zaterdag 27 januari 2007
De Guardian bericht:
'Israel tries to cut off Tehran from world markets
David Hearst in Herzliya
Israel is launching a campaign to isolate Iran economically and to soften up world opinion for the option of a military strike aimed at crippling or delaying Tehran's uranium enrichment programme.
Pressure will be applied to major US pension funds to stop investment in about 70 companies that trade directly with Iran, and to international banks that trade with its oil sector, cutting off the country's access to hard currency. The aim is to isolate Tehran from the world markets in a campaign similar to that against South Africa at the height of apartheid.
Meanwhile, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is to be pursued in international courts for calling the Holocaust a myth, and saying Israel should be wiped off the map. The case will be launched under the 1948 UN convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide, which outlaws "direct and public incitement to genocide".
Before flying to London to spearhead the mission to sell the sanctions, the Likud party leader, Binyamin Netanyahu, said: "A campaign to divest commercial investment from Iran, beginning with the large pension funds in the west ... either stops Iran's nuclear programme or it will pave the way for tougher actions. So it's no-lose for us."
In December the UN ordered a ban on the supply of materials that could contribute to Iran's nuclear and missile programme, and an asset freeze on Iranian companies and individuals. But it stopped short of a full travel ban.
Israeli defence sources claim that Iran is close to the point of no return in its uranium enrichment programme using gas centrifuges.
A senior official said: "They currently have problems but if the programme is allowed to continue without interruptions we estimate they will have mastered the technology this year. We expect a declaration from them in the next month, possibly on February 21, the day of the Islamic Revolution, that they have reached significant achievements.
"It will be a bluff, but it will have the potential of marketing Iran as a regional superpower. If they do it, a nuclear Iran will cast a long shadow over the whole of the Middle East; we will have Hizbullastan in Lebanon, Hamastan here, and Shiastan in Iraq."
Military analysts speaking at an annual conference in Herzliya, near Tel Aviv, claimed that Israel was facing an "existential threat" from the Iranian uranium enrichment programme, which Tehran has consistently claimed was for a civilian nuclear fuel cycle. The only division of opinion was over the imminence of this threat.'
En nu afwachten of de westerse politici overgaan tot een boycot van de kernmacht Israel, die het Midden Oosten al een halve eeuw lang terroriseert. Al in 1938 verklaarde David Ben-Goerion tegenover de Jewish Agency Executive: 'I am for compulsory transfer; I do not see anything immoral in it.' Al voor de Tweede Wereldoorlog vond de grondlegger van 'de joodse natie' het etnisch zuiveren van Palestina moreel verantwoord. Al vanaf het begin was expansionisme het doel van de zionisten. Vandaar dat Israel tot nu toe nog steeds niet precies heeft aangegeven waar de grenzen van het land liggen. Dunam for Dunam. Hectare na hectare, dat is de politiek van zowel de linkse als rechtse zionisten.
'"I cannot stand the constant military raids in my home"
By Lina Massufi
""My life has been like hell over the past three months. US and Iraqi soldiers have raided my house more than 12 times. "My husband, Khalil, was killed during the US invasion in 2003 when he drove through a closed road and soldiers shot him dead.
"I cannot stand the constant military raids in my home"By Lina Massufi01/24/07 -- - BAGHDAD, 22 January (IRIN) - "My name is Lina Massufi. I'm a 32-year-old laboratory assistant who works 10 hours a day just to make enough money to raise my children. "My life has been like hell over the past three months. US and Iraqi soldiers have raided my house more than 12 times. "My husband, Khalil, was killed during the US invasion in 2003 when he drove through a closed road and soldiers shot him dead. "I live in Haifa Street, one of the most dangerous places to live in Baghdad today. The area is infamous for its huge number of insurgents. This is why Iraqi and US soldiers have increased their activity in the area, constantly raiding homes and arresting men for interrogation. "Last month, they arrested my 23-year-old brother Fae'ek, who lives with me. He is a pharmacy student but nonetheless they took him and kept him in prison for more than a week - even after knowing he was innocent. He returned with signs of torture on his body and was crying like a baby because of the pain. "I cannot stand the constant military raids in my home. Every time they [the soldiers] raid my house, they break the door. They don't know how to knock at a door. One day, when I asked them why they were entering like that instead of ringing the bell, they laughed at me and called me an idiot. "My furniture is all broken into pieces because of the way they conduct their searches. I no longer have dishes or glasses to speak of because they destroyed most of them during the raids. "I have two children and for most of the time, they are scared. Muhammad, a four-year-old, cannot sleep well at night. He has nightmares every day and when he wakes up he cries, asking me not to let the soldiers take him as they took his uncle. "Fadia, my daughter, who is only eight years old, doesn't want to go to school because she says that if they raid our home and I'm not around, they would do something bad to her brother. But with her at home, she can help him not be afraid. "Our neighbourhood is in the middle of a constant war. It is not safe for us to leave or enter our houses. Most of the shops around here are closed. We have to walk about 5km to buy food like vegetables and rice. "Sometimes, when I return by taxi from my job, which is about 45 minutes from my home, I find the street closed and bullets flying around everywhere. "I start to cry as I become afraid that something might have happened to my children even though I know that my brother is there. I know that when I get home, I will find Muhammad crying and Fadia scared but I cannot stay all day at home because if I leave my job, there will be no one to feed them.'
Lees verder: http://www.ichblog.eu/content/view/101/2/
Posted by David Sirota.
Apparently, circus contortionists have replaced political leaders in Washington, D.C...
Circus contortionists never cease to amaze, because the moment you think they can't twist their bodies any further, they somehow do something even more absurd, like tying a full slip-knot with one leg. The same can be said of Washington politicians these days when it comes to Iraq: the moment you think they can't obscure their positions any further, they go right ahead and wow the crowd with ever more hideous poses.
Nowhere is this more apparent than among top congressional Democrats. As we saw earlier this week, just months after the public delivered a strong anti-war mandate to Washington, top House Democrats are demanding that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) take a "go slow" approach to Iraq - Washingtonese for a "do nothing" approach. Now yesterday, Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe Biden (D-MBNA) led a group of Democrats on his committee in voting down a bill that would have forced President Bush to get congressional authorization for an Iraq escalation. Ignoring basic historical precedent as laid out by Rick Perlstein in Salon, Biden instead championed a toothless, non-binding resolution.
But it gets worse - much worse.
At the very same time this is happening, Senate Democrats are somehow trying to pretend they have absolutely no power to do anything and, in one high-profile case, they are basically claiming they aren't even part of the government.
As I noted before, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is actually asking the public to sign a petition demanding President Bush back off his escalation plan. The petition, of course, says nothing about the fact that Democrats, now in the majority, could themselves stop the escalation by using any number of Congress's constitutional powers. Put another way, the petition is asking the public to demand President Bush do something that the petition sponsors themselves could do.
Then, today, there is Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), the senator who - despite every effort to make us forget - voted for the war and continues to this day to oppose efforts to end the war and bring our troops home. The New York Times reports that she said offered up the classic pass-the-buck self-fulfilling prophecy that "we’re not likely to stop this escalation." Still, she said, congressional lawmakers like her "are going to do everything we can to send a message to our government and the Iraqi government that they had better change."
Let's repeat that to comprehend it's true absurdity: U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton, who serves as a senior member of the majority party that controls both Houses of our government's Congress, said that all she can do is "send a message to our government" that "they had better change."
This is triangulation on a bad acid trip. Whereas old-style Bill Clinton triangulation meant sucking face with Republicans and Big Money interests in order to isolate Democrats, the new strung out, acid trip-style triangulation by Hillary Clinton means Senators actually pretending that they, as majority party lawmakers, aren't really part of "our government." Seriously - is she planning on having her staff "send a message to our government" in a self-addressed stamped envelope? I mean, I understand that she's very, very busy now running for president, and can't be bothered with details like, oh, massive U.S. troop casualties in a war she pushed. But did this woman and her professional political entourage forget that about 3 months ago, she asked New York voters to re-elect her to serve as a U.S. Senator in "our government" rather than as some innocent bystander sending "messages" to something she's supposedly not a part of?'
