Archive | August 29th, 2011

Fears of Widespread Disease in Libya


Piles of dead bodies, shortages of basic necessities, and a rising humanitarian crisis add to Libya’s problems

Among the many growing concerns about the transition to post-Gadhafi Libya are fears of widespread disease, as dead bodies pile up in the streets and shortages of medicine, water, fuel and food persist.

The scale of the fighting in Libya has reduced, but the bodies keep accumulating – civilians caught up in the crossfire; fighters from both sides killed in action; those black men summarily executed by the rebels for being alleged mercenaries, and political prisoners by the regime.

Bloated corpses infested with maggots and decomposing in the heat have become such a danger to health that removing them has become an urgent priority of the Tripoli council, which has now been officially inaugurated. Still, progress is very slow and hasn’t gone much beyond public statements of “immediate action.”

Humanitarian assistance from various governmental and non-governmental organizations is set to arrive soon, but the need is substantial considering the shortages of basic necessities, lack of medical attention to the wounded, overcrowded hospitals and prisons, and the still rising refugee problem.

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A message to Ron Paul


I’ve called into Mike Rivero’s radio program the past couple days now to talk about Ron Paul.  We’ve had some disagreements, and I’d like to clarify a few things here.

If I had to vote for president today, I would vote for Dr. Paul.  He is literally the only sane candidate we have running for president in the limelight right now.  That being said, I do have some valid criticism’s of Dr. Paul and his campaign.  I recently wrote this comment on an article posted on Ron Paul’s Facebook page:
John Friend- To Ron Paul and his staff: please, please stop perpetuating the official myth of 9/11. We all KNOW it was an Israeli operation, facilitated by criminal traitorous elements of the US government, media and private sector. Please go all the way. The revolution is starting, and  it all starts with the official myth of 9/11 being destroyed. If you aren’t going to address this issue, your efforts are wasted. It’s time to startarresting these criminals in the White House, Congress, and Knesset.  Sunday at 
11:20pm · Like · 4 people
I also recently signed the Ron Paul 2012 Grassroots Petitionand left this comment with my signature:

“The first thing Ron Paul should do once he’s elected President of the United States is immediately order his Attorney General to arrest the criminals responsible for 9/11 and the Wall Street mortgage-backed securities  fraud that wrecked the economy, end all foreign aid, especially to the criminal  state of Israel (who was behind 9/11) and end all these criminal, fraudulent wars based on lies and deception.”

5789: John Friend

Ron Paul and his supporters like to talk about “blow back,” a CIA-coined limited hangout term used to confuse the compassionate, yet extremely naive, segment of the American population.  Which is essentially any individual in this country that has a heart and brain to understand our foreign policy consists of our government ordering our military to attack, murder and otherwise destroy various nations around the world in order to plunder their resources, and destroy their culture and future generations, all the while “rebuilding America’s defenses” and “securing the realm” for Israel.  I mean, we have been doing this stuff so blatantly for such a long time now, you’d think most people would recognize these facts at this point.
Anyways, these naive yet compassionate people that base their arguments off of the “blow back” theory, rather than on the understanding that covert black operations and psychological operations (through the media and entertainment industry) are pulled off all the time by criminal elements of the U.S. government and military, along with a certain illegitimate country in the Middle East that has a long history of engaging in these sorts of false flag style operations, and that these fascists even target their own populations (on 9/11, 7/7, the Madrid train bombings, the Mumbai massacre, ect.), are not confronting all the facts.Thus, this “blow back” view and criticism of the foreign policy of the United States of America is inaccurate.

Also, as you can tell in the video above, Dr. Paul is simply misinformed in a number of areas when it comes to the history and nature of U.S. foreign policy.  For instance, right around the 3 minute mark in the above video, Dr. Paul dishes out a big scope of disinformation when he says that 15 of the alleged 19 hijackers on 9/11 came from Saudi Arabia, when in fact there is absolutely no evidence to support that statement (see here).

Do Muslims and other people that our government orders our military to bomb get mad at us for murdering their family members, children and loved ones? 

Yes.  Do some of them organize to fight back, in whatever little way they can? Probably, but not very effectively.  Are there Mossad-CIA-MI6 terrorist groups out there engaging in sabotage, espionage,political and media subversionassassinations
false flag attacks, and other dirty deeds?  Absolutely.And we need to recognize this fact, otherwise the criminal elements that have control of the global power structure will continue to do what they do.  We need to start arresting these people, immediately.  And we need to start saying these things outright, including Ron Paul and other patriotic Americans. 

I suppose this is a rather radical concept for most people to accept, probably even Ron Paul and most of his staff. 

