• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 10 maart 2007

De Israelische Terreur 165

'Israeli backlash to Olmert comments
Sat, 10 Mar 2007 10:24:13
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's admission that last summer's onslaught against Lebanon was pre-planned has provoked anger among Israeli officials. Olmert told Israeli daily Haaretz on Thursday that last summer's war was planned in advance and before the Islamic resistance of Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers. Olmert's admission confirms Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah's earlier claims, Al-Manar TV reported. Senior officers in the Israeli General Staff expressed their anger before the Winograd Commission, which is investigating the war. "If war was planned, why was the Israeli Defense Force left unprepared?" Haaretz quoted a member of Israeli General Staff saying. Labor Party ministers have also lashed out at Olmert's testimony before the commission. They demanded to know why, "if the prime minister had considered war a possibility, he never bothered to inform them of this until the day the war began." The Winograd Commission's final report on last summer's war in Lebanon, expected to be released in late July, is likely to include harsh findings against Olmert, War Minister Amir Peretz and former Israeli Army chief of staff Dan Halutz. The Winograd Commission is a commission of inquiry, chaired by retired judge Eliyahu Winograd, which has set out to investigate and draw lessons from the failures experienced by Israel during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict.'
Alle eergevoel even terzijde gelaten, een staat die een agressie oorlog voorbereidt tegen een andere staat handelt in strijd met het internationaal recht, zoals we weten na de processen van Neurenberg. Een politicus die deze misdaden steunt, handelt in strijd met het recht. Wat doet de VVD-er Van Baalen daar zo amicaal met Olmert? Waarom steunt de VVD oorlogsmisdaden? De partij pretendeert een fervent voorstander te zijn van wetshandhaving.

vrijdag 9 maart 2007

De Bush Bende 47

'Joe Wilson: Time for Bush/Cheney to Come Clean
By Keith Olbermann

Joseph Wilson: Time for Bush/Cheney to Come Clean
David Shuster: Inside the Libby Verdict
Howard Fineman: The Cloud Over the White House
Legal Analyst Stanley Brand: It's Not Over Yet
Nixon Counsel John Dean: The Verdict of History

In his first live interview since the guilty verdicts in the trial of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson told Keith Olbermann it's now time for President Bush and Vice President Cheney to be honest with the American public about their roles in the outing of his wife, CIA Operative Valerie Plame.
Guilty as Charged: Just as Al Capone's conviction on tax evasion charges does not mean the crime boss was not guilty of anything else, Scooter Libby's conviction on charges of lying and obstruction of justice does not automatically prove that Mister Libby - and other top White House officials - did not commit the underlying crime of having outed CIA operative Valerie Plame. That parallel, drawn this afternoon by Mrs. Plame's husband, Ambassador Joe Wilson, in the wake of today's verdict.
Inside the Libby Verdict: David Shuster has been covering the Scooter Libby trial since day one, and joins keith to report the scene from inside the courtroom today, the press conferences outside, and where it all goes from here. WATCH VIDEO
The Cloud Over the White House: Howard Fineman is here to discuss the political ramifications of today's verdict. What does the future hold for Dick Cheney? And if President Bush promised to "hold those accountable" who were responsible for the leak from his White House, then how should he react to the obstruction of justice that occurred in his White House, which prevented a proper investigation of the leak? WATCH VIDEO
It's Not Over Yet: Legal analyst Stanley Brand comes in to look at today's events and Libby's new efforts to get a new trial, then appeal. How long can the Libby team stall before he's sentenced? Long enough to be pardoned before he ever sees a federal prison? WATCH VIDEO
The Verdict of History: Nixon White House counsel John Dean has seen this all before, and joins Keith to put this all in perspective for us. What the verdict means, what it doesn't mean, will we see a presidential pardon, and most importantly, what this verdict tells us about how this administration sold the war to the American people. WATCH VIDEO'

Zie: http://thenewshole.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2007/03/06/82132.aspx Of:

donderdag 8 maart 2007

The Empire 200

'U.S. Slams Foreign Rights Abuses, Fails to Note Own Complicity
by Jessica Azulay
In reporting on the human rights abuses around the world, the State Department has neglected facts and claims from its sources that implicate
Mar. 8 – In its yearly report on human rights violations abroad, the US State Department acknowledged the analyses come "at a time when [the United States’s] own record and actions… taken to respond to the terrorist attacks against us have been questioned." But the reports carefully omit US support for and involvement in the very practices it criticizes.

"There are clear and troubling gaps in this report," the US-based group Human Rights First said in a press statement. "As in years past, the US government has rightly identified and criticized countries for their repression of human-rights activists, but this in many instances only serves to highlight how US government policies fail to follow through on this commitment in practice."
In compiling its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, delivered to Congress annually, the State Department relied in part on documentation compiled by non-governmental human-rights groups. But in some cases, the State Department cherry picked the allegations of these sources to obscure the US government’s direct and indirect role in abuses.
For instance, the State Department’s assessment of human rights in Pakistan cites an Amnesty International (AI) report that, in the words of the State Department, "documented the [Pakistani] government's abuses against hundreds of its citizens and foreign nationals."
The State Department report continued: "AI reported that as the practice of enforced disappearance spread, people were arrested and held incommunicado in secret locations with their detention officially denied. They were at risk of torture and unlawful transfer to third countries. The [Amnesty] report noted that the ‘practice of offering rewards running to thousands of dollars for unidentified terror suspects facilitated illegal detention and enforced disappearance.'

De Israelische Terreur 164

Op 29 januari 2007 heeft de speciale VN rapporteur John Dugard een rapport uitgebracht over de mensenrechtensituatie in de bezette Palestijnse gebieden

Hieronder leest u een Nederlandse samenvatting (vertaald) van het rapport.


Gaza is wederom de focus geweest van mensenrechtenschendingen en schendingen van het internationaal humanitair recht in de bezette Palestijnse gebieden. In reactie op de ontvoering van Korporaal Gilad Shalit door Palestijnse militanten op 25 juni 2006 en de aanhoudende Qassam raketaanvallen op Israël, heeft Israël twee grote militaire operaties uitgevoerd in Gaza: "Operation Summer Rains" en "Operation Autumn Clouds". In de loop van deze twee operaties heeft de Israëlische Defence Forces (IDF) herhaaldelijk militaire incursies uitgevoerd in Gaza, begeleid met zwaar artillerie geshut en 'air-to-surface' raketaanvallen. Projectielen, granaten en bulldozers hebben huizen, scholen, ziekenhuizen, moskeeën, openbare gebouwen, bruggen, waterleidingen en electriteitsnetwerken vernietigd of beschadigd. Agrarisch landbouwgrond is door bulldozers gelijk gemaakt. Beit Hanoun was onderhevig aan zware aanvallen en op 8 november 2006 zijn 19 burgers gedood en 55 burgers gewond geraakt bij een artillerie aanval.

Economische sancties heeft een groot impact gehad op Gaza. Ongeveer 70% van de beroepsbevolking heeft geen werk of geen inkomsten en meer dan 80% van de bevolking leeft onder de officiële armoedegrens. De belegering van Gaza is een vorm van collectieve straf welke in strijd is met de Vierde Geneefse Conventie van 12 augustus 1949. Het onzorgvuldig gebruik van militair geweld jegens burgers en burgerdoelen hebben geleid tot serieuze oorlogsmisdaden.

De Westelijke Jordaanoever heeft ook met serieuze mensenrechtenschendingen te maken gehad die het resultaat zijn van frequente militaire incursies; de bouw van de Muur; huis vernielingen en checkpoints. Meer dan 500 checkpoints en wegblokkades beperken de vrijheid van beweging in de Westelijke Jordaanoever. De muur die in Oost-Jeruzalem wordt gebouwd is een sociale constructie bedoeld voor de Judaization van Jeruzalem door het aantal Palestijnen in de stad te verlagen.

De bouw van nederzettingen zet zich voort. Op dit moment zijn er in totaal meer dan 460.000 kolonisten in de Westelijke Jordaanoever en Oost-Jeruzalem. Een studie van een Israëlische non-gouvernementele organisatie toont aan dat bijna 40% van het land waarop nederzettingen gebouwd zijn, privé bezit is van Palestijnen. Het is overduidelijk geworden dat de bouw van de muur en de checkpoints in principe gericht zijn op het verbeteren van de veiligheid, gemak en comfort van de kolonisten.

