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

  • I.F. Stone

donderdag 15 maart 2007

Trouw Misschien Wel 14


Het christelijk dagblad Trouw bericht:
'Met Bosnische littekens vocht Nederland verder
Teun Lagas
„Nederland liet zich leiden door idealisme en moralisme”, oordeelde het Nederlands Instituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie (Niod) achteraf over de lichtvaardige troepenzending naar Srebrenica, waar de soldaten machteloos moesten toestaan dat de Bosnische Serviërs in 1995 genocide pleegden op duizenden moslimmannen en -jongens.'
Met_Bosnische_littekens_vocht_Nederland_verder
Opmerkelijk hoe dezelfde generatie zijn eigen geschiedenis kan vervalsen. Idealisme en moralisme? En wij maar denken dat het lafheid en minachting voor de moslims was. In elk geval zagen we hoe Karremans het in zijn broek deed en zijn manschappen de polanaise dansten nadat ze door de oorlogsmisdadiger Mladic waren vrijgelaten. Machteloos waren 'onze jongens' zeker. Machteloos, maar wel bewapend.
Nadat de Serven met hun slachtoffers klaar waren, zagen ze er uit zoals u op de foto ziet.
Zoals vroeger de priesters bepaalden wat de waarheid was, zo bepalen nu de journalisten wat de waarheid is. In beide gevallen is de waarheid in handen van gelovigen.

woensdag 14 maart 2007

De Israelische Terreur 172

Ik kreeg deze afbeelding gemaild door Sonja. De politici Balkenende en Sharon, met op de achtergrond foto's van de moordpartij in Sabra en Shatila, waarvoor de oorlogsmisdadiger Sharon politiek verantwoordelijk was.

Mijn vraag:

Wat zijn de veel geprezen normen en waarden van de al even veel geprezen joods-christelijke cultuur?

De Dollar Hegemonie 32


Ongeveer een jaar geleden begon ik Amerikaanse artikelen over te nemen waarin gewaarschuwd werd voor de dreigende ineenstorting van de Amerikaanse huizenmarkt en de catastrofale consequenties daarvan voor de vrije-markt economie.

Vandaag is de NRC-redactie ineens wakker geschud, de gevaren kunnen niet langer meer genegeerd worden. Zelfs neoliberale journalisten kunnen een crisis niet te lang negeren.

'Hypotheekcrisis in VS kan Europa besmetten.

Op de Amerikaanse markt voor risicovolle hypotheken woedt een crisis die grote gevolgen kan hebben voor de economie. Europa staat stevig, maar is niet immuun.

Door onze redacteuren Maarten Schinkel en Ben Vollaard

Amsterdam, 14 maart. Hoe gevaarlijk is de crisis op de Amerikaanse hypotheekmarkt? De effecten zijn al te merken op het Damrak. In reactie op het nieuws uit Amerika stond de AEX rond het middaguur bijna twee procent lager, met de banken ABN Amro en ING als grootste dalers.
In de afgelopen weken raakten tal van hypotheekbanken in de VS in de problemen omdat steeds meer, vooral arme Amerikanen hun rente en aflossing niet meer kunnen betalen. Sinds eergisteren dreigt de op één na grootste verstrekker van risicovolle hypotheken, New Century, om te vallen.
De moeilijkheden komen op een heikel moment. De Amerikaanse economie verliest in snel tempo vaart. Vooralsnog is de algemene verwachting dat er een ‘zachte landing’ zal volgen, waarbij de economische groei tijdelijk afneemt om daarna weer aan te trekken. Maar niemand minder dan oud-centrale bankier Alan Greenspan zaaide twee weken geleden paniek op de financiële markten door zijn schatting dat de kans op een recessie dit jaar is opgelopen tot een derde.
De huizenmarkt is daarbij cruciaal. Amerikanen hebben hun reële inkomen de afgelopen jaren niet of nauwelijks zien stijgen, en ze sparen al helemaal niet meer. De enige manier om de huishoudelijke bestedingen toch op te voeren kwam van een groeiend krediet. En hun stijgende prijs maakte huizen daarvoor het perfecte onderpand. Aan die stijging is nu een einde gekomen, en dat heeft repercussies voor de gehele woningmarkt. De verkoop van nieuwe woningen is een vijfde lager dan een jaar geleden. De nieuwbouw van woningen ligt 40 procent lager dan vorig jaar.
Eén van de gevolgen is dat van de Amerikanen met een ‘risicohypotheek’ met variabele rente 14 procent de hypotheeklasten niet meer kan betalen. Maar ook voor de meest kredietwaardige huizenbezitters is het percentage al opgelopen naar 3,4. Executieverkopen zetten extra druk op de wankele huizenprijzen.
Hoe groot het effect zal zijn op de economie, is nog onbekend. Vermogenseffecten uit de huizenmarkt kunnen fors zijn. Bovendien kan de hypotheekcrisis er toe leiden dat nieuw krediet moeilijker te krijgen is voor een veel grotere groep Amerikanen. Dan is er nog het effect op het algemene vertrouwen in de economie, en kan de bouwsector zelf ook nog in crisis raken. Onlangs kwam Home Depot, de grootste doe-het-zelfketen, met een winstdaling van 30 procent.
Met het stokken van de huizenprijzen raakt de laatste batterij voor het opvoeren van de uitgaven dus leeg. Gisteren werd bekend dat de detailhandelsverkopen in de VS nauwelijks zijn gestegen. Gecorrigeerd voor inflatie zijn ze zelfs gedaald. Consumentenbestedingen zijn goed voor zo’n zestig procent van het bruto binnenlands product. Als daar geen groei in zit, dan stokt de groei van de gehele economie.'

Lees verder: http://www.nrc.nl/economie/article658500.ece/
Hypotheekcrisis_in_VS_kan_Europa_besmetten
Een imperium dat zijn economie verplaatst naar lage-lonen-landen en dus zelf steeds minder produceert raakt ooit eens bankroet. Vooral wanneer ook nog eens het federale budget voor een groot deel naar bewapening en oorlogsvoering gaat. Dat weet iedereen met een beetje gezond verstand, maar kennelijk niet de politici en veel commerciele massamedia.

Opmerkelijk is dit fragment uit de NRC: 'De moeilijkheden komen op een heikel moment. De Amerikaanse economie verliest in snel tempo vaart. Vooralsnog is de algemene verwachting dat er een ‘zachte landing’ zal volgen, waarbij de economische groei tijdelijk afneemt om daarna weer aan te trekken. Maar niemand minder dan oud-centrale bankier Alan Greenspan zaaide twee weken geleden paniek op de financiële markten door zijn schatting dat de kans op een recessie dit jaar is opgelopen tot een derde.' Vooralsnog is de algemene verwachting dat er een 'zachte landing' zal volgen? De algemene verwachting van wie? Van mensen die financiele belangen hebben? Dat lijken me geen al te betrouwbare bronnen voor onafhankelijke journalisten. Waarom noemt de NRC geen bronnen? Er zijn namelijk genoeg bronnen die al enige tijd waarschuwen voor een harde landing. Meer dan een jaar geleden plaatste ik dit bericht op mijn weblog:

'maandag, januari 23, 2006
Het failliete Amerika 5
Na achttien jaar de voorzitter te zijn geweest van de 'Federal Reserve' gaat Alan Greenspan volgende week met pensioen, een failliet land achterlatend. Niet alleen de staat die nu de grootste buitenlandse schuld ter wereld heeft, maar ook de burgers, die alleen door leningen het hoofd boven water weten te houden. Net zoalang tot het systeem van lenen onvermijdelijk ineenstort. Alles en iedereen leeft er op de pof. Het is daarom ook interessant het portret te lezen dat de Washington Post van Greenspan schetste.

