Saturday, 5 May 2012

France Holds Breath ahead of Tight Vote

Local Editor

Sarkozy, HollandeFrance held its breath Saturday on the eve of a presidential election that Socialist Francois Hollande was predicted to win despite incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy closing the gap after wooing the far-right.

Political speeches and new opinion polls have been banned since a particularly ferocious campaign ended on Friday night, but the last poll published ahead of the deadline forecast a 52-48 percent win for Hollande.

The Ifop-Fiducial poll said Sarkozy has clawed back six percentage points of voter intentions since the end of last week as he went all-out to enchant those who voted for far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in the first round.

With the Socialist's lead the narrowest since campaigning began, Sarkozy has vowed a surprise, while Hollande has stressed that nothing can be assumed about a first Socialist presidential victory in over a quarter century.

"Everything is possible on Sunday," admitted the left-leaning Liberation's headline, while the pro-Sarkozy Le Figaro's front page stressed that French citizens had a "historic choice".

"Electing a president is not a beauty contest," warned a Le Figaro editorial, apparently targeting Hollande's image as a soft and convivial consensus builder without ministerial experience.

Liberation skewered Sarkozy for dragging his UMP party ever further to the right as he courted National Front voters, vowing to defend French values, limit immigration and strengthen France's borders.

"Whatever the outcome, the political landscape will remain profoundly, durably and dangerously transformed," it said.

French overseas territories were voting on Saturday, before the mass of some 46 million voters goes to the polls on Sunday.

Hollande won the April 22 first round with 28.63 percent of the votes to Sarkozy's 27.18 percent, and both candidates have been fighting for the votes of those whose candidates failed to make the run-off.

Le Pen, who won almost 18 percent in the first round, has said she will cast a blank ballot, and observers expect many of her supporters to do the same.

France presidential candidates, 2012Ifop has forecast however that 55 percent of her voters would back Sarkozy and 19 percent Hollande.

Meanwhile, 84 percent of those who voted for the Communist-backed Left Front candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon in the first round -- 11 percent of votes -- said they would vote for Hollande.

Sarkozy insisted in his final election rally on Friday that the race was too close to call.

"I want to convince you of one thing: every vote will count," Sarkozy told supporters. "You cannot imagine at what point things will play on a razor's edge on Sunday."

For his part, Hollande urged voters to hand him a clear win so he would have a strong mandate to implement his left-wing program and fight EU-driven austerity.

"I want an ample victory," Hollande told RTL radio. "If the French people must make a choice, they should do so clearly, overwhelmingly, so the winner has the capacity and means to act."

However, many voters also disapprove of Sarkozy's flashy style during his five-year term, welcoming Hollande's vows to be a "normal president."

Source: AFP
05-05-2012 - 14:37 Last updated 05-05-2012 - 14:37

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Media Fabrications: Vandalism Turns to Peaceful Protests

Ali Abdallah

Lie... Lie, People will believe you.

Based on the this Arabic proverb, the media fabrications against Syria reached unprecedented levels.

The incidents that Aleppo University witnessed in the last two days turned to a rich material to be exploited tendentious media that spread no effort to amplify and dramatize what had happened.

According to "al-Arabia" and "al-Jazeera" news channels, Syrian security forces broke into the University after the students launched a "peaceful" demonstration demanding freedom and victory for the destroyed cities.

"The security forces have arrested and shot hundreds of students during the incident," the two channels claimed.

A follower of the Syrian crisis is fully aware that it is not the first time that the two channels focus on Aleppo University that comprises students from neighboring provinces as Idleb, Hama and Homs.
This leads us to wonder about the reason for this focus on this university campus and to dramatize what is happening there.

In this context, the failure of attempts to drag the economic capital of Syria, Aleppo, provoked these channels to try to sneak to Aleppo through the university campus.

However, the channels' bad luck failed their plans.

What the campus witnessed is unfortunate and can't be denied especially after the University announced the suspension of classes in all its faculties in light of the current conditions.

In a statement posted on its website, the university stated that: "the Faculties of Arts and Letters will suspend their classes until the dates of exams while those of Sciences will suspend their classes until 13-5-2012."

A student was martyred in Aleppo's campus. The number contradicts with the claims of biased media outlets reporting that "dozens of students were killed in the peaceful demonstrations launched in the universities."

Another thing to remark. The peaceful demonstrations turned to be vandalistic.

The protesters burned and broke down the public utilities of the city. At this point, the security forces intervened to put an end to the riots and to restore security.

The clashes led to the martyrdom of a student and the injury of more than 15 security men.
This is what really happened in Aleppo's university.

Source:al-Intiqad, Translated and Edited by 
Blitzkrieg, Death Squads and Media Lies the deadly desperation of western Fascism in Libya

On Nakba Remembrance: “Israel” Hiding its Dirty Washing in the Closet

Soumaya Saleh

Once again, "Israel" has not failed in screening the double standards of its mere existence. While celebrations were being held and planned across the occupied Palestinian land in commemoration of the illusory "Independence day", or more legitimately "Nakba", activists were being locked up away from the public.

The occupying police forces prohibited members of the left-wing Non-Government Organization "Zochrot" from leaving a building in Tel Aviv on the night before the celebration of the Palestinian displacement.

The activists were meant to be distributing pamphlets to inform the public of the truth behind the façade of their "Independence". The leaflets were printed in Arabic, Hebrew, and English conveying the story of Nakba Day 64 years ago on a land that cries for freedom.