But seriously, this upcoming 2012 election may be the last shot we have at taking these psychopathic Zionist pawns out of power here in the U.S.  If anyone other than Ron Paul or James Laffrey of The Equal Party wins the presidency, Iran will be invaded within one year, if we haven’t already attack them by then. At this point in our history, we need courageous leaders and individuals to take a stand, speak the truth and not be afraid to do so.  If we’re really going to over throw the Zionist Power Configuration that has complete and absolute control over this country, it’s mediaand banking system, we cannot base our arguments on half-truths at best, and disinformation at worst.  And we certainly won’t over throw them if we don’t enforce the rule of law.

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Analysis: Iran hopes Gaddafi domino will fall the right way



Seen from Iran, Libya is either the latest dictatorship to fall to an “Islamic awakening” that will unite the Muslim Middle East, or a new foothold for the treacherous West to assert its economic and political domination over the region.

 Muammar Gaddafi, who fled his Tripoli compound this week, was no friend to the Islamic Republic which considered him a flamboyant despot almost as bad as the despised former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

 ”Like Saddam who killed his people, in a five-month civil war he killed thousands,” said the conservative Resalat daily which accused Gaddafi of being an ally of Israel, the worst possible insult in Tehran’s view, citing the disappearance of the Iranian-born leader of Lebanese Shi’ites, Imam Musa Sadr, on a visit to Libya in 1978.

 That incident still resonates in Iran where Gaddafi is widely seen as a brutal maverick who played a double game with the West, in recent years dumping his nuclear program to shake off sanctions, something Tehran has said it will never do.

 So it was no surprise that non-Arab Iran hailed his fall as a blessing — the latest good news from the Arab Spring.

 ”The heroic Libyan nation rose up against the oppressor leaders of their own volition and proved that in the era of the awakening of nations, there is no room for tyranny and that the demands of the people must be respected,” said parliament speaker Ali Larijani.

 Kar va Kargar daily printed pictures of the fallen leaders of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya followed by those of Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, figures Iran hopes will be the next dominos to fall to popular unrest.

 But Gaddafi’s fate brings potential dangers to Iran’s interests in the region, not least because of the heavy involvement of the West in his downfall.


 ”America and its allies came to the scene to manage the Libyan revolution and guide it under their control and their hidden goals,” Hossein Shariatmadari, the influential editor of the hardline daily Kayhan, wrote in a leader.

 With their shouts of “Allahu akbar!” (God is greatest) and “Gaddafi is an infidel!,” the rebels had shown their desire for an Islamic state, he added.

 ”There are great masses of people who have explicitly announced they want an establishment based on the teaching of Islam,” Shariatmadari wrote, supporting the line of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has dubbed the Arab Spring an “Islamic Awakening,” inspired by Iran’s 1979 revolution that replaced a Western-backed king with a Muslim theocracy.

 Supporters of Iran’s opposition Green movement, whose protests after the disputed June 2009 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were crushed by security forces, are watching the Arab uprisings with a mixture of admiration, regret for their own movement’s failure and concern about what might replace dictatorial regimes there.

 ”Remember what happened to the Iranian people 30 years ago,” said Ehsan, a factory manager who was born in the year of Iran’s revolution. “Be careful not to be deceived by another dictatorial regime.”

 While many observers of this year’s unprecedented events in the Arab world deny that the uprisings are primarily religious in nature, no one doubts the desire of the West to see post-revolution regimes that are friendly to its strategic and economic interests — something seen by many in Iran as a plot.

 ”NATO and the West, definitely those countries will not be willing to leave Libya and they want to have a long-term dominance over its oil resources and even the soil of that country,” conservative daily Siyasat-e Ruz said.

 ”They are using Libya as a replacement for Egypt for dominance over the whole of Africa and serving the Zionists. The domineering goals of NATO are a serious threat for the future of Libya.”


With fighting still raging in parts of Libya, no one can be sure what a new government will look like, said Iranian journalist Ghanbar Naderi, who predicted a new Libya would not be in the pocket of the West.

“It’s not going to be 100 percent what Iran is looking for and it’s not going to be 100 percent what the West is looking for,” Naderi told Reuters. “The West is not certain that the new people who will be in charge will listen to them or respect the status quo.”

That uncertainty about future loyalties of new Arab regimes means the West fears a possible rise in Iran’s influence, Naderi said, giving the Islamic Republic a singular role in the “chess game” being played in the region.

“Egypt is already using Iran as a bargaining chip to get more from the West … Iran knows that,” Naderi said, saying Cairo’s new leaders are using the threat of a rapprochement with the Iranian “bogeyman” to squeeze more concessions.

“Iran is certainly going to be a winner in the ongoing Arab Spring,” he said

That optimistic outlook may well change if the domino effect reaches Syria, the region’s one true ally to Iran where hardliners dismiss protesters against President Bashar al-Assad as puppets of Israel and the West.

One of the few certainties is that events in Libya will do nothing to deter Iran from its nuclear path.