Enkele citaten: 'U.S. household debt hit a record $11.4 trillion in last year's third quarter, which ended Sept. 30, after shooting up at the fastest rate since 1985, according to Fed data. · U.S. households spent a record 13.75 percent of their after-tax, or disposable, income on servicing their debts in the third quarter, the Fed reported. · The trade deficit for last year is estimated to have swollen to another record high, above $700 billion, increasing America's indebtedness to foreigners…The Fed chairman told Congress in June: "I think we've learned very early on in economic history that debt in modest quantities does enhance the rate of growth of an economy and does create higher standards of living, but in excess, creates very serious problems." Greenspan didn't define "excess," but economists see troubling possibilities: A sudden reversal in housing prices could trigger a recession if consumers cut back on spending and households have trouble paying their mortgages. The trade gap could swell to a point that forces a sharp fall in the dollar and surge in interest rates, also causing a recession…But low interest rates worked like an intoxicant on consumers, who snapped up new cars and trucks with no-interest loans and seized on low mortgage rates to buy new homes and refinance old home loans. Those sales and refinancings freed up more cash to spend. Households used much of that extra money to pay off credit cards, student loans and other, higher-interest rate debt -- "cleaning up their balance sheets," in economists' terms. They also kept shopping through the recession, the terrorist attacks and the rocky economic recovery that followed… Mortgage rates also fell, prompting homeowners to refinance repeatedly. Changes in the financial industry made it easier for homeowners to tap their home equity through refinancing. Lenders provided adjustable-rate mortgages that enabled home buyers to pay higher prices while temporarily making low monthly loan payments. The housing market kept booming. Consumer debt and spending kept climbing... And home values have skyrocketed, pumping up household wealth to a record $51 trillion in the third quarter, according to Fed data. But household debt rose faster in recent years than wealth or disposable income, reaching an unprecedented 126.1 percent of after-tax income in the third quarter, double its 1980 level… Indeed, U.S. households collectively spent more than their combined income in the second and third quarters of last year. The only way to do that is by selling assets, dipping into savings or borrowing. Lees verder: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/22/AR2006012201027.html?referrer=email&referrer=email&referrer=email

Waarom ontbreekt de context in het NRC-bericht? Bovendien betreft het niet zozeer de ame Amerikanen. De echte armen leven er onder de armoedegrens, meer dan 40 miljoen. Die hebben wel een televisie, maar geen hypotheek. Het is juist, zoals de Washington Post aangeeft de middenklasse, die door het neoliberalisme wordt kapot gemaakt. Elke correspondent in de VS kan dit weten, zodra hij uit Washington en New York vertrekt en door het land zou reizen. Maar dat doen de Nederlandse correspondenten niet. Lees verder over de neoliberale speculanten:

http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.com/2006/01/het-failliete-amerika-5.html
http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.com/2006/01/het-failliete-amerika-6.html

http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.com/2006/03/saul-landau.html
http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.com/2006/06/de-dollar-hegemonie-11.html
http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.com/2007/02/de-dollar-hegemonie-27.html
http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.com/2007/02/de-dollar-hegemonie-29.html

De Israelische Terreur 171




Een van de slachtoffertjes van Israelische bombardementen van Libanon.
'Olmert's leaked testimony reveals real goal of summer war
Jonathan Cook,
Electronic Lebanon,

Israel's supposedly "defensive" assault on Hizbullah last summer, in which more than 1,000 Lebanese civilians were killed in a massive aerial bombardment that ended with Israel littering the country's south with cluster bombs, was cast in a definitively different light last week by Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert.His leaked testimony to the Winograd Committee -- investigating the government's failures during the month-long attack -- suggests that he had been preparing for such a war at least four months before the official casus belli: the capture by Hizbullah of two Israeli soldiers from a border post on 12 July 2006. Lebanon's devastation was apparently designed to teach both Hizbullah and the country's wider public a lesson.Olmert's new account clarifies the confusing series of official justifications for the war from the time.First, we were told that the seizure of the soldiers was "an act of war" by Lebanon and that a "shock and awe" campaign was needed to secure their release. Or, as then Chief of Staff Dan Halutz -- taking time out from disposing of his shares before market prices fell -- explained, his pilots were going to "turn the clock back 20 years" in Lebanon.Then the army claimed that it was trying to stop Hizbullah's rocket strikes. However, the bombing campaign targeted not only the rocket launchers but much of Lebanon, including Beirut. (It was, of course, conveniently overlooked that Hizbullah’s rockets fell as a response to the Israeli bombardment and not the other way around.)And finally we were offered variations on the theme that ended the fighting: the need to push Hizbullah (and, incidentally, hundreds of thousands of Lebanese civilians) away from the northern border with Israel.That was the thrust of UN Resolution 1701 that brought about the official end of hostilities in mid-August. It also looked suspiciously like the reason why Israel chose at the last-minute to dump up to a million tiny bomblets -- old US stocks of cluster munitions with a very high failure rate -- that are lying in south Lebanon's fields, playgrounds and back yards waiting to explode.What had been notable before Olmert's latest revelation was the clamour of the military command to distance itself from Israel's failed attack on Hizbullah. After his resignation, Halutz blamed the political echelon (meaning primarily Olmert), while his subordinates blamed both Olmert and Halutz. The former Chief of Staff was rounded on mainly because, it was claimed, being from the air force, he had over-estimated the likely effectiveness of his pilots in "neutralising" Hizbullah's rockets.'

Waarom accepteert de Nederlandse politiek deze Israelische agressie-oorlog, die een grove schending is van het internationaal recht? Waarom wordt Israel niet geboycot zoals andere schurken staten? Waarom steunt Nederland op politiek, militair en economisch gebied deze terreur? Op de groenten en fruit-afdeling van Albert Heijn liggen talloze producten uit Israel. Waarom wordt Albert Heijn niet geboycot?