Er zitten ongeveer 900.000 Palestijnen in Israëlische gevangenissen. Er zijn serieuze klachten over de behandeling, het proces en de opsluiting van de gevangenen.

Sinds 2000 zijn meer dan 500 personen vermoord door buitengerechtelijke executies, waaronder een substantieel aantal onschuldige burgers. In december 2006 heeft het Israëlische Hooggerechtshof dergelijke executies niet onwettig verklaard, maar aangemerkt als een laatste maatregel die binnen de grenzen van proportionaliteit uitgevoerd mag worden.

Israëlische wetten en praktijk maken het onmogelijk voor duizenden Palestijnse families om bij elkaar te leven. De weigering van de visa aanvragen van buitenlandse inwoners in de Westelijke Jordaanoever heeft deze situatie verergerd.

Discriminatie jegens Palestijnen vindt op meerdere vlakken plaats. De 1973 International Convention on Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid lijkt geschonden te worden door de praktijken die plaatsvinden, zoals de beperking van de vrijheid van beweging voor Palestijnen.

Er is een humanitaire crisis ontstaan in de bezette Palestijnse gebieden die het gevolg zijn van de inhouding van gelden aan de Palestijnse Autoriteit door de Israëlische regering (schatting van circa 50-60 miljoen US dollar per maand) en door de economische isolatie van het gebied door de Verenigde Staten, de Europese Unie en andere staten in reactie op de verkiezing van de Hamas regering. Het tijdelijke internationale mechanisme dat door de EU is opgezet om verlichting te bieden in bepaalde sectoren heeft in sommige gevallen de crisis verminderd, maar meer dan 70% van de Palestijnen leeft onder de officiële armoedegrens. Gezondheidszorg en onderwijs hebben te lijden gehad onder de staking van werknemers in deze sectoren tegen de Palestijnse Autoriteit en de internationale gemeenschap voor de niet-uitbetaling van salarissen. Israël en delen van de internationale gemeenschap hebben hiermee een collectieve straf opgelegd aan de gehele Palestijnse bevolking.

Personen verantwoordelijk voor het plegen van oorlogsmisdaden door het afvuren van munitie en raketten in burgergebieden zonder een duidelijk militair voordeel moeten aangehouden worden of aangeklaagd. Dit geldt voor de Palestijnen die Qassam rakketten hebben afgevuurd op Israël: maar ook de leden van het IDF die dergelijke misdaden op een veel grotere schaal hebben gepleegd. Terwijl individuele criminele verantwoordelijkheid belangrijk is, mag de verantwoordelijkheid van de staat Israël ten aanzien van de schendingen van internationaal recht in haar acties jegens de Palestijnse bevolking niet over het hoofd worden gezien.'

Klimaatverandering 98

'Rich Countries Owe 'Eco-Debt' to Poor Ones, Say Activists
by Brian Kenety

BRUSSELS - If wealthy nations only realized how much ''ecological debt'' they owe poor ones, they would drop their financial claims against the debtor countries of the developing world, say anti-debt and environmental campaigners.
Indeed, the campaigners argue, the concept of ecological debt provides a compelling new argument to cancel the financial debts of these countries: not only has the debt been paid in financial terms, as activists long have argued, but it also is more than offset in ecological terms.
If the North realized the scale and severity of its ecological debt to the South, ''no one would again have the audacity to demand that countries like Mozambique or Niger send a penny more debt service,'' says Andrew Simms, a veteran of the Jubilee 2000 debt relief campaign who works for the London-based New Economics Foundation.
Ecological debt is the notion that the industrialized countries should compensate the Third World for centuries of exploiting its natural resources and should pay damages for the unsustainable consumption patterns and polluting carbon emissions that have led to global warming.
Simms led a workshop on ecological debt in nearby Antwerp this week, part of a Nov 19-21 conference on sustainable development hosted by Vlaams Overleg Duurzame Ontwikkeling (VODO), a Flemish network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
He says he hopes to put the ecological debt concept, introduced by Latin American NGOs at the Rio de Janerio 'Earth Summit' of 1992, on the official agenda of next year's World Summit on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio +10, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Proponents say the ecological debt argument's potential benefits might be clear enough for, but should not be limited to, debt-ridden poor countries.
Joan Martínez Alier, an economics professor from Barcelona, Spain, says "to place the claim to an ecological debt on the international political order of the day" would in itself be the best contribution that the South could make towards pushing the economies of the North towards ecological sustainability.
"The question is not so much collecting the ecological debt, but to prevent it from increasing any further," says Alier, acknowledging that no accounting system yet exists for repayment.'

Lees verder: http://commondreams.org/headlines01/1122-01.htm

De Bush Bende 46

'Lucky Libby
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t Columnist

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby has been convicted by a federal jury of two counts of perjury, one count of making false statements and one count of obstruction of justice. He faces, due to federal sentencing guidelines, a term of between one and one-half and three years in prison.
There will be an appeal, of course, and the potential for a presidential pardon - recall the slew of convicted Iran-Contra characters pardoned by Bush Sr. way back when - remains ever-present, leaving open the possibility that Libby will serve no time at all. Even so, this conviction "culminated the seven-week trial of the highest-ranking White House official to be indicted on criminal charges in modern times," according to the Washington Post.
Mr. Libby is a damned lucky man.
The acts he was convicted of - perjury, false statements and obstruction - were crimes in themselves, to be sure, but were crimes committed to cover up, obscure and bury the truly serious crimes that got this ball rolling in the first place. In short, he was convicted for the cover-up of the actual crimes.
In a nation that prides itself on living by the rule of law, Mr. Libby should have been tried for treason. Whether he could have been convicted of this is an open question, one dependent upon the veracity of witnesses and the availability of evidence. But "treason" is the operative word, and the lies he has been convicted of telling were told in the first place to avoid that potent charge.
Mr. Libby - along with Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith, Stephen Hadley, Condi Rice and a slew of others - was an instrumental member of the cadre that sold the American people an outrageous raft of lies regarding the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Mr. Libby - acting on behalf of Dick Cheney - went down to CIA headquarters at the behest of his boss to lean on intelligence analysts in order to pry "forward-leaning intelligence" out of them regarding Iraq.'

Lees verder: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/030807J.shtml


Uit Shell Venster, een tweemaandelijkse interessante uitgave van Shell Nederland:

'EU energiebeleid 07

Reactie Jeroen van der Veer op EU-energieplan

Prikkels en regels


Overheden moeten via een robuust wettelijk kader bedrijven helpen ‘de aanval op CO2 te openen’. Aldus Jeroen van der Veer, Chief Executive van Royal Dutch Shell in een reactie op het energie- en klimaatplan van de EU. Een extract uit zijn visie zoals die is gepubliceerd in de Financial Times en NRC Handelsblad.


“Het nieuwe energiebeleid zoals dat door de Europese Unie wordt voorgesteld, omvat veel goede ideeën en stelt ambitieuze doelen om de uitstoot van broeikasgassen binnen betrekkelijk korte tijd te verminderen. De ervaring leert echter dat agressieve doelstellingen weinig betekenen, tenzij de regeringen van de EU-lidstaten voor prikkels en regels zorgen die die doelstellingen haalbaar maken.”
“Zulk beleid valt in twee brede categorieën uiteen: normen en marktmechanismen. Beide zijn nodig om een aanzet te geven voor innovatie en technologieontwikkeling. Uit de praktijk blijkt dat het stellen van normen, die uiterlijk binnen tien jaar in werking moeten treden, in sommige gevallen de opkomst van nieuwe technologie kan versnellen.”
“Beleidsmakers over de hele wereld zouden meer gebruik moeten maken van flexibele marktmechanismen zoals het aftoppen van koolstofemissies en handel in emissiekredieten, zoals die sinds 2005 onder het EU-systeem voor handel in emissierechten plaatsvindt. Hoewel die Europese CO2-markt een goed begin is, dient de emissiehandel mondiaal te worden om echt effectief te zijn. Pas als door wijd verbreide emissiehandel de kosten van CO2-uitstoot duidelijk zijn komen vast te staan, zullen bedrijven die kosten routinematig opnemen in hun berekeningen voor grote investeringen zoals elektriciteitscentrales en raffinaderijen, die vaak een levensduur van dertig jaar of meer hebben.”

