Saturday, 10 October 2009

Donkey's FLU: Divide to conquer

Sayyed Nasrallah, Jumblatt Meet, Hail Damascus Summit

"… And they met again!

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah received on Friday overnight the head of the Democratic Gathering MP Walid Jumblatt accompanied by his son Taymour as well as his parliamentary bloc's member MP Akram Chehayeb......

According to a joint statement, Sayyed Nasrallah and Jumblatt stressed the positivity of the two-day meeting between Saudi King Abdullah and Syrian President Bashar Assad. They also stressed the importance of Arab-Arab openness and the need to overcome crises in the Arab and Islamic world [dream on!]......"

# posted by Tony : 7:20 AM
Very soon the Donkey would prey: Hezbullah is immune to learn

Breaking News.....As The Stomach Turns.... The Dialog..... How to Embrace a Traitor Without Appearing to....

The Latest in the Hamas Soap, "As the Stomach Turns"

Cairo made a proposal to postpone the signing of the deal, already agreed upon, between Hamas and the Traitor Abbas. Hamas is studying Cairo's proposal and will respond, after measuring the direction and the speed of the political wind blowing in the Palestinian street.

"مؤسسات الحركة تدرس المقترح الجديد وسترد عليه"
"حماس": القاهرة تفهمت طلبت تأجيل جلسة الحوار وتقدمت بمقترح جديد لتجاوز الأزمة

# posted by Tony : 11:07 AM

Tony's stomach never stopped turming, eating too much kosher, he should discharge.
He claimed that Cairo made a Proposal to postpone the signing of the deal, already agreed upon,
Read the real story

Hamas: Egypt understood our call for delaying dialog session

[ 10/10/2009 - 04:06 PM ]

CAIRO, (PIC)-- Egypt has expressed understanding of Hamas Movement's motive for demanding the postponement of the Palestinian national dialog session in Cairo, Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said on Saturday.

He told the PIC that a delegation of the Movement grouping Dr. Mousa Abu Marzouk, the deputy political bureau chairman, and Mohammed Nasr, a political bureau member, concluded talks with Egyptian officials on Saturday evening.

The delegates, who arrived in Cairo on Friday night, consulted with Egyptian officials on deferring the dialog session because of the Ramallah authority's position regarding the Goldstone report, he elaborated.

Abu Zuhri said that Cairo offered a proposal to overcome the crisis that occurred after the Fatah-dominated Ramallah authority requested a delay in the voting on the Goldstone report at the UN human rights council, which created an "unfavorable" atmosphere for the reconciliation agreement.

The spokesman said that the Egyptian proposal would be discussed within the Movement's institutions and talks would be held later on the issue.

IOF troops block olive harvesting

IOF troops block olive harvesting

[ 10/10/2009 - 09:57 AM ]

JENIN, (PIC)-- Palestinians in east Jenin whose lands were isolated behind the separation wall have said that Israeli occupation forces (IOF) guarding gates of the wall were blocking their entry into their land.

The villagers said that the IOF soldiers, who usually open those gates at 8 am and close them at 5 pm, were harassing them and hardly allowing them to enter their own lands to harvest the olives crop.

They complained that they have been denied entry for three days without any justification.

The villagers of Faku'a village said that the IOF issue a limited number of entry permits for them, asking for the intervention of human rights groups to allow them to reach their land.

War and peace prizes


The dismaying gift of the Nobel prize puts Barack Obama on the list of its winners who promised peace but prosecuted war

Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger

Nobel peace prize winer Henry Kissinger (right) with Richard Nixon. Photograph: AP

I was dismayed when I heard Barack Obama was given the Nobel peace prize. A shock, really, to think that a president carrying on two wars would be given a peace prize. Until I recalled that Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Henry Kissinger had all received Nobel peace prizes. The Nobel committee is famous for its superficial estimates, won over by rhetoric and by empty gestures, and ignoring blatant violations of world peace.

Yes, Wilson gets credit for the League of Nations – that ineffectual body which did nothing to prevent war. But he had bombarded the Mexican coast, sent troops to occupy Haiti and the Dominican Republic and brought the US into the slaughterhouse of Europe in the first World War, surely among stupid and deadly wars at the top of the list.

Sure, Theodore Roosevelt brokered a peace between Japan and Russia. But he was a lover of war, who participated in the US conquest of Cuba, pretending to liberate it from Spain while fastening US chains on that tiny island. And as president he presided over the bloody war to subjugate the Filipinos, even congratulating a US general who had just massacred 600 helpless villagers in the Phillipines. The Committee did not give the Nobel prize to Mark Twain, who denounced Roosevelt and criticised the war, nor to William James, leader of the anti-imperialist league.

Oh yes, the committee saw fit to give a peace prize to Henry Kissinger, because he signed the final peace agreement ending the war in Vietnam, of which he had been one of the architects. Kissinger, who obsequiously went along with Nixon's expansion of the war, with the bombing of peasant villages in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Kissinger, who matches the definition of a war criminal very accurately, is given a peace prize!

People should be given a peace prize not on the basis of promises they have made – as with Obama, an eloquent maker of promises – but on the basis of actual accomplishments towards ending war, and Obama has continued deadly, inhuman military action in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Nobel peace committee should retire, and turn over its huge funds to some international peace organization which is not awed by stardom and rhetoric, and which has some understanding of history.

Takahashi: Goldstone’s report is the strongest in UN history


[ 10/10/2009 - 07:58 AM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Saul Takahashi, the deputy director of the office of the high commissioner for human rights, said Friday that Goldstone’s report was the strongest executive report in the UN history.

In a press statement to Safa news agency, Takahashi underlined that if the UN human rights council had been given the opportunity to vote on Goldstone’s report last Friday, it would have issued a clear resolution condemning Israel for its war crimes in the Gaza Strip.

He added that the condemnation resolution would have enabled international human rights organizations to prosecute Israeli officials who were involved in the war on Gaza.

The official stressed that delaying the vote on the report to next March would impose new facts on the ground through exercising political pressures to undermine the report, noting that the Palestinian Authority (PA) wasted a valuable opportunity.

For his part, Diya Al-Madhoun, the head of the central committee for documenting and prosecuting Israeli war criminals (Tawtheeq), strongly denounced the PA’s irresponsible act against Goldstone’s report, saying it was a shock to many jurists and those concerned with the prosecution of war criminals and a stab in the back of Gaza victims.

In a press statement to the Palestinian information center (PIC), Madhoun said that this behavior was not surprising because it reflected the real face of the PA in Ramallah which is used to take such positions in support of the Israeli occupation, noting that PA ambassador to the UN Riyadh Mansour had derailed in 2007 a draft statement calling for lifting the siege on Gaza submitted to the UN Security Council by Qatar and Indonesia.

Rafah Crossing: Who holds the keys?


Source: Closed Zone

Despite declarations that it has “disengaged” from the Gaza Strip, Israel maintains control of the Strip’s overland border crossings, territorial waters, and air space. This includes substantial, albeit indirect, control of the Rafah Crossing.

During the past 18 months, Israel tightened its closure of Gaza, almost completely restricting the passage of goods and people both to and from the Strip.

These policies punish innocent civilians with the goal of exerting pressure on the Hamas government, violating the rights of 1.5 million people who seek only to live ordinary lives – to be reunited with family, to pursue higher education, to receive quality medical treatment, and to earn a living.

The effects of the closure were particularly harsh during the military operation of Dec. 2008 – Jan. 2009. For three weeks, Gaza residents had nowhere to flee to escape the bombing.

Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement calls on the State of Israel to fully open Gaza’s crossings and to allow the real victims of the closure – 1.5 million human beings – the freedom of movement necessary to realize their dreams and aspirations.


