Archive | December 12th, 2011

TUT Radio Podcast Dec 12, 2011

TUT Podcast Dec 12, 2011

by crescentandcross

America and IsraHell–The largest state sponsors of terrorism in the world, and according to the 2-headed beast Iran must be bombed into oblivion in order to stamp out terror.

We are joined once again by Iranian journalist Kourosh Ziabari to discuss the ongoing terrorism campaign against his country by American, British and IsraHell forces and what this all means viz a viz an upcoming attack on Iran.


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Update 1: Today at 12:00 P.M. we contacted DOD Press Office via two voicemail messages and one e-mail asking for comment(s) on this story. As of 6:00 P.M. EST we have not heard back.

Update 2: Another journalist with a major mainstream media publication was told by his editors that there would be no coverage or follow up on these developments.

According to first-hand accounts and reports provided to Boiling Frogs Post by several sources in Jordan, during the last few hours foreign military groups, estimated at hundreds of individuals, began to spread near the villages of the north-Jordan city of “Al-Mafraq”, which is adjacent to the Jordanian and Syrian border.

According to one Jordanian military officer who asked to remain anonymous, hundreds of soldiers who speak languages ​other than Arabic were seen during the past two days in those areas moving back and forth in military vehicles between the King Hussein Air Base of al-Mafraq (10 km from the Syrian border), and the vicinity of Jordanian villages adjacent to the Syrian border, such as village Albaej (5 km from the border), the area around the dam of Sarhan, the villages of Zubaydiah and al-Nahdah adjacent to the Syrian border.

Another report received from our source in Amman identified an additional US-NATO Command Center in “al-Houshah,’ a village near Mafraq.

Our Iraqi journalist source in London provided us with the following related information:

“Some of the US forces that left the Ain al-Assad Air base in Iraq last Thursday, did not come back to the USA or its base in Germany, but were transferred to Jordan during the evening hours.”

The above information was further corroborated by our correspondent and advisor Nizar Nayouf who interviewed an employee in the London-based office of Royal Jordanian Airlines:

“At least one US aircraft carrying military personnel landed in the Prince Hassan Air base located about 100 km to the east of the city of Al-Mafraq.”

Earlier last week, Jordanian news websites disclosed that “Western officials have requested the King to allow establishing an electronic spy station in the north of Jordan (near the Syrian border) in order to access the Syrian army and contact Syrian high-rank officers for convincing them to make a military coup or (at least) rebel against the regime”. 

Nizar Nayouf, BFP advisor and correspondent on Syria in London, had the following statement on Al-Mafraq:

The al-Mafraq air base, which now includes Air Force Academy, was a starting point for “conspiratorial activities” by Jordan, The UK and Israel against Syria in the past, particularly in the 1960s. In September 1968, a Syrian commando Major, Salim Hatoom, who fled to Jordan with a number of officers after a failed coup attempt, established a camp from which he started a rebel military against the then left-wing government of Syria under president Nureddin al-Atassi and Salah Jadid. By the end of 1970s and early 1980s, the Syrian Islamic Brotherhood and their military wing “At-Taleeah al-Islamiyyah al-Muqatilah” (the Islamic Militant Vanguard) used the same base for its military struggle against president Hafez a-Assad regime, in which they were being trained by the Jordanian and Israeli intelligence agents, and cars were being bombed before they were sent to the streets of Syrian cities for the killing of innocents and undermining state facilities.”

Mr. Nayouf went on to emphasize the irony of the situation:

I guess history repeats itself but as farce…Last spring, that tens of Syrian soldiers, who fled to Jordan, were transferred to a camp west of the Jordanian city of “Salt”, in which officers from Israeli military intelligence (AMAN) began the investigation with them under the supervision of the Jordanian military intelligence. This was to extract information from them on issues related to the development of the Syrian army, weapons and training, especially after 2006.

We contacted our expert sources on US media and intelligence-military and were told that the US media has been told not to report on this latest development until Tuesday, December 13. Boiling Frogs Post is the first news website to report on these latest developments.




Ehud Barak (ISRAEL OUT)  Israeli Defence Minister and leader of the new Atzmaut party Ehud Barak attends a special cabinet meeting to confirm the new governmental appointments on January 19, 2011 in Jerusalem, Israel.  Barak and four other members quit the Labor party January 18, to form a new centrist Atzmaut party.

Israel’s defense minister urged the world on Sunday to apply “paralyzing” sanctions on Iran’s energy sector and leadership, but didn’t comment about whether his country is ready to strike Tehran to cripple its alleged efforts to make nuclear arms.

Ehud Barak also described the Arab Spring that has swept regional despots from power in the Mideast and Africa as an “extremely moving” manifestation of mass striving for democracy, and he predicted that Syrian President Bashar Assad would be toppled within weeks.

Barak spoke on the final day of the three-day World Policy Conference in Vienna, which also showed that relations between Turkey and Israel remain strained following last year’s Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla that killed eight Turkish citizens and a Turkish-American.

The annual conference aims to bring together policy makers from different sectors to debate some of the world’s more pressing concerns and attempt to advance solutions.

Regarding Assad’s clique, Barak said during a question-and-answer session at the conference, “The falling down of this family is a blessing for the Middle East.”

He said he expects Syria’s relatively secular society to remain that way in any post-Assad scenario. At the same time, Barak said the Mideast turmoil over the short term could result in more influence for Islamic radicals, which would be “quite disturbing for the region.”

The Arab region’s democratic upheavals and Iran are among Israel’s most pressing security concerns. The Jewish state is particularly keen to preserve an alliance with Egypt that is a cornerstone of Mideast stability, but relations between the two countries have become strained since a popular uprising toppled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in February.

The storming of Israel’s Cairo embassy in September and a strong showing by Islamist parties in Egypt’s elections have fueled fears in Israel about future ties between the two countries.

Israel and Egypt signed a U.S.-brokered peace treaty in 1979, the first between Israel and an Arab state. The agreement has allowed Israel to divert resources to its volatile fronts with Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Egypt has benefited by receiving billions of dollars in U.S. military aid.

Iran’s nuclear progress — and fears that it is secretly working on atomic arms — is perhaps an even greater worry.

Israeli officials have recently toned down increasingly strident warnings that their country may be planning to strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities in an attempt to cripple a program that can be used both for civilian and military purposes. But they say force remains an option, if diplomacy fails to end Tehran’s nuclear defiance.

On Sunday, Barak avoided mentioning the military option, telling the meeting he thinks there still is “time for urgent, coherent, paralyzing sanctions” on Iran’s leadership and its energy sector, effectively throttling exports and imports of oil and related products by Tehran.

Adding to Iran’s burden of already existing U.N. and national sanctions, the U.S. and the European Community have been tightening the net of economic punishments targeting Tehran in recent weeks.

The European Union recently imposed sanctions on nearly 150 Iranian companies and dozens of individuals and is examining the feasibility of additional measures that could include restrictions on oil imports and gasoline exports to and from Iran.

Tehran denies seeking nuclear arms. But reflecting regional concerns, Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal recently warned that his country could someday consider making its own atomic weapons, if stuck between nuclear arsenals in Iran and Israel.

Israel does not comment on the widely held presumption that it has such weapons, and Barak kept to that practice Sunday.

But he warned that an Iran with nuclear weapons “will start the countdown toward a terrible vision:” other nations in the region — and radicals like Hamas in Palestine or Hezbollah in Lebanon — acquiring their own arsenals.