The group's offices were subjugated by occupying police forces, which barred the doors, leaving the activists under this seizure for hours during a celebration in Tel Aviv's Rabin square, where they were initially meant to distribute the flyers, in protest of the celebration.

"As we were about to step out of the offices, at around 10:30 P.M., we discovered, to our dismay, that the police were already surrounding the building and had closed all the exits." Explained the NGO's director general Liat Rosenberg.

He further added "The senior police staff at the scene made it clear that they were determined not to allow us to 'disrupt public order,' and so did not permit us to leave the premises".

The activists would apparently be allowed to leave the building, provided that they surrender the material, display their identification, and agree to be searched and questioned.

According to "Israeli" news site "Haaretz", three NGO members were arrested, including Yuval Halprin, who wasn't inside the building, but who chose to read out the names of Palestinian villages in central "Israel" from outside the offices.

In the views of the "Association for Civil Rights in Israel", the police actions had "no legal grounds". Typically, considering the entire Zionist entity has no legal grounds!

The police issued a statement claiming that "The police did not allow the protesters to reach the central event, display signs and create provocation, but did allow them to protest in an area far away from the central Independence Day event. Three protesters that caused a disturbance were arrested on suspicion for disrupting the peace."

Palestine before 1948
One wonders what a mother tells her child about the meaning of this celebration when asked, as children do naturally. Does she explain the dispossession of Palestinian homes and lands? Does she tell of a history prior to 1948? Does she tell him that the place which he calls home was stolen from a child like himself, who also calls it home, but has been left with no home, and no right to a home?!
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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Israel Military Censor hits the USA

by Roy Tov
Friday, May 4th, 2012

 a multi-headed hydra reaches America’s East coast

Unless one is standing in front of an attacking army, one has little chance of being hit by the military. Simply, in most situations military units have no jurisdiction over civilians. Military police can easily be spotted on Tel Aviv streets; yet they can’t speak to a civilian, even if he belongs to the reserve army. The maximum they are allowed to do is to call the police and denounce the civilian. Sadly, this rule of thumb has a few exceptions that are related mainly to the work of the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate, AMAN is its hebrew acronym. Due to its secretive nature, the details of its activities (and violations of human rights) are difficult to elucidate, though many details are partially accessible over the media. Today, May 2, 2012, an important hint was published in the Hebrew media, when Brigadier General (still colonel in the picture) Sima Vaknin-Gil—Israel Military Censor—announced that the IDF has launched a new system to monitor information on social media—mainly Facebook and Twitter—as well as blogs and news sites. This adds to recent bits of information to form a chilling picture.

Sima Vaknin Gil Israel Military Censor
Sima Vaknin Gil
Israel Military Censor
Her announcement showed—for the first time publicly—that Israel is related to CAZAB (see MI5, CAZAB and Israel). Ms. Vaknin-Gil claimed that “the new system will examine information using keywords labeled in advance.” This is exactly the way ECHELON—the worldwide listening system operated by the CAZAB network—operates. As claimed in the past here, Israel is an unofficial member of CAZAB with a listening station placed not far from Gaza, in Tze’elim. What Ms. Vaknin-Gil forgot to tell us, is how the system treats information published and stored beyond Israel’s still-undefined borders, and by non-Israeli citizens; a good example of this is the recentpublication of Israeli-censored information by Jewish-American blogger Richard Silverstein. Will AMAN attempt to censor this in the future? Ms. Vaknin-Gil didn’t commit an unintentional omission; simply, AMAN doesn’t want us to know the details of its web-operations in order to instill in us an Orwellian 1984-style state of fear. Oddly enough, the answer to this came from another recent incident.

Multi-Headed Hydra

AMAN—and its relatives, the Shin Beth and Mossad—work as a multi-headed hydra; one of the main hints that an event is related to one of these terror organizations is the redundancy in the details. Civilian operations can seldom afford the unlimited budget offered to the intelligence services by the unsuspecting taxpayers. Israel’s Military Censor is technically part of AMAN, but it works as an independent unit. Its head is appointed directly by the Defense Minister—a highly unusual step—and is only subject to parliamentary and judicial oversight. Not even the Minister of Defense can give orders to it. The Military Censor has authority to suppress information it deems compromising from being made public in the media. Probably the most famous event ever censored was the Kav 300 picture (see Kav 300 Forever, picture is reproduced below); the picture was exposed to the Israeli public only after the New York Times published it. This is typical; Israeli news outlets often circumvent the censor by reporting stories “as quoted from foreign news sources,” which are not subject to the restrictions of the Israeli military censor. The trial of Mordechai Vanunu, the assassination attempt on Khaled Mashal (see Mossad, Sonic Weapons & Haled Mashal) and events related to Operation Defensive Shield and Operation Cast Lead were also famously censored.

Shin Beth
Shin Beth Assassins Seconds Before Action | Kav 300 Affair

A clear sign of the Military Censor power is the length of his service. A regular post of an IDF officer lasts two years. Yet, Avner Bar-On served as Military Censor in 1951-1953 and 1955-1977. Ytzhak Shani served between 1977 and 2000. The current censor has been in office since 2005. This is highly irregular and allows them to accumulate immense power. Despite what the law says, this power is not limited to Israel. If they want to target foreign media, they can use other units of Israel’s extensive intelligence corps. One of them is the diplomatic corps; diplomats all over the world are nothing but an arm of their country’s intelligence services. In the last week of April, Israel attempted to censor not an unknown American blogger, but a well known CBS program named 60 Minutes.