Iran 149

'Tomgram: The Seymour Hersh Mystery
A Journalist Writing Bloody Murder…
And No One Notices
By Tom Engelhardt

Let me see if I've got this straight. Perhaps two years ago, an "informal" meeting of "veterans" of the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal -- holding positions in the Bush administration -- was convened by Deputy National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams. Discussed were the "lessons learned" from that labyrinthine, secret, and illegal arms-for-money-for-arms deal involving the Israelis, the Iranians, the Saudis, and the Contras of Nicaragua, among others -- and meant to evade the Boland Amendment, a congressionally passed attempt to outlaw Reagan administration assistance to the anti-communist Contras. In terms of getting around Congress, the Iran-Contra vets concluded, the complex operation had been a success -- and would have worked far better if the CIA and the military had been kept out of the loop and the whole thing had been run out of the Vice President's office.
Subsequently, some of those conspirators, once again with the financial support and help of the Saudis (and probably the Israelis and the Brits), began running a similar operation, aimed at avoiding congressional scrutiny or public accountability of any sort, out of Vice President Cheney's office. They dipped into "black pools of money," possibly stolen from the billions of Iraqi oil dollars that have never been accounted for since the American occupation began. Some of these funds, as well as Saudi ones, were evidently funneled through the embattled, Sunni-dominated Lebanese government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora to the sort of Sunni jihadi groups ("some sympathetic to al-Qaeda") whose members might normally fear ending up in Guantanamo and to a group, or groups, associated with the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood.
All of this was being done as part of a "sea change" in the Bush administration's Middle Eastern policies aimed at rallying friendly Sunni regimes against Shiite Iran, as well as Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Syrian government -- and launching secret operations to undermine, roll back, or destroy all of the above. Despite the fact that the Bush administration is officially at war with Sunni extremism in Iraq (and in the more general Global War on Terror), despite its support for the largely Shiite government, allied to Iran, that it has brought to power in Iraq, and despite its dislike for the Sunni-Shiite civil war in that country, some of its top officials may be covertly encouraging a far greater Sunni-Shiite rift in the region.
Imagine. All this and much more (including news of U.S. military border-crossings into Iran, new preparations that would allow George W. Bush to order a massive air attack on that land with only 24-hours notice, and a brief window this spring when the staggering power of four U.S. aircraft-carrier battle groups might be available to the President in the Persian Gulf) was revealed, often in remarkable detail, just over a week ago in "The Redirection," a Seymour Hersh piece in the New Yorker. Hersh, the man who first broke the My Lai story in the Vietnam era, has never been off his game since. In recent years, from the Abu Ghraib scandal on, he has consistently released explosive news about the plans and acts of the Bush administration.
Imagine, in addition, that Hersh went on Democracy Now!, Fresh Air, Hardball with Chris Matthews, and CNN Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer and actually elaborated on these claims and revelations, some of which, on the face of it, seem like potentially illegal and impeachable offenses, if they do indeed reach up to the Vice President or President.
Now imagine the response: Front-page headlines; editorials nationwide calling for answers, Congressional hearings, or even the appointment of a special prosecutor to look into some of the claims; a raft of op-ed page pieces by the nation's leading columnists asking questions, demanding answers, reminding us of the history of Iran-Contra; bold reporters from a recently freed media standing up in White House and Defense Department press briefings to demand more information on Hersh's various charges; calls in Congress for hearings and investigations into why the people's representatives were left so totally out of this loop.'

Lees verder: http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?emx=x&pid=174764

dinsdag 13 maart 2007

The Empire 205

'The Pragmatism of Prolonged War
By Norman Solomon.

The days are getting longer, but the media shadows are no shorter as they cover the war in Iraq through American eyes, squinting in Washington’s pallid sun.
Debated as an issue of politics, the actual war keeps being drained of life. Abstractions thrive inside the Beltway, while the war effort continues: funded by the U.S. Treasury every day, as the original crime of invasion is replicated with occupation.
More than ever, in the aftermath of the Scooter Libby verdict, the country’s major news outlets are willing to acknowledge that the political road to war in Iraq was paved with deceptions. But the same media outlets were integral to laying the flagstones along the path to war — and they’re now integral to prolonging the war.
With the same logic of one, two, and three years ago, the conformist media wisdom is that a cutoff of funds for the war is not practical. Likewise, on Capitol Hill, there’s a lot of huffing and puffing about how the war must wind down — but the money for it, we’re told, must keep moving. Like two rails along the same track, the dispensers of conventional media and political wisdom carry us along to more and more and more war.
The antiwar movement is now coming to terms with measures being promoted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Pelosi and Reid have a job to do. The antiwar movement has a job to do. The jobs are not the same.
This should be obvious — but, judging from public and private debates now fiercely underway among progressive activists and organizations, there’s a lot of confusion in the air.
No amount of savvy Capitol-speak can change the fact that “benchmarks” are euphemisms for more war. And when activists pretend otherwise, they play into the hands of those who want the war to goon… and on… and on.'

Lees verder: http://www.mediachannel.org/wordpress/2007/03/13/the-pragmatism-of-prolonged-war/

Free Kareem

'Egypt: Blogger Sentence Upheld
Middle East & North Africa, Breaking News, Egypt, Weblog, Freedom of Speech, Cyber-Activism, Human Rights, Internet & Telecoms, Law, Religion, Politics

According to Free Kareem, the Alexandria Court of Appeal today upheld the four-year prison sentence against Egyptian blogger Kareem Nabeel Sulaiman.
Dalia Ziada, a human rights activist and translator based in Cairo, reports that the Alexandria Appeal Court has upheld the four-year prison sentence against Kareem Amer.Furthermore, the judge approved a civil claim filed by the eleven lawyers who want to fine Kareem for ‘insulting Islam’.Kareem’s lawyers will apply for the Court of Cassation (third degree).Abdul Kareem Nabeel Suleiman, a.k.a. Kareem Amer, is in prison because he blogged his personal opinions on the Internet.
Kareem’s supporters, however, are pleading with sympathisers to help him, through applying more pressure on the Egyptian authorities for his release.
We have compiled a comprehensive list of ways you can help Kareem Amer ..The list includes a letter writing campaign, with addresses of the Egyptian President, Prime Minister, Minister of Justice, and Ambassadors from more than 50 countries worldwide! We are also providing sample letters and a press kit over the next few days.Many thanks to everyone who has been sending in suggestions and sample letters.
Among the tactics the group is using to draw attention to Kareem’s plight are signing petitions, organising rallies, a donation drive and lobbying against Egypt hosting the United Nations-sponsored Internet Governance Forum in 2009.
Supporters are also calling upon bloggers to write about Kareem and use the Free Kareem logo as well as send letters to “government officials, diplomats, human rights groups, local media outlets, and the United Nations.”
In your letter, please make clear the following:♦ Condemn the four-year prison sentence placed on Kareem Amer, who was peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression;♦ Express deep concern at the conditions of Kareem Amer’s detention, and whether he is being treated humanely and given full access to medical care and family visits; and♦ Urge the Egyptian government to clearly implement the international standards set out by the ICCPR to which the state of Egypt is a signatory and repeal laws violating these standards.'

