Archive | December 19th, 2010



December 18, 2010

by Allen L. Roland 





President Obama’s outrageous and blatant sellout on the Bush Tax Cuts is minor compared to his Afghan strategy of surge, bribe and fabricate the truth at the expense of the growing reality on the ground. This is a man who increasingly cannot be believed and most certainly does not deserve a second term in 2012: Allen L Roland 


The imperial presidency continues and President Obama’s blatant Tax Cut sell out to the Republicans, the wealthy and Wall Street, at the expense of Main Street, progressives and a rapidly disappearing Middle Class, is indicative of his shift to the right/ center and an obvious attempt to avoid failure and ensure his re-election in 2012.

First, the so-called tax cuts ~ Former Wall Street economist Michael Hudson nails it in his recent article in Counterpunch ~ OBAMA’S SELLOUT ON TAXES
“Contrary to his pretense of saving the economy, Obama’s action will intensify debt deflation and financial depression, paving the way for a long-term tax shift off wealth onto labor. In achieving a giveaway that Democrats never would have let George Bush or other Republicans enact, Obama has laid himself open to the campaign slogan that brought down British Prime Minister Tony Blair: “You can’t believe a word he says.” He has lost support not only personally ~ but also  as the Republicans anticipate ~ for much of his party in 2012…It is a travesty for Obama to trot out the long-term unemployed (who now get a year’s extension of benefits) like widows and orphans used to be.

It’s not really “all for the poor.” It’s all for the rich. And it’s not to promote stability and recovery. How stable can a global situation be where the richest nation does not tax its population, but creates new public debt to hand out to its bankers? Future tax payers will spend generations paying off their heirs.”

And second, it’s Obama’s Afghan strategy of Surge, blatant Bribes and the unending Fabrication of the truth on the ground. This is a man, similar to his predecessor and Tony Blair, who is consumed with the righteousness of his actions and will willingly fabricate the truth in order to perpetuate the myth of Afghanistan progress. 

“NATO is losing the war in Afghanistan in every quantifiable way,” says Rick Rowley of Big Noise Films, who recently returned from a reporting trip to that country. And what’s more, he notes, “what’s clear from the WikiLeaks cables is that the coalition governments are not as deluded as they would like their people to be about the reality on the ground in Afghanistan.”

And the cold hard reality on the ground is that most of Afghanistan is seeing the Taliban as freedom fighters enlisted against their common enemy and illegal occupying force ~ the United States of America.

Here is a must see nine minute video of Rick discussing  the realities of what he saw on the ground in Afghanistan, along with the death of special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke, and much more.

The game is up for president Obama. As a former ardent supporter of the change he promised ~ I, like millions of Americans, feel not only betrayed but mislead and used to the point that I no longer believe a word he says.

Afghanistan is Obama’s Vietnam for it is my firm belief that sooner or later, and quite often in the most unexpected ways such as the Wikileak’s disclosures, the truth of this quagmire of corruption will become apparent to all. Here is a Mainstream Media ignored video of the veterans For Peace anti-war protest held outside the White House this week ~ where Chris Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg, Ray McGovern and over 500 other Veterans braved the cold and snow to protest Obama’s folly and got arrested in the process. 13 minute Video





December 19, 2010

by Chuck Palazzo 

Agent Orange continues to create health problems for children and adults in Vietnam

To learn more about Ly and Ed Kashi, visit

(WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.; via Salem News) – A young Danang girl is receiving international attention and bringing awareness to the lingering effects of Agent Orange after she was featured in the 2010 UNICEF Photo of the Year.

Nine-year-old Ly is pictured in a portrait taken by Ed Kashi, with VII Photos, who lives in New Jersey. Kashi photographed Ly and other children helped by Children of Vietnam in July 2010. Children of Vietnam is a charity that provides care to children with disabilities, including those who may have been negatively affected by Agent Orange.

Nine-year-old Ly is pictured in a portrait taken by Ed Kashi, with VII Photos, who lives in New Jersey

Ly has a noticeable facial deformity, as well as a concave throat and weak heart. She is believed to be affected by dioxin, which was one of the ingredients in Agent Orange. Ly’s grandfather was a soldier during the Vietnam War, and her mother and aunt also have facial deformities. Despite her difficult circumstances, Ly is joyful and a leader among her friends.

Kashi said he hopes his photograph will raise awareness that Agent Orange continues to create health problems for children and adults in Vietnam.

“To me, this work is about making the world a better place, and as journalists we can only do that with the cooperation of NGOs (non-government organizations) and charities like Children of Vietnam,” Kashi said.

Children of Vietnam helps support Ly, her family and others by providing wrap-around services such as education or vocational scholarships, surgeries when required, assistive aids such as wheelchairs and prosthetics, medicine, therapy, housing with indoor accessible bathrooms, and support for the parents to earn a living. The charity partners with the Danang Hai Chau and Ngu Hang Son People’s Committee and local health, education and social services experts in the area.

While the exact number of children with disabilities and the specific cause of each child’s disability is unknown, the Vietnamese government estimates that 3 million people in the country suffer from the effects of Agent Orange. The Vietnam Red Cross estimates that 150,000 Vietnamese children are disabled due to their parents’ exposure to dioxin.

Agent Orange was a defoliant used during the Vietnam War. A number of areas with high residual dioxin still exist in Vietnam today, most notably around the perimeters of former bases where there was intensive and repeated close-range spraying, including Danang.

UNICEF Germany gives the Photo of the Year award for photographs and photo series that best depict the personalities and living conditions of children around the world. Kashi’s photograph of Ly was taken as part of the Vietnam Reporting Project.

  • – About Children of Vietnam: Children of Vietnam provides humanitarian assistance for poor, orphaned and disabled children and their families in Vietnam. For more information about Children of Vietnam or to make a donation, go to

  • – About Ed Kashi: Kashi is a photojournalist, filmmaker and educator who is dedicated to documenting the social and political issues of our times. He is based in Montclair, New Jersey. For more information about Kashi, go to

  • – About the Vietnam Reporting Project: The Vietnam Reporting Project is a journalism fellowship program designed to produce groundbreaking multimedia news coverage on the enduring environmental and health consequences of Agent Orange contamination in Vietnam. For more information, go




December 19, 2010

by Michael Leon 


Mikey Weinstein


Seems that many self-professed Christians are less than thrilled with the efforts of Mikey Weinstein, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and its allies working to ensure that the U.S. Military functions as a secular force welcoming to all Americans of all faiths.


Via MAL Contends — Veterans Today has often featured the work of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) and its executive director Mikey Weinstein, the constitutional conscience of the American military, to present the danger of the war-all-the-time fundamentalist sect of the Christian religion who would deny First Amendment rights to the wrong kind of Christian, Wiccans, Muslims and various other religions out of favor with Christian Dominionists.

Following is an e-mail from some anti-Semitic nut, followed by a rebuttal by MRFF’s Rick Baker and Air Force veterans David Horn.

Subject: RE: MRFF Featured by The Huffington Post – Christian Air Force Officer Vows to Violate Military Regulations if DADT is Repealed

You know, Mickey, I’ve been rethinking your request for me to keep your family out of this. Because of my ethical standards, I at first acquiesced. However, after reading article after article after article where you are quoted using your son, your wife, your daughter-in-law, you son’s estranged father-in-law as pawns and tools in your selfish, paranoid obsession-I have changed my mind. Why should I respect them when you don’t? Nope-not gonna comply with your whining and begging. And you know what?- it is because you’ve already brought them into it- proactively and voluntarily.

If you cared so much about them you yourself would have kept them out of it, but no-as long as it helps to enforce your psychotic, self-centered delusions and satiate your evil compulsions you would do ANYTHING, even sacrifice your parents-no, wait…you already have! YOU HAVE NO DECENCY, NO HUMILITY OR REMORSE- NO AWARENESS OF SELF.

Bite me you bald-headed, short, impotent little mouse of a Jew. squeak squeak

BTW-what size shoe do you wear-8, 9…10? let’s see if you have enough courage to answer the question honestly. I’ll bet you don’t.
(name and location withheld)

Response by Rick Baker

If possible please forward this to the gentleman who wrote about your family.

Mr. Name and location withheld,

My name is Rick Baker. I am a former Air Force Officer and a Vietnam Veteran with two tours of duty as a rescue pilot. I am also a regional coordinator for MRFF.

I was a Christian until I read your recent E-mail to Mr. Weinstein. Based on your barbaric treatment of Mr. Weinstein and his family and the growing militancy and Nazification of our beloved Christian principals by those of your ilk, I have decided to rethink my committment to Christianity. It seems Christianity of the sort you espouse has become the death knell of the kind, caring and concerned Christianity with which I grew up.

Your hateful rhetoric has turned a loving Jesus into a sneering, hateful and dangerous wild beast that far more resembles the tyrants of history than the savior He has been made out to be.

Your vile and medieval letter was an insult to all intelligent human beings. The depth of your ignorance is at once disturbing and pitiful.

For a person of your patently dismal character to opine so carelessly on a family that has served our great democracy for generations in the military is a grave misconception and reflects badly on your judgement and humanity.

Your racism is well defined by your statements and your limited intellect is clearly demonstrated by your inability to communicate without the use of vituperation. In short, you are a mindless Christian, racist sycophant with nothing to offer civilization. You are certainly no better than those concentration camp guards who stuffed women and children into gas chambers and burned their trembling bodies during the Holocaust.

You contribute nothing to this world. Therefore you are a non-entity. You need not have mentioned your faith because it was all too clear.

No one will meet you at the gates of Heaven for you will not reach them. There is nothing for you in this world or the next.

I condemn and vilify you sir. And as far as Mikey Weinstein goes, there is impotence of the genitals and impotence of the mind. Mr. Weinstein has sired children, you have not seemed to father any genuine thought.

Beware the Jewish Mouse that roars!

Response by Dave Horn

From the perspective of another former Air Force officer, one who has been working for years with Mikey to undo the bigoted work of Air Force leadership who did not like that I wrote about my non-religious perspective outside work, I, of course agree with Mr. Baker. When I joined the military hoping to serve my country I would never have dreamed that the cowardly and un-American views of Mr. “withheld”, were so common within the Air Force.

With 21 in a row Qual-1 or better evaluations and no disciplinary or other issues of any kind I was grounded, fired from my civil service job and forced to retire from the military as the direct result of my legal expression, outside work that was approved by military legal counsel. My expression in the local paper that airmen should not be forced to pray “in Jesus name” was met with an immediate campaign to remove me from the Air Force by my supervisors.

My complaints and evidence that the charges were lies fell on deaf ears as it was easier for all members of the chain to rubber stamp the decisions of those below them. Attending the extremely religious change of command ceremonies of some of these leaders suggested a second reason for their failure to do their duty.

In addition to forcing all of its members to pray, in many cases to someone else’s god, my unit showed religious videos and even PRODUCED videos that called non-religious people like me “idiots” and “fools”. So after having earned a civilian Gold Seal Flight Instructor license and all civil licenses including the Airline Transport Pilot license; after having flown more than 30 different types of aircraft including fighters such as the F-16, after graduating from Euro-NATO joint Jet Pilot Training and passing every evaluation after becoming mission ready and multiple lauded combat tours, I, a combat tested asset with an outstanding record and the support of my peers and many superiors, was forced out, during wartime, after exposing myself as a non-Christian away from work.

I was raised with traditional Christian values. My father was my Sunday School teacher and I sang in my mother’s choir. I don’t see these values reflected in Mr. “withheld’s” letter. I didn’t see them in the misguided religious leadership in my Wing either. From what I’ve read of Mikey’s struggle, this perverse pseudo-Christianity is being taught at the Academy which explains very well how it polluted my chain with principles not worthy of our United States.

I have nothing but thanks and unending respect for Mikey in his tireless struggle to correct a very real problem within our military that threatens the core values of the United States of America. Mikey is a hero. The words of Mr. “withheld” reflect the thoughts of many who wrap themselves in the American flag while acting like Nazi fools. They are everywhere, even in positions of authority in our military. Their words only inspire men like Mikey and more than 20,000 of us who he is directly helping with his foundation to continue our duty to defend the United States of America from all aggressors, both foreign and domestic.




December 18, 2010

by Gordon Duff 


“thought it was a bomb…walked out through the hole..burning plane parts…threatened to keep silent”



Confirmed sources in the Nigerian government tell us, in order to keep former Vice President Cheney out of prison for crimes involving Nigeria, $500,000,000 in bribes have been promised, negotiated by former President George H.W. Bush.   Now, only a day later, Cheney faces possible charges, so many charges they can only be imagined, for planning the Pentagon attack on 9/11.

TV host, Jesse Ventura, former Navy Seal, former Governor of Minnesota, on a one hour documentary on prime-time American television, makes an open and shut criminal case tying Cheney, Rumsfeld and officials throughout the US government with complicity in the planning, execution and subsequent cover-up of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.

According to experts on 9/11, engineers, pilots, intelligence officers and members of our military, Jesse Ventura “hit the nail on the head.”  Ventura, using evidence developed over 9 years by hundreds of individuals, outlines the utter impossibility of the government’s cover story on 9/11 and systematically debunks it using testimony and scientific evidence.

Ventura cites, in an interview with a 9/11 commissioner, a possible motive for the Pentagon attack being included with the attacks on the World Trade Center.  $2,300,000,000,000, yes 2.3 trillion US dollars had disappeared, cited only the day before in a televised statement by Secretary Rumsfeld, money “gone missing” from the Pentagon’s accounting.  The area of the Pentagon hit by a missile or destroyed by explosives or both contained all records of this missing money.


Ventura proves, beyond any doubt that no airplane every hit the Pentagon.  As the video shows, not even a highly trained airline pilot was capable of the maneuvers claimed.  Long before, it had been proven that the 757 was incapable of the task, either the maneuvers or the speed and trajectory.  The plane would have come apart, there is no disagreement with this and hasn’t been for some time, yet nothing had been done.  Why?

