Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Mideast's One-State Solution

By Muammar Qaddafi

Everywhere one looks, among the speeches and the desperate diplomacy, there is no real way forward. A just and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians is possible, but it lies in the history of the people of this conflicted land, and not in the tired rhetoric of partition and two-state solutions.
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Obama: Regime Rotation

By Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed

The arrival of the Obama administration will not fundamentally alter the course of military expansion accelerated during the Bush era. ... The key differences will be in language and method, not substance.


Obama and National Security: “It’s the Oil, Stupid!”

This became increasingly clear as Barack Obama’s administration appointees became known – individuals whose political and ideological positions are largely commensurate with neoconservative ideals particularly on security matters, and whose social and intellectual connections link them to neo-conservative think-tanks and policy-makers.....

Obama and the Economy: Déjà vu?

As for Obama’s ambitions for tackling the financial crisis, even a scathing
New York Times editorial noted that President Obama’s economic team, put together to tackle the economic and financial crisis, consisted of the very same people who had “played central roles in policies that helped provoke today’s financial crisis.”

These include Tim Geithner who as president of the Federal Reserve Bank in New York “helped shape the Bush administration’s erratic and often inscrutable responses to the current financial meltdown, up to and including this past weekend’s multibillion-dollar bailout of Citigroup”; and former World Bank chief, Larry Summers, who “championed the law that deregulated derivatives, the financial instruments – aka toxic assets – that have spread the financial losses from reckless lending around the globe.”....

Obama Shuts Down ‘War on Terror’… Not

So what should we make of Obama’s opening measures, almost as soon as he was inaugurated as President, to close Guantanamo Bay, de-legitimize torture and challenge CIA practices of extraordinary rendition? Firstly, we should of course welcome any such public condemnations of these practices, particularly by the new American President.

But this should not blind us from critically examining what Obama’s Executive Orders actually meant.

While around the world, Obama’s measures were interpreted as completely reversing the Bush administration policies of torture, extraordinary rendition and secret prisons – starting with the declaration of the complete closure of Guantanamo Bay – deeper inspection of the details of his Executive Orders suggests, unfortunately, that cries of joy are slightly premature.....

This means that Obama’s public disavowals of torture do not actually represent the end of the systemic practice of the CIA's traditional interrogation techniques, conducted without public scrutiny for decades. Rather, they portend a sheepish return to secrecy......

Not One to Waste Time

Abroad, the Obama administration began its first days in office by committing more troops to Afghanistan, intensifying military pressure on Pakistan, stepping-up covert warfare on Iran, and deepening military-political penetration of Central Asia and West Africa.

The overarching motivations for these policies are US domination of energy reserves and transportation routes, exemplified in the appointment of oil-obsessed ex-NATO Marine Gen. James Jones as Obama's national security czar.

Rather than reversing the pattern of attempting to intensify state power, these policies will severely exacerbate the potential for geopolitical competition and violent conflict.


Regime Rotation: Hegemony Rehabilitation, Systemic Stabilization

After the Bush administration’s record of essentially trampling on any semblance of half-decent PR, leading to the very concept of US world leadership being vehemently opposed or incredulously ridiculed around the world, the arrival of Obama is set to rehabilitate American hegemony and restore some sense of credibility and even respectability to US military and financial power.....

In other words, not changing the system, but protecting it – violently if necessary, but this time with greater attention to PR....

The outcome has already been disturbing: while neutralizing and thoroughly confusing progressive social and anti-war movements in and outside the West, the arrival of Obama has allowed the US government to rally unprecedented popular support behind it, for whatever it intends to do.

We will see, in this respect, a marked shift in the language and rhetoric of foreign policy, a return to more diplomatic strategies, as well as military policies couched in the discourse of humanitarian intervention and aid. Unfortunately, for a while, this shift will seem more convincing coming from Obama, as opposed to Bush.

More than ever, therefore, progressive movements will need to up their game in understanding and accurately critiquing the new administration’s policies, if they are to prevent processes of imperial militarization from intensifying.

Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed is Executive Director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development and teaches International Relations at the University of Sussex, Brighton. He is the author of The London Bombings (2006); The War on Truth (2005); Behind the War on Terror (2003); and The War on Freedom (2002).

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Thursday, January 22, 2009




The entire column by Michael Leunig is available online at
http://www.theage.com.au/news/entertainment/arts/little-picture-big-picture/2009/01/08/1231004194072.html



Gaza was a Gas ?

qui bono ? - who benefits/profits?


From TimesOnline.com May 23, 2007

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/ natural_resources/
article1826739.ece

BG Group at centre of $4bn deal to supply Gaza gas to Israel
The British energy firm is set to agree terms of a $4bn, 15-year deal over gas discovered off the Gaza coast

BG Group is poised to agree to the terms of an historic $4 billion (£2 billion) deal to supply Palestinian gas to Israel from a discovery off the Gaza coastline, The Times has learnt.

Representatives from the British energy company are scheduled next week to meet a team of negotiators chosen by the Israeli Cabinet to thrash out a 15-year contract. Despite the violence in Gaza, the Israeli Foreign Ministry has insisted that it wants to conclude a deal “as soon as possible”......

Alarm Spreads Over Use of Lethal New Weapons

By Erin Cunningham

Eighteen-year-old Mona Al-Ashkar says she did not immediately know the first explosion at the United Nations (UN) school in Beit Lahiya had blown her left leg off. There was smoke, then chaos, then the pain and disbelief set in once she realised it was gone - completely severed by the weapon that hit her...

...Palestinian doctors (are) baffled by the type of weaponry used in the Israeli operation. High-profile human rights organisations like Amnesty International are accusing Israel of war crimes. Mona's doctors at Gaza City's Al-Shifa hospital found no shrapnel in her leg, and it looked as though it had been "sliced right off with a knife."

"We are not sure exactly what type of weapon can manage to do that immediately and so cleanly," said Dr. Sobhi Skaik, consultant surgeon general at Al-Shifa hospital.

"What is happening is frightening. It's possible the Israeli army was using Gaza to experiment militarily."

Both international organisations and human rights groups, including the UN, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have condemned Israel's use of unconventional weapons in civilian areas of the Gaza Strip.

Amnesty International's chief researcher for Israel and the Palestinian Territories, Donatella Rovera, told IPS in Beit Lahiya that Israel's use of white phosphorus and other "area weapons" on civilian populations amounted to war crimes.

"The kind of weapons used and the manner in which they were used indicates prima facie evidence of war crimes," she said....

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's nuclear watchdog, said it would look into a claim made by the ambassadors of a number of Arab nations that Israel used depleted uranium in its recent attacks on Gaza.

Local doctors say a number of both widespread and unusual injuries may indicate that new types of weapons were used on the Gaza population during the war....

Mona's injury is characteristic of Dense Inert Metal Explosives (DIME). DIMEs are munitions that, packed with tungsten powder, produce an intense explosion at about the level of the knee, with signs of severe heat at the point of amputation....

Once in the body, tungsten is both difficult to detect and extremely carcinogenic, and can produce an aggressive form of cancer, according to both military experts. Dr. Skaik says the Al-Shifa hospital alone has seen between 100 to 150 patients with this type of injury...What is worrying health officials even more, however, is that some of the patients' organs are being ruptured with little or no sign of a shrapnel entry point.

This is something they have never seen before, they say, and also something they do not know how to treat.

"Normal shrapnel has a clear path, with both an entry and an exit point," said Dr. Mohamed Al-Ron, another surgeon at Al-Shifa hospital.

"But someone's entire abdomen will be ripped open, and only after searching will we find a miniscule hole in the skin. Then we will find small black dots all over the organ, but we don't know what they are."

It is an indication, he continued, that whatever is entering the body is exploding and doing the damage once it is inside. Multiple organs will fail, and will continue to fail even after surgery removes any shrapnel.

"We are consulting with international colleagues, and they are confirming that there is something unusual going on with these cases," said Dr. Skaik.