Zie: http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/2007/03/12/egypt-blogger-sentence-upheld/

De Commerciele Massamedia 43

'Rather: Journalism Has ‘Lost Its Guts’
By MediaChannel.
Source: Daniel Terdiman, CNET

AUSTIN, TEXAS–To longtime CBS broadcaster Dan Rather, American journalism in recent years “has in some ways lost its guts.”
During his hour-long keynote address at South by Southwest Interactive, Rather opined at length on the state of his profession, in which too many journalists have become lapdogs to power, rather than watchdogs.
“I do not exclude myself from this criticism… By and large, so many journalists–there are notable exceptions–have adopted the go-along-to-get-along (attitude),” he said.
So, because of this “access game,” journalism has degenerated into a “very perilous state,” he said in response to a question from his on-stage interviewer, FireDogLake.com writer Jane Hamsher….
In his speech, he touched on the state of the Internet as a way to get information and news to people.
“The Internet is a tremendous tool for not just news, (because) its potential is unlimited for that,” Rather said, but for “illumination and opening things up.”
But he spent most of his time on stage talking about why he thinks many people have lost faith in journalists.
One reason, Rather said, is that questioning power, especially at a time of war, can be perceived as unpatriotic or unsupportive of America’s fighting troops.
“In many ways, what we in journalism need is a spine transplant.” –Dan Rather
That’s “a very serious charge in this country,” Rather said.
“We’ve brought it on ourselves,” he added, “partly because we’ve lost the sense that (the) patriotic journalist will be on his or her feet asking the tough questions. My role as a member of the press is to be sometimes a check and balance on power.”
Indeed, Rather’s ascent to the pinnacles of power in journalism came as a result of his reputation for asking very tough questions and–as Hampshire pointed out–not being afraid to ask follow-up questions, of powerful people like President Richard Nixon, the first President George Bush, current President Bush, Saddam Hussein, and many others.
“In many ways,” said Rather to loud applause, “what we in journalism need is a spine transplant.”
Rather reiterated his feeling that many journalists today–and he repeated that he has fallen for this trap–are willing to get too cozy with people in positions of power, be it in government or corporate life.
“The nexus between powerful journalists and people in government and corporate power,” he said, “has become far too close.”
You can get so close to a source that you become part of the problem, he added. “Some people say that these powerful people use journalists, and they do. And they will use them to the fullest extent possible, right up until the point where the journalist says, ‘Whoa, that’s too far.’”

Lees verder: http://www.mediachannel.org/wordpress/2007/03/13/dan-rather-journalism-has-lost-its-guts/
De spijker op de kop. Ook in Nederland buigen journalisten voor de autoriteit van het geld.

De Israelische Terreur 170

Van joods -Israelische vredesactivisten kreeg ik het volgende bericht:

'http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/docs/CERD.C.ISR.CO.13.pdf
Excerpt:
"35. The Committee notes with concern the application in the Occupied Palestinian Territories of different laws, policies and practices to Palestinians on the one hand, and to Israelis on the other hand. It is concerned, in particular, by information about unequal distribution of water resources to the detriment of Palestinians, about the disproportionate targeting of Palestinians in house demolitions and about the application of different criminal laws leading to prolonged detention and harsher punishments for Palestinians for the same offences. (articles 2, 3 and 5)

The State party should ensure equal access to water resources to all without any discrimination. The Committee also reiterates its call for a halt to the demolition of Arab properties particular in East Jerusalem and for respect for property rights irrespective of the ethnic or national origin of the owner. Although different legal regimes may apply to Israeli citizens living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Palestinians the State party should ensure that the same crime is judged equally not taking into consideration the citizenship of the perpetrator."
Angela Godfrey-Goldstein, Action Advocacy OfficerThe Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), Jerusalemangela@icahd.org; www.icahd.org www.angelajerusalem.wordpress.com www.angelaicahd.blogspot.comTel: (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§ion_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=4458Watch 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.'

De Bush Bende 48

Halliburton is het concern waarvan de Amerikaanse vice-president voor miljoenen aan aandelen bezit, en dat in ruil daarvoor vele lucratieve projecten in Irak kreeg, is van plan zijn hoofdkantoor elders te vestigen.

'Halliburton's Dubai Move Sparks US Political Ire
http://www.afp.com/english/home/
A weekend announcement by Halliburton, the US oil services giant,
that it is shifting its corporate headquarters to Dubai from Texas
triggered an angry response from some US lawmakers Monday.
Halliburton, which was once run by Vice President Dick Cheney, said
Sunday it was relocating to the United Arab Emirates to capitalize on
the region's booming energy market.
"It's an example of corporate greed at its worst," Democratic Senator
Patrick Leahy, chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee,
said in a statement.
"This is an insult to the US soldiers and taxpayers who paid the tab
for their no-bid contracts and endured their overcharges for all
these years," he charged.
"At the same time they'll be avoiding US taxes, I'm sure they won't
stop insisting on taking their profits in cold hard US cash."
Halliburton and its former KBR subsidiary, which it is spinning off,
have weathered several contracting controversies and investigations
since Halliburton was awarded a no-bid 2.4 billion dollar contract to
supply the US military on the eve of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
KBR agreed last year to pay the US government eight million dollars
to settle fraud claims related to an Army supply contract.
Halliburton said it was relocating to Dubai on business grounds. The
firm said that over 38 percent of its 13 billion dollar oil-field
services revenue was generated from the eastern hemisphere.
It also said its move to the United Arab Emirates was the next step
in a strategic plan unveiled in 2006 to boost its business with
national oil companies in and around the Gulf region.
Karen Lightfoot, a spokeswoman for Democratic Congressman Henry
Waxman, said the lawmaker might convene a hearing in the House of
Representatives over Halliburton's announcement.
"This is a surprising development. I want to understand the
ramifications for the US taxpayer and national security," Waxman, the
chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said
in a statement.
Halliburton's chief executive, Dave Lesar, will move his office from
Houston, Texas to Dubai in a bid to oversee a ramped-up bid to gain
more regional oil services contracts and other related business.
Weekend press reports said Halliburton still intended to keep its US
legal registration, but a company spokesperson could not be reached
to confirm this.
The global firm has operations in 70 countries and more than 45,000 employees.'