It is also clearly shown that there is absolutely no evidence of any kind showing a plane hit the Pentagon, no wreckage, no bodies, no luggage.  Items claimed to have been taken to Dover Air Force Base, bodies, plane parts, were never at the Pentagon as both video and testimony prove.

There is also proof that the government threatened witnesses, telling them to support the “aircraft scenario.”


The basis for the conspiracy theory regarding Muslim hijackers with box cutters was based on supposed phone calls made by Barbara Olson, wife of Bush Solicitor General.  Solicitor General Olson claimed he talked to his wife on a cell phone, spoke with her at length, while she described the hijackings as now dramatized by Hollywood.  When it was proven that a cell phone is incapable of making such calls, Olson claimed it was a “seat back phone.”  When it was proven that there were no seat back phones on American Airlines 757 aircraft, nothing further was asked.

Then investigations shows he received one call, lasting “0″ seconds.  Ventura questions as to whether Olson was duped or complicit?  Should he be arrested too?  Was his wife, Barbara, ever really on the plane?

Then Ventura looks into the flight itself.  Not only was the flight recorder “dead” but during the flight itself, the transponder was turned off.  Even more suspicious, the plane disappeared from radar for 28 minutes.

There is no discussion of this 28 minutes, but speculation, perhaps no longer speculation, has long been that the flight landed.  As to what happened then, we cannot guess, or can we.  One of my friends, a former Pentagon official, had a friend on that aircraft.  Not long ago, he asked me.

“Gordon, what do you think happened to him, do you think he was executed?  Bullet in the brain as they stepped off the plane or something even worse?”

Ventura didn’t go there.  None of us want to.  It requires visualizing a scene out of Auschwitz.

Can Americans be so brutal, so devious, so traitorous?  It isn’t just Jesse Ventura that is willing to risk his life to bring it out, Fox News journalist Geraldo Rivera, several weeks ago, debunked the Building 7 collapse at the World Trade Center as “controlled demolition.”


Commission video’s redacted to remove testimony by the Secretary of Transportation, transcripts altered, witnesses blocked, evidence, tons of evidence of government conspiracy withheld, this is the case against the government.  Threats, intimidation, going on for years, this is proven.  Were there more than threats, murders, “heart attacks” or threats against families?  Ventura proves the Pentagon was a government conspiracy, he “names names.”  Geraldo makes any other explanation for Building 7 other than “controlled demolition” pure insanity.


It isn’t as though the evidence presented by Governor Ventura and Geraldo Rivera or even the other stories, Judge Napolitano’s revelations of knowledge of the attacks as early as 1999, was new.  All has been know, all highly credible and all systematically ignored, attacked by the press, suppressed by courts, officials at every level.

9/11 and the recent revelations aren’t proof of a conspiracy by 2 men, or Israel.  It is proof that there never was an Al Qaeda and that the deaths, two wars, the 9/11 deaths and the carnage across the world wrought by the United States was part of a criminal conspiracy, one that could only be perpetrated by a dictatorship under the guise of representative democracy.

Everything we have seen, and millions around the world have watched, nobody can ignore it anymore, it all says that what has happened is something no American would allow, not if this still were America.  Jesse Ventura proved something startling to most, suspected by some.  He proved that, at some point in our past, 10 years, more, we don’t know, our government was overthrown.


The strongest and most vocal opponent of a new 9/11 investigation is Julian Assange of Wikleaks.  If any individual outside the US government were to be named as most complicit in a 9/11 cover-up, it would be Julian Assange.

Everything since then, certainly 9/11 and now, the news about Iran and, especially Wikileaks, all subterfuge.  When former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinsky cited Wikileaks on a PBS interview, televised nationally, that Wikileaks was the word of an intelligence agency, Israel never reported it or responded.  Instead, they attributed Brzezinski’s quote to me:

“Speaking to Haaretz, Duff added that ‘it sticks out like a sore thumb that WikiLeaks is obviously concocted by an intelligence agency.’”

This is what Brzezinski told Judy Woodruff of PBS:

ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: But I think the most serious issues are not those which are getting the headlines right now. Who cares if Berlusconi is described as a clown. Most Italians agree with that. Who cares if Putin is described as an alpha dog? He probably is flattered by it.

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.



Barak Obama ran for president on a platform based on justice, ending the wars and bringing accountability to government after 8 years of scandals, deceit and what can only be called “hooliganism and piracy.”  Instead, he has done nothing, the wars continue, drugs are flowing from Afghanistan even faster than before, 9/11 evidence, now overwhelming and impossible to ignore is still ignored.

Americans looking for reform wonder if Bush left at all.  Those complicit are, though few admit it, disturbed by seeing America led by an African American.  The visible public face on the very well financed attacks on President Obama are all very much based on race hatred.  This has long been the most effective tool for keeping Americans divided and compliant.  How else could a major political movement be successful supporting the least popular and least successful policies in American history?

Who would want a return to policies enacted by the least successful president in American history, George W. Bush, who left office with an approval record listed at 22%.  Many would find a number lower, even half, more credible.  President Clinton, after surviving impeachment for lying about sexual misconduct left office with 68% approval.  Thus, we connect the dots and wake up one morning, informed, enraged and utterly powerless.

Even through the assaults on President Obama, many financed by the Koch brothers,  tied to ultra-nationalists in Israel, whether there was a real change of government is not clear.  As Jesse Ventura pointed out, while Vice President Dick Cheney was getting reports of a plane approaching the Pentagon, seemingly even orchestrating the attack himself, President Bush was in Florida reading to school children.  Two years of Obama have been similar, too similar.

What can we assume from this?  Is, in fact, the President of the United States no longer Commander in Chief?  Did our government hand itself over to “shadow” rule with Bush or did it happen earlier, after President Reagan’s dementia made him unable to manage the cabal that surrounded him?  How long have we been operating under no Constitution at all?

The headline on today’s New York Times:


The headline on today’s Washington Post:


What is “their” message?  Certainly not “never again.”  In fact we know that “again” is just around the corner, an Iran war with or without a new 9/11, planned and executed by the same folks, older, not wiser and certainly more pathologically insane and murderous.

..and we continue to allow it.




December 18, 2010

by Dr. Ashraf Ezzat  

June, 1895, Theodor Herzl wrote in his diary: “In Paris, as I have said, I achieved a freer attitude toward anti-Semitism… Above all, I recognized the emptiness and futility of trying to combat anti-Semitism.”


Theodor Herzl

How do we explain Hitler’s hatred towards the Jews?   One reason why that was so, is the important but seldom stressed fact that there was nothing at all odd or unusual about a dislike of Jews almost anywhere in the world of the 1930s or even of long centuries before that time.

Throughout the history of Europe, there has always been a deeply rooted dislike and intolerance toward Jews.

Antipathy toward Jews and Judaism during ancient times go back to the Roman period. The intolerance escalated during the middle Ages with blood libels, expulsions, forced conversions and variouspogroms.


History of anti-Semitism


Jews intolerance reached its peak with the eleventh century crusades which witnessed horrible massacres of the Jews only to be followed by expulsions waves including, in 1290, the banishing of all English Jews; in 1396, the expulsion of 100,000 Jews in France; and in 1421, the expulsion of thousands from Austria where Many of the expelled Jews fled to Poland.  In 1478 the Spanish Inquisition took place, the expulsion from Spain in 1492 and the expulsion from Portugal in 1497…it seems like medieval Europe was throwing the Jews out of the continent.

The Black Death epidemic which swept throughout Europe in the 17th century and annihilated almost half of its population was blamed on the Jews.

In 1782, Emperor Joseph II ordered that Yiddish and Hebrew to be eliminated from public records.

The 19th century saturated with anti-Jewish sentiments culminated in the famous Dreyfus Affair,  an event of the late 19th century and early 20th century which in a way foreshadowed the then impending atrocious Holocaust.

… Hitler was to a considerable degree simply voicing the conventional wisdom of his times and he was far from alone in doing so.  The plain fact is that it was not just the Nazis who brought about the Holocaust.  To its shame, the whole of the western world did.

We only began to hear of anti-Semitism in modern times but the hatred and contempt for the Jews goes back in time to the Crucifixion of Jesus .


Herzl and anti- Semitism


… The word “Anti-Semitism” – though historically and etymologically inaccurate terminology – still, it undoubtedly managed to describe how most of the peoples – especially in the Christian Europe – felt towards Jews throughout history.

You can call it anti- Semitism, intolerance of Jews or the longest hatred ever in history but we have to admit that there is something inherently irreconcilable- to the gentile way of life- in the genuine attributes of the Jews and their culture that peoples throughout different places and times disliked.

Even Theodor Herzl – the creator of political Zionism and the author of the book Der Judenstaat (the Jewish state ) felt the same way toward Jews and Judaism. He often –according to his diary- showed contempt and dislike of his fellow Jews who abided by the Torah and Jewish traditions.

… Yes, Herzl was an anti-Semite in disguise.

He tried his best, not to oppose and fight anti-Semitism- which he finally came to the conclusion that it was inescapable, but to break loose of his Jewishness.

A recent and compelling – must watch- Israeli documentary released by the Israeli television “ Zionism and Herzl: The Anti-Semitic Side of Zionism” showed that, at first, Herzl thought that assimilation into the enlightened European society and culture would make an equal German citizen-despite his Jewish ethnicity- out of him but that failed to work as expected.

Later on he tried to get rid of his Jewishness by inviting the Jews living in Vienna to convert en masse to Christianity which he considered a more purified religion and far superior to Judaism.

Herzl’s anti-Semitic ideas were well articulated in an article he wrote in the “deutsche Zeitung”… in which he depicted Jews as villains and was quoted saying;

“The wealthy Jews control the world, in their hands lies the fate of governments and nations. They set governments one against the other. When the wealthy jews play, the nations and the rulers dance. One way or the other, they get rich”

..That article showed that Herzl – who couldn’t get rid of his stigmatic jewishness- was profoundly aware of the negative attributes of the Jewish character that could very well be the reason behind the enduring anti-Semitism.

Herzl was indeed a visionary, not for advocating the establishment of a Jewish state but for he seemed one of the few who thought that if Anti-Semitism proved so hard to overcome or abolish, one might as well make use of it.

Herzl,s ingenious idea was so simple and yet so dangerous. He came up with an idea that would Utilize anti-Semitism as a tool capable of changing the future of the Jews in Europe and which could alter the conspicuous and resistant anti-Semitism.

Herzl wrote in his diary;” an excellent idea enters my mind. To attract outright anti- Semites and to make them the destroyers of Jewish wealth”

Herzl believed that if a great power in Europe could be provoked against the Jews to a level that would critically jeopardize and even destroy a majority of Jews and their properties, then the tables could be turned, only then anti- Semitism would turn into a hideous crime the world has to pay for and repent, for the rest of time, an idea that later came to be realized by Hitler and the Nazis.

Herzl was never appalled by the hardships and persecutions of Jews – pogroms and massacres- for he believed it was a way of building the Jewish character through the suffering and degradation of the masses and he was certain the Jews would adapt.

Herzl proved to be a genius and a visionary when it came to how to deal with the European anti –Semitism. Herzl was always surrounded by anti-Semitism and by his fellow common Jews who wouldn’t assimilate into the enlightenment of modern Europe. He extremely disliked both. He finally concluded that he cannot get rid of one and keep the other as is. …Herzl was about to commit the original sin of defying the God of the Jews and leading the contemporary exodus from Europe.


The new Jewish state


Even in his prophecy and argument for establishing a state for the Jews- in Der Judenstaat (1896)- Herzl was not trying to return to the promised land of the Jews, rather he was merely dreaming of a new land, any land- not necessarily Palestine, he would have settled for a place in Uganda or Russia for that matter – that could well be the home for a new society of emancipated seculars like himself.

Herzl was not calling for the return to the historical land of the Jews because history didn’t mean that much to him, only the future of people like him seeking to live enlightened life as the one he experienced in Europe interested him. He was trying to create a new land out of an ancient one, a new Jewish state out of an older Arabic one, a modern and secular state out of a land filled with dead legends and false promises.

But little did Herzl know when he called it the Jewish state that there was no way to keep religion out of it, no way to keep extremism out of it and no way to keep worn- out dogma and outdated traditions out of the new land.

The Zionists made Herzl’s dream come true. A new Jewish state has been found but it was not the utopia Herzl dreamed of. The Zionists left Europe with its long and painful history of persecution and massacres of the Jews only to start an era of their own massacres and persecution of the Arabs.

Herzl thought he had almost everything figured out regarding his idea of a new Jewish state, but he missed one essential point- which he never questioned- that the Arabs would never welcome the Jews- as new settlers- amongst them.

With Herzl’s new Jewish state as Israel, the Jews thought they had said good bye to anti-Semitism but that proved to be another Jewish myth.

Anti-Semitism follows Jews wherever they go, it may be almost over in Europe but it is starting anew in the Middle East.

Posted in EducationComments Off on HERZL WAS AN ANTI-SEMITE IN DISGUISE




Many consider privatisation in Western countries to be a failed experiment of the 1980s and 1990s, yet it is the backbone of the current Tory government in Britain.

In their pursuit to sell off the family silver the Tories might well do away with the monarch.

On stamps, that is.

You can almost hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth from Neanderthal Tories and backwoodsmen as they contemplate the demise of Queen Elizabeth from British stamps, the Guardian has more on that possibility:

“The coalition is looking for a way to ensure that the Queen’s head is not removed from stamps if the Royal Mail is sold to a foreign buyer, business secretary Vince Cable said today.

Since the “penny black” went on sale in 1864, every British stamp has borne the profile of the reigning monarch. However, the government is now in talks with Buckingham palace after it was pointed out that there is no explicit guarantee that the tradition would continue if the Royal Mail is sold.

Speaking on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show, Cable said: “We have thought very hard about how we protect the brand – the royal family. There is provision within the legislation to stop the abuse of it,” he said. “But now it has been pointed out that there’s nothing specifically to stop whoever runs the Royal Mail in future dropping the royal head.

“I think it is unlikely they would, because it is a very powerful brand, but we will talk to the palace about whether any further changes need to be made.”