Barak and Turkish President Abdullah Gul were the most prominent guests at the conference and they appeared to steer clear of each other, reflecting tensions between their nations.

Turkish media reported that Gul stayed away from the group photo session before the conference to avoid Barak.

In response, Barak walked out as Gul prepared to make his speech on Friday. Gul then boycotted the dinner given by Austrian president to avoid Barak again and instead he attended prayers at a mosque in Vienna.

Barak acknowledged the two nations remain unable “to iron out” their differences.

Israel calls for ‘paralyzing’ sanctions against Iran




Iran’s ruling clerics could use nuclear weapons to strengthen their grip on power and the world must urgently impose crippling sanctions to prevent them from building such arms, Israel’s defense minister said on Sunday.

Ehud Barak also predicted that Syria’s ruling Assad family could fall within weeks and that this would be a “blessing” for the Middle East.

Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak gestures as he attends a plenary session during the World Policy Conference at the historic Hofburg palace in Vienna December 11, 2011.

“Something is wrong with this family, the way they suppress the will of the Syrian people, killing them, slaughtering their own people,” he told a conference in Vienna.

Asked about prospects for an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear sites, Barak said he still believed that it was “time for urgent, coherent, paralyzing” punitive steps targeting Iranian oil trade and its central bank.

“Nothing short of this kind of sanctions will work,” Barak said, adding there was a need for a “direct attack, isolation, by the whole world” of the Iranian central bank.

Speculation that Israel, which sees Iran’s nuclear program as an existential threat, could launch preemptive strikes against Iran was fuelled by a UN report last month which said Tehran appeared to have worked on designing a nuclear weapon.

The Islamic Republic, which often lashes out at Israel over its assumed atomic arsenal, says allegations that it is seeking nuclear arms are based on forged evidence.

Barak said he would “love to see the Arab Spring jumping over” the Gulf into Iran, referring to political upheaval in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and elsewhere over the last year.

“This regime in Iran, the ayatollahs, they will be not be there I believe in 10 or 15 years. It is against the nature of the Iranian people and what happens all around the world.”

“But if they turn nuclear they might assure another layer of immunity, political immunity for the regime in the same way that Kim Jong-il assured his,” Barak said, referring to the North Korean leader and that country’s development of nuclear weapons.

He suggested that the Libyan conflict could have taken a different course if Muammar Gadhafi had declared at the outset that “he has three or four nuclear devices.”

Earlier this month, Barak said that an Israeli attack on Iran was not imminent. He has also said there were several months left in which to decide on such action.

Turning to events in neighboring Syria, he predicted on Sunday the end of the 41-year rule of the Assad family. “They are going to disappear, probably in a few weeks…The falling down of this family is a blessing for the Middle East.”

President Bashar Assad’s forces have cracked down on a revolt that began in March with peaceful protests but has become increasingly violent. Army deserters are now fighting state security forces.

The way the situation develops “is beyond our control…we don’t think we have to intervene in any way,” Barak said. He said Israel might at some stage have to “take more assertive action” in Gaza, where Palestinian militants responded with rocket attacks on Israel after an Israeli air strike killed two militants last Thursday.




Brooklyn Prosecutors Confirm Forward’s Reports of Arrests

Brooklyn prosecutors say authorities  have arrested 85 people in the Orthodox Jewish community on child sex abuse  charges in the past three years, the New York Post reported Sunday, confirming  earlier reports in the Forward.

Prosecutors in the office of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes told  the Post that 38 of the sex cases had been closed so far, with 14 convictions.  The suspects got jail time ranging from a month to up to 20 years for crimes  that included sex abuse, attempted kidnapping, and sodomy, the paper said.

Twenty-four suspects were freed after the cases against them fell apart, the  report said.

The rest of the cases are still pending under a controversial program called  Kol Tzedek, or Voice of Justice, which  aims to coax victims in the insular  community to come forward about abuse.

Hynes’s office did not immediately respond for a request for comment  Sunday.

Among those accused is Andrew Goodman, 27, who worked for Ohel and other  Jewish social-service agencies. The Post says he is charged with sexually  abusing two Orthodox boys for years in Flatbush, and filming sex acts dating  back to 2006, according to the 144-count indictment, which alleges numerous  violations since 2006.

Goodman has pleaded not guilty.

The Forward first broke the news weeks ago that nearly  90 Orthodox men had been arrested on child abuse charges. At that time,  prosecutors refused to furnish any additional information about the cases, but  suggested they would do so by the end of November.

Among the cases reported by the Forward was that of Boro  Park Rabbi Baruch Lebovits,who was sentenced last year to up to 32 years in  prison after being convicted of sex abuse.

Victims’ rights advocates hailed it as a turning point in the battle against  sexual abuse in the insular Orthodox community. But Lebovits is now free on bail  and his conviction is now unraveling amid allegations of perjury, conspiracy and  extortion.

Just last week, Hynes’ spokesman Jerry  Schmetterer refused to return calls from the Forward asking for more  information about the cases.

Read more:








Three days ago, Mustafa Tamimi joined family, friends and activists in this tiny West Bank village to protest Israel’s military occupation, just as he has done almost every week for two years.

On Saturday, he was dead.

A tear-gas canister fired by an Israeli soldier hit the 28-year-old Palestinian man in the head during Friday’s demonstration, according to dozens of witnesses.

His death has inflamed family and friends in his native Nabi Saleh, whose 550 residents began demonstrations two years ago against the expansion of a Jewish settlement on their land.

For them, this is more than just another example of the Israeli military’s tough response to their protests, which usually consists of mass arrests, rubber bullets and substantial amounts of tear gas.

“They deliberately shot him in the face!” Mustafa’s 51-year-old uncle, who was at Friday’s protest, said. He was too scared to give his name.

Israel’s military is investigating Mustafa’s death. It said an initial examination “indicates that a Palestinian was severely injured from a gas grenade shot towards him”.

The military said in a statement yesterday Friday’s demonstration was a violent and illegal riot of 100 people throwing rocks. Israel said soldiers found a slingshot on Mustafa’s body. Even if rocks were thrown, that is beside the point, activists say.

“The question is not whether the person is throwing stones or not throwing stones; the question is whether the army is allowed to use deadly force from within an armoured vehicle,” Jonathan Pollak, a pro-Palestinian Israeli activist who supports Nabi Saleh’s demonstrations, told the Associated Press soon after the shooting.

<strong>< a href=”;lev1=m_east;sz=300×250;tile=2;ord=123456789?” target=”_blank” >< img src=”;lev1=m_east;sz=300×250;tile=2;ord=123456789?” border=”0″ alt=”” />< </strong>“This violates the army’s own regulations.”

Soldiers are banned from aiming tear gas grenades directly at protesters. A photograph (right) from the demonstrations appears to show that is what happened.

It captures Mustafa chasing after an armoured military vehicle a few metres ahead, as someone sitting inside fires at his head.

“A soldier took his gun out and shot him directly,” said the photographer who took it, Haim Schwarczenberg, another Israeli activist.

Posters of Mustafa’s bloodied face were plastered across the village yesterday as family, friends and supporters hoisted his body, draped in a Palestinian flag, through the streets.

They called it a martyr’s funeral. His family wailed, calling his name. Several women fainted.

“We’re never going to stop our protests because Mustafa’s blood, our blood, is for Palestine!” said one of his relatives, Marwan Tamimi, 41.