Lees verder: http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/47213/
by Michael S. Rozeff
Up until now, I’ve always thought of the American Empire in conventional terms as a continuing enterprise that, sooner or later, would decline and fall. No more. Today I began thinking of it as dead, ethically, that is. This helps to fix its place among good and bad human institutions. I think we can think of the state in the same way. Why give these institutions one shred of credit more than they deserve?
As I see it, the Empire was stillborn ethically. Whatever life it had and has, was and is, ethically invalid. Its life is drawn from us the living; we die as it battens on our blood. Like a vampire, the Empire is morally dead. It lives by night and darkness, has no reflection in any mirror, and can’t survive without inflicting death on the living. The body of the Empire keeps on fighting for blood, round after round; but it’s a moral zombie. Unfortunately for us, we are part of it. As in the Dracula story, we sustain it, we are hypnotized by it, and after awhile we become a disciple of the dreadful creature. We see and live the night and day of the living dead.
Life is identified with ethical behavior. Speaking of his unrighteous enemies, David wrote "their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre." But, "thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield."
Never does one hear more howls of protest as when one proclaims to the modern relativist ear that there is such a thing as absolute right and wrong; and that straying from right does have negative, life-destroying consequences. This reflexive and defensive reaction to any disturbing thought of an absolute value, despite the relativist’s own absolute assumption of no absolutes, shows that our ethics are in bad shape.
In our political lives and thus our individual lives, less and less do we recognize and live by the ethics we once lived by and still should live by. These ethics can still be found in desk drawers of hotel and motel rooms. Our society’s usual institutions for conveying ethics are so weak that business students have to take courses in ethics to compensate for not learning elsewhere that stealing and cheating are wrong.
A hundred or more years ago, when philosophers declared God dead; when science shook faith; when socialism postulated new ideals; when the U.S. pursued national power; Americans turned away from the beliefs, ethics, and practices that had brought them bounty. And now, after many years, we can see clearly, if we would or could, that we made a wrong turn. That wrong turn cannot be dismissed, as the young and naïve are wont to do, by pointing to the reduced time it takes to travel from Los Angeles to Toronto or to the breaking of color barriers. These things or others like them in even more bounteous quantity would have occurred had we stayed on and extended the proper ethical course of a limited and just government that minded its own business at home and abroad. That wrong turn is measured by such things as near-continuous warfare, broken lives and families, a dependent and dumbed-down population, static standards of living, ever-deteriorating money, humongous debts, greater cruelty, greater indifference to suffering, a greater use of violence, less liberty, less freedom of choice, increasing authoritarianism and militarism, greater welfare, more crime, less justice, less innovation, less civility, deteriorating art and culture, and less civilization.'
On Tuesday, five employees of the private security firm Blackwater USA were killed in a violent Baghdad neighborhood. Hours later, President Bush used his State of the Union address to call on what some are calling an undeclared surge of private mercenaries in Iraq. We speak with Jeremy Scahill, author of the forthcoming “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.”
The private security firm Blackwater USA is back in the news again. On Tuesday, hours before President Bush’s State of the Union address, one of the company’s helicopters was brought down in a violent Baghdad neighborhood. Five Blackwater troops - all Americans - were killed. Reports say the men’s bodies show signs of execution-style deaths with bullet wounds to the back off the head.
Blackwater provided no identities or details of those killed. They did release a statement saying the deaths “are a reminder of the extraordinary circumstances under which our professionals voluntarily serve to bring freedom and democracy to the Iraqi people.”
President Bush made no mention of the incident during his State of the Union. But he did address the very issue that has brought dozens of private security companies like Blackwater to Iraq in the first place: the need for more troops.
Is the president looking to further outsource war? My next guest writes that Blackwater is a reminder of just how privatized the Iraq war has become. Jeremy Scahill is a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute and is author of the forthcoming book, “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.” He has an OpEd in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times titled “Our mercenaries in Iraq.” He joins me in the firehouse studio.
Jeremy Scahill. Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute and the author of the forthcoming book, “Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army.”'
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t Columnist
He's a ghost, he's a god,
He's a man,
he's a guru,
You're one microscopic cog
In his catastrophic plan,
Designed and directed by
His red right hand...
- Nick Cave
Question: What is the connection between a possible American attack on Iran and the perjury trial of I. Lewis Libby?
Answer: Vice President Dick Cheney.
Wariness over a potential American attack on Iran has been on the rise for months. This wariness became outright fear in certain circles as last November's midterms approached; the idea of an Iran assault being used as the "October Surprise" to change the electoral geometry was bandied about extensively. No such attack came, but attention has not wandered far from the possibility since.
Concerns rose again over the last several weeks after Bush's poorly-received speech justifying the "surge" of US troops into Iraq. A centerpiece of that speech was his blunt threat to the government in Tehran about any meddling with the situation in Baghdad. Astute observers of the Iraq situation found this threat both odd and disturbing.
On the one hand, it is axiomatic by now that the Shia majority in Iraq's government is being guided by the Shia government in Iran. This victory for Iran was made possible by our invasion and occupation of Iraq, and by our ham-fisted manufacturing of a shaky Shia-dominated government. The alliance was almost fated to happen after our invasion, which makes barking at Tehran today because of our actions these last few years almost too absurd to comment on. Mr. Bush gift-wrapped Baghdad for Iran, and quacking about it now is a useless gesture.
On the other hand, however, we are dealing with an American government that has allowed wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to spiral into chaos. The brain-trust surrounding Mr. Bush had, at virtually every turn, made the exact wrong decision at every available opportunity. They invaded Afghanistan, but moved nearly that entire force into Iraq for the invasion and occupation there, thus allowing the Taliban to regain control again. They invaded Iraq - itself a calamitous decision - with a small force that was not prepared to fight a years-long urban warfare conflict that has transmogrified into a vicious sectarian civil war.
This list goes on, and is almost entirely comprised of decisions made with mean considerations of domestic politics in mind. To dismiss out of hand the idea that these same people might embark upon an equally foolish course against Iran is folly.
The combination of Iranian influence over Iraqi politics, bombast from the Bush administration, their execrable decision-making to date, and the fact that a second US carrier battle group has steamed into the Persian Gulf is disquieting in and of itself. If you add to this already-volatile mix the perjury trial of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the potential for an explosion increases by orders of magnitude.
Why does Libby's trial matter in this? It matters because of Dick Cheney.
News reports of the opening statements from both prosecutors and defense attorneys appear to place Mr. Cheney at or near the center of the plot to out former CIA agent Valerie Plame. The defense, in a surprise move, went so far as to describe Libby as a "scapegoat" for White House actions against Plame, which were done to silence Iraq critic Ambassador Joseph Wilson. As this trial proceeds and more witnesses testify, the trail of evidence could very well lead to the Vice President's door.
The importance of this possibility lies in the power wielded by Cheney. Only the most devout Bush-worshippers continue to believe he is the master of events in the Executive branch. Everyone else has correctly concluded that the ideological fuel and bureaucratic muscle in this administration flows from Cheney.'
Lees verder: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/012607A.shtml
Average Customer Review: Write> and share your thoughts with other customers.