The postal services bill to enable the sell-off gives the Queen a veto over any use of her image, but does not insist that her head is shown.”





Haaretz is the most left-wing Israeli paper, and publishes Yitzhak Laor, Amira Hass, and Gideon Levy, but it is not a leftist paper. Haaretz occasionally manages to combine the most bizarre sentiments in one editorial page, and even in one article. Here’s one writer quoting the racist prescriptions of the most blithely racist writer in the American commentariat:

“Shame on them…. The people running Israel and Palestine have other priorities. It is time we left them alone to pursue them – and to live with the consequences.” That is the advice of influential New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman in an article published last week.

The article also stated: “It is long past time that we stop being their crack dealers.” Friedman proposes that the United States stop giving Israel and the Palestinians aid and gifts to persuade them to talk to each other. For now, however, Friedman can relax…

Giving the Palestinians an American general to train their troops to repress their own people and using aid from the European Union to pay for the occupation create an unsustainable economic infrastructure and a collaborator layer in Ramallah is the same as giving the Palestinian people crack. What fun for the kiddies in Nablus. The Marxist philosopher Shlomo Avineri (even their Marxists become Zionists) tells usthat

Obama believed that his determination and his international standing would lead Israel and the Palestinians to soften their stances. … Washington needs a Plan B, a paradigm shift. For 17 years Israel and the Palestinians have been trying to reach a final agreement, either directly or with U.S. mediation. Israeli prime ministers, American presidents and even Palestinian leaders have come and gone, and still no peace agreement. The gaps, it turns out, are too great. And so, the United States must abandon its fruitless efforts to obtain a final agreement in favor of examining the option of interim agreements or partial, perhaps even unilateral, measures.

The Palestinians must “soften” their sclerotic stance on accepting 100 percent of the 22 percent of the land that was 93 percent theirs in 1947, with the result that “History, to which Israel and the Jewish people cling so tenaciously, is denied to the Palestinians, whose mere invocation of it is decried as obstructionist… the Palestinians are supposed to begin negotiations at whatever point Israel (backed by the US) says they should, a point that alters in line with the diminished realities Israel has imposed on them.”

What’s finally interesting is that both Avineri and Barel are more clear-eyed about what is at stake here than most writing here. Barel notes that America needs “peace” more than the parties involved. This is true, so long as we solely understand the term, the “parties involved” to refer to the leadership and social elites. The Palestinian negotiating team only cares about maintaining its government’s grip on power, and the Israeli leadership is in the quixotic position of possibly inciting social breakdown if it pursues peace.

Randolph Bourne wrote that war is the health of the state and that’s nowhere truer than in Israel (evident in a near-tripling of the market capitalization of the Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange since 2000). Barel adds that what America needs is “progress on American recognition of a Palestinian state”— code for “progress” on the veneer of peace that will let the Gulf States and especially Saudi Arabia control societal anger towards Israeli policies and their tacit collaboration with those policies, and also keep the oil profits funneled toward XOM and the arms funneling out from Boeing and the Pentagon.

Avineri is even more honest: “the United States must abandon its fruitless efforts to obtain a final agreement in favor of examining the option of interim agreements or partial, perhaps even unilateral, measures,” turning the peace process from one that in principle was oriented towards peace but that in practice was focused on process into one that’s even in principle abandoned peace in favor of process. Process is all that’s needed to keep the whole jig whirring more-or-less smoothly along, while the profits keep flowing in and up and the body-count edges daily higher.

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Israeli occupation contributes to the water crisis in the South Hebron Hills

Dec 18, 2010

Samuel Nichols


Vehicles in line
Israeli military vehicles descending on the South Hebron Hills ( Photo Credit – Operation Dove)

The Israeli military demolished three cisterns and two wells in the South Hebron Hills villages of Khasem ad-Daraj and Hathaleen.  In the early morning of December 14, five bulldozers accompanied by the Israeli military, border police, and DCO (Israeli Civil Administration) made the long trek through the arid, rocky hills in order to demolish much-needed cisterns and to destroy wells by filling them with dirt.  

Villagers told international activists that the DCO had failed to personally deliver the demolition orders two days previously but had instead left the orders under a stone near the cisterns.  The DCO officials who oversaw the demolition of the cisterns and wells stated that the Israeli Civil Administration had not issued building permits and the structures were therfore illegal.


The Christian Peacemaker Teams reported on the incident [1]: 


The demolished cisterns and wells supplied drinking water to the villagers as well as their sheep and goats — the primary sources of food and income for the villages in the area.  The wells were over seventy years old, pre-dating the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian Territories.  The Israeli military claims that it does not destroy structures created before 1967.

These rural Bedouin villages lie in the rolling hills to the southeast of Hebron and mark the southern edge of the Hebron hills.  The Palestinians of this region are herders and dry-land farmers who rely on rainfall to nourish their crops and provide grasses for their flocks.  The severe drought of the last several years has exacerbated the ongoing water shortage due to Israel’s control over water distribution and has jeapordized the viability of these Bedouins’ lifestyle.


Picture 3  Hole in cistern
Israeli bulldozer destroying a cistern. (Photo Credit – Operation Dove)

Villages in the South Hebron Hills are typically not connected to a water network and are forced to purchase privatized water transported in tankers.  Water on the private market is three to six times more expensive [2] than what is available in Israeli households and even more expensive in cases where villages are not accessible by paved roads, as is the case with Khasem ad-Daraj and Hathaleen.  Palestinians in the Hebron region use 57-80 liters of water per capita each day, dangerously below the World Health Organization’s minimum of 150 liters.


Meanwhile, Israeli settlers use more than 300 liters of water per capita each day[3].  Despite all of the water vulnerabilities that the herders and farmers of the South Hebron Hills face [4] as a result of the occupation and a warming planet, Israel still has the gall to demolish cisterns and to destroy wells that were built before 1967. 


Climbing to the crest of one of the countless hills in the region provides a stunning view. To the east the hills fade to a murky dust as the hills slope off into the scorching Dead Sea basin.  To the south, the hills slide into the Negev desert and visible is the Israeli city of Arad.  


Miraculously, this section of the Green Line is not scarred by concrete walls or chainlink fences which is a reminder of the geographical continuity of the land.  


South Hebron Hills

South Hebron Hills (Photo Credit – Operation Dove)

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The beauty of the view is overshadowed by the inhumanity of denying people access to water.  No reasonable justification, not even the all-purpose ‘security’ justification, can be used to explain the destruction of water cisterns and wells in the isolated, arid hills of Hebron.  It’s simply an attempt to ethnically cleanse this land of Palestinians, a process that was nearly accomplished in 1999[5].  Since 1999, the residents have been courageously struggling to remain on their land but each act of destruction and dispossession carried out by Israeli settlers and the Israeli military further jeapordizes their chance of survival.  



[1] – 2010/12/17/south-hebron-hills- israeli-military-demolishes- three-cisterns-and-two-wells- arid-r

[2] – english/water/2008070_acute_ water_shortage_in_the_west_ bank.asp

[3] – publications/2010/Chapter%204. pdf

[4[ – documents/Hebron%20Drought.pdf

[5] – English/Publications/ Summaries/200507_South_Hebron. asp


Samuel Nichols works with the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), primarily in the South Hebron Hills and in the Old City of Hebron.He blogs at

State Department says it has ‘raised’ Abu Rahmah case with Israelis…

Dec 17, 2010

Philip Weiss


We have just learned that Matthew Lee of AP again raised the Abdallah Abu Rahmah case this afternoon at the State Department, and the following dialogue ensued, with Ass’t Sec’y P.J. Crowley:

Crowley: We have raised this case with the Israeli government. We continue to follow developments in this case, as well as other cases of West Bank Palestinian protesters who have been arrested and tried on a variety of charges. We are aware that, in this particular case of Abdullah Abu Rahmeh, the case is under appeal, and our embassy regularly raises human rights issues as appropriate and with regard to specific cases with the government of Israel.

¶ QUESTION: OK. When you said that you’ve raised it with the Israelis, can you be more specific? What have you said?

¶ CROWLEY: We’ve discussed the case with the Israeli government. I’ll leave it there.

¶ QUESTION: OK. And did this happen before or after you started getting questions about it?

¶ CROWLEY: Before.

¶ QUESTION: And so then what was the — what was the problem with saying this when it was originally raised?

¶ CROWLEY: I finally got the information I needed. 

Mr President, answer Matthew Lee of the AP: ‘Why is it beneath the United States to come out and say something about this practitioner of nonviolence?’

Dec 17, 2010

Philip Weiss


Please just watch this. If you don’t do anything else today, watch this. Promise me. Then send it to your friends. Words escape me this is so brilliant. It breaks my heart with moral urgency and sorrow. Awake America. Matthew Lee of the Associated Press stands up for days on end for imprisoned Palestinian civil disobedience leader Abdallah Abu Rahmah, at the State Department. 


This is better than David Gregory going after Tony Snow, better than Michael Wolff’s fabulous meltdown in Qatar. Because there is no selfishness in Lee’s questions, there is only charity and human concern, and career risk too.

Crowley: “I haven’t yet got a satisfactory answer.” Lee: “What does that mean? It was too informative?”.. A day or so later. “I’ve been asking for several days now…” Other members of the Quartet have spoken out, Lee says. Later: “One more time.. to shake something loose from you.. what does that mean to monitor closely… [angrily at last] you monitor the weather in Beijing closely. Why is it beneath the United States to come out and say something about this person who is a practitioner of nonviolence?” When will the networks give this man the oxygen of attention that he needs.

Something else important. You might think from watching Crowley’s stumbling responses, asking for days to figure out an answer, that this was the first time State Dep’t folks were asked about Abdallah.


From Code Pink, Rob Mosrie of the US Campaign to End the Occupation, and Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace. Please note the date:

October 26 – Representatives from four US human rights groups met with State Department officials on Friday, October 22nd, and delivered a letter addressed to Secretary of State Clinton signed by more than 5,000 individuals calling for the US government to demand that Israel free Abdallah Abu Rahmah, a leading Palestinian nonviolent protest organizer.

S. African politicians ‘beaten up by IDF’ & Please sign the petition to free Palestinian children detained by Israel

Dec 17, 2010



and other news from Today in Palestine:

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Settlers/ Land, Property, Resource Theft & Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing

Sheikh Jarrah: Daoudi family faces first court appearance to fight eviction
Today in Jerusalem, the Daoudi family appeared at their first court hearing to defend themselves against forced eviction. The Daoudis live in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Palestinian East Jerusalem where Israeli settlers are seeking to illegally evict and displace Palestinian residents from their homes. According to the UN, of the approximately 2,800 Palestinian residents in Sheikh Jarrah, more than 60 have lost their homes and 500 are at risk of forced eviction. 

Israel builds new settlement neighborhood in Jerusalem
Jerusalem, December 16, (Pal Telegraph) – Israeli occupation authorities have started building new settlement neighborhood in Jabl Al-Zaytoon in Jerusalem.  The radio of Israel reported that the new settlement neighborhood will include 24 housing units and it will be specified for the students of the Jewish institute pointing out that the local committee for building and organizing approved the building project one year ago.  The project is carried out by a company belonging a right-wing association pays for settlement projects in Jerusalem called Elad. 

Despite court ruling, IDF took Arab land for train line
Former Civil Administration head, Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, signed an order expropriating 50 dunams from a West Bank village for the rail line connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, just two days before stepping down from his post on November 3.  According to the document, Mordechai was convinced the expropriation was done for public good and that the user of the land would be in a position to compensate the property owners.

Hebron court vandalized ‘without any justification’
HEBRON (Ma’an) – The Palestinian lawyers’ union condemned on Thursday what it called an attack by Israeli troops against the Dura courthouse in Hebron “without any justification.”  The court’s doors and windows were damaged during arrest raids in the village overnigh 

Uninvited Israeli Settlers Enter Beit Ommar Mosque
At 4am on the morning of Wednesday, December 16th 2010, a contingent of Israeli soldiers accompanied a group of settlers into the town of Beit Ommar. They woke up the guardian of the Old Mosque and demanded that he open the building for them. On entering the Old Mosque the settlers began taking photographs of the interior.  The guardian was told that the settlers wish to partition the mosque and use their half for prayers three times a week, claiming that the building holds special religious significance for them. 

Court asked to ensure Palestinian farmers’ water access
Law suit filed after Civil Administration declares land as archeological area; lawyer says settlers have access to disputed spring.  Farmers from Deir Nizam, 23 km. northwest of Ramallah, petitioned the High Court of Justice on Thursday to order the civil administration to allow them access to the Ein al-Kis spring to irrigate their fields. 

Israel’s Jerusalem Master Plan 2020, Stephen Lendman
A November 10 Qatar News Agency article headlined, “Israel Plans to Rebuild Old Jerusalem – Palestinian Official,” stated: Attorney Ahmed Al-Ruwaidi, “responsible for the Jerusalem unit in the Palestinian Authority (PA), said Israel plan(s) to build new settlement homes in old Jerusalem where the ancient walls of the city will be overshadowed by modern bridges, synagogues and gardens spreading from the Arab neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah to Wdi Al Joze and Suwaneh.” 

Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions

One Critically injured, Many Treated for Tear Gas Inhalation During West Bank Anti Wall Protests
Ramallah – PNN – a civilian was critically injured, Many protesters were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation on Friday when Israeli troops attacked anti wall protests organized in a number of West Bank villages.  This Friday protests were organized in the villages of Bil’in, Nil’in, and al Nabi Saleh in central West Bank in addition to al-Ma’ssara village in southern West Bank. International and Israeli supporters joined the villagers at all four locations. The protests took place shortly after the midday prayers have ended.

Dozens tear-gassed in Bil’in as they walk toward lands owned by people of the village, Hamde Abu Rahme
Today dozens of people were injured as a result of inhaling the tear gas due to the clashes that took place in the village of Bil’in. Many people from Bil’in village joined this march along with the peace activists and foreigners who came to give solidarity to Bil’in people, especially after the decision of the Israeli Defence Force to suppress the weekly march against the wall and the settlements.