Scores of residents, while still vowing peaceful demonstrations, also displayed to journalists the wounds they sustained at rallies against Israel’s occupation.

Old men to young women showed scars from what they said were tear gas canisters and rubber bullets. One man had an oversized bandage on his forehead.

Some spoke about the trauma inside Israeli prisons, where more than 10 per cent of the village has spent time, including Mustafa and his four brothers.

Manal Tamimi, 39, Mustafa’s cousin, said Mustafa recently started building a new home in the village so he could settle down and marry. A high school graduate, he was a bus driver.

“He had somebody in mind,” she said of his prospective fiance. “But you know our culture: you don’t know who she is until he, the man, is ready to propose.”

Instead, mourners yesterday raised his body in front of his unfinished home and chanted.

“Our martyr, oh Mustafa, the martyr of Palestine!”





Washington Post

Iranian experts are in the final stages of recovering data from the U.S. surveillance drone captured by the country’s armed forces, state TV reported Monday.

Tehran has flaunted the drone’s capture as a victory for Iran and a defeat for the United States in a complicated intelligence and technological battle.

 Iran will not return a U.S. surveillance drone captured by its armed forces, a senior commander of the country’s elite Revolutionary Guard said Sunday. (Dec. 11)

A high-tech, stealth CIA drone was captured by Iranian officials while on a surveillance mission over Iran. The mishap put sophisticated technology in Iranian hands and provided public evidence of the kind of spying that’s been long suspected.


Lawmaker Parviz Sorouri, who is on the parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee, said Monday the extracted information will be used to file a lawsuit against the United States for the “invasion” by the unmanned aircraft.Sorouri also claimed that Iran has the capability to reproduce the drone through reverse engineering, but he didn’t elaborate.

The TV broadcast a video on Thursday of Iranian military officials inspecting what it identified as the RQ-170 Sentinel drone. Iranian state media have said the unmanned spy aircraft was detected and brought down over the country’s east, near the border with Afghanistan. U.S. officials have acknowledged losing the drone.

Officers in the Revolutionary Guard, Iran’s most powerful military force, have claimed the country’s armed forces brought down the surveillance aircraft with an electronic ambush, causing minimum damage to the drone.

American officials have said that U.S. intelligence assessments indicate that Iran neither shot the drone down, nor used electronic or cybertechnology to force it from the sky. They contend the drone malfunctioned. The officials spoke anonymously in order to discuss the classified program.

U.S. officials are concerned others may be able to reverse-engineer the chemical composition of the drone’s radar-deflecting paint or the aircraft’s sophisticated optics technology that allows operators to positively identify terror suspects from tens of thousands of feet in the air.

They are also worried adversaries may be able to hack into the drone’s database, although it is not clear whether any data could be recovered. Some surveillance technologies allow video to stream through to operators on the ground but do not store much collected data. If they do, it is encrypted.

Sorouri racheted up the anti-U.S. rhetoric in Monday’s remarks.

“The extracted information will be used to file a lawsuit against the United States over the invasion,” he told state TV.

Separately, in comments to the semi-official ISNA news agency, Sorouri said Iran would soon hold a navy drill to practice the closure of the strategic Strait of Hormouz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, which is the passageway for about 40 percent of the world’s oil tanker traffic.

Despite Sorouri’s comments and past threats that Iran could endanger the waterway if the U.S. or Israel moved against Iranian nuclear facilities, no such exercise has been officially announced.

“Iran will make the world unsafe,” if the world attacks Iran, Sorouri said.

Both the U.S. and Israel have not rule out military option against Iran’s controversial nuclear program, which the West suspects is aimed at making atomic weapons. Iran denies the charge, saying its nuclear activities are geared toward peaceful purposes like power generation.





Another explosion hits Islamic Republic, however no links reported between Ghadir-e Yazd factory, Iran’s nuclear program. Foreign nationals among victims

Iranian news agencies reported Monday that an explosion in a factory in the central province of Yazd claimed seven lives and injured 12 others Sunday evening.

It appears the factory was privately-owned. There have been no reports suggesting it had any connection to nuclear facilities. Two blasts in military and nuclear facilities in Iran were reported last month.

According to Iranian reports, the blast occurred at the Ghadir-e Yazd Steel factory at 19:15 local time. The local governor said some of the foreign nationals residing in Yazd province were among those killed in the explosion.

Iran’s state TV reported that a local firefighter said that five of the victims died on the spot and two died of their wounds in a hospital. The website said that the explosion was caused by water in the iron furnace.   Meanwhile, the head of Iran’s parliamentary national security committee said Monday that Iran will reverse-engineer the US drone it has in its possession, and is in the “final stages” of unlocking the aircraft’s software secrets.

“Our next action will be to reverse-engineer the aircraft,” Parviz Sorouri said, according to the website of Iranian state television. “In the near future, we will be able to mass produce it … Iranian engineers will soon build an aircraft superior to the American (drone) using reverse engineering,” he was quoted as saying.

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Lowe’s Home Improvement has found itself facing a backlash after the retail giant pulled ads from a reality show about American Muslims.

The retail giant stopped advertising on TLC’s “All-American Muslim” after a conservative group known as the Florida Family Association complained, saying the program was “propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values.”

The show premiered last month and chronicles the lives of five families from Dearborn, Mich., a Detroit suburb with a large Muslim and Arab-American population.

A state senator from Southern California said Sunday he was considering calling for a boycott.

Calling the Lowe’s decision “un-American” and “naked religious bigotry,” Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, told The Associated Press he would also consider legislative action if Lowe’s doesn’t apologize to Muslims and reinstate its ads. The senator sent a letter outlining his complaints to Lowe’s Chief Executive Officer Robert A. Niblock.

“The show is about what it’s like to be a Muslim in America, and it touches on the discrimination they sometimes face. And that kind of discrimination is exactly what’s happening here with Lowe’s,” Lieu said.

The Florida group sent three emails to its members, asking them to petition Lowe’s to pull its advertising. Its website was updated to say that “supporters’ emails to advertisers make a difference.”

The North Carolina-based Lowe’s issued a statement apologizing for having “managed to make some people very unhappy.”

“Individuals and groups have strong political and societal views on this topic, and this program became a lightning rod for many of those views,” the statement said. “As a result we did pull our advertising on this program. We believe it is best to respectfully defer to communities, individuals and groups to discuss and consider such issues of importance.”   The apology doesn’t go far enough, Lieu said. The senator vowed to look into whether Lowe’s violated any California laws and said he would also consider drafting a senate resolution condemning the company’s actions.

“We want to raise awareness so that consumers will know during this holiday shopping season that Lowe’s is engaging in religious discrimination,” Lieu said.

Besides an apology and reinstatement of the ads, Lieu said he hoped Lowe’s would make an outreach to the community about bias and bigotry.

Lieu’s office said a decision was expected Wednesday or Thursday on whether to proceed with the boycott.

Lowe’s said company officials are trying to make arrangements to talk directly to Lieu about his concerns and clarify the company’s position.

Suehaila Amen, whose family is featured on “All-American Muslim,” said she was disappointed by the Lowe’s decision.

“I’m saddened that any place of business would succumb to bigots and people trying to perpetuate their negative views on an entire community,” Amen, 32, told The Detroit News on Sunday.

Dawud Walid, Michigan director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said his group felt “extreme disappointment” at Lowe’s “capitulation to bigotry.”