Michael Oren
Michael Oren
Israel Ambassador in the USA
On April 24, 60 Minutes aired a segment entitled “Christians of the Holy Land” that offered an unprecedented look into the Christian reality in Holy Land, under Israel’s occupation. Acting as Israel Military Censor in the USA, Israel Ambassador in the USA—Michael Oren—called the Chairman of CBS News and the Executive Producer of 60 Minutes and protested the report before it was aired. 60 Minutes reporter, Bob Simon, said that he had never received such a call in his many years as a journalist. The red-faced Israeli ambassador shamelessly accused Christians for being anti-Semites.

The American viewers could witness first hand an extraordinary example of censorship and blatant lies by those who claim to be the “only democracy in the Middle East.” The astonishing video is attached below, courtesy of CBS:

The world has clearly seen an attempt by Israel to censor American media, because it published a piece which was not to the liking of the Zionist state. The Israel Military Censor is trying to influence a foreign country, and the authorities of that country have not reacted at all. A long time ago, I published an Open Letter to the ADL. Let me cite a short sentence from it: ‘…after all you claim to “fight anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defend democratic ideals and protect civil rights for all” and “defend the security of Israel and Jews worldwide.” Your motto is: “To stop the defamation of the Jewish people…to secure justice and fair treatment for all.” You are doing that continuously since 1913; almost a century of undisputed, undiscriminating professionalism.’ Dear leaders of the Anti-Defamation League and their parent organization, the Independent Order of B’nai B’rith, I want to file a new complaint at your office, this time for violation of democratic ideals and civil rights by the State of Israel in the USA; I do that despite your not having answered my first complaint. Will you be faithful to your honorable principles and take action against the State of Israel? Or will you show—again—that you are nothing but an unofficial American arm of Israeli bigotry?
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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Targeting Murdoch

by Stephen Lendman

My PhotoQuelle surprise! Britain’s parliament discovered what media critics and people wanting real news and information knew decades ago.

Murdoch’s world features demagoguery, managed news, scandal, sleaze, and warmongering. He’s the prototypical presstitute famed journalist George Seldes (1890 – 1995) denounced in books like “Lords of the Press.”

He called them “the most powerful force against the general welfare of the majority of the people.” He exposed their tactics long before Project Censored.

Major media scoundrels are villainous global pirates. Murdoch’s the worst of the bunch. Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) once called Fox News “the most biased name in news….with its extraordinary right-wing tilt.”

Viewing, it added, is like watching “a Harlem Globetrotters game (knowing) which side is supposed to win.” It’s hard-right, pro-business, pro-war, pro-occupation, anti-populist, sleazy and biased, combined with juiced-up infotainment and junk food news.

It’s a virtual mouthpiece piece for extremist Republicans. It long ago stopped pretending it’s legitimate. It mocks real journalism. It’s not tolerated on air.

Famed Chicago columnist Mike Royko (1932- 1997) once said “no self-respecting fish would (want to) be wrapped in a Murdoch paper….”

Former Fox employees complain about management cooking the facts to make stories acceptable to right-wing audiences. Those unwilling to go along are fired. Former Bush aid Lee Atwater once said Fox boss Roger Ailes operates on “two speeds – attack and destroy.” He also demands programming conform to his views.

Murdoch’s a force for evil, not good. Heir apparent son James was groomed to succeed him. He currently serves as News Corp. chairman and CEO. He’s part of its scandalous operations like his father.

At age 82, Rupert nears retirement. It may come sooner than he wishes. James turns 40 in December. Whether he’ll ride out the storm remains to be seen. If he wasn’t Murdoch’s son he’d have been gone long ago.

On May 1, the London Guardian headlined “Rupert Murdoch ‘not fit’ to lead major international company, MPs conclude,” saying:

A parliamentary committee declared him “not a fit person” to run a major company. Its report also targeted James. At issue was last year’s News of the World phone-hacking affair.

Last July, London Guardian writers Nick Davies and Amelia Hill broke the story. Milly Dowler and her family were victimized. Their voicemails were hacked.

Related police corruption came out. So did information about Murdoch, James, as well as other executives and editors having private meetings with Prime Minister David Cameron never disclosed.
Observers wondered if father and son would weather the storm. They’re still wondering. Tarnished and exposed, News Corp. retains clout. Readers, viewers, and shareholders will likely decide its future.
Tuning it out makes it bleak. What UK, US, and other lawmakers decide remains unknown. More on that below.

Guardian writers said “Labour MPs and the sole Liberal Democrat on the committee, Adrian Sanders, voted together in a bloc of six against the five Conservatives to insert (specific) criticisms of Rupert….and toughen up the remarks about his son James.”

Other News International (NI) employees got harsher treatment. Language like “complicit” in a cover-up, deliberately withholding vital information, and falsely answering questions was used.

For his part, Rupert didn’t “take steps to become fully informed about phone hacking.” He “turned a blind eye and exhibited willful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publication.”
For decades, he’s been known as a hands-on boss. As a result, these accusations bite. The committee concluded that NI’s culture “permeated from the top.” It “speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International.”

“We conclude, therefore, that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.”

James was described as exhibiting a “lack of curiosity (and) willful ignorance even” when phone-hacking 2009 and 2010 settlement negotiations were ongoing.

The committee added:

“We would add to these admissions that as the head of a journalistic enterprise, we are astonished that James Murdoch did not seek more information or ask to see the evidence and counsel’s opinion when he was briefed by Tom Crone and Colin Myler on the Gordon Taylor case.”

