Saturday 2 October 2010

‘Lebanese Crisis Complicated but Opportunity for Solution Available’


According to one of the top politicians in the country, the head of the Democratic Gathering MP Walid Jumblatt, the crisis is not only complicated but also sensitive. Even more, it requires an “honest will to end it.”

Yet, opportunities to reach a solution to the crisis are still available and it would be wrong to say that matters have reached a dead end, the Progressive Socialist Party leader said in comments published by Lebanese daily As-Safir.

Jumblatt, who believes that a meeting between Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah and Prime Minister Saad Hariri may end all disputes and that Saudi-Syrian efforts also play a major role in ending the current crisis, perceives that the crisis is greater than a meeting here or an effort there.

Indeed, the crisis, caused by the so-called Special Tribunal for Lebanon created to find out the “truth” in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, is threatening the whole country.

The “politicized” tribunal is actually nothing but a “tool” in the American-Israeli scheme in the region aimed at “targeting” the Resistance and achieved the non-achieved goals of the July 2006 war against Lebanon and Hezbollah.

Despite everything, and despite the fact that the international community is clearly waiting the “proper time” to issue an “anti-Hezbollah” unfair verdict, the “politicized” tribunal is still dividing the Lebanese into two separate camps: the first believes the tribunal is politicized and aimed at targeting the Resistance while the second is committed to the so-called “international justice” and rejects any “compromise”.


Meanwhile, Hezbollah has taken the decision to confront the tribunal through all possible means, giving however a “chance” for Saudi-Syrian efforts to resolve the crisis. In the meantime, the Resistance party hasn’t taken a final decision on how to deal with the STL.

“Hezbollah will determine its position in the coming weeks based on various developments,” Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem said in an interview with Syrian non-governmental television Ad-Dounia. “We will give the chance for contacts before we make our final say on the matter,” his eminence added.

Sheikh Qassem, who reiterated that Prime Minister Saad Hariri can do a lot in avoiding impending dangers facing Lebanon, earlier said that the final position would be announced by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah in a speech to be made within days or weeks.


In a related development, Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awwad Asiri stressed that "it is out of the question" for the Kingdom to interfere in the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, saying that only the UN Security Council can control the matter.

He told pan-Arab daily As-Sharq al-Awssat that he had proposed to Hezbollah the need to form a Lebanese committee of opposition and majority forces aimed at studying the possible negative or positive outcomes of the STL and placing the necessary precautionary measures to contain the situation.

The ambassador noted however that the Lebanese parties are responsible enough not to allow the situation in the country to deteriorate after the announcement of the indictment.

Furthermore, Asiri denied reports of Saudi Arabia's intention to abort the tribunal, urging the media to only take into consideration reports by Saudi officials and official media outlets.

Jumblatt stresses that 'trying false witnesses would lead to uncover the truth in Hariri's assassination'...

"... He told As Safir on Saturday: "Opportunities to reach a solution to the crisis are still available and it would be wrong to say that matters have reached a dead end."  The MP highlighted the importance of a meeting between Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, saying that it may end all disputes. Furthermore, Jumblat said that Saudi-Syrian efforts also play a major role in ending the current crisis, adding that he has made his choice regarding his ties with Syria and that it seems that Hariri is also adopting the same approach.

In addition, he stressed the need to try false witnesses in the investigation in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri because it may lead to the truth in the crime."

Posted by G, Z, or B at 3:07 PM
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Galloway set to arrive in Toronto on Saturday, address rally on Sunday

September 29, 2010


Galloway set to arrive in Toronto on Saturday, address rally on Sunday

Supporters plan to welcome former British MP at airport

Former British MP George Galloway will arrive in Toronto on Saturday, October 2 to resume his pan-Canadian speaking tour after being prevented from entering Canada in March 2009. A welcome rally that includes tour organizers, supporters and Mr. Galloway's legal counsel will assemble at 5:00 p.m. at the Terminal 1 arrivals gate at Lester B. Pearson International Airport. Upon Mr. Galloway's arrival, he will hold a 15-minute media conference at the gate.

"I am elated by the recent Federal Court decision, and now look forward to returning to Canada," said Mr. Galloway. Justice Mosley's decision has refuted Jason Kenney's ridiculous claims about me, and has confirmed that the attempt to keep me out of Canada was purely a political one.

On Sunday, October 3 at 3:00 p.m., Mr. Galloway will address a city-wide public meeting at Trinity-St. Paul's United Church, 427 Bloor Street in downtown Toronto, where he will deliver in person the message he was forced to deliver by Internet broadcast in March 2009.

"Our fight in the Federal Court has been a long one, but well worth the wait," said James Clark, a tour organizer and member of the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War. Following the Court's decision, we are hopeful that the government will no longer attempt to ban critics of its foreign policy, and that Galloway can finally meet in person the many people in Canada waiting to see him for the last 18 months.

For more information, please contact:

Ron McKay: Spokesperson, George Galloway

James Clark: Spokesperson, Toronto Coalition to Stop the War


Former British MP George Galloway will try to enter Canada Saturday

British Member of Parliament George Galloway is shown in London Britain on Jan. 29, 2010. Galloway is expecting to arrive in Canada this Saturday. - British Member of Parliament George Galloway is shown in London Britain on Jan. 29, 2010. Galloway is expecting to arrive in Canada this Saturday. | Alastair Grant/The Associated Press
Toronto— The Canadian Press
Last updated
Outspoken former British MP George Galloway is due to arrive in Canada Saturday after the federal government yanked the welcome mat on him last year.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney branded him a terrorist because he had provided financial support to Hamas, which Ottawa has declared a terrorist organization.

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New Internet Censorship Bill Introduced

Like most others in Congress, Senator Patrick Leahy is no progressive. He voted to fund imperial wars, regressive Obamacare, Wall Street-friendly financial reform, and other pro-business measures, including agribusiness-empowering bills, harming small farmers and consumers.

Now he's at it again. On September 20, he introduced S. 3804: Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), "A bill to combat online infringement, and for other purposes." Referred to committee, it awaits further action. In fact, it needs a dagger thrust in its heart to kill it.

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Richard Esguerra:

If enacted, this bill lets the Attorney General and Justice Department "break the Internet one domain at a time - by requiring domain registrars/registries, ISPs, DNS providers, and others to block Internet users from reaching certain websites."