Walid said he has heard expressions of anger and calls for a boycott by Muslims but said a key to resolving the Lowe’s advertising controversy will be how non-Muslim religious leaders and others react to Lowe’s decision.

“I will be picking up the phone tomorrow to some of our friends and allies to explain the situation to them,” Walid said Sunday.


Mondoweiss Online Newsletter


Ads calling for end to aid to Israel return to Bay Area subways, buses

Dec 11, 2011

Henry Norr

Civ Ctr crop5
Commuters headed for the BART platform at Civic Center station in San Francisco can’t miss
the campaign’s message.

The solidarity activists who have been challenging public-transportation riders in the Bay Areato take a new look at the Israel-Palestine issue are at it again.

Ads calling for “peace with justice and equality” and an end to the U.S. aid to Israel went up last week in a prominent location in the Civic Center station in San Francisco as well as on 15 AC Transit buses servicing the East Bay area. Over the last year the sponsors, led by the Northern California Friends of Sabeel, have paid for similar ads at major stations on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and Muni subway systems as well as on other buses and cable cars. The local effort is part of a campaign that began in Chicago and has since spread to New York City; Washington. DC; Portland, OR; Albuquerque, NM; and Arizona State University

The Bay Area ads again feature photos of Jeff Halper, the Minnesota-born Israeli activist and professor, and Salim Shawamreh, a Palestinian construction supervisor born in Jerusalem, each of them holding a grandchild. Halper is co-founder and coordinator of the Israel Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD); Shawamreh’s Jerusalem home has been destroyed by Israeli wrecking crews, then rebuilt by volunteers organized by ICAHD, four times since 1998.

You can donate to help continue and extend the Bay Area ad campaign here.

AC crop4

AC Transit buses now carry the message through the streets of the East Bay.

My Nabi Saleh story

Dec 11, 2011

Alex Kane

A portrait of the Tamimi family. In the second row on the left is Mustafa, who died Saturday after suffering injuries at the hands of the Israeli army, who fired a tear-gas canister at his head. (Photo: Activestills)

As those who have traveled in Palestine know, everywhere you go you are greeted with incredible warmth and hospitality. My short time spent with the Tamimi family in the tiny village of Nabi Saleh was no exception. Now, this family is grieving over the needless death of 28-year-old Mustafa Tamimi, who was shot in the face at point-blank range by an Israeli soldier. Below are my reflections from a summer night in Nabi Saleh, where I met Mustafa.

It was another hot Ramadan day last August, and I had one day left to continue my reporting from the West Bank on Palestinian popular resistance and the UN statehood bid (see my article, “September uprising? Hopes, prospects and obstacles for Palestinian popular struggle,” in Mondoweiss here). I had spent two days reporting from the village of Beit Ommar, and then went to Ramallah, Nil’in and finally Nabi Saleh.

I didn’t know anyone there; Hassan Mousa, an activist from Nil’in, gave me a village resident’s phone number, and it was popular committee member Bashir Tamimi who I reached, who told me to come. I arrived in the early evening, and met a man, Iyad Tamimi, who spoke English extremely well. Most of the residents of Nabi Saleh come from the Tamimi family.

Iyad, a bald middle-aged man, took me to his house, and after talking, we figured out that his sister lived in the city I grew up in.  The call to prayer soon came, and Iyad, before leaving for the mosque, directed me to follow someone else to dinner. This was the home where Mustafa Tamimi lived.

There were no questions asked when I arrived to the house; I was a guest, I would eat a delicious meal with their family, and I would stay there overnight. The Tamimi family took me in with open arms, despite the fact that I barely spoke Arabic and was a stranger. This, I’m sure, is a common experience for those who visit Nabi Saleh.

After dinner, more and more people began to arrive. We migrated outside. We smoked nargileh, drank tea and talked politics. A Real Madrid v. Barcelona soccer game crackled over a radio. I peppered Iyad and Bashir with questions about Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian statehood bid, and their struggle against the occupation. Overlooking us were the uniform red-roofs of the nearby Halamish settlement, whose confiscation of a nearby spring in December 2009 had led the village to begin weekly demonstrations in the face of brutal Israeli army repression. But no matter; despite the constant reminder of the settlement, smiles and laughs abound. The Ramadan iftar is always a joyous occasion, in Nabi Saleh as elsewhere. The Israeli army and settlers they protect can’t stop that.

Mustafa was there. I didn’t speak with him too much that night, but the next morning he gave me and his mother a ride to Ramallah, and he showed me where to catch the bus to Jerusalem. Again, no questions asked; Mustafa was kind enough to make sure I knew where I was going.

Now, his mother won’t be able to catch rides with him anymore. Mustafa won’t be able to meet new people anymore.

But if there’s hope, it comes from the Tamimi family and others like them. The resistance against occupation continued today, with hundreds of mourners attending the burial of Mustafa. The Israeli army turned their tear-gas on them once again, and beat and arrested activists.

It’s clear Mustafa would be proud. His spirit will live on in his family.

Nabi Saleh not allowed to bury their beloved son in peace

Dec 11, 2011


Mourners at the funeral of Mustafa Tamimi were attacked today with teargas, women were beaten and 8 people were arrested, 2 were Israelis and 6 were international solidarity activists, one of the activists at the funeral wrote the following:

“IOF soldiers were savagely beating anybody within their vicinity, three or four soldiers at a time grabbing men and throwing them to the floor, kicking them violently and stamping on their heads. As I stood back from the scene taking photographs, a soldier suddenly lunged towards us entirely unprovoked and threw one of the ISM activists I was with against the barrier of the road, doubling him over it as his body crashed to the ground.” Read more here.

Also, an account of the violence in the Guardian here.

Pause for a moment and imagine the international outrage if this had occurred in Syria.  The UN would convene, the Arab League would impose more sanctions, Erdogan would make another speech. But alas it is Palestine and the only hope we have this will ever be addressed in any official capacity is for Matthew Lee from the Associated Press to bring it up with Victoria Nuland.  Nick Kristoff will ignore Palestine for the time being and reappear in a few months and ask if we found our Gandhi yet. Susan Rice will scowl down any attempt to criticize Israel over its insane violence. And, Obama will be increasing his financial and moral support to apartheid Israel on a daily basis until the election.

Yesterday activist Linah Alsaafin wrote an incredibly passionate piece on Electronic Intifada about the murder of Tamimi:

The images are tattooed forever inside my eyelids. A bloody pulp on one side of his face. The pool of blood rapidly increasing. (Mama, there was so much blood.) His mouth slightly open, lying supine on the cold road. His sister screaming, her face twisted in grief. The young men weeping, looking like little boys again.

I hate them for making us suffer

I loathe my enemy. I will never forgive, I will never forget. People who say such hatred transforms a person into a bitter cruel shell know nothing of the Israeli army. This hatred will not cripple me. What does that mean anyway? Do I not continue to write? Do I not continue to protest? Do I not continue to resist? Hating them sustains me, as opposed to normalizing with them. Their hatred of me makes reinforces the truth of their being murderous machines. My hatred of them makes me human.

I can’t sleep. The shock flows in and then dissipates, before flooding back in again. I see no justification is implementing such violence on a civilian population, no sense in the point-blank murder of a man whose rights are compromised, and whose land is colonized and occupied.

She was among those beaten today, she is pictured at the bottom of this pile of people that threw themselves on her to prevent her arrest.