Less than a decade after ending his diplomatic isolation by abandoning efforts to acquire nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, Gaddafi was being pounded by NATO bombs — not an outcome to inspire Iran to start trusting the West .

Iran’s rulers see Western policies, the switching of allegiances in Egypt and Libya, as opportunistic, Naderi said, and, while Tehran insists its nuclear drive is not aimed at getting atomic bombs, it is determined not to give into Western pressure to drop the technology it sees as a sovereign right.

“I think the best foreign policy now is for Iran to stick to its guns,” said Naderi. “If it gives up its nuclear program it will certainly have a fate such as Gaddafi’s.”

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Damn it or fear it, the forbidden truth is an insurrection in Britain


On a warm spring day, strolling in south London, I heard demanding voices behind me. A police van disgorged a posse of six or more, who waved me aside. They surrounded a young  black man who, like me, was ambling along. They appropriated him; they rifled his pockets, looked in his shoes, inspected his teeth. Their thuggery affirmed, they let him go with the barked warning there would be a next time.

For the young at the bottom of the pyramid of wealth and patronage and poverty that is modern Britain, mostly the black, the marginalised and resentful, the envious and hopeless, there is never surprise. Their relationship with authority is integral to their obsolescence as young adults. Half of all black British youth between the ages of 18 and 24 are unemployed, the result of deliberate policies since Margaret Thatcher oversaw the greatest transfer of wealth from the bottom to the top in British history. Forget plasma TVs, this was panoramic looting.

Such is the truth of David Cameron’s “sick society”, notably its sickest, most criminal, most feral “pocket”: the square mile of the City of London where, with political approval, the banks and super-rich have trashed the British economy and the lives of millions. This is fast becoming unmentionable as we succumb to propaganda once described by the American black leader Malcolm X thus: “If you’re not careful the newspapers will have you hating the oppressed and loving the people doing the oppressing.”

As they lined up to bay their class bigotry and hypocrisy in parliament, barely a handful of MPs spoke this truth. Heirs to Edmund Burke’s 18th century rants against the “mob rule” of a “swinish multitude”, not one referred to previous rebellions in Brixton, Tottenham and Liverpool in the 1980s when Lord Scarman reported that “complex political, social and economic factors” had caused a “disposition towards violent protest” and recommended urgent remedial action. Instead, Labour and Liberal bravehearts called for water cannon and everything draconian: among them the Labour MP Hazel Blears. Remember her notorious expenses?  None made the obvious connection between the greatest inequality since records were kept, a police force that routinely abuses a section of the population and kills with impunity and a permanent state of colonial warfare with an arms trade to match: the apogee of violence.

It hardly seemed coincidental that on the day before Cameron raged against “phony human rights”, NATO aircraft – which include British bombers sent by him – killed a reported 85 civilians in a peaceful Libyan town. These were people in their homes, children in their schools. Watch the BBC’s man on the spot trying his best to dispute the evidence of his eyes, just as the political and media class sought to discredit the evidence of a civilian bloodbath in Iraq as epic as the Rwanda genocide. Who are the criminals?

This is not in any way to excuse the violence of the rioters, many of whom were opportunistic, mean, cruel, nihilistic and often vicious in their glee: an authentic reflection of a system of greed and self-interest to which scores of parasitic money-movers, “entrepreneurs”, Murdochites, corrupt MPs and bent coppers have devoted themselves.

On 4 August, the BBC’s Fiona Armstrong – aka Lady MacGregor of MacGregor – interviewed the writer Darcus Howe, who dared use the forbidden word, “insurrection”.

Armstrong: “Mr. Howe, you say you are not shocked [by the riots]? Does this mean you condone what happened?”

Howe: “Of course not … what I am concerned about is a young man Mark Duggan … the police blew his head off.”

Armstrong: “Mr. Howe, we have to wait for the official enquiry to say things like that. We don’t know what happened to Mr. Duggan. We have to wait for the police report.”

On 8 August, the Independent Police Complaints Commission acknowledged there was “no evidence” that Duggan had fired a shot at police. Duggan was shot in the face on 4 August by a police officer with a Heckler and Koch MP5 sub-machine gun – the same weapon supplied by Britain to dictatorships that use them against their own people. I saw the result in East Timor where Indonesian troops also blew the heads off people with these state-of-the-art weapons supplied by both Tory and Labour governments.

An eyewitness to Duggan’s killing told the Evening Standard, “About three or four police officers had [him] pinned on the ground at gunpoint. They were really big guns and then I heard four loud shots. The police shot him on the floor.”

This is how the Metropolitan Police shot dead Jean Charles de Menezes on the floor of a London Underground train.  And there was Robert Stanley and Ian Tomlinson, and many more. The police lied about Duggan’s killing as they have lied about the others. Since 1998, more than 330 people have died in police custody and not one officer has been convicted.  Where is the political and media outrage about this “culture of fear”?

