Archive | April 30th, 2012

Major British supermarket chain announces boycott of produce made in West Bank settlements

NOVANEWS

Co-op, fifth biggest supermarket chain in Britain, emphasizes it will continue doing business with companies that can guarantee none of their products come from outside the Green Line.

Haaretz

One of the largest supermarket chains in Britain has announced that it intends to boycott Israeli agricultural exporters that market also produce from the West Bank settlements.

While British food retailers have for some years now been labeling products that are grown or manufactured in settlements and in some cases boycotting them entirely, this is the first move by a major company to end all dealings with companies that export products from within the Green Line and from the settlements. The main companies that will be impacted by this decision are Agrexco, Mehadrin and Arava.

The announcement came this weekend following years of campaigning by pro-Palestinian organizations in Britain that have been lobbying for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) of Israel. Co-op, the fifth biggest supermarket chain in Britain has emphasized that this is not a boycott of Israel and that it will continue doing business with companies that can guarantee none of their products originate from outside the Green Line.

The attempts to limit the export of settlement produce to Europe were led in the past by the European Union and the British government. In 2009, the British government, at the express instructions of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, issued guidelines to retailers on clear labeling of produce made in settlements, differentiating it from Palestinian produce and products that were made within the Green Line. These guidelines followed Israeli refusals to label settlement products before being exported to the EU. The issue of labeling settlement produce was a major bone of contention between the British and Israeli governments at the time.

In recent years, the BDS movement has targeted companies such as Agrexco, an export cooperative that serves thousands of farmers, kibbutzim and small agricultural companies in Israel that has continued to export settlement produce.

Hilary Smith, of the Boycott Israel Network welcomed the the Co-op’s decision saying that the chain “has taken the lead internationally in this historic decision to hold corporations to account for complicity in Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights. We strongly urge other retailers to follow suit and take similar action.”

The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem responded saying that “it is a pity to see some, who ostensibly pretend to contribute to peace and reconciliation, advance a negative agenda of boycotts, inject an atmosphere of confrontation and widen the distance between the parties involved. It would be prudent to seek a more positive approach to conflict resolution.”

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Robert Fisk: The Children of Fallujah – the hospital of horrors

NOVANEWS

 

ed note–and Americans wonder why their country is called ‘the great Satan’ amongst the people of the Middle East?????

The Independent

The pictures flash up on a screen on an upper floor of the Fallujah General Hospital. And all at once, Nadhem Shokr al-Hadidi’s administration office becomes a little chamber of horrors. A baby with a hugely deformed mouth. A child with a defect of the spinal cord, material from the spine outside the body. A baby with a terrible, vast Cyclopean eye. Another baby with only half a head, stillborn like the rest, date of birth 17 June, 2009. Yet another picture flicks onto the screen: date of birth 6 July 2009, it shows a tiny child with half a right arm, no left leg, no genitalia.

“We see this all the time now,” Al-Hadidi says, and a female doctor walks into the room and glances at the screen. She has delivered some of these still-born children. “I’ve never seen anything as bad as this in all my service,” she says quietly. Al-Hadidi takes phone calls, greets visitors to his office, offers tea and biscuits to us while this ghastly picture show unfolds on the screen. I asked to see these photographs, to ensure that the stillborn children, the deformities, were real. There’s always a reader or a viewer who will mutter the word “propaganda” under their breath.

But the photographs are a damning, ghastly reward for such doubts. January 7, 2010: a baby with faded, yellow skin and misshapen arms. April 26, 2010: a grey mass on the side of the baby’s head. A doctor beside me speaks of “Tetralogy of Fallot”, a transposition of the great blood vessels. May 3, 2010: a frog-like creature in which – the Fallujah doctor who came into the room says this – “all the abdominal organs are trying to get outside the body.”

This is too much. These photographs are too awful, the pain and emotion of them – for the poor parents, at least – impossible to contemplate. They simply cannot be published.

There is a no-nonsense attitude from the doctors in Fallujah. They know that we know about this tragedy. Indeed, there is nothing undiscovered about the child deformities of Fallujah. Other correspondents – including my colleague Patrick Cockburn – have visited Fallujah to report on them. What is so shameful is that these deformities continue unmonitored. One Fallujah doctor, an obstetrician trained in Britain – she left only five months ago – who has purchased from her own sources for her private clinic a £79,000 scanning machine for prenatal detection of congenital abnormalities, gives me her name and asks why the Ministry of Health in Baghdad will not hold a full official investigation into the deformed babies of Fallujah.

“I have been to see the ministry,” she says. “They said they would have a committee. I went to the committee. And they have done nothing. I just can’t get them to respond.” Then, 24 hours later, the same woman sends a message to a friend of mine, another Iraqi doctor, asking me not to use her name.

If the number of stillborn children of Fallujah is a disgrace, the medical staff at the Fallujah General Hospital prove their honesty by repeatedly warning of the danger of reaching conclusions too soon.

“I delivered that baby,” the obstetrician says as one more picture flashes on the screen. “I don’t think this has anything to do with American weapons. The parents were close relatives. Tribal marriages here involve a lot of families who are close by blood. But you have to remember, too, that if women have stillborn children with abnormalities at home, they will not report this to us, and the baby will be buried without any record reaching us.”

The photographs continue on the screen. January 19, 2010: a baby with tiny limbs, stillborn. A baby born on 30 October, 2010, with a cleft lip and cleft palette, still alive, a hole in the heart, a defect in its face, in need of echocardiography treatment. “A cleft lip and palate are common congenital anomalies,” Dr Samira Allani says quietly. “But it’s the increased frequency that is alarming.” Dr Allani has documented a research paper into “the increased prevalence of birth defects” in Fallujah, a study of four fathers “with two lineages of progeny”. Congenital heart defects, the paper says, reached “unprecedented numbers” in 2010.

The numbers continue to rise. Even while we are speaking, a nurse brings a message to Dr Allani. We go at once to an incubator next to the hospital delivery room. In the incubator is a little baby just 24 days old. Zeid Mohamed is almost too young to smile but he lies sleeping, his mother watching through the glass. She has given her permission for me to see her baby. His father is a security guard, the couple married three years ago. There is no family record of birth defects. But Zeid has only four fingers on each of his little hands.

Dr Allani’s computer files contain a hundred Zeids. She asks another doctor to call some parents. Will they talk to a journalist? “They want to know what happened to their children,” she says. “They deserve an answer.” She is right. But neither the Iraqi authorities, nor the Americans, nor the British – who were peripherally involved in the second battle of Fallujah and lost four men – nor any major NGO, appears willing or able to help.

When doctors can obtain funding for an investigation, they sometimes turn to organisations which clearly have their own political predetermination. Dr Allani’s paper, for example, acknowledges funding from the “Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War” – hardly a group seeking to exonerate the use of US weaponry in Fallujah. This, too, I fear, is part of the tragedy of Fallujah.

The obstetrician who asked to be anonymous talks bleakly of the lack of equipment and training. “Chromosome defects – like Down’s Syndrome – cannot be corrected prenatally. But a foetal infection we can deal with, and we can sort out this problem by drawing a sample of blood from the baby and mother. But no laboratory here has this equipment. One blood transfer is all it needs to prevent such a condition. Of course, it will not answer our questions: why the increased miscarriages here, why the increased stillbirths, why the increased premature births?”

Dr Chris Busby, a visiting professor at the University of Ulster who has surveyed almost 5,000 people in Fallujah, agrees it is impossible to be specific about the cause of birth defects as well as cancers. “Some very major mutagenic exposure must have occurred in 2004 when the attacks happened,” he wrote two years ago. Dr Busby’s report, compiled with Malak Hamdan and Entesar Ariabi, says that infant mortality in Fallujah was found in 80 out of every 1,000 births, compared to 19 in Egypt, 17 in Jordan and only 9.7 in Kuwait.

Another of the Fallujah doctors tells me that the only UK assistance they have received comes from Dr Kypros Nicolaides, the head of Foetal Medicine at King’s College Hospital. He runs a charity, the Foetal Medicine Foundation, which has already trained one doctor from Fallujah. I call him up. He is bursting with anger.

“To me, the criminal aspect of all this – during the war – was that the British and the American governments could not go to Woolworths and buy some computers to even document the deaths in Iraq. So we have a Lancet publication that estimates 600,000 deaths in the war. Yet the occupying power did not have the decency to have a computer worth only £500 that would enable them to say “this body was brought in today and this was its name”.

Now you have an Arab country which has a higher number of deformities or cancers than Europe and you need a proper epidemiological study. I’m sure the Americans used weapons that caused these deformities. But now you have a goodness-knows-what government in Iraq and no study. It’s very easy to avoid to doing anything – except for some sympathetic crazy professor like me in London to try and achieve something.”

In al-Hadidi’s office, there are now photographs which defy words. How can you even begin to describe a dead baby with just one leg and a head four times the size of its body?

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‘Modesty Guard’ demands Jerusalem woman leave ultra-Orthodox neighborhood

NOVANEWS

In yet another case of exclusion of women in Israel, a mother of two is threatened for having ‘crossed the limits of the Torah of Israel.’

ed note–now remember, we in the West CONSTANTLY hear about the Islamic equivelent and about how it is proof that DEM MOOZLEMS ‘hate women’. And yet, here we have the very same thing taking place in Israel, the recipient of $30million a day in US taxpayer money, and WE HEAR NOTHING FREAKING ABOUT IT on Fox news, from Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Joseph Farah or anyone else championing the ‘war on terrorism’ against the Islamic world.

Notice as well in this story that the woman is accused of violating TORAH, not TALMUD. We point this out because a significant portion of ‘the movement’ claims that Jews pay no attention to the Torah, which deluded Christians believe is as holy as their own New Testament, but instead follow the Talmud.