"We have seen plenty of nails, of metal shrapnel and foreign metallic parts, but there was never violence of this character or something that continued to damage even after the parts of the weapon were removed. What is being intentionally created is a population of handicapped people."

Some of the injuries, including multiple organ failure, mutilation and severed limbs, are so debilitating that Dr. Karim Hosni, an Egyptian doctor volunteering at the Al-Naser hospital in Khan Younis, says he wishes he could just end his patients' misery.

"Sometimes I wish my patients would just die," he said. "Their injuries are so horrifying, that I know they will now have to lead terrible and painful lives."

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UN Special Rapporteur Likens Gaza to Warsaw Ghetto

By Press TV

There is more than enough evidence that Israel committed war crimes in its three week-long offensive into Gaza, says a UN investigator.

UN special rapporteur Richard Falk (a Jewish American academic) called for an independent inquiry into Israel's violation of international humanitarian law.

Falk said Israel's actions against the besieged Gazans are reminiscent of "the worst kind of international memories of the Warsaw Ghetto" which included the starvation and murder of Polish Jews by Nazi Germany in World War Two...

Israeli officials moved closer to being prosecuted for war crimes after Norwegian medics in Gaza found traces of depleted uranium on Gaza victims...The Geneva Convention has classified depleted uranium ammunitions as 'illegal weapons of mass destruction' due to their high radioactivity and toxicity....

Israel faces potential war crimes charges over its excessive use of other controversial weapons on the densely-populated coastal strip.

Human rights group Amnesty International has also touched on the issue, saying that Tel Aviv used white phosphorus munitions "indiscriminately and illegally" in overcrowded areas of Gaza.

"The repeated use [of White Phosphorus] in this manner, despite evidence of its indiscriminate effects and its toll on civilians, is a war crime," said Donatella Rovera of the Amnesty International.

White phosphorus is a high-incendiary substance that bursts into all-consuming flames that cannot be extinguished with water, burning flesh to the bone and often leading to death.

Israel launched its Operation Cast Lead on December 27 to allegedly defend its territories from Hamas rockets, which were fired in retaliation for Israel's violation of a ceasefire that had then been in place.


Falk, dismissed Israel's argument that the assault was for self-defense, saying that "the UN charter, and international law, does not give Israel the legal foundation for claiming self-defense."

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Come On Down For Your Freedom Medals

By John Pilger

On 13 January, George W. Bush presented “presidential freedom medals”, said to be America’s highest recognition of devotion to freedom and peace. Among the recipients were Tony Blair, who, with Bush, bears responsibility for the physical, social and cultural destruction of an entire nation; John Howard, the former prime minister of Australia and minor American vassal who led the most openly racist government in his country’s modern era; and Alvaro Uribe, the president of Colombia, whose government, according the latest study of that murderous state, is “responsible for than 90 per cent of all cases of torture”....

Although more spectacular in its choreographed histrionics, Barack Obama’s inauguration carried the same Orwellian message of inverted truth: of ruthlessness of criminal power, if not unending war....

...only days earlier, the House of Representatives, dominated by the new president’s party, the Democrats, voted 390-5 to back Israel’s massacres in Gaza. The supply of American weapons used in the massacres was authorised previously by such a margin. These included the Hellfire missile which sucks the air out of lungs, ruptures livers and amputates arms and legs without the necessity of shrapnel: a “major advance”, according to the specialist literature.

As a senator, then president-elect, Obama raised no objection to these state-of-the-art [sic] weapons being rushed to Israel – worth $22 billion in 2008 – in time for the long-planned assault on Gaza’s fenced and helpless population. This is understandable; it's how the system works.

On no other issue does Congress and the president, Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals, give such absolute support. By comparison, the German Reichstag in the 1930s was a treasure of democratic and principled debate.....

Across the world, people once indifferent to the arcane “conflict” in the Middle East, now ask the question the BBC and CNN rarely ask: Why does Israel have a right to exist, but Palestine does not?

They ask, too, why do the lawless enjoy such immunity in the pristine world of balance and objectivity?