Aanval op CO2
“Onder het huidige Europese systeem voor koolstofemissiehandel kunnen bedrijven initiatieven voor het afvangen en opslaan van CO2 niet in mindering brengen op hun emissies. Dat moet veranderen. Daarnaast kunnen gemeenschapsgelden worden gebruikt om deze technologie sneller levensvatbaar te maken. Als een nauwere samenwerking tussen overheid en bedrijfsleven uitblijft dan zijn er weinig prikkels om projecten te ondernemen - en zal de praktijk van het afvangen van koolstof zich waarschijnlijk in een veel te laag tempo ontwikkelen.”
“Voor bedrijven als Shell is duidelijk een belangrijke rol weggelegd. Onze eigen verbeteringen op het gebied van efficiënt energiegebruik leveren nu al circa een miljoen ton per jaar aan CO2-besparingen op. Wij zijn reeds een van ‘s werelds grootste distributeurs van biobrandstoffen. Sinds 2000 hebben wij meer dan een miljard dollar geïnvesteerd in alternatieve energiebronnen, zoals wind- en zonne-energie en waterstof.”
“Maar er is geen enkele onderneming of bedrijfstak die het probleem van wereldwijde klimaatverandering doeltreffend alleen kan aanpakken. Als overheden een robuust wettelijk kader verschaffen, dan kunnen bedrijven beter helpen om ‘de aanval op CO2 te openen’. Omgekeerd, als die overheden zich niet van hun taak kwijten om het probleem aan te pakken, mogen wetgevers noch de samenleving verwachten dat het bedrijfsleven het karwei wel in zijn eentje zal klaren.'

Martelen 71

'Soviet-Era Compound in Poland Was Secret CIA Prison Site
By Larisa Alexandrovna and David Dastych

This explosive investigative report is the first to expose the location of one of the Bush-sanctioned prison sites for terror suspects in Europe. The CIA operated an interrogation and short-term detention facility for suspected terrorists within a Polish intelligence training school with the explicit approval of British and US authorities, according to British and Polish intelligence officials familiar with the arrangements.
Intelligence officials identify the site as a component of a Polish intelligence training school outside the northern Polish village of Stare Kiejkuty. While previously suspected, the facility has never been conclusively identified as being part of the CIA's secret rendition and detention program.
Only the Polish prime minister and top Polish intelligence brass were told of the plan, in which agents of the United States quietly shuttled detainees from other holding facilities around the globe for stopovers and short-term interrogation in Poland between late 2002 and 2004.
According to a confidential British intelligence memo shown to Raw Story, Prime Minister Tony Blair told Poland's then-Prime Minister Leszek Miller to keep the information secret, even from his own government.
"Miller was asked to keep it as tight as possible," the memo said.
The complex at Stare Kiejkuty, a Soviet-era compound once used by German intelligence in World War II, is best known as having been the only Russian intelligence training school to operate outside the Soviet Union. Its prominence in the Soviet era suggests that it may have been the facility first identified -- but never named -- when the Washington Post's Dana Priest revealed the existence of the CIA's secret prison network in November 2005.
Reached by telephone Monday, Priest would not discuss the allegations in her article beyond her original report.
CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano would not confirm or deny any allegations about the Polish facility. He maintained the rendition program was legal and conducted "with great care."
"The agency's terrorist interrogation program has been conducted lawfully, with great care and close review, producing vital information that has helped disrupt plots and save lives," Gimigliano said Monday. "That is also true of renditions, another key, lawful tool in the fight against terror."
"The United States does not conduct or condone torture, nor does it transfer anyone to other countries for the purpose of torture," he added.
US intelligence officials confirmed that the CIA had used the compound at Stare Kiejkuty in the past. Speaking generally about the agency's program, a former senior official said the CIA had never conducted unlawful interrogations.'

Lees verder: http://www.alternet.org/rights/48939/

'About 10km from village of Stare Kiejkuty, Poland, is a restricted military area that is the headquarters of Military Unit 2669; officially it is described as "training center for news service cadres."[1] Since 2005 it has attracted scrutiny as being a possible black site involved in the CIA's program of extraordinary rendition.[2]
The facility's military uses go back at least as far as the Second World War, when it served as an outpost of the German SD (the intelligence service of the SS) and Abwehr.[3] The airstrip that would later be expanded into the modern Szczytno-Szymany International Airport, 20km away, originally served as a landing strip for Luftwaffe planes for bombing raids on Warsaw. In 1968 it would be used by the Soviet Army to plan operations to crush the Prague Spring.
Its use by Polish intelligence dates to the fall 1971; in the socialist era it appeared on maps as a non-descript vacation resort. It had a very special status, however, having been the only intelligence training facility in the Eastern Bloc located outside the Soviet Union.
Signs are posted nearby reminding casual visitors of prohibitions against taking photographs, and journalists have reported having their cameras searched (and memory cards confiscated) when taking pictures near the facility.
On December 15, 2005, Zbigniew Siemiątkowski, the former head of the the current Polish national intelligence agency, Agencja Wywiadu, confirmed[4] that within near the village of Stare Kiejkuty facility there exists two "internal zones" to which CIA officers have access; one of these (referred to as Strefa B) is officially the home of Military Unit 2669. Other Polish intelligence officials have confirmed[5] that American personnel associated with the facility have been known to reside in the area for several months at a time, going back 5 or 6 years.'

Lees verder: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stare_Kiejkuty_(base)

Het is volstrekt onbegrijpelijk dat bepaalde mensen tegen toetreding van Turkije tot de EU zijn en niet tegen de toetreding van het roomskatholieke Polen.

woensdag 7 maart 2007

Martelen 70

Human Rights Watch bericht:

'US/Iraq/Afghanistan: Accountability for Detainee Abuse.

The US Army in January ordered the court-martial of Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Jordan, a key official allegedly implicated in detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Jordan is the first military officer to be charged under the doctrine of command responsibility, whereby officers can be held responsible for the crimes of their subordinates if they knew or should have known about the crimes but failed to prevent or punish them. Human Rights Watch has long pressed for the investigation and prosecution of abuses against detainees in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay. We released a report showing that since the Abu Ghraib scandal broke, the military has failed to hold any officers accountable for detainee abuse under the doctrine of command responsibility. In the same report, we also documented the utter failure of the US Justice Department to prosecute civilians implicated in cases of detainee mistreatment. In February, in a step forward, a US federal court sentenced CIA civilian contractor David Passaro to eight-and-a-half years in prison for the 2003 beating of an Afghan detainee, who died of his injuries. To date, Passaro is the only civilian who has been held accountable for detainee abuse in Afghanistan, Iraq, or at Guantanamo Bay. Read More.'

Lees verder: http://hrw.org/doc/?t=usa_torture

The Empire 199

'Bill to Study Slavery Reparations Still Facing Resistance
by Michelle Chen

Every year since 1989, members of Congress have pushed for a study into how the US might atone for slavery, its aftermath and legacy. And every year, the white majority says the subject is off limits.
Mar. 7 – A proposal now before Congress could either begin an unprecedented examination of institutional racism in the United States or once again mark how far the government is from confronting historical scars.
The plight of H.R. 40, which would establish a Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans, encapsulates the controversy over how, or whether, the US government should deal with the legacy of slavery.
Re-introducing the bill in the House of Representatives, John Conyers (D–Michigan) remarked in January that despite the resistance the legislation has encountered – it has never advanced to a floor vote, though it has resurfaced each year since 1989 – its mission is relatively modest. H.R. 40 would not authorize compensation for descendants of slaves. Rather, it would merely require Congress to consider the issue in an effort "to further a national dialogue on the plight of African Americans in the context of slavery, Jim Crow, and other legally sanctioned discrimination."
H.R. 40 would establish a commission, jointly appointed by the president and Congress, to "acknowledge the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States," and examine whether remedies are warranted for any "lingering effects" of slavery on blacks today.
The bill is modeled after the restitution process for victims of the mass incarceration of Japanese-Americans during World War II. That initiative involved a similar congressional study and eventually, official payouts to surviving detainees under the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.'

Lees verder: http://newstandardnews.net/content/index.cfm/items/4449

Hoe dan ook, de VS is verder dan Nederland. De Nederlandse politiek heeft nooit enig intiatief genomen om een serieus onderzoek en dicussie te wijden aan de eeuwenlange grote Nederlandse betrokkenheid bij de slavenhandel.