Click here to read the full report Rafah Crossing: Who holds the keys? by Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement

This entry was posted on 10/10/2009 at 8:42 AM

Audacity in Norway

by Carlos Latuff

by Carlos Latuff

by Kim Petersen, source

October 9, 2009

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has seen fit to award a peace prize to a man less than a year into elected presidential office in the United States. So what are Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize credentials?

Obama is a man who has yet to shut down a global gulag, who has yet to end the warring in Iraq, who has yet to oversee the return of the elected president of Haiti (deposed by US, Canadian, and French forces), who stands unflinching on the coup d’etat in Honduras, who runs cover for Israeli massacres of Palestinians and Israeli violations of the Geneva Conventions (i.e., supporting war crimes), who seeks to proliferate military bases in Columbia, who has ramped up the killing in Afghanistan, and who has overseen the spillover of war into Pakistan.

Is this the criteria that is deserving of a Nobel Peace Prize?

The Norwegian Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said, “Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future.”

So Nobel Prizes are being handed out for offering hope? Is this an effort to prod Obama along the road toward a peace-making presidency?

Didn’t Norway reward Yitzhak Shamir, Shimon Peres, and Yasser Arafat Nobel Peace Prizes for giving the hope of peace in historical Palestine? Since then Israel has carried out many slaughters of the indigenous Palestinians. And yes, Palestinians have resisted with violence — sometimes lethal.

Wasn’t US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger co-awarded a 1973 Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating a cease-fire in the US war on Vietnam? Hope was hung around a ceasefire destined to collapse. At least Vietnam’s Le Duc Tho had the integrity to refuse a prize where peace was based on the tokenism of hope.

There are many examples that contradict the notion that Nobel Prizes would spur the US nation toward peace. Yet the leaders of the most warring nation on the planet continue to be rewarded with peace prizes. It defies rationality.

Did Obama offer a mea culpa for US atrocities?

Did Obama seek justice for the perpetrators behind the killing of an estimated 1.3 million Iraqis based upon a concocted casus belli?

To his credit, Obama did something most unusual in acknowledging that the US was behind the 1953 coup d’etat in Iran? Did he offer an apology? Did he offer compensation?

Hoping for peace in a state based on the genocide, dispossession, and marginalization of its Original Peoples, a state whose economy was largely built through slavery, a state built through the expansionism of war with its neighbors, a state built through dominating its hemisphere through self-declared destiny, despite never managing the gumption to apologize for these past grave crimes seems rather dubious.

There are plenty of states deserving of censure. However, when one state with a long history of violence stands supremely powerful and claims itself to be a beacon onto all other states, that is where transformation must first occur in a world whose people long for a just peace.

That will require more than wishful thinking. It will require the audacity to mobilize the masses to a revolution for peace.

Kim Petersen is co-editor of Dissident Voice.

Al-Walajah, a symbol of Israeli ethnic cleansing


Hasan Abu Nimah, The Electronic Intifada, 9 October 2009

Palestinians retrieve their possessions after the Israeli army demolished their home in the West Bank village of al-Walajah, near Bethlehem, December 2006. (Fadi Tanas/MaanImages)

While American officials continue to claim that the mission of US Middle East Envoy George Mitchell is by no means over, and that he will still pursue his efforts to convince the Israeli government to agree to some sort of settlement freeze, Israeli plans for further colonization of Palestinian land continue undisturbed. The latest Israeli plans call for the destruction of the West Bank village of al-Walajah for the second time in six decades.

According to Israeli press reports, Israel is planning a massive new settlement in the vicinity of Jerusalem, on land owned by Palestinians of al-Walajah. The project, expected to be approved by the Israeli ministry of the Interior, could become the single most populous settlement built in the occupied Palestinian territories since 1967 according to the Israeli daily Maariv. The project plans prepared by the ministry of the Interior and the Jerusalem municipality call for 14,000 housing units for 40,000 settlers on 3,000 dunums of land which would require the demolition of al-Walajah residents' homes, according to the paper.

The original village of al-Walajah was located on the opposite side of its current location, on a mountain slope facing east, just about six kilometers south of Jerusalem. It was very close to Battir, the village in which I was born and brought up. The two villages were separated by a valley, with Battir on the opposite slope from al-Walajah, though a little further south and were very closely linked.

The railway from Jerusalem to the Palestinian coastal city of Jaffa ran right through that valley, which also marks the 1949 armistice line following the end of the 1948 war (also known as the "Green Line.")

During October 1948, Zionist forces attacked and occupied al-Walajah. Its roughly 1,800 inhabitants were scattered in every direction, sharing the fate of Palestinians from hundreds of other towns and villages ethnically cleansed in the same period.

I have strong memories of visiting al-Walajah as a young child, which was walking distance from my village. Often when I was dispatched by one of my parents to purchase something for the house from the only shop in our village, I was advised to try the shop in al-Walajah if the item was not to be found in Battir.

There was active social interaction and intermarriage between the small, tight-knit populations of al-Walajah and Battir. There were daily exchanges of visits and sharing of most kinds of public events. That also applied to many other villages which were within walking distance from Battir such as Beit Safafa, al-Malhah, al-Jawrah, Ain Karem, al-Qabou and Sataf; all were occupied and ethnically cleansed in that first war.

That kind of cozy relationship amongst the small populations of Palestinian villages was all but destroyed by the 1948 war. When the inhabitants of Battir returned home after several months of forced refuge elsewhere when the village during the war came under direct fire, al-Walajah, which used to bustle with life was now silent and deserted. The demarcation line delineated following the 1949 armistice had left al-Walajah just west of the line, on the Israeli side. Battir was barely saved with the barbed wire running through the village cutting most of the village agricultural land, some houses and the boys school. Later, we watched as the Israeli army started to demolish al-Walajah, house by house. We would see a cloud of smoke and dust shoot up into the air over a house, followed by the sound of an explosion, leaving nothing but a heap of rubble. Al-Walajah was completely destroyed before Israel built the settlement of Aminadav and a park where Israelis picnic on its lands.

Apparently the people of al-Walajah owned land across the hills to the east, well within the West Bank, and that is where they decided to settle temporarily for the awaited hope of justice and redemption from the United Nations, which like many Palestinians, they still thought would come.

But time passed and justice never visited them, so they started to build homes and created a new al-Walajah. This new town is the one now threatened with ethnic cleansing. Of course the standard Israeli excuse for destroying Palestinians homes is that they were built "without permission."

The irony is that the Israelis have all along permitted themselves to massacre, ethnically cleanse, occupy, confiscate, destroy and commit every sort of crime against their Palestinian victims while Palestinians are severely punished for building on their land in their country. Al-Walajah in 1948 and now, bears witness to Israel's insatiable appetite for Palestinian land.

Israel's brazen acceleration of settlement construction on occupied Palestinian land is unquestionably a result of international, and particularly American, policy failures and the refusal to hold Israel accountable under international law.

While we have constantly witnessed the so-called "international community" relentlessly tracking down alleged violations and violators in Iran, Syria, Sudan, Lebanon, Kenya, Burma and among Palestinians not affiliated with US-backed Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, Israel is offered unconditional impunity.

It doesn't stop there; Israel is not only exempt from punishment but routinely rewarded for its crimes. After six months of defiant rejection of American requests to stop settlement construction, the Americans were the ones who finally dropped the demand and put pressure instead on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to drop its conditions to restart "negotiations."

Last month's New York summit of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, hosted by US President Barack Obama, was Netanyahu's first great diplomatic victory. Following the growing public outrage at the PA's shelving of the Goldstone report into Israel's war crimes in Gaza, it emerged (according to the BBC Arabic Service on 3 October) that Abbas agreed in New York to drop the Palestinian effort to have the report forwarded to the Security Council for further action. This is a second major Israeli victory. Netanyahu, it should be recalled, had dwelled heavily on the Goldstone report in his address to the UN General Assembly rejecting the report as a serious obstacle to peace. Abbas on his part ignored any mere mention of the report in his own UN speech. This indicates that Abbas had already acquiesced to public and private American and Israeli demands to shelve the Goldstone report.