De Anti Oorlog Beweging

'Campus Antiwar Movement Begins to Make Its Mark
By Ron Jacobs
ZNet

Folks often ask, rather cynically, where are the students protesting the war? Well, the answer is that they are there-on their campuses and in the dorms-organizing speakers, rallies and teach-ins. The fact that folks off campus do not hear about these events does not mean that they aren't occurring. What it does mean is that the media is choosing not to cover them. Here in Asheville, NC, the local SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) linked group at University of North Carolina-Asheville (UNCA) organized a counter-recruitment protest in January 2006, a walkout and march against the war last October and is now actively involved in getting students to go to the March 17th March on the Pentagon. At UNC's Chapel Hill campus, six students were arrested on February 17, 2007 after refusing to leave Congressman David Price's office in a protest demanding that he vote against further war funding. Meanwhile, on February 15th, students at campuses around the country held rallies and teach-ins against the war. While the movement has not reached the proportions organizers want to see, it is growing. The next student day of protest is scheduled for March 20th-three days after the March on the Pentagon. I recently connected with UNCA SDS member Kati Ketz over email. Besides her activities here in Asheville, Kati is also a spokesperson for the SDS call for the March 20th Day of Action Against the War. The exchange with Kati was an opportunity for me to learn what antiwar students have been up to and how they see the future. I share the transcript below.
Ron: First, what is the March 20th Day of Action? How did the idea originate?
Kati: March 20th is an SDS national day of student and youth action against the war in Iraq. The idea came out of an SDS-sponsored meeting of activists at the School of the Americas demonstration in Ft. Benning, GA. Over 100 students from 20 different campuses were at this meeting, and at the end we voted to make March 20th a national day of action, in order to take all of the local organizing we have been doing on our campuses and attempting to connect those struggles to make a larger impact on a national scale.
Ron: What do the organizers hope to accomplish? What would connote a successful day, here in Asheville and nationally?
Kati: We hope that this day of action will be a catalyst for students to rise up and get organized against the war in Iraq. Four years is four years too many, and it's time that students in this country get organized against this war. In Asheville, we hope that our actions will draw in more people who want to get more involved in organizing against the war. We also hope that our actions contribute to building a grassroots student anti-war movement. Nationally, we hope that this will help build ties with other campuses and connect different movements together in order to work towards ending this war.'

Lees verder: http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=12303 Of:
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/031207T.shtml

The Empire 204


'A Quarter of US War Vets Diagnosed With Mental Disorder: Study
Agency France Presse

A quarter of the Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans treated with US government-funded health care have been diagnosed with a mental disorder, according to a study published Monday.
And when psychosocial disorders such as domestic violence were included, the number of war veterans suffering from mental illnesses rose to 31 percent.
The instances of mental illness among recently discharged troops and members of the National Guard are significantly higher than those of a study published last year which examined active duty troops, the lead researcher told AFP.
That study found that while a third of returning troops were accessing mental health services, only 12 percent were diagnosed with a mental illness or psychosocial disorder.
"That's a big difference," said Karen Seal, a physician and researcher at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Of significant concern was the finding that 56 percent of those diagnosed had more than one mental illness, Seal said.
"When people have more than one diagnosis they become more challenging to diagnose and, more importantly, we believe are more challenging to treat," she explained.
The study comes just days after the Bush administration vowed a "comprehensive review" of veteran care following revelations that soldiers being treated at the renowned Walter Reed Army Medical Center were living in a building with mold-covered walls, infestations of mice and cockroaches, and holes in the ceiling.
That scandal exposed a broader problem with the under-funding of the VA system, said Joe Davis, a spokesman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
With a backlog of more than 860,000 medical claims and waiting times of up to a year for treatment, many of the troops coming home are not getting the help they need, Davis said.
And that includes treatment of mental disorders, which are a predictable result of the kinds of stresses troops face under combat, Davis said.'

Klimaatverandering 100

'Woman, fighting to save her people from extinction
By Andrew Gumbel

If Nobel Peace Prizes could refreeze the polar ice caps, then Sheila Watt-Cloutier would be a very happy woman indeed because her people are, "defending the right to be cold".
As it is, the Canadian activist, who lives in a remote community up above the Arctic circle, is thrilled to have her name put forward as one of the 181 nominees for this year's accolade from the Nobel committee, because it can only advance the cause for which she has been fighting for the past 12 years - protecting the Inuit peoples whose lives are directly and most immediately threatened by the change in the world's climate and raising awareness about global warming. As she said recently: "It's been a long haul and a daunting task to get the message out. When you're 155,000 people at the top of the world, there aren't very many people who even know who you are or what you're facing."
It is far too soon to say who will emerge as this year's Nobel Prize winner - the nominations were announced yesterday, and the peace prize is not awarded until October - but already the environment has emerged as this year's big theme and Ms Watt-Cloutier, as the tribune of a remote people living with the stark realities of global warming on a daily basis, is perhaps the closest thing the planet has to a beacon of hope for a better future.
Two Norwegian members of parliament, Boerge Brende and Heidi Soerensen, announced very publicly that they were championing two candidacies this year: Al Gore, who put climate change on the global agenda thanks to the runaway success of his global warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, and Ms Watt-Cloutier, who has worked "from the ground up" to save the planet.
Mr Gore is, naturally, the superstar in the Nobel Peace Prize field. Not only is he a former vice-president and a man who, in his own words, "used to be the next president of the United States". He is even up for an Oscar this weekend, and seems quite likely to win it.
If the Nobel committee decides, though, that he is too polarising a figure, or simply too political - there is still talk, after all, that he could run for the White House again next year - then Ms Watt-Cloutier would appear to be the next best thing to a frontrunner in the field. Her story is exactly the kind of narrative the Nobel judges seem to like - an ordinary woman from a very unusual part of the world who has used her determination and force of character to put herself and her cause on the political map.'

Lees verder: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/030807A.shtml Of:
http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/climate_change/article2300381.ece

De Commerciele Massamedia 42

Het Britse Medialens fileert een documentaire:

'March 13, 2007
PURE PROPAGANDA - THE GREAT GLOBAL WARMING SWINDLE
The Scientists Are The Bad Guys