I recently told Linah that I felt Israelis now have her in their sights, she’s becoming a more visible and well known fixture at protests against Israel’s land theft. Here she is confronting Israeli soldiers on November 25, 2011:

I hope Linah makes a quick recovery from what transpired today, her anger is helping to sustain our struggle. Israel is right to fear her.

Below is a letter from activist Abir Kopty to Tamimi:

Dear comrade Mustafa

Last Friday, I wasn’t there… I couldn’t make it to Nabi Saleh and I regret.

I could not be there to stand with the brave people of Nabi Saleh in this difficult time, and I could not be there to say good bye.

Please forgive me Mustafa, when I first heard you were shot, and then saw the pictures, I had to struggle with my stomach feeling that you will not make it. And you did not. How would you survive tear gas canister shot in your face from 2 meters distance, and then delaying your treatment by the Israeli criminal army?

I remember your braveness during Nabi Saleh’s weekly rallies, facing the army with open chest. I apologize to you for not having your courage. Your life isn’t worth less than mine.

Today, Mustafa, we all cried during the protest we held in Ramallah. We decided first to make it silent, as a symbolic funeral. No one could remain silent, and we chanted like we never did.

It was the first demo I ever attended where most of the protesters were crying. Crying and screaming, crying and chanting, crying and singing.

Your murder Mustafa, made us feel so hopeless and powerless. We ask your forgiveness that we could not save your precious life.

Dear Mustafa, for the time being I’m afraid to make promises, as we have learned not to make promises bigger than us. I can only promise you that I will continue going to Nabi Saleh, I will not give up the hope, exactly as you didn’t. I promise you that your courage will keep inspiring me and giving me strength.

Rest in peace comrade.

Gingrich comment that Palestinians are an ‘invented people’ enters primary debate

Dec 11, 2011

Annie Robbins

Things are heating up. Gingrich’s incendiary comment perpetuating the myth Palestinians are an ‘invented people’ has made its way into the GOP primary debate and it appears this outrageous inflammatory lie could forge a path into mainstream American discourse.

Last night after the televised debate in Iowa, David Weigel reporting in Slate referenced this myth as a “knowledge-bomb.”

“The Israelis are getting rocketed every day,” snorted Gingrich. “We’re not making life more difficult. The Obama administration is making life more difficult.” Plus, he was right on the facts. “Palestinian did not become a common term until after 1977.” That’s the sort of knowledge-bomb that Republicans dream of dropping on Obama—they feel like this is right, but here’s a candidate who can say so.

Rest assured some neocons and their supporters will continue to clench onto this argument like a dog with a cherished bone.  This morning William A. Jacobson, Associate Clinical Professor at Cornell Law School writes on his blog:

Palestinian national identity as it currently is recognized was a reaction to the creation of Israel and most prominently the 1967 war when Israel captured territory controlled by Egypt and Jordan. Newt Gingrich is under fire for stating this truth.


The importance of Gingrich’s comment was that it skewered a false historical narrative which dominates the international debate and is used for the demonization of Israel and its chief supporter, the United States.

Newt was absolutely correct to say enough already with the falsehood. If it upset the Palestinians, well too bad. It’s about time a prominent political figure in the United States didn’t just voice support for Israel but did so in a historically accurate manner which addressed the false Palestinian narrative of perpetual victimization.

Let’s take a look at at where the framing of the fight between Gingrich and Romney breaks down (PDF)

SPEAKER NEWT GINGRICH: 22:07:42:00 But can– can I just say one last thing? Because I didn’t speak for the people of Israel. I spoke as a historian who’s looked at the world stage for a very long time. I’ve known Bibi since 1984. I feel quite confident an amazing number of Israelis found it nice to have an American tell the truth about the war they are in the middle of and the casualties they’re taking and the people who surround them who say, “You do not have the right to exist, and we want to destroy you.”
GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY: 22:08:04:00 I– I’ve known– I’ve– (APPLAUSE) I’ve also known Bibi Netanyahu for a long time. We worked together at– at Boston Consulting Group. And the last thing Bibi Netanyahu needs to have is not just a person who’s an historian, but somebody who is also running for president of the United States, stand up and say things that create extraordinary tumult in– in his neighborhood.
DIANE SAWYER: 22:08:29:00 Congresswoman–
GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY: 22:08:29:00 And I’m president of the United States, I will exercise sobriety, care, stability. And make sure that in a setting like this, anything I say that can affect a place with– with rockets going in, with people dying, I don’t do anything that would harm that– that process. 22:08:47:00 And therefore, before I made a statement of that nature, I’d get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say, “Would it help if I said this? What would you like me to do? Let’s work together, because we’re partners.” I’m not a bomb thrower, rhetorically or literally.

It appears ‘the debate’, is not even being framed by these two candidates as an argument over whether this ‘invented people’ myth is fact or fiction! Ron Paul dealt with it, neither Gingrich or Romney even go there.  All of a sudden it now becomes about whether it should remain unspoken or not (as if this myth/lie has already been determined as a truth for these candidates.)

And here’s Romney again doubling down with his insane foreign policy positioning ofabdicating American foreign policy towards Israel . . . to Israel.  Does he really see that as a winning concept for most Americans. My head is spinning.

We’re in for a fight over Palestinian identity. Are the Democrats going to role over for the lobby on this one? That remains to be seen, but this is a fight we will win.

(Hat tip Alex Kane)

Liberal pundits and Democrats are stifling conversation on failed peace process, AIPAC’s power, and push for war on Iran

Dec 11, 2011

Philip Weiss

Judah Benjamin
Judah Benjamin

On Friday Pat Lang’s national security site published an essay that a lot of folks are passing around. I don’t know who wrote it–the byline was the pseudonym J.P. Benjamin (at left)–but the familiarity with a lot of inside baseball suggests someone in the know.

The chronology could not really be clearer. In the immediate aftermath of the Knesset passage of the bill restricting funding for human rights organizations within Israel, followed by Secretary of State Clinton’s criticism that was extended to condemnation of the treatment of women in Israel, and the unprecedented official protest against the Israeli policy lodged by the US ambassador, there has been a strong and harsh backlash, obviously whipped up, assailing organizations and people in the US that have been critical of the Occupation, the Netanyahu government’s destruction of the peace process, and the right-wing within Israel. From the Ben Smith article in Politico on December 8 on the Center for American Progress and Media Matters for publishing critical material of current Israeli policy and its ideologues (“vitriol”), to Jennifer Rubin (who has openly called for the mass murder of Palestinians and has been protected by Washington Post editors and its publisher), to Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic (a former Israeli prison guard who has proclaimed himself the oracle on all matters pertaining to Israel and that criticism of him is ipso facto rejection of the Jewish State and ipso facto objectively anti-Semitic, encompassing perhaps his service in the Bush administration choir on links of Al Qaeda to Saddam Hussein, etc.), et al (the usual suspects), there is a broad and systematic effort to limit discussion and debate about Israel and the Middle East that reflects the campaign inside Israel, including on the following subjects: the collapsed peace process and who is responsible; the complexities of the Arab Spring; the diplomatic rather than ultimate military path towards Iran; the emergence of Turkey and its chastising of Israeli policy on Gaza, especially after the killings on the Mavi Marmara; the influence of Likud through AIPAC and other organizations on the US political process, the US media and the US Congress; the rise of the new right around Islamophobia; the influence and role of Israel on US detainee policy and the militarization of domestic policing policy; the assault on Secretary of State Clinton for her remarks on the threats to democracy within Israel, as well as the nearly complete silence in the US from the Democratic Party, liberal intellectuals and pundits, defending her and the administration, as well as freedom for human rights groups within Israel; and the effort to discredit anyone operating outside the limits set by those that insist on the narrow spectrum of discussion, far different from within Israel itself.