Israel's third victory is the revelation that the Obama administration, like all its predecessors, has agreed to help Israel continue to hide its nuclear weapons arsenal that threatens the region and all of humanity, while the US and its allies escalate their pressure on Iran in response to Israeli incitement.

All of these events are directly linked to what happens to people in al-Walajah -- and indeed all over Palestine from Galilee to Gaza -- who from 1948 until now, continue steadfastly and stubbornly to defend their rights and existence even as they still hope for international justice that has yet to come.

Hasan Abu Nimah is the former permanent representative of Jordan at the United Nations. This essay first appeared in The Jordan Times and is republished with the author's permission.

Pissing on Peace prizes !!!


George did not get one !!!Obama gets a Nobel Peace Prizewhat for ??
he just has got in !! this is a premature-delivery !!!

Is this prize for his speech in Cairo
in front of a hand-picked-selected-audience
or just because...............he has the same sun-tan as Martin-Luther-King ??

Is this prize for admitting that Bush got in Iraq
what Saddam Hussein has promised us , long before the invasion .

Is this prize for offering medical-help-security
in the richest society on this planet ??

Is it for bombing civilians in Kandahar ??

I don't know !!

But I suspect that this prize is exclusively as a reward
for failing
to stop even Palestine .
For failing to reign in a wild-dog-Netanyahu ??

Why should I bother writing any satire....anymore
when even Henry Kissinger got the same prize
and Itzhak Rabin too.

Good night !!
I am going to bed early .

Sherlock Hommos
Pissing on Peace-prizes

Posted by Тлакскала at 9:12 AM 1 comments Links to this post

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New Crisis Developing in Palestine - Tensions Intensified by Obama Administration's Lack of Decisiveness



The following article is based heavily on a section of a new book recently published by Counterpunch contributors Kathleen and Bill Christison. Their book, entitled Palestine in Pieces: Graphic Perspectives on the Israeli Occupation, is published by Pluto Press. The book is a comprehensive description of all aspects of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. It brings personal and pictorial perspectives to the Israeli occupation, describing the ways in which Israel dominates and constricts the lives of Palestinians, and also going beyond to discuss Israel’s long-term intentions. Illustrated with more than 50 photographs, the book argues that the occupation is part and parcel of Israel’s ultimate intention to retain control over the entirety of Palestine and to so fragment the occupied territories that any sustainable presence in the land by Palestinians as a nation will be negated

We have visited Palestine multiple times, most particularly eight times since 2003, and have been able to witness close up the vast changes that Zionism is constantly bringing to the land and to the people, none for the better. Palestinians are undergoing ever increasing levels of persecution and mistreatment from a rightwing Israeli regime that is being enabled and emboldened by the Obama administration’s abject failure to exert any real pressure. (See Jonathan Cook, “How Israel Buried the UN’s War Crime Probe,” CounterPunch, October 6, 2009.)

You cannot possibly come away from even a single trip around the West Bank without realizing that Zionism is no mere abstract political philosophy but is an aggressive, exclusivist movement of Jewish redemption intended from the beginning to sweep everything non-Jewish from its path. On each trip we have made since 2003, things have grown worse for Palestinians. You can actually see this Jewish implantation across the land -- the whole land of Palestine -- in concrete form, actually see that Zionism has no room in its thinking, and Israeli leaders have no room in their policies, to accommodate any non-Jews at all, any Palestinians, living in Palestine in freedom and equality.

Shortly after Israel unilaterally halted Operation Cast Lead, its brutal early 2009 assault on Gaza, Obama was inaugurated promising substantial change in U.S. foreign policies and in the sensibility and tone of U.S. relations with the world and particularly the Muslim world. Obama’s policy decisions so far on Palestine-Israel, however, appear to demonstrate clearly that on this issue there will be little if any change.

The conjunction of the Gaza slaughter and the election of an extremely rightwing government in Israel with the beginning of Obama’s presidency has essentially placed the Palestinian-Israeli conflict at a standstill. Obama’s half-hearted call for a halt to further Israeli settlement expansion and his failure to press Israel on this issue simply confirm the impasse. These developments have clearly shown, for any who could not already see the trend or who had hoped to resist it, that Israel has no intention of relinquishing its control over all of Palestine and, moreover, that it is actually bent on destroying Palestine as a nation through killing or expelling its people, appropriating its land, and strangling its economy. Obama shows no real inclination to confront or try to alter this reality and has already faced nearly insurmountable obstacles even for trying. Israeli leaders have been working closely with the pro-Israel lobby and the military-industrial complex in the United States to envelop the U.S. in a tight partnership with Israel and to ensure that U.S. political leaders, including Obama and Congress, cannot see Israel’s occupation as an intolerable violation of Palestinian human and political rights.

The events of 2009 to date have also placed tight psychological strictures on any progress toward resolving the conflict. After Gaza, large numbers of Israelis are increasingly explicit in expressing their absolute hatred of Arabs and Palestinians, a reaction reflected in the rightward tilt in the election. As for the Palestinians, despite years of clinging to a commitment to living peacefully in a small independent state alongside Israel, large numbers are now deeply disillusioned and have moved away from desiring any reconciliation with their occupiers. And in the United States, many sectors of public discourse, influenced by the Israel lobby and by a disturbing increase in anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiment, have become more stridently supportive of Israel and blind to any concern for or even awareness of the human and the national consequences for the Palestinians of Israel’s ever-strengthening occupation and the relentless devastation wrought by assaults such as the one on Gaza.

The critical question for the future concerns whether Obama will confront the roadblock placed before him by the Gaza operation and Israel’s move to the right, or will simply back down in the face of these obstacles to progress. An absence of any pressure on Israel to move toward a resolution will lead inevitably to continued Israeli consolidation of the occupation -- more settlements, more impediments to Palestinian growth, and more dismal realities of all sorts for Palestinians. This does not mean that Israel will ultimately “win” -- whatever “winning” means in this context. It is just as likely that the U.S. and Israel will be forced, ultimately, to change their own policies. In the meantime, more -- and more senseless -- warfare and deaths will continue indefinitely into the future. And both the responsibility of the United States for these developments, and global understanding of where responsibility lies, will grow apace.

Bill Christison was a senior official of the CIA.

Kathleen Christison is the author of Perceptions of Palestine and The Wound of Dispossession.

Posted by JNOUBIYEH at 5:41 PM 0

Israel's export of occupation police tactics


Jimmy Johnson, The Electronic Intifada, 9 October 2009

Israel's urban police tactics are being exported around the globe. (Mamoun Wazwaz/MaanImages)

Israel's specialized policing and fighting capacity, which it is currently exporting to other countries, including the US, began to take shape after the June 1967 Arab-Israeli war. In the territories it occupied during the conflict, especially the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, the Israeli government wanted to lay claim, permanently, to specific parts of the occupied area. This desire ran into Zionism's longest-running problem, the presence of Palestinians. As Zionist leader Ze'ev Jabotinsky wrote in 1923 about indigenous resistance to colonial projects, "The native populations ... have always stubbornly resisted the colonists."

This resistance would have to be suppressed and the population pacified if the occupation of these lands was to be sustainable. Thus began an evolutionary relationship that continues to this day, that of the Palestinian resistance versus Israel's policy of permanent occupation. Architect Eyal Weizman lays out in great detail the study of urban warfare and urban police actions undertaken by the Israeli military in his book Hollow Land: Israel's Architecture of Occupation. Importantly, he looks at the ways the army adapts to the dynamics on the ground, explaining that "Indeed, military attempts to adapt their practices and forms of organization has been inspired by the guerilla forms of violence that confront it. Because they adapt, mimic and learn from each other, the military and the guerillas enter a cycle of 'co-evolution.'" This reciprocal cycle of tactical evolution, and intertwined relationship of Israel's police and army, is proving politically valuable to Israel by helping to shape international norms on policing more like its own.