On March 8, Channel 4 screened The Great Global Warming Swindle, a documentary that branded as a lie the scientific consensus that man-made greenhouse gasses are primarily responsible for climate change.
The film was advertised extensively on Channel 4 and repeatedly previewed and reviewed in newspapers. Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Christopher Booker declared:
“Only very rarely can a TV documentary be seen as a pivotal moment in a major political debate, but such was Channel 4's The Great Global Warming Swindle last Thursday. Never before has there been such a devastatingly authoritative account of how the hysteria over global warming has parted company with reality.” (Booker, ‘A turning point in climate change,’ Sunday Telegraph, March 11, 2007)
Peter Hitchens commented in the Daily Mail:
“If you were worried about those snaps of polar bears clinging to melting ice-floes, sentenced to a slow death by global warming, you may now relax. They'll be fine. Channel 4 has paid in full for its recent misdemeanours by screening, last Thursday, the brilliant, devastating film The Great Global Warming Swindle.” (Hitchens, ‘Drugs?’, Daily Mail, March 11, 2007)
Doubtless like many who saw the film, the Financial Times’ reviewer was left bewildered:
“Not so long ago, the venerable David Attenborough on the Beeb was telling us that human-driven global warming was real and was coming for us. So that was settled. Now Channel 4, like a dissident schoolboy, is scoffing at the old boy's hobbyhorse and I don't know what to believe.” (’Slaughterhouse three,’ Financial Times, March 10, 2007)
The film opened with scenes of wild weather and environmental disaster accompanied by dramatic captions:
"THE ICE IS MELTING. THE SEA IS RISING. HURRICANES ARE BLOWING. AND IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT.
“SCARED? DON'T BE. IT'S NOT TRUE."
This was immediately followed by a series of equally forthright talking heads:
"We can't say that CO2 will drive climate; it certainly never did in the past."
“We imagine that we live in an age of reason. And the global warming alarm is dressed up as science. But it’s not science; it’s propaganda.”
And:
“We’re just being told lies; that’s what it comes down to.”
The commentary added to the sense of outrage: “You are being told lies.”
This was indeed superficially impressive - when several experts make bold statements on the same theme we naturally assume they must be onto something - but alarm bells should already have been ringing. This, after all, was ostensibly a film about science - about evidence, arguments, research and debate. Why, then, the language of polemic and smear?
The remarkable answer is provided by the film’s writer and director, Martin Durkin:
"I think it [the film] will go down in history as the first chapter in a new era of the relationship between scientists and society. Legitimate scientists - people with qualifications - are the bad guys. It is a big story that is going to cause controversy.
“It's very rare that a film changes history, but I think this is a turning point and in five years the idea that the greenhouse effect is the main reason behind global warming will be seen as total bollocks.” ('“Global Warming Is Lies” Claims Documentary,’ Life Style Extra, March 4, 2007; www.lse.co.uk/ShowStory.asp?story=CZ434669 U&news_headline=global_warming_is_lies_ claims_documentary)
Compare and contrast this with the aim as described in a letter sent by the makers of the film, Wag TV, to Professor Carl Wunsch, a leading expert on ocean circulation and climate who subsequently appeared in the film:
“The aim of the film is to examine critically the notion that recent global warming is primarily caused by industrial emissions of CO2. It explores the scientific evidence which jars with this hypothesis and explores alternative theories such as solar induced climate change. Given the seemingly inconclusive nature of the evidence, it examines the background to the apparent consensus on this issue, and highlights the dangers involved, especially to developing nations, of policies aimed at limiting industrial growth.” (http://ocean.mit.edu/~cwunsch/papersonline/channel4response)
Wunsch comments:
"I am angry because they completely misrepresented me. My views were distorted by the context in which they placed them. I was misled as to what it was going to be about. I was told about six months ago that this was to be a programme about how complicated it is to understand what is going on. If they had told me even the title of the programme, I would have absolutely refused to be on it. I am the one who has been swindled." (Geoffrey Lean, ‘Climate change: An inconvenient truth... for C4,’ The Independent, March 11, 2007; http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/ climate_change/article2347526.ece)
We will hear more from Wunsch in what follows.'

Lees verder: http://www.medialens.org/alerts/07/0313pure_propaganda_the.php

maandag 12 maart 2007

De Israelische Terreur 169


Eergevoel? Hoe nu VVD-volksvertegenwoordiger Hans van Baalen. Wat is eer? En wat is geweten? En wat is collaboratie? En wat is lafheid? En wat is doortraptheid? Wat is karakterloosheid? Wat is brandende ambitie? Wat is gewetenloosheid? Wat is moraal? Wat zijn normen? Wat zijn waarden? Waarom laten Israelische soldaten zich fotograferen bij het stoffelijk overschot van een Palestijnse man? Is het slachtoffer een trofee? Is de foto er om thuis trots te laten zien aan je joodse landgenoten? Wat is haat? Wat is nihilisme? Wat is...
Woorden hebben betekenis in het leven van mensen.









'Jimmy Carter: Palestinians ''Victims of Oppression''
Despite the storm it ignited, former U.S. president Jimmy Carter held fast on Thursday to his accusation that Israel oppresses the Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza and seeks to colonize their land.
Speaking at The George Washington University to a polite but mostly critical student audience, Carter offered no second thoughts on his book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid that prompted 14 members of the Carter Center's advisory board to resign and drew fire from Jewish groups and some fellow Democrats.
He said he was not accusing Israel of racism nor referring to its treatment of Arabs within the country. "I defined apartheid very carefully as the forced segregation by one people of another on their own land," he said. Outside the university auditorium, some two dozen protesters gathered, a few carrying signs. "Carter is a Liar" read one held by a smiling demonstrator while the others chanted the refrain.
"We were trying to tell Carter his lies are not helpful," a local rabbi, Shmuel Herzfeld, said afterward. "It is very clear the lies are malicious, and it raises issues what his motives are," Herzfeld said.
"I believe Jimmy Carter is an anti-Semite and his intention is to hurt Jewish people," said Herzfeld, rabbi at Ohev Sholom, in an interview.
On the other side of the argument, a local group called the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation distributed a four-page brochure that said "without U.S. aid Israel could not continue to discriminate against its Palestinian-Israeli citizens nor violate international rights in the occupied territories."
On the West Bank, Carter said, Palestinians were victims of oppression, their homes and land confiscated to make way for subsidized Israeli settlers.'

De Israelische Terreur 168



'Israel planned for Lebanon war months in advance, PM says.
Olmert's leaked testimony contradicts earlier remarks · Criticism from inquiry may force resignation Conal Urquhart in Tel Aviv
Preparations for Israel's war in Lebanon last summer were drawn up at least four months before two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped by Hizbullah in July, Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, has admitted.
His submission to a commission of inquiry, leaked yesterday, contradicted the impression at the time that Israel was provoked into a battle for which it was ill-prepared. Mr Olmert told the Winograd commission, a panel of judges charged with investigating Israel's perceived defeat in the 34-day war, that he first discussed the possibility of war in January and asked to see military plans in March.

According to the Ha'aretz daily, which obtained details of Mr Olmert's testimony, the prime minister chose a plan featuring air attacks on Lebanon and a limited ground operation that would be implemented following a Hizbullah abduction. Hizbullah had made several attempts to capture Israeli soldiers on the border since Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000.
Israeli commentators believed that Mr Olmert and Amir Peretz, the defence minister, took the opportunity of the kidnapping to show they could manage a war in spite of their limited military experience. But the outcome of the war seemed to highlight their lack of experience and also deficiencies in Israel's military planning.
The commission's interim report is expected to be delivered by the end of the month. It was appointed by the government but if it were critical of Mr Olmert, it would be unlikely he could continue in office.
Shmuel Sandler, a political analyst, said it seemed that people close to Mr Olmert had leaked his submission, made on February 1, in an attempt to increase his popularity. In an opinion poll published this week, only 3% of Israeli voters said they would back Mr Olmert in an election, while 72% said he should resign.'

De Pro-Israel Lobby 33




En onmiddellijk draait de propaganda op volle toeren, de pro-Israel lobby zit niet stil. Het zal niet lang meer duren voordat dit soort berichten enigszins aangepast in de commerciele massamedia doordruppelen.


'Bedein: Israel On Alert For Iranian Attack
By: David Bedein,

The Bulletin

Jerusalem - The Middle East Newsline revealed yesterday that Israel, for the first time, placed its foreign installations on alert for an Iranian strike.Israeli officials said their Defense Ministry and Foreign Ministry have increased security on embassies and legations throughout the world. They said the government declared an alert after Tehran accused the Jewish state of abducting a senior Iranian official."The prospect of an Iranian retaliation or provocation exists," an Israeli official said.The alert was issued after Israel was blamed for the disappearance of a former Iranian deputy defense minister in Turkey. An Iranian delegation has been sent to Turkey and demanded the whereabouts of Ali Reza Asqhari, missing from an Istanbul hotel since Feb. 7. The 63-year-old Asqhari, believed to have been a senior official in Iran's missile and nuclear weapons program, arrived in Istanbul from Damascus and had been registered in the Ceylon Hotel. But it was not clear whether he checked into the hotel."It is likely that Asqhari has been abducted by the Western intelligence services," Iranian police chief Gen. Esmaeil Ahmadi Moghaddam said.Israeli officials said Iran could retaliate by seeking to attack Israeli embassies or abducting government representatives. Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was said to operate a special unit for such attacks.'