“Funny, too,” noted the journalist Melanie MacFadyean, “that the police did nothing while some serious looting went on – surely not because they wanted everyone to see that cutting the police force meant more crime?”

Still, the brooms have arrived. In an age of public relations as news, the clean-up campaign, however well-meant by many people, can also serve the government’s and media goal of sweeping inequality and hopelessness under gentrified carpets, with cheery volunteers armed with their brand new brooms  and pointedly described as “Londoners” as if the rest are aliens. The otherwise absent Boris Johnson waved his new broom. Another Etonian, the former PR man to an asset stripper and current prime minister up to his neck in Hackgate, would surely approve.

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Despite the euphoria, the rebels are divided


Many militiamen are already saying they will not take orders from the Transitional National Council, writes Patrick Cockburn

 22 August 2011


The end of Muammar Gaddafi’s 41 years in power appears to be in hand as the rebels close in on Tripoli, though it is not clear if the old regime will collapse without a fight for the capital. It still has the men and the material to draw out the conflict, but its supporters may decide that there is no reason to die for a lost cause.

The circumstances in which Gaddafi’s regime falls is important for the future of Libya. Will he himself flee, disappear to fight again, be arrested or die in the last ditch? Will his supporters be hunted down and killed? After a civil war lasting six months, a stable peace means that those who fought for him should not be treated as pariahs to be slaughtered, arrested, threatened with reprisals or politically marginalised.

For if Gaddafi proved too weak to stay in power, this does not mean that the rebels have overwhelming strength. They were saved from defeat last March by Nato aircraft striking at Gaddafi’s armour as it advanced on Benghazi. They are entering Tripoli now only because they have received tactical air support from Nato.

It is an extraordinary situation. The Transitional National Council (TNC) in Benghazi is now recognised by more than 30 foreign governments, including the US and Britain, as the government of Libya. But it is by no means clear that it is recognised as such by the rebel militiamen who are in the process of seizing the capital. The rebel fighters in Misrata, who fought so long to defend their city, say privately that they have no intention of obeying orders from the TNC. Their intransigence may not last but it is one sign that the insurgents are deeply divided.

It is not the only sign. The rebels’ commander-in-chief Abdul Fattah Younes was murdered only weeks ago after being lured back from the front, parted from his bodyguards and then, by many accounts, tortured to death and his body burned. The TNC has since sacked the provisional cabinet for failing to investigate his death properly, the sacking coming apparently because General Younes’s Obeidi tribe was demanding an explanation for his death.

For many Libyans the end of Gaddafi’s long rule will come as an immense relief. His personality cult, authoritarian regime, puerile ideology and Gilbert-and-Sullivan comic opera antics created a peculiar type of oppression. Libyan students would lament that they had to redo a year’s studies in computer science or some other discipline because they had failed an obligatory exam on Gaddafi’s Green Book. Not surprisingly, the building which housed the centre for Green Book studies was one of the first to be burned in Benghazi when the uprising started on 15 February, two days earlier than planned by its organisers.

The naïve nationalism of Gaddafi and the young officers around him who overthrew the monarchy in 1969 astonished other Arab leaders. But the new regime did succeed, by squeezing Occidental, in raising the price of oil with dramatic consequences for Libya and the rest of the Middle East.

Libyans enjoyed a far higher standard of living their neighbours in Egypt or the non-oil states. But for all Gaddafi’s supposed radicalism, his regime in its last decade was quasi-monarchical, with his sons taking a great share of wealth and power.

The fact that Libya is an oil producer close to Europe has helped to determine many leaders and states, which fawned on Gaddafi only a year ago, to denounce him as a tyrant and recognise the shady men who make up the rebel high command as the leaders of the new Libya. Much of pro-democracy rhetoric and demonising of Gaddafi heard from abroad over the past five months is hard-headed governments betting on those who seemed to be the likely winners.

It is evident that Gaddafi has lost but it is not quite so clear who has won. France and Britain, crucially backed by the US, initially intervened for humanitarian reasons, but this swiftly transmuted into a military venture to enforce a change of regime. Once committed it was never likely that Nato would relent until Gaddafi was overthrown. The rebel columns of pick-ups filled with enthusiastic but untrained militia fighters would have got nowhere without tactical air support blasting pro-Gaddafi forces. Given Nato air support, it is surprising the struggle has gone on so long.

If Nato put the rebels into power will it continue to have a predominant role on what happens next in Libya? It is worth recalling that Saddam Hussein was unpopular with most Iraqis when he fell in 2003 as were the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001. But in neither case did this mean that there was an opposition which had the support to replace them. In both countries wars thought to be over burst into flame again. Foreign allies were seen as foreign occupiers.