Two online blacklists will be created:

-- one for web sites the Attorney General may censor or block, and

-- most disturbing, domain names the Justice Department decides (without judicial review) are "dedicated to infringing activities."

The bill doesn't mandate, but "strongly suggests" that second category domains be blocked "as well as providing legal immunity for Internet intermediaries and DNS operators" that do it willingly at the behest of authorities.

Without question, "tremendous pressure" will be applied to comply, the alternative perhaps being recrimination for refusing.

Though fairly short, COICA may dangerously impair free expression, "current Internet architecture, copyright doctrine, foreign policy," and more. In 2010, "efforts to re-write copyright law (targeting) 'piracy' online" have been shown "to have unintended consequences."

Like other 2009 and 2010 bills, COICA "is a censorship bill that runs roughshod over freedom of speech on the Internet," an outrageous First Amendment violation by "tr(ying) to define a site 'dedicated to infringing activities,' (by) block(ing) a whole domain," not that one part alone if legally proved, rather than by government edict.

The 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) "already gives copyright owners legal tools to remove infringing material piece-by-piece." It also lets them get injunctions requiring ISPs block infringing offshore sites. Misusing these provisions "have had a tremendously damaging impact on fair use and free expression."

If enacted, Leahy's COICA will take a giant leap, "streamlin(ing) and vastly expand(ing)" existing damage. It'll let the Attorney General shut down domains, including their "blog posts, images, backups, and files." As a result, "legitimate, protected speech will be taken down in the name of copyright enforcement," and basic Internet infrastructure will be undermined.

For example: when users enter web site URLs into their browsers, the domain name system server identifies their Internet location. COICA will let the Attorney General "prevent the players in (those) domain system(s), (possibly including your ISP) from telling you the truth about a website's location."

It's also unclear what would be accessed - perhaps a message saying "a site or page could not be found, without explaining why? Would users receive some kind of notice," possibly saying "the site they were seeking was made inaccessible at the behest of the government?"

COICA will force Internet "middlemen" to act like the "Internet doesn't exist," even though the site or page wanted "may otherwise be completely available and accessible."

Like many other pre and post-9/11 bills, COICA is police state legislation. It says America "approves of unilateral Internet censorship," no matter that it's constitutionally illegal.

America is on a fast track toward despotism, civil liberties threatened by bills like COICA, mandating "Unilateral censorship of websites (Washington) doesn't like...."

Moreover, its "poorly drafted definitions....threaten fair use online, endanger innovative backup services, and raises questions about how new (Internet intermediary) with existing US secondary liability rules and the DMCA copyright safe harbor regime."

Also, it's easy to get blacklisted because COICA streamlines the procedure for adding domains - "including a McCarthy-like (one) of public snitching." Then, once on, it's hard getting off, just like persons unfairly vilified struggle to regain their reputations, often without success.

COICA takes but doesn't give in letting Washington "play an endless game of whack-a-mole, blocking one domain after another," even though sophisticated users will figure out a way to access censored sites. Maybe them, but not ordinary ones denied free access to constitutionally protected information.

Bottom line - COICA lets Washington "suppress truthful speech and could block access to a wealth of non-infringing" material. It will do little to end online infringement, but plenty of constitutional damage, besides other vast erosion in recent years heading toward ending democratic freedoms unless public awareness gets aroused enough to stop it in time.

On September 29, Tech Daily reported possible COICA changes, "addressing some of the concerns raised by technology and public interest groups," pertaining to online piracy and counterfeiting. COICA remains a work in progress. What emerges in final form demands close scrutiny.

COICA Update

On September 30, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) headlined, "Victory: Internet Censorship Bill is Delayed, For Now," saying:

Politico reported that "A (COICA) markup....was postponed late (September 29) as staffers anticipated the chamber would finish legislative work and adjourn for recess before the hearing could commence. The change in plans should delight some of the bill's critics, at least, who expressed concern that the legislation was moving forward quickly."

EFF believes the Senate won't consider the bill "until after the midterm elections, at least."

"This is a real victory! The entertainment industry and their allies in Congress had hoped" it would be approved quickly with no debate before the current recess. "Make no mistake though: this bill will be back soon enough."

Nonetheless, criticism expressed by 96 Internet scientists and engineers in an open letter to Congress had impact, saying:

"We are writing to oppose (COICA). If enacted, this legislation will risk fragmenting the Internet's global domain name system (DNS), create an environment of tremendous fear and uncertainty for technological innovation, and seriously harm the credibility of the United States in its role as a steward of key Internet infrastructure."

Signers also expressed concern about censorship, and the possibility that "an incredible range of useful, law-abiding sites can be blacklisted under this bill....If the US suddenly begins to use its central position in the DNS for censorship that advances its political and economic agenda, the consequences will be far-reaching and destructive."

Signers "implore(d) Senators "to put aside this bill." So far they have, but stay tuned. This issue is very much alive. For now, it's merely delayed for a later debate.

Obama's Proposal to End Online Privacy - Another Police State Measure if Enacted

Merriam-Webster defines a police state as follows:

"a political unit characterized by repressive government control of political, economic, and social life usually by an arbitrary exercise of power by police and especially secret police in place of regular operation of administrative and judicial organs of the government according to publicly known legal procedures."

In other words: overt and covert hardline control, maintained by loss of personal freedoms, civil liberties, and constitutional protections though legislation, pervasive surveillance, lawless privacy intrusions, and midnight or pre-dawn arrests on whatever grounds authorities charge against which there's no defense.

In the last decade especially, America has recklessly gone that route, one government edict, pronouncement or congressional bill at a time. Obama has advanced the Bush agenda further for totalitarian control, including the right to imprison anyone for their beliefs, assassinate American citizens extrajudicially, and much more.

Since taking office, he's done the impossible, compiling a worse record than his fiercest critics feared, exceeding Bush in militarism, harshness, lawlessness, and betrayal of the public trust. Besides waging imperial wars, he wrecked the American dream, and hardened a police state apparatus to protect privilege from progressive change. He also waged war on free expression, dissent, due process, judicial fairness and privacy rights.