Those who follow the Israeli press know this is a blatant misrepresentation/statement of the facts. The Torah, or the 1st 5  books of the Old Testament, is the BASIS uponwhich the Talmud was later written. If we want to view ugly Jewish behavior and the pathological mindset that is the source of it, we must first look at the Torah as the seed, the Talmud as the tree, and the behavior/mindset as the poisonous fruits. 

Haaretz

A Jerusalem mother of two was sent a threatening letter on Thursday, in yet another case of exclusion of women. In the letter, the woman was told she must leave the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood immediately, for having “crossed the limits of the Torah of Israel.”

R., who classified herself as belonging to the “Masorti” movement, has been living with her two small children in the central Jerusalem neighborhood of Mahane Israel for seven months. She says the haredi nature of the neighborhood was unbeknownst to her when she moved there, but until today has enjoyed peaceful relations with her neighbors.

“I came back from America and needed an apartment urgently,” said R., “That’s how I got here.” She added that she is not a malicious person, and has no desire to stir up anyone. “I do wear pants, but not short ones,” she explained.

But, on Thursday, R. received a letter demanding she leave the neighborhood immediately, for having transgressed the Jewish laws of modesty:

“[I]t will not happen here any longer. We are requesting you leave our neighborhood for having crossed the limits of the Torah of Israel and modesty in our neighborhood. We ask that you leave our neighborhood immediately. [Signed,] The Modesty Guard.” At the end of the letter were the words, “This is a first and final warning.”

R. filed a complaint at Israel Police, where policemen assured her that they would increase surveillance in the neighborhood. “I had a neighbor that ignored a warning like this and they burned down her house,” said R., “It’s scary. I don’t know how I’ll leave the house tomorrow morning.”

About two weeks ago, during the Passover holiday, a young woman who went on stage at an event organized by the Modi’in municipality, was forced to get down immediately. She was replaced by only boys and men. The decision aroused a protest among audience members, who rejected the decision to replace the female volunteer with a male. At the peak of the incident, the performance was interrupted and was renewed for only a few minutes.

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The Shekel May Never Drop

NOVANEWS
By Gilad Atzmon

Ynet reported today that the European Jewish Congress fears that  Israel strike on Iranian nuclear facilities will lead to “dramatic increase of anti-Semitic, very violent attacks against Jews”

For a very short while I was cheered by what seemed to be a ‘Jewish institutional move’ in the right direction. I thought to myself, that at last, a Jewish leadership positions itself at the forefront of the battle for peace and reconciliation. Finally, we will see a Jewish political call against an Israeli preemptiveattack against Iran. The shekel has dropped, I thought to myself. But I was obviously wrong, in fact totally wrong. The shekel may never drop. As it seems the European Jewish Congress is concerned with one thing i.e. Jewish ‘potential’ suffering and, of course, the ‘rise of antisemitism’.

Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, said he feared a “minority of angry, extremist European Muslims who live in impoverished neighborhoods might use an Israeli attack as a pretext to hit local Jews, particularly in France and Great Britain.”

Seemingly Kantor wasn’t concerned at all with the possibility of losing millions of innocent lives in the region. He wasn’t even concerned with the possibility that an Israeli attack could easily escalate into a regional nuclear conflict that may radioactively contaminate the entire region and some large parts of Europe.

Moshe Kantor, the president of the European Jewish Congress, an umbrella organization that claims to represent some 2.5 million Jews in Europe, is concerned with Jews only.

“If Israel attacks Iran, it will be a dramatic increase of anti-Semitic, very violent attacks against Jews,” he said.

 

Seemingly, there is no limit to Judeo-centrism, yet, I believe that Jewish leaders would do themselves and their communities a big favour if they, at least, make an effort to disguise their apparent lack of universal empathic consciousness and total carelessness for the rest of humanity.

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Israel must be prepared for future confrontation with Egypt, says ex-Defense Minister

NOVANEWS

In a wide-ranging interview with TheMarker, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer says ties with Egypt must be maintained at all costs.

By Avi Bar-Eli and Sami Peretz

In the summer of 2005, Israeli-Egyptian relations were rosy. Sitting around a conference table one day were executives from the Israel Electric Corporation and the Egyptian-Israeli East Mediterranean Gas Company. Sitting across from them were Egypt’s petroleum minister and his Israeli counterpart, fresh from their meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Facing the cameras, which captured their visible excitement, the two signed off on the agreement that would bring Egyptian natural gas flowing into Israel.

Last week the optimism of that sunny summer day dissolved completely. The $500-million gas pipeline running through the Sinai peninsula was sabotaged 14 times in as many months. The IEC stands at the edge of a financial abyss. EMG is falling apart. The moribund Mubarak is waiting to be convicted of killing his own people. Egypt’s former petroleum minister, Sameh Fahmy, was arrested on suspicion of government corruption. His erstwhile Israeli counterpart, former Defense Minister and National Infrastructures Minister, and current Labor Party MK Benjamin “Fouad” Ben-Eliezer, made a miraculous recovery a year ago from a virulent bacterial infection of his lungs, only to watch the collapse of the edifice he had worked so carefully to build.

Benjamin Ben-Eliezer. Benjamin Ben-Eliezer. ‘Egypt is a pivotal state for Israel, it is vital that we maintain the relationship at any price.’
Photo by: Yael Engelhart

“I felt a pang in my heart,” Ben-Eliezer told TheMarker, speaking about the collapse of the natural gas deal. “Egypt is a pivotal state for Israel. People have no idea of its significance. It was the stabilizing force of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates and in effect controlled the Arab League. Its loss will be a very big blow to us. From now on it will be a completely different story. The (Egyptian ) army is weakening, losing its autonomy to the benefit of the government. That is bad for us. It is vital that we maintain the relationship with Egypt at any price.”

The first Egyptian gas arrived in Ashkelon on May 1, 2008. “The gas contract reinforced the peace treaty, and was therefore historic primarily on account of its strategic implications, and only afterward on account of its economic implications.” But no one who has been listening to the remarks of Israeli cabinet ministers over the past week would come to that conclusion. The message dictated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is: The suspension of gas delivery is not the result of political developments; it is, in effect, a business dispute between an Israeli company and an Egyptian company.

Both states signed off as guarantors of the gas contract, explains Ben-Eliezer. “I saw in that agreement the most important added value for the State of Israel, because what is the significance of the peace treaty by itself? Nothing. It has no meaning, it is merely a non-belligerence agreement.”

How do you explain Bibi’s PR argument?

“Bibi, with some justification, wishes for himself a situation in which relations with Egypt continue as they are. He is doing the right thing. I too would be very happy were a way to be found to renew the relationship between Egypt and EMG, and to also talk about a new gas contract and new prices. But if we look at the declarations of all the Egyptian presidential candidates we find there isn’t one who does not speak of his intention to cancel the gas project after he is elected.”

In other words, the Egyptian decision to cancel the gas contract is political?

“Absolutely political. There is no way for the gas pipeline to be turned off without the approval of the political leadership. On the other hand, it must be remembered that this is a temporary transitional government, so we must wait and see what the permanent government does. Bibi talks about us being a natural gas superpower, and it’s true. But despite our power, I want to maintain the gas contract (with Egypt ) at any price, because of its importance in reinforcing the peace.

“When I learned of the cancelation, I made a statement I later regretted, that in essence the last link in the peace between us and Egypt had been broken. I see the Middle East as more religious, more Islamic, more anti-Israel, while the rest of the world is on a delegitimization campaign against us, while itself coping with difficult problems. I don’t see the Middle East settling down over the next three or four years.

“Voices of opposition to the Egyptian-Israeli natural gas project first surfaced four years ago, and they took a practical turn immediately after the fall of the Mubarak regime, in February of last year, whether through grassroots calls for its cancelation, through the hunt launched against figures involved in it in Egypt or by bombing the Sinai pipeline.”

In 2005 you saw a small number of people profiting personally from the gas contract, while at the same time there was no improvement for the millions of poor farmers in the Egyptian Delta. You didn’t think it would fall apart eventually?

“As a cabinet minister, I make one single calculation – the good of my country. Israel was looking to get natural gas as quickly as possible, so I traveled between Moscow, Turkey and Egypt. I met with [Vladimir] Putin, and twice with the CEO of [Russian gas giant] Gazprom. I built a friendly relationship with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and with his petroleum minister. I didn’t make socioeconomic calculations for an entire nation, but instead, I was interested only in the speed with which I could build the gas pipeline between Sinai and Ashkelon.”

And that’s ethical?

“Yes. You must always ask yourself which value you put first, and in my eyes reinforcing the peace was a supreme value. The gas contract was with Yossi Maiman’s EMG. I didn’t care about anything except laying the pipeline, and I was not involved in any of the financial negotiations.”

Had you listened two years ago to Jordan’s King Abdullah, perhaps you would have recognized that the gas project was viewed negatively by the Egyptian people.

“There was a reason why I said that even while talking, we must also be prepared for war. Look at what’s happening in Sinai. There are already factories for making missiles and giant warehouses of explosives and rifles. The area today includes all the known terror organizations in the Middle East as well as serving as a base for the sabotage activities of the Bedouin shabab [Arabic term for youths with too much time on their hands].”

Is Sinai a lost cause?

“The best period for Sinai and the Bedouin who inhabit it was when Israel controlled it. Businesses flourished, tourism was at its peak, the fishing was unrestricted. Sinai today is a powder keg. There’s chaos there.”

So what’s the solution?

“I very much hope that the new Egyptian government will get on its feet and get back to being in charge there, but the question is who will control the presidency – The Salafis? The Muslim Brotherhood? Because the protest has not calmed down. It is still there, and it is not dying down.”

Is the peace agreement already a dead letter?