Ook toen al was er geen sprake van dat gekleurde volkeren een dubbele nationaliteit mochten bezitten. Ze waren gewoon eigendom van de blanke christelijke en beschaafde baas.

Even ter herinnering: 'the institution of American slavery from its origins in 1619 - when English settlers in Virginia purchased 20 Africans from Dutch traders - through the arrival of the first 11 slaves in New Amsterdam.' Wij waren de eersten en tevens de laatsten. Wij handelden nog in slaven toen de Engelsen en Fransen het al verboden hadden.

'Frankrijk schaft tijdens de revolutie in 1794 de slavernij af (uiteraard paste slavernij niet goed bij de Vrijheid, Gelijkheid en Broederschap), maar Napoleon I draait dat snel weer terug. In 1807 verbiedt het Verenigd Koninkrijk de slavenhandel en in 1833 verbiedt het de slavernij. In 1838 wordt in de Britse koloniën de laatste binding tussen voormalige eigenaars en slaven ontbonden. In 1848 wordt de heringevoerde slavernij in Franse koloniën verboden.

In 1859 schaft Nederland de slavernij in de onder direct bestuur staande delen van Oost-Indië af. Een strategisch moment van minister van koloniën Jan Jacob Rochussen. Een jaar later verschijnt namelijk Max Havelaar, de aanklacht van Multatuli (Eduard Douwes Dekker) tegen de Nederlandse politiek in Nederlands-Indië.

Nog vier jaar later, in 1863, schaft Nederland de lucratieve slavernij in de West-Indische koloniën (Suriname en de Nederlandse Antillen) af.
De Verenigde Staten volgen in 1865, na er een burgeroorlog over te hebben uitgevochten. In Brazilië ondertekende in 1888 prinses Isabel, tijdens de afwezigheid van de keizer, de Lei de Aurea waarmee de slavernij werd afgeschaft.
In de indirect bestuurde delen van Nederlands-Indië bleef slavernij legitiem tot in de 20e eeuw. Op het eiland Sumbawa (Soembawa) werden de slaven pas vrijgelaten op 31 maart 1910.'

Een eeuw later riep de christelijke Nederlandse premier Blakenende op om weer de geest van de VOC door de polders te laten waaien. Dezelfde christelijke handelsgeest die tot de slavernij had geleid. In een poging die VOC geest weer op te wekken, wordt hij nu bijgestaan door de Nederlandse sociaal democraten. De schijn heeft inderdaad de werkelijkheid allang achterhaalt, zoals Baudrillard stelde.

De Pro-Israel Lobby 32

'Christisons: Does the Israeli Tail Wag the American Dog?
If the United States is unable to distinguish the world’s or its own real needs from those of another state and that state’s lobby, then it simply cannot say that it always acts in its own best interests.
By Kathleen and Bill Christison

A quarter century ago, the executive director of AIPAC —the American Israel Public Affairs Committee—established an analytical unit inside the organization to write in-depth advocacy papers for policymakers. The year was 1981, the president was Ronald Reagan, and AIPAC had just lost a hard-fought battle in Congress over the sale of AWACS surveillance aircraft to Saudi Arabia. The AIPAC leader was an energetic former congressional aide named Thomas Dine, who used the setback to build AIPAC into a formidable political force. Over the next few years, Dine quadrupled AIPAC’s grassroots membership as well as its budget and aggressively expanded contacts with Congress and policymakers. He set out to supply politicians with analyses geared toward advancing Israeli interests, in the stated belief that anyone who wrote papers read by policymakers would effectively “own” the policymakers.
This was a seminal moment in the decades-long growth of the lobby’s influence on US Middle East policy, often to the detriment of US national interests. Many have characterized the relationship between what the United States does in the Middle East and what the lobby wants it to do as a case of the Israeli tail wagging the US dog. Israel and its US supporters, although constituting the junior partner in the relationship, are seen as virtually dictating policy to whatever administration and Congress are in power. There are myriad examples of this dynamic, most notably Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982, which dragged the US into a disastrous intervention, and Israel’s invasion of the West Bank in 2002, during which Prime Minister Ariel Sharon openly and repeatedly defied President George Bush’s demand for a withdrawal. Others maintain that the tail-wagging is the other way around: that the United States, as the superpower, patron of Israel, and its major aid donor, is unmistakably the senior partner and the dog that wags the tail. The question, therefore, is which is the accurate assessment, or is the cynical view of Israeli commentator Michel Warschawski correct, that “there is neither a dog nor a tail, but one global war of re-colonization, and one aggressive monster with two ugly heads”?

Silence Broken
Despite the growing power of the Israel lobby, and the growing convergence of US and Israeli efforts toward global and regional Middle East domination, public debate over the size and substance of the lobby’s role in US policymaking was almost non-existent until two political scientists, John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard University, issued an 81-page report in March 2006 analyzing lobby strength. Mearsheimer, the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science, and Walt, Belfer Professor of International Affairs, are leading proponents of the realist school of foreign policy, which argues that states act to further military and economic power rather than pursue idealism and ethics. Their report sparked widespread interest when it was published in abbreviated form in the London Review of Books. Defining the lobby broadly as “the loose coalition of individuals and organizations who actively work to shape US foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction,” Mearsheimer and Walt conclude that the thrust of US policy in the Middle East is overwhelmingly the result of the lobby’s activities. They observe that, while other lobbies and interest groups have also demonstrated an ability to skew policy, “no lobby has managed to divert US foreign policy as far from what the American national interest would otherwise suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that US and Israeli interests are essentially identical.”'

Lees verder: http://www.palestinechronicle.com/story-03010753137.htm

De Israelische Terreur 163

By Naeim Giladi

I write this article for the same reason I wrote my book: to tell the American people, and especially American Jews, that Jews from Islamic lands did not emigrate willingly to Israel; that, to force them to leave, Jews killed Jews; and that, to buy time to confiscate ever more Arab lands, Jews on numerous occasions rejected genuine peace initiatives from their Arab neighbors. I write about what the first prime minister of Israel called "cruel Zionism." I write about it because I was part of it.
My Story
Of course I thought I knew it all back then. I was young, idealistic, and more than willing to put my life at risk for my convictions. It was 1947 and I wasn't quite 18 when the Iraqi authorities caught me for smuggling young Iraqi Jews like myself out of Iraq, into Iran, and then on to the Promised Land of the soon-to-be established Israel.
I was an Iraqi Jew in the Zionist underground. My Iraqi jailers did everything they could to extract the names of my co-conspirators. Fifty years later, pain still throbs in my right toe-a reminder of the day my captors used pliers to remove my toenails. On another occasion, they hauled me to the flat roof of the prison, stripped me bare on a frigid January day, then threw a bucket of cold water over me. I was left there, chained to the railing, for hours. But I never once considered giving them the information they wanted. I was a true believer.
My preoccupation during what I refer to as my "two years in hell" was with survival and escape. I had no interest then in the broad sweep of Jewish history in Iraq even though my family had been part of it right from the beginning. We were originally Haroons, a large and important family of the "Babylonian Diaspora." My ancestors had settled in Iraq more than 2,600 years ago-600 years before Christianity, and 1,200 years before Islam. I am descended from Jews who built the tomb of Yehezkel, a Jewish prophet of pre-biblical times. My town, where I was born in 1929, is Hillah, not far from the ancient site of Babylon.'

De Israelische Terreur 162

'Sands of Sorrow -Depicting the lives of Palestinian refugees soon after Nakba
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28 min 32 sechttp://www.WingTV.com

This is an incredible unique movie that captures Palestinian refugees living conditions few years after Nakba. It contains rare footage of Gaza, Bethlehem, & Jerusalem refugees camps. It documents shortage of health care (i.e. many don't know that 4 out of 5 kids under the age of 6 months died because of disease and malnutrition), education, food, sanitation,...etc.'

Zie: http://www.palestineremembered.com/Articles/General/Story2129.html

De Bush Bende 45

'Journalist and Author Andrew Cockburn on Donald Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy.

It’s been almost one year since the first of six retired US generals began calling for the departure of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Andrew Cockburn is the author of the controversial new biography, “Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy.” Cockburn talks about Rumsfeld's role in the Iraq war, his links to the torture of prisoners at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, his time as a pharmaceutical executive, and his tenuous relationship with George H.W. Bush.