Please read the articles below: Clinton criticism sparks Israeli anger, etc.

The articles can be found at the post.

One day in the State of the Jewish People, a ‘light unto the Nations’

Dec 11, 2011

Jerome Slater

What can be said any longer about Israel’s occupation and repression of the Palestinians? What may still be less known is the extent to which the poison of the occupation has inevitably and inexorably spread into Israel itself, into its political system and throughout its society and its institutions. Read Haaretz for a couple of weeks, and you will learn about the rapid growth of domestic Israeli authoritarianism, violence, racism, religious fanaticism, various forms of corruption and criminality, attacks on dissent, civil liberties and the judicial system, the accelerating decline in liberal and scientific education–and more.

For example, here are the headlines, summaries, and a few quotations from news stories and commentaries in just one day’s edition of Haaretz (November 30, 2011): “IDF freezes implementation of report calling for gender equality” “Publicly, the IDF announced support for recommendations drafted by special military committee, but in practice it has done very little to implement them….[because of] the religious establishment’s opposition.”

Sefi Rachlevsky: “It’s not for nothing that several leading rabbis prefer a firing squad than hearing women sing. From Jewish law they draw the assertion that the most severe of all transgressions is the useless spilling of seed. This is compared to murdering one’s children…The demons responsible for tragedies are born from Jewish seed that was wasted. This is the reason for the hiding and silencing of women, so as not to excite the men, which might lead to improper ejaculation.”

“Those who believe this are not a fringe group. Nearly 53 percent of first-graders classified as Jews now study in religious and ultra-Orthodox schools, and the prevailing theology in most of them teach these things as fact.”

“NGOs say Police Ignoring Sinai Human Smugglers’ Accomplices in Israel.” “Organizations say smugglers have contacts in Israel demanding ransom payments by relatives and friends in Israel to free fellow migrants from Sinai detention camps. Hundreds of would be migrants seeking to make their way to Israel are being held by smugglers in Sinai. Some have been the targets of extreme violence….In a report on the problem issued earlier this year based on the testimony of migrants who had made it to Israel last year: According to some of the testimonies, several victims were either murdered by the traffickers or were starved to death. 18 men were forced into slave labor…. The victims report not just physical abuse, but also psychological torture and humiliation. … Seven of the victims reported that the traffickers threatened to sell their organs for transplant. The police have not responded to Haaretz’s request for a response.”

“Ground Breaking survey shows 1 in 5 Israelis don’t have enough to eat.” Income of 19-20 percent of the families places them under the poverty line.

“Report Offers Chilling View of Israel’s Working Poor.” “More than half of the poor families in Israel have jobs, and that number has increased in recent years…[but] poverty among working families has deepened. Couples with more than two children will also be unable to escape poverty, even if both parents work – one full time and the other part-time – and receive minimum wage.” [According to one worker about to lose his home]: “It’s something that’s happening all over Israel, not just here. It feels like the state is giving up on people. They gave up on me.” “‘Talkback law’ passes first reading in Knesset.” Under the bill, Internet service providers could be forced to reveal the identity of the author of the offending content.

Zvi Bar-el: “Israel’s take on Arab Spring may undo peace with Egypt.” “The way of life in the Arab countries does not interest Israel. Peace, in its Israeli version, is made with leaders, preferably autocratic ones, and not with peoples. The leaders, so it is believed, will force the people to love Israel [despite] Israel’s policy in Jerusalem and the territories. If Israel wishes to ‘warm up” the peace, [demonstrators said], it will have to pay the price in Palestinian coin. This was not an “Islamist” demand….those who made this demand were completely secular. As usual, Israel is beginning to get ready the no-Egyptian-partner. He will be an Islamist, radical and anti-Semitic, who does not understand the doctrine of winking that Mubarak employed. Because of this no-partner, peace will collapse. After all, everyone understands what an Islamist threat is.”

“How Israel stigmatizes and mistreats AIDS sufferers.” “While AIDS sufferers in the West are treated with miracle drugs and can live normal lives, in Israel, those with the disease are stigmatized and given medicines that don’t work. While until three years ago it was possible to say that Israel stood at the forefront of science and treatment, I am sorry to say today that this is no longer true. And since AIDS patients in Israel are anonymous, they will not go out into the streets and won’t erect protest tents. It is our obligation as human beings, as a country, to change this policy. As Nelson Mandela said, our approach to AIDS reflects who we are as people.” (Dr. Itzhak Levi, Chairman of the Israeli Association for AIDS Medicine and director of the AIDS and sexually transmitted disease clinic at the Sheba Medical Center.)

One day’s stories. I must admit I have been a “liberal Zionist,” a supporter of the right and possible need for the Jewish people to have their own state. Just not this one. Can we start again?

Editor’s note. This piece appeared on Jerry Slater’s site several days ago.

Mira Nabulsi: Palestinian youth virtually commemorate the first Intifada on 24th anniversary

Dec 11, 2011

Allison Deger

Intifada graf 2 Abir Kopty
Intifada graffiti in Ramallah.

Arabic reads: “we are the revolution.” (Photo: Abir Kopty)

December 9, 2011, marked the twenty-fourth anniversary of the first Intifada.  The day is typically not commemorated in Palestinian society; however, this year, #Intifada1 is trendingon Twitter and social network sites, where Palestinians around the world are remembering the first uprising, or “shaking off,” by tweeting about this time in Palestinian history.

The Twitter trend was started by Palestinian activist Ahmad al-Nimer to remind people of the popular model of the Intifada.  Al-Nimer affirms,  “the first intifada saved the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza, as they for the first time took matters into their own hand, taking the street, and start protesting.”

Intifada1 Twitter
Screen shot of #Intifada1 on Twitter.

The first Intifada is recognized for the active participation of a broad-based, cross-section of Palestinian society, over the six-year uprising (although the end date is much debated).  Former political prisoner and political activist with al-Haq, Ziad Hmaidan characterizes the time:

The First Intifada was a unique example of popular struggle, involving old and young generations, people from every social and cultural strata and of every political background. It was a joint struggle of students, workers, peasants, men and women as equal actors – the key role women had in the resistance has to be stressed – to scream for their freedom and their rights. Peaceful mass demonstration, raising the Palestinian flag, throwing stones and Molotov cocktails, organizing strikes of private businesses and labor forces–even in historical Palestine (Israel)–and the development of an economy of resistance were the major tools [of the First Intifada].

To understand the impacts of the #Intifada1 Twitter trend, I interviewed Mira Nabulsi, a Palestinian researcher in the field of media representation and digital activism, with a specialized focus on the Arab region.

mira nabulsi
Social media researcher Mira Nabulsi. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Deger: How does the Twitter trend #Intifada1, started by Ahmad al-Nimar commemorate the first Intifada?

Mira Nabulsi: I think creating a hashtag should be looked at as part of a larger effort to commemorate and revive the first intifada not only as an era in our longer history of struggle but also as a culture and revolutionary state of mind. In practicality, a hashtag in the online social-verse would allow online activists and bloggers to generate relevant content in an organized fashion.

Palestinian youth movements are largely factionalized. What role does social media take in the context of on-the-ground mobilization which traditionally functions through political parties?