In Libya the rebels have triumphed, but foreign intervention brought about the fall of Gaddafi just as surely as it did Saddam and the Taliban. In fact he resisted longer than either and the war was fiercer and more prolonged than France and Britain imagined. It is clear that Gaddafi will go, but we still have to see if the war is truly over.

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A Dangerous Game


by: George Galloway


The BBC’s coverage, as ever, inadvertently revealed the forces at work in the final collapse of the Gadaffi regime.

Over images of rebels pulling down the dictator’s statues a voice intoned: “What are we going to do following the fall of Gadaffi?”

For all the attempts by David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy to claim that this is a Libyan revolution, with just a nudge of support from the West, it’s clear to anyone who cares to look that this is a transformation of political power effected above all by the biggest military alliance in history – Nato.

Sure, there was an uprising – half a year ago.

But since Britain, France and latterly the US decided to use the stalemate in Libya to reinsert themselves into an Arab region which looked dangerously like it was slipping from their grasp, that uprising has been suborned, domesticated and made dependent on powers whose interest in freedom and democracy in the Middle East and north Africa can be measured by their unwavering support for the house of Saud, the gendarme of reaction in the region.

The opposition forces themselves acknowledged the indispensable role of Nato – through bombing and providing “special forces” on the ground – in the push on Tripoli and over the last few months.

The New York Times reported earlier this week on how the oil companies of the belligerent states are preparing to cherry-pick the gains.

Many of them had a presence in Libya under Gadaffi. But according to the Times, they were frustrated by the restrictions that were placed on their operations.

They are determined that there will be fewer constraints now.

And there’s the essential truth of this matter. The quixotic Gadaffi had long since ceased to embody the Nasserist spirit which breathed life into his overthrow of the ancien regime in Libya in 1969.

He had made his peace with George Bush, Silvio Berlusconi and Tony Blair. But he was ever an unreliable ally.

What Western policy is geared to in Libya and across the wider region is securing more reliable allies – some rearranging of the political furniture, the better to secure the underlying interests that have animated the great powers’ engagement there for decades.

This does not mean that the scenes in Tripoli are artificial – though the cliched reports echoing the fall of Baghdad should provide pause for thought.

But it does mean that the “liberation of Libya” is anything but.

The sophistry about the absence of “boots on the ground,” which some Western policy-makers are already arguing will be necessary under a UN guise to preserve order, says little about the extent of foreign interests or domination in the turbulent processes that will now unfold in Libya.

First, the Western powers have seized Libya’s foreign assets and are in charge of how they will be disbursed.

Does anyone seriously imagine that this largesse will find its way into the hands of truly revolutionary forces, of the kind who are now pressing in Egypt for the maximum change possible and not for a new concordat with the US, Israel and domestic kleptocrats?

Second, the Benghazi opposition leadership has already been winnowed over the last few months to make it as compliant as possible with Western interests.

Third, there is the talk of state-building and the army of not so much boots but Guccis on the ground as consultants and experts from such bastions of democracy as the IMF and World Bank descend on Tripoli.

These are the kinds of people who, with Western diplomats and Establishment NGOs, are poring over Tunisia and Egypt.

They are the outfits that are desperate to ensure that whatever emerges from the events in Syria is, again, a regime more pliant than the current one.

They are the people who insinuated themselves into the Kurdish north of Iraq over the last two decades, supporting the duopoly of clan power there which has repressed its own echos of the Arab revolutionary wave.

But we are not where we were 20 years ago at the end of the Gulf war. What we have seen over the last 10 years is not the extension of US power in theMiddle East but its limits. That can be seen in how it is that the West must present its old policies of regime change and humanitarian interventionism.

These are adaptions to, and attempts to corral, something which was not manufactured in the US State Department.

The genuine upsurges in Tunisia and Egypt, and their reflexes elsewhere.

So it is a very dangerous game. The politicians know that Western public opinion, not to mention overstretched militaries, will not at this moment stomach yet another full-scale occupation.

They must rely on the conflicted forces that now seek to take charge. They must do so as the earthquake that began in Tunisia still resonates around the region.

Those who say that process is simply at an end simultaneously exaggerated the pace of events and also underestimated their profundity.

The wave of change in the Middle East and north Africa was never simply going to sweep all before it and produce in a few months the most progressive of changes from the Atlantic coast of north Africa to the Persian Gulf.

That it hasn’t done so should come as no surprise.

Big changes, revolutionary waves, don’t work like that, especially in a region in which the imperialist powers have invested so much and have so much at stake.

To paraphrase Lenin, in such epochs there are revolutions, but there are also wars – civil and between states.

This process is continuing, though with the Western powers having found their footing, insecurely.

In Egypt even the transitional military government has had to respond to Israel’s attack on its personnel at the Rafah crossing in a way that Mubarak never would.