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful:
Morality or prejudice - which is the best basis for peace? , 18 Nov 2006
Deborah> (Galashiels, Scotland) - See>
I was incredibly moved by this book, even though as I read it I was very aware that there are sections of Israeli society, and the wider Jewish community, which will simply dismiss it out of hand as propagandist and anti-Zionist fiction. First, I have to say that I am Jewish, so I came to this book with a concern about potential conflicting loyalties that most of us, inside and outside Israel, bring to this emotive issue. Ilan Pappe, however, in effect asks everyone to balance love and/or respect for Israel (whether it is one's "homeland" or not) with an objective appraisal of the behaviour of the government (past and present) of that country. As parents are advised, one should criticise the behaviour - what has been carried out in the name of Israel - but love the child. I was brought up on stories of Israel's valiant fight against impossible odds, of a David-like victory against the combined might of the Arab aggressors, and a celebration of everything Israel has achieved in the last century. However, I want to see peace in Israel - for everyone. So I have made it my business to familiarize myself with some of the basic arguments on both sides, but I had not come across the sheer wealth of detail that Pappe brings out in support of his main theme - that the Palestinians were forcibly, deliberately expelled from their homes and villages, in a project conceived and initiated long before the end of the Mandate. And regardless of whether they fled in fear or were driven out, they were not allowed back. No one can dispute this. One of the most chilling arguments in the book, however, is that ethnic cleansing is still on the table as far as the government of Israel is concerned. It is facing a demographic "problem" - there are still too many Arabs inside Israel - and apparently it has its eyes on East Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank with a view to reducing the Arab population. It is hard to see how the two positions can be reconciled, but Pappe makes a very good argument for justice and reparations for the Palestinians, and as the only just and practical basis for a lasting peace, it is a convincing one. I highly recommend people on both sides of the argument read this book. Was this review helpful to you? (Report>
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful:
Groundbreaking book - should be compulsory reading for everyone interested in human rights, 27 Oct 2006
Robin> (London, UK) - See>
Ilan Pappe does an incredible job recreating the gradual Zionist take-over of Palestine in the lead up to 1948 and beyond. The outline of the story is well known, and few would argue with the main facts of what happened and when, or the end result: the establishment of the State of Israel and the migration of almost a million Palestinians. Pappe's achievement here is to piece together the driving ideology, the game plans, and strategies that successfully achieved it. Many will automatically accuse Pappe of having an agenda (as virtually every writer seems to have on this issue). However, he puts forward a persuasive argument that plans had been afoot to expropriate Palestine long before the War of Independence, and goes on to detail the discussions in which the plans were laid down, and give a blow by blow, village by village account of their execution. In the process, he marshalls an impressive array of facts to lay before the reader, from Ben-Gurion's personal diary entries that reveal a truly chilling cold-bloodedness vis-à-vis the indigenous Palestinians, extracts from the personal memoirs and diaries of a number of key players, and military archives including telegrams and orders to commando and army units. Even if you distrust the detail, there is no arguing with the facts on the ground - almost a million Palestinians were refugees by the end of 1949, and over 400 villages had been destroyed. As Pappe notes in his introduction, if this had happened a mere 50 years later, it would have been called ethnic cleansing, and that is what he calls it. Regardless of why you think the Palestinians fled (deliberately forced from their homes or an inevitable by-product of war), the fact remains that they have not been allowed to return to their homes and lands, despite UN Resolution 194 defending their right to do so, and despite the fact that Israel's entry into the UN was conditional on their compliance with this resolution, to which they agreed. Pappe writes with great humanity about the Palestinian plight and their inhumane treatment in the decades since, but argues passionately that Israelis have also lost in this fight for land and nationhood. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It should be compulsory reading for every believer in human rights, and after reading it, everyone should book an appointment with their MP and ask what - exactly - they are doing about the Palestinian refugee question. It's the least we can do. Was this review helpful to you? (Report>
vrijdag 26 januari 2007
By Joshua Partlow
Washington Post Foreign Service
BAGHDAD, Jan. 25 -- When Fadhil Abbas determined that his mother's astigmatism required surgery, they did not consider treatment in his home town of Najaf, in southern Iraq. Instead they joined a four-taxi convoy of ailing Iraqis headed to Iran.
For more than two weeks last fall, Abbas, his sister and his mother were treated to free hotels, trips to the zoo and religious shrines, and his mother's $1,300 eye surgery at a hospital in Tehran, all courtesy of the offices of Moqtada al-Sadr, Iraq's ascendant Shiite Muslim cleric. Abbas returned to Najaf glowing over the technical prowess of Iran.
"When you look at this hospital, it is like something imaginary -- you wouldn't believe such a hospital like this exists," said Abbas, a 22-year-old college student. "Iran wants to help the patients in Iraq. Other countries don't want to let Iraqis in."
The increasingly common arrangement for sick or wounded Iraqis to receive treatment in Iran is just one strand in a burgeoning relationship between these two Persian Gulf countries. Thousands of Iranian pilgrims visit the Shiite holy cities in southern Iraq each year. Iran exports electricity and refined oil products to Iraq, and Iraqi vendors sell Iranian-made cars, air coolers, plastics and the black flags, decorated with colorful script, that Shiites are flying this week to celebrate the religious holiday of Ashura. But when President Bush and top U.S. officials speak of Iran's role in Iraq, their focus is more limited. U.S. officials accuse Iranian security forces, particularly the al-Quds Brigade of the Revolutionary Guards, of funneling sophisticated explosives to Iraqi guerrillas.
"We will not allow hegemony of a hostile regime to have power over this area," U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad said this week.
But changing the "behavior" of the Iranian government, as Khalilzad proposes, collides with Iran's expanding influence in Iraq, which is built on deep cultural ties as well as personal and business relationships developed during the years that many leading Iraqi Shiite politicians spent in exile in Iran.
Iran has dispatched 56 diplomats to staff its embassy in Baghdad and consulates in Basra and Karbala. It maintains informal liaison offices in the Kurdish cities of Sulaymaniyah and Irbil, the latter of which was raided Jan. 11 by U.S. troops, who arrested five Iranians. Each day, Iran provides 1,000 tons of cooking gas, about 20 percent of the Iraqi demand, and 2 million liters of kerosene. Iran exports electricity through Iraq's Diyala province and plans to quadruple the amount with new projects, Iraqi officials say.'
Lees verder: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/25/AR2007012502087.html?referrer=email
De New York Times bericht:
'Father of Dead West Bank Girl Seeks Peace With Israelis.
By Greg Myre
The New York Times
Anata, West Bank - Even as Bassam Aramin mourns his 10-year-old daughter, killed last week during a clash between stone-throwing Palestinian youths and the Israeli police, he says he wants to talk to Israelis about making peace.
It has been a long journey for Mr. Aramin, 38, a former Palestinian fighter. He spent seven years in Israeli jails, from 1986 to 1993, for weapons possession and for belonging to the Fatah movement, which was banned at the time.
But his views gradually changed, and for the past two years he has been an active member of Combatants for Peace, a group of former Palestinian militants and former Israeli soldiers who have teamed up to urge reconciliation to both sides.
With his Israeli partner, Zohar Shapira, a former member of an elite commando unit, Mr. Aramin has been speaking to students and community groups in Israel and the West Bank.
"Over time I became convinced that we couldn't solve our problem with weapons and we had to talk to the other side," said Mr. Aramin, who lives in Anata, on the outskirts of Jerusalem. "I want to keep talking to Israelis so they can understand what happened to my daughter."
His daughter, Abir, was in an upbeat mood last Tuesday after completing a math exam at the Anata Girls School. She walked out the front gate and crossed the dusty street, where she bought a small gift for her mother, Salwa, who had helped her study.
As Abir emerged from the store, a clash was erupting between stone-throwing Palestinian youths and the Israeli border police. A moment later Abir was hit in the back of the head, a blow that threw her headlong into the street, according to her sister, Areen, 12, who was with her. After three days in Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem, Abir died without ever regaining consciousness.