It’s been almost one year since the first of six retired US generals began speaking out against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, calling for his departure. Their criticism helped to ignite - or may well have been ignited by -- public scrutiny of Rumsfeld, who was confronted by during speeches around the country.

Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst questioning Donald Rumsfeld, May 4 2006.
World Can’t Wait’s Heather Hurwitz, to Donald Rumsfeld, February 2 2006: "You have committed crimes against humanity and BushCommission.org and thousands are coming this weekend to drive you out of office, You and you whole administration. Step down Mr. Rumsfeld, Bush administration step down and take these programs with you. You are torturing people signing off on torture. It's happening. This world needs to wake up, stop this war, this criminal war."

The public scrutiny of Rumsfeld culminated in his resignation last year after the Republicans lost control of Congress. Well, a new book by investigative journalist Andrew Cockburn goes behind the scenes to reveal never-before told stories about Donald Rumsfeld. Relying on sources that include high-ranking officials in the Pentagon and the White House, it chronicles Rumsfeld’s early career as an Illinois congressman to his rise in the Nixon White House. From his tenure as CEO of pharmaceutical company G. D. Searle to his decisions as Defense Secretary in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The book is titled “Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy.” The author, Andrew Cockburn joins me now from Washington DC.
Andrew Cockburn. Writer and lecturer on defense and national affairs and author of several books. His latest is titled “Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy.”'

Lees verder: http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/03/07/1436239

De Bush Bende 44

Het lijkt erop dat de Amerikaanse volksvertegenwoordiging de jacht gaat openen op de vriendjes van Bush.

'Congress Says Prepared to Act in Plame Affair
By Jason Leopold
t r u t h o u t Report

Aides to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Congressman John Conyers, D-Mich., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said they were engaged in discussions Tuesday about the possibility of holding immediate hearings and subpoenaing Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to provide details of his nearly four-year-old investigation, and the evidence he obtained regarding the role Vice President Dick Cheney and other White House officials played in the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson. The aides requested anonymity because they were not yet permitted to discuss Congress's course of action in the matter publicly.
The news came on the heels of a verdict Tuesday in which a jury found former vice presidential staffer I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby guilty on four counts of obstruction of justice, perjury and lying to federal investigators for his role in the Plame leak. Plame is married to former ambassador Joseph Wilson, a fierce critic of the Iraq war who accused the administration of "twisting" pre-war intelligence. The verdict against Libby was rendered nearly four years to the day that the US invaded Iraq.
An aide to Senator Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said Tuesday that the senator is still determined to investigate the flawed intelligence that the administration used to convince Congress and the public to back the Iraq war. The Levin aide said the senator will likely seek testimony from Libby, Cheney, and senior members of the White House who played a role in the Plame leak, and that it "makes sense" to fold the issues surrounding the CIA leak case into the hearings about pre-war intelligence since they overlap with the leak case.
Fitzgerald said if new information materializes he will "take action." However, at this point, he plans on returning to his "day job."
In the meantime, if Congress decides to hold hearings or further investigate the roles of other administration officials who were involved in the leak, such as White House political consultant Karl Rove and Vice President Dick Cheney, Fitzgerald said he may be inclined to share the evidence he collected over the course of three years with lawmakers if they ask for his documents.'

Lees verder: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/030707A.shtml

Iran 146

De vanzelfsprekendheid van deze kop is opmerkelijk, zo wordt terreur acceptabel gemaakt bij het grote publiek. Zou er ooit in een westerse krant geschreven worden: 'Live with a nuclear Israel or Strike?' Nee, natuurlijk niet. En dat bepaalt ook meteen de kleur van dit artikel in Le Monde:
'Live With a Nuclear Iran or Strike?
By Laurent Zecchini
Le Monde
The United States is keeping two irons in the fire with Iran. It is exploring the diplomatic route and economic sanctions, while sending strong signals of its determination to choose the military option: The two American aircraft carriers in the Arabian-Persian Gulf are a modern illustration of "gunboat diplomacy." If Tehran's nuclear headlong rush must be stopped, which - the United States or Israel - should take care of it? Knowing that a bombing campaign will not succeed in razing all of Iran's ballistic missile sites, still less in eradicating the knowledge of its nuclear experts, and knowing that such an offensive will trigger Iranian reprisals against Israel and American interests in the region, what can the purpose of such an operation be?
If the risks of a military intervention exceed its advantages, can Israel live with a nuclear Iran? Those uncertainties characterize the Israeli population and its officialdom for which the Iranian question is becoming a national obsession. The approach of Ephraim Kam, a recognized expert on Iranian questions at Tel-Aviv's Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS), is all the more original in this context: Examining all the scenarios, he demonstrates a moderation that contrasts strongly with the bellicose accents of certain American and Israeli officials.
By presenting Tehran as one of the troublemakers fomenting problems in Iraq, the American administration does its utmost to designate a scapegoat for its own fiasco, while simultaneously bolstering its indictment against Iran. It's a situation that recalls the foreplay for the launch of the American "Iraqi Freedom" operation in March 2003. Yet Washington refrains from going all the way. First of all, because the development of the political situation in Tehran could open new negotiation prospects, and then, because the effectiveness of military strikes is unpredictable.
If that scenario should occur, the destruction of Iran's nuclear installations would have to be envisaged first, before Tehran reaches the threshold of atomic weapons production. After that, Iran would have a potent means of blackmail at its disposal, and it is probable that the international community would concede the Iranian nuclear fait accompli as it has done for India and Pakistan, briefly sanctioned after their 1998 nuclear tests.
How much time does that leave? The Israelis deem that Iran is three to four years away from the bomb (but they add that that estimate does not take into account a probable secret nuclear program), while American experts talk about five to eight years.
The goal of such a military intervention would have to be modest: At best, the international community would gain a respite, betting that the Iranian population would hold the Mullahs' regime responsible for the suffering and destruction it would have been subjected to. On the other hand, it is more likely that such a strike would favor a reflexive national unity against the "aggressor." The Israelis would much prefer that the Americans take on a complex and risky military operation. They deem that the United States is better equipped operationally and no doubt also to confront the diplomatic consequences of such an intervention. For the Hebrew state, the question is a veritable strategic challenge: Iranian nuclear sites are dispersed, often buried and situated 1,200 to 1,500 kilometers from Israel's territory, a distance that will be significantly increased should IDF planes have to go around Jordanian, or even Iraqi, air space.'

Irak 184

'The Last Hot-button Issue for the Bush Adminstration: Hostages to Policy
By Tom Engelhardt

What we know about waste and war in Iraq.
Let's start with the obvious waste. We know that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have lost their lives since the Bush administration invaded their country in March 2003, that almost two million may have fled to other countries, and that possibly millions more have been displaced from their homes in ethnic-cleansing campaigns. We also know that an estimated 4.5 million Iraqi children are now malnourished and that this is but "the tip of the iceberg" in a country where diets are generally deteriorating, while children are dying of preventable diseases in significant numbers; that the Iraqi economy is in ruins and its oil industry functioning at levels significantly below its worst moments in Saddam Hussein's day - and that there is no end in sight for any of this.
We know that, while the new crew of American military officials in Baghdad are starting to tout the "successes" of the President's "surge" plan, they actually fear a collapse of support at home within the next half-year, believe they lack the forces necessary to carry out their own plan, and doubt its ultimate success. What a tragic waste.
We know that while the U.S. military focuses on the Iraqi capital and al-Anbar Province, the heartland of the Sunni insurgency, taking casualties in both places, fleeing Iraqi refugees are claiming that jihadis have largely taken over the the city of Samarra, north of Baghdad, and renamed it "the Islamic Emirate of Samarra" - a grim sign indeed. (Here's just one refugee's assessment: "that large areas of the farms around Samarra have been transformed into camps like those of Al-Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan.")
We know that, as the U.S. military concentrates its limited forces and the minimal Iraqi units that fight with them, in a desperate battle to control the capital, for both Sunnis and Shia, the struggle simply spreads to less well-defended areas. We also know that the Sunni insurgents have been honing their tactics around Baghdad, their attacks growing deadlier on the ground and more accurate against the crucial helicopter support system which makes so much of the American occupation possible. Some of them have also begun to wield a new, potentially exceedingly deadly and indiscriminate weapon - trucks filled with chlorine gas, essentially homemade chemical weapons on wheels which can be blown up at any moment.
In other words, before the Bush administration is done two of its bogus prewar claims - that Saddam's Iraq was linked to the Islamic extremists who launched the 9/11 attacks and that it had weapons of mass destruction - could indeed become realities. What a pathetic waste.'