MN: Well, I think a lot could be said about that. I have been a social media user for few years and I have been closely observing how it helped networking people as well as disseminating a better knowledge about Palestine and what’s happening there on a daily basis. There is definitely a better online content on Palestine now than there ever was, and millions have access to that. But in addition, social media helped pushing for a stronger Palestinian voice and representation internationally which we were and still aren’t able to acquire on mainstream corporate media (because we all know how they function and who dominates them) but what social media also is doing and no one will be able to control is connecting Palestinian active youth in West Bank, Gaza, ’48 territories and the diaspora among themselves as well as with solidarity activists globally in a way that I think we will still see clearer in the future.

The discourse of such youth is definitely closer to that of the Palestinian movement throughout 60’s to late 80’s than it is to the Oslo front and their followers which in itself a great development (issues like refugees and the right of return are again fundamental and center to our struggle) especially as Oslo managed to highly depoliticize our people and youth.

I know a lot of the young people who are active online are also on the ground either politically or in community work. More and more youth are now aware of the importance of coupling online work with offline work, as well as supporting work on the ground with documentation and strengthening presence online and I see that happening nowadays more than before. Perhaps the Arab revolutions also had a great influence motivating those youth. My only concern is the gap between similar youth and the larger Palestinian population who are not as tech-savvy or intellectual and that is a big challenge for us.

In the late 1980s, at the time of the first Intifada, the West Bank and Gaza had been occupyed by Israel for twenty years. Today, after forty-four years of occupation, how is the Intifada understood?

MN: I think today people view the first Intifada with a lot of pride and sacredness, perhaps even romanticization–that we don’t see in the more contemporary Palestinian history and politics of the last twenty years. There are layers and layers of frustration and de-politicization that people have been experiencing since Oslo and until now, and there are many factors that could explain that from the failure of Oslo and Palestinian leadership, to the disappointment in the international community and Arab countries, to the lack of trust people feel towards parties after the division, and all reconciliation efforts going in vain. So it is particularly that [background] that makes the first Intifada a different experience. It was a time when the Palestinian people were able to stir the politics of the region and take matters into their own hands versus the helplessness we feel now..

An anniversary in its twenty-fourth year does not lend itself to become a year of renewed celebration, e.g. it’s not 20 years, or 25 years? Why do you think people are specifically looking back to the first Intifada at this time?

MN: First I think it’s important to clarify that to my knowledge the commemoration is not taking place on a very large popular scale in Palestine. As for the call to commemorate the 24th anniversary, that was made this last week online by some Palestinian youth. I think what they’re trying to do is to revive the revolutionary spirit of the first Intifada also as a model of popular resistance and civil disobedience that was used by many revolutionary movements around the world especially at this time with everything happening in our region.

Another important aspect is the memory and the oral history aspect, and this is something we as Palestinians and Palestinian activists honor a lot. Although there are many oral history projects that worked on the Nakba and the few years that followed Nakba, not as much exists on the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s, where the Palestinian civil society was able to mobilize the whole society around issues of prisoners, land theft, taxes,..etc. It is equally important that we learn this history because especially for those of us who were born in the 1980’s or early 1990’s the only political education we received on this level was what we heard from our families or older friends. The type of education and curriculum existing post-Oslo does not really deal with that, and here documenting, narrating and talking about those memories and histories becomes vital.

The Facebook event for commemorating the Intifada calls on “Palestinian bloggers in Palestine and in exile” to mobilze online.  What is the significance of this call in the context of an effort to delineate “Palestinian” as a territorial definition–such as in the U.N. statehood bid.

MN: Well it means exactly what you just said. It’s a call for duty for all of us whether inside or in the diaspora. As I just said those youth we’ve seen planning and organizing popular actions and protests in the last couple of years and more this year do not identify with Palestinian political parties and leadership–at least not in the state they’re in nowadays–and although we respect the struggles of all Palestinian factions throughout history and their right to be part of Palestinian leadership and representation, we don’t think they represent Palestinians every where or our aspirations for liberation and self-determination.

It is clear that those youth still consider themselves in the process of struggle for liberation and fighting Israeli oppression which touches all our aspects of life and NOT state-building like Mr. Fayyad says. Personally and I know many youth would agree with me, I refuse this approach Fayyad and PA is imposing on us especially at a time when their whole legitimacy is questioned.

The call clearly aims to unite all Palestinians regardless of where they live because our struggle is not for bantustans in the West Bank or Gaza but in our right to return, exist and mobilize all over Palestine and we refuse for this fragmentation to be imposed on our memory, history and identity, just like we refuse it on our lands. Palestine is not simply a territory and Mr. Fayyad cannot tell us who can be a Palestinian or not in his imaginary state.

Mira Nabulsi is a researcher, born and raised in Nablus, Palestine. She has worked at the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative (AMED) of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University (SFSU), where she co-taught a course titled: “Comparative Border Studies, Palestine to Mexico”.

‘Huffpo’ gives Ginsberg platform to push for illegal covert war against Iran

Dec 11, 2011

Philip Weiss

Marc Ginsberg
Marc Ginsberg

The Democratic Party is in a shambles over the Iran question. Marc Ginsberg, former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco under Clinton, has just used the pages of the I-thought-it-was-liberal Huffington Post to try and undermine Leon Panetta’s reluctance to use force against Iran, and to push a policy of internationally illegal assassinations, sabotage, and covert war against Iran:

when the Secretary of Defense bares his understandable hesitations against the use of military force, which he did last Friday — no matter how meritorious they are — it only undermines the signals his administration is broadcasting…

More robust and coordinated covert action by western and Arab nations against Iran’s nuclear facilities must become an urgent priority. Mysterious computer viruses such as the Stuxnet worm, undeniably set back Iran’s spinning uranium enrichment centrifuges. But their success was short lived. Assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists may have created a climate of fear, but also have not prevented Iran from moving more quickly to its finish line.

Last week’s “accidental” explosion which destroyed one of Iran’s largest solid-fuel missile construction bases was a gift that may keep on giving. It not only killed a key Revolutionary Guard commander in charge of missile solid fuel rocket development, the explosion also compels Iran to rely more on liquid fuel missiles that are easier to detect on the ground via satellite surveillance.

The escalating use of stealth drones conducting surveillance above Iran is an indication that the administration is not reluctant to push the covert envelope. The question is what to do with the treasure trove of data the drone surveillance program yielded?

Accidents do happen. Bigger “accidents” are needed. Rather than relying further on economic sanctions, we need a more effective “accidents regime” that may do what economic sanctions have failed to do. Of course, Iran has demonstrated a huge tolerance for international isolation and economic pain. There is no assurance that escalating covert action will achieve a better outcome than economic sanctions… but its worth the risk given the stakes involved.

There are targets aplenty throughout Iran, including remote pipelines, ships bound for Iran supplying oil distillates, banking computer networks, and aviation facilities. And the regime has a lot of enemies, including many of its own citizens to do the dirty work. No return U.S. address needed.

‘NYT’ continues to fiddle with the Nakba

Dec 11, 2011

Allison Deger

NYT correction
Screen shot of NYT newest correction to Nakba article.

Last week, we reported on an article by the Learning Center, in the New York Times (NYT), where the NYT censored coverage of the Palestinian Nakba, due to “reader comments.” TheNYT removed the word “expelled” and other words from the description, altering the narrative of events–implying that Palestinian refugees fled, and were not driven out of their homes/villages by pre-state para-military groups.  The article also made alterations suggesting Arab armies invaded before the Zionist para-military attacks, rather than “soon” after, as originally reported.