In Yemen the Saudis’ fix is fracturing the society more deeply. The West knows now what it would like in Syria, but whether it can get it is another matter.

This places a great responsibility on those of us in the West. It was easy to cheer on the heroes of Tahrir Square at the beginning of the year and to revel in the discomfort of both the local potentates and their Western backers. Now it is not so easy.

Cameron and Sarkozy in particular, facing domestically another spiral downwards into economic depression, will seek to use the fall of Gadaffi, as we knew they would, to turbo-charge the intervention machine.

Whatever limits they may face militarily and from the people of the Middle East, we need to ensure that Cameron feels an immediate constraint – that British public opinion rejects that militarist drive.

That’s not an easy task. The collapse of so many into agnosticism or worse about this latest adventure is sobering. But it is not an impossible one.

On both sides of the Atlantic this war was not popular with the mass of people, the people who are now facing the savage austerity that even leading finance houses are saying is choking off demand and making a second recession more likely.

The war in Afghanistan, approaching its 10th anniversary, continues to drain blood and treasure.

If anyone doubted the sophistication of the insurgent forces there, they should recall that the recent attack on the British Council in the heart of Kabul was timed to mark the day in 1919 when the British were last forced to leave Afghanistan.

Maintaining and extending the core message of the anti-war movement through new means and old is vital.

There is another issue too – Palestine.

It is the central issue of injustice in the Middle East in its own right. It is also the litmus test for whether those claiming to stand for progress in the region truly do or whether they are modern-day versions of Lampedusa’s character Tancredi in the Leopard: “For things to stay the same, everything must change.”

Hillary Clinton could nauseatingly go to Tahrir Square and claim to be intoxicated by the air of freedom. The air over Gaza is thick with cordite.

Cameron talks of the free movement of people in Libya. The apartheid wall on the West Bank is uprooting the people from their land.

The biggest things that those of us in the West can do to help the genuine movement for change in the Middle East are to stand foursquare against our government’s attempts to derail them and to raise high the banner of Palestine.

The process unleashed by the fall of Mubarak will go on for many years, with ebbs and flows.

The movement against imperialist intervention and for the Palestinian people remains a duty for all progressives in this land of Balfour and of Viscount Blair of BP.

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The OECD has lost 4 million Palestinians


The OECD’s recent report on the statistics of Israel shows that the Israeli government succeeded in manipulating the organization into accepting Israel’s perspective – according to which Palestinians simply do not exist.

By Shir Hever
JNews Blog

In May 2010, Israel was accepted into the OECD, the organization of developed democracies, and an exclusive club for the world’s richest 34 countries. It did so following heavy pressure by the U.S, to overlook Israel’s occupation of both Palestinian and Syrian territory.

Although OECD membership doesn’t bring direct material benefites, Israeli governments went to great lengths to gain entry, because membership of the organisation lends an air of legitimacy to Israel.

But the OECD had a serious problem with defining Israel, a country without defined borders, which occupies and illegally annexes large tracts of lands. European Union policy prevents EU members of the OECD from recognizing Israel in the occupation borders.

The solution agreed upon was that Israel would produce statistical data that refers only to the population within its internationally-recognized green-line borders, within a year of its acceptance.

Unsurprisingly, Israel never produced this document. But the OECD needed these statistics, otherwise the compromise agreement on which it had accepted Israel as a member in the first place, would have been revealed as a sham and the OECD would have lost face. So its own statisticians recently produced a report, Study on the Geographic Coverage of Israeli Data (PDF), which attempts to resolve the issue on Israel’s behalf.

The report only uses data from Israeli sources (mainly the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, or ICBS). No attempt was made to challenge its validity or to compare it with data from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, and it seems that the OECDstatisticians received very little, if any, cooperation from the ICBS.

The writers of the report, keenly aware of the treacherous legal and political ground they were treading, included a disclaimer that the OECD uses Israeli data “without prejudice” to the status of the occupied territories, as if a scientific discussion in the statistics of Israel/Palestine could take place without making any political, legal or moral comment. The report explains that, regardless of the legal aspects of the occupation, they are merely referring to the “economic territory” of Israel, which includes the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and the Israeli colonies in the West Bank, which are effectively part of the Israeli-controlled economy.

Can this argument be acceptable? In truth, this report produces a better picture of Israeli economic realities by incorporating activity in territories beyond the green line. But it fails to include them all: four million Palestinians are missing from the account which ends up not simply as is a de facto acceptance of the occupation but of Israeli apartheid as well.

While the report often refers to the occupied West Bank as “Judea and Samaria” (a biblical reference used by the Israeli government to justify the occupation and emphatically not accepted by the United Nations, or any other international body), the word “Palestinian” does not appear even once in the 58-page report.