He calls heroic activism "violent extremism" and persecutes Muslims for their faith and ethnicity. He says anti-war supporters are anti-American, providing "material support to terrorism," a serious charge carrying 15 years imprisonment. It's why former Reagan administration Assistant Treasury Secretary, Paul Craig Roberts, says "the Bush and Obama regimes" wrecked the country. "America, as people of my generation knew it, no longer exists."

But wait, the worst is yet to come, including subverting privacy, what former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called "the most comprehensive of rights, and the right most valued by a free people." The Fourth Amendment and numerous laws embody it, requiring judicial warrants for most searches and seizures. Yet today's sophisticated technology enables lawless intrusions, absent congressional legislation prohibiting them.

New legislation, however, may mandate them, according to an Electronic Frontier Foundation alert saying:

"an Obama Administration proposal (will) end online privacy as we know it by requiring all Internet communication service providers - from Facebook to Skype to your webmail provider - to rebuild their systems to give the government backdoor access to all of your private Internet communications."

Planned legislation, so far not introduced or named is expected in 2011, the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) saying "Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is 'going dark' as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone."

CDT's vice president, James Dempsey said:

"They are really asking for the authority to redesign services that take advantage of the unique, and now pervasive, architecture of the Internet. They basically want to turn back the clock and make Internet services function the way" telephones work, making them simple to wiretap the same way but do it online digitally.

Currently, the 1994 Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act requires broadband networks to have intercept capabilities to permit digital and cellphone surveillance. However, for encrypted messages, ISPs must be ordered to unscramble them because they're not covered under the 1994 law. Further, providers can't unscramble some encrypt messages between users.

As a result, proposals may include the following:

-- mandate that communication services, including foreign-based ones doing business in America, have full unscrambling technology capabilities; and

-- require peer-to-peer software communication developers to redesign their intercept capabilities.

These ideas not only fly in the face of a free society, they contradict a congressionally-ordered 1996 National Research Council report that found back door access bad government policy, its committee chair, Professor Kenneth W. Dam, saying:

"While the use of encryption technologies is not a panacea for all information security policies, we believe that....our recommendation would lead to enhanced protection and privacy for individuals and businesses in many areas, ranging from cellular and other wireless phone conversations to electronic transmission of sensitive business or financial documents."

"It is true that the spread of encryption technologies will add to the burden of those in government who are charged with carrying out certain law enforcement and intelligence activities. But the many benefits to society of widespread commercial and private use of cryptography outweigh the disadvantages."

Further, according to government records, encryption rarely subverts law enforcement, statistics showing few case examples. In 1998, crytography expert, Professor Matt Blaze, questioned the technical capabilities of back door access. Now he says:

"This seems like a far more baffling battle in a lot of ways. In the 1990s, the government was trying to prevent something necessary, good and inevitable. (Now) they are trying to roll back something that already happened and that people are relying on."

Blaze added:

"We need to protect the country's information infrastructure....So how do you reconcile that with the policy of discouraging encryption broadly," or making it vulnerable to surveillance. Hackers and other experts have the same capabilities as government. Mandate back door access, and they'll find a way to block or otherwise subvert it.

According to computer expert Peter Neumann:

"The arguments haven't changed. 9/11 was something long predicted and it hasn't changed the fact that if you are going to do massive surveillance using the ability to decrypt - even with warrants, it would have to be done with enormously careful oversight. Given we don't have comp(uter) systems that are secure, the idea we will have adequate oversight is unattainable. Encryption has life-critical consequences."

Current and possible new legislation worries organizations like the CDT and its efforts "to keep the Internet open, innovative and free," what's fast eroding in America and may soon entirely dissappear. Apparently like Bush, Obama is committed to assuring it unless mass public outrage stops him. Even so, a kinder, gentler America "no longer exists."

Some Final Comments

On September 27, Tech Daily writer Eliza Krigman headlined, "Net Neutrality Bill Gives FCC No New Rulemaking Power," saying:

Leaked House Energy and Commerce Committee (chaired by so-called liberal Henry Waxman) draft bill information aims to subvert Net Neutrality, according to an unnamed source saying:

"This bill represents a giant retreat by some of those who claim to support net neutrality and sends the wrong signal to the FCC (that) will ultimately deal with this issue."

If enacted, it will let cable and telecom giants establish, among other provisions, premium higher-priced lanes (two Internets), effectively destroying Net Neutrality, subverting the last free and open space. Dirty politics and back room deals put the Internet up for grabs to the highest bidders, creating a two-tiered system, besides blocking entry for those who can't pay.

Waxman hopes for passage in the lame duck session. So far, efforts to advance Net Neutrality legislation have stalled, some congressional leaders saying anything this year is doubtful.

Post-election, cybersecurity will also come up in the form of a bill combining earlier ones introduced:

-- S. 773: Cybersecurity Act of 2009, and

-- S. 778: A bill to establish, within the Executive Office of the President, the Office of National Cybersecurity Advisor

Information on them can be accessed through the following link:

The revised measure will let Obama shut down parts of the Internet, as well as businesses and perhaps organizations, not complying with national emergency declared orders. Specifically, his order will last 30 days, renewable for another 60 before Congress may, if it wishes, intervene.

At issue, of course, is whether government can unconstitutionally regulate, restrict, censor or suppress online free expression, the direction Congress and the administration are heading.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at Also visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

posted by Steve Lendman @ 12:01 PM

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Homeland Insecurity – Paul Balles

02. Oct, 2010 

Paul Balles

One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter

“Terrorist” is probably the dirtiest label of the last decade. It has also proven convenient for a number of uses:

1. instil fear in the populace
2. justify large military budgets
3. excuse extra-judicial assassinations
4. deflect attention from one’s actions to another’s

Following 9/11, the US and its “coalition of the willing” entered into a War on Terror.  The so-called War on Terror conveniently served all of its uses.

As a means to instil fear, those who bandied about the terms terrorist and terrorism seldom took the time to make clear what the terms meant.

Is it terrorism if an enemy attacks a military organization, or does it apply only to attacks on civilians?
When the American military attacked the Iraq military, would that fit any definition of terrorism?  Or would it apply only to the attacks on civilians?

Calling on the same logic, can the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon (military) be on a par with the attacks on the Trade Center (civilian)?