Well, the NYT has once again augmented the same article–again due to reader comments–to now read: “British troops left, thousands of Palestinian Arabs were expelled or fled and Arab armies invaded Israel,” which the NYT offers as a “more neutral rendering of the sentence.”

The “correction” in the NYT articles now reads:

“Six months later, on May 14, 1948, Jewish leaders in the region formed the state of Israel. British troops left, thousands of Palestinian Arabs fled and Arab armies invaded Israel. In the Arab-Israeli War, Israel defeated its enemies. It was the first of several wars fought between Israel and its neighbors.”

This timeline contradicts  NYT coverage from 1947-49, and as Yousef Munayyer of the Palestine Center notes, “half the total refugees created during the Nakba were created BEFORE May 15th, 1948.”

The NYT‘s editorial changes to the Palestinian Nakba is not a new occurrence. Earlier this year, Munayyer wrote in “Picking apart the New York Times Zionist narrative on the Nakba . . . using the New York Times,” the NYT regularly prints a “distorted representation” of the Nakba. Munayyer begins with a May 2011 article by Ethan Bronner:

“After Israel declared independence on May 14, 1948, armies from neighboring Arab states attacked the new nation; during the war that followed, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes by Israeli forces. Hundreds of Palestinian villages were also destroyed. The refugees and their descendants remain a central issue of contention in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Munayyer then fact-checks Bonner against a NYT article titled “Palestine Jews Minimize Arabs: Sure of Superiority, Settlers Feel They Can Win Natives By Reason or Force,” from March 2, 1947:

“Whatever the degree of their superiority complex, however, the Jews are certainly confident of their ability to bring the Arabs to terms — by persuasion if possible, by might if necessary. The program of the largest terrorist group, the Irgun Zvai Leumi, is to evacuate the British forces from Palestine and declare a Zionist state west of the Jordan, and “we will take care of the Arabs.”

From an April 18, 1948 NYT article, Munayyer again fact-checks the NYT of today:

“According to reports telephoned from Nablus, that town and Jenin are crowded with refugees, among whom the rumor is circulating that the Jews are driving on Jenin. The Haganah said it had killed 130 Druse [sic] tribesmen yesterday when it seized Usha, a village east of Haifa.”

The NYT editorialized Nakba coverage shows that history is more of a comment on today’s politics, and less of an account of the past.

Mustafa Tamimi is buried, Gaza is attacked, again.

Dec 11, 2011


Grief as Mustfa Tamimi's body is put in a car to Nabi Saleh

Grief as Mustafa Tamimi’s body is put in a car to Nabi Saleh
(Photo: Joseph Dana)

Mustafa Tamimi's body has come out of the hospital

Mustafa Tamimi’s body has come out of the hospital (Photo: Joseph Dana)

Mustafa Tamimi carried through the streets of Ramallah

Mustafa Tamimi carried through the streets of Ramallah (Photo: Joseph Dana)

Mustafa Tamimi

JERUSALEM, December 10, 2011 (WAFA) – The British Consul- General in Jerusalem Vincent Fean deplored the death of Mustafa Tamimi, after being fatally wounded in the head by a gas canister during a Friday demonstration in Nabi Saleh village, north of Ramallah, Saturday said a press release by British Consulate-General in Jerusalem. Fean said, ‘On behalf of the Government of the United Kingdom, I express our deepest regret at the tragic death of Mustafa Tamimi  of Nabi Saleh, killed by a tear gas canister during the weekly demonstration against systematic attempts by settlers from the illegal settlement of Halmiss to expropriate the water spring belonging to the villagers of Nabi Saleh.”

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No miracle yesterday in Nabi Saleh: Mustafa Tamimi murdered, Linah Alsaafin
Linah Alsaafin witnessed the murder of Mustafa Tamimi at the hands of the Israeli army who had invaded Nabi Saleh village.
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Israel Once Again Murders Unarmed Palestinian Protester, Richard Silverstein

Mustafa Tamimi, a 28 year old resident of Nabi Saleh, was fatally shot in the head at close range by a tear gas canister fired by an IDF soldier from the rear of a patrol vehicle. You can see the moment just before Mustafa was hit in this photo.  The original caption for the photo offered by the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee says it was fired from 30 feet.  Using the high velocity weapon they use, it is quite easy to kill someone from that distance.  Not to mention that the purpose of the firing of this weapon in this circumstance had nothing to do with crowd control as tear gas is normally used.  Rather in aiming the shot at the protesters head, it was a deliberate act of murder:

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Ministry of Hasbara: IDF Has Become Israel’s Chief Delegitimizer, Richard Silverstein

In the aftermath of the murder of Mustafa Tamimi, Israel’s Ministry of Hasbara (that IS what they call it in Hebrew, in English it’s called the Minsitry for Public Diplomacy) last night issued an unprecedented statement acknowleding for the first time that the worst delegitimzer of Israel in the world today is not the BDS movement, nor the New Israel Fund, nor even Iran.  The worst delegitimizer is the IDF itself.

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Land, Property Theft & Destruction / Ethnic Cleansing / Apartheid / Refugees

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A French foreign ministry spokesman said on Friday that Israeli approval of a new settlement complex in a Palestinian neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem was a “provocation” that harms peace. Jerusalem city council’s planning committee accepted the proposal to build the 14-home project, to be named Maale David, in Palestinian Ras al-Amud on Wednesday. “The building of a settlement in this neighborhood constitutes a direct obstacle to the two-State solution that Israel claims to support,” the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs Spokesman said in a statement.  It called on the Israeli government to “prevent the effective implementation of this project.”

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Seventeen settler families move into new Ras al-Amoud settlement

Seventeen Israeli settler families moved into a settlement in the Palestinian neighborhood of Ras al-Amoud in Silwan today, 8 December. The building, formerly an Israeli, then Jordanian police station, is claimed by Israeli police to now belong to the Bukharist political party. Police made a deal with settlers allowing them to take the building provided they be prepared to leave it at a later date if Israeli police require it for its original purposes. The main Israeli police station in East Jerusalem is currently under construction next to  Ma’ali Adomim settlement.  The new deal provides yet another example of insitutional support to the Israeli settler movement in East Jerusalem.

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Wadi Hilweh under attack
Israeli authorities have escalated their push to take over the Palestinian neighborhood of Wadi Hilweh in Silwan in recent weeks. Two families have been issued eviction orders, while local children have been abducted by Israeli forces from the local playground that was built by residents of Wadi Hilweh. The land on which the playground was constructed is coveted by the Municipality for conversion to a carpark to service the City of David settlement, but the landlord has so far resisted attempts to appropriate the property. Municipality officers and armed troops conducted a neighborhood sweep this week, confiscating the iconic “I Love You Silwan” flags that adorn many homes and the color wire lamps used for fest celebartions Such acts serve only to frustrate residents and further complicate their lives. Two representatives of the settlement association ELAD accompanied Municipality officers and troops, taking any opportunity to provoke Palestinian residents. One representative compared a local resident to a cat lying on the side of the road, who had been run over by an Israeli settler guard. Arguments erupted when several residents demanded that Municipal officers remove Israeli flags and logos from settler homes in return, a request refused by officers. One Municipality employee stated that “this is a Jewish area now, and we can do whatever we like here.”

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