It steered clear of drawing conclusions on evidence about Milly Dowler because of an ongoing police phone hacking investigation. In March 2002, she was abducted and murdered.

MPs said company executives showed contempt for parliament “in the most blatant fashion.” They willfully tried to obstruct and mislead.

NI executive chairman Les Hinton was accused of “inexcusably” misleading MPs on his role in authorizing a 243,000 pound Clive Goodman payoff. Convicted of phone hacking, he formerly served as NI’s royal editor.

“We consider, therefore, that (Hinton) was complicit in the cover-up at (NI), which included making misleading statements and giving a misleading picture to the committee,” MPs said.

NI’s legal affairs manager Tom Crone and journalist/editor Colin Myler were also accused of deliberately concealing vital information from the committee. In addition, they lied when asked questions.

Besides unresolved internal NI issues and legal ones, accused executives may be called before parliament to apologize. If so, they’ll be the first ones forced to in half a century.

In response, they deny all accusations. A News Corp. statement said:

“News Corporation is carefully reviewing the select committee’s report and will respond shortly. The company fully acknowledges significant wrongdoing at News of the World and apologises to everyone whose privacy was invaded.”

A more detailed press release added:

“Hard truths have emerged from the Select Committee Report: that there was serious wrongdoing at the News of the World; that our response to the wrongdoing was too slow and too defensive; and that some of our employees misled the Select Committee in 2009.”

“News Corporation regrets, however, that the Select Committee’s analysis of the factual record was followed by some commentary that we, and indeed several members of the committee, consider unjustified and highly partisan. These remarks divided the members along party lines.”

“We have already confronted and have acted on the failings documented in the Report: we have conducted internal reviews of operations at newspapers in the United Kingdom and indeed around the world, far beyond anything asked of us by the Metropolitan Police; we have volunteered any evidence of apparent wrongdoing to the authorities; and, we have instituted sweeping changes in our internal controls and our compliance programs on a world-wide basis, to help ensure that nothing like this ever happens again anywhere at News Corporation.”

“As we move forward, our goal is to make certain that in every corner of the globe, our company acts in a manner of which our 50,000 employees and hundreds of thousands of shareholders can be justly proud.”

UK media regulator Ofcom said:

“We note the publication of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee report. Ofcom has a duty under the Broadcasting Acts 1990 and 1996 to be satisfied that any person holding a broadcasting licence is, and remains, fit and proper to do so.”

“Ofcom is continuing to assess the evidence – including the new and emerging evidence – that may assist it in discharging these duties.”

On May 1, the Guardian headlined, “Rupert Murdoch’s Fox broadcast licenses targeted by US ethics group,” saying:

Citizens for Responsibility in Washington (CREW) wrote FCC chairman Julius Genachowski. It want Murdoch’s television licenses revoked on grounds of character. It cited UK parliament’s committee calling him “not a fit person” to run a major international company.

CREW director Melanie Sloan said father and son failed the test US media law requires. “If they are not passing the character standard under British law, it seems to me that they are not going to meet (it) in America.”

FCC regulations require broadcast licenses only given to people of good character who serve the “public interest” and speak with “candor.”

By that standard, all US, UK, and most other Western media fail the test. FCC officials won’t likely act. US regulatory agencies don’t regulate corporate America. They serve it. Genachowski already suggested he won’t touch this.

CREW hopes new information will force his hand. It also wants Congress to act. Bipartisan complicity will also steer clear. Murdoch’s safe in America. Britain’s another matter.

New Corp. owns 39.1% of pay TV giant BSkyB. If Ofcom judges NI “not a fit and proper” owner, it may order Murdoch to sell part or all of his lucrative holding. Shuffling key management and editorial positions may minimize the damage. The rot starts at the top and filters down.

Policy analyst Michael Pryce-Jones calls the “company in crisis.” It needs to shake things up quickly. Its board should act on a succession plan. Rupert “cannot stay on as CEO and chairman of this company.”
If James wasn’t his son, he’d have been sacked months ago. Shareholders may have the last word. Readers and viewers can hold them accountable by tuning them out and walking away.

Imagine the joy of a Murdoch free world. Imagine a better one freed from all scoundrel media. Imagine credible choices replacing them. It’s an idea whose time has come.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Thousands demand Egyptian generals stand aside

People attend Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo on 4 May 2012. (Photo: Reuters – Mohamed Abd El Ghany)
Protests turned violent in Cairo on Friday as the army moved to disperse protesters near the Ministry of Defense building in the Abbasiya district.

Troops pressed forward when protesters began cutting through barbed wire used to seal off the ministry building in Cairo's central Abbasiya district.

Soldiers fired water cannons and tear gas as protesters threw rocks. The Health Ministry said eight people were taken to hospital and Reuters reporters saw scores of injured protesters carried away on motorcycles.

Other protesters ripped down a metal fence at an underground railway construction site to build a barricade. Some cried "God is Greatest" as army helicopters swooped overhead.
Later the army fired teargas at the protesters, who retreated hundreds of meters from the ministry to a square, where they regrouped.

Thousands of protesters are calling for the end of military rule, days after bloody clashes near the defense ministry raised tensions ahead of landmark presidential elections.

"O Tantawi, good morning, this is your last day," shouted the crowd, and "Field Marshal leave, the people are dangerous".