Can governments perform terrorist acts, or are they only performed by non-governmental groups? Can Israelis be considered terrorists when they attack Lebanon or Gaza or West Bank enclaves?
When these places are attacked, are the only terrorists non-governmental, like Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza or suicide bombers in the West Bank?

A woman whose son was killed said, “Israel took my home in Jaffa, now they come and kill us here, and they say WE are the terrorists.”

During the Algerian War of the 1950s, the Arab nationalist guerrilla insurgency won the title of “anti-colonial freedom fighters” while the French government, military and settlers were branded “torturers” and “terrorists”.

Do acts of terrorism apply only during peacetime?  Or are they applicable during wartime? The activities in both Iraq and Afghanistan have both been referred to as wars.

Does it matter if an act called “terrorism” is done for a good cause?

Does it matter if those performing the acts have been oppressed or prevented from enjoying their fundamental human rights?

Ironically, who are the “terrorists” and who are “freedom fighters” have yet to be determined in the US war on terror.

It’s important to consider these questions very carefully before labelling anyone or members of any group, simply by virtue of their membership, as terrorists.

What some governments, particularly the United States and Israel, call terrorists, others have called resistance movements. Their members have also been called “freedom fighters”.

According to Wikipedia, “a resistance movement is a group or collection of individual groups, dedicated to fighting an invader in an occupied country…”

During the Cold War the term freedom fighter was used by the United States and other Western Bloc countries to describe rebels in countries controlled by communist states or otherwise under the influence of the Soviet Union.

Rebels against the Soviet Union were never called terrorists.  Clearly,   the distinction between terrorist and freedom fighter is nothing more than political labelling.

According to John Farmer, writing for the New York Times this week, “several federal officials warned that “home-grown terrorists” represent the nation’s greatest emerging threat.”

Robert Mueller, FBI chief has said that Al Qaeda “has looked to recruit Americans or Westerners who are able to remain undetected by heightened security measures.”

This has led Janet Napolitano, the secretary of Homeland Security, to conclude that “homeland security begins with hometown security.” And hometown security begins with locally based observations of “suspicious” activity.

Can “home-grown terrorists” be “freedom fighters” as well? Welcome to Nineteen Eighty-Four.  Big brother is watching y
Paul J. Balles is a retired American university professor and freelance writer who has lived in the Middle East for many years. For more information, see

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Masri: Abbas is a real threat to the Palestinian cause

[ 02/10/2010 - 08:55 AM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Senior Hamas official and lawmaker Mushir Al-Masri stated that de facto president Mahmoud Abbas poses a real threat to the Palestinian cause and demanded him to apologize for his big mistakes against the Palestinian people.

In a massive rally organized by Hamas on Friday, MP Masri denounced Abbas for his persistence in going against the unanimous will of the Palestinian people, who oppose the peace talks with the Israeli occupation state, and for breaking his promises to end his direct talks if settlement activities continued.

He said that Fatah's authority is panting for its frivolous negotiations with the Israeli government and does not care about settlement and Judaization activities taking place on the ground.

The lawmaker stressed that the West Bank is under two occupation forces and Hamas would not remain silent forever and would revolt in the face of its oppressors.

The lawmaker also called on the Palestinian people to ally themselves with the Palestinian resistance and its men and pay serious attention to the manipulation practiced by Abbas and his entourage against the Palestinian cause.

For his part, senior Islamic Jihad official Mohamed Al-Hindi called on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to withdraw from its talks with Israeli occupation and align itself with the resistance, warning that Israel uses these talks as a cover for its crimes and Judaization activities.

In a march held in Khan Younis on the 10th anniversary of the Aqsa infifada, Hindi said that the PA went into its negotiations with the Israeli occupation without national support or consensus.

He noted that the American administration supported the PA-Israeli negotiations in order to cover its failure in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gov’t in Gaza: Goldstone report freeze a free service to Israel

[ 02/10/2010 - 03:35 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Minister of Justice in Gaza Dr. Mohammed Ghoul said attempts by the Fatah authority in the West Bank to freeze the Goldstone report to the UN for another six months for the second time in one year act as a “free service” to Israel.

Dr. Ghoul said in a press conference held in Gaza on Saturday: “Delaying the due date is murder to the report and neglect of the rights of the victims and those affected by the war and its consequences on Gaza, and gives [Israel] justification to continue to commit more crimes against the Palestinian people.”

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon violated Judge Goldstone’s recommendations when ignoring reports issued from Gaza, which came as a clear response to the recommendations, the minister added.

Ki-moon should responsibly deal with the government in Gaza and recognize it as a government elected by the Palestinians, and should accept its reports as he would any other world government, Ghoul went on to say.

He condemned the report issued from the committee in Ramallah, charging that it vilifies the Palestinian resistance movements and clears the Israeli government of violation charges in its war on Gaza.

Ghoul said the committee's report did not commit to integrity, credibility, neutrality and nationalism.

“The committee (members) relied on some of the reports issued from Gaza and did not come to Gaza (themselves), so its report is considered biased, aimed at undermining the resistance movements and acquitting the occupation forces,” the Gaza official said.

“Delaying the report is an insult to the blood of the murdered and gives a cover for Israel to continue its aggression against the Palestinian people,” he continued.

Dr. Ghoul called on the global community to shoulder its responsibilities and make efforts to bring Israel to trial in international courts to give justice to the victims of the war.

“The Arab League must make serious efforts to lift the Gaza siege, which is considered a crime against humanity, and a shame for the international community as long as it goes on,” the minister concluded.

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CNN axes Sanchez after anti-Jew remarks

[ 02/10/2010 - 02:16 PM ]

ATLANTA, (PIC)-- Anti-Arab CNN on Friday announced it fired anchor Rick Sanchez a day after he assailed The Daily Show Jewish host John Stewart as a "bigot" and suggested that CNN and the other media outlets are run by Jews.

Sanchez made his remarks Thursday on the Sirius XM radio show "Stand Up! with Pete Dominick".

CNN acted within 24 hours and declared Sanchez was no longer with the network. "We thank Rick for his years of service and we wish him well," according to its statement.

The Daily Show retaliated and considered Sanchez an intellectual lightweight compared to CNN stars Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blizter and made him the butt of jokes, which Sanchez resented and described as racist.