Israel participates significantly in areas of the international political and economic markets of arms, security and policing. It is especially renowned for having a highly developed arms industry. There are significant potential political benefits to be gained by participation in the arms trade, especially in the military interoperability that develops with using the same training and systems of war. Military interoperability often lead to the development of political alliances and close personal relationships between high level defense and commerce officials during the research, bidding and approval processes.

However, this trade rarely leads to policy change favorable to Israel by itself. Instead, the training of foreign police and security forces based upon expertise gained in 42 years of military occupation accomplishes this by creating advocates within local, regional and national security infrastructures. In Peter Andreas and Ethan Nadelmann's book Policing the Globe: Criminalization and Crime Control in International Relations, the authors detail how the United States has shaped international policing and prosecution with regards to the drug trade. They explain that "US law enforcement agencies play an especially pivotal role in shaping a transnational police community and thickening intergovernmental law enforcement networks." This occurs by either providing or advocating for technical assistance and training for many foreign police officers. In addition, the US often advocates "for more intensive and systematic bilateral and multilateral cooperation, and prompting new initiatives in both criminal procedures and criminal legislation." Although Israel cannot do this with the same coercive power as the US, it is as proactive as possible in its outreach.

Israel is renowned as the center of training in the fields of policing, homeland security and related fields. In 2005 the then-chief of police of Washington, DC, a city that has adopted Israeli-style policing to an extreme degree, told The Washington Post that Israel is "the Harvard of antiterrorism." Israel actively lauds its expertise with ministries of commerce, public security and foreign affairs, advertising it in public pronouncements and their websites and the government offers support for exporting the expertise, whether done by private firms or public entities. The "Israeli method" blends together state security policing with that of other crimes. Systems put in place in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya, for example, have private businesses linking their information with the Tourist Police and City Police who in turn, link with the National Police, the General Security Service (aka, Shin Bet).

Israeli police and security forces do not separate policing related to Palestinian anti-occupation efforts from street crime. The Palestinians represent both a political and armed opposition to a military occupation, and a disenfranchised underclass with criminal elements in an apartheid state. The Israeli army, which is charged with investigating crime in Areas B and C of the West Bank -- areas designated as such during the Oslo accords of the mid-1990s -- along with its strictly military functions as an occupying army and national defense force, is engaged, along with the Israeli police's car theft bureau, with investigating car thefts by Palestinians. Palestinian car thieves often work with Israeli organized crime families or individual Israelis seeking to defraud insurance agencies and investigation and prosecution falls under the jurisdiction of both the army and the civil police. It is the Israeli police's mandate to prosecute any Israeli citizens, while the Palestinians will be tried in an Israeli military court.

The Israeli army also patrols the northern border along with the drug police looking for heroin, hashish and other items smuggled from southern Lebanon. Inspector Gal Ben Ish, referring to participation by Hizballah in the trade, told the Associated Press in April 2009, "We know that it's not just criminal activity -- here there's always the aspect of national defense. We're helping the country's security." Some of the same Sinai Bedouin tribes involved in smuggling women for Israeli organized crime, which is investigated by the police, also smuggle goods, including weapons, to Palestinians in Gaza. According to a June 2007 report in Terrorism Monitor, this has led to the army patrolling 40 kilometers from the Gaza Strip down the border with Egypt.

The training offered by Israeli police and security forces is exported all over the world. For example in India, Israel has drawn upon its experience in south Lebanon, rural West Bank and urban population centers in Gaza and the West Bank to help train Indian forces. According to a 9 September 2009 article in Defense News, the inspiration for these efforts came after New Delhi took "a keen interest in the homeland security operations, armaments and surveillance devices used by Israeli troops."

A 2008 declaration signed by then-Minister of Public Security Avi Dichter and Canadian Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day created a similar arrangement for Canada and Israel. According to the Israeli ministry's website, it allowed the countries to "share knowledge, experience, expertise, information, research, and best practices" and "facilitate technical exchange cooperation, including education, training, and exercises." In a 23 March 2008 press release, Minister Day stated that "The declaration seeks to establish a more structured framework for the continued cooperation on public safety issues between Canada and Israel."

Israeli police trained their Chinese counterparts for "possible scenarios involving terror and civil disturbances" prior to the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing. According to a 28 September 2008 article in the Israeli daily Haaretz, the commander of China's People's Armed Police Force "expressed an interest in continued cooperation between Israeli and Chinese police following the success of the course." Five years earlier Israeli police performed a similar task in Greece prior to the Athens games. The French government brought the head of the Israeli police's special forces to instruct their police in riot control.

However, no country in the world has a closer cooperation with Israeli police forces than the US. Just a sampling of US cities and institutions that have trained or are training in Israeli methods are Alameda County; Atlanta; Boston; Cambridge, MA; Commerce, GA; Detroit; Duxbury, MA; Georgia Tech University; Knoxville, TN; Los Angeles: the Maryland Department of Transportation; Miami; New York City; Pembroke Pines, FL; San Francisco; San Mateo; Santa Clara; Seattle; Stamford, CT; Sterling Heights, MI; and Suffolk County, NY. Low-level bilateral relationships between city police, sheriff's departments and other agencies of order in the US are reinforced by arrangements put in place by high-level officials like the memorandum of understanding signed by former Minister Dichter and former US Director of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff in 2007. A statement put out prior to the agreement and quoted by The Jerusalem Post stated "that there exists a vital need to promote operational, scientific and technological cooperation between the parties in the field of homeland security."

Israeli methods are sought out and adopted for their perceived quality, largely led by the government's marketing of them. But the relationships established between agencies of order, whether they be drug enforcement, civil policing, customs officials, tactical police units or any other, are done entirely outside the democratic realm. The citizens of Beijing did not vote for their police to study the repression of civil disturbance in Haifa's football stadium. Canadian parliament neither proposed nor endorsed the "Declaration of Intent Between the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness of Canada and the Ministry of Public Security of the Government of the State of Israel." The students of Georgia Tech University were not approached for their opinion about campus security adopting the tools that help sustain an illegal military occupation. This is the danger of agencies of authority going through processes of professionalization and integration with their foreign counterparts. It's often a strictly technocratic regime that can affect the public greatly but is done without its active knowledge or participation. As Andreas and Nadelmann argue, the efforts at professionalization are driven by the technocrats themselves, most often sanctioned by the governing authority, and it is this perceived technical neutrality that gives the efforts credibility.

This has been seen starkly in Washington, DC. The capitol police have long erected various checkpoints and barriers around the institutions of national government, especially the Capitol Building. In June 2008, Chief of Police Cathy Lanier, who according to The Washington Post once stated "No experience in my life has had more of an impact on doing my job than going to Israel," authorized checkpoints to be set up in the troubled northeast neighborhood of Trinidad, which had seen a spike in homicides and other violent crime. There are severe quality of life problems in Trinidad, including high rates of violent crime, and the disproportionate participation in street violence and the illegal narcotics trade by residents from and visitors to the neighborhood has strong links to socioeconomic exclusion of the poor in the US, especially in communities of color. The establishment of checkpoints in Trinidad was an attempt to address the former while neglecting the latter. Alternately put, it was a method of pacification deployed against resistance to and coping mechanisms of victims of structural classism and racism in the US. The Washington Post quoted one longtime neighborhood resident stating "I knew eventually we'd be a police state. They don't talk to us, they're not community minded."

