizens and soldiers.

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Updated – Judge Dismisses Conspiracy Case Against Hutaree Militia

NOVANEWS

  

by Michael Chester

 

In a ruling sure to cause embarrassment to the FBI and Homeland security, today Federal Judge Victoria Roberts dismissed all conspiracy charges against seven members of the Michigan Hutaree Militia group ruling that the government failed to prove their case.

Two members still face charges for possession of illegal weapons.

The Tuesday decision is an embarrassment for the government, which secretly planted an informant and an FBI agent inside the Hutaree militia and claimed members were armed for war in rural southern Michigan.

The militia members were charged with conspiring to commit rebellion, or sedition, against the government and other crimes. There was no actual attack before they were rounded up in March 2010.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sheldon Light conceded there’s no proof of a “specific plan” to attack the government. But he said there’s much evidence in secretly recorded conversations to show the Hutaree militia wanted to draw in federal law enforcement by killing local authorities.

“So much of this case is about people being present. … Many things the defendants said are quite offensive. But so what?” Judge Roberts said.

“I would not agree that there had to be a plan for a widespread uprising to constitute the conspiracy charge,” Light said.

Judge Victoria Roberts

Roberts said prosecutors seem to believe that someone can be charged with conspiracy unless they actively disagree with the plot.

Independent attorneys who observed the case had predicted that Judge Roberts would dismiss the case based on questions she asked the prosecutors and comments she made in court. It was apparent that she felt that the charges were a stretch.

The government wasted over ten million dollars pursuing these charges and it is encouraging to see a judge with the integrity to stand up for human rights over government control.

The defendants have been held without bail since their arrest in March of 2010.

Update– I spoke with the father of one defendant and he said that his son had been released and was now at home enjoying his first taste of freedom in two years. Five of the defendants have been released all charges against them being dropped.

The trial, which began Feb. 13, will resume Thursday with only a few gun charges remaining against militia leader David Stone and son Joshua Stone, both from Lenawee County, Mich. They have been in custody without bond for two years.
“The judge had a lot of guts,” defense attorney William Swor said. “It would have been very easy to say, `The heck with it,’ and hand it off to the jury. But the fact is she looked at the evidence, and she looked at it very carefully.”
Another attorney, Richard Helfrick, said: “It’s a good day for the First and Second amendments.”

 

“The court is aware that protected speech and mere words can be sufficient to show a conspiracy. In this case, however, they do not rise to that level,” the judge said.
David Stone’s “statements and exercises do not evince a concrete agreement to forcibly resist the authority of the United States government,” Roberts said Tuesday. “His diatribes evince nothing more than his own hatred for _ perhaps even desire to fight or kill _ law enforcement; this is not the same as seditious conspiracy.”
The FBI had put a local informant, Dan Murray, inside the militia in 2008 and paid him $31,000. An FBI agent from New Jersey was also embedded. Steve Haug, known as “Jersey Steve,” posed as a trucker and spent months secretly recording talks with Dave Stone. He even served as David Stone’s best man at his wedding, a celebration with militia members wearing military fatigues.
Haug repeatedly talked to David Stone about building pipe bombs and getting other sophisticated explosives. The FBI rented a warehouse in Ann Arbor where the agent would invite him and others to store and discuss weapons.

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