'Revealed?' Onthulde? Is een 'Iraanse aanval dan een feit?' Nee, maar na genoeg propaganda weet u dat straks niet meer.
'On these pages we present to you news items and analyses that you often do not see in your standard mainstream electronic or print media, even if you live in the Middle East. These selections are drawn from various journalistic sources who are registered with the Bet Agron International Press Center in Jerusalem, or with the Gaza Media Center, which is under the jurisdiction of the Palestine Authority.
-->You can contact us on media@actcom.co.il.
David Bedein, Bureau Chief Israel Resource News Agency
Join the Friends of Israel Resource News Agency'

Iran 148


Dit is het begin van een verhaal waar u meer van zult horen. En wanneer dit nu publicitair goed gespeeld wordt, heeft u straks de reden waarom Iran moet worden aangevallen, volgens het nucleaire Israel en de VS.
'Israel behind Iranian general's 'defection,' US official says Washington Post quotes official as saying that Asgari's disappearance was voluntary, orchestrated by Israel. Another American official says former Iranian defense official is providing Western intelligence agencies with information on Hizbullah-Iran ties
Ynetnews
A US official suggested Thursday that the disappearance of Iranian general Ali Rez Asgari was voluntary and orchestrated by Israel, according to a Washington Post report published Thursday.

The Post quoted another senior US official as saying that the former Iranian deputy defense minister, who once commanded the Revolutionary Guards, is providing Western intelligence agencies with information on Hizbullah and Iran's ties to the organization.
The senior US official told the newspaper that Asgari, who disappeared last month during a visit to Turkey, is willingly cooperating.

An Iranian official told the newspaper that Iranian intelligence is unsure of Asgari's whereabouts but that he may have been offered money, probably by Israel, to leave the country.

The Israeli government denied any connection to Asgari. "To my knowledge, Israel is not involved in any way in this disappearance," Mark Regev, the spokesman for Israel's Foreign Ministry, was quoted by the Post as saying.

He did not divulge Asgari's whereabouts, but the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper on Wednesday quoted an Iranian military official as saying that Asgari is staying in a northern European country, where he is receiving “excellent treatment.”

According to the Washington Post, Asgari's background as a top Iranian Defense Ministry official suggests that he would have deep knowledge of Iran's national security infrastructure, conventional weapons arsenal and ties to Hizbullah in south Lebanon.

'He held a very, very senior position.'

De Israelische Terreur 167

'Nablus: Operation "Hot Winter" - Interview with Human Shield
This short interview was conducted in the aftermath of the Israeli Occupation Forces' operation "Hot Winter" in the West Bank city of Nablus.The 11-years-old girl Jihan Tahdush was kidnapped by IOF troops and repeatedly forced to serve as a human shield for soldiers in their house-to-house searches in the Old City.The full interview in better quality can be downloaded at:https://video.indymedia.org/en/2007/03/767.shtmlThis short clip is a co-production of a-films and RJI. The authors can be contacted at a-films@no-log.org and ripplescross@yahoo.com.Further video clips from the latest military operation in Nablus can be found at http://video.indymedia.org, http://www.youtube.com/user/afilmsmul... and http://www.youtube.com/user/afilmspal'

Zie: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17272.htm

Iran 147

'Iranian influence soaring in Iraq
Shiites, Sunnis say Tehran is winner of U.S. invasion
By Liz Sly, Tribune foreign correspondent; Hassan Jarrah in Najaf and Nadeem Majeed contributed to this report


BAGHDAD -- In the cafeteria of Iraq's parliament, Shiite legislators slip into Persian when they don't want their conversations overheard. In the holy city of Najaf, an Iranian charity helps newlyweds buy furniture. Iranian weapons, freshly manufactured, are turning up in arms caches seized from insurgents in and around Baghdad.These are among the many ways in which Iran's soaring influence is being felt in Iraq, where Iran's complex entanglement in the affairs of its neighbor lies at the heart of the schism threatening to tear Iraq--and the region--apart.To Iraq's Sunnis, Iran's ascendancy as a regional power and its close relationship with the Shiite-led government represent a pernicious threat to the survival of Iraq's Arab identity."America handed Iraq to Iran on a golden plate," says Sunni politician Saleh al-Mutlaq. "Everything Iran fought for in the Iran-Iraq war, America gave to it when it invaded."To Iraq's Shiites, however, Iran is a natural ally, a neighbor whose friendship should be welcomed after decades of hostility that included the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.Iranian officials confirmed Wednesday that they would send an envoy to a meeting in Baghdad on Saturday with the U.S., Syria and others to discuss Iraq's security. As that conference of midlevel diplomats takes shape, Iraqis agree on only one thing: So far, it is Iran, not the U.S., that has benefited most from the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq."Iran has emerged as the biggest winner of the United States' war," writes Shiite scholar Vali Nasr in the current issue of the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine, which ranks Iran No. 1 among the top 10 beneficiaries of the war. "For Iran, the war in Iraq turned out to be a strategic windfall."Indeed, Iran barely had to lift a finger to win this round in its centuries-old rivalry with Iraq. By removing the two staunchly Sunni regimes ruling Iran's neighbors--the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Baathists in Iraq--the U.S. eliminated the two biggest security threats to Iran's borders within a period of less than two years.The advent of democracy in Iraq further leveraged Iran's influence, by installing in Baghdad a Shiite-dominated government, many of whose leaders had been sheltered in Iran during the years they stood in opposition to Saddam Hussein's regime, disposing them toward friendship with Iran.Arab Iraq, long ruled by Sunnis, has traditionally served as a bulwark against the Shiite Persians to the east. Now under Shiite rule, Iraq has become the vanguard for Iran's expansionist ambitions in the Arab world, Sunnis say.In the Palestinian territories, Iran funds the radical Hamas movement. In Lebanon, its protege Hezbollah is flexing its muscles, demanding a greater share of power in the Lebanese government. Iran's push to acquire a nuclear weapon is regarded as a direct threat to the strategic interests of the Arab oil-producing countries of the Persian Gulf.'


Irak 187

'Iraq: Killings drive women to become suicide bombers.