Prior to Washington, DC police leadership receiving Israeli training they had no socioeconomic desk with which to work against the root causes of street crime, nor do they now. If the US government is no longer going to attempt to integrate all its citizens into its economic and political infrastructure (see for example, the removal of suffrage from convicted felons in many parts of the country) the adoption of Israel's system of blended civil and national security policing has a compelling logic. The, in effect, surplus population in the country will be only slightly less "foreign" to the government, and only slightly more represented in local and national planning, than the Palestinians are to Israel.

The dominant method of warehousing in the US is penal incarceration leading to a nation with about five percent of the world's population containing about 25 percent of the world's incarcerated population, according to Andreas and Nadelmann. As activist Jeff Halper has written, the methods of warehousing used by Israel against its surplus population, the Palestinians, are primarily geographic and structural, such as checkpoints and separation walls and fences, and bureaucratic, such as restricting building permits and ID regimes prohibiting movements between areas.

Similarly, the training of the Beijing police in controlling civil disturbance was largely used to exclude Beijing's slum dwellers, tens of thousands of whom were displaced by the Olympic games themselves, from access to the media, global attention and economic bubble that came with the games. As Mike Davis observed in Planet of Slums, like the US's disenfranchised, the slum dwellers of Beijing, largely economic migrants from the western interior of the country, have been almost entirely written off by the municipal and national authorities in China. And like the Palestinians, they are a surplus population to the government currently controlling their fates. The training of foreign police and security forces in the methods used to pacify resistance to apartheid, military occupation and the warehousing of the Palestinians should give pause as to what these tools of Israel's pacification industry will be deployed against in countries receiving the training.

Jimmy Johnson is an researcher, analyst and organizer with the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. He's based in Washington, DC and can be reached at jimmy [at] icahd [dot] org.

Warmonger Wins Peace Prize


By Paul Craig Roberts for Information Clearing House

It took 25 years longer than George Orwell thought for the slogans of 1984 to become reality.

“War is Peace,” “Freedom is Slavery,” “Ignorance is Strength.”

I would add, “Lie is Truth.”

The Nobel Committee has awarded the 2009 Peace Prize to President Obama, the person who started a new war in Pakistan, upped the war in Afghanistan, and continues to threaten Iran with attack unless Iran does what the US government demands and relinquishes its rights as a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty.

The Nobel committee chairman, Thorbjoern Jagland said, “Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future.”

Obama, the committee gushed, has created “a new climate in international politics.”

Tell that to the 2 million displaced Pakistanis and the unknown numbers of dead ones that Obama has racked up in his few months in office. Tell that to the Afghans where civilian deaths continue to mount as Obama’s “war of necessity” drones on indeterminably.

No Bush policy has changed. Iraq is still occupied. The Guantanamo torture prison is still functioning. Rendition and assassinations are still occurring. Spying on Americans without warrants is still the order of the day. Civil liberties are continuing to be violated in the name of Oceania’s “war on terror.”

Apparently, the Nobel committee is suffering from the delusion that, being a minority, Obama is going to put a stop to Western hegemony over darker-skinned peoples.

The non-cynical can say that the Nobel committee is seizing on Obama’s rhetoric to lock him into the pursuit of peace instead of war. We can all hope that it works. But the more likely result is that the award has made “War is Peace” the reality.

Obama has done nothing to hold the criminal Bush regime to account, and the Obama administration has bribed and threatened the Palestinian Authority to go along with the US/Israeli plan to deep-six the UN’s Goldstone Report on Israeli war crimes committed during Israel’s inhuman military attack on the defenseless civilian population in the Gaza Ghetto.

The US Ministry of Truth is delivering the Obama administration’s propaganda that Iran only notified the IAEA of its “secret” new nuclear facility because Iran discovered that US intelligence had discovered the “secret” facility. This propaganda is designed to undercut the fact of Iran’s compliance with the Safeguards Agreement and to continue the momentum for a military attack on Iran.

The Nobel committee has placed all its hopes on a bit of skin color.

“War is Peace” is now the position of the formerly antiwar organization, Code Pink. Code Pink has decided that women’s rights are worth a war in Afghanistan.

When justifications for war become almost endless--oil, hegemony, women’s rights, democracy, revenge for 9/11, denying bases to al Qaeda and protecting against terrorists--war becomes the path to peace.

The Nobel committee has bestowed the prestige of its Peace Prize on Newspeak and Doublethink.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at:


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Obama award sad - NI Nobel winner

Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Corrigan Maguire has criticised the decision to give this year's award to US President Barack Obama.

The Nobel committee said Mr Obama had created a new climate in international politics and made extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy.

However, Mrs Maguire said she was "very sad" to hear of the award.

Mrs Maguire won the 1976 Nobel award along with fellow Belfast peace campaigner Betty Williams.

"President Obama has yet to prove that he will move seriously on the Middle East, that he will end the war in Afghanistan and many other issues," Mrs Maguire said.

"The Nobel committee is not meeting the conditions of Alfred Nobel's will, because he stipulated that the award is to be given to people who end militarism and war and are for disarmament."

But SDLP leader Mark Durkan said the committee "rightly highlights the president's extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples".

"Since his election as US president, President Obama has touched and inspired people all around the world.

"He has been a sign of positive progress, not just in the United States but in terms of international leadership," Mr Durkan said.

Former SDLP leader John Hume and former Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble won the 1998 peace prize after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

Obama's Nobel Peace Prize


(updated below - Update II)

When I saw this morning's top New York Times headline -- "Barack Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize" -- I had the same immediate reaction which I'm certain many others had: this was some kind of bizarre Onion gag that got accidentally transposed onto the wrong website, that it was just some sort of strange joke someone was playing. Upon further reflection, that isn't all that far from the reaction I still have. And I say that despite my belief that -- as critical as I've been of the Obama presidency regarding civil liberties and Terrorism -- foreign affairs is actually one area where he's shown genuine potential for some constructive "change" and has, on occasion, merited real praise for taking steps in the general "peace" direction which this Prize is meant to honor.

Obama has changed the tone America uses to speak to the world generally and the Muslim world specifically. His speech in Cairo, his first-week interview on al-Arabiya, and the extraordinarily conciliatory holiday video he sent to Iran are all substantial illustrations of that. His willingness to sit down and negotiate with Iran -- rather than threaten and berate them -- has already produced tangible results. He has at least preliminarily broken from Bush's full-scale subservience to Israel and has applied steadfast pressure on the Israelis to cease settlement activities, even though it's subjected him to the sorts of domestic political risks and vicious smears that have made prior Presidents afraid to do so. His decision to use his first full day in office to issue Executive Orders to close Guantanamo, ostensibly ban torture, and bar CIA black sites was an important symbol offered to the world (even though it's been followed by actions that make those commitments little more than empty symbols). He refused to reflexively support the right-wing, civil-liberty-crushing coup leaders in Honduras merely because they were "pro-American" and "anti-Chavez," thus siding with the vast bulk of Latin America's governments -- a move George Bush, or John McCain, never would have made. And as a result of all of that, the U.S. -- in a worldwide survey released just this week -- rose from seventh to first on the list of "most admired countries."

All that said, these changes are completely preliminary, which is to be expected given that he's only been in office nine months. For that reason, while Obama's popularity has surged in Western Europe, the changes in the Muslim world in terms of how the U.S. is perceived have been small to nonexistent. As Der Spiegel put it in the wake of a worldwide survey in July: "while Europe's ardor for Obama appears fervent, he has actually made little progress in the regions where the US faces its biggest foreign policy problems." People who live in regions that have long been devastated by American weaponry don't have the luxury of being dazzled by pretty words and speeches. They apparently -- and rationally -- won't believe that America will actually change from a war-making nation into a peace-making one until there are tangible signs that this is happening. It's because that has so plainly not yet occurred that the Nobel Committee has made a mockery out of their own award.