“On the time axis, [we] must be prepared for the possibility of a confrontation with Egypt. I hope I am wrong, and I would like nothing more than for the next [Egyptian] government to want to sit down with us. If I were a consultant to the next Egyptian president I would tell him to maintain the peace agreement at any price; first, because every year it gives him $2 billion in U.S. aid and second, because he will be incapable of spending a fortune on readying the army for confrontation, while the nation is crying. Egypt has 85 million people, and a third of them earn less than $2 per day.”

What would you advise him with regard to the natural gas contract?

“To carry through with it. Otherwise there will only be the peace treaty on paper, and I also want good neighborly relations, security coordination and embassies. In my eyes the gas pipeline is as important as the peace agreement.”

Why do you think Fahmy and Mubarak’s sons, with whom you signed the gas contract, arrested?

“Am I an expert on corruption? Does it seem likely to you that if I were getting a monthly payment from Egypt the Mossad wouldn’t hear about it?”

Former Mossad chief Shabtai Shavit also received $11 million from Maiman for services rendered [after he retired].

“And in one payment,” (Ben-Eliezer says, laughing ).

You recently bought an apartment in Jaffa for NIS 9 million.

“And in a rare step, I submitted a detailed account of all the sources of the payment, including the mortgage I intend to apply for.”

If every possible stone in the matter of the gas project were to be overturned, would you come out of it looking good?

“I’d come out of it a prince. The rest of them? I have no idea. My guess is that no official Israeli [individual or agency] is involved, and I don’t believe that any Israeli element got its hands dirty over it. It’s hard for me to believe that I wouldn’t have heard about it by now. I have got wind of many different things that were checked immediately.”

Are you still in close contact with any of the Egyptians?

“In the past I was in touch with General [Mohamed Hussein] Tantawi [commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces, chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and defense minister], but that has faded too. Any ties to Israel are bad for them, and they are very sensitive to what is happening here. Every word that appears in our press is immediately translated for Cairo.”

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Pakistan Condemns U.S. Airstrike After Drone Ban

NOVANEWS

By SEBASTIAN ABBOT and ASIF SHAHZAD

Drones

ISLAMABAD — Pakistani officials on Monday condemned the U.S. for carrying out its first drone strike in the country since parliament demanded they end two weeks ago, but qualified that it should be seen in light of the presence of Islamist militants on Pakistani soil.

The mixed signals indicate the delicate tightrope the government is trying to walk with the American attacks. They are very unpopular in Pakistan, so opposing them makes sense for political reasons. But the government does not seem to want the strikes to torpedo attempts to patch up ties with the U.S., which could free up over $1 billion in American military aid.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying the strikes which killed three suspected militants in the North Waziristan tribal area Sunday “are in total contravention of international law and established norms of interstate relations.”

“The government of Pakistan has consistently maintained that drone attacks are violative of its territorial integrity and sovereignty,” it said.

Pakistan’s parliament demanded an end to the strikes in mid-April when it approved new guidelines for the country’s relationship with the U.S.

Washington had hoped that parliament’s decision would pave the way for Pakistan to reopen supply lines for NATO troops in Afghanistan that were closed in November in retaliation for American airstrikes that accidentally killed 24 Pakistani troops.

The drone attacks have been a stumbling block. But Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani struck a moderate tone Monday when he seemed to link the strikes to the continued ability of Islamist militants fighting the government and international forces in Afghanistan to operate on Pakistan’s territory.

He pointed out that the resolution passed by parliament also stipulated that foreign fighters must be expelled from the country and Pakistani soil should not be used to attack other countries.

“So, when we plan a strategy (with the U.S.), all these aspects would be discussed,” said Gilani.

The U.S. has repeatedly demanded that Pakistan target Taliban and al-Qaida militants who use its territory to launch cross-border attacks.

The Pakistani military has refused, claiming its forces are stretched too thin by operations against homegrown militants battling the government. However, many analysts believe Pakistan is reluctant to target militants with whom it has historical ties because they could be useful allies in Afghanistan after foreign forces withdraw.

The drone issue is complicated by the fact that some elements of the Pakistani government, including the military, have helped the U.S. carry out strikes in the past. That cooperation has come under strain as the relationship between the two countries has deteriorated, but many analysts believe some in the government still support the program at some level.

Even those Pakistani officials believed to support the attacks often protest them in public because they are so unpopular in the country. Many Pakistanis believe they most kill civilians, an allegation disputed by the U.S. and independent research.

A Pakistani intelligence official said the most recent strike seemed to be a message from the U.S.

“It’s a message that things are going to continue as usual irrespective of what we say,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

It’s not the first time the U.S. has ignored Pakistan’s parliament, which has called for the drone strikes to end since 2008.

President Barack Obama significantly ramped up strikes in Pakistan when he took office in 2009, and while the U.S. has said little publicly about the attacks, American officials have argued in private that they are critical to targeting Taliban and al-Qaida fighters who threaten the West.

Drones are not the only issue complicating Pakistan’s decision to reopen the NATO supply lines.

The country’s parliament has also demanded that the U.S. provide an “unconditional apology” for the deaths of the Pakistani troops in November. The U.S. has expressed regret, but has declined to apologize – a decision that appears to be driven by domestic political considerations. The U.S. has said its troops fired in self-defense – a claim disputed by Pakistan – and the White House could be concerned about Republican criticism if it apologizes.

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The Newest War- Disinformation, Lies and Censorship as “Activism”

NOVANEWS

Press TV Banned in Germany and Britain, But Why

 

 

by  Gordon Duff,  Senior Editor

 

About an hour ago, I did an interview on Press TV saying I wanted Bradley Manning released. 

I also pointed out that, though we found Julian Assange to be working with Israeli intelligence, yes, we know, using those two words together is, in itself, humor, Manning should be released. 

Within an hour,  Blankfoot, a curious character, had contacted one of our managing editors.  He was incensed that I would “out” Assange, though Zbigniew Brzezinski did it in 2010 and Assange had been “busted” as an Israeli fraud dozens of times.

When it was Blankfoot, I knew I had drawn blood, that Assange had been hiding behind the suffering of Bradley Manning, forwarding Israel’s war on the United States.  I learned nothing new about Blankfoot, he had made himself more than obvious long ago.  Actually, I had thought he was dead.

Anyway, from an earlier article on VT:

Grant Smith discusses the Rosen v. AIPAC lawsuit that threatens to bring Washington to its knees with an espionage scandal of unimagined proportions:

Grant Smith

Steven J. Rosen’s defamation lawsuitagainst the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is now entering a critical phase. A series of cross-filings stakes out the critical court terrain.

Rosen intends to show that obtaining and leveraging classified U.S. government information in the service of Israel is common practice at AIPAC.

He claims it was unfair for AIPAC to fire and malign him in the press after he was indicted on espionage charges in 2005.

On March 2, 2009, Rosen filed the civil lawsuit against his former employer, directors, and an outside public relations firm for libel and slander. Rosen, AIPAC’s former foreign policy chief, seeks $5 million in damages from AIPAC, and punitive damages of $500,000 from each former board member, for a total claim of $21 million.

AIPAC made statements to the news media Rosen believes were “knowingly false and defamatory and issued in reckless disregard.” AIPAC fired Rosen and fellow employee Keith Weissman after they were criminally indicted under the 1917 Espionage Act in 2005.

Both were caught up in an FBI sting operation receiving classified information from Department of Defense employee Col. Lawrence Franklin, who pled guilty and turned state’s witness.

Steve Rosen – Formerly with AIPAC

Rosen’s legal counsel David H. Shapiro gruffly advised AIPAC’s attorney Thomas L. McCally that he would be seeking “serious discovery” on Rosen’s behalf during a status hearing on June 5, 2009.

It is this sort of public intrusion guided by knowledgeable insiders, following already devastating FBI raids, that AIPAC probably wants to avoid at all costs.

Ironically, Rosen’s civil lawsuit, like the failed government prosecution, hinges on proving that circulating classified information is common practice inside AIPAC.

This is how the game is played, how intelligence assets like Assange who has now penetrated Russia Today as an Israeli “front man” is of such value to Israel.  That I would get my first attack from the sort of “famous” Jeff Blankfoot, one of many who brand themselves as “anti-Zionists” but that I see quite differently was more than amusing.

Jeff actually “made my day.”  I do so love seeing enemies of freedom and mankind bleed. More than that, killing phony Wikileaks and Assange, who both Brzezinski and I saw as an Israeli agent and advocate of war against Islam, had left me without my “Moriarty.”

YouTube 

The interview is available in full at PBS.  The interview is edited by me, with little exception, as monologue by Brzezinski here.

ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI:  The real issue is, who is feeding Wikipedia on this issue — Wiki — Wiki — WikiLeaks on this issue? They’re getting a lot of information which seems trivial, inconsequential, but some of it seems surprisingly pointed. …The very pointed references to Arab leaders could have as their objective undermining their political credibility at home, because this kind of public identification of their hostility towards Iran could actually play against them at home.

It’s, rather, a question of whether WikiLeaks are being manipulated by interested parties that want to either complicate our relationship with other governments or want to undermine some governments, because some of these items that are being emphasized and have surfaced are very pointed.

And I wonder whether, in fact, there aren’t some operations internationally, intelligence services, that are feeding stuff to WikiLeaks, because it is a unique opportunity to embarrass us, to embarrass our position, but also to undermine our relations with particular governments.

Judy Woodruff

JUDY WOODRUFF: But this is 250 — it’s a quarter-of-a-million documents.

ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: Precisely.

JUDY WOODRUFF: How easy would it be to seed this to make sure that it was slanted a certain way?

ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: Seeding — seeding it is very easy.  I have no doubt that WikiLeaks is getting a lot of the stuff from sort of relatively unimportant sources, like the one that perhaps is identified on the air. But it may be getting stuff at the same time from interested intelligence parties who want to manipulate the process and achieve certain very specific objectives.

I need Julian Assange.  Between his attempts to seem “free minded” and “progressive” lurk the intentions of the “New World Order.”  He is quite clumsy and transparent as his love of Israel and continual attempts to stifle investigations of their wrongdoing, including 9/11, has taught real activists.