The perfectly-spoken Israeli “spokesman” represents the most lawless regime on earth, exotic tyrannies included, according to a tally of United Nations resolutions defied and Geneva Conventions defiled.

In France, 80 organisations are working to bring war crimes indictments against Israel’s leaders.

On 15 January, the fine Israeli reporter, Gideon Levy, wrote in Ha’aretz that Israeli generals “will not be the only ones to hide in El Al planes lest they are arrested [overseas]”.

One day, other journalists and their editors and producers may be called upon to not only explain why they did not tell the truth about these criminals but even to stand in the dock with them. No Bush Freedom Medal is worth that.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Time to Break Silence

By Rev. Martin Luther King

See and read this historic speech,

which is still very relevant today!

In his "Beyond Vietnam" speech delivered at New York's Riverside Church on April 4, 1967 -- a year to the day before he was murdered -- King called the United States "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today."

Time magazine called the speech "demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi," and the Washington Post declared that King had "diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country, his people."

History proved Martin Luther King was spot on . . . . while the media icons were wrong!

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Punishing the Palestinians

By Ralph Nader

In the long sixty-year tortured history of the Palestinian expulsion from their lands, Congress has maintained that it is always the Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority, and now Hamas who are to blame for all hostilities and their consequences with the Israeli government.... Continue


Punishing the Palestinians

By Ralph Nader

January 18, 2009 "Commondreams" -- In the long sixty-year tortured history of the Palestinian expulsion from their lands, Congress has maintained that it is always the Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority, and now Hamas who are to blame for all hostilities and their consequences with the Israeli government.

The latest illustration of this Washington puppet show, backed by the most modern weapons and billions of taxpayer dollars annually sent to Israel, was the grotesquely one-sided Resolutions whisked through the Senate and the House of Representatives.

While a massive bombing and invasion of Gaza was underway, the resolution blaming Hamas for all the civilian casualties and devastation-99% of it inflicted on Palestinians-zoomed through the Senate by voice vote and through the House by a vote of 390 to 5 with 22 legislators voting present.

There is more dissent against this destruction of Gaza among the Israeli people, the Knesset, the Israeli media, and Jewish-Americans than among the dittoheads on Capitol Hill.

The reasons for such near-unanimous support for Israeli actions-no matter how often they are condemned by peace advocates such as Bishop Desmond Tutu, United Nations resolutions, the World Court and leading human rights groups inside and outside of Israel, are numerous. The pro-Israeli government lobby, and the right-wing Christian evangelicals, lubricated by campaign money of many Political Action Committees (PACs) certainly are key.

There is also more than a little bigotry in Congress against Arabs and Muslims, reinforced by the mass media yahoos who set new records for biased reporting each time this conflict erupts.

The bias is clear. It is always the Palestinians' fault. Right-wingers who would never view the U.S. government as perfect see the Israeli government as never doing anything wrong. Liberals who do not hesitate to criticize the U.S. military view all Israeli military attacks, invasions and civilian devastation as heroic manifestations of Israeli defense.

The inversion of history and the scope of amnesia know no limits. What about the fact that the Israeli government drove Palestinians from their lands in 1947-48 with tens of thousands pushed into the Gaza strip. No problem to Congress.

Then the fact that the Israeli government cruelly occupied, in violation of UN resolutions, the West Bank and Gaza in 1967 and only removed its soldiers and colonists from Gaza (1.5 million people in a tiny area twice the size of the District of Columbia) in 2005. To Congress, the Palestinians deserved it.

Then when Hamas was freely elected to run Gaza, the Israeli authorities cut off the tax revenues on imports that belonged to the Gaza government. This threw the Gazans into a fiscal crisis-they were unable to pay their civil servants and police.

In 2006, the Israelis added to their unrelieved control of air, water and land around the open-air prison by establishing a blockade. The natives became restless.