But far more important than the lack of actual accomplishments are some of the policies over which Obama has presided that are the very opposite of peace. Already this year, he not only escalated the American war in Afghanistan, but has ordered air raids that have produced things like this:

That was from a May airstrike in which over 100 Afghan civilians were killed by American jets -- one of many similar incidents this year, including one only a week ago that killed 9 Afghan civilians. How can someone responsible for that, and who has only escalated that war, possibly be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in the very same year that he did that? Does that picture above look like the work of a Nobel Peace laureate? Does this, from the May airstrike?

Beyond Afghanistan, Obama continues to preside over another war -- in Iraq: remember that? -- where no meaningful withdrawal has occurred. He uttered not a peep of opposition to the Israeli massacre of Gazan civilians at the beginning of this year (using American weapons), one which a U.N. investigator just found constituted war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity. The changed tone to Iran notwithstanding, his administration frequently emphasizes that it is preserving the option to bomb that country, too -- which could be a third war against a Muslim country fought simultaneously under his watch. He's worked tirelessly to protect his country not only from accountability -- but also transparency -- for the last eight years of war crimes, almost certainly violating America's treaty obligations in the process. And he is currently presiding over an expansion of the legal black hole at Bagram while aggressively demanding the right to abduct people from around the world, ship them there, and then imprison them indefinitely with no rights of any kind.

It's certainly true that Obama inherited, not started, these conflicts. And it's possible that he could bring about their end, along with an overall change in how America interacts with the world in terms of actions, not just words. If he does that, he would deserve immense credit -- perhaps even a Nobel Peace Prize. But he hasn't done any of that. And it's at least as possible that he'll do the opposite: that he'll continue to escalate the 8-year occupation of Afghanistan, preside over more conflict in Iraq, end up in a dangerous confrontation with Iran, and continue to preserve many of the core Bush/Cheney Terrorism policies that created such a stain on America's image and character around the world.

Through no fault of his own, Obama presides over a massive war-making state that spends on its military close to what the rest of the world spends combined. The U.S. accounts for almost 70% of worldwide arms sales. We're currently occupying and waging wars in two separate Muslim countries and making clear we reserve the "right" to attack a third. Someone who made meaningful changes to those realities would truly be a man of peace. It's unreasonable to expect that Obama would magically transform all of this in nine months, and he certainly hasn't. Instead, he presides over it and is continuing much of it. One can reasonably debate how much blame he merits for all of that, but there are simply no meaningful "peace" accomplishment in his record -- at least not yet -- and there's plenty of the opposite. That's what makes this Prize so painfully and self-evidently ludicrous.

UPDATE: Remember how, during the Bush years, the GOP would disgustingly try to equate liberals with Terrorists by pointing out that they happened to have the same view on a particular matter (The Left opposes the war in Iraq, just like Al Qaeda and Hezbollah do! or bin Laden's criticisms of Bush sound just like Michael Moore's! ). It looks like the Democratic Party has learned and adopted that tactic perfectly ("'The Republican Party has thrown in its lot with the terrorists - the Taliban and Hamas this morning - in criticizing the President for receiving the Nobel Peace prize,' DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse told POLITICO"; Republicans are "put[ting] politics above patriotism," he added).

Apparently, according to the DNC, if you criticize this Prize, then you're an unpatriotic America-hater -- just like the Terrorists, because they're also criticizing the award. Karl Rove should be proud. Maybe the DNC should also send out Joe Lieberman's 2005 warning that "in matters of war we undermine Presidential credibility at our nation’s peril." Hamas also thinks that Israeli settlements should be frozen -- a position Obama shares. So, by the DNC's Rovian reasoning, doesn't this mean that Obama "has thrown in his lot with the terrorists"?

UPDATE II: On Democracy Now, Naomi Klein calls Obama's award "disappointing, cheapening of the Nobel Prize," and adds: "I think it’s quite insulting. I don’t know what kind of political game they’re playing, but I don’t think that the committee has ever been as political as this or as delusional as this, frankly." On Daily Kos, Michael Moore writes ironically: "Congratulations President Obama on the Nobel Peace Prize -- Now Please Earn it!" Mairead Maguire, the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, says she's "very disappointed" with this award, noting: "President Obama has yet to prove that he will move seriously on the Middle East, that he will end the war in Afghanistan and many other issues." And my Salon colleague, Alex Koppelman, adds several thoughts about the efforts by the DNC and some Democratic groups to explicitly equate opposition to the Prize with "casting one's lot with terrorists."

-- Glenn Greenwald


Will Tel Aviv Take the U.S. to War – Again?


Posted by realistic bird under Politics Tags: , , , , ,
{Iran-Carrot or Stick?} by Ali Khaleel

{Iran-Carrot or Stick?} by Ali Khaleel

By Jeff Gates, source

Tel Aviv long ago proved its mastery at waging war “by way of deception” – the operative credo of the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence and foreign operations directorate. Yet its latest operation reveals a need to freshen up its repertoire of dirty tricks. As Israel’s patron, those of us who live in the U.S. are painfully familiar with such duplicity. Yet the recent frequency of its frauds renders their latest treachery remarkably transparent.

Consider the similarities. First a network of pro-Israelis fixed the intelligence that induced us to invade Iraq in support of an expansionist agenda for Greater Israel. Who can forget Iraqi WMD, scary images of mushroom clouds and secret meetings in Prague? Who can fail to recall the yellowcake uranium from Niger and those ominous warnings of “high-level contacts” between secular Baghdad and the religious fundamentalists of Al Qaeda?

Even Colin Powell was duped when pro-Israelis in the G.W. Bush administration associated his credibility with false U.N. testimony avowing Iraqi mobile biological weapons laboratories. Though all was deception, it had the intended effect. To others, it looked like the U.S. was at fault. Yet our policy-makers are no better than the information on which they must rely—and the allies they are persuaded to trust.

The same old Israeli duplicity is back but with a new twist. And, importantly, ably aided by a new commander-in-chief. As with the deception that induced the invasion of Iraq, war in Iran also requires weaving a web of consensus beliefs from threads of deceit.

This time there is less emphasis on fixed intelligence than on false impressions—albeit with the same goal: to advance an Israeli agenda. Though Tel Aviv’s goals for Iran are now within reach, the success of this latest operation is not yet assured.

The Cast

The stage-managing of this presidency has been a wonder to behold—even when compared with G.W. Bush. This latest production involves two key insiders, both Jewish. Rahm Emanuel, son of an Irgun operative and the most influential chief of staff in decades, served in the Israel Defense Forces during the 1991 Gulf War. Communications Director David Axelrod oversaw a campaign strategy that garnered 78% of the Jewish vote.

It’s not difficult to imagine the source of the chutzpah that flew Obama from a speech in Cairo—meant to mollify Muslims—directly to a Holocaust photo-op at a death camp in Germany. Communication-wise, which event left the deeper impression? Was that trip meant for the 1.3 billion Muslims miffed at six decades of U.S. support for Israel’s occupation of Palestine? Or did these presidential image-makers aim to please the American Ashkenazim that fondly refer to Barack Obama as “the first Jewish president”?

Who but pro-Israeli insiders could insert in a U.N. speech by the first Black president a racist reference to “the Jewish state of Israel”? That code phrase was certain to provoke Muslims worldwide, particularly those whose lands Israel occupies. Even Harry Truman, a political product of Kansas City’s corrupt Pendergast political machine, deleted that theocratic and racist reference when, in May 1948, he extended U.S. recognition to an enclave of violent Jewish extremists soon after they ethnically cleansed 400-plus Palestinian villages.