Israel's separation barrier, a towering concrete wall here, is just a few yards from the adjacent boys' and girls' schools, and the area was the scene of frequent confrontations during its construction. But work on the wall was finished several months ago, and the area was calm until the border police began patrolling neighborhoods on the West Bank side of the wall in recent days. Youths threw stones at the Israeli jeeps on several occasions, residents said.
Areen and other Palestinian witnesses say they have no doubt that Abir was hit by Israeli fire. Michael Sfard, a prominent Israeli lawyer representing the Aramin family, said he had received a rubber-coated steel bullet that witnesses said they had found at the scene, which he presented to the Israeli police.'
Ondanks het absurd groot aantal Nederlandse correspondenten in Israel heb ik niets over dit geval vernomen. Hoe zou dat komen? Zodra een joods-Israeli slachtoffer is dan wordt er wel aandacht aan besteed. En nooit zal een Nederlandse journalist aldaar het doodschieten van een onbewapend Palestijns kind door een zwaar bewapende Israelische militair een terreurdaad noemen. Maar zou dit met een onbewapend Joods Israelis kind zijn gebeurd dan werd dit terecht onmiddellijk een terreurdaad genoemd. Vanwaar die onevenwichtige Pro-Israel berichtgeving van de Nederlandse commerciele massamedia? Hoewel ik deze vraag herhaaldelijk aan mijn collega's heb gesteld, heb ik er nooit echt een antwoord op gekregen. Misschien kunt u het eens aan journalisten vragen.
'EAJG en UCP nodigen U uit voor:26 januari 15:00 uur Gastcollege door Ilan Pappé
Van Boudine Berkenbosch kreeg ik deze email:
'Aanstaande zaterdag, 27 januari, zullen honderdduizenden Amerikanen een mars naar Washington houden, om vrede en gerechtigheid te eisen in Irak en het Midden Oosten. Het mondiale genootschap Avaaz is bezig om wereldwijd een stem van solidariteit te laten klinken, middels een internationale virtuele mars. Het is kort dag, dus laat je stem horen en sluit je vandaag nog aan bij deze demonstratie.
Aanhangers van Avaaz in Washington hebben aangeboden om echte spandoeken en borden mee te dragen in de demonstratie in de VS – om te laten zien hoeveel internet demonstranten van over de hele wereld met hen meedoen. Ze zullen de vlag van elk land dat meer dan 500 internet demonstranten weet op te roepen met zich meedragen, dus vertel het aan je vrienden!
Terwijl de oppositie tegen deze oorlog groeit, heeft Avaaz meer dan 45.000 mensen uit meer dan 100 landen opgeroepen om zich aan te sluiten bij het verzet tegen de militaire escalatie van Bush en om te eisen dat er echte plannen worden gemaakt om deze oorlog te beëindigen.
Klik hier om mee te doen:
Dit kan de wedergeboorte zijn van de vredesbeweging in de VS. We moeten hen laten weten dat de wereld achter hen staat. Laten we onze roep om vrede sturen naar de straten van Washington, waar de macht zetelt. Doe mee met deze wereldwijde vredesdemonstratie en vertel het vandaag nog aan je vrienden!'
Minot, North Dakota 911 Dispatch Call.
Minot, North Dakota 911 Dispatch Calls.
Eric Klinenberg. Associate professor of sociology at New York University and author of the new book “Fighting for Air: The Battle To Control America’s Media.” He is also the author of “Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago.”'
upcoming war on Iran
by Mazin Qumsiyeh
Over 80% of Iraqis want the US to leave Iraq and 60% support attacks on US
soldiers and mercenaries (aka "contractors"). A majority of the US public
also want withdrawal (not redeployment and not the fake "winning" strategies
of politicians who are always behind the curve). Get out of Iraq is what
most of the world wants the US to do. Even in countries with racist past and
bigotted rightwing current leadership (UK, Canada, Australia), the people
are not in favor of this illegal war. Even here with gatekeepers in the
media, polls show Bush with the lowest approval ratings ever (in the
twenties). Some call it Bush's war but it is also becoming clearer (at
least on the internet though not in mainstream media) that the war was
conceived, planned and managed by a neoconservative cabal with strong
connections to AIPAC (Israel unregistered lobby in Washington) that has
taken full control of the US executive branch. AIPAC also holds significant
power in Congress (both parties). The most recent flexing of the lobby's
muscle has been the exclusion in the ethics and lobby reform bills passed by
the Senate and Congress of trips paid for by lobbyists (from the perks not
allowed to congress members and their staff). This is significant because
most in Congress make more trips to Israel than they make to areas within
their own districts.
The inspiration for Israel lobby (both its neocon and neoliberal wings)
comes from racist elements in Israel characterized by use of military force
against Arabs and Muslims and who believe the best way to maintain economic
superiority is military superiority. Their goal is nothing short of
subverting the US 100% in service what they perceive as Israeli interests
(in the long run I personally believe it is harmful to Israeli citizens but
this is a separate topic). Taxpayers foot the bills (so far $450 Billion for
Iraq and >1 trillion for Israel). There is overwhelming evidence of an
organic links between the war on Palestine and the wars on Afghanistan,
Iraq, Somalia (recently, ignored by many), and soon Iran. Even North Korea
could escape their wrath if it did not supply missile technology to those
Israel considers enemies (Iran, Syria).
The dismissal of the conclusion of the Iraq Study Group that Iraq cannot be
"fixed" (their imperial language) without dealing with the core issue of
Israel/Palestine was important. But they did not explain why that is. The
virulent attacks on Jimmy Carter for his book "Palestine: Peace or
apartheid" should give many hints. So are the virulent attacks on anyone
who is not willing to tow the Zionist line 100% (General Zinni, many ex and
present Senators and Congressman). This is especially visible in the media
which includes very influential people whose allegiances fall outside of
their jobs or their US citizenship. Wolf Blitzer who is chief anchor at CNN
used to work for the Israeli lobby directly. Also most Congress people have
their foreign policy staffs as Zionists (these are the people the peace
movement will meet with on Monday as part of UFPJ's lobby days). This
applies to Democrats and Republicans alike. Morris Amitay, a former head of
AIPAC stated: "There are a lot of guys at the working level up here on
Capitol Hill who happen to be Jewish, who are willing . . . to look at
certain issues in terms of their Jewishness . . . These are all guys who are
in a position to make the decisions in these areas for those senators . . .
You can get an awful lot done just at the staff level."
The exceptions among our lawmakers are treated as outisders and/or actually
described as loonies (Senator Byrd, Congressman Kucinich). All key
positions in Congress that are directly relevant to foreign policy (e.g.
house appropriations) are now held by those who follow the AIPAC line. As
far as marginalization in the media, how many times have you seen Kucinich
named in the media (by both left and right pundits) as "from another
planet", "looney", "extreme", "fringe" etc. The people I talk about as gate
keepers believe Israel must continue to dominate and oppress Palestinians
and deny their internationally recognized rights including the right of
refugees to return to their homes and lands. These gate keepers positioned
themselves in left and right circles, in US Democratic and Republican
parties (they also tried to take over the smaller Green Party just to be
safe but they failed as the Greens decided to stick with human rights), in
the media (Fox, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, newspapers, newsmagazines, etc), and even
as members of the steering committees and coordinating committees of both
pro-war and pro-peace groups and coalitions. The right-wing nuts on talk
radio are allowed to bash anybody and everybody (including allies like
Britain and France) EXCEPT Israel; they also routinely denigrate and make
fun of all ethnic minorities in this country (blacks, Muslims, Arabs,
Asians, Latinos etc) but one minority is off limit.
So let us do a little research on this lobby and cite some resources. Here
we divide this into three sections:
a) Articles that describe the lobby and its influence (perhaps not "lock")
on US foreign policy, and
b) A list of situations where other elite interests (oil, weapons
manufacturers) collided with the Israel lobby and the latter won. There are
of course other situations where the lobby lost, especially early in its
career (e.g. 1956 with Eisenhauer and the Suez crisis).
c) General comments about the lobby's influence and its interests.