Julian Assange

You can watch accused rapist Julian Assange any time you want, his hour long show on Russia’s state owned network but if you are British or German, Iran’s “Press TV” is considered too scary for you.

I have about two dozen of my Press TV segments online and I am, by far, the scariest thing Press TV ever carries:  Gordon Duff on YouTube

It isn’t because they call on Veterans Today for opinions that I care.  In fact, Press TV is quite mainstream as news goes, not very controversial, quality reporting, reasonably balanced but also includes opinions that criticize that are censored from other networks.

These are hardly propaganda.  As I pointed out to their head at one point, about half their “activists” work from Israeli front organizations anyway.  Real “activists” aren’t good at organizing as Veterans Today proves, as almost none of us who write there ever agree with each other.

I tend to call it “freedom of speech,” why people who fight and die for freedom like to use it occasionally.

More to the fact, the biggest problem is information.   None of us can have educated opinions without access to information and with everything in the world “classified,” certainly everything in the US, as we are learning from the show-trial of Bradley Manning, we are more controllable than ever.

Mr. Murdoch…with that ‘look’

Considering Britain had banned Press TV then found their entire government had been traded back and forth by the Murdoch family like trinkets is what makes them particularly a joke.

When Britain, with all their talk, actually puts a “Murdoch” in hand cuffs instead of arresting everyone around them….

But of course, what we know of as blackmail has never really stopped, has it?  Does Britain love being a joke?  But the US has its own problems.

Take the issue of the president’s birth certificate?  Does anyone know who started it or why?

As a defense contractor, I have access to military grade forensics capability, I can have photos, documents and such examined.  Very recently, VT had some UFO photos looked at.  It cost thousands. 

As for the “birth certificate,” our experts tell us that it is impossible to tell, on a photocopy, whether it is real or not and that anyone claiming otherwise is a liar.  My own was done on 3 different typewriters while the family fought over what my middle name would be.

I must be from Kenya.

When you work in intelligence, are under multiple authorities to “not divulge” information, some the public might have use for, most is garbage anyway, you can be frustrated.

America Invades – Heroin Production Skyrockets

Ever notice that, though $80 billion in heroin leaves Afghanistan, nobody has ever seen it picked, processed into heroin, taken to airplanes, flown to Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo and then “cut” and broken down for distribution.

Nobody has ever photographed the truckloads heading into Russia and, although the government complains about the US role, they fail to admit their own, that their military gets a cut and that Russian generals provide security for Afghan heroin that has made 25 million Russians hopeless addicts.

Blaming the US is easier.

Look at the recent story on whores in Colombia and our Secret Service.  None of us who have traveled under these details, or similar, believe a word of it.  We know the story, blown way out of proportions, is cover for an internal investigation of the President’s security detail.

This investigation is highly classified, really should be but the cover story, which may have been needed, is about as stupid as anything imaginable. 

Do catch my article on this but also, wonder why I am the only one who asked any of the questions and why nobody from the mainstream press risked “presidential access” by simply telling the truth.

Whores?  The actual summit is where the whores were really needed as delegates hired them by the hundred.   Go ahead, blame the Secret Service.

“Access” is more important than truth, that’s why what we get isn’t news but press releases, carefully crafted lies that has left us a generation of morons. Why do we lie so much?  I could list hundreds of reasons but let’s look at a couple.

We have already talked about heroin, failing to point out how many members of congress get a cut, over 200, how the CIA’s end is over $20 billion.

I could even give you the history, how a group of American colonels in Afghanistan were offered $30,000 each to “look the other way” and Afghanistan went from 0% of the world’s opium supply to 97.5% of the world’s heroin supply in a decade.

Try to find one word about this anywhere.  Did you know we have moved production to Iraq?  Demand is that high.  Ever read that anywhere.  Do some internet searches, the information is out there.

Last week we announced that the US government was complicit in diamond smuggling, had rigged testing machines to allow phony diamonds into the US from Israel that financed gun running, narcotics and terrorism.

We also sent all scientific data to the applicable authorities, FBI, others, which has been ignored.  We stand ready to prove, beyond any doubt, that it is impossible, using any equipment allowed inside the US, to tell a “natural” and “legal” diamond from one grown using newer processes or “conflict diamonds.”

Every aspect of the diamond industry is involved, from governments to “gemology associations.”

 

F-35

Other minor problems our news keeps from us, where do we start, oh yes, the F 35 Joint Strike Fighter.  It doesn’t work.

 

You see, it has 10 million lines of code that run the avionics and they are hopelessly infected and unrepairable, it may take 2 years.

Nations that agreed to buy the plane and help finance the project, Senator John McCain’s baby, have bailed out on us.  An F 16T is 10 times the plane that an F 35 will ever be and costs a tenth as much.

Our entire military plan for the next 40 years is gone and we lie about it.  During the last couple weeks, we sent up rocket powered “space planes” as a decoy.

One actually disintegrated and it took us two days to admit it.  Both are rocket launched, thus totally “unsecret.”  Neither increase any military capability.  They are nothing but attempts to make our military look less stupid and wasteful. They don’t work.

Our other problem is our missile defense system, call it the new “Patriot” with the SM3 or whatever.  It is also ten years behind the S400 Russia is giving away and is, if you read the trade rags, not working. 

The Patriot radar system can’t differentiate from warheads to missile scraps to “chaff.”  It is worthless as is and it is the result of 30 years of work.

Good going. Were I Israeli, I might put a “for sale” sign in front of my house. Ah, but it gets worse.  Let’s examine international affairs a bit.

Camp Bondsteel – Whose Camp is it, really?

The US has a huge prison/concentration camp in Poland, a huge base in Kosovo, Camp Bondsteel, where we are assured the world’s heroin is cut, processed and reshipped along with bases in Bulgaria and Romania.

The US is also rumored to share secret bases with Israel in Georgia and Azerbaijan. Three key areas to the region are Serbia, Turkey and Greece but, something has happened.

Russia decided to put their most advanced S400 missiles, a thousand times better than their American counterparts, the recent Patriot “version III” that we now admit is totally defective, in an enclave north of Poland.  This puts Poland under Russian air supremacy.  Oops.

Russia also decided to put the same in Trans-Moldova, a small region between Slovakia and Moldova, east of the Ukraine.  This gives them partial control of all of Romania and Bulgaria, air defense-wise, anyway.

Then there is Serbia.  With a new Russia friendly government likely to take over there and Serbia very very angry at the US and only a couple other countries recognizing Kosovo as an independent nation, really still part of Serbia, Russia is going to be invited in there.

KFOR troop distribution

This will make the 30,000 NATO troops in Kosovo practically prisoners.  Russia will totally own their airspace.

This was all part of the “Bush Doctrine” to control the world through creeping into Central Asia to steal oil, peddle drugs and put Israel in charge of the world so the “end times” could come and George “W” Bush could sit at the side of loving Jesus and decide who to burn to death at will.  I do so love Krazy Kristians.

Then there is Greece.  Greece is totally broke, ready to be kicked out of the European Union and stuck between Turkey and Serbia.

Turkey has opted for the Russian S 400 air defense system which could be delivered to Iran at any time.  It can shoot down any stealth aircraft with ease and has options for medium range missiles.

Kazakhstan has indicated it may use the same system, which is being developed in China and is being funded by Russia, France and South Korea.

Back in 2000, the Clinton administration offered to help Russia finance their advanced S 500 system which would destroy any long range ballistic missile.  Bush ended those discussions and Russia is developing the system which is behind schedule, expected for delivery in 2017.

The S 400 will, however, destroy cruise type missiles and is workable now and being delivered.  It negates all US air power in Central Asia, Iran, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, or will when and if Russia chooses and America continues its policies.

What policies?  That is the question.  Why are we attempting to flank Russia with bases much as with the Truman Doctrine of 1947?  How can we build on the prestige of winning World War II when the Bush administration made America the most hated nation on earth?

How can a nation totally bankrupt convince the world to follow it?

Then we look at Iraq.  We are “out of action” there, our forces removed and the country much more unstable than the day we entered.  We look at Egypt, facing civil war, ready to go to war against Israel, their former ally, as soon as a united government replaces the remains of the Mubarak junta.

Turkey now hates Israel, their former ally, because Israel executed 9 Turkish citizens in an act of piracy in 2010. Azerbaijan, the “secret base” for Israel can be taken by Iran is less than one day.

Afghanistan only allows Americans to continue because we are sharing drug revenue with key tribal chiefs who are allowing Karzai to continue to pretend being president.  Afghanistan is, perhaps, the most divided nation on earth, with few nations designed to disintegrate quicker.

Imran Kahn – Next President of Pakistan?

Pakistan, very similar in many ways, is facing the possible election of Imran Khan, who may be able to unite the country but who will immediately withdraw from all agreements with the US.

He has the strong support of the people, the army and China.  He is also the most popular leader of the entire Islamic world.

Where does this leave things?  The plotters plot.  Key Saudi’s, Bahrain and Israel plot to hold the Gulf.  Israel continues to control the Republican Party in the US and key members of the Democratic leadership though despised by the President and White House along with the military.

Thus, America is extremely divided.

What is certain is that the Bush policy in Central Asia is in shambles, crazy to  begin with.  Their policy for Eastern Europe puts the US at odds with Putin who recently returned to power, at a time when America is at its weakest since 1946.

While this is going on, from a financial and military standpoint, the “great powers” are dividing up Africa, searching for key resources that can represent “collateralization of currency” when hydrocarbons become worthless and the fiat currencies are no longer accepted.

This is a pipe dream.

Our prayers?  We pray that the world forgets our transgressions, our arrogance, our debts, our defilement, our hubris, our slaughter and accepts the leadership we have never offered.