The Plot

So now comes a new twist on an old trick. First Barack Obama was persuaded by his advisers to lambast Iran for a covert nuclear site—days after it was revealed by Tehran. So already it looks to the public like yet another U.S. president is relying on flawed intelligence. When Iran promised cooperation with international inspectors, Tel Aviv quickly countered that Israel may well attack anyway. Why not? After all, the U.S. attacked Iraq. And clearly U.S. intelligence is no better now than then, right?

So what if Iran, like Iraq, has no WMD? That misses the point. A nuclear-armed “Jewish state” of five million can still attack a Muslim nation of 75 million using U.S.-provided, laser-guided bunker-buster bombs. Tel Aviv can then point to the similarity of its patron’s conduct when the U.S. launched a preemptive attack based on false intelligence.

Winning is not the point. There is no military solution in the Middle East. The point is to create yet another crisis and yet another provocation. And, importantly, to once again make the U.S. appear guilty by association. Absent another crisis that misdirects attention and consumes scarce intelligence resources, Americans will soon enough be forced to confront an uncomfortable fact: Israel, its lobby and its supporters deceived us to wage its wars.

Americans are not stupid. We are, however, perilously misinformed. Yet that too traces to pro-Israelis in mainstream media. Absent another crisis, Americans may well awaken to the essential role played by a complicit media in these serial deceptions.

The Consequences

Iran is not about nuclear weapons. Neither was Iraq. Iran is about the need for serial well-timed crises to advance Israel’s expansionist agenda. No one dares bring that agenda to a vote. Or even mention it. Thus the treachery required of those whose numbers are few but whose ambitions are great. What choice do they have but to wage war by way of deception?

Yet this time Americans are more aware of how such duplicity can progress in plain sight. They have access to Internet news. Wade through the online clutter and the analyses found there can expose the common source of this deceit, including its media support.

Plus Americans are hurting. They know something is fundamentally amiss. Yet they are understandably wary of conspiracy theories. They want facts. As the facts point to a common source for much of what is wrong, those complicit are scrambling to obscure that source. That scrambling, in turn, is making that source steadily more transparent.

To date, this political product of Chicago’s Ashkenazim has been a catastrophe for national security. And for an economy poised to decline at an accelerating pace. Yet he’s ideal for those skilled at waging war on nations from within. And for those proficient at inducing us to freely embrace the very forces that now imperil our freedom.

We Americans may persist on this path, seduced by the allure of empty eloquence. Or we could awaken. If so, this latest president could find that, like recent predecessors, his legacy is relegated to infamy. Given the course Obama has set, Americans may yet take matters into their own hands to protect what he is allowing this purported ally to imperil.

- Jeff Gates is author of Guilt By Association, Democracy at Risk and The Ownership Solution. He contributed this article to Contact him at:

Careful who you hire to 'lobby' for you in Washington ...


SindhToday/ here

"While the Kerry Lugar Bill has created a furor in Pakistan due to its Army and ISI-specific conditionalities, questions are also being raised as to who actually fathered these ‘iron-clad conditions’.

Fingers are being raised at the Pakistani lobbyists in Washington who were hired by the Pakistan Embassy.

The lobbyists, including Mark Siegel and Cassidy and Associates, were supposed to work for Pakistan and were paid million of dollars, but they were actually lobbying against Pakistan and were trying to get anti-Pakistan conditions inserted in the Kerry-Lugar Bill, The News reports.

However, experts believe that the main culprit is Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, Hussain Haqqani.

One could find the details of all the Army-specific conditions, mentioned in the Kerry Lugar bill, in Haqqani’s book, which was published in 2006.

“The United States must use its aid as a lever to influence Pakistan’s domestic policies.” Washington should no longer condone the Pakistani military’s support of Islamic militants, its use of its intelligence apparatus for controlling domestic politics, and its refusal to cede power to a constitutional democratic government,” the book states in one of its chapters.

“Unlike governments in other Muslim countries like Egypt and Turkey, Pakistan’s government – particularly its military – has encouraged political and radical Islam, which otherwise has a relatively narrow base of support,” it says.

The book also stresses on the fact that the United States can contain the Islamic influence by asking Pakistan for certain reforms with regard to the Army and other security forces.

“The United States can help contain the Islamists’ influence by demanding reform of those aspects of Pakistan’s governance that involve the military and security services. Until now, the United States has harshly berated corrupt or ineffective Pakistani politicians but has only mildly criticised the military’s meddling,” it states. (ANI)

Posted by G, Z, or B at 4:21 PM

From boycotts to Bilin: An interview with Jonathan Cook


Jeff Gore, The Electronic Intifada, 9 October 2009

Jonathan Cook Jonathan Cook is a British journalist based in Nazareth, the largest Palestinian city in Israel, whose work is regularly published by The Electronic Intifada. His latest book, Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair, was published by Zed Books last October. He recently sat with Jeff Gore to discuss his work and his analysis of the current situation on the ground.

Jeff Gore: How and when did you first become interested in the Middle East, specifically the issue of Israel/Palestine?

Jonathan Cook: It was a gradual process that took over a decade. I became interested in Arab culture during a backpacking trip to Morocco in my early 20s. Later I got my first, faint taste of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during the Oslo years when I crossed over from Jordan for a three-day visit to Jerusalem. While I was walking along the Old City walls, I was surprised to see a group of Israeli soldiers beating two young Palestinian boys, maybe 12 years old, for no apparent reason. It certainly disturbed me, although I can't say it greatly politicized me at the time -- like most tourists, I suppose, I put it to the back of my mind.

A vague interest in the Middle East solidified into a more obvious concern while I was working in the foreign department of the Guardian. I started to sense that the paper's coverage didn't seem to be giving the whole picture of what I was seeing on my travels. Assuming the fault lay with me, I then did a two-year, part-time MA in Middle East politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University. By the end I felt even more strongly that the media were failing. I chose as the topic of my MA dissertation land problems faced by Israel's Palestinian citizens in the Galilee. It was during the research that I began to conclude that much could be understood about the regional conflict from Israel's approach towards its Palestinian minority. I was surprised no one else appeared to be reaching such a conclusion, at least not at that time. Eventually, in 2001, I decided to leave my job in London and move to Nazareth to write a book about Israel's treatment of the minority at the start of the second intifada. I expected to complete it in a year. It took five -- and I am still in Nazareth eight years after my arrival.

JG: On your website you state that "There are striking, and disturbing, similarities between the experiences of Palestinians inside Israel and those inside the West Bank and Gaza." This is definitely true, but the occupation has persisted for long enough that it seems there would also be some noticeable differences. How does the outlook of a Palestinian citizen of Israel differ from that of a Palestinian living in the occupied territories?

JC: The "striking similarity" is in Israel's treatment of the Palestinians inside the areas it controls. It has sought to apply a very sophisticated form of divide and rule. From the outset inside Israel, Palestinian citizens were referred to not only as Arabs, to undermine their identity as Palestinians, but also as "the minorities." Israel's primary goal was to accentuate a series of subgroup identities -- Muslim, Christian, Bedouin, and Druze. The [Druze] were officially awarded the status of a separate nationality, with its own education system and requirement to serve in the army alongside Jews.

But even within these main categories there were further separations: between those in recognized communities and those in unrecognized communities; between those who were internal refugees, and had therefore lost all rights to their property, and those who weren't; between those who lived in the "mixed cities" and those in self-contained Arab communities; and between the main geographical areas: the Galilee, the Triangle and the Negev. On top of that, Israel has accentuated political differences, cultivating a series of splits between the main Arab parties to the point where even the Islamic party has two hostile wings.

The Palestinian minority inside Israel started to wake up belatedly to this game in the late 1990s, during the Oslo process, for a variety of complicated reasons set out in my book Blood and Religion. The result is a recent unprecedented reassertion of Palestinian identity as a way to circumvent these other crippling sub-identities. Nonetheless, it is an uphill struggle and far from won.