S. African politicians ‘beaten up by IDF’
Parliament members say ‘shoved’ by soldiers during anti-Israel protest in village near Bethlehem last week. ‘They fired tear gas and stun grenades at us,’ one of them claims. Army: Forces used means required to end violent riot.,7340,L-4000648,00.html

State Department hails ‘civil society activists’ around the world but refuses to say anything for imprisoned Abdallah Abu Rahmah, Philip Weiss
Yesterday, 15 December 2010, the issue of Abu Rahmah was followed up by the AP. Crowley answered that the case is ‘watched closely’ by US representatives in Israel. Far from releasing a statement on Abdallah Abu Rahmah, Crowley confirmed the silent position on Palestinian non-violence that the United States has maintained in recent months.  Video links of the relevant State Department briefings can be found here (10.12.2010, minute 13:08), here (13.12.2010, minute 17:08), here (14.12.2010, minute 21:33) and here(15.12.2010, minute 22:20).

US State Department Silent on Bil’in’s Abdallah Abu Rahmah, Joseph Dana
US State Department spokesman continues to avoid giving a clear US position on the case of imprisoned non-violent leader Abdallah Abu Rahmah. Asked three times on different occasions by Associated Press reporters, spokesman PJ Crowley failed to show clear US support of Abdallah Abu Rahmah.

Write a letter and condemn them their decision to ignore Abu Rahma here

Freedom for Ibrahim, Hassan and Zaydoon: An interview with leaders of the Ni’lin Popular Committee Against the Separation Wall
On December 3, 2010, three leaders of the Ni’lin Popular Committee Against the Separation Wall were released from Israeli military prison: Ibrahim Amireh, coordinator of the Popular Committee; Hassan Mousa, spokesperson; and Zaydoon Srour.  Israel wrongfully imprisoned them for 11 months in apparent retaliation for their role as leaders of the nonviolent movement. During their imprisonment, Saeed Amireh, Ibrahim’s 19 year-old son, stepped forward as a powerful leader of the efforts to free his father.  ISM interviewed the four activists on December 15. 

Sheikh Jarrah to light community Christmas tree
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — National and religious institutions in Jerusalem invited guests to join Sheikh Jarrah families in lighting its Christmas tree Monday at 4 p.m.  Organizers said the event would be a chance to “voice your rejection and opposition to Israel’s ethnic cleansing policy in Jerusalem,” and support the “lawful struggle” of many residents to remain in their homes. 

Anti-Jewish abuse from Ahava staff
Oi! Zionists in the UK are on the ropes again.  First, a picket is mounted against the Ahava store by Palestine solidarity activists protesting the sale of products made from Palestine resources, then the Zionist Federation (ZFUK) mounts a counter picket, then the neo-nazis of the EDL come to support zionism (as they do and always did), then ZFUK activist, Jonathan Hoffman gets photographed openly fraternising with an EDL activist, then he has to issue a grovelling apology for libelling the photographer, also called Hoffman, who snapped the rather compromising situation.  And now…. And now what?  And now an assistant at the Ahava store has called a Jewish Palestine solidarity activists a Christ-killer. See this short clip from Tony Greenstein’s blog.

#BDS: LDFP Press Release: Ethical Principles for Boycotting Israel
Lib Dem Friends of Palestine, a voice for human rights in Palestine, have joined the growing call to the British public and companies to boycott Israeli goods on sale in Britain.   We are deeply concerned at the continuing failure of UK and USA governments to take any measures against Israel. LDFP call on the coalition government and EU to implement economic sanctions against Israel.

U.S. Boat to Gaza announces: Application Process Now Open
Hurry — Registration for the “Audacity of Hope” will close after 30 DAYS. 

Mondo Awards: Call for entries
Although it often seems like changing the status quo is a never ending slog of two steps forward and one step back it behooves us on occasion to stop and see the mileage we’ve made, to appreciate our movement, the people who’ve inspired us, the great courageous and brave actions taken by people in the region both Palestinians and Israelis, those in the diaspora and our supporters from all walks of life. 

Resisting an ideology of inequality: Jody McIntyre interviewed
Over the past month, journalist and activist Jody McIntyre has joined a growing number of students, workers, activists and others in the UK protesting a government decision to cut public sector funding, especially to education. Jody, who spent months alongside Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip protesting the Israeli occupation, is now back in London attending and reporting on various student-led actions. The Electronic Intifada’s Matthew Cassel spoke with Jody at his south London home.


USPCN Stands Against Political Repression
The United States Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) strongly condemns and denounces the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s political repression of 19 anti-war, Palestine solidarity and Palestinian activists. The USPCN calls for the immediate suspension of the federal government’s grand jury prosecution of these activists, and an end to the FBI’s harassment of our communities. 

Anti-BDS Campaigners Liken Movement to Nazi Germany Policies, Alex Kane
If you can’t beat ‘em, smear ‘em.  As the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement continues full-steam ahead in its efforts to force Israel to comply with international law, pro-Israel hawks are increasingly attempting to link the movement to anti-Semitism and Nazi Germany-era policies.  The latest person to do so is Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic, who has been described as “one of the most influential Jewish journalists working in mainstream media.” 

Say it ain’t so: Zakaria, Huffington and Tom Friedman go to bat for center that is desecrating Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem, Philip Weiss
This one stopped me, made me wonder if I need to have my eyes adjusted.  This is an invitation to a benefit next spring for Canadian friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies. On the cover of the invite you will see Arianna Huffington, Thomas Friedman of the NY Times, Fareed Zakaria of CNN fame, and Aayan Hirsi Ali. They’ll all be speaking at the May 31 event at a Toronto synagogue.  Hold on. This is the same Simon Wiesenthal Center that is building a “Museum of Tolerance” in Jerusalem on a 12th Century Muslim cemetery.

National Hillel sends many young Jews into exile. Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb on Talmud and BDS.
Hillel, the world’s largest Jewish campus organization-with staff, funding and physical space on some 500 mostly US campuses – says it wants to create a “welcoming environment for Jewish students on campus by fostering students’ ability to incorporate Jewish tradition into their lives.” Translation? Only Jews who pass an ideological litmus test on Israel are welcome. Others can stop at the door.

Avi Shlaim in Israel
I am not surprised at this: neither about Avi Shlaim visit to Saudi Arabia (at the invitation of Bin Laden’s friend, Prince Turki Al-Faysal) nor at the invitation by Saudi government itself.  Avi Shlaim represents a case of a moderate Zionist–if there is such a thing because there is nothing moderate about a project that uprooted an entire population and that imposes its political will by force and occupation and explusion–whose judgment on regimes in the region is not based on their human rights record but on their closeness to Israel.  Witness his love affair with the king and his fawning biography of him.  Avi Shlaim served in the Israeli terrorist army and he explains away this fact to Arab students at Oxford by telling them dismissively: oh, I only served in the border police.  I told Arab students at Oxford two years ago: but the border police was the one that shot at thousands of Palestinian civilians from 1948 to 1960s merely because they wanted to go and  check on their homes and property.   Now Avi Shlaim is in love with the House of Saud: and notice that he only cares about their views of the usurping Zionist entity:  “”I was surprised by the absence of talk of violence and condemnation against Israel. I have not heard anyone deny Israel’s right to exist…and the Saudis wish that this issue could be resolved,” Shlaim said.”  Yes, Avi Shlaim.  I am sure that the sample of Saudis that you are permitted to meet is quite representative of the Saudi population.   Oh, yeah.  And this is somebody who teaches Middle East studies. [end]

Israeli flag in Dubai
“After a month of uncertainty, Israel’s national swim team arrived early yesterday morning in Dubai ahead of the World Short Course Championships, which open today.  The Israeli delegation went through hell and high water to get to Dubai. Officials of the emirate refused to issue the Israelis visas until the last minute, and only allowed them in without stamping their passports and making them undergo stringent security checks. “It seems they feared we would bring in something special, but everything went quietly,” said Noam Zvi, chairman of the Israeli Swimming Federation.”

Refugees/Siege/Rights Violations/Restriction of Movement

Industrial Fuel – Needs Vs. Supply – Nov 14 – Dec 11

UAE calls for lifting of Gaza blockade
The UAE called on the international community to “compel” Israel to lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip yesterday.  The UAE’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ahmed Abdul Rahman al Jarman, addressed the UN General Assembly and pledged further support to those trapped inside the region.  “The Humanitarian conditions in the occupied Palestinian Territories, especially in the Gaza Strip, continue to deteriorate because of the siege imposed on the Strip by the Israeli occupying forces for the last three years,” the state news agency WAM quoted him as saying. 

A Bethlehem Christmas wish
More than 2,000 years ago, a miracle happened in Bethlehem and the prophet of peace, love and forgiveness was born. Now Bethlehem, as well as every other Palestinian city, town and refugee camp, still lives under occupation and oppression. 

Silwan children’s football league opens today to great success
Today marks the opening of the children’s football league in Silwan. The opening match, held between the Wadi Hilweh and el-Bustan teams, showcased the talents of young players from the two neighborhoods of Silwan most targeted by the Israeli settlement enterprise. The league opened under the banner of “Silwan Remains”, drawing teams from throughout Silwan and surrounding villages to participate. Madaa Center currently organizes training sessions for the Wadi Hilweh team, its players aged from 14-16 years. The opening match ended with a final score of 7 – 2 el-Bustan – Wadi Hilweh. Murad Abu Shafi, a member of the el-Bustan Popular Committee commented that “activities such as the football league play a crucial role in helping Silwan’s youth to seek alternatives to the huge social and economic problems here, and simply enjoy their childhood.” Nihad Siyam, coach of the Wadi Hilweh team stated that “whether we win or lose is inconsequential – the real goals of the league, and all its players, are to embrace Palestinian culture and identity here in Silwan – to celebrate it. We hope that through a strong sports program, we can see our children laugh and play, despite the threats posed by the settlements, the soldiers and the Municipality.”

Racism and Discrimination

Jerusalem’s Pisgat Ze’ev: Arabs Raus!
The Jerusalem settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev, named for rightist Revisionist leader Zeev Jabotinsky, knows how to handle Arabs.  Just take it from Moshe Ben Zikri, recently elected “community adminstrator” (in Chicago he’d be called the ward boss or council leader) for the neighborhood.  His most critical task: fighting the Arab menace, the campaign to take control of the community from its rightful Jewish residents.  How will he do this?  By levying a hefty $30,000 fine on any resident who sells an apartment to an unapproved tenant.  Who approves?  The Jewish residents, of course.


Live ammunition in Baten el-Hawa, roadblocks in Wadi Hilweh
Clashes were reignited today in Silwan as Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition in Baten el-Hawa neighborhood in the heart of Silwan village. Palestinian youths threw molotov cocktails at the army in response. No injuries have been reported. Israeli forces erected two roadblocks in Wadi Hilweh district at the entrance to the neighborhood, enforcing strict control and inspection of both inward- and outward-bound Palestinian vehicles and pedestrians attempting to pass.

Troops amassing in Silwan as Friday prayers draw to a close
Israeli troops closed off the main street of Wadi Hilweh in Silwan today immediately after the Friday prayers. A state of tension has gripped the village, with an extremely high number of Israeli troops and police stationed throughout the region, in addition to a markedly higher number of settler guard vehicles at the various settlement projects. A large number of residents assembled in the el-Bustan protest tent for the weekly public Friday prayer. Israeli authorities have issued repeated threats to demolish and/or remove the tent. During his sermon, Imam Najeh Bakirat emphasized the importance to resist the normalization of relations with Israel and called for a boycott of all Israeli products – not only those produced in settlements. Witnesses also confirm that Israeli Intelligence has been sighted today installing more surveillance cameras throughout Silwan. All Israeli settlements in the village maintain a network of surveillance cameras on the premises to monitor Palestinians in the surrounding streets. Surveillance is so extensive as to invade the privacy of neighboring homes, with some cameras able to film through windows and inside houses. Residents have submitted several complaints, but have received no response. Israeli police have in fact used material recorded on private settler surveillance cameras during interrogation of Palestinian child detainees, in attempts to extract confessions or informations on other “suspects”. Surveillance material has also been used to incriminate residents who have been present at or in the proximity of street clashes in Silwan.

Clashes erupt in Silwan
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Young residents of East Jerusalem fathered near a protest tent in the Al-Bustan neighborhood of Silwan on Friday and said they were harassed and assaulted by a patrolling force of Israeli border guards, sparking clashes.  One young man said he and friends gathered in the area as a show of solidarity following the afternoon prayer, noting the neighborhood was tense on account of several pedestrian checkpoints police had erected at the entrances to Al-Bustan.

Detainees (held by Israelis and the PA)

Petition – Act Now to Free The Children of Palestine!
Please take a moment to read and sign the online petition at:   This petition demands that President Barak Obama direct Israel to release all Palestinian children detained in its prisons and detention centers immediately, and to end all forms of systematic and institutionalized abuse that it practices against the children of Palestine.  Please ask your friends and contacts to do the same.

11 year old arrested by Israeli troops, clashes in Bir Ayyub
Israeli troops arrested a Palestinian child in the Bir Ayyub district of Silwan last night, 16 December, as the youth was returning from a school trip. Eyewitnesses report that 11 year old Khadr Jamjoum received blows to the head as he was seized by Israeli soldiers. Troops fired gas and sound bombs at the bus returning students to their homes after a school excursion, also firing gas grenades indiscriminately in the street and at shops, resulting in minor clashes between residents and Israeli troops and settler guards. Eyewitnesses also state that soldiers fired live ammunition during the clashes.

4 national security officers detained near Hebron
HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained on Thursday four Palestinian security officers at the entrance of Hebron.  Eyewitnesses told Ma’an that the forces in Yatta village took the Palestinian officers to the Civil Administration headquarters even though they showed the soldiers their security IDs.  The four officers were identified as Imad Bahees, Imad Hammad, Khalil Kabaja, and Mahmud Abu Qabita.  An Israeli military spokeswoman did not immediately return a call seeking comment. 