Under international law, a blockade is an act of war. Primitive rockets, called by reporters "wildly inaccurate" were fired into Israel. During this same period, Israeli soldiers and artillery and missiles would go into Gaza at will and take far more lives and cause far more injuries than those incurred by those rockets. Civilians-especially children, the infirm and elderly-died or suffered week after week for lack of medicines, medical equipment, food, electricity, fuel and water which were embargoed by the Israelis.

Then the Israeli bombing followed by the invasion during the past three weeks with what prominent Israeli writer Gideon Levy called "a brutal and violent operation...far beyond what was needed for protecting the people in its south." Mr. Levy observed what the president of the United Nations General Assembly, Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann called a war against "a helpless and defenseless imprisoned population."

The horror of being trapped from fleeing the torrent of the most modern weapons of war from the land, air and seas is reflected in this passage from Amira Hass, writing in the leading Israeli newspaper Haaretz:

"The earth shaking under your feet, clouds of choking smoke, explosions like a fireworks display, bombs bursting into all-consuming flames that cannot be extinguished with water, mushroom clouds of pinkish-red smoke, suffocating gas, harsh burns on the skin, extraordinary maimed live and dead bodies."

Ms. Hass is pointing to the use of new anti-civilian weapons used on the Gazan people. So far there have been over 1100 fatalities, many thousands of injuries and the destruction of homes, schools, mosques, hospitals, pharmacies, granaries, farmer's fields and many critical public facilities. The clearly marked UN headquarters and UN school were smashed, along with stored medicines and food supplies.

Why? The Congressional response: "Hamas terrorists" everywhere. Sure, defending their Palestinian families is called terrorism. The truth is there is no Hamas army, airforce and navy up against the fourth most powerful military in the world. As one Israeli gunner on an armored personnel carrier frankly said to The New York Times: "They are villagers with guns. They don't even aim when they shoot."

Injured Gazans are dying in damaged hospital corridors, bleeding to death because rescuers are not permitted to reach them or are endangered themselves. Thousands of units of blood donated by Jordanians are stopped by the Israeli blockade. Israel has kept the international press out of the Gazan killing fields.

What is going on in Gaza is what Bill Moyers called it earlier this month - "state terrorism." Already about 400 children are known to have died. More will be added who are under the rubble.

Since 2002, more than 50 Arab and Muslim nations have had a standing offer, repeated often, that if Israel obeys several UN resolutions and withdraws to the 1967 borders leaving 22 percent of the original Palestine for an independent Palestinian state, they will open full diplomatic relations and there will be peace. Israel has declined to accept this offer.

None of these and many other aspects of this conflict matter to the Congress. Its members do not want to hear even from the Israeli peace movement, composed of retired generals, security chiefs, mayors, former government ministers, and members of the Knesset. In 60 years these savvy peace advocates have not been able to give one hour of testimony before a Congressional Committee.

Maybe members of Congress may wish to weigh the words of the founder of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, years ago when he said:

"There has been anti-Semitism the Nazis Hitler Auschwitz but was that their [the Palestinian's] fault? They only see one thing: We have come here and stolen their country."

Doesn't that observation invite some compassion for the Palestinian people and their right to be free of Israeli occupation, land and water grabs and blockades in the 22 percent left of Palestine?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

"We Are The Authors Of This Tragedy"

By George Galloway - Video


George Galloway's powerful speech in the House of Commons debate on Gaza, Thu 15 Jan 2009 (5.30pm), highlighting the hypocrisy and brazen double-standards of Western foreign policy towards Israel policies, including assassinations and other war crimes. Continue

Israel Bombs Main UN HQ / Compound With

'White Phosphorus' Shells:

By Sheera Frenkel, Jerusalem, and Philippe Naughton -

Video and Text


The main UN compound in Gaza was left in flames today after being struck by Israeli artillery fire, and a spokesman said that the building had been hit by shells containing the incendiary agent white phosphorus. Continue

Number Of Iraqis Slaughtered In US War And Occupation Of Iraq "1,307,319"


Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In U.S. War And Occupation Of Iraq 4,227


Cost of U.S. War and Occupation of Iraq

$588,017,165,620
For more details, click here.