CNN has always fought perceptions that it is pro-Arab and anti-Israel. In July, CNN fired veteran Middle East correspondent Octavia Nasr after she tweeted about the passing of Hezbollah's Mohamed Fadlallah saying that she respected him a lot.

Sanchez’s first mistake

by Philip Weiss on October 2, 2010 · 

I must point out that Rick Sanchez, who was unceremoniously fired by CNN today for talking some trash about Jon Stewart and the Jewish ownership of networks, was one of the few network anchors to give any attention to the Palestinian side of the story. He was plainly alarmed by the Israeli assault on Gaza in 08-09. He interviewed Palestinian lawyer Diana Buttu. And below, he interviewed Mustafa Barghouti, and showed that Israel broke the cease-fire ahead of the Gaza onslaught. 

As for his recent comments about Jews not being an oppressed minority and Jews owning the television networks-- it seems to me that these are legitimate subjects for discussion. Maybe his tone was inappropriate, maybe he should have gotten out the kid gloves. But they are legitimate subjects; and the manner of Sanchez's dispatching is only likely to feed uninformed debate about the nature of the American establishment. Let's talk about it.
Of course I hope that in his next incarnation Sanchez looks more deeply into the Israeli oppression of Palestinians. Somehow I sense that's not in the cards...

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Assad, Ahmadinejad: Israel’s Actions Prove It Doesn’t Want Peace

02/10/2010 Syrian President Bachar Assad and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stressed on Saturday that Israel's actions in the West Bank, Gaza and occupied Jerusalem proved the Zionist entity did not truly want peace.

Assad met with Ahmadinejad during a one-day visit to Iran on Saturday. He was greeted by a guard of honor before holding talks with Ahmadinejad behind closed doors to discuss bilateral and regional issues, including Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine, ISNA reported.

Assad is due to hold talks with leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and other senior officials. The Syrian president is accompanied by Vice President Faruq al-Shara and Foreign Minister Walid Moallem.

"The strengthening of the anti-Israel resistance movement will encourage other countries to join this bloc which then would eventually lead towards stabilizing regional peace," Ahmadinejad reportedly said during talks with Assad.

The Syrian President also said the momentum of Tehran-Damascus ties could strengthen resistance groups against Israel.

Assad was quoted as saying that direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks were only aimed at bolstering support for the US president inside the United States. "Nothing has changed in the Palestinian peace process which only aims to garner support for Obama inside America," he said.

Both Assad and Ahmadinejad stressed that expansion of ties between Iran and Syria and political domination by the two states would not only benefit the region politically but also economically.

The official news agency IRNA reported earlier Saturday that the summit talks between Assad and Ahmadinejad were expected to focus mainly on Iraq, Lebanon and Syria's stance on the latest peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel. IRNA also reported that Assad was to be awarded Iran's national medal for his bravery, resistance and support for the Hamas and Hezbollah resistance groups.

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'Criminal in Chief' criticizes Syria for arrest warrants ...

Via friday-Lunch-Club

The expertise of Geagea' in legal matters dos not cease to amaze and disgust us... 

"... Samir Geagea criticized on Saturday media reports that Syria has prepared arrest warrants against 14 Lebanese individuals on suspicion of their involvement in the false witnesses file in the investigation into the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
He described the Syrian measure as an attempt to maneuver around Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar's report on the false witnesses that is scheduled to be studied at Cabinet's meeting on Monday.
If the reports are true, he continued, then it would appear that there is "an intention to thwart the serious and effective study of the issue of the false witnesses" to keep it as an excuse to reject the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
Addressing recent statements by Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal al-Moqdad on Lebanon, the STL, and false witnesses, Geagea said: "The tribunal was unanimously approved during the 2006 national dialogue and it was mentioned in all subsequent ministerial statements."
"Internal strife is only in the heads of those planning it as the legitimate Lebanese institutions seek to maintain the country's security," he continued.
"If only Mr. Moqdad would mind his own business, especially since Syria has enough problems on the strategic, sovereignty, political, developmental, and economic levels," Geagea stated...."
Posted by G, Z, or B at 10:27 AM

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Via My Carbird Seat

- 28. Sep, 2010

Has this young president—with no military experience—been forced to face the reality of an enemy within? If so, we may yet have an opportunity to restore representative government. If so, those who deceived the U.S. to invade Iraq for a Zionist agenda may yet be held accountable.

Is Barack Obama waking up to the agenda of those who produced his political career?

 Was his “Inner Eisenhower” on display last week in his televised speech to the U.N. General Assembly?

Did listeners detect a distraught commander-in-chief seeking to bypass Congress and appeal directly to the international community for help in containing Israel’s expansionist goals?

In 1948, the Joint Chiefs cautioned Harry Truman about the “fanatical concepts” of a Jewish-Zionist elite that sought recognition as a legitimate state. U.S. military leaders warned Truman that this elite wanted “military and economic hegemony over the entire Middle East.”

Albert Einstein and other prominent Jews were even more critical. They cautioned Americans about the Zionist political party that produced Menachem Begin, Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu, calling it a “terrorist party” with “the unmistakable stamp of a Fascist party.”

Eight years later, President Eisenhower experienced how they advance their agenda when, during the last days of his November 1956 presidential campaign, Israel, France and Britain sought to induce a war with Egypt over control of the Suez Canal.

Though Ike was distracted by presidential politics, London and Paris were quickly persuaded to abandon their efforts. Not Tel Aviv. Then as now, Jewish fanatics were not inclined to listen to a U.S. commander-in-chief regardless of the impact of their behavior on our national interests.

When this Republican leader sought Congressional support to counter the Zionists’ agenda, he found none. That’s when this former five-star general turned in desperation to a televised address to counter Israeli Congressional influence that has grown far stronger over the past 54 years.

In April 2010, a bipartisan 363 members of Congress committed themselves to an “unbreakable bond” with Israel—regardless of its behavior. No one dared even whisper the word treason.

That same Israel-first agenda was addressed to the commander-in-chief over the signatures of 76 Senators led by Democrat Barbara Boxer of California. GOP Congressman Eric Cantor of Virginia and New York Senator Charles Schumer, a Democrat, launched a bipartisan pro-Israel assault on the commander-in-chief that sounded less like the Congress than the Knesset.