Here, at home, we offer an Obama second term, one with possible promise, only remotely possible, against the assurity of mob rule by an illiterate financial crook under the control of Israel. Few Americans know the difference.

Jeb Bush, representing the Colombian cartels, stands on the sidelines, as did his father when Bush was elected.  60 days after the Reagan election, a family friend pumped two bullets into the President.

Obama just cleaned out the Secret Service over a “whore” scandal.

Were a national system for expressing the political will of the American people to exist, Ron Paul might be running against himself. And so it goes….

Posted in Germany, UKComments Off on The Newest War- Disinformation, Lies and Censorship as “Activism”

Latest Message from Israel’s Nuclear Whistle Blower TO: Obama, Peres and SECURITY

NOVANEWS
by Eileen Fleming

 

‘Thanks’ to The Patriot Act, all of my overseas communications are potentially monitored and I have been in contact with Gaza and Syria; but most likely the communications I have sent to Israel’s Nuclear Whistle Blower, Mordechai Vanunu [since 2005] have also been monitored by Israel’s SECURITY/Mossad/Shabak, for Vanunu remains under 24/7 surveillance in east Jerusalem, “waiting” for his “freedom now!”

On 21 April 2012, Vanunu wrote:

“Today, 21 April, is the eighth anniversary of Mordechai’s release from prison, when the annual restrictions on his freedom come up for renewal. We call for these restrictions to be lifted and for him to be allowed to leave Israel.”

Two days later, Vanunu recommended the following Youtube, which he published three years ago with the comment: “May this Tsunami will check little bit the new US president OBAMA. May OBAMA start doing some real actions for the freedom and abolition Atomic weapons.”

Vanunu Mordechai-April-/214/2004,-11

I asked Vanunu, “What do you say to Obama TODAY?”

Vanunu readily replied “My message to Obama, Vanunu is very supporting Obama policy, Obama Ideology of a Middle East Free from all Nuclear weapons. Vanunu is ready to help Obama in this. Diplomacy Now!!! Freedom Now!!”

In his 2012 speech to AIPAC, President Obama announced he would award The Presidential Medal of Freedom to Israeli President Shimon Peres this summer.

The award is intended to recognize individuals who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors”.

Obama said Peres has “been a powerful moral voice that reminds us that right makes might, not the other way around.”

After President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Israeli President Shimon Peres stated in his congratulatory speech:

“Very few leaders if at all were able to change the mood of the entire world in such a short while with such profound impact. You provided all of humanity with fresh hope, with intellectual determination, and a feeling that there is a Lord in heaven and believers on earth. Under your leadership, peace became a real and original agenda. And from Jerusalem, I am sure all the bells of engagement and understanding will ring again. You gave us a license to dream and act in a noble direction.”

Within days of the announcement for 2009’s Nobel Peace Prize, twenty-two time nominee, Mordechai Vanunu declined the honor in a letter to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Oslo:

“I am asking the committee to remove my name from the nominations…I cannot be part of a list of laureates that includes Simon Peres…Peres established and developed the atomic weapon program in Dimona in Israel…Peres was the man who ordered [my] kidnapping…he continues to oppose my freedom and release…WHAT I WANT IS FREEDOM AND ONLY FREEDOM….FREEDOM AND ONLY FREEDOM I NEED NOW.”

In 1994, Yitzhak Rabin, Yasser Arafat and Peres were all awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for playing a part in achieving the Oslo Declaration of Principles. According to the preamble of the DOP, peace was to be based on mutual respect and reconciliation.

Alfred Nobel’s intention was to reward people with a moral backbone and he hoped to create icons and examples to humankind.

I had hoped President Obama would have seen his Nobel Prize as a mandate and he would also have held Israel accountable for its nuclear deceptions, omission, obfuscations and human rights abuses against Mordechai Vanunu–who was 9 years old in 1963, when the Zionists came to his home town of Marrakesh, Morocco.

The Zionists convinced his father to abandon his thriving general store and pack up the first seven of eleven children for the land of milk and honey. Instead, the Vanunu’s were banished to Beersheva, one of between 400-500 Palestinian villages Israel has ethnically cleansed since 1948.

As Israel’s Deputy Minister of Defense, Shimon Peres met with President John Kennedy, at the White House.

Kennedy told Peres, “You know that we follow very closely the discovery of any nuclear development in the region. This could create a very dangerous situation. For this reason we monitor your nuclear effort. What could you tell me about this?”

Peres replied, “I can tell you most clearly that we will not introduce nuclear weapons to the region, and certainly we will not be the first.”

President Obama, is now the third sitting American president to win the Nobel award, and his peers include Mikhail S. Gorbachev, who won the Peace Prize for helping end the Cold War which raged from 1945 to 1991, and Nelson Mandela, who fought for the end of Apartheid in South Africa.

The apartheid regime in South Africa existed from 1948 until 1994; but it was not until the late 1980′s that the American government got on-board with the over twenty years of a global call for boycott, divestment and sanctions that finally brought that apartheid system to its knees.

On October 2, 2009, The Washington Times reported that “Obama agrees to keep Israel’s nukes secret [and] reaffirmed a 4-decade-old secret understanding that has allowed Israel to keep a nuclear arsenal without opening it to international inspections.”

In 2005, Vanunu, told me:

“President Kennedy tried to stop Israel from building atomic weapons. Prime Minister Ben Guirion said, ‘The nuclear reactor is only for peace.”

“Kennedy insisted on an open internal inspection. He wrote letters demanding that Ben Guirion open up the Dimona for inspection.

“When Johnson became president, he made an agreement with Israel that two senators would come every year to inspect. Before the senators would visit, the Israelis would build a wall to block the underground elevators and stairways. From 1963 to ’69, the senators came, but they never knew about the wall that hid the rest of the Dimona from them.

“Nixon stopped the inspections and agreed to ignore the situation. As a result, Israel increased production. In 1986, there were over two hundred bombs. Today, they may have enough plutonium for ten bombs a year.” [1]

On April 5, 2009, President Obama stood on the world stage in Prague and admitted, “As the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act…When we fail to pursue peace, then it stays forever beyond our grasp. We know the path when we choose fear over hope. To denounce or shrug off a call for cooperation is an easy but also cowardly thing to do. That’s how wars begin. That’s where human progress ends…the voices of peace and progress must be raised together…Human destiny will be what we make of it…Words must mean something.”

Vanunu gave us a license to dream and act in a noble direction, when he told the truth about Israel’s nukes 26 years ago, as he wrote from Ashkelon Prison:

“The passive acceptance and complacency with regard to the existence of nuclear weapons anywhere on earth is the disease of society today.

“This struggle is not only a legitimate one – it is a moral, inescapable struggle…no government, not even the most democratic, can force us to live under this threat. No state in the world can offer any kind of security against this menace of a nuclear holocaust, or guarantee to prevent it.

“Already now there are enough nuclear missiles to destroy the world many times over. This issue should unite us all, because that is our real enemy.

“Any country, which manufactures and stocks nuclear weapons, is first of all endangering its own citizens. This is why the citizens must confront their government and warn it that it has no right to expose them to this danger. Because, in effect, the citizens are being held hostage by their own government, just as if they have been hijacked and deprived of their freedom and threatened.

“Indeed, when governments develop nuclear weapons without the consent of their citizens – and this is true in most cases – they are violating the basic rights of their citizens, the basic right not to live under constant threat of annihilation.

“Is any government qualified and authorized to produce such weapons.” [Ibid]

In April 1999, thirty-six members of the US House of Representatives signed a letter calling for Mordechai Vanunu’s release from prison because they believed “we have a duty to stand up for men and women like Mordechai Vanunu who dare to articulate a brighter vision for humanity.”

President Clinton responded with a public statement expressing concern for Vanunu and the need for Israel and other non-parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty to adhere to it and accept IAEA safeguards.

Many voices of peace and progress have been raised over the years and all that has been lacking is the political will to do the right-meaning correct things.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Latest Message from Israel’s Nuclear Whistle Blower TO: Obama, Peres and SECURITY

Thanking 60 MINUTES and Begging for More

NOVANEWS

by Eileen Fleming

 

The Zionist control of America’s Media ended by way of Bob Simon allowing Ambassador Oren, to expose the way Zionists attempt to silence anybody who thinks critically and asks important questions regarding the state of Israel-see it here:

I had just returned home from nine days in my homeland-New York City: A Day in The Life at Strawberry Fields and IMAGINING a FREE Vanunu Mordechai

And I jumped for joy during the 60 MINUTES segment, Christians of the Holy Land, because they were covering the beat I have since 2005-but the difference being is I did it all on my dime and as a service to America at www.WeAreWideAwake.org

During a March 2006 trip to Bethlehem, I met again with a Palestinian Christian and Mayor of Bethlehem, Victor Batarseh, who said:

“When the occupation is ended there will be peace. If the world boycotted Israel for six months they would comply with the UN Resolutions, which is all we want! There is state terrorism and Israel must be forced to recognize our right to exist. For the past ten years Hamas has worked with and helped the poorest of people, they have built schools and orphanages. The PA took the money but Hamas was providing the social services!

“Israel is a state built on religious beliefs. The US and EU and all the free world are against theocracies. But Israel has the right to do anything! The world needs to WAKE UP! If there is no peace in the Holy Land there can be no peace anywhere. End the occupation and there will be peace the very next day. All the terrorism in the world can be traced back to the Palestinian situation. All the money spent on weapons and war could eliminate world poverty.”

I also met with four newly elected Hamas members but I still haven’t met any Palestinian terrorists.

Two had been elected to the Palestinian Parliament/PLC and two to the Municipality/local government. PLC Representative, Anwer M. Zboun, lives in the Abiet refugee camp and has a Masters Degree in Physics.

Zboun began with a smile and said, “We welcome you to our home and the Holy City of Bethlehem. We are suppose to be terrorists, are you afraid?