First a relevant quote from Nehemia Stessler writing in Haaretz, May 12,
1989: "Israel’s dependence on the United States is far greater than
suggested by the sum of $3 billion. Israel’s physical existence depends on
the Americans in both military and political terms. Without the US, we would
not be equipped with the latest fighter planes and other advanced weapons.
Without the American veto, we would have long since been expelled from every
international organization, not to speak of the UN, which would have imposed
sanctions on us that would have totally paralyzed Israel’s international
trade, since we cannot exist without importing raw material"
A) ARTICLES ON THE LOBBY AND ITS INFLUENCE
Howard Friedman, President of AIPAC, titled his letter of July 30, 2006 to
friends and supporters of AIPAC "Look what you've done". He explained:
"Israel is fighting a pivotal war for its life...the expected chorus of
international condemnation of Israel's actions. ..only ONE nation in the
world came out and flatly declared: Let Israel finish the job.. That nation
is the United States of America--and the reason it had such a clear,
unambiguous view of the situation is YOU and the rest of America Jewry....How do we do it? ... decades of long hard work which never ends."
Ari Berman in The Nation stated that "The congressional reaction to
Hezbollah's attack on Israel and Israel's retaliatory bombing of Lebanon
provide the latest example of why AIPAC's lock on US foreign policy in the
Middle East must be examined." (July 31, 2006
http://www.alternet.org/story/39679 ). But the lobby is not merely
interested in states that border it. If you track what they lobbied for,
you will find an amazing assortment. In the 1970s, this lobby and its
offshoots played a key role in pushing for support of right wing dictators
in Latin America (including Pinochet). In the 1980s it was to support
Apartheid in South Africa (the Anti-Defamation league was caught spying on
anti-Apartheid activists in the Arab and Muslim communities (see
http://www.counterpunch.org/adlspying2.html). In the same decade, there was
the Iran-Contra scandal which Israel facilitated by being the go between
delivering weapons to Iran for money which then went partly to the Contras
(key Zionist figures in this were pardoned including Elliot Abrams, a key
neocon in the Bush 43 administration).
About the recent resolution in Congress to support Israel and condemn
Hezbollah and Hamas (passed 410 to 8): "They the Congress were given a
resolution by AIPAC, They didn't prepare one." former Carter Administration
National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, who addressed the House
Democratic Caucus on July 19, 2006.
But let focus on today and the genesis of the current US policy in the West
Asia (aka h=the colonial term of the Middle East). Henry Siegman, former
head of the American Jewish Congress and a Middle East expert at the Council
on Foreign Relations stated: "The Bush Administration is bad enough in
tolerating measures they would not accept anywhere else but Israel, But the
Congress, if anything, is urging the Administration on and criticizing them
even at their most accommodating. When it comes to the Israeli-Arab
conflict, the terms of debate are so influenced by organized Jewish groups
like AIPAC that to be critical of Israel is to deny oneself the ability to
succeed in American politics."
Washington Post (not a radical newspaper!) wrote an article "Pro-Israel
Lobby Has Strong Voice: AIPAC Is Embroiled in Investigation of Pentagon
Leaks" 9/5/04 partly saying: "In 2002, two Democrats in Congress with
records of voting against Israel's interests -- Reps. Earl Hilliard of
Alabama and Cynthia McKinney of Georgia.. faced primary opponents who
received substantial support from Jewish donors. A majority of AIPAC board
members gave either to McKinney's challenger or Hilliard's or both. Hilliard
and McKinney lost. Bill Banks, McKinney's campaign manger, charged that
AIPAC had made her the "No. 1 candidate to try to remove from office." AIPAC
denied the accusation."
In 1997, Fortune magazine asked members of Congress and their staffs to list
the most powerful lobbies in Washington. AIPAC was ranked second behind the
American Association of Retired People, but ahead of the AFL-CIO and the
National Rifle Association. A National Journal study in March 2005 reached a
similar conclusion, placing AIPAC in second place (tied with AARP).
And a name that needs no introduction, Dick Armey, September 2002: "My No. 1 priority in foreign policy is to protect Israel."
Think tanks that shape US policy are decidedly with the Lobby or even
established as offshoots of the lobby: Washington Institute on Near East
Affairs, the American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institution, the
Center for Security Policy, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the
Heritage Foundation, the Hudson Institute, the Institute for Foreign Policy
Analysis, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. "The
incestuous nature of the proliferating boards and think tanks, whose
membership lists are more or less identical and totally interchangeable, is
frighteningly insidious. Several scholars at the American Enterprise
Institute, including former Reagan UN ambassador and long-time supporter of
the Israeli right wing, Jeane Kirkpatrick, make their pro-Israel views known
vocally from the sidelines and occupy positions on other boards.
Probably the most important organization, in terms of its influence on Bush
administration policy formulation, is the Jewish Institute for National
Security Affairs (JINSA). Formed after the 1973 Arab-Israeli war,
specifically to bring Israel's security concerns to the attention of U.S.
policymakers and concentrating also on broad defense issues, the extremely
hawkish, right-wing JINSA has always had a high-powered board able to place
its members inside conservative U.S. administrations. Cheney, Bolton, and
Feith were members until they entered the Bush administration. Several lower
level JINSA functionaries are now working in the Defense Department. Perle is still a member, as are Kirkpatrick, former CIA director
and leading Iraq-war hawk James Woolsey, and old-time rabid pro-Israel types
like Eugene Rostow and Michael Ledeen. Both JINSA and Gaffney's Center for
Security Policy are heavily underwritten by Irving Moskowitz, a right-wing
American Zionist, California business magnate (his money comes from bingo
parlors), and JINSA board member, who has lavishly financed the
establishment of several religious settlements in Arab East Jerusalem."
Previous CIA analysts Kathleen and Bill Christison write on the Israeli
Total Taxpayer Cost per Israeli: $23,240 (no other country comes even close). "Other recipients get their money in quarterly installments, but
Israel receives its entire appropriation at the beginning of each fiscal
year and can thus earn interest on it. Most recipients of aid given for
military purposes are required to spend all of it in the US, but Israel is
allowed to use roughly 25 per cent of its allocation to subsidize its own
defense industry. It is the only recipient that does not have to account for
how the aid is spent, which makes it virtually impossible to prevent the
money from being used for purposes the US opposes, such as building
settlements on the West Bank. Moreover, the US has provided Israel with
nearly $3 billion to develop weapons systems, and has given it access to
such top-drawer weaponry as Blackhawk helicopters and F-16 jets. Finally,
the US gives Israel access to intelligence it denies to its NATO allies and
has turned a blind eye to Israel’s acquisition of nuclear weapons."
Mearsheimer and Walt, London Review of Books, 3/23/06 explain how the US
policy in the Middle East is shaped by the lobby even against other elite
Philip Zelikow, member of the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory
Board, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, and a counsellor to Condoleezza Rice stated clearly at the University of Virginia in September
2002 that Iraq was not a threat to the US but the ‘unstated threat’ was a ‘threat against Israel’ adding that the government "doesn’t want to lean too
hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell."