13 Palestinians arrested in the West Bank amid pursuit of activists
WEST BANK, (PIC)– Israeli troops rounded up thirteen Palestinians for questioning Thursday morning in the West Bank amid a wide-ranging campaign to pursue alleged wanted activists in the region.  Two Palestinians were arrested near the central West Bank city of Ramallah and taken in for interrogation, Israeli Radio reported. Their identities and the organizations were not identified.  Nine others were rounded up during an arrest spree n the city of Al-Khalil, Palestinian security sources said. 

War/Occupation Crimes

Universal Jurisdiction at Risk of Sabotage, War Criminals
Alessandra Bajec – PNN – Last 1st December, the British government announced new proposals in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill which include legal changes restricting citizens’ right to seek the arrest of officials for alleged war crime.  The move will allow a political interference with the issuing of arrest warrants, and will thus weaken the existing universal jurisdiction law with the result of ending all threat of prosecution for Israeli officials visiting the UK.  The current legislation fully complies with the Geneva Convention, and Britain has a duty to seek out and prosecute those responsible for war crimes

Shin Bet to compensate PFLP member for torturing him
Jamal al-Hindi to receive an undisclosed amount of money for a partial disability that he says was caused by torture at the hands of Shin Bet agents 15 years ago.

Book exposes Israeli occupation as seen by troops (AFP)
AFP – Some stories are told with shame; others are just matter-of-fact accounts, but the dozens of soldier testimonies in a book to be released this month lays bare the grim day-to-day reality of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.* 

PA Repression 

France ‘concerned’ at Palestinian jailed for blasphemy blog (AFP)
AFP – France said Thursday it was “concerned” about the arrest of a young Palestinian blogger jailed for posting “blasphemous” remarks online.*

Political Developments

Bolivia recognizes Palestinian state
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Bolivia announced Friday its recognition of a fully sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Israel.  President Evo Morales made the announcement in Brazil at a conference with regional leaders, Bolivia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said.  “Bolivia recognizes the Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, like Brazil and Argentina,” Morales was quoted as saying.

Israel condemns Norway’s upgrade of Palestinian standing in Oslo to ‘diplomatic delegation’
Foreign Ministry official warns that Palestinians won’t want to renew peace talks with Israel if they start attaining political goals without negotiations.

Palestinians disappointed in US House vote
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — PLO officials expressed disappointment Thursday over a resolution passed a day earlier by the US House condemning unilateral attempts to gain recognition of a Palestinian state.  “The Palestinian right to freedom and self-determination is not contingent on the approval of the state of Israel,” the PLO mission to the United States said in a statement. 

PLO official questions US stance on peace process
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A member of the PLO negotiating team with Israel said Thursday that while the Palestinians backed a strong US role in the peace process, the Obama administration could be doing more.  Mohammad Shtayyeh criticized Wednesday’s US House vote opposing the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state and questioned why the Americans did not take a harder line against unilateral Israeli measures. 

‘Talks between Abbas and Mitchell were difficult’ 
Palestinian sources said that talks between US envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas were “difficult,” according to London-based newspaper al-Hayat.  The sources said that during the talks held in Ramallah and Cairo over the last two days Abbas spoke “harshly” telling Mitchell, “Unfortunately the talks failed, but fortunately were are not the reason behind this failure.” 

No Israel talks ‘in any format,’ Palestinians insist (AFP)
AFP – The Palestinians on Thursday said they would not hold any form of talks with Israel, in any format, without a complete halt to settlement activity.*

With Mideast peace talks adrift, the US searches for Plan B (The Christian Science Monitor)
The Christian Science Monitor – Soon after the US announced last week it would abandon an 18-month demand for an Israeli settlement freeze to advance peace talks with the Palestinians, state department spokesperson PJ Crowley insisted that the US would not start over with a blank slate.* 

PA suspects Fatah former Gaza strongman trying to form armed militia
PA security forces question Fatah activists about their ties to Mohammed Dahlan and whether they received instructions or funds from him in connection to the purchase of weapons.

Palestinians want control of more West Bank parts (AP)
AP – Children’s chairs pulled out of a pile of rubble are all that’s left of a schoolhouse that served 17 children of Palestinian herders in this encampment on a wind-swept West Bank plateau.*

Hamas leader says time is on our side (AFP)
AFP – The Palestinians have time in their fight for a state, and Hamas is committed to observing a truce with Israel as it builds a nation, senior Hamas leader Mahmud Zahar told AFP.*

Other News

PA settlement observer says gov’t confiscated car [Pathetic attempt by the PA to cut cost in the wrong places]
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Palestinian official in charge of the settlement file in the northern West Bank Ghassan Daghlas said Friday that a government decision would see his official vehicle confiscated.  Daghlas, who monitors and reports on settler violence, settlement expansions and related tensions, said the decision followed a cabinet decision pushed through by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in an effort to cut government costs.

What is happening in the UAE? Expulsion of Shi`ites and Palestians continues
I have been receiving many letters about this situation and I am here posting one.  By the way, Nabih Birri did indeed visit UAE and met with the ruler and he then returned “very satisfied” and the issue died in the Lebanese press and I am told that the families of the expelled were pressured to keep quiet by the political forces of the Birri movement.  Here is the letter (I cite with permission but the sender wishes to remain anonymous):  “I decided to contact you as I am sure you are one of the very few courageous people who are willing to speak. As you already know,the UAE deported hundred of lebanese shiite families last year in a very oppressive and inhumane way. Many people thought that it was all over after Nabih Berri traveled to abudhabi and met with Khalifa bin Zayed. [continued] 

Why Israel’s years are numbered
Prominent Hebrew University demographer Sergio DellaPergola recently told the Jerusalem Post that Jews already constitute just under 50% of the population in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip combined. In effect, a Jewish minority rules over a majority population that includes 1.4 million Palestinian (second-class) citizens of Israel, 2.5 million Palestinians under occupation in the West Bank and another 1.5 million under siege in the open-air prison known as the Gaza Strip. All credible projections show that Palestinians will be the decisive majority within a few years.

Trade bloc eyes agreement with Syria, Palestinians (AFP)
AFP – The South American trade bloc Mercosur on Thursday opened talks with Syria and the Palestinian Authority on free trade agreements, an Argentine official, Luis Kreckler, told reporters.* 

‘Holy Land’ does not include Bethlehem – It’s official!
The Israel Government Tourist Office (IGTO) has begun promoting a series of pilgrimages to the Holy Land, with itineraries that do not include Bethlehem, Hebron or Jericho. Instead, parts of illegally annexed East Jerusalem do feature, including the controversial ‘King David’s City’ controlled by the Elad settlers.  The pilgrimages, which have been advertised in the Church press, are listed on a new website:,  The website features some pictures of Bethlehem – but the itineraries do not include any time there. (There is advice on how to get there independently.)  Concern about the tours, and the advertising for them, has been expressed by Pax Christi, the Amos Trust,  and Sabeel UK, as well as the Interfaith Group for Morally Responsible Investment (IMRI) which includes the two Jewish organisations Jews for Justice for Palestinians and Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD).  The IGTO initiative follows the Vatican Synod on the Middle East in which Pope Benedict XVI pleaded for recognition of the ‘Living Stones’ within Israel/Palestine, the dwindling population of Palestinian Christians.  This was echoed by Catholic Archbishop Kelly of Liverpool, the English and Welsh Bishops’ representative at the Synod and also Franciscan Father Pizzaballa, Custodian of Holy Places. 

150 activists protest ‘seduction center’ in Tel Aviv for promoting sexual violence
He wrote in detail about how the woman had refused to take off her clothes, but how he eventually had sex with her anyway.  “I want to thank the Center for the Art of Seduction, which gave me the tools to do what I did yesterday,” Russo wrote in the posting.  Someone identified on the forum only as “Izmir,” and who is also believed to be the founder of the center – Yigal Stark – posted a response of his own, stating: “Fun to read!


Hizbullah and Hamas
I saw the US government ignore the PLO for much of the 1980s.  Now, the US government provides funding for the PLO.  I saw footage this week: first of the Hamas rally in Gaza and today of the `Ashurah commemoration in the southern suburbs of Beirut. I know that it is a Zionist policy for the US to ignore the presence of Hamas and Hizbullah but the footage leaves a clear impression regarding the mass base of both movements. [end] 

Jordan is not Palestine – Lamis Andoni
George Mitchell, the US special envoy to the Middle East, has recently expressed his frustration at the lack of progress in the stalled “peace process”.  But it may be time for Mitchell to move aside, as Geert Wilders, the leader of the Netherlands’ third-largest party, seems to have found a ‘creative solution’ to the conflict: Jordan should be renamed Palestine and become a homeland for the Palestinians. 

Movement for Palestinian State gains International Momentum, to Dismay of US Congress, Juan Cole
Palestinian authorities on Thursday protested the resolution passed by the US congress on Wednesday condemning movement toward a unilateral declaration by Palestinians of a Palestinian state. The congressional resolution was actually fairly weak, showing the tensions between the US and the far rightwing government of Binyamin Netanyahu, since it did call for the establishment of a democratic Palestinian state, something Netanyahu privately opposes. Still, as usual, the US Congress is an outlier in world affairs on the Palestine issue, typically adopting stances that are often to the right of Israel’s own more liberal parties. Even Israeli military personnel have complained bitterly about having been dragooned into being a harsh occupying force in the West Bank. And, of course, the US Congress is increasingly irrelevant, since it is implicitly abetting Israeli footdragging and continued illegal colonization of the West Bank.

House vote against Palestinian statehood actually showed that Israel lobby is losing its grip, Josh Ruebner
Yesterday the House of Representatives passed a resolution, H.Res.1765, “condemning unilateral measures to declare or recognize a Palestinian state.” At first glance, this vote appears to be yet another in a long string of resolutions shoring up unconditional Congressional support for Israeli occupation and apartheid. In reality, however, it demonstrates more a weakening—rather than a strengthening—of support for Israel on Capitol Hill at present.

Congress is fueling terrorism by denying Palestinans authority and empowerment, Maggie Sager
Palestinians are no closer to achieving statehood, and instead are being called upon by congress to continue to engage “without precondition” (read: while simultaneously letting Israel confiscate Palestinian land in violation of international law). Why on earth should they? Simply because Congress is under the impression that peace can only be achieved through direct negotiations, despite the utter lack of progress toward a lasting solution, and continuous steps in the opposite direction.

Israel Never Really Wanted Peace
Netanyahu and his cabinet are representative of Israeli society today. Public opinion polls point to increasing extremism, bordering on racism, in Jews’ opinion of Arabs, as well as to alienation and a distrust of the other side’s goals and intentions. 

The Farce of a Secular and Democratic Jewish State, Gideon Levy
Convinced and trying to convince others that the Jews are a chosen people, to which entry and even contact with those deemed inferior is forbidden, they live in their narrow pale of settlement, most of them boorish and ignorant of what happens outside. 

Miami Jewish Federation smear-video says that Jimmy Carter and Walt and Mearsheimer want Israel ‘wiped off the map’,  Philip Weiss
The Jewish Federation of Greater Miami is having a big event on the delegitimation of Israel this weekend. What larks, huh! Debbie Wasserman-Shultz the Democratic congresswoman will be there, but also many rightwingers and Republicans, like Daniel Pipes, Natan Sharansky. Honey, you made your bed, now you have to lie in it.  The poster for the event is below the jump. Meantime, here’s a video that the Jewish Federation is featuring that is all about scary delegitimation. I’m not sure what that means, delegitimation. For myself it’s about basic human rights. Honor those rights and you won’t have any problem.

At Brooklyn College, the dialogue problem. Philip Weiss
Pro-Israel students at Brooklyn College don’t understand why the pro-Palestinian students don’t want dialogue. Zach Wales explained this to me a long time ago, after Columbia U (recovering from the witchhunt that it licensed during the Columbia Unbecoming period) committed itself to dialogue at the behest of alum/Patriots owner Robert Kraft. The problem, said Wales, is that the Palestinian students described horrific conditions on the West Bank outstripping the Jim Crow south, and the Jewish students nodded and said they felt awful about that and then the two groups walked away and nothing changed; and Wales said that the dialogue became an opportunity for atonement on the pro-Israel Jewish students’ part, and the pro-Palestinian student felt used. Because actually the dialogue was structurally imbalanced; it was not individual but political at heart, and one side had the power; and the other side was being asked to give up its power, which lies in protesting inhumane conditions… From the New York Jewish Week, reported by Doug Chandler; note that the Palestinian students are against individual dialogue.

At 6 am, reeling from all-night debaucheries of neoconservatism and Islamophobia and cursed dice, the ‘Washington Post’ doubles down, Philip Weis
This is funny. Now the Post has hired Jordan Sekulow as a blogger, a rightwing fundamentalist who was at the rally against the Islamic Center in Lower Manhattan. Matt Duss reports.

Insisting on Their Humanity: ‘The Plight of the Palestinians’, Ramzy Baroud
When a copy of William A. Cook’s latest book, The Plight of the Palestinians arrived in my mailbox, I initially felt a little worried. The volume, featuring the work of over 30 accomplished writers, is the most articulate treatise on the collective victimization of Palestinians to date. From Cook’s own introduction, ‘The Untold Story of the Zionist Intent to Turn Palestine into a Jewish State’ to Francis Boyle’s summation of ‘Israel’s Crimes against the Palestinians’, it takes the reader through an exhaustive journey, charting the course of Palestinian history prior to and since al-Nakba, the Catastrophe of 1947-48. 

Israel, Obama and the Bomb, CONN HALLINAN
This past July, a nuclear-armed nation, in violation of an international treaty, clandestinely agreed to supply uranium to a known proliferator of nuclear weapons.  China and North Korea? No, the United States and Israel.  In a July 8 article entitled “Report: Secret Document Affirms U.S. Israeli Nuclear Partnership,” the Israeli daily Haaretz revealed that the Obama Administration will begin transferring nuclear fuel to Israel in order to build up Tel Aviv’s nuclear stockpile. 