Obama’s Inner Ike

Could this be why Obama made an appeal to the international community to halt Israeli expansionism? Like Ike, did he wake-up to the fact of Israeli dominance in the Congress?

Has this young president—with no military experience—been forced to face the reality of an enemy within? If so, we may yet have an opportunity to restore representative government. If so, those who deceived the U.S. to invade Iraq for a Zionist agenda may yet be held accountable.

However, this past week also saw Congressman Barney Frank join others circulating a petition to free Israeli Master Spy Jonathan Pollard. A dual-citizen operative, Pollard did more damage to our national security than anyone in U.S. history. When he stole more than one million classified documents and Tel Aviv sold them to Moscow, our “special friend” gutted Cold War defenses on which American taxpayers spent more than $20 Trillion (in 2010 dollars) from 1948-1989.

Is Barney Frank committing treason? Or is he circulating that petition so that our national security apparatus has a list of those complicit in the treason that induced us to war in the Middle East on false pretenses? Was Obama’s speech to the U.N. a cry for help by a president whose advisory corps is dominated by pro-Israelis and Israeli-Americans?

Few Americans realize that Obama is a political product of the Chicago Outfit, commencing with Penny Pritzker, his top fundraiser according to his April 2007 filing with the Federal Elections Commission. Pritzker’s grandfather and great-grandfather were mob lawyers.

His second-ranked fundraiser was Chicago’s affluent Crown clan (né Krinsky) whose dominant ownership stake in General Dynamics ensured additional riches both from waging the “war on terror” and from Homeland Security. The third-ranked financier active in producing the Obama phenomenon was financial manipulator George Soros, recently rebranded a “progressive.”

Chicagoan Abner Mikva, White House counsel to Bill Clinton, captured the essence of the challenge Americans now face—regardless of party. A former Congressman, Mikva describes Obama as “our first Jewish president.” He should know.

Americans have been deceived for so long, we may be unable to discern the truth even when confessed by those who know it best. Did this eloquent young community organizer realize just this past week that his political success was produced by descendants of organized crime and those loyal to a foreign nation?

Chosen by The Chosen

America finds itself torn between two competing narratives. The first remains loyal to our founding principles in defense of our core freedoms. The second group now grasps that those who induced us to war with phony intelligence misused those freedoms to advance their agenda. How does our commander in chief expose those who befriended us in order to betray us?

With the all-pervasive Congressional influence wielded by Zionist Jews and Zionist Christians, what is a commander-in-chief to do? Is that why Barack Obama turned to television to make an appeal for help from the international community? Or is that just my wishful thinking?

With representative government in the U.S. now dominated by those who share beliefs contrary to our core principles, what is the head of our executive branch to do?

Americans have long been oblivious to Zionist influence. Did Barack Obama just awaken from a self-induced slumber and recall to whom his oath of office obliges him? Perhaps.

Two days ago, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas echoed the same cautionary words as Albert Einstein and the Joint Chiefs when describing Israel’s “mentality of expansion and domination.”

Little has changed over six decades except the faces on this perilous fascism. Obama may yet become part of the solution. Or, unlike Ike, he may succumb to the pressures of mid-term elections and again support the induced fanaticism now playing out as The Clash of Civilizations.

Jeff Gates is a widely acclaimed author, attorney, investment banker, educator and consultant to government, corporate and union leaders worldwide. He served for seven years as counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance. He is widely published in the trade, popular and academic press. 

JEFF GATES: The Hate Mongers Among Us — First in a 4-part series

Read  PART 1 – 4 and more at his website:

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Norway bans testing of Israeli submarines in its waters

[ 02/10/2010 - 09:22 AM ]


Norway will no longer allow Israeli submarines to use one of its naval bases after imposing a ban on exporting military equipment and services to Israel, the Israeli Haaretz newspaper reported.

Israel has made a 1.3 billion euros deal with a shipbuilding company in Kiel, Germany to build two advanced Dolphin submarines. The company leases water space from Norway to carry out necessary testing on the vessels.

The newspaper reported that the Norwegian Foreign Ministry notified the manufacturer Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft weeks back that it will not allow Israel to conduct future test exercises for its submarines in the country’s territory. One of the vessels was set to be tested when finally manufactured in early 2011.

Norway decided to force the ban based on international decisions.

The vessels are powered by a highly advanced propulsion system that allows them to stay under water for three weeks and can undertake long-range missions from the Israel’s ports.

Israel already has three Dolphin submarines, which were tested in Norway. Foreign news sources say the ships are capable of firing nuclear-tipped missiles.

More than 40 per cent of Norwegians support a boycott of Israeli products according to a poll taken in early June after Israel’s lethal attack against a Gaza-bound flotilla of humanitarian aid in late May.

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John Mearsheimer: Why does a smart country act so stupid?


In October 2002, when Barack Obama delivered his defining “dumb war” denunciation of war against Iraq, he was a state senator standing in at Chicago’s first big anti-war rally for the invited keynoter, John Mearsheimer, who’d been booked elsewhere. This is one of the stories that Mearsheimer relates in this ranging and immensely interesting interview with Chris Lydon of the Watson Institute, Brown University.