"Chomsky cites Stephen Zunes approvingly to the effect that 'there are far
more powerful interests that have a stake in what happens in the Persian
Gulf region than does AIPAC.' The practical implication of this statement is
that it is wrong for anti-imperialists activists to pay too much attention
to the Israel lobby. It’s a waste of resources and a diversion from the real
target -- U.S. imperialism. The problem is that Zunes and Chomsky are again
confusing their own leftist framework with the right wing framework they
oppose. It is wrong to focus on identity as such, including the
national/ethnic identity of Jews/Israelis who are key figures in the
imperialist machinery. It is wrong to see the world as fundamentally a clash
of tribal identities. But it is not wrong to strategically focus on the
Israel Lobby. The “Israel Lobby” shouldn’t be an alternative framework that
competes with 'U.S. imperialism' as an explanation to world events. The
Israel Lobby should rather be a shorthand designation for a segment of the
elites that fully participates in making U.S. imperialism happen. To insist
on ignoring the Lobby is to help it maintain a 'safe zone' for U.S.
imperialism to hide behind. This is indeed one of the many useful services
the Lobby provides for the larger Washington power system. The Israel Lobby
is today a major purveyor of racist and pro-war propaganda, which is
shielded from public criticism by its association with Israel and the sword
of fighting anti-Semitism. To ignore it is to create a safe zone for racism
and war at the heart of the U.S. public sphere." Gabriel Ash,
“What happened to all those nice plans? Israel’s governments mobilized the
collective power of US Jewry - which dominates Congress and the media to a
large degree — against them. Faced by this vigorous opposition, all the
presidents; great and small, football players and movie stars — folded, one
after another.” Israeli journalist and peace activist Uri Avnery
B) EXAMPLES OF SKIRMISHES BETWEEN THE LOBBY AND OTHER ELITES IN WHICH THE FORMER WON
- 1930's: Career British diplomats issued a government backed white paper
suggesting tying Jewish immigration to Palestine to Palestinian economic
interests, not just the Yishuv capacity. Weissman and other British
Zionists mobilized their forces en masse and the effort succeeded in
reversing this policy quickly (well discussed in Tom Segev’s excellent book
on this period).
-1940-1945: When there was strong sentiment in the US to help European Jews
fleeing Nazi Germany, the Zionist lobby both in Britain and the US lobbied
to limit Jewish immigration to the west and keep the door open only for one
destination: Palestine (see Naeim Giladi’s book “Ben Gurion Scandals” and
Lenni Brenner’s “51 Documents: History of the Nazi-Zionist collaboration).
- 1948: When the State Department, the Pentagon, and all major career
diplomats in the US stood against support for the establishment of Israel,
President Truman explained his decision to his cabinet (privately) very
clearly as relating to the lobby and voting adding that “I have no Arab
constituency” (Truman papers and many history books). The US went on to
twist the arms of other countries to support partition and the imposing of a
Jewish state on Palestine.
- Early 1960s the Lobby seemed to be losing its ability to influence
President Kennedy on his push to get Israel to not develop nuclear weapons.
He insisted on opening up their facilities to inspection. This issue died
when JFK was assasinated and the assasin himself assasinated by a shadowy
figure with ties to Israel (who later mysteriously died before his trial).
- June 1967: Israeli forces attacked the USS Liberty in international
waters. Naval demands of an investigation were immediately attacked by the
lobby in Congress. Senior Navy officers (and all survivors of the attack)
were angry, but could do nothing in the face of a concerted media silencing
campaign. Even in 2003 when new evidence emerged, little was reported on
it (see http://www.ussliberty.org/)
- 1980's: Israel uses US technology and financing to develop its own arms
export industry competing with US arms exporters but also giving advanced technologies to US competitors. Many US arms industry leaders are unhappy,
and some even complain openly, and Israeli-made "Python II" missiles now arm
Chinese warplanes and in one instance threatened US planes. (see
- May 1987: The Reagan administration notified Congress of its intention to
sell 1600 Maverick anti-tank missiles to Saudi Arabia. According to the NY
Times: "Within half an hour, lobbyists from the American Israel Public
Affairs Committee, the only group registered to lobby Congress on
legislation affecting Israel, were on the telephone to lawmakers about the
proposal. Over the next 13 days, the committee mobilized its nationwide
network of supporters with a series of memorandums and telephone calls
urging them to lobby Congress. Though it is unclear whether the committee,
known as AIPAC, can take all the credit, more than 260 members of Congress
co-sponsored resolutions to block the sale, prompting President Reagan to
withdraw it." http://www.ifamericansknew.org/us_ints/pg-nyt2.html
- Early 1991: Israel asked the US for $10 billion in loan guarantees to
settle Russian Jews. George HW Bush told Shamir that Israel could have the
guarantees if it freezes settlement building and promises that no Russian
Jews would be settled in the occupied areas. Shamir simply called the lobby
leaders to help. Mobilization was so swift and powerful that Bush received
a barrage of media questions in a Press conference in 1991.. Bush uttered
his famous line “I am only this little guy in the white house …. there are
these thousands on Capital Hill…” and then folded. Israel got its $10
billion and went on to increase the number of colonists/settlers in the occupied Palestinian areas from less than 200,000 in 1991 to over 450,000 in
2000. This was the main reason for the collapse of the peace process and
increased resentment and anger in the world.
- 1992-1998: President Clinton brought to high office people who were
previously employed by the various Israeli lobby groups. Dennis Ross, who
worked for WIMEP and was then appointed as US Envoy to the Middle East, and
then returned to work for WINEP (see http://www.activistsreader.com/articles%20folder/thinktankwatch-winep2.html).
- Martin Indyk worked for AIPAC and to my knowledge is the only lobbyist for
a foreign country ever appointed ambassador to that same foreign country.
These folks and many others made clear their interest in merging US policy
and Israeli policy. Thus it was not surprising that Clinton issued
assurances saying that if the Camp David meetings failed no one will be
faulted. But even as negotiations continued in Taba, Ross, Clinton, and
Indyk blamed Arafat. The Clinton administration, under the influence of
these lobbyists, continued to support an aggressive policy in Iraq and tried
valiantly to thwart the International community and many leaders of US
businesses (including multinational companies) who pushed for ending the
sanctions that were killing 6000 children every month.
- September 2001, Bush urged Israel to show restraint in its crackdown on
the Palestinians, and pressed Sharon to allow Shimon Peres to meet with
Arafat (he also said publicly that he supported the creation of a
Palestinian state). Sharon accused Bush of trying ‘to appease the Arabs at
our expense’ and stated ‘we will not be Czechoslovakia’. Bush was reportedly
furious at being compared to Chamberlain, and the White House press
secretary called Sharon’s remarks ‘unacceptable’. The Lobby kicked into high
gear. 89 Senators wrote a letter to Bush. Bush backed down. The New York
Times stated that the letter ‘stemmed’ from a meeting two weeks before
between ‘leaders of the American Jewish community and key senators’ with the
involvement of AIPAC.
- April 2002. Israel's push into the West Bank embarrases Bush and he asked
its government to halt the incursion and withdraw from Palestinian cities.
He repeated this twice. Even Condaleeza Rice (then National Security
Adviser) emphasized "Withdraw now means withdraw now". The Lobby swung into
action. Tom DeLay, Dick Armey, and Trent Lott told Bush to back off. On
April 11, White House press secretary said that Bush believed Sharon to be a
"man of peace". No more was heard about withdrawals.
- March 2005: In a snub to the White House, AIPAC managed to get a bill
severely restricting aid to the Palestinians and even denying the usual clause for a presidential waiver for national security
- April 2005. After initially complaining about Israel's plans to increase
settlement activities to surround Jerusalem (Maale Adumim area) in violation
of the US drafted "road map", the Bush administration backed down in the
face of the lobby; http://www.ifamericansknew.org/us_ints/p-softenbush.html
C) GENERAL COMMENTS
There is a myth that weapons and oil industries support Israel. The fact is
that most of the time Israeli/Zionist interests and those interests of
weapons/oil companies are completely divergent See
There are many implications and ramifications of understanding the power and
influence of the the lobby. What if Nehemia Stessler is correct as cited
above that without US support Israel would not be able to continue its
policies (which are now so clear in their impact on native Palestinians and
Lebanes)? What if indeed there are many instances (as cited above) that
Zionist special interests win against other special interests (oil and
military)? What if fortune Magazine and CIA and other analysts are correct
about the power of this lobby in America? What if this lobby can be defeated
(as was shown in some cases)? What if it can't? How does this relate to the
war on Iraq (pushed for by neocon Zionists)? How does one resolve the fact
that Israel is now directly competing with US Weapons manufacturers in
exporting high tech weapons even as most of this was made possible by US
transfer of military technology and money to Israel? How does one reconcile
the facts that Congress and the White House frequently interfere to protect
Israel from repercussions of its violations of US and international laws
regarding proliferation, arms export, use of arms against civilians etc?