Obama’s War on WikiLeaks — and Us
One should be fierce in denouncing this violation of our principles and laws whatever/whomever the object of the abuses.

Who Is the FBI Really Trying to Entrap?, Glen Ford
The FBI has not been engaged in “uncovering and preventing terrorist attacks,” as Eric Holder claims, but rather, it has spent tens of millions of dollars and many thousands of man-hours concocting, financing, and providing training and equipment for crimes purely of its own invention. 


Lebanon: Israeli tags on ‘spy gear’
Photos released by Lebanese army show Israeli tag, Hebrew writing on alleged Israeli espionage installation discovered in mountains near Beirut. Local media report Lebanese Foreign Ministry planning to file complaint with UN against Israel.,7340,L-4000499,00.html 

Report: Lebanon suspects citizens aided Israel in planting espionage cameras
Lebanon president prepares complaint to submit to UN over the cameras; Lebanon radio attributes explosion Wednesday to IAF covering up espionage.

UN Hariri court to ‘disappear with wind’: Nasrallah (AFP)
AFP – Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Thursday predicted a UN court on the murder of Rafiq Hariri would “disappear with the wind” as vast crowds gathered to mark the Shiite holy day of Ashura in Lebanon.*

IDF holds drill in preparation for Lebanon confrontation
IDF finishes intensive training event in preparation for possible war with Lebanon. ‘I don’t belittle situation in Gaza Strip, but Lebanon is a different story,’ 401st Brigade Commander Enav Shalev says.,7340,L-4000460,00.html 

Lebanese Army versus dumb Mossad
Lebanese Army (clearly at the behest of Hizbullah was was implied in Nasrallah speech yesterday) moved to locate and disable various espionage devices planted by Israeli agents in Lebanese mountainous areas.  The device is camouflaged to look like a rock.  How dumb are those Mossad?  I mean, really.  They can take lessons from Ba`thist mukhabarat agents (of the 1960s, I mean).  What do you call an intelligence service that is now regularly beaten by Lebanese police–Lebanese police for potato’s sake. (As-Safir) [end] 


8 wounded, 2 female would-be suicide bombers captured in Iraq
BAGHDAD, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) — Eight people were wounded in separate bomb attacks targeting Shiite pilgrims in and north of Baghdad on Thursday, while the security forces in Iraq’s eastern province of Diyala announced the capture of two women believed to have been prepared for suicide bomb attacks against Shiite pilgrims, the police said. 

Thursday: 14 Iraqis Killed, 17 Wounded
About two million Shi’ite pilgrims are in Karbala for the climax of Ashuraa rituals. Heavy security, including the arrests of three female bombers, has so far prevented any large-scale violence today, but attackers targeting pilgrims in other parts of the country were more successful. At least 14 Iraqis were killed and 17 more were wounded. 

‘Exodus’ of Iraqi Christians after church attack (AFP)
AFP – The UN refugee agency said Friday an “exodus” of thousands of Iraqi Christians was taking place following a deadly church attack in Baghdad carried out by Al-Qaeda militants at the end of October.*

Hashemi: Iraq can normalize relations with Kuwait
Iraqi Vice President Tarek Al Hashemi believes that the International Security Council decision to remove Iraq restrictions helps the country normalize relations with neighboring countries especially Kuwait.

Bleak outlook for plans to help Sons of Iraq (AP)
AP – A broad plan to absorb Sunni Muslim militiamen who battled al-Qaida in Iraq into national security forces or government jobs is at risk of being derailed by lukewarm political support and limited funding, officials say.* 

Blackwater seeks dismissal of Iraq shooting suit (AP)
AP – The security firm formerly known as Blackwater told a federal judge Thursday that the U.S. government — and not the company — should be held accountable for a 2007 shooting by its contractors that killed 17 Iraqis.* 

Blackwater killings: ‘US at fault’
Private security company, now known as Xe Services, says responsibilty for 2007 Iraq killings lies with US government.

Ghosts of Abu Ghraib Haunt Local Sunnis
The name has now been changed along with the management, but the spectre of Iraq’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison continues to haunt locals, many of whom still call it the “House of Satan”.  Abu Ghraib, now called Baghdad central prison, became infamous in 2004 when pictures and reports emerged of horrific prisoner abuse carried out there by United States military police and other American agencies charged with running the facility.

Wikileaks/U.S. and other world news

Assange speaks of his relief at being freed : Audio

US military plan to destroy Wikileaks leaked
Counterintelligence agency hatched strategy to discredit leak site 

Wikileaks did not commit a crime, House Judiciary chairman says
The chairman of the House judiciary committee defended Wikileaks on Thursday, arguing that the controversial actions of the anti-secrecy outlet are protected under free speech.  Speaking at a hearing to explore whether Wikileaks violated the Espionage Act — which the Obama administration claims its editor-in-chief violated — Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) said that “America was founded on the belief that speech is sacrosanct” and dismissed calls for censorship of media outlets publishing leaked documents. 

No ‘substantive’ damage from Wikileaks, Biden admits
WASHINGTON — US Vice President Joe Biden says there has been no “substantive” damage to US foreign policy from the WikiLeaks drama, despite embarrassment caused by thousands of leaked diplomatic cables.  Biden commented on the fallout from the WikiLeaks campaign in an MSNBC interview broadcast on Thursday and recorded a day earlier at the United Nations, where he chaired a Security Council meeting on Iraq.  “I don’t think there is any substantive damage, no,” Biden said, when asked about the WikiLeaks revelations. 

Supporters liken Bradley Manning’s detention to torture
The soldier accused of leaking secret US documents to secrets outlet WikiLeaks is being held in conditions that could amount to torture, his supporters say.  US Army Private Bradley Manning has been detained in solitary confinement since May, when charges were brought against him for “transferring classified data onto his personal computer and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system,” and “communicating, transmitting and delivering national defense information to an unauthorized source.”

WikiLeaks Cables: Pfizer Targeted Nigerian Attorney General to Undermine Suit Over Fatal Drug Tests
Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks show the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer hired investigators to find evidence of corruption against the Nigerian attorney general to pressure him to drop a $6 billion lawsuit over fraudulent drug tests on Nigerian children. Researchers did not obtain signed consent forms, and medical personnel said Pfizer did not tell parents their children were getting the experimental drug. Eleven children died and others suffered disabling injuries including deafness, muteness, paralysis, brain damage, loss of sight, slurred speech. We speak to Washington Post reporter Joe Stephens, who helped break the story in 2000; and Musikilu Mojeed, a Nigerian journalist who has worked on this story for the Next newspaper in Lagos.

Cable: Egypt scared of Iran threat
Leaked US diplomatic file says that Egyptian officials were worried about Iran sending money, smuggling weapons to Gaza.

How Arab governments tried to silence WikiLeaks
An appetite for state secrets led to bans on western newspapers and hacked news websites across the Middle East.  WikiLeaks may be breaking new ground to promote freedom of information by releasing leaked US diplomatic cables, but Arab governments have been resorting to old tricks to ensure that nothing too damaging reaches their subjects.  Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and Morocco have all tried to stem the flow of Wiki-revelations, whether the subject is corruption, authoritarianism or simply the embarrassment of having private exchanges with American interlocutors enter the public domain.

La Revolución will outlive Fidel Castro, says US cable from WikiLeaks
Fidel Castro almost died in 2006, according to US cables leaked by WikiLeaks, but his passing would likely have little impact over the direction of Cuba.

Wikileaks: Documents Confirm US Plans Against Venezuela
Not only has Washington been actively funding anti-Chavez groups in Venezuela, but it also has engaged in serious efforts during the past few years to convince governments worldwide to assume an adversarial position against President Hugo Chavez. 

Peru: Leaked US Cables Reveal Two-Faced Politics by US
“It’s not surprising for the United States to cooperate with military or government officials in Peru about which it has information linking them to serious crimes,”

US Cables Portray a Different Side of Brazil’s Lula da Silva
The leaked U.S. cables, which chronicle Lula’s eight years in power, show a leader all too willing to placate Washington and double-cross fellow leftists throughout the region. 

NATO mistakenly killed 4 Afghan soldiers
Afghan official says NATO mistakenly killed 4 Afghan soldiers in airstrike in country’s south.

Nato Bombs Kill Afghan civilian, children hurt in strike
NATO aircraft killed an Afghan civilian and wounded two children, the coalition said on Wednesday, the latest incident involving civilian casualties which have strained ties between Kabul and Washington.

Speaking from clouded cuckoo land, Obama says: US: Afghan war ‘on track’
Obama on Thursday said progress was sufficient to permit a “responsible reduction” of US forces to begin in July, though the scope and size of the likely drawdown appear limited.

CIA report undermines Obama’s upbeat assessment of Afghan war
The downbeat estimates by America’s intelligence agencies, including the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency, directly contradicts the claim last week by the US Defense Secretary Robert Gates that the army offensive against the Taliban in south Afghanistan is making significant gains. 

Poll: 60 percent of Americans say the war in Afghanistan has not been worth fighting
Public dissatisfaction with the war, now the nation’s longest, has spiked by 7 points just since July. Given its costs vs. its benefits, only 34 percent in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll say the war’s been worth fighting, down by 9 points to a new low, by a sizable margin. 

Officials: CIA gave waterboarders $5M legal shield
The CIA agreed to cover at least $5 million in legal fees for two contractors who were the architects of the agency’s interrogation program and personally conducted dozens of waterboarding sessions on terror detainees, former U.S. officials said.  The secret agreement means taxpayers are paying to defend the men in a federal investigation over an interrogation tactic the U.S. now says is torture. The deal is even more generous than the protections the agency typically provides its own officers, giving the two men access to more money to finance their defense.

U.S. Illegal Experiments Went Far Beyond Guatemala
The illegal experiments conducted on human beings by a U.S. medical team in the 1940s went far beyond Guatemala, according to local news reports. 

Republican senator calls cops on 9/11 responders
A group of nine 9/11 first responders who arrived in Washington, DC, to pressure Congress into passing a health care bill were met with an unwelcome surprise: A police escort, courtesy of Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.  Collins called Capitol Police when she heard the activists were planning to arrive on the Hill and stay in senators’ offices until they had the 60 votes needed to overcome a GOP filibuster of the health care bill for 9/11 responders, the New York Daily News reports. 

War opponents arrested at White House
Dozens of activists, including the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers on the Vietnam War, were arrested Thursday at the White House as they protested the Afghanistan conflict and defended WikiLeaks. As President Barack Obama unveiled a war review strategy inside, more than 100 war opponents — many of them veterans — marched through snow […] 

Pulitzer-winner, ex-CIA analyst, FBI whistleblower among those arrested outside White House
As President Barack Obama was unveiling a new report on progress of the war in Afghanistan, a lineup of high-profile dissenters joined in an act of civil disobedience that ended with about 135 demonstrators being arrested outside the White House Thursday afternoon.

shame on every civil rights organization that has not spoken out against such a plan
Can you imagine the uproar if a hearing was planned on the “radicalization” of the Jewish community or the African-American community?  Seeds of ideologies of hate are now planted in both parties in the US.  “The Republican who will head the House committee that oversees domestic security is planning to open a Congressional inquiry into what he calls “the radicalization” of the Muslim community when his party takes over the House next year.”

US is officially worried about the Muslim population in UK: can you imagine if they were studying the Jewish community?
Can you imagine the loud accusation of anti-Semitism if the US embassy in London was preparing a study of the fertility rate and size of the Jewish population in the UK?  “Summary. Per reftel, this cable provides information on the demographics of the Muslim community in the UK. The last official UK census was in 2001 and much of what is provided below is a combination of census figures and subsequent estimates and surveys. Post notes that the information is incomplete and in many cases several years old. This is, however, the most current and accurate information available. Among the findings are that the UK Muslim population has jumped in seven years from 1.6 million to 2 million. At that rate of increase, HMG estimates that the Muslim population of the UK at the next census in 2011 will be over 2.2 million.”  [end]

Police brutality in London
Reem sent me this:  “You have to see this!  This is an interview with the British protester, Jody McIntyre, who was pulled out of his wheelchair and dragged by the police on day X3. Look how the BBC tries blatantly to pushe the ‘violent protester’ line by, for example suggesting if he was rolling towards the police -perhaps in a hostile manner- to try and find an explaination of why it was HIS fault that he was dragged out of his chair! A true example of blaming the victim of the violence, as he so eloquently put it.  Jody is really good politically too. Pro-palestine!” [end]

While Human Rights Watch is busy calling on Arabs to serve hot meals to Israeli invaders in their midst
“He’s a writer, he’s a journalist, he’s a blogger. Ali does not belong to any political party. He just writes his opinion.”  Jenan Al Oraibi’s dark eyes flash beneath her black hijab. She is speaking of her husband Ali Abdulemam, known as the Bahraini Blogger.  We are talking in the home of her friends in a village close to Manama, the capital city of this Gulf island kingdom, which projects itself as an Arab state that is open to investment, progressive about change and moving confidently toward democracy.  “Ali has a free pen. That is exactly his crime. He has a free pen,” she says bluntly.  Ali Abdulemam is 32 years old. He worked as an IT specialist for the Bahraini airline Gulf Air. In his spare time he blogged.  But he was sacked from the airline after he was arrested in September and accused of being part of a terror organisation.  He was charged with spreading false information and linked to a group of Bahraini oppositionists who had been arrested in August.” [end]

Citizen `Ala’ Mubarak
“The intra-family politics of a Gamal succession bid are unclear. Elder son Alaa’, well-known to have extensive business interests (many of which are privately criticized as corrupt and exploitative) keeps a low public profile and has never shown any inclination to wade into the political arena. (A rare sighting of Alaa’ on national TV took place during the final game of the Africa Cup championship in late February, when he was photographed in the stadium’s VIP section with Gamal, cheering on Egypt to its 2-1 victory over Ivory Coast.)” [end]

Jeffrey Goldberg likens BDS movement to Nazi Germany policies

Dec 17, 2010

Alex Kane


If you can’t beat ‘em, smear ‘em.  And throw in the word Nazi for good measure.