In fact, the OECD decided to collect data about Israeli citizens and residents within Israel’s “economic territory”, and failed to notice approximately four million Palestinians who live under Israeli occupation. Those four million include 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank (where the OECD counts only Israeli citizens and residents in its stats), and 1.5 million in Gaza, which remains part of Israel’s economic sphere and under full Israeli economic control, but do not figure into the OECD calculations at all.

How can one question that four million Palestinians who use Israeli currency, pay customs and various other taxes to the Israeli government, are subject to Israeli monopolies in water, energy and telecommunication (yes, I am talking also about Gaza, which Israel claims is “no longer occupied” but which pays customs and tariffs on imported goods and Value Added Tax (VAT) for Israeli products that are sold in Gaza.), are not part of Israel’s de-facto economic territory?

And yet, it seems that the OECD countries are intent on eliminating the Palestinians from the data, as if the area of approximately 27,000 square kilometers (Palestine and the Syrian Golan Heights) was populated by only 7.5 million people, and not by 11.5 million.

Another example was the OECD’s tourism conference held in October 2010, which Israel won the right to host – in Jerusalem. On this basis, Israel’s minister of tourism announced that the OECD delegates, by attending, recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.Buses from one of Israel’s colonial companies (carrying names of illegal settlements) were used to transport the delegates.

In fact, if Palestinians would be included in the data pertaining to Israel’s “economic territory”, as they should be, a very different face of Israel would be revealed.. Israel would probably be revealed as the most unequal economy in the world. From the refugee camps in Gaza where most people live under the international poverty line, to north Tel-Aviv (about two hours drive from there) with neighbourhoods housing millionaires and billionaires…

Israel’s image as a developed economy and as a democratic country rests on its ability to separate Jews and Palestinians, citizens and subjects. This kind of separation is calledapartheid.

While it is obvious why the Israeli government would like the world to forget about the existence of the Palestinians altogether, one wonders why the OECD countries go to such great lengths to help Israel conceal them.

Shir Hever is an Israeli economist and commentator who researches the economic aspects of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

This article may be reproduced on condition that JNews is cited as its source

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Faces for Racist Zio-Nazi


As the people of Gaza and West Bank asked, “We have thousands of Shallits captured and detained without charge, men, women and children and no-one from your country asks about them..when they come here, it is Shallit, Shallit, Shallit…”

Campaigners keep the fires lit for  Zio-Nazi Shalit

The Zio-Nazi Embassy in London has urged supporters to pay £100 to sponsor black cabs branded with an image of Zio-Nazi Gilad Shalit for a month. 

Zionist Spokesman Amir Ofek said he hoped 200 taxis would be involved, adding: “Such unprecedented exposure would magnify each contribution made by the community to help bring Gilad home.” 

Zionist Board of Deputies ‘Faces For Gilad’ campaign will launch in mid-July. Supporters will be asked to send in “mug-shots” of themselves, holding a sign asking for Zio-Nazi Shalit’s release. Public Affairs officer Jamie Slavin said: “This will finally put a human face to the campaign.”

The photos will be stored on a Face for Gilad website, and there will be a YouTube video montage of them. “Eventually, we want to take Faces for Gilad to the streets,” he said. “Imagine 20 of us with cameras handing out leaflets in Trafalgar Square and snapping photos of members of the public demonstrating that they stand with Gilad.”


Campaigners keep the fires lit for Shalit

New impetus on the streets of Israel as his fifth year in captivity approaches

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 23, 2011

Two hundred taxis are expected to promote the Gilad Shalit message

Two hundred taxis are expected to promote the Gilad Shalit message

The fifth anniversary of the capture of Gilad Shalit has rekindled the debate over the price worth paying for his release. A flurry of diplomatic activity in Israel in recent weeks has so far failed to deliver a breakthrough.

On Shabbat, June 25, it will be five years to the day in which Palestinian fighters attacked a tank by Kerem Shalom, killed two and took Shalit.

This weekend demonstrators will again urge the government to step in. There will be a rally by the spot where he was captured and celebrities will spend an hour in a mock prison cell.

Gilad’s mother, Aviva, told Yediot Ahronot: “In this country we sanctify the dead, not the living. If Gilad had been killed, it would have absolved the decision-makers, but Gilad is alive and they cannot leave him there.”

The government refuses to release terrorists serving life for killing civilians in exchange for Shalit. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has avoided direct confrontation with the Shalit family but a source in his office said this week: “We have to remember that in the past, many terrorists who were released, returned to terror and murdered dozens more.”

On Tuesday, Hamas sources claimed they had foiled an Israeli attempt to capture a military leader to gain information on Shalit’s whereabouts.

In recent weeks, the new Egyptian government has tried to step up its efforts to broker a deal. But despite a number of visits to Cairo by senior representatives from Israel and Hamas, there has not been yet any breakthrough.