“We are a Palestinian resistance movement and we are not against any people. We are against the occupation. We want to rebuild what the occupation has destroyed. Hamas was born from the suffering of the Palestinian people and we belong to the global Muslim movement. It was on December 14, 1987 after an Israeli driver killed nine Palestinians that the first Intifada [uprising] began and the Islamic Resistance movement in Palestine was renamed Hamas.

“Hamas is a national liberation movement based on Sharia; Islamic Laws and Orders. Hamas is not against any religion. We are not a terrorist movement, but we resist the occupation. Christians voted for us for many reasons and they know we are faithful to this cause: that God knows better than we ourselves know what is for our benefit. We do not force anyone to believe as we do. The public and private schools both teach Islam and Christianity.

“In November 1988 Arafat issued a birth certificate for the Palestinian State and under religion he stated: ‘None.’ This is because we are a secular state. As Muslims and Christians we live together peacefully and our attitude is citizenship is for everyone. Everybody should have freedom of belief, traditions and a personal life. Hamas does not propose anything that contradicts Christianity.

“Our slogan is: Remove Suffering for everyone. The issue of Israel is about the occupation. We have no problems with religious beliefs; our problem is that Israel is illegally occupying our land. Since March 2005, we have honored a unilateral cease-fire. But Israel martyred 200 Palestinians, injured 1,200 and has detained 3,500. Many are under the age of sixteen. In the last two weeks Israel has killed twenty-five Palestinian and yet we have maintained the cease-fire. Israel does not recognize us and recognition takes both sides.

“Abbas has stated that we do recognize Israel, but there must be clear borders and Israel does not yet have them. The PA recognized Israel ten years ago but we Palestinians are detained in an open air prison. We resist the occupation, which is our right guaranteed under International Law. International Law demands Israel withdraw to the 1967 borders, release the prisoners, and stop the assassinations, illegal wall and home demolitions.

“Hamas defines terrorism as a violation of the rights of others and their property. Bush defined terrorism as evil. We are weak with resources and our voice is not heard in the West, only the voice of America and Israel gets press. America asked us to hold democratic elections and we did. We thank everyone who was involved in our transparent and democratic elections. We did what the USA asked and now they are punishing our people. Democracies are supposed to respect and not intervene in what others want.

“We had democratic and transparent elections and how are we rewarded? By the EU and the USA who have cut funds to the poorest of people who live under occupation. Hamas suggested that the International community monitor all the financial aid to assure that it went to the people and not to Hamas. We offered this suggestion to the world and we have been ignored.

“So now we look to the Arab and Muslim world to strengthen our local infrastructure and economy and hope to bring back investors. We know there are people in Europe and America who will not allow us to go hungry. We believe aid and support are in Gods hands and not governments.”

On 15 March 2006, I was in Nazareth and learned from Fuad Farah, Board member of Sabeel and the Chairman of the Orthodox National Council in Israel, that “90% of Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land, never even meet any Palestinian Christians!

“No Christians can live here anymore. They fled in ‘48 and their homes were destroyed in the ‘50’s for the settlers. Christians once were 20% of the total population of the Holy land, today we are less than 2% and maybe in thirty years there will be no Christians here if things do not change soon. There are more Christians in India and Syria than there are in the Holy Land!

“The reasons are many and include our low birth rate, migration due to lack of economic opportunities especially for the most highly educated, Muslim and Jewish fundamentalism, land confiscation and now Nazareth has become a retirement community because our young people all leave!”

I imagine if I were a young Palestinian with an opportunity to leave that troubled land; I would too and Palestinians all tell me that is exactly what the Israeli government hopes for!

Both Bob Simon and I interviewed Claire Anasatas and Rev. Mitri Raheb, his report can be viewed on the Youtube above and mine follows below:

In July 2007, I met with Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, the Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas church in Bethlehem since 1988. Mitri was also born in that little town in Occupied Territory and he spoke with passion:

“We are not spectators, we have a role to play…we are nonviolent but I have problems with nonviolence; people from abroad come here and give us sermons on nonviolence and I appreciate it, but why don’t they preach nonviolence to Israel and America?

“It’s a miracle that the Palestinians are so nonviolent in spite of the abuse we live with on a daily basis. If you lived here every day you would get fed up too. The world assumes it is the Palestinians who are the violent ones, but nonviolence is who we are. If you operate in a system of violence you will also be violent when you go home.

“Palestinians who throw stones; and many think that is ok, but I say why do that? One day you will throw stones at Palestinians too and that is exactly what happened in Gaza, but the reason is the occupation! Where do you think Hamas learned to torture? In Israeli prisons from their captors!


”There is no way to end the violence without first ending the occupation!

“Our Palestinian government was boycotted for a year and a half by America and the EU: this is violence! As long as the violence is exercised against us that is OK with the world. When the Presbyterians talked divestment the Zionist rose up and said ‘you can’t do that!’ 


“I started interfaith dialogue in 1985 because Christians should not be islands and you don’t dialogue just with yourself, you must dialogue with the other and the biggest temptation for the church is to stay within their walls and only be dedicated to their own members; which leads to a dead church.

“We are called to go out, and we do not just preach with words, people here are fed up with words; they hear one thing and see another with their eyes.

“They hear peace, peace, peace and for 85 years the politicians have been working for peace and the situation gets worse. Blair, and all the politicians are into PR for themselves; they do nothing for our situation. Blair got himself a good job marketing himself and he will come and go and Israel will continue building the wall, settlements and carving the West Bank into Swiss cheese; Israel gets the cheese and we Palestinians fall into the holes!

“Fifty million American dollars went to build the checkpoints to ‘make our lives easier’ we were told, but these checkpoints and terminals are not for people, they are for cattle!


”We have too much religion and it suffocates us! If God would speak today he would say, ‘I am fed up with your religion!’ The more religion there is; the less spirituality.
 


“During the Israeli invasion in 2002 when the Church of Nativity was occupied by the IDF and Palestinians were sheltered within, as an eyewitness I wrote 18 short stories that will keep you awake at night, in my book “Bethlehem Beseiged: Stories of Hope in Times of Trouble.” [1]

In February 2003, Claire and her family of fourteen -whose three story home and first floor business, adjacent to Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem- were informed by the Palestinian Authority that The Wall would soon be coming to their neighborhood.

The family had moved into their comfortable dwelling in 1967, and would spend hours in their back yard garden with a view of open green space and watch pilgrims and tourists visit Rachel’s Tomb and welcome them into their gift shop. The family is now encircled on three sides by 25-30 feet high slabs of concrete which have imprisoned them from the rest of the Little Town of Bethlehem: which is Occupied Territory.

For months the family helplessly observed the preparation work all around them, and then one week before Christmas 2003, Claire’s children went to school and came home to discover that every view from every window was of the concrete monster.

Palestinians can be imprisoned on the Palestinian or Israeli side of the wall. The once economically thriving and vibrant main street in Bethlehem is now a ghost town for stores and restaurants have been abandoned.

Rachel’s tomb and Claire’s tomb are divided by the concrete barrier which is topped by guard towers and patrolled by soldiers in battle gear.

Claire’s home is less than 500 yards inside Bethlehem, and it had been the closest shop to Rachel’s Tomb. Not long ago, multitudes of pilgrims and tourists would shop there, but today only the curious venture down the concrete walled pathway.

According to the Israeli government The Wall which has been deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice in The Hague is for the security of Jewish worshipers at the shrine they revere as the Tomb of Rachel. Rachel was the wife of the biblical patriarch Jacob, who was the first to be named “Israel” for having wrestled and struggled with The Divine being.

On May 14, 1948 The Declaration of the establishment of Israel affirmed:

“One the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations.”

On February 21, 2003, Raanan Gissin, Spokesmen for Ariel Sharon was interviewed regarding The Wall, which imprisoned Claire and her family, and he claimed, “The main purpose here is not to annex that land, but to provide security [and to ensure] freedom of access and freedom of religion.”

The Wall does not follow the Green Line so even the claims of security are nullified, for The Wall that imprisons Claire and her family divides Palestinians from Palestinians as it eviscerates their economy. Only Jews have freedom of access and religion, for Palestinian civilians are denied access to their holy sites.

The concrete wall and electronic fence has imprisoned hundreds of thousands of Palestinians on the Israeli side, effectively undermining one of the stated purposes which is the policy of Hafrada, which is Hebrew for separation of Israelis and Palestinians and that equates to apartheid.

Dr. Jad Issac, the director general of the Applied Research Institute examined a satellite photograph of the area and stated, “Bethlehem is the Bethlehem ghetto now…rather than seeking to ensure freedom of religion, Israel was pushing Bethlehem’s Christian Palestinians to pack up and leave. About 360 Palestinians would be left on the Israeli side and once they get rid of the Christians, then they will label the rest as terrorists.”

Dr. Shmuel Berkovitz, an expert on Jerusalem and Jewish holy places, said The Wall effectively annexed Rachel’s Tomb to Jerusalem from Bethlehem “as a matter of technical separation, without an official declaration. Right now, you can’t see any romantic place there; you can see it only as a military position.”

Rachel’s Tomb is a small stone building with a dome, which was built during the Ottoman rule, but is now completely enclosed by the fortifications, built in 1996 and 1997.

During my first of three visits to Claire, she told me, “Six years ago when the Israeli army blocked the main street in Bethlehem we hoped it would be temporary. We could not imagine anyone could block another human being and isolate them like they have done to us. A week before last Christmas my children went to school and when they returned they were faced with the concrete wall in front of them. They cried and cried and wanted to know how could such a thing be done to them? We are living in a tomb, we are buried alive. My children suffer and their mother and father can do nothing.

“In another ten years there will be no more Christians in Bethlehem if things do not change soon. Everyone is leaving, we need work, and we need to feed our children. Jesus was born here but we are dying. My children suffer, they are angry and shout because nobody comes to visit us anymore and the children must stay inside after school.