Lees verder:
http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=171859_ Of: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/030707D.shtml

Jean Baudrillard

Als geen andere naoorlogse filosoof heeft Baudrillard geanaliseerd hoe de schijn de werkelijkheid in onze massacultuur heeft weggevaagd. U hoeft maar om u heen te kijken en u ziet op elk niveau hoe de schijn de werkelijkheid bepaalt. Door de commerciele massamedia is ook de politieke werkelijkheid schijn geworden. Ger Groot schrijft in de NRC bij de dood van de fascinerende Franse denker het volgende:

'Jean Baudrillard (1929-2007)
Provocateur in de Franse filosofie
Amerika is het voorland van een nieuwe realiteit, was een van de opvattingen van de filosoof Jean Baudrillard.
Door Ger Groot

Brussel, 7 maart. De Franse socioloog en filosoof Jean Baudrillard wist wat provoceren was. In de eerste maanden van 1991 schreef hij een reeks kritische artikelen over de eerste Golfoorlog, later verzameld in het pamflet De Golfoorlog heeft niet plaatsgevonden. Tien jaar later schreef hij, naar aanleiding van de aanslag op het World Trade Center in New York: „Anderen hebben dit op hun geweten, maar wij hebben het gewild.”
Die beweringen van Baudrillard, die gisteren na een langdurige ziekte op 77-jarige leeftijd in zijn Parijse woning overleed, sproten niet voort uit een anti-Amerikanisme dat Franse intellectuelen vaak te makkelijk in de schoenen wordt geschoven. Baudrillard was gefascineerd door de Amerikaanse cultuur en samenleving, die hij, niet zonder ironie, de ‘gerealiseerde utopie’ noemde. Hij schreef er meerdere boeken over, waarin hij op impressionistische manier zijn observaties vermengde met theoretische inzichten.
In de ogen van Baudrillard was Amerika voorland van een nieuwe werkelijkheid, die hij hyperrealiteit noemde. Niet de werkelijkheid zélf was daarin nog belangrijk, maar de wijze waarop zij (vooral door de media) werd gepresenteerd en gesymboliseerd. Het televisiebeeld is ‘echter’ geworden dan de realiteit, de symbolische betekenis van gebruiksvoorwerpen belangrijker dan hun praktische nut.
Baudrillard werd in 1929 als boerenzoon geboren in de buurt van Reims. Hij studeerde Duits, werkte jarenlang als leraar, tot hij in de jaren zestig ontdekt werd door de marxistische filosoof Henri Lefebvre, die hem als socioloog de universitaire wereld binnenhaalde. Begin jaren zeventig werd hij hoogleraar sociologie aan de nog jonge, ‘revolutionaire’ universiteit van Nanterre. Hij ontwikkelde zich tot een van de meest invloedrijke sociologen van de postmoderne massacultuur
Een orthodox marxist is Baudrillard nooit geweest. Het Franse communisme verweet hij vastgeroest te zitten in een denken dat niet meer op de moderne samenleving was toegesneden. Het verschil tussen de ruil- en gebruikswaarde van goederen, waarop de marxistische maatschappijvisie steunde, was volgens hem niet meer van belang in een samenleving die dreef op consumptie. Niet hoe een product gemaakt wordt of wat je ermee kunt doen is doorslaggevend, zo constateerde hij in zijn eerste boek Le système des objets (Het objectsysteem) uit 1968, maar de symbolische betekenis daarvan. Zo ontleent tegenwoordig een nieuw mobieltje zijn waarde niet aan het feit dat je er beter mee kunt bellen, maar aan het feit dat het nieuw is, van het laatste model en van een sexy merk.
Dat de werkelijkheid niet alleen bestaat uit ‘dingen’, maar één groot systeem van tekens vormt, was in het Franse denken van de jaren zestig geen nieuwe gedachte meer. Maar Baudrillard radicaliseerde dit structuralistische idee door iedere band tussen die teken-werkelijkheid en de echte realiteit door te snijden. Die laatste is geheel achter de eerste verdwenen, zo stelde hij vast in zijn boek La société de consommation (De consumptiemaatschappij) uit 1970.
Het moderne leven bestaat volgens Baudrillard alleen nog uit inhoudsloze vormen, die hij simulacra (schijnbeelden) noemde. Iedereen die probeert daarachter nog een echte, harde werkelijkheid te zien, begrijpt niets van de postmoderne wereld waarin wij leven, zo houdt hij de andere filosofische kopstukken van zijn generatie voor. Stuk voor stuk waren zij volgens Baudrillard nog in de ban van een voorgoed verdwenen ‘ware’ wereld. Vooral Michel Foucault, met wie hij in zijn schotschrift Oublier Foucault (Foucault vergeten) uit 1977 een vete uitvecht, moet het daarbij ontgelden.'

Lees verder: http://www.nrc.nl/kunst/article651161.ece/Provocateur_in_de_Franse_filosofie

dinsdag 6 maart 2007

De Commerciele Massamedia 41

'News: It's not the Internet that's killing newspapers. It's the equity-chasing investors and their friends at the FCC who have put outsize profits before a free press.
By Eric Klinenberg

March/April 2007 Issue

Senate reconfirmation hearings tend to be predictable affairs, marked by polite give-and-take and senatorial grandstanding, but generally free of surprise plot twists. And so it was supposed to go last September 12, when Federal Communications Commission (fcc) chairman Kevin Martin appeared before the Commerce Committee. In March 2005, following the departure of Michael Powell (Colin's son), President Bush had named the young Republican lawyer to head the extraordinarily powerful five-person panel that oversees the nation's media and telecommunications policies. Martin, a boyish-looking 40-year-old who'd been on the fcc since 2001, planned to carry on much of his predecessor's unfinished business, particularly stiffening penalties for on-air indecency and the sweeping deregulation of media ownership rules. But unlike Powell, who was confrontational and contemptuous of his critics, the bland and soft-spoken Martin seemed unlikely to attract controversy.
But controversy caught up with him when Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) strayed from the script at his reconfirmation hearing. Boxer began by asking Martin about an fcc study, commissioned by Powell, on the impact of media ownership on local news. Unsuspecting, Martin said that it had never been completed. Then, as he watched glumly, Boxer brandished a draft of the study, which had, in fact, been written more than two years earlier, only to be buried by the fcc. The report found that locally owned television stations, on average, presented 5 1/2 minutes more local news per broadcast than stations owned by out-of-town conglomerates. The findings squarely contradicted the claims made by Martin, Powell, and big media companies, who have argued that lifting limits on ownership would improve local news coverage.
"Now, this isn't national security, for God's sakes," Boxer continued, unable to resist making Martin squirm. "I mean, this is important information. So I don't understand who deep-sixed this thing." Martin meekly said he had no idea, and promised he'd look into it. Within a week, a former fcc lawyer claimed that "every last piece" of the report had been ordered destroyed before it was leaked, and a second unreleased study came to light, prompting Boxer to refer the matter to the fcc's inspector general.'