Several thousand gathered in Tahrir Square and hundreds more were in the Abassiya neighborhood near the defense ministry, despite threats from the army that protests would be violently suppressed.
Others carrying posters of demonstrators who died during last year's uprising against dictator Hosni Mubarak made their way to Abbassiya, where army troops were stationed along barbed wire fences.
Friday's protest comes just three weeks before the country's first post-revolt presidential election, after which the ruling military is to hand power to civilian rule.

But protesters say they fear the elections will be rigged in favor of a pro-military candidate. Others say they do not trust the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to fully hand power to civilian rule.

"We are here to end SCAF rule. We don't trust them. SCAF is following Mubarak's example, and we want to protect the revolution," said Mohammed Badawi, a member of the Coalition of Revolution Youth, who came from the canal city of Ismailiya.

Another protester from the Nile Delta city of Mansura, Ahmed Gamal, said he feared the upcoming elections will be "forged."

"After the revolution, there should be an election committee with integrity. Instead they brought a corrupt one," the 22-year-old told AFP.

On Wednesday at least 11 people were killed in clashes that broke out when apparent supporters of the military rulers attacked a mostly Salafi crowd staging a sit-in outside the Ministry of Defense in Cairo, with activists accusing army troops of not intervening until after the deaths.

Earlier on Friday SCAF generals defended their record in power and repeated their pledge to transfer power to a civilian government within two months, with a senior figure saying "our hands are clean of Egyptian blood."

"We say it frankly and clearly. The armed forces and their supreme council are committed to the handover of power on June 30," Major General Mohammed al-Assar told a news conference. "We don't desire power. The Supreme Council (of the Armed Forces) is not a substitute for legitimacy in Egypt."
"Have mercy on the Supreme Council," he pleaded. "Our hands are clean of Egyptian blood."

Major General Mukhtar al-Mullah sternly warned protesters that if they try to approach the Defense Ministry, force might be used against them.

Political and pro-democracy groups are organizing a mass protest Friday near the Defense Ministry to demand that the military respect the July 1 deadline for stepping down.
"Self-defense is applicable against anyone who approaches a military facility. Whoever does that must endure the consequences," he warned.

"The Defense Ministry, all military units and facilities are symbols of military honor and the dignity of the state, those who approach them will have themselves to blame."

He met with Egypt's military ruler, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi and said he "was crystal clear with me. He is very determined and very adamant that he and SCAF in full intend to turn over power. In fact, I think they can't wait. I think they are anxious...They want to see this election happen."

He added that they are even ready to hand off power before June, if a candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote during the first round of elections.

"I believe SCAF wants to go back to barracks and hand power to politicians," he said.
The military has promised before to hand over power by the end of June, a crucial step in a tumultuous transition to democracy after the ouster of dictator Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising 14 months ago.
The election is expected to be followed by a runoff between the top two on June 16-17 with the winner announced on June 21.

Al-Assar also said that it was "dangerous" for the protesters to stage their sit-in near the Defense Ministry and denied charges that the military was behind Wednesday's attack on the protesters.
He told reporters that the military, which took power after Mubarak's ouster, will ensure the integrity and fairness of the presidential election.

(AP, Al-Akhbar, Reuters)

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Helen Thomas missed Obama’s political jokes

The Zionist-occupied White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) did not let its past president Helen Thomas (1975-76) purchase a table, at its 2012 gala dinner on April 28, 2012. The keyspeaker at the dinner was Barack Obama (watch two videos below) and was attended by over 2,000 pro-Israel politicians, correspondents and Hollywood celebrities such as Jewish lobby’s anti-Sudan propagandist George Clooney and Holocaust propagandist Steven Spielberg .
Helen Thomas wanted to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her being the first female reporter at the White House with her family members. Helen covered ten Presidents in the White House. Soon she got tired of challenging the male journalists at the association’s helm who dismissed or ignored her altogether. Finally, she took the courage and start asking ‘politically incorrect’ questions to several Presidents. She even convinced President John F. Kennedy to boycott the WHCA annual dinner if no woman journalist was invited.

Helen Thomas never shied away from asking questions which no other correspondents would dare to ask due to fear of pro-Israel Jewish lobby groups. The AIPAC, ADL and AJC never liked her views on Israel. She was against Iraq and Afghanistan wars. She slammed Israel for attacking Lebanon in Summer 2006. Finally, Zionist Rabbi David Nesenoff, who was at the White House for a Jewish heritage celebration on May 28, 2010 – got the ‘smoking gun‘ Israel Lobby had been looking for decades to shut-down Helen’s right to freedom of speech.

In response to the cunning Rabbi David Nesenoff seeking her advice for the Israelis, Helen Thomas replied: “Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine. Remember these people are occupied and it’s their land”. She was then asked where the Israelis go, to which she replied: “They should go home to Poland, Germany… America and everywhere else

You cannot say anything about Israel in this country (the US). But I’ve lived with this cause for many years. Everybody knows my feelings that the Palestinians have been shortchanged in every way. Sure, the Israelis have a right to exist – but where they were born, not to come and take someone else’s home. I’ve had it up to here with the violations against the Palestinians. Why shouldn’t I say it?”, Helen told David Hochman who interviewed for the Playboy.

Christine Tatum, former national President of the Society of Professional Journalist, slammed the WHCA for refusing Helen to celebrate her career’s Golden Jubilee at the White House. Her article published in the Arab American News, can be read

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Hamas warns Israel: expect the worst if hunger strikers die

Published Friday, May 4, 2012

A leader of Hamas on Friday warned Israel there would be consequences if any of the Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike dies in jail.