The hypocrisy in US foreign policy is now visible to most people around the
world and even here in the US with a self-censoring media it is hard to
avoid it. Take this simple fact that Israel has WMD, has violated 65 UN
Security Council Resolutions and was shielded from 35 others by a US Veto
(because of the strong lobby), discriminates against people based on
religion and the US supports it. Iraq violated very few UN SC resolutions
by invading Kuwait and the US bombed Iraq to a pre-industrial age
(destroying water purification, sewage, electrical, transportation and other
critical facilities), subjected it to sanctions (even after the withdrawal
from Kuwait) that killed over 1 million civilians, and then bombed and
occupied Iraq intending to build 14 permanent military basis in Iraq and
installing a new regime!! Is it any wonder that people ask why we have such
hypocrisy and question the given answers formulated in Tel Aviv. After all,
Iraq will continue to be a magnet of resistance fighters pouring in from
other Arab and Islamic countries as long as Israel is supported in its
continued ethnic cleansing of Palestinians (i.e. As long as this hypocrisy
In fact many argue that without the lobby, there would not be support for
Israeli colonization nor for an illegal and illegitimate war on Iraq or the
upcoming manufactured conflict with Iran and certainly not from companies
that are suffering because of this close relationship. Israel in fact is
now directly competing with US Weapons manufacturers in exporting high tech
weapons (most of it made possible by US transfer of military technology and
money to Israel). Congress and the White House frequently have had to
interfere to protect Israel from any repercussions by its violations of US
and international laws regarding proliferation, arms export, use of arms
against civilians etc.
There were rare times when the lobby was not as powerful in pushing the myth
of equivalency of US and Israeli interests. In 1956 President Eisenhower
listened to career diplomats and US elites, and pressed for Israeli
withdrawal from the Gaza and Sinai despite rumblings from Congress (itself
influenced by the lobby). But any such minor resistance vanished after 1967
when the lobby pushed the idea that US weapons in Israeli hands are keeping
the Soviets/Communism out of the Middle East (a lie because communism could
never get a hold in Arab society). Now do not misunderstand anything I
said. It is misleading to say that Israel rules US foreign policy. But it
would be even more misleading to ignore the central role of this lobby in
shaping US foreign policy in the Middle East and in building support by
various means. Nor would it be fair to ignore the PR aimed at exaggerating
the “strategic use” argument to outright misinformation about threats and
responses to promoting a particular and false view of Christianity
(“Christian Zionism”). For those of us interested in freedom and equality
(i.e. human rights), it is simply not correct to try to ignore history and
facts and accept the language of our oppressor. It is playing into both
Zionist and Imperial hands by accepting their claim that the reason for
support of Israel (and for the war on Iraq) is a “strategic relationship”
directed to serving only US elite interests (oil, military, and other
Many within the lobby are also finally seeing the light and leaving that
destructive work. Thousands of Jews are now openly speaking about the
destructive power of the lobby and Carter's book is in the top ten sellers.
The ground is shifting as Jews, Christians, Muslims, and others who believe
in human rights and do not support racist Zionism join hands not only to
point out the elephant in the room but also to take the old elephant out of
the room and to an overdue retirement. Let us hope they/we succeed before
much more damage happens to US economy, US interests, and to people in
donderdag 25 januari 2007
'Iraq: Oil Will Determine US Success or Failure
While the Iraqis were busy counting their death toll of more than 650,000 since March 2003, stealthily and suddenly the US occupation’s oil prize rang louder than the war drums to alert the regional oil producers as well as the major world consumers to guard against the looming threat coming out of Iraq.
Without a decisive military victory, the US occupation of Iraq seems to be about to grab its oil prize. This prize has been the dream of the successive US administrations; on Jan. 18, it came one step closer to reality when Iraq’s Oil Committee approved the new draft hydrocarbon law, sent it to the Cabinet within a week and, when approved, will go to the Parliament immediately thereafter.
The early draft of the law was prepared by BearingPoint American consultants, hired by the Bush administration, and sent to the White House and major Western petroleum corporations in July, and then to the International Monetary Fund two months later, while most Iraqi legislators and public remained in the dark.
The approved production-sharing agreements (PSAs) favor investing foreign oil companies with 70 percent of oil revenue to recoup their initial outlay, and then companies can reap 20 percent of the profit without any tax or other restrictions on their transfers abroad.
The Republican-Democratic electoral wrangling, no matter how ferocious it was or would become over internal issues, could not overlap a “red line” consensus on never compromising the US national oil strategic interests, which both parties are determined to defend regardless of how much American or non-American blood would spill in their defense.
The bipartisan Iraq Study Group Report articulated that consensus concisely in a straightforward language. It is noteworthy that Bush who ignored the essential recommendations of this report had selectively adopted recommendations 62 and 63. Recommendation 63 stipulates the US should “assist” Iraqi leaders in privatizing the national oil industry into a “commercial enterprise” to encourage investment by the multinational oil companies.
Recommendation 62 urges the US government to help draft an Iraqi oil law that “creates a fiscal and legal framework for investment” and, in conjunction with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to “press Iraq to continue reducing subsidies in the energy sector...until Iraqis pay market prices for oil products.”
Bush made his first public demand of the Iraqi government to pass the oil law in December. In July last year, his Energy Secretary Bodman announced in Baghdad that senior US oil company executives would not enter Iraq without passage of the new law. Petroleum Economist magazine later reported that US oil companies put passage of the oil law before security concerns as the deciding factor over their entry into Iraq. Passing an oil law has been also a key demand of the United States in providing further military support to Baghdad’s “national unity government.”'
'Off the Rails: Big Oil, Big Brother Win Big in the State of the Union.
By Greg Palast
There was that tongue again. When the President lies he’s got this weird nervous tick: He sticks the tip of his tongue out between his lips. Like a little boy who knows he’s fibbing. Like a snake licking a rat. In his State of the Union tonight the President did his tongue thing 124 times — my kids kept count.
But it wasn’t all rat-licking lies.Most pundits concentrated on Iraq and wacky health insurance stuff. But that’s just bubbles and blather. The real agenda is in the small stuff. The little razors in the policy apple, the nasty little pieces of policy shrapnel that whiz by between the appearances of the Presidential tongue.First, there was the announcement the regime will, “give employers the tools to verify the legal status of their workers.” In case you missed that one, the President is talking about creating a federal citizen profile database.There’s a problem with that idea. It’s against the law. The law in question is the United States Constitution. The Founding Fathers thought the government had no right to keep track on a citizen unless there is evidence they have committed, or planned to commit, a crime.But the Founding Fathers didn’t imagine there were millions and billions of dollars to be made by private contractors ready to perform this KGB operation for the Department of Homeland Security, tracking each and every one of us to keep tabs on our “status.”These work databases will tie into “voter verification” databases required by the Help America Vote Act. And these will tie to the databases on citizenship and so on.Will Big Brother abuse these snoop lists? The biggest purveyor of such hit lists is Choice Point, Inc. – those characters who, before the 2000 election, helped Jeb Bush purge innocent voters as “felons” from Florida voter rolls. Will they abuse the new super-lists? Does Dick Cheney shoot in the woods?There were several other little IEDs (improvised execrable policy devices) planted in the State of the Union. Did you catch the one about doubling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve? If you’re unfamiliar with the SPR, it is supposed to be the stash of oil we keep in case the price of crude gets too high.Well, the price of oil has been horribly high but Dick Cheney, the official who sits on the Reserve’s spigots, has refused to release the oil into the market.Instead of unleashing the Reserve and busting Big Oil’s price gouging Bush will double the Reserve, which will require buying three-quarters of a billion barrels of oil. This is a nice $40 billion pay-out to Big Oil from the US Treasury. Compare this to the President’s health insurance plan which will be “revenue neutral” — that is, have a net investment of zero.But the $40 billion in loot the oilmen will get from us taxpayers for doubling the Reserve is nothing compared to the boost in the worldwide price of crude caused by this massive, mad purchase. While the Congressional audience didn’t even bother polite applause for the reserve purchase plan, there’s no doubt they were whooping it up in Saudi Arabia. Clearly, the state of the Saudi-Bush union is still pretty good.'