Lees verder: http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2007/03/breaking_the_news.html

The Empire 198

'The Housing Bubble Starts to Burst
By Dean Baker
t r u t h o u t Columnist

Is there anything as beautiful as the sound of surprised economists in the springtime? I haven't had this much fun since the NASDAQ started to deflate seven years ago.
Okay, enough of the gloating; while the collapse of the housing bubble was both predictable and inevitable, it is not pretty. Tens of millions of people will be hurt as they see much of the equity in their homes - money that most had counted on to support their retirement - disappear. Millions more will be forced out of their homes as they find that they are unable to meet the payments on adjustable rate mortgages that reset at higher rates. People who had worked hard and saved in order to become homeowners will see their dream disappear.
The timing and process of the unwinding of the bubble cannot be known, but the basic story is clear. Investors are finally realizing that the high-risk mortgages they have been holding are high-risk.
Mortgage brokers, who make their money on issuing mortgages, not holding them, had been anxious to get as many people as possible to buy mortgages. While old-fashioned bankers would demand large down payments and good credit histories, many mortgage brokers were happy to issue mortgages that they knew buyers could not pay off. Since the brokers dump their mortgages in the secondary market almost immediately after they are issued, they have little reason to be concerned about whether the buyer can actually meet the payments.
Mortgage brokers were able to entice more people into the housing market with low "teaser rates" that were often several percentage points below the market rate to which the loan would eventually reset. Many homebuyers who could meet their monthly payment on a mortgage with a 1.5 percent interest rate would be hopelessly over their heads when the mortgage reset to a 6.5 percent rate.
But, everything was fine, as long as home prices continued their rapid appreciation. If a homebuyer's income wasn't high enough to make the mortgage payment, the homebuyer could draw on the new equity created by a rising home price. As a result, delinquency and foreclosure rates remained low through 2004 and 2005, even as the number of high-risk mortgages soared.
However, the party began to end last year as house prices started to fall. The fall thus far has been relatively modest (around 3 percent nationwide), but with prices going in the wrong direction, most new homebuyers have no equity that they could rely upon to meet their monthly payments. As a result, delinquency rates began to soar in 2006. More than 10 percent of the subprime adjustable rate mortgages issued last year (the most risky category) were already seriously delinquent or foreclosed within 10 months of issuance. This is even before any of these mortgages reset to a higher interest rate.'

Lees verder: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/030607J.shtml

De Commerciele Massamedia 40

In het NOS-Journaal van acht uur vanavond stelde de nieuwsvoorleester Sacha de Boer de vraag aan de politiek verslaggever in Den Haag hoe het toch kwam dat de dubbelle nationaliteit inzet van de Provinciale Staten-verkiezingen is geworden. Bram Schilham antwoordde dat dit issue onder de bevolking leeft. En dat nu is een gotspe. De dubbelle nationaliteit waar de mallotenclub van Wilders mee kwam, was gefundenes Fressen voor de media. De NRC bijvoorbeeld wist niet hoe snel ze ermee moest openen, twee journalisten werden vrijgemaakt om dit non-issue te coveren. En ook het NOS-Journaal en de andere commerciele massamedia besteedden er onevenredig veel aandacht aan. Dus de bewering van Bram Schilham is nonsense. De commerciele media hebben in hun jacht op hoge oplage-, kijk- en luistercijfers de zaak opgeblazen, en helpen zodoende mee de ressentimenten van een absolute minderheid van de Nederlandse bevolking te voeden en te verspreiden. Ondertussen besteedden ze geen structurele aandacht aan de wezenlijke problemen die op ons afkomen: de gevolgen van de klimaatverandering en de gevolgen van de groeiende kloof tussen arm en rijk in de wereld. Beste collega's, wordt volwassen, houden jullie je nu eens bezig met zaken die er toe doen. Stop met jullie ranzig provincialisme. Laat die mallotenclub maar aankwekken. Ze hebben geen oplossing voor onze ware problemen, ze vissen in troebel water. Help ze niet aan onverdiende aandacht. Zie: http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.com/2007/02/de-nrc-opent-wederom-met-provinciaals.html En: http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.com/2007/02/de-nuance-van-de-nrc-23.html

Ben ik solidair aan Holland? Nee, geen sprake van, ik ben geen druppeltje solidair aan Holland. Ik ben dat ook nooit geweest. Mijn moeder was een Schotse, mijn vader een Zeeuw. Al vanaf kindsbeen heb ik het kosmopolitisme met de paplepel ingegoten gekregen. En ik ben dus zeker niet solidair aan het Holland van die mallotenclub. Ik ben hooguit solidair aan een gedachte, niet aan emotie als nationalisme of pattriotisme of provincialisme. Ik moet er niet aan denken. Ik ben solidair met een mens in nood. Ik ben solidair aan degenen van wie ik houd, aan mijn familie en aan mijn vrienden en aan de mensen die ik bewonder vanwege hun moed of oprechtheid of doorzettingsvermogen. Maar ik ben niet solidair aan de plaats waar ik toevallig geboren ben. Hoe kan iemand met verstand solidair zijn aan een provinciaals land dat solidairiteit met de plaats waar men geboren is tot politiek vraagstuk heeft gemaakt? Ik probeer kosmopoliet te zijn in een geglobaliseerde wereld. Het is de enige realistische optie in een tijd waarin de helft van de mensheid jonger is dan 20 jaar en van 1 of 2 dollar per dag moet zien te overleven, dus van een fractie van wat wij - de rijken op aarde -hebben.

Robinson Jeffers 2

De Amerikaanse dichter Robinson Jeffers, geschreven op 30 augustus 1939.
'The Soul's Desert
They are warming up the old horrors; and all that they
say is echoes of echoes.
Beware of taking sides; only watch.
These are not criminals, nor hucksters and little journalists,
but governments
Of the great nations; men favorably
Representative of massed humanity. Observe them.
Wrath and laughter
Are quite irrelevant. Clearly it is time
To become disillusioned, each person to enter his own
soul's desert
And look for God - having seen man.'

De Israelische Terreur 161

Enfin, volgens de Nederlandse commerciele massamedia is het rustig in Israel, dat wil zeggen de joods-Israelis leven rustig door, de Palestijnen daarentegen gaan gebukt onder de dagelijkse terreur van de bezetting en de voortgaande politiek van het etnisch zuiveren van Palestina. Zie: http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.com/2007/01/ilan-pappe-3.html
Maak het leven van Palestijnse burgers zo gruwelijk mogelijk en ze vertrekken van zelf wel, is daarbij de Israelische gedachte. Maar daar besteden de commercielen geen aandacht aan. Dat past niet in het propagandistische beeld, net zomin als de Nederlandse media na 1940 meldden wat er in werkelijkheid met de joodse buren gebeurde. Gesteund door concerns en politici uit het christelijke Westen gaat vandaag de dag de dagelijkse terreur tegen de Palestijnen ongestoord door.
Van moedige Israelische vredesactivisten kreeg ik deze mail:
'Home demolitions are taking place NOW in A-Tur near the A-Zaim checkpoint and Maavar Zeitim (Terminal crossing), just above the Eastern Ringroad as it comes in to the tunnel from Maale Adumim. The home is a 2-storey building.
We expect there to be more than one demolition today: near the current demolition site is the A-Ghalia family home which we anticipate will also be smashed, very near homes recently demolished next to the tunnel road. Attached are photographs from the demolition there a few weeks ago of a neighbouring home.

We will be glad if diplomats who have never witnessed a demolition will find time to go and see more families made homeless and forced to live in tents in this weather while the humanitarian crisis caused by demolition increases.

Israel has demolished over 18,000 homes in the OPT since 1967 and although people build without licences, they only do so because licences are virtually impossible to obtain and exorbitantly expensive (tens of thousands of dollars). Over half of East Jerusalem is zoned as "open green space" and 34% is zoned for Jewish settlers. East Jerusalem landowners pay rates and taxes, and yet receive almost no services from the municipality, except the omnipresent bulldozers. Significantly, the army ceased punitive home demolitions two years ago as it found them counter-productive - i.e. they are increasing the chances of attacks and stoking the fire of hatred.

18,000 buildings represents probably over 200,000 Palestinians made homeless over 40 years in a slow, relentless policy of deliberate displacement and "judaisation" of East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank. This is a humanitarian crisis far outreaching earthquakes or mudslides which hit the headlines.

And the world looks on. This is not news, it is cliche and history. We will be lucky if we can get any media or press to attend. The statistics will go out in our next report. And the world looks on.