Lydon writes:
It was John Mearsheimer, the foreign policy scholar at the University of Chicago, who’d drafted the ad — op-ed in the New York Times on September 26, 2002 — that I keep pinned over my desk 8 years later. “WAR WITH IRAQ IS NOT IN AMERICA’S NATIONAL INTEREST,” was the headline. Signed by 33 university-based analysts, the ad was a marker then of rare vision, independence and mettle in the “expert” ranks. (My interviews with these uncelebrated heroes are here). Their ad came to stand also for the sorry truth that hitting the target smack-on in these surreal times is not often a good career move. All of that was before Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt at Harvard wrote the book that made them famous, The Israel Lobby.
In conversation here at Brown this week, Mearsheimer is reviewing a course that’s been “all down hill” for nearly a decade. We face four big unfixable fiascos abroad, in the Mearsheimer brief — all legacies of the “radical, reckless” George W. Bush. Afghanistan is being driven by demography and war back into Taliban control. Iraq, centrifugal by nature, continues to tear itself apart. Iran is not about to foreswear nuclear sophistication. And Israel, hell-bent on extending settlements, will defy the world’s pressure for a two-state deal with Palestinians; a Greater Israel, with apartheid rules, will be “a festering sore” on the American imperium for decades to come.
For President Obama, Mearsheimer sees no ways out, no “clever strategies” at hand. Obama might better have told the country in the Spring of 2009 that, on sober review, our problems were beyond solving any time soon — that we had to lower expectations and be prepared to shift directions. But Obama has mostly stayed the Bush course with softer rhetoric; and lots of people are angry at him because none of the problems are getting fixed.
Mearsheimer makes (to me) the intriguing argument that the great snare and delusion on the way to these quagmires was the first brief “successful” war on Afghanistan in the autumn of 2001. What felt like a quick and easy toppling of the Taliban so soon after 9.11 persuaded the Bush warriors that the combination of air power and special forces could wreck regimes and install puppets almost overnight. This was the premise for the invasion of Iraq — with dreams of turning over Syria and Iran after that, on the way to transforming the Arab and Muslim worlds. In time, that Afghan victory proved a “mirage” and a trap. The Taliban hid out, then resurged. Hamid Karzai proved both incompetent and corrupt. Iraq proved to be a bottomless quagmire, and nine years later we are still bleeding in Afghanistan.
The confounding riddle for Mearsheimer in all this is why the upper reaches of the American establishment have been so slow about examining the damage, so stubbornly set in doctrines that don’t work.
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PLO Urges Abbas to Quit “Peace Talks” over Settlements

02/10/2010 The Palestinian leadership on Saturday urged president Mahmud Abbas to quit US-backed so-called “peace talks” over Israeli settlement construction.

"Our position has not changed. We will not hold negotiations while settlement activity continues," Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina told AFP after a special meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and top officials from the Fatah movement.

He added, however, that the Palestinians would continue consultations with US mediators and would present the results of those talks to an Arab League meeting on Friday in the Libyan city of Sirte.

Abbas had said he would make his final decision on whether to pull out of the talks, which were launched in Washington one month ago today, after he consults with the Arab foreign ministers.

Fatah, meanwhile, appeared to have adopted an even harder line on the negotiations, with one member of the movement's central committee suggesting the international community reconsider Israel's existence.

"The ball is now in the court of the international community to stop the unilateral aggression on Palestinian lands on which a Palestinian state must be established," Fatah official Jibril Rajub told reporters. "If the world cannot do that, then it should reexamine the legitimacy of the continued existence of the state of Israel, which was established with an international birth certificate."

The Arab League Follow-up Committee on the peace talks will meet to form its own position on Friday in Sirte, officials in Cairo said, after the meeting was twice postponed.

Abbas -- who previously secured the endorsement of the group of Arab foreign ministers for launching indirect peace talks and then again for upgrading to direct talks -- plans to make his announcement after the meeting.

PFLP boycotts PLO meeting

[ 02/10/2010 - 02:50 PM ]

RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has announced it would not attend the Palestine Liberation Organization's executive committee meeting called for by de facto Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.

A spokesman for the front explained that it had earlier announced it would suspend participation in PLO meetings out of reservations over its policies in dealing with the US and Israeli positions.

He pointed out that the decision was also in protest over the state of political and institutional deterioration in the Palestinian arena, which had its toll on the Palestinian national decision and on its ability to face challenges confronting the Palestinian people.

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"Arab-Israeli peace will not stabilize Afghanistan,.. Iraq... End our support for Arabs

Via Friday-Lunch-Club

The Oslo Accords of the 1990s -- the poster child for direct negotiations -- ended in disaster, as broken commitments, terror and violence, and unmet expectations overwhelmed Palestinians and Israelis.
Still, the power of direct negotiations is compelling. I'll never forget chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat telling me in a moment of great frustration in 1995 that he could get more from the Israelis directly than he ever could from us.
In the current phase of the peace process, direct talks that build trust between Israelis and Palestinians are vital, of course, but they are not sufficient to reach an agreement. Sooner rather than later, the United States will need to invest itself more heavily in the negotiations in order to bridge gaps on core issues such as borders and the status of Jerusalem; will need to marshal the billions of dollars required to support an agreement; and probably will need to deploy U.S. forces to the Jordan Valley to monitor security arrangements. Without active U.S. involvement, it is unlikely that an agreement can be reached and implemented.
2. The United States is an honest broker in the peace process.
It has been before and can be again. But in the past 16 years, under both Democratic and Republican presidents, we have failed to be as tough, fair and reassuring as we need to be to broker a solution. Our relationship with the Israelis is special -- and it has to be because of Israel's unique security position and the values that bind us -- but if we intend to be a credible mediator, it cannot become exclusive.
We cannot advocate for one side over another or clear our positions with one party in advance; our client must be the agreement itself. And we need to adopt negotiating positions that reflect the balance of interests between the two sides, not use Israel's position as the point of departure for U.S. policy. The challenge for the Obama administration is to find this balance, one that neither Bill Clinton nor George W. Bush achieved.
3. Settlements are the main obstacle to peacemaking.
On the Israeli side, there is indeed no greater obstacle. For more than four decades, the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank has reshaped Israeli politics for the worse, humiliated Palestinians and made an already complex process even more complicated. And Israel's recent refusal to extend a moratorium on settlement construction has threatened to undermine the negotiations before they have a chance to get serious.
Successive American administrations have not taken the settlement issue as seriously as needed. The U.S. line has always been the same: Getting to the negotiations is the only way Palestinians can address the settlement issue...
But even if the settlement issue were resolved today, negotiations would still confront another galactic challenge: a crisis within the Palestinian national movement, with two authorities governing two discreet areas with two different security services, two different patrons and two different visions of the Palestinian future. The upshot of the battle between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority is that without a monopoly over the forces of violence in Palestinian society -- without one authority to silence the guns and rockets -- no agreement can be implemented.
4. Pressuring the Israelis is the only way to reach an agreement.
The idea that the United States can pummel a close ally into accepting a deal that undermines its security or political interests is flat-out wrong. The Middle East is littered with the failed schemes of great powers that tried to impose their will on small tribes... Such declarations make the United States look weak and feckless.
The administration may be learning. To keep the current talks afloat, it seems to be offering both sides assurances on the substance of the negotiations: for the Israelis, security guarantees that might constrain Palestinian sovereignty; for the Palestinians, a commitment on the June 1967 borders, with land swaps from Israel proper for any West Bank territory the Israelis plan to annex. This is risky if the assurances go too far, but it shows that Obama now understands that fighting Israel over settlements is a dead end.
5. Arab-Israeli peace is critical to securing U.S. interests in the Middle East.
It would help, but it wouldn't come close to overcoming our challenges in a region so troubled and turbulent. National security adviser James Jones got caught up in this belief, asserting in 2009 that "if there was one problem that I would recommend to the president [to solve], this would be it."
Arab-Israeli peace will not stabilize Afghanistan or facilitate an extrication of U.S. forces from there. It will not create a viable political contract among Iraq's Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. It will not stop Iran from acquiring enough fissile material to make a nuclear weapon. It will not force Arab states to respect human rights. Nor will it end anti-American sentiment fueled by our support for authoritarian Arab regimes, our deployment of forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, our war against terror and our close relationship with Israel.
In fact, an agreement between Israelis and Palestinians that does not prove viable and is not seen as fair will make our position in this region even more difficult. The president shouldn't minimize the importance of Israeli-Palestinian peace, but he shouldn't oversell it, either..."
Posted by G, Z, or B at 10:06 AM