As the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement continues full-steam ahead in its efforts to force Israel to comply with international law, pro-Israel hawks are increasingly attempting to link the movement to anti-Semitism and Nazi Germany-era policies.

The latest person to do so is Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic, who has been described as “one of the most influential Jewish journalists working in mainstream media.”

Goldberg–who, ironically, recently wrote that “people reaching for insults should find something better than Nazi”–applauded the New Israel Fund yesterday for, as he terms it, leaving the “BDS swamp.” Goldberg writes:

Because I’m running a campaign on this blog against the cheap deployment of Nazi imagery in argument-making, I am going to resist the urge to point out that the European-centered campaign to launch an economic boycott of the world’s only majority-Jewish country smacks of something historically unpleasant, except now I didn’t resist the urge. But I do actually think it’s a fair analogy, and the BDS movement, like no other anti-Israel propaganda campaign, has sent chills down the collective Jewish spine precisely because economic boycotts have been, throughout history, used to hurt Jews. This is why I was slightly taken aback by Sokatch’s statemen that, “segments of this movement seek to undermine the existence of the state of Israel.” I would say that undermining the existence of the state of Israel is this movement’s raison d’etre.

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First off: the BDS movement is not a “European-centered campaign.” It is a Palestinian-led civil society movement that has spread to the Western world. Europe may have a strong Palestine solidarity movement which is increasingly racking up BDS victories, but attempting to invoke the history of European anti-Semitism by labeling the BDS movement a “European-centered campaign” falls apart because the movement is not, in fact, Europe-centric.

Goldberg, and others like him, are guilty of conflating Israel with Judaism, and Jews with Israelis. The BDS movement is not an economic boycott directed against Jews; it is a boycott movement directed against the State of Israel, which labels itself the Jewish State, because of its flagrant violations of international law and its continued occupation of Palestinian land. As Alisa Solomon, co-editor of Wrestling with Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflicttold me in 2009, “it’s a very dubious and dangerous collapse when ‘Jew’ and ‘Israel’ are conflated. Anti-Semites do it a lot, and unfortunately, powers of the Israeli state do it as well.”

Invoking Nazi Germany’s policy of boycotting Jewish-owned businesses as a way to smear the BDS movement is a cheap trick that has no merit. Nazi Germany instituted a blanket boycott, with no end in sight, that was directed at a persecuted minority just because of their religious faith. The BDS movement is targeting a state, asking Israel to comply with their obligations under international law, because of their unjust and oppressive policies towards the Palestinian people. There are many Jewish organizations that support the movement, including inside Israel.

Ali Abunimah, the founder of the Electronic Intifada, had this to say in response to “a cartoon [found in a local Jewish group’s paper]from the Israeli strip Dry Bones in which Hitler asks Satan if he believes that BDS is a replay of the Nazi program to economically strange the Jews ‘Yup,’ Satan replies. ‘It has everything but the swastikas’”:

This ugly defamation is an insult to those who died in the Holocaust. It cheapens their memory. It cheapens their suffering.

This post originally appeared on Alex Kane’s blog, where he writes on Israel/Palestine and Islamophobia in the United States.  Follow him onTwitter here.


Say it ain’t so: Zakaria, Huffington and Tom Friedman go to bat for center that is desecrating Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem

Dec 17, 2010

Philip Weiss


This one stopped me, made me wonder if I need to have my eyes adjusted.

This is an invitation to a benefit next spring for Canadian friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies. On the cover of the invite you will see Arianna Huffington, Thomas Friedman of the NY Times, Fareed Zakaria of CNN fame, and Aayan Hirsi Ali. They’ll all be speaking at the May 31 event at a Toronto synagogue.

Hold on. This is the same Simon Wiesenthal Center that is building a “Museum of Tolerance” in Jerusalem on a 12th Century Muslim cemetery.

Muslims are very angry about the desecration of the Mamilla cemetery, and many non-Muslims are too. Below is a photo of the cemetery that I took a couple months ago. Some British tourists were surveying the scene with uncomprehension. Those are gravestones in the foreground, and the construction walls of the Museum of Tolerance right on top of them. “Grotesque,” says Rashid Khalidi, whose ancestors are buried there, as are many other historical figures.


Mamilla Cemetery Desecration

This giant dis to Muslims in the name of “Tolerance” is the reason that Jews Say No has weekly demonstrations outside the Simon Wiesenthal’s NY branch. Many Jews want nothing to do with this project. Frank Gehry, who was supposed to design the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem, bowed out of the project when the facts were brought to his attention.

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I wonder if the Toronto speakers’ lineup will last when word gets out about the endorsement. Will Zakaria hang in there? He took atruly noble stand against the ADL when they came out against the Islamic Center in lower Manhattan.

Here is Khalidi leading a group of the Palestinian families who are appealing to the U.N. to stop the desecration of the Mamilla Cemetery. He writes: “It is a matter of grave concern that Israeli authorities are continuing to treat the Islamic religious sites and cultural heritage in the Holy City of Jerusalem in a manner that amounts to further desecration.” He’s referring to the fact that Israel has granted scores of Jewish historical sites the legal status of cultural heritage sites, but no Muslim sites are on its frekking list. Here’s a post about Mamilla in that Jim Crow context, from an American Muslim group that is justifiably up in arms. And here’s a deeply angry, turbulent, overwhelmed post I did about that pattern back in September. Called the “Pharaoh of Jerusalem,” it describes the destruction of Muslims’ access to the tomb of Samuel, which both Jews and Muslims consider holy. This still makes me upset.

Reminder: We’re talking about a city that Theodor Herzl promised the Ottoman sultan (and the Pope too) would be extraterritorialized if the Zionists ever got a stake in Palestine, because of these sensitivities…

P.S. Also testimony to the power of the media. Three powerful figures, all media figures. Tables start at $18,000. That’s power. Thanks to Jeff Blankfort.

Dozens tear-gassed in Bil’in as they walk toward lands owned by people of the village

Dec 17, 2010

Hamde Abu Rahme



Today dozens of people were injured as a result of inhaling the tear gas due to the clashes that took place in the village of Bil’in. Many people from Bil’in village joined this march along with the peace activists and foreigners who came to give solidarity to Bil’in people, especially after the decision of the Israeli Defence Force to suppress the weekly march against the wall and the settlements.

All the participants in the march raised the Palestinian flags and pictures of the prisoner activist Abdullah Abo Rahme, one of the coordinators of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and settlements, which leads the march. They shouted slogans condemning the policies of settlements occupation, they also shouted against the policies of repession against the Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli jails, and condemned the daily attacks on the Palestinians houses in Jerusalem. They called also for a stop to the policy of deportation and exclusion, as recently happened to the Palestinian Legislative Council deputy Abu Tir who was moved from Jerusalem. Also the slogans demand the stop of the continuous arrests and to release all the detainees and prisoners and in particular the prisoners from the popular resistance and last but not least to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip. 

The demonstrators marched in the village street singing the national songs and slogans, calling for unity and rejecting all kind of disunity and differences. They underlined and confirmed the need for a resounding Palestinian resistance against the occupation and the release of all the prisoners and the freedom for Palestine. The march headed toward the wall, where the military force of the israeli occupation army were waiting for them behind cubes and block of cements and all along the wall, and when the protesters tried to cross the wall to reach the lands owned by the people of the town the army started to fire sound bombs and rubber bullet and tear gas in all the directions. As a result of the fire many people where injured from asphyxia.

At Brooklyn College, the dialogue problem

Dec 17, 2010

Philip Weiss


Pro-Israel students at Brooklyn College don’t understand why the pro-Palestinian students don’t want dialogue. Zach Wales explained this to me a long time ago, after Columbia U (recovering from the witchhunt that it licensed during the Columbia Unbecoming period) committed itself to dialogue at the behest of alum/Patriots owner Robert Kraft. The problem, said Wales, is that the Palestinian students described horrific conditions on the West Bank outstripping the Jim Crow south, and the Jewish students nodded and said they felt awful about that and then the two groups walked away and nothing changed; and Wales said that the dialogue became an opportunity for atonement on the pro-Israel Jewish students’ part, and the pro-Palestinian students felt used. Because actually the dialogue was structurally imbalanced; it was not individual but political at heart, two sides were talking (ala the great peace process sham) and one side had the power; and the other side was being asked to give up its power– which lies in noisily protesting inhumane conditions in the wheelhouse of American idealism, the privileged campus… From the New York Jewish Week, reported by Doug Chandler; note that the Palestinian students are not against individual dialogue.

Marcos Askenazi, Hillel’s director of community affairs, …said Hillel has reached out to the Palestinian Club through emails, phone calls and personal interactions, suggesting a weekly dialogue or joint activities, only to be rebuffed each time…

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“We hold an anti-normalization stance on dialogue,” said Eeman Abuasi, 21, a co-founder of the Palestinian Club who grew up in Brooklyn, east Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah. “We don’t favor a dialogue with them because [we’re] not on the same political, social and economic level as them. You have one that’s an occupier and one that’s occupied.”

An opponent of a two-state solution, Abuasi also had a ready answer when a reporter noted that her club is in Brooklyn, not the West Bank, and that her fellow students are Jews belonging to Hillel, not occupiers.

“These are people who are Zionist or pro-Zionist, and any dialogue we have is bound to be political,” Abuasi said. She added that she has “no problem talking to [individual] Jewish students. We see them on campus all the time; they’re in my classes, and we do talk.”

Discussing her organization’s mock checkpoint, a guerrilla-theater tactic used at Columbia University last month and at other campuses around the nation, Abuasi dismissed suggestions from Hillel students that her club was distorting reality.

“I don’t want to sound mean or anything, but how would they know what the norm is” on the West Bank, she said. A scenes of Palestinians detained at checkpoints and forced to kneel “is not something I’ve seen once in a blue moon. It’s something I’ve seen frequently.”

At 6 am, reeling from all-night debaucheries of neoconservatism and Islamophobia and cursed dice, the ‘Washington Post’ doubles down

Dec 17, 2010

Philip Weiss


This is funny. Now the Post has hired Jordan Sekulow as a blogger, a rightwing fundamentalist who was at the rally against the Islamic Center in Lower Manhattan. Matt Duss reports.

E tu Canberra?

Dec 17, 2010

Philip Weiss


Jonathan Tobin at the Commentary blog asks some good questions:

Further evidence of the problems Israel has had in making even Western democracies understand the nature of the problem was provided by Australia this week when its foreign minister spoke out in favor of subjecting Israel’s nuclear facilities to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Kevin Rudd told the Australian newspaper in an interview that the Jewish state, which is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty that the IAEA monitors, should get the same sort of scrutiny that Iran, which has signed the treaty, receives. The statement, made during the course of a tour of the region by Rudd, shocked the Israelis, who were not consulted about this by the Australian government in advance of the foreign minister’s visit….

The point here is that if even Western democracies such as Australia can’t be counted on for solidarity in the diplomatic struggle to isolate Iran, then what hope is there for creating the sort of international coalition that could adopt punitive measures that might actually persuade the Iranian mullahs and Ahmadinejad that they must back down?

Answer: the hypocrisy of continuing to allow Israel to have a nuclear monopoly while gearing up for war against Iran because it seeks to join the club  is becoming unsupportable among western/downunder democracies (so naturally some of them are going to seek the deproliferation of the Middle East). Thanks to Ali Gharib.

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Women with strong views campaigning in Gaza

Posted: 18 Dec 2010 03:51 AM PST

Palestinian feminist Asma Al-Ghoul pushes for secularism in Islamic Gaza.

It’s vital that growing Islamisation under Hamas is challenged:

Recently Asma garnered media attention for two incidents with the Hamas police. In the summer of 2009, she walked on a public Gaza beach with a mixed gender group, and visited a former male colleague and his family at a beachside villa.Asma and her friends were interrogated by Hamas moral police, and the men were forced to sign papers promising not repeat their “inappropriate” interactions with women. Asma later received anonymous death threats and was followed and closely monitored by police.

But there are glints of hope for secularists in Gaza. This August, during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, Asma and three foreign activist friends biked up the Gaza coastline in defiance of a Hamas ban on female bicycle-riding. To Asma’s delighted surprise, local Hamas police officers pursued two motorcyclists who had followed and harassed her. And she found that most civilians “were shocked in a funny way. They said, ‘Let’s go! Bravo!’ They asked, ‘Are you fasting [for Ramadan]?’ And I said, ‘Yes, I’m fasting!’”

Asma’s biking adventure led her to conclude that the discriminatory laws against women are “flexible.” She now believes that Hamas is “between two fires—how to keep civil society satisfied, and how to satisfy extreme groups.”


Wikileaks bastard children are growing

Posted: 18 Dec 2010 03:43 AM PST

Wikileaks has made a call for similar websites to spring up and pry open the workings of nations.

The call is being answered.


An info-struggle that we must win

Posted: 18 Dec 2010 03:40 AM PST

An open letter published in the UK Guardian this week:

We are writing this statement in support of democracy.

Since Sunday, 28 November, WikiLeaks and five major newspapers from around the world (the Guardian, the New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, El Pais) have been publishing redacted versions of leaked US diplomatic cables in an ongoing story that has become known as “Cablegate”. The identity of the original leaker is – as yet – unconfirmed.

This is not the first leak of confidential documentation that exposes governmental lies – and it won’t be the last. Secret information has long been used by elites to build and maintain power over huge populations of citizens, workers, armed forces and others. But when the secrets of the elite are revealed, the power they represent can be confronted and reversed.

Nor is this the first time that state (and other) forces of power have acted to prevent dissemination of information on the internet – and it won’t be the last.

Sites have been removed by their hosting companies, servers seized by police or other governmental authorities, take-down requests issued under the rule of law: none of these prevented information spreading.

But the issues run deeper than this. As former US president Thomas Jefferson once stated, “information is the currency of democracy”. Democracy – the rule of the people – as currently understood and practiced is, and has long been, severely restricted.