"You must realize that the hunger strike isn't a party, and we could be surprised by the death of some of them," Khalil al-Haya said at a solidarity tent for the strikers in the center of Gaza City.

"If that happens, you can expect both the expected and the unexpected from us," he said.
Palestinians take part in a rally in support of Palestinian prisoner Bilal Diab, who is on his 67th day of a hunger strike, near the West Bank town of Jenin. (Reuters)
Two Palestinians, Bilal Diab, 34, and 27-year-old Thaer Halahla, have been on hunger strike for 66 days.

The two have been joined on hunger strike by at least 1,550 Palestinian prisoners, the bulk of whom began refusing food on April 17.

"We are [prepared] to ready armies to free our prisoners...We have the means to mobilize and for combat," Haya said.

The two men are protesting against their continued detention without trial, under a system known as administrative detention that allows Israel to detain people without trial indefinitely.

Earlier this year the hunger strikes of Khader Adnan and Hana Shalabi led to increased international criticism of the system, but since then there has been little indication Israel was considering abandoning detention without trial.

On Wednesday Sahar Francis, head of the Palestinian prisoners' rights charity Addameer, said it was unlikely Israel would strike a deal, as they had done with Khader Adnan.

Asked if she thought Thiab and Halahleh could die in the coming days, she said, “Unfortunately if Israel is insisting on their position that these people remain in administrative detention, then the detainees will continue in their hunger strike and we will be in a situation where I am afraid that is what will happen.”
“We could lose these two detainees or others of course, because even being 50 days in hunger strike it doesn't mean you are still in good condition, you never know when the body could collapse,” she told Al-Akhbar.

The Islamic Jihad movement has threatened to no longer observe a truce with Israel if one of the hunger-strikers were to die.

Rallies in solidarity with the prisoners were staged on Friday across the Palestinian territories, with about 2,000 gathering in Ramallah in the West Bank.

The hunger strikers are calling for improved prison conditions, including increased access to lawyers and family visits, an end to solitary confinement, and an end to administrative detention.

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'Correspondence from OBL in Pakistan contradicts US assertions that al-Qaeda has a close relationship with Iran'


"... after the (9-11) attacks, Iran turned against al-Qaeda and detained hundreds of Arab fighters fleeing the U.S. war in Afghanistan. According to research I did for my book, Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies, Iran extradited a number of these detainees to their home countries.But Iran held on to high-profile detainees including several children of bin Laden and Saif al-Adel, then al-Qaeda’s number three, for insurance against al-Qaeda and as potential bargaining chips.
In 2003, after the U.S. invaded and occupied Iraq, Iran offered to trade these detainees to the United States for senior figures of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), an Iranian opposition group that at the time had more than 3,000 members at a base in Iraq called Camp Ashraf.
The Bush administration refused and then Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told me that then Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and his aide Douglas Feith wanted to hold onto MEK members as possible agents against Iran. (According toSeymour Hersh, some MEK members were later taken to the U.S. for training. Israel may have used MEK operatives to assassinate Iranian scientists.)
According to the CTC report, al Qaeda kept trying to get Iran to free the detainees who included a bin Laden son, Khalid, who was killed with him a year ago, and another son, Sa’ad, who died in 2009. A June 2009 letter addressed to “our venerable shaykh,” written by an al Qaeda official called “Atiyya,” says that the Iranians have released “a group of brothers” and that they are expected to free women and children related to bin Laden “perhaps within a week.”
Instead, Iran held onto the relatives. In March 2010, a teenage daughter of bin Laden, Iman, "escaped" to the Saudi embassy in Tehran and was allowed to return home. In return, Iran obtained the release of an Iranian diplomat kidnapped 15 months earlier in Pakistan by Sunni militants.
According to the CTC report, Atiyya bragged that al Qaeda abducted the Iranian — Heshmatollah Attarzadeh-Niaki, the commercial counselor in the Iranian Consulate in Peshawar — and escalated other threats that “scared them [the Iranians] …based on what they saw [we are capable of], to be among the reasons that led them to expedite [the release of these prisoners].”
Still, Iran held onto other bin Laden relatives, including a daughter, Fatima.
The report says that al Qaeda fugitives fled to Iran after 9-11 because of links with an Afghan militant, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, residing in Iran. Al-Qaeda did not see Iran “from the perspective that ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend,’ but the group might have hoped that ‘the enemy of my [American] enemy would leave me alone.”..."
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Friday, 4 May 2012

Mazin Qumsiyeh on The Wandering Who

Personal note:

Disavow with no mercy? Not in my name!

In the light of last month’s sad declaration by Ali Abunimah & Co., a bunch of Palestinian activists who by now confessed to not reading anything by me, it is very encouraging to read Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh and Professor Norton Mezvinsky’s scholarly review of my latest book The Wandering Who?

(I guess that this is what we call a boomerang…) - Gilad

The Wandering Who, reiewed by Mazin Qumsiyeh.

About nine years ago, I entertained the notion of writing a book on “group identities” so that I can understand these concepts that cause a lot of the ills of society. Both WWI and WWII emanated from interpretations of nationalism (a group identity) and the conflict in Palestine mostly emanates from another group identity called Zionism. The horrors of the Crusaders came from the group identity of Christendom. There is an issue now with the notions of (Political) “Islamism” ala Osama Bin Laden. I am still exploring and reading on this issue from different authors and thus was intrigued to read the book by Gilad Atzmon that addresses this concept within Jewish communities.