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Will the STL Bring Down the Lebanese Government?

Hariri's House of Cards


“Have a little mercy on the Lebanese. People were considerate with you at first because your father is a martyr, but today they have become bored with you. You are playing with the country, not with PlayStation.”

– Lebanese Unification (Tawhid) Movement leader Wiam Wahhab, in comments directed to Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, 27 September 2010
A war of words has erupted between Lebanon’s Hezbollah-led March 8 Coalition and Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri’s ruling March 14 Coalition, posing the greatest challenge to Hariri’s leadership yet and threatening the viability of his “national unity” government.

As indictments loom following the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s (STL) investigation into the February 2005 assassination of the late premier Rafiq al-Hariri, his now-prime minister son finds himself trapped between diametrically opposed forces. Those in his parliamentary bloc and own Future Movement back the STL—and importantly, its funding—while the March 8 opposition has called for it to either seriously consider claims of alleged Israeli involvement in Hariri’s killing or be shut down.

The STL is still expected to implicate Hezbollah elements in the murder even after Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah presented intercepted video footage obtained from Israeli reconnaissance drones revealing the path of Hariri’s motorcade and exact location of the attack. He also said Ghassan al-Jedd, a known Israeli spy, was present at the crime scene that day (Jedd later fled to Israel).

Nasrallah’s disclosures came against the backdrop of an extensive crackdown on Israeli espionage rings operating in Lebanon’s security and telecommunications sectors, including the state-owned mobile service provider, Alfa. Having worked for the Mossad for more than a decade, one agent confessed to installing computer programs and planting chips in Alfa transmitters to be used by Israeli intelligence to monitor communications, and locate and target individuals for assassination.

This is significant since the STL is expected to rely heavily on phone records in drawing its conclusions: “A preliminary report by the U.N. investigating team said it had collected data from mobile phone calls made the day of Hariri's murder as evidence,” AFP reported.

The fallout from Rafiq al-Hariri’s killing dramatically reshaped Lebanon’s relationship with Syria. Both the slain leader’s allies and son quickly pointed an accusatory finger at Damascus. Events that subsequently transpired became known as the “Cedar Revolution” and ultimately led to the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon after a 29-year presence in March-April 2005.

This made Saad al-Hariri’s recent about-face all the more stunning.

In an early September interview with the Saudi-owned newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat, Hariri said he had mistakenly blamed Syria for his father’s assassination. He withdrew what he called a “political” accusation and apologized.

But some would not let Hariri off the hook so easily.

Brigadier General Jamil al-Sayyed was Lebanon’s former head of general security at the time the massive bomb detonated under Hariri’s motorcade.

He along with three other pro-Syrian generals were arrested in August 2005 and jailed for nearly four years—without charge—on suspicion of involvement in the crime.

They were ordered released by the Tribunal in 2009 due to fabricated, recanted witness testimony and lack of evidence.

Al-Sayyed said Saad al-Hariri had “sold his father’s blood” by way of false witnesses so he could frame Syria for the murder:

“You [Saad al-Hariri], those who are with you and [former Prime Minister Fouad] Siniora know that you have been exercising falsification since the beginning … Had the false witnesses managed to cheat the court and had you accepted that, would you be apologizing today or would you be dancing in Damascus with the new leader you installed?

“But one day, I will take what is rightfully mine with my own hands if you do not give it to me ”

State prosecutor Said Mirza summoned al-Sayyed from France for the implied threat to Hariri and his call for the Lebanese people to revolt against the government. When he arrived at Beirut’s international airport, Hezbollah representatives met him in force and escorted him home. March 14 supporters said that the action amounted to an airport takeover meant to protect al-Sayyed from arrest.

The fact that fabricated witness testimony once used to incriminate Syria may now be directed Hezbollah’s way is obviously not lost on the March 8 Coalition.

Hezbollah M.P. Hasan Fadlallah said, “When we talk about this issue, we don't only refer to four or five people who gave false testimonies during the investigations in the murder of (former) premier (Rafiq) Hariri. These are only one ring of the rings of false witnesses, and maybe the weakest and smallest ring in this dossier. We want this group dismantled, the heads of this group unveiled and the case followed up at the judicial, legal and political levels in Lebanon, so that it faces trial and accountability.”

Hariri has a number of fateful decisions on his hands: to proceed with or table the STL finance bill (Lebanon pays 49 percent of the Court’s cost and Hezbollah has already vowed to block it); to enforce the summons against Gen. al-Sayyed or prosecute the false witnesses; and most significantly, to decide whether to back the STL verdict likely blaming Hezbollah despite evidence of Israeli complicity. If so, March 8 ministers (holding one-third of cabinet seats) could pull out of his administration, plunging the country into an even deeper political crisis.

Hariri’s government is now more fragile than ever; a proverbial house of cards erected on fabricated witness testimonies and one likely to be brought down by the upcoming indictments of a discredited tribunal.

Rannie Amiri is an independent Middle East commentator. He may be reached at: rbamiri [at] yahoo [dot] com.

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