Interestingly, just as the Palestinians inside Israel realized they needed to create unity, the Palestinians in the occupied territories succumbed to Israel's divide-and-rule game. Israel used the Oslo process in particular to foster similar kinds of division, using the carve-up of the West Bank into a series of zones -- Areas A, B and C -- to interfere in Palestinian life in different ways. That process was taken a step further with the split both between the already-heavily divided West Bank and Gaza Strip and between Fatah and Hamas.

JG: Compared to the West Bank and Gaza, the occupied Golan Heights gets scant media attention. My guess is because there is far less "action" there. When I visited the Syrian village of Majd al-Shams in the Israeli-occupied Golan, I encountered no checkpoints, saw street signs in Hebrew, and found that the Syrians enjoyed substantially more liberties there than the Palestinians in the West Bank or Gaza. The last substantial flare-up of Syrian anger in the occupied Golan was more than a quarter-century ago (the general strike of 1981) and the intifada still remains a distinctly Palestinian struggle. What do you think are the reasons for this relative quiet in the Golan?

JC: The main reason is that the Druze in the Golan, unlike the Palestinians in the occupied territories, are not struggling for national liberation -- they are waiting for the Syrians to negotiate their return. A Druze intifada would be pointless because the small Druze community in the Golan does not want to run its own affairs. In a way, the Golan Druze are in a very similar position to the Palestinians inside Israel. Both are in a sort of political limbo, awaiting direction from the larger national group to which they belong.

Also, it should be noted that the settlement drive has been a relative failure in the Golan, most of which is empty. The settlers are hardly visible and certainly not encroaching on the Golan Druze in the way settlers are in the West Bank.

JG: I was involved in a debate about the effectiveness of the weekly protests at Israel's barrier in the West Bank villages of Nilin and Bilin, which often result in airborne stones and teargas canisters. Supporters of the protests say that it is a symbol of the indomitable resistance of the Palestinians, a sign that they will not be quieted and that Israel will never be able to rest easy as long as it remains an illegal occupier. Yet its detractors say that it gives trigger-happy Israel soldiers the perfect excuse to shoot and kill, that they look forward to it every week as some sort of military game or target practice. What's your take on these protests?

JC: The media often represent this as a battle between young hot-headed Palestinian stone-throwers and over-excited Israeli soldiers. That's largely a fiction. On the Palestinian side are to be found a cross-section of the resisting community, including its leaders and many middle-aged villagers who have families to support. It takes a great deal of bravery to stand off regularly against heavily armed Israeli teenagers, a significant number of them Jewish religious fanatics raised to believe they are fighting a holy war and many of the others raised to believe that the "Arabs" are a primitive, barbaric people. It may be true that some of the soldiers enjoy getting the chance to use their weapons (isn't it always true of some soldiers?) but again I cannot see why that should determine whether it is a good idea for the Palestinians to stage the protests.

As for the question of effectiveness, the answer is that the protests have undoubtedly been successful. The naked violence that Israel is forced to unleash against the protesters, and the subsequent raids to arrest the protest organizers, indicate just how much of a concern they are to Israel. In the case of Bilin and elsewhere the protests have successfully led to a change in the route of the wall that has restored to the villages some of their desperately needed farm land. The protests are also an important way for ordinary Palestinians to feel they have some agency in the conflict, both against Israel and in forcing a different agenda on to their corrupt national leadership. In the tearing down of the wall between Gaza and Egypt, for example, ordinary Palestinians showed what a much more concerted campaign of civil disobedience could achieve. If Israel deepens its apartheid rule in the West Bank, such campaigns of civil resistance are almost certainly the face of the future.

JG: How important do you think the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement is at this stage in the conflict?

JC: It is a hugely important development in the struggle for Palestinian self-determination. Certainly I think its moment has arrived.

This is a Palestinian grassroots initiative that cannot be bought off by Israel in the way the Fatah leadership was bought off by Oslo. It empowers Palestinians by allowing them to set the scope and agenda of their struggle, such as by demanding that artists respect their call not to perform in Israel. It offers a practical way for people outside the region to show solidarity with the Palestinian struggle by heeding that call and thinking creatively about how to implement BDS in their own countries. In the controversy and debate it generates it offers a chance to engage and educate those who are at the moment only vaguely aware that there might be problem here. And if BDS gains more momentum, it could really harm the Israeli economy. In fact, in my view there is no way to end the occupation unless Israelis are made to see that they will pay a heavy price for its continuance. The US could do that overnight by withdrawing its huge subsidies to Israel. I'm not holding my breath. Instead BDS gives all of us the power to show Israel that the occupation does not pay.

As for the issue of wider Palestinian support, it is still early days for BDS. In my experience, many ordinary Palestinians in the occupied territories and inside Israel are not yet sufficiently aware of the campaign or its potential importance. Some may also take some persuading that the outside world, which has aided and abetted their persecutors for so long, is capable of providing a solution. But my impression is that interest in and support for BDS among Palestinians is growing all the time.

JG: Since you live in Nazareth, you're in a rather unique position as a journalist sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinians. Considering that the Israeli government is not reluctant to arrest, censor, or deny entry to those fundamentally opposed to its policies, how have you survived professionally in Israel for so long?

JC: There are two reasons. First, I really am no threat to Israel, so why would it risk drawing attention to my work by making an example of me? Like other journalists whose reporting challenges the official consensus on Israel, I am excluded from the mainstream media. I write either on the Internet for Western readers who already know things are bad here (hopefully I can fill in some of the details they don't fully grasp) or for the Arab media, which most Westerners regard as unreliable. Early on it looked briefly as if I might break out of this ghetto. I started writing commentaries for The International Herald Tribune, a sort of globally syndicated version of The New York Times. Israel's lobby groups in the US moved into action very quickly, getting their foot soldiers to write complaints to the newspaper on a scale the paper had apparently never seen before (nor probably since). I was soon dropped. Israel really doesn't need to exert that kind of pressure itself: there are lots of organizations doing this stuff very successfully on its behalf.

The second reason is that I am married to an Israeli citizen, even if one from the Palestinian minority, and I therefore have Israeli residency. If Israel tried to bar me from the country, I would have a right of appeal to the courts. The law would almost certainly be on my side, mainly because I am a Westerner (it would be different were I a Palestinian or Arab) and because it would be difficult to show I posed any sort of security threat.

JG: Given that you've been covering this issue for nearly a decade and have written three books regarding Israel's policies, what advice can you give to freelance journalists interested in writing about this area of the world?

JC: Well, first of all you have to make a choice: are you going to report according to a ready-made script for the mainstream, or are you going to write it as you see it but struggle to get noticed or earn a living wage? Neither option is easy.

For those choosing the first path, the problem is that this is possibly the most reported conflict in the world. There are lots of journalists out here and most are very experienced, at least at writing the same safe reports designed not to offend either Israel or their news desks back home. Just getting your foot in the door is hard.

Anyone wishing to follow the second path better be resigned to staying on the margins of the media. There is rarely money in reporting critically about Israel. At least I was lucky that I could draw on savings I had accumulated while working at the Guardian. That's a luxury most aspiring young journalists don't have.

The third way is to abandon this traditional model of journalism and blog. There are still possibilities, though rapidly diminishing ones, to locate oneself in a West Bank community (though not in Gaza, because Israel controls all access) and send back eyewitness reports. You're not going to become Seymour Hersh or Robert Fisk, but you can still make a difference as a rare witness to what is going on.

Jeff Gore is a freelance journalist based in Athens, GA. He is a frequent contributor to the Athens weekly Flagpole Magazine and has also written articles for Dissident Voice and The Comment Factory. His journal of his summer spent in Palestine can be read at