Atzmon concluded from personal experience that he does not like Jewish group identity politics and any other form of what he calls “marginal group identity”. Atzmon starts by explaining his own upbringing as a third generation Israeli whose grandfather was a member of the underground terror organization the Irgun Gang and how via Jazz (and a questioning mind) he “left Chosen-ness behind to become an ordinary human being”.

Gilad Atzmon, The Wandering Who?
A Study of Jewish Identity Politics (Ropley, Hampshire,
UK: Zero Books, 2011). Pp.177. Paperback.
ISBN-13: 9781846948756.
Review by Mazin Qumsiyeh
Copy Right: Holy Land Studies,
May 2012, Vol. 11, No. 1 : pp. 99-101
Atzmon is accused by many of being a “self-hating Jew” and an “anti-Semite”. To the former label he admits but he strongly objects to the second label. His book represents in many ways, a clarification of why he believes what he does. He says (p. 15) that he distinguishes Jews (the people), Judaism (the religion), and Jewish-ness (the ideology). He has no problem with the first two but strongly argues against the third. He uses quotes that show that those who believe in this ideology put Jewish-ness above all other attributes. Thus he understands Chaim Weizmann’s statement that “there are no English, French, German, or American Jews, but only Jews living in England, France, Germany or America.” This third category that Weizmann belongs to even when overlapping with the first or second category tends, according to Atzmon, to overwhelm all other and represent a strong marginal politics.

Using these definitions, Atzmon proceeds to explain how and why this belief (identity politics of Jewish-ness) was critical in the error of going to war on Iraq, in the spying by Jonathan Pollard, in the neoconservative ideologies of Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, and even in economic decisions of Alan Greenspan. He makes clear that he does not see these things as Jewish conspiracies but merely independent actions based on a set of political/ideological discourse (the Jewish identity politics). My thought is that individual readers should not judge this based on hearsay but should do it for themselves by reading the book. If one gets convinced by Atzmon’s analysis, one could get to the radical conclusion that he makes that “one can hardly endorse a universal philosophy while being identified politically as a Jew” (p. 39).
According to Atzmon, the problems with marginal identity politics such as those of “Jewish-ness” and its alter-ego Zionism is that they are defined by negation: “the political Jew is always against something or set apart from something else. This is far from being an ideal recipe for a peaceful, ethical life, driven by reconciliation and harmony.” (p. 48).

But Atzmon goes further and here I believe is where his thesis draws the wrath of some in the establishment and overtly sensitive crowds: Zionism is a “tribal Jewish preservation project” and “within the Zionist framework, the Israelis colonize Palestine and the Jewish Diaspora is there to mobilise lobbies by recruiting International support. The Neocons transform the American army into an Israeli mission force. Anti Zionists of Jewish descent (and this may even include proud self-haters such as myself) are there to portray an image of ideological plurality and ethical concern.”(p. 70). And in the secular Jewish political discourse, there is no need for God, political Jews are taught to value the Jewish collective and inflict damage to others in the name of this collective according to Atzmon.

Many things he says do make sense even if we may quibble with other things. In explaining “pre-traumatic stress syndrome” he explains that any Jews are taught to anticipate negative things and that in this regard those who actually experienced the negative things (e.g. holocaust survivors) seem more rational and far less hateful of the other than the Jews who did not experience those directly. The latter may even invent events to justify the perpetual fear and hatred. I thought of this as I thought of all the Zionists who lied, cheated, pressured, cajoled, threatened us and our friends and employers and contrasted those with fellow human beings who happen to have a Jewish background (including many holocaust survivors) who stood with us in fighting for human rights. He explained to me that in this area his study and personal experience were the most significant of his controversial findings.

Atzmon argues rather convincingly that “it is not the idea of being unethical that torments Israelis and their supporters, but the idea of being ‘caught out’ as such” (p. 84). This phobia according to Atzmon explains the amount of death and destruction that Israel sows in its surroundings in an attempt to resolve or at least distract from this inner conflict between the tribal and the universal. But this only adds to the phobia for to Atzmon ‘the more they insist on loving themselves for who they think they are, the more they loath themselves for what they have become.” (p. 86). He claims that that leaves three escape routes: total segregation, return to orthodoxy (religion), and flight from “Jewish-ness” (an option he had chosen).

I see in Atzmon writings a number of memes that are seeping into common discourse. A meme is a persuasive idea that spreads in a population like a useful gene spreads in a population. Some of those memes include:

-The now well-established fact that Jews are not a racial group but an ideological religious belief that spread many centuries ago among people of diverse background (this meme came from studies of the Khazars and others by authors like Arthur Koestler, Kevin Alan Brooks, Shlomo Sand, and now Atzmon)
-The idea of a conflict between chauvinistic nationalism and universal humanism.
-The weird mix of religious heritage/belief with tribal notions in Jewish political discourse
-The distorted recruitment of archeological and other studies to support the political ideology of a connection between Jews of today and Israelites of the bible
-The recruitment of the ideology of suffering as a quasi-religious belief that is no longer subject to normal historical examinations (and in fact shielded from such historical examination via laws)

In some places, one could argue that Atzmon goes too far in his conclusions or does not delve as deep as possible in the nuances of identity politics. For example, he argues that those who identify themselves as politically Jewish but anti-Zionist serve the same goal as Zionist Jews by keeping the debate “within the family” (p. 102). In another chapter (Chapter 19), Atzmon analyzes the book of Esther and its associated Purim holiday in a political modern context to argue that the lessons drawn from the modern emphasis on the book of Esther (which does not mention God) is the need for Jews to rely on themselves and to get to positions of power in Goyim (gentile) societies to impact their own future. While that interpretation explains the Zionist lobbies in Western countries, some people who are not tribal in their thinking may draw other lessons from the book of Esther or at least downplay it and emphasize other parts of the Torah..