For further details: Meir Margalit (0544 345 503)

Angela Godfrey-Goldstein, Action Advocacy OfficerThe Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), Jerusalemangela@icahd.org; http://www.icahd.org/ http://www.angelajerusalem.wordpress.com/ http://www.angelaicahd.blogspot.com/Tel: (02) 672 8771 / 0547 366 393 "The people of the world do not need to choose between a Malevolent Mickey Mouse and the Mad Mullahs" Arundhati Roy (The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire)
Watch JEFF HALPER & NAIM ATEEK AT NATIONAL PRESS CLUB (CNI EVENT): http://www.archive.org/details/Is_the_Two-State_Solution_Still_Possible Watch THE IRON WALL: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4866316426876380615 Watch ZOCHROT (Refugees, Demolished Palestinian Villages, "Transfer" & Remembering the Nakba): [google Zochrot's webpage, the link is blacklisted by servers]Watch CLOSED (UNOCHA on OPT humanitarian crisis): http://www.ochaopt.org/?module=displaysection&section_id=117&format=htmlWatch HEBRON SETTLER IN ACTION http://s03dl.castup.net/server12/23227566-13.wmv?cu=7CF11A61-B891-4919-9905-5E3338B63D4CWatch PUSHING THE BARRIER (Inigo Gilmore, C4 TV) http://www.channel4.com/news/special-reports/special-reports-storypage.jsp?id=4458WatchWatch BREAKING THE SILENCE (IDF soldiers' testimonies): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37MFa7ZKQWoWatch SHORTS ON CHECKPOINTS: http://www.mahsanmilim.com/films.htm Watch TONY BLAIR and put him into The Top Ten: (War! What is it good for?) http://www.uglyrumours.com/Watch JAHALIN (Hebrew) on HOT TV: http://news.walla.co.il/?w=/3806/1023517Watch Unrecognised Bedouin villages on BBC Newsnight: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/6400501.stmWatch THE UNRECOGNIZED: http://www.theunrecognized.org/
'The Unrecognized' -- a short documentary, highlights the plight of Bedouin Israeli citizens living in the Naqab (Negev) desert. Approx. 70,000 live in the poverty of 'unrecognized villages', denied essential public services, facing fundamental human rights violations due to institutionalized discrimination.'
Probeert u zich voor te stellen hoe dat jongetje op die onderste foto zich voelt. Wat voor beeld heeft hij van de 'joodse natie' en van joden? Wat voor beeld heeft hij van een Westers concern als Volvo waarvan een dragline daar voor z'n ogen zijn huis vernietigd? Wat voor beeld heeft hij van onze zo duizelingwekkend hoog geprezen westerse democratie en beschaving die dit niet alleen toelaten maar ook nog eens steunen? Zal hij altijd lijdzaam blijven toezien? Of zal hij ooit eens het onrecht gaan bestrijden met het enige denkbare wapen voor hem? Zal hij zich ooit gaan wreken? Hoe komt het dat wij in het zo geprezen beschaafde Westen dit steunen? Hoe komt het dat wij jongeren leren over de verschrikkingen van de holocaust en tegelijkertijd - net als tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog -wegkijken en zoveel hedendaags onrecht accepteren alsof het de normaalste gang van zaken is? Hoe komt het dat wij ons niet diep schamen over zoveel hypocrisie? Hoe komt het dat die zwaar bewapende Israelische soldaten er zo ontspannen bij kunnen staan, terwijl de huizen van medemensen vernietigd worden. Waarom gehoorzamen die Israelische soldaten Befehl ist Befehl, terwijl ze toch op school geleerd hebben dat na de nazi's de wereld deze houding als in strijd is met het internationaal recht heeft veroordeeld. Hoe komt het dat wij Nederlanders met onze zo veel geprezen tolerantie het accepteren dat wij wapenonderdelen sturen die deze terreur in stand houdt?
Sonja stuurde me deze informatie: 'Nederlandse bedrijven leveren onderdelen en apparatuur voor F16-straaljagers en Apache-gevechtshelikopters die door Israël worden gebruikt voor liquidaties in de Palestijnse gebieden. Ook Philips, ondanks eigen stringente codes voor maatschappelijk verantwoord ondernemen. "Ach, op de totale activiteiten van Philips is dit maar een kleine business." http://www.groene.nl/2004/0414/jb_philips.html'
Hoe komt het dat wij niets van de geschiedenis leren?

maandag 5 maart 2007

Iran 145

'Report Warns Against Iran Attack
BBC News

Military strikes against Iran could speed Tehran's development of nuclear weapons, according to a UK think tank.

A report by the Oxford Research Group says military action could lead Iran to change the nature of its programme and quickly build a few nuclear arms.
Iran denies Western claims it is trying to build weapons, saying its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful.
The study comes as the UN nuclear watchdog is set to discuss the nuclear programmes of Iran and North Korea.
In February, Iran ignored a deadline set by the UN Security Council to stop enriching uranium.
A report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran was instead expanding the programme.
Enriched uranium is used as fuel for nuclear reactors, but highly enriched uranium can be used to make nuclear bombs.
Western powers have threatened to expand sanctions on Iraq. These could include travel bans on Iranian officials associated with nuclear and missile programmes.
The US has not ruled out using force but says it wants to give diplomacy a chance.
"Fast-Track Programme"
The Oxford Research Group report is written by nuclear scientist and arms expert Frank Barnaby.
"If Iran is moving towards a nuclear weapons capacity it is doing so relatively slowly, most estimates put it at least five years away," he says.
Mr Barnaby adds that an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities "would almost certainly lead to a fast-track programme to develop a small number of nuclear devices as quickly as possible".
He says it "would be a bit like deciding to build a car from spare parts instead of building the entire car factory".
The BBC's diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus says that with two US navy aircraft carrier strike groups in the Gulf region and US spokesmen refusing to rule out force, this study is timely and highlights what most air power experts have been saying for some time.
IAEA Meeting
An operation to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities would be neither brief nor limited in scope, our correspondent says. Multiple targets would have to be hit, and the outcome would be far from clear, especially if Iran has hidden facilities unknown to US intelligence.
But he points out that this is not a military study - written by a noted atomic scientist and peace campaigner, it looks more at the aftermath of a potential US attack and questions the central rationale for any military operation.'

Lees verder: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/030507K.shtml

De Dollar Hegemonie 31

'The Condition Of The Dollar

By Lindsey Williams

There is so much to touch on regarding the dollar this month, I hardly know where to start. Regardless of where I begin, the news is not good and affects all of us.

First on our list is China. They have now announced that they are refusing to accept American Corporations purchasing into their stock market any longer as they did in the past. China also said that they are no longer going to be purchasing our securities as they have in the past, including bonds and T-bills. China's decisions and subsequent announcements at the beginning of the week has sent a panic across the World's markets.

Additionally, OPEC met recently and they have also stated they will be diversifying into other currencies instead of just the American dollar. They will now begin accepting other currencies and limit the trade of oil via the American dollar.

March 21st 2007 will be one of the most significant dates this month. Iran has outlawed the American dollar and will put anyone in jail that uses it in their country after that date. They have the ominous notoriety of being the first nation in the world to do such a thing. The real issue in Iran is NOT nuclear, but rather the decision to not use the American dollar for trade and the sale of oil. On the heels of Iran's decision, North Korea has followed suit and also outlawed the use of the American dollar in their country. Finally, Malaysia the next day did the same thing.

Central banks around the world are increasingly diversifying their reserves, including cutting holdings of American dollars, according to a survey sponsored by Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC, the U.K.'s second-largest bank. Italy, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland have made "major adjustments" in foreign-exchange holdings favoring the Euro and the British pound, according to the poll conducted by Central Banking Publications Ltd. between September and December. "Central banks are open to saying they've been diversifying to improve returns and reduce exposure to any single currency," said Sean Callow, senior currency strategist at Westpac Banking Corp. in Singapore. There's no doubt that when they say 'diversification' they mean selling dollars.

Last week a friend of mine told me they called their bank president in Vancouver, BC and he agreed with everything I have been saying about the dollar. What amazed me the most was her comment that he told her his bank is currently making preparations for the crash of the American dollar!

My dear friends, I urge you to structure yourself and get out of the liquid dollar immediately. I suggest that you get out of stock markets and into international hard assets such as real estate, gold and other assets. Structure your family by setting up proper International Business Corporations and Foundations that will preserve your finances.'

Lees verder: http://www.rense.com/general75/lind.htm

Iran 144

Mother Jones bericht:

'Interviews with Iranian Opposition Leaders
By Reese Erlich
March 1, 2007

'Each week in March, Mother Jones will release a new interview with an Iranian opposition leader. Journalist Reese Erlich will speak with Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, Freedom Movement in Iran leader Ibrahim Yazdi, and Iranian journalist Akbar Ganji. We will also feature his interview with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Erlich's book, "The Iran Agenda: The Truth Behind US Policy and the Middle East Crisis," will be published in September 2007.

March 1, 2007: Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi talks about her fight for human rights in Iran [AUDIO]

Coming next week: Writer and journalist Akbar Ganji'