In Sweden, you are three times more likely to rise out of the economic class into which you were born than you are in the U.S.
Tom Engelhardt bericht:
'The Forgotten American Dead.
Rural America Pays the President's Price in Iraq
When we hear about the American dead in Iraq, we normally learn about the circumstances in which they died. Last Saturday, for instance, was, for American troops, the third bloodiest day since the Bush administration launched its invasion in March 2003 -- 27 of them died. Twelve went down in a Blackhawk helicopter over Diyala Province, probably hit by a shoulder-fired missile. Five died under somewhat surprising and mysterious circumstances. They were attacked in a supposedly secure facility in the Shiite city of Karbala by gunmen who, despite their telltale beards, were dressed to imitate American soldiers and managed to drive through city checkpoints in exceedingly official-looking armored SUVs. They could, of course, have been members of Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army, but were probably Sunni insurgents from a neighboring province. The rest of the Americans in that total died as a result of roadside bombs (IEDs) around Baghdad or fighting with Sunni insurgents, mainly in al-Anbar Province. The Pentagon announcements on which such news is based are usually terse in the extreme. The totals, 29 dead for the weekend (as well as hundreds of Iraqis), did, however, become major TV and front-page news around the country.
These deaths are presented another way in the little, black-edged boxes you see in many newspapers. (My hometown ledger, the New York Times, has one of these almost every day, placed wherever the humdrum bad news from Iraq happens to fall inside the paper and labeled, "Names of the Dead.") These, too, are taken from the Pentagon death announcements, which offer the barest of bare bones about those who just died. But they do tell you something that should be better noted in this country.
Take the Pentagon announcements for Iraq "casualties" from January 11th through January 23 -- 21 dead in all, 17 from the Army, 2 from the Marines, and 2 from the Navy (one in a "non-combat related incident" in Iraq, the other in Bahrain).
Then just check out their hometowns. Remove a few obvious large metropolitan areas, or parts thereof -- Boston, El Paso, Jacksonville, Irving (home of the Dallas Cowboys), and Irvine (California) -- and here's the parade of names you're left with:
Temecula (California), Henderson (Texas), San Marcos (Texas), Lawton (Michigan), Cambridge (Illinois), Casper (Wyoming), Richwood (Texas), Prairie Village (Kansas), Ewing (Kentucky), Wisconsin Rapids (Wisconsin), Redmond (Washington), Peoria (Arizona), Brandenburg (Kentucky), Sabine Pass (Texas), and Cathedral City (California).
A couple of these like Peoria (pop. 138,000) and Casper (pop. 52,000) are small cities. Others like Lawton (1,800) or Richwood (3,200) have the populations of small rural towns. On the face of it, if you were to intone this litany of the home places of the dead, it would minimally qualify as a list of the forgotten places of America, the sorts of hometowns you would only know if you had grown up there (or somewhere in the vicinity).
Are Sabine Pass or Cambridge, Illinois (not Massachusetts), or Wisconsin Rapids small towns in rural America? Probably, though any one of them (like Temecula) could, in fact, be a suburb of some larger urban area. Still you get the point. Go read the Pentagon death notices yourself, if you doubt me on where the dead of this war seem to be coming from.
As it happens, though, we don't have to rely on the anecdotal or the look of the names of the places from which the American dead have come. Demographer William O'Hare and journalist Bill Bishop, working with the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute, which specializes in the overlooked rural areas of our country, have actually crunched the numbers in an important study that has gotten too little attention. Matching a data set from the Department of Defense listing the dead and their hometowns against information from the White House Office of Management and Budget on which counties in this country are metropolitan, they found that the American dead of the Iraq and Afghan Wars do indeed come disproportionately from rural America. Quite startlingly so.'
Lees verder: http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?emx=x&pid=160190
'EI EXCLUSIVE: Leaked Israeli document gives frightening glimpse of apartheid.
ISRAELI MINISTRY OF DEFENSE DOCUMENT PROVIDES GLIMPSE INTO
THE MINDSET OF APARTHEID'S BUREAUCRACY, OUTLINES MOVEMENT RESTRICTIONS, BUREAUCRATIC ETHNIC CLEANSING, POLITICAL MANIPULATION AND ATTEMPT TO FOSTER COLLABORATORS.
The Electronic Intifada,
25 January 2007
President Jimmy Carter angered Israel and its friends by describing "the abominable oppression and persecution in the occupied Palestinian territories, with a rigid system of required passes and strict segregation between Palestine's citizens and Jewish settlers in the West Bank."Now, The Electronic Intifada has obtained an Israeli Ministry of Defense Powerpoint presentation which provides a frightening glimpse into the mindset of the bureaucracy of apartheid.The first page of the document bears the name "Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories" as well as the acronym "COGAT" at the bottom of each page. These appear to refer to the unit of the Israeli army that enforces the occupation against the Palestinian civilian population.The top of the first slide also bears the names and insignia of the "State of Israel" and the "Ministry of Defense." Dated January 12, the presentation is titled "Key Measures for easing the daily lives of the Palestinian Population."Far from that, the document provides detail of the regime of severe movement restrictions, bureaucratic ethnic cleansing and political manipulation and fostering of collaborators that Israel operates in the the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.The document, in English, appears to be genuine. While its exact purpose or audience is not known, it may have been designed to impress foreign diplomats with Israel's generosity to the Palestinians.
Among the policies the document outlines are:
· Efforts to "empower Abu-Mazen" (Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas) by facilitating entry of "security equipment for the Presidential Guard" donated by foreign countries. (The United States recently announced that it would provide millions of dollars of weapons and equipment to this unit which serves as a personal militia for Abbas and his Fatah faction who seek to overthrow the democratically-elected Hamas government).
· Providing special privileges for "the movement of VIPs and senior Palestinians" and others allies of Abbas, including "facilitating movement without security checks." These special privileges, not available to millions of Palestinians are intended for "Strengthening Abu-Mazen," presumably at the expense of the democratically-elected Hamas-led cabinet and legislative council dozens of whose members, far from enjoying VIP treatment, have been kidnapped and are being held without charge or trial by Israeli occupation forces.
· Special permits for 505 Palestinian "businessmen," allowing them to be exempt from the pass laws that forbid overnight stays by Palestinians in Israel. They will also be subject to fewer security checks. This privileged class may also benefit from the "Possible return of $60 Million from the frozen tax money to the private sector, subject to identification of the businessman, and the formation of a working mechanism." This could possibly indicate that Israel, in collusion with Abbas, seeks to misappropriate Palestinian public assets it has illegally seized, bypassing the Palestinian Authority Finance Ministry and redistributing them to Abbas cronies.
· With frightening precision, allowing "42,899" Palestinian laborers to work "in Israel and the settlements" and exempting 2,000 Palestinian agricultural laborers from the pass laws so that "overnight stay in Israel" is "permitted." Of these workers, a mere 1,600 would be permitted to enter occupied East Jerusalem, the largest Palestinian city in the West Bank.'
Lees verder: http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article6442.shtml