Power is abused in our name by governments and transnational corporations around the world: they fight illegal wars; abuse and kill people; pillage property and planet. The powerful accumulate wealth and force the majority – the rest of us – to pay for it: with our health, our freedom, our time, our money and with our lives. For a long time, we have been deceived about the reasons for this: it is our right for the truth to be known. Without that right, democracy cannot and does not exist. The current assault on WikiLeaks is yet another instance of democracy-hating by elites.

Now, we find we are witnessing a new level of info-struggle. We are witnessing how the emperor wears no clothes. We can see the lies made bare, we can see the posturing and propositioning that our governments participate in. We can see the collusion that occurs with transnational corporations and with global media giants. WikiLeaks and others are battling against powerful institutions bent on curtailing our knowledge of and influence over policies and structures that impact our lives: they are information heroes, not information villains. We see all this being done in our name, and we condemn it.

Thus, we pledge to not simply bear witness but to actively participate in this fight – for freedom of speech, for real democracy and for justice. We know this is only the beginning: de-masking the puppeteers facilitates action towards fairer and more just societies. We demand that the truth be heard. We stand at the doorway to a new, just and democratic world: a doorway we pledge to keep open and to march through. We stand with all the inhabitants of this world who are affected daily by governments that oppress the right to free speech and obstruct the path to true democracy.


Andrei Morgan

Michael Albert

Jamie McClelland

Daniel Kahn Gillmor

Tachanka! collective

London Indymedia

John Pilger

Donnacha Delong, vice-president, National Union of Journalists

Yvonne Ridley, founder, Women In Journalism

Hessom Razavi

Mike Holderness, freelance journalist

Pennie Quinton, freelance journalist and human rights campaigner

May First/People Link

Phil Edwards

Sheffield Indymedia

Chris Grollman

Chris Anderson

David Graeber, reader in social anthropology, Goldsmiths, University of London


Plentyfact collective

Koumbit Worker’s Committee

Sasha Costanza-Chock, fellow, Berkman Centre for Internet & Society, Harvard University


Thank you for describing Wikileaks for us all

Posted: 18 Dec 2010 03:36 AM PST



This is what Murdoch produces on Wikileaks

Posted: 18 Dec 2010 03:19 AM PST

Oh thank you, Bill McGowan:

It’s one thing for journalists to challenge the government, to serve as a check on its power. It’s another to assume a knee-jerk oppositionalism that’s out of touch with the middle register of the country and with wartime exigencies. Far from being rooted in responsibility and idealism about how our democracy functions, the cablegate stories are the rotten fruit of a punitive liberalism that takes the U.S. government to be so inherently evil that only the Fourth Estate, led by The Times and the odious Assange, can rectify the nation’s sins.

Yesterday, Bill Keller distanced himself from Assange, declaring at a Harvard forum that he didn’t see Assange as a“kindred spirit.”

Yet as the old saw goes, sleep with dogs and you wake up with fleas. Unlike Manning and Assange, it’s unlikely that The Times will stand in any court docket over this episode, but when one or both do, The Times will be standing next to them, morally at least.


Cuba ain’t no paradise and the US diplomat there is pernicious

Posted: 17 Dec 2010 09:28 PM PST

These stories, via Wikileaks, if true are rather curious for a few key players. Western states are proven once again to largely ignore human rights (money is the key factor). And Michael Moore, for a film that certainly glorified the Cuban health system, is looking a little sheepish.


AustraliaCanada and several European countries have stopped pressuring Cuba over human rights in the hope of winning commercial favours from Havana, according to confidential US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.

The western governments continued to pay lip service to concerns about political prisoners and censorship, but in reality were appeasing the island’s communist rulers, said Jonathan Farrar, the US head of mission.

The diplomat made scathing remarks about his colleagues shunning democracy activists, “kowtowing” to the Castro regime and joining what he scornfully termed the “best friends forever” camp.

“The Cuban government has been able to stonewall its independent civil society from foreign visitors who have, for the large part, been all too ready to give in to Cuban bullying and give up on these encounters,” Farrar said.

He named and shamed the countries Washington considers offenders in its battle, started half a century ago by JFK, to keep an international squeeze on the island.

“The Australian foreign minister, Switzerland‘s human rights special envoy and the Canadian cabinet level minister of the Americas not only failed to meet with non-government Cubans, they didn’t even bother to publicly call for more freedoms after visiting Cuba in November,” Farrar wrote.


Cuba banned Michael Moore‘s 2007 documentarySicko, because it painted such a “mythically” favourable picture of Cuba’s healthcare system that the authorities feared it could lead to a “popular backlash”, according to US diplomats in Havana.

The revelation, contained in a confidential US embassy cable released by WikiLeaks , is surprising, given that the film attempted to discredit the US healthcare system by highlighting what it claimed was the excellence of the Cuban system.

But the memo reveals that when the film was shown to a group of Cuban doctors, some became so “disturbed at the blatant misrepresentation of healthcare in Cuba that they left the room”.

Castro’s government apparently went on to ban the film because, the leaked cable claims, it “knows the film is a myth and does not want to risk a popular backlash by showing to Cubans facilities that are clearly not available to the vast majority of them.”

Sicko investigated healthcare in the US by comparing the for-profit, non-universal US system with the non-profit universal health care systems of other countries, including Cuba, France and the UK.

UPDATE: Actually, writes Mike Moore, Sicko was never banned in Cuba and this proves how unreliable US diplomats can be.


This is how America treats people with a conscience

Posted: 17 Dec 2010 08:27 PM PST

The alleged Wikileaks leaker Bradley Manning is being tortured while in US custody. Home of the free, indeed:

The last time Bradley Manning saw the world outside of a jail, most Americans had never heard of WikiLeaks. On Friday, Manning, the man whose alleged unauthorized release of hundreds of thousands of classified documents put the website and its controversial leader, Julian Assange, on the map, turns 23 behind bars. Since his arrest in May, Manning has spent most of his 200-plus days in solitary confinement. Other than receiving a card and some books from his family, his birthday will be no different. In an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast, his attorney, David Coombs, revealed key details about Manning’s imprisonment and kind gestures from his family that provided a bit of comfort in the inmate’s otherwise extremely harsh incarceration.

“They’re thinking about him on his birthday, that they love and support him,” Coombs said of Manning’s family and the card his mother, father, sister and aunt passed along via the lawyer on Wednesday. “They wish they could be with him on his day, but they are not allowed because visitation is only on Saturday and Sunday, and a family member would be going down to see him on Saturday.” Coombs passed a message to Manning from his aunt on behalf of the family; Manning, the lawyer says, asked Coombs to tell his aunt he loved her and wishes he could be with her as well.

Manning asked for a list of books, which his family bought for him and will be delivered over the next few weeks to coincide with his birthday and Christmas. On the list?

Decision Points, by George W. Bush
Critique of Practical Reason, by Immanuel Kant Critique of Pure Reason, by Immanuel Kant Propaganda, by Edward Bernayse
The Selfish Gene, by Richard Dawkins
A People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn
The Art of War, by Sun Tzu
The Good Soldiers, by David Finkel
On War by Gen. Carl von Clausewitz

Manning is being held at Marine Corps Base Quantico, in Virginia. He spends 23 hours a day alone in a standard-sized cell, with a sink, a toilet, and a bed. He isn’t allowed sheets or a pillow, though First Lieutenant Brian Villiard, an officer at Quantico, said he is allowed bedding of “non-shreddable” material. “I’ve held it, I’ve felt it, it’s soft, I’d sleep under it,” he told The Daily Beast.


And nothing will ever be the same again…

Posted: 17 Dec 2010 08:15 PM PST

Very perceptive and largely fair editorial in yesterday’s UK Guardian on the legacy of Wikileaks and the reasons for its importance:

The sight of Julian Assange giving a stream of television interviews from the grounds of an 18th-century country house on the Norfolk-Suffolk borders was, at the very least, a confusion of the cinematic genre the plot has hitherto taken. It was as if Julian Fellowes had been drafted in to finish a script begun by Stieg Larsson. The James Bond villain had stumbled into an Edwardian stately home soap opera. A quick interview with Kay Burley before Carson announces dinner.

It is nearly three weeks since the Guardian and a handful of other news organisations began publishing stories and selected US state department cables based on the 250,000 documents passed to WikiLeaks. In that time the world has changed in a number of interesting ways. Millions of people around the world have glimpsed truths about their rulers and governments that had previously been hidden, or merely suspected.

The cables have revealed wrongdoing, war crimes, corruption, hypocrisy, greed, espionage, double-dealing and the cynical exercise of power on a wondrous scale. We feel some sympathy with the poster on a Guardian comment thread this week who complained of Wiki-fatigue. The revelations have flowed at such a rate that it may be months, or even years, before the full impact of what has been disclosed can be fully absorbed. It is all too easy to feel defeated by the sheer scale of the blurred torrent of information unleashed on the world.

During these three weeks the man who kicked this particular hornet’s nest, Julian Assange, has been arrested, jailed and freed. Hackers have taken revenge on huge corporations accused of aiding those who would dearly like to choke off the organisation he founded and runs. The US government has announced a thoroughgoing review of the principles on which it shares the intelligence it collects. The porous nature of the digital world has been driven home to those in charge of international businesses, banks, armies, governments – and even news and gossip websites. The implications for large state databases are as yet unknown. And now Assange is promising to speed up the release of the documents and to scatter them more broadly around the world.

Though the global implications of what has happened are far reaching, there is an inevitable sense in which the story is, indeed, being reduced to a biopic – the life and times of Julian Assange. In some ways this is a fair representation of events, but it is also limiting, and highly diversionary. There is no question that Assange has a missionary zeal, technical skill and high intelligence, without which the whole WikiLeaks project would never have gained its present prominence and/or notoriety.

In last Sunday’s Observer Henry Porter compared him to the 18th-century libertine, John Wilkes. Wilkes is remembered now as the fearless publisher, editor and politician who fought crucial skirmishes in the journey towards a free press in Britain. He risked exile, imprisonment and death for the right to publish – including the proceedings of parliament. But in his own times he was also regarded as a rake. One biographer has noted how “the reports of his sexual liaisons – both factual and fictitious – leaked from the private realm to fuel the hectic debate over his qualities as a public man”.

The parallels with Assange are hard to ignore. He found himself in Wandsworth prison, not for breaches of the Espionage Act, but because he is wanted for questioning in Sweden over sex offences relating to two women he met earlier this year. To many (though doubtless not to the women) this is a side show to the main event. To others – including Assange and his legal team (who have disparagingly referred to the events as a “honeytrap”) – this is a dark conspiracy to frame him, in much the same way that Al Capone was put out of circulation for tax offences.

It is impossible to make judgments about what happened in private circumstances: that will be for the Swedish courts eventually to decide. But it is wrong that the notion that the allegations are simply a conspiracy or smear should go unexamined. Having been given access to the relevant Swedish police papers – including the womens’ claims and Assange’s rebuttal – we have felt it right to present a brief summary of the nature of the complaints, together with Assange’s response. It is unusual for a sex offence case to be presented outside of the judicial process in such a manner, but then it is unheard of for a defendant, his legal team and supporters to so vehemently and publicly attack women at the heart of a rape case.

As with Wilkes, none of this should have any bearing on the wider question of Assange’s role in bringing the cables into the open. For some years Assange toiled away, largely unnoticed, leaking documents which exposed corruption and wrongdoing by governments and powerful organisations.

It is wholly understandable that the US government should feel both embarrassed and furious at the scale and nature of the material he has been filtering out over the past three weeks. So far the administration has acted with some restraint rather than lash out in some form of retributive fashion. Assange’s legal team believe that this may soon change and that he may soon face charges of an unspecified nature to do with obtaining and publishing the cables. Nor should it be forgotten that Bradley Manning, a 23-year-old private accused of being the original source of the leak, is currently in solitary confinement awaiting a court martial and the prospect of spending the next five decades behind bars.

We and four other news organisations have worked with WikiLeaks over many months in order carefully and responsibly to publish a small number of cables. The first amendment of the American constitution is a formidable bulwark of free speech, rightly admired around the world. As Max Frankel, a former executive editor of the New York Times, recently wrote in these pages, the supreme court defended the publication of the Pentagon Papers in 1971, even though the lead judge, Justice Potter Stewart, was sure it was not in the public interest. It would be dismaying if there was now an attempt to prosecute Assange for his role in publishing the documents. He is clearly in some senses a publisher and journalist as well as a source. In that respect he deserves protection, not criminal indictment.

The broader plan of WikiLeaks is to move beyond the arrangement with the five newspapers currently involved, and to partner with other news organisations who can highlight stories of particular interest to specific regions. We hope that, if so, it is done with due care to anything that might jeopardise individuals or sensitive ongoing operations. The process of editing, contextualising, explanation and redaction is a painstaking one. It is part of the craft of journalism. Journalism is also about disclosure. It is at its best when it is the disclosure of matters of high public interest. Judge Assange on that score, as much as any other.


Getting out of the West Bank is for real Israeli security

Posted: 17 Dec 2010 06:28 PM PST

Martin van Creveld, The Jewish Forward, 15 December:

Keeping all these facts in mind — and provided that Israel maintains its military strength and builds a wall to stop suicide bombers — it is crystal-clear that Israel can easily afford to give up the West Bank. Strategically speaking, the risk of doing so is negligible. What is not negligible is the demographic, social, cultural and political challenge that ruling over 2.5 million — nobody knows exactly how many — occupied Palestinians in the West Bank poses. Should Israeli rule over them continue, then the country will definitely turn into what it is already fast becoming: namely, an apartheid state that can only maintain its control by means of repressive secret police actions.

To save itself from such a fate, Israel should rid itself of the West Bank, most of Arab Jerusalem specifically included. If possible, it should do so by agreement with the Palestinian Authority; if not, then it should proceed unilaterally, as the — in my view, very successful — withdrawal from Gaza suggests. Or else I would strongly advise my children and grandson to seek some other, less purblind and less stiff-necked, country to live in.

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