In another instance Atzmon questions the sincerity of a Zionist who was part of the group that collaborated with Hitler and who later reported to Lenni Brenner (a historian of the Nazi-Zionist collaboration) that they were wrong and that he is now an American with American loyalties. Atzmon thinks that this relates to the old edict “of being a Jew at home, and a gentile in the streets” (Moses Mendelssohn’s “Haskala Mantra”).

One could quibble with some of these notions, connections, and conclusions. Atzmon’s opinions are to be respected even if some of them are based on subjective judgments about other individuals’ emotions and motivations. That is because many of his opinions are also shaped by personal experiences. Other parts of the book are intimate and personal and I do not see how Atzmon’s detractors can challenge him on that. For example I fully agree with him that “fighting racism for real primarily entails opposing the racist within” (p. 95). Each of us must fight the demons within before we challenge the demons without. I found these sections of the book which discuss Atzmon’s own reflections on his past and evolution of his thinking to be the most fascinating and informative. 
As for the other (related) themes and notions presented in this fascinating book, I think this is a very important dialogue to have, even if some of us may disagree with some interpretations. The 130 years of Zionist colonization have resulted in the devastation of a native society and culture resulting in 7 million refugees of a total of 11 million (the rest remain in shrinking “people warehouses”). Further, after several wars and countless lives destroyed, it is definitely time to discuss in more detail the motives and the psychology behind Zionism.

The attempt to censor and shut down this debate is backfiring. More and more people are spreading memes that challenge the tribalism that lead to conflicts and war. People can choose to dismiss these things and avoid the dialog or can engage in it. I think it is far more constructive to engage in it than to dismiss it out of hand.

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by the Editor
Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Lebanon: ‘Feltman and Lieberman on Israeli mission’

Today, the radical Zionist Jew Jeffrey Felton, US Assisstant Secretary of State for Near Estern Affairs completes his 3-day visit to Lebanon. As former US ambassador to Lebanon (2004-08), the ‘shill of Israel’, Feltman was able to corrupt many politicians and sectarian groups. His current trip, as usual, was to drum-up anti-Bashar and anti-Hizbullah propganda. He along with his Israel-Firster ambassador Maura Connelly held talks with Lebanese President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Najib Miqati on Thursday.

Feltman during his visit also met leaders of anti-Hizbullah Sa’ad Hariri’s coalition Opposition and former president Amin Gemayel, the leader of pro-Israel Christian Phlange Party.
Feltman assured these leaders that the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will eventually be toppled under foreign (pro-Israel ‘Friends of Syria‘) regimes.

Ambassador Maura Connelly as a State Department staffer worked under Jeffrey Feltman. He once told her: “I have got these SOBs just where we want them Maura! Watch the 1000 slow cuts as we shred Hizbullah – who do they think they’re? And we will do it by using 1757 and this time we are going all the way. I told Israel to stay out of Lebanon because the IDF cannot defeat Hizbullah plus the whole region will burn“.

Last December, President Sleiman refused to meet with Feltman, in a tit-for-tat move after US officials declined to meet with the president when he was in Washington on an unofficial visit in September.
Feltman was not the only Israel-Firster in town. The US-Israel citizen, Orthodox Jewish Senator Joe Lieberman was also in town on a 2-day trip. He urged Lebanese leaders to help the anti-Bashar armed insurgents – trained and financed by the US, French, Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Visits by these two Israeli agents drew fire from Hizbullah and its allies in Najib Miqati’s government. They accused Feltman and Lieberman of seeking to damage Lebanon-Syria brotherly relations and undermine the Resistance against the Zionist entity.

We cannot consider Jeffrey Feltman’s visit to Lebanon as anything other than an attempt to rekindle strife among the Lebanese and undermine the foundations of co-existence by sowing discord among the Lebanese political parties,” said MP Hussein Musawi (Hizbullah). He also blamed Feltman for blackmailing Lebanese government over its close relations with Iran, Syria and Hamas.
MP Qassem Hashem called Feltman’s visit a “bad omen”. He also slammed Lieberman’s visit to Lebanon-Syria border, describing it a “flagrant interference in country’s internal affairs”.

MP Lt.Gen. Michel Aoun (a Maronite Catholic), also slammed Feltman’s visit. Anoun, a radical anti-Sunni Christian – is leader of Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) which has 27 MPs, making it the second biggest block in the Parliament.

Though, Christians make only 40% of country’s total population of 4.1 million – 50% of 128-member Parliamentarian seats are reserved for them under the Taif Agreement (1989) brokered by the Crypto-Jewish Saudi ‘royals’.
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Welcome Bwana ... Please civilize us!

I wonder whether Butrus wants to kiss Feltman's hand or something else?


In 2005 Boutros Harb joined the massive protests and demonstrations against the Syrian occupation of Lebanon and demanded that Syrian troops withdraw immediately. As a member of the 14 March Alliance, he was one of the several candidates to run for the Lebanese Presidency in 2008 ... Harb is said to be 'all about Lebanese dignity!'
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!