“We use to enjoy being out in our garden watching the people, the trees, the cars that would pass by, but now we only see concrete walls. Our lives have been stolen!

“Do Americans understand what happens to children when they are buried alive?

“We need a solution fast so that our children can live like American children! We want human rights!

“When Hillary Clinton visited Jerusalem and said the wall was not against the Palestinian people, she killed us too! Christians who do not care kill us too!

“My family use to go to Haifa on the weekends, we use to live a peaceful and comfortable life. But now our business is bankrupt and we are in prison for being Palestinians.”

During my last trip to visit Claire, in June 2009, I purchased one of the olive wood nativity sets that she and her family created to symbolize the reality of Bethlehem today. Claire explained, “It has a removable wall; we opened a door where Jesus Christ lays to light our future with hope.” [IBID]

[visit CLAIRE@ www.anastas-bethlehem.com ]

TO THANK Bob Simon and 60 Minutes, for a hoped for continuing series in this election year regarding The Palestinian Christian EXODUS from Israeli controlled territory, please sign The Jewish Voice for PEACE action @ thankyou60minutes.org

Posted in USA, CampaignsComments Off on Thanking 60 MINUTES and Begging for More

The Land Bridge, A New Eurasia

NOVANEWS

China’s Land Bridge to Turkey creates new Eurasian Geopolitical Potentials      

…by F. William Engdahl

 

 

The prospect of an unparalleled Eurasian economic boom lasting into the next Century and beyond is at hand.

The first steps binding the vast economic space are being constructed with a number of little-publicized rail links connecting China, Russia, Kazakhstan and parts of Western Europe.

It is becoming clear to more people in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Eurasia including China and Russia that their natural tendency to build these markets faces only one major obstacle.

And that is NATO and the US Pentagon’s Full Spectrum Dominance obsession.  Rail infrastructure is a major key to building vast new economic markets across Eurasia.

China and Turkey are in discussions to build a new high-speed railway link across Turkey. If completed it would be the country’s largest railway project ever, even including the pre-World War I Berlin-Baghdad Railway link.

The project was perhaps the most important agenda item, far more so than Syria during talks in Beijing between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Chinese leadership in early April.

The proposed rail link would run from Kars on the easternmost border with Armenia, through the Turkish interior on to Istanbul where it would connect to the Marmaray rail tunnel now under construction that runs under the Bosphorus strait. Then it would continue to Edirne near the border to Greece and Bulgaria in the European Union.

It will cost an estimated $35 billion. The realization of the Turkish link would complete a Chinese Trans-Eurasian Rail Bridge project that would bring freight from China to Spain and England.[1]

The Kars-Edirne line would reduce travel time across Turkey by two-thirds from 36 hours down to 12. Under an agreement signed between China and Turkey in October 2010, China has agreed to extend loans of $30 billion for the planned rail network.[2]

In addition a Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway connecting Azerbaijan’s capital of Baku to Kars is under construction, which greatly increases the strategic importance of the Edirne-Kars line. For China it would put a critical new link in its railway infrastructure across Eurasia to markets in Europe and beyond.

With the planned connection of the Marmaray project under the Bosphorus to the Edirne-Kars high-speed railway line, a train line from China’s easternmost Lianyungang to Spain and England would be completed. (Map: Yunus Emre Hatunoğlu)

Erdogan’s visit to Beijing was significant for other reasons. It was the first such high level trip of a Turkish Prime Minister to China since 1985.

Turkish and Chinese leaders meet in Beijing China to explore economic opportunities between the two largest growing economies in 2012. Several deals were signed mainly in the areas of energy and technology

The fact that Erdogan was also granted a high-level meeting with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, the man slated to be next Chinese President, and was granted an extraordinary visit to China’s oil-rich Xinjiang Province also shows the high priority China is placing on its relations with Turkey, a key emerging strategic force in the Middle East.

Xinjiang is a highly sensitive part of China as it hosts some 9 million ethnic Uyghurs who share a Turkic heritage with Turkey as well as nominal adherence to the Turkish Sunni branch of Islam.

In July 2009 the US government, acting through the National Endowment for Democracy, the regime-change NGO it finances, backed a major Uyghur uprising in which many Han Chinese shop owners were killed or injured. Washington in turn blamed the riots on Beijing as part of a strategy of escalating pressure on China. [3]

During Uyghur riotsin Xinjiang in 2009, Erdogan accused Beijing of “genocide” and attacked the Chinese on human rights, a dicey issue for Turkey given their Kurd ethnic problems. Clearly economic priorities from both sides have now changed the political calculus.

Building the world’s greatest market

Contrary to the dogma of Milton Friedman and his monetarist followers, markets are never “free.” They are always manmade. The essential element to building new markets is building infrastructure, and for the vast landmass of Eurasia railroad linkages, ideally high-speed rail links, are essential to those new markets and the fastest way to economic prosperity for all concerned.

With the end of the Cold War in 1990 the vast under-developed land space of Eurasia became open again. This space contains some forty percent of total land in the world, much of it prime unspoiled agriculture land; it contains three-fourth of the entire world population, an asset of incalculable worth.

It consists of some eighty eight of the world’s countries and three-fourths of known world energy resources as well as every mineral known needed for industrialization. North America as an economic potential, rich as she is, pales by comparison.

The Turkish-China railway discussion is but one part of a vast Chinese strategy to weave a network of inland rail connections across the Eurasian Continent.

The aim is to literally create the world’s greatest new economic space and in turn a huge new market for not just China but all Eurasian countries, the Middle East and Western Europe.

Direct rail service is faster and cheaper than either ships or trucks, and much cheaper than airplanes. For manufactured Chinese or other Eurasian products the rail land bridge links are creating vast new economic trading activity all along the rail line.

Two factors have made this prospect realizable for the first time since the Second World War. First the collapse of the Soviet Union has opened up the land space of Eurasia in entirely new ways as has the opening of China to Russia and its Eurasian neighbors, overcoming decades of mistrust. This is being met by the eastward expansion of the European Union to the countries of the former Warsaw Pact.

The demand for faster rail transport over the vast Eurasian distances is clear. China’s container port activity and that of its European and North American destinations is reaching a saturation point as volumes of container traffic explode at double-digit rates.

Singapore recently displaced Rotterdam as the world’s largest port in volume terms. The growth rate for container port throughput in China in 2006, before outbreak of the world financial crisis was some 25% annually. In 2007 Chinese ports accounted for some 28 per cent of world container port throughput. [4]

Singapore – A Container Port on Steroids

However there is another aspect to the Chinese and, to an extent, the Russian land bridge strategies. By moving trade flows over land, it is more secure in the face of escalating military tensions between the nations of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, especially China and Russia, and NATO.

Sea transport must flow through highly vulnerable narrow passageways or choke points such as the Malaysian Straits of Malacca.

The Turkish Kars-Edirne railway would form an integral part of an entire web of Chinese-initiated rail corridors across the Eurasian landmass.

Following the example of how rail infrastructure transformed the economic space of Europe and later of America during the late 19th Century, the Chinese government, which today stands as the world’s most efficient railroad constructor, has quietly been extending its rail links into Central Asia and beyond for several years.

They have proceeded in segments, one reason the vast ambition of their grand rail infrastructure has drawn so little attention to date in the West outside the shipping industry.

China builds Second Eurasian Land Bridge

By 2011 China had completed a Second Eurasian Land Bridge running from China’s port of Lianyungang on the East China Sea through to Kazakhstan’s Druzhba and on to Central Asia, West Asia and Europe to various European destinations and finally to Rotterdam Port of Holland on the Atlantic coast.

The Second Eurasian Land Bridge is a new railway connecting the Pacific and the Atlantic that was completed by China to Druzhba in Kazakhstan. This newest Eurasia land bridge extends west in China through six provinces–Jiangsu, Anhui, Henan, Shaanxi, Gansu, and Xinjiang autonomous region, which neighbors respectively with Shandong Province, Shanxi Province, Hubei Province, Sichuan Province, Qinghai Province, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Inner Mongolia.

That covers about 360,000 square kilometers, some 37% of the total land space of China. About 400 million people live in the areas, which accounts for 30% of the total population of the country. Outside of China, the land bridge covers over 40 countries and regions in both Asia and Europe, and is particularly important for the countries in Central and West Asia that don’t have sea outlets.

In 2011 China’s Vice Premier Wang Qishan announced plans to build a new high-speed railway link within Kazakhstan, linking the cities of Astana and Almaty, to be ready in 2015.  The Astana-Almaty line, with a total length of 1050 kilometers, employing China’s advanced rail-building technology, will allow high-speed trains to run at a speed of 350 kilometers per hour.

DB Schenker Rail Automotive is now transporting auto parts from Leipzig to Shenyang in northeastern China for BMW. Trains loaded with parts and components depart from DB Schenker’s Leipzig trans-shipment terminal in a three-week, 11,000 km journey to BMW’s Shenyang plant in the Liaoning province, where components are used in the assembly of BMW vehicles. Beginning in late November 2011, trains bound for Shenyang departed Leipzig once each day.

“With a transit time of 23 days, the direct trains are twice as fast as maritime transport, followed by over-the-road transport to the Chinese hinterland,” says Dr. Karl-Friedrich Rausch, member of the management board for DB Mobility Logistics’ Transportation and Logistics division. The route reaches China via Poland, Belarus, and Russia. Containers have to be transferred by crane to different gauges twice—first to Russian broad gauge at the Poland-Belarus border, then back to standard gauge at the Russia-China border in Manzhouli.[5]

In May 2011 a daily direct rail freight service was launched between the Port of Antwerp, Europe’s second-largest port, and Chongqing, the industrial hub in China’s southwest. That greatly speeded rail freight transport across Eurasia to Europe. Compared to the 36 days for maritime transport from east China’s ports to west Europe, the Antwerp-Chongqing Rail Freight service now takes 20 to 25 days, and the aim is to cut that to 15 to 20 days.