Germany which has been active in the negotiations has also renewed its efforts, according to Arab sources, proposing a new deal by which Israel will release a thousand Palestinian prisoners – but not the biggest names on Hamas’ list – and compensate with relaxations of the closure on Gaza.

Apparently Hamas has rejected this proposal. Shalit is also a French citizen and last weekend, President Sarkozy and Chancellor Angela Merkel, launched a joint appeal.

In Britain, the message takes to the streets – by cab

Amnesty International are planning a public campaign for the fifth anniversary of Gilad Shalit’s captivity this weekend.

His cousin Hemda Garelick met Amnesty officials in London to discuss details. Members will now be asked to write solidarity letters to parents Noam and Aviva Shalit and collect letters for Shalit himself, which they will ask Hamas authorities to deliver.

Amnesty’s Deborah Hyams said: “We will raise Gilad’s continuing incommunicado detention again during meetings with the Hamas authorities, when we next visit Gaza in three to four months.”

Prof Garelick said details of the campaign: “I want them on our side, but I tried to come over strong with our expectations. There needs to be a very public statement condemning what is happening. It’s important we raise his profile outside of the Jewish community.”

The Zionist Federation’s director of public affairs Stefan Kerner said: “Amnesty have had bad press but this shows they are not as partisan as people might think.”

The Irish Christian Friends of Israel presented a 1,431 name petition to Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore.

The Israeli Embassy in London has urged supporters to pay £100 to sponsor black cabs branded with an image of Gilad Shalit for a month.

Spokesman Amir Ofek said he hoped 200 taxis would be involved, adding: “Such unprecedented exposure would magnify each contribution made by the community to help bring Gilad home.”

The Board of Deputies ‘Faces For Gilad’ campaign will launch in mid-July. Supporters will be asked to send in “mug-shots” of themselves, holding a sign asking for Shalit’s release. Public Affairs officer Jamie Slavin said: “This will finally put a human face to the campaign.”

The photos will be stored on a Face for Gilad website, and there will be a YouTube video montage of them. “Eventually, we want to take Faces for Gilad to the streets,” he said. “Imagine 20 of us with cameras handing out leaflets in Trafalgar Square and snapping photos of members of the public demonstrating that they stand with Gilad.”

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Libyan Rebels may recognize IsraHell

by Josepf Farah

World Net Daily

Hillary Clinton and Dr. Jibril from the Libyan National Transitional CouncilThe rebels of Libya’s National Transitional Council are prepared to recognize Israel diplomatically, and Israeli businessmen already are arriving in Libya to establish futurebusiness activities with the “new government,” informed sources have told Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

The rebels of Libya’s National Transitional Council are prepared to recognize Israel diplomatically, and Israeli businessmen already are arriving in Libya to establish futurebusiness activities with the “new government,” informed sources have told Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin

“This area may just become Israel’s new best friend in the Middle East,” the source said.

The development would represent a major shift in Libya’s foreign policy toward Israel and would provide the Jewish state with a sorely needed strategic friend among the Arab countries, since the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in January placed Israeli-Egyptian relations on hold.

The influx of Israeli businessmen into Libya also reinforces earlier comments made by the French philosopher and journalist Bernard-Henri Levy, who claims that weeks ago he had passed a message to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a 90-minute meeting that the NTC was prepared to recognize Israel diplomatically.

Netanyahu’s office confirms that the prime minister met with Levy but wouldn’t comment on their discussion.

The NTC, however, issued a statement following Levy’s comments saying that the French philosopher was received “as a special envoy from the president of France and relations with Israel was (sic) never discussed.”

However, the NTC did not deny Levy’s assertion that it would grant diplomatic recognition to Israel once in full control of Libya.

“The NTC has long believed Levy is an official French envoy,” said Barak Barfi of the Washington-based New America Foundation.

“Even in its press release denying the existence of a message (to Israel), it called him ‘a special envoy from the president of France,’” Barfi said. “The NTC knows Levy. They think he is an important figure fueling France’s stance on Libya.”

Barfi similarly expressed surprise that the NTC had given Levy the assurance that it would grant Israel diplomatic recognition.

He said that graffiti in parts of Benghazi display the Star of David next to Gadhafi’s name with Arabic text calling him a Jew and a Mossad agent.

“They are comparing their worst enemies to each other,” Barfi said.

“In relation to other Arab countries, I would rate Libya in the most anti-Israeli camp along with Syria and Yemen,” Barfi said. “Though Libyans are less prone to see Israel’s hand behind every conspiracy as Syrians and Yemenis do, they harbor deep anti-Israeli sentiments.”

The fact that Israeli businessmen have descended on Libya, however, may reflect accurately on Levy’s discussion with the NTC and his subsequent meeting with Netanyahu.

Read more:Libyan rebels may recognize Israel

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