Westbound cargo includes automotive and technological goods, eastbound shipments are mostly chemicals. The project was a major priority for the Antwerp Port and the Belgian government in cooperation with China and other partners. The service is run by Swiss inter-modal logistics provider Hupac, their Russian partner Russkaya Troyka and Eurasia Good Transport over a distance of more than 10,000km, starting from Port of Antwerp through to Germany and Poland, and further to Ukraine, Russia and Mongolia before reaching Chongqing in China.[6]

The Second Eurasian Land Bridge runs 10,900 kilometers in length, with some 4100 kilometers of that in China. Within China the line runs parallel to one of the ancient routes of the Silk Road. The rail line continues across China into Druzhba where it links with the broader gauge rail lines of Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is the largest inland country in the world.

As Chinese rail and highways have expanded west, trade between Kazakhstan and China has been booming. From January to October 2008, goods passing through the Khorgos port between the two nations reached 880,000 tons – over 250% growth compared with the same period a year before. Trade between China and Kazakhstan is expected to grow 3 to 5 fold by 2013. As of 2008, only about 1% of the goods shipped from Asia to Europe were delivered by overland routes, meaning the room for expansion is considerable.[7]

From Kazakhstan the lines go on via Russia and Belarus over Poland to the markets of the European Union.

Another line goes to Tashkent in Uzbekistan, Central Asia’s largest city of some two millions. Another line goes west to Turkmenistan’s capital Asgabat and to the border of Iran.[8]  With some additional investment, these links, now tied to the vast expanse and markets of China could open new economic possibilities in much-neglected regions of Central Asia.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) could provide a well-suited vehicle for coordination of a broad Eurasian rail infrastructure coordination to maximize these initial rail links. The members of the SCO, formed in 2001, include China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikstan, Uzbekistan with Iran, India, Mongolia and Pakistan as Observer Status countries.

Russia’s Land Bridge

Russia is well positioned to benefit greatly from such an SCO strategy. The First Eurasian Land Bridge runs through Russia along the Trans-Siberian Railway, first completed in 1916 to unify the Russian Empire. The Trans-Siberian remains the longest single rail line in the world at 9,297 kilometers, a tribute to the vision of Russian Sergei Witte in the 1890s.

The world’s longest railway, the Trans-Siberian Railway in Russia, is 5,777 miles (9,297 kilometers) long. It runs from Moscow to Vladivostok.I

The Trans-Siberian Railway, also called the Northern East-West Corridor, runs from the Russian Far East Port of Vladivostok and links in Europe to the Port of Rotterdam some 13,000 kilometers. At present it is the less attractive for Pacific-to-Atlantic freight because of maintenance problems and maximum speeds of 55 km.

There are attempts to better use the Trans-Siberian Land Bridge. In January 2008 a long distance Eurasian rail freight service, the “Beijing-Hamburg Container Express” was successfully tested by the German railway Deutsche Bahn. It completed the 10,000 km (6,200 miles) journey in 15 days to link the Chinese capital to the German port city, going through Mongolia, the Russian Federation, Belarus and Poland. By ship to the same markets takes double the time or some 30 days.

This route, which began commercial service in 2010 incorporates a section of the existing Trans-Siberian Railway, a rail link using a broader gauge than either Chinese or European trains, meaning two offloads and reloads onto other trains at the China-Mongolia border and again at the Belarus-Poland border.

Were the Trans-Siberian railway passage across Russian Eurasian space to be modernized and upgraded to accommodate high-speed freight traffic, it would add a significant new economic dimension to the economic development of Russia’s interior regions. The Trans-Siberian is double-tracked and electrified. The need is minimally to improve some segments to insure a better integration of all the elements to make it a more attractive option for Eurasian freight to the west.

There are strong indications the new Putin presidency will turn more of its attention to Eurasia. Modernization of the First Eurasian Land Bridge would be a logical way to accomplish much of that development by literally creating new markets and new economic activity.

With the bond markets of the United States and Europe flooded with toxic waste and state bankruptcy fears, issuance of Russian state bonds for modernization or even a new parallel high-speed rail Land Bridge linking to the certainty of growing freight traffic across Eurasia would have little difficulty finding eager investors.

Russia is currently in discussion with China and Chinese rail constructors who are bidding on construction of a planned $20 billion of new high-speed Russian rail track to be completed before the 2018 Russian hosting of the Soccer World Cup. China’s experience in building some 12,000 km of high speed rail in record time is a major asset for China’s bid. Significantly, Russia plans to raise $10 billion of the cost by issuing new railroad bonds.[9]

A Third Eurasian Land Bridge?

In 2009 at the Fifth Pan-Pearl River Delta Regional (PPRD) Cooperation and Development Forum, a government-sponsored event, the Yunnan provincial government announced its intention to accelerate construction of needed infrastructure to build a third Eurasian continental land bridge that will link south China to Rotterdam via Turkey over land. This is part of what Erdogan and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao discussed in Beijing this April.

The network of inland roads for the land bridge within Yunnan province will be completed by 2015, said Yunnan governor Qin Guangrong. The project starts from coastal ports in Guangdong, with the Port of Shenzhen being the most important. It will ultimately go all the way through Kunming to Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Iran, entering Europe from Turkey.[10]

The route would cut some 6,000-km from the sea journey between the Pearl River Delta and Rotterdam and allow production from China’s eastern manufacturing centers to reach Asia, Africa and Europe. The proposal is for completing a series of missing rail and modern highway links totaling some 1,000 Km, not that inconceivable.

In neighboring Myanmar a mere 300 km of railways and highways are lacking in order to link the railways in Yunnan with the highway network of Myanmar and South Asia. It will help China pave the way for building a land channel to the Indian Ocean.

The third Eurasian Land Bridge will cross 20 countries in Asia and Europe and have a total length of about 15,000 kilometers, which is 3,000 to 6,000 kilometers shorter than the sea route entering at the Indian Ocean from the southeast coast via the Malacca Straits. The total annual trade volume of the regions the route passes through was nearly US$300 billion in 2009.

Ultimately the plan is for a branch line that would also start in Turkey, cross Syria and Palestine, and end in Egypt, facilitating transportation from China to Africa. Clearly the Pentagon’s AFRICOM and the US-backed Arab Spring unrest directly impacts that extension, though for how long at this point is unclear. [11]

The geopolitical dimension

Not every major international player is pleased about the growing linkages binding the economies of Eurasia with western Europe and Africa. In his now famous 1997 book, “The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives”, former Presidential adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski noted,

“In brief, for the United States, Eurasian geo-strategy involves the purposeful management of geo-strategically dynamic states…To put it in a terminology that harkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires, the three grand imperatives of imperial geo-strategy are to prevent collusion and to

maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together.” [12]

The “barbarians” that Brzezinski refers to are China and Russia and all in between. The Brzezinski term “imperial geo-strategy” refers to US strategic foreign policy. The “vassals” he identifies in the book as countries like Germany, Japan and other NATO “allies” of the US. That Brzezinski geopolitical notion remains US foreign policy today. [13]

The prospect of an unparalleled Eurasian economic boom lasting into the next Century and beyond is at hand. The first sinews of binding the vast economic space have been put in place or are being constructed with these rail links. It is becoming clear to more people in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Eurasia including China and Russia that their natural tendency to build these markets faces only one major obstacle: NATO and the US Pentagon’s Full Spectrum Dominance obsession.

In the period prior to World War I it was the decision in Berlin to build a rail land link to and through the Turkish Ottoman Empire from Berlin to Baghdad that was the catalyst for British strategists to incite the events that plunged Europe into the most destructive war in history to that date.

This time we have a chance to avoid a similar fate with the Eurasian development. More and more the economically stressed economies of the EU are beginning to look east and less to their west across the Atlantic for Europe’s economic future.

*F. William Engdahl is author of several books on contemporary geopolitics including A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order. He is available via his website atwww.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net

Endnotes:


[1] Sunday’s  Zaman, Turkey, China mull $35 bln joint high-speed railway project, Istanbul, April 14, 2012, accessed in

http://www.sundayszaman.com/sunday/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?newsId=277360.

[2] Ibid.

 [3] F. William Engdahl, Washington is Playing a Deeper Game with China, Global Research, July 11, 2009, accessed in http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=14327.

 [4] UNCTAD, Port and multimodal transport developments,2008,  accessed inhttp://www.thefreelibrary.com/Chapter+5%3a+Port+and+multimodal+transport+developments.-a0218028142.

 [5] Joseph O’Reilly, BMW Rides Orient Express to China, Global Logistics, October 2011, accessed inhttp://www.inboundlogistics.com/cms/article/global-logistics-october-2011/.

 [6] Aubrey Chang, Antwerp-Chongqing Direct Rail Freight Link Launched, May 12, 2011, accessed in

 [8] Shigeru Otsuka, Central Asia’s Rail Network and the Eurasian Land Bridge, Japan Railway & Transport Review 28, September 2001, pp. 42-49.

 [9] CNTV, Russian rail official: Chinese bidder competitive, November 21,2011, accessed in

http://english.cntv.cn/program/bizasia/20111121/110092.shtml

[10] Xinhua, Yunnan accelerates construction of third Eurasia land bridge, 2009, accessed inhttp://www.shippingonline.cn/news/newsContent.asp?id=10095

 [11] Li Yingqing and Guo Anfei, Third land link to Europe envisioned, China Daily, July 2, 2009, accessed in

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2009-07/02/content_8345835.htm.

[12] Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard, 1997, Basic Books, p. 40. See F. William Engdahl, A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order, Wiesbaden, 2011, edition.engdahl, for details of the role of the German Baghdad rail link in World War I.

 [13] Zbigniew Brzezinski, op. cit. p.40.

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