BAGHDAD, (IRIN) - Um Abdallah, 41, has a difficult task ahead of her - she has to learn how to use a gun and begin preparing for a day she believes is going to be one of God's forgiveness and revenge against foreign forces occupying her country.
"I'm going to be a suicide bomber in the name of God," Um Abdallah said. "I will be one of the Iraqis who will take revenge for all suffering that US and Iraqi militaries have caused in the past years and force them to leave the blessed land of Iraq.
"I know I will die but for a good reason. When I die I will be beside my loved ones who were killed without [good reason]," she added.
"I wasn't forced to be a suicide bomber. One day I woke up with this feeling, found the right person to help me to realise this dream and today I'm with five other women of different ages, preparing for the day of God's forgiveness," she said.
Um Abdallah is one of thousands of Iraqis who have lost their relatives in the past four years. Her two boys and one girl were killed during a US military attack in her neighbourhood.
"My husband was killed four months ago by Iraqi forces. Killed alongside him were my son-in-law and his two children. I cannot even remember how many bullets the children had in their bodies," she said.
She does not know exactly when she is going to detonate herself but she is sure she will be ready whenever she is asked.
More women are being encouraged to help the insurgency and sometimes even to become suicide bombers.
"They aren't being forced but they surrender easily to the pressure," said Ahlam al-Dujaili, chairman of the Defending Women Rights Organisation (DWRO), a local non-governmental agency.
Insurgents believe there are no differences between women and men when talking about God and the wish to become a martyr.
"We don't force people to do it. They look for our help and as Muslims we just help them realise their religious convictions. They are fighters who are seeking God's infinite forgiveness," said Abu Ra'ad, a spokesperson for al-Qaida, where Um Abdallah is getting support.
More widows but not enough support...'

Les verder: http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/YZHG-6Z4MBV?OpenDocument

Olie 14


'Oil, War and Geopolitics: The Global Struggle Over Disappearing Petroleum Lecture
By Michael Klare, Five Colleges professor of peace and world security studies
Dickinson College, The Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues'

Olie 13

'Ghawar Is Dead! The Wide-Spread Use of Advanced Extraction Techniques are Killing the Mother of All Oil Fields
By Matthew S. Miller

“How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon?What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun?”- Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science- 1882 “My father rode a camel. I drive a car. My son flies a plane. His son will ride a camel.”- Anonymous Saudi Sheik – 1982 “Ghawar, Ghawar she gave and gave; They sucked her dry like mankind’s slave;The Sheiks told us that big oil lie; And all those people had to die.” - Lyrical History.

I’ve watched in shock and awe in recent days, shaking my head and wringing my hands. Yet another unremarkable narrative of celebrity intrigue entered the echo chamber of the mainstream media system and its 24/7-positive-feedback-amplification-loop to emerge as biggest news event - no, the earth-shaking cultural event of the year. This time it is…Anna Nicole is dead! Her mournful supplicants conduct vigils in her memory and quietly reflect upon her iconic life, wishing her soul Godspeed. Meanwhile, we are left to ponder the paternity of her unfortunate offspring and the symbolic meaning of her celebrity status for posterity. All the while we wait with bated breath as Wikipedia straightens out the facts of her untimely demise. Hers was the quintessentially American tale of the technological metamorphosis of East Texas trailer trash into the bearer of the trophy titties for an oil tycoon. Her bare breasts in the pages of Playboy reaffirmed the greatness of our country! She pulled her self up by her bra-straps and made her way in the world. We imagine that the indelible image of her “candle in the wind” life will never be extinguished because she really lived the collective dream. Sometimes it’s funny how fake-life makes contact with real-life. It was also announced recently, without the same media feeding frenzy, that another queen of mass-culture is dead too. Few of us even know her name. Rather than being the personification of the contemporary zeitgeist, she is one of the cornerstones of what Marx called global capitalism’s base. She was an integral part of the concrete material conditions that make our peculiar form of social organization possible. Her name is Ghawar, and she is the mother-of-all oil fields. She was once a veritable sea of light sweet crude 174 miles long and 12 miles wide, under the sands of the eastern province of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), and now she is dead. Ghawar is by far the largest conventional oil field ever discovered. Since first tapped in 1948, Ghawar has produced some 60 billion barrels of oil and accounted for 60-65% of Saudi production from 1948-2005. While actual field by field production numbers remain a Saudi State secret, Ghawar is estimated to produce more than five million barrels per day or 6.5% of the planet’s daily production total of 84 million barrels. Ghawar’s obituary has already been written, but the Saudis have thus far prevented the appropriate authorities from entering the house to inspect the body. We have only second hand reports of her demise. Of these accounts, the most notable is investment banker Matthew Simmons’ book Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy. Simmons assembles a picture of declining Saudi production from publicly available technical reports written by Saudi-Aramco’s own reservoir engineers in recent decades. His portrayal of the situation is dire indeed. He claims that “When Saudi Arabia peaks (enters the unavoidable state of permanent production decline) the world, categorically, has peaked.” It looks like the 2006 numbers confirm Simmons’ 2005 prophecy. The writers at the Oil Drum, a data driven oil analysis website, after assessing the production data from several independent reporting agencies, claim that Saudi production is down a whopping 8% in 2006 from 2005 numbers. The decline would have been closer to 14% without the addition of the Haradh III mega-project. They assert that Saudi Arabia has now officially peaked and that the pace of production decline there is likely to accelerate. Remember, Ghawar accounts for 60% of Saudi production. A correlate of this geologic prediction is their prediction of the seismic effect this news will have on KSA political life. This is not positive; think terrorist attacks, followed by beheadings, followed by rebellion, followed by more beheadings, followed by boots on the ground - American boots. Ghawar has been on life support for some time. The wide-spread use of advanced extraction techniques like water-injection and horizontal-brush drilling are the hallmarks of field maturity and imminent production collapse. Brush drilling is to an oil reservoir what a straw is to the paper cup wrapped around a chocolate shake –it allows you to suck out every last bit of creamy goodness quickly and efficiently. Unfortunately, Ghawar is not the only oil royal in critical condition. The obituaries just keep rolling in. “Kuwaiti oil production from the world's second-largest field (Burgan) is ‘exhausted’ and falling after almost six decades of pumping” according to the chairman of the Kuwaiti state oil company. The L.A. times tells us that “Production at Cantarell, the world's second-largest oil complex, which provides about 60% of Mexico's crude, averaged 1.78 million barrels a day in 2006. That's a 13% drop from 2005.” The famous North Sea basin and it gigantic Forties Field, the oil find that made Britain a petroleum exporter for the past 20 years, is about to experience a precipitous production decline. Back in 2000 we learned that China’s only super-giant field, Da Qing was also at death’s door. These fields and others like them provided the mother’s milk, in the form of light sweet crude, which nourished the global capitalist system now enshrined and deified in American mass-culture.'

Lees verder: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17266.htm

Irak 186


'Iraq: The Hidden Cost of the WarAmerica won't simply be paying with its dead. The Pentagon is trying to silence economists who predict that several decades of care for the wounded will amount to an unbelievable $2.5 trillion.
By Andrew Stephen
"New Statesman"
They roar in every day, usually direct from the Landstuhl US air-force base in the Rhineland: giant C-17 cargo planes capable of lifting and flying the 65-tonne M1 Abrams tank to battlefields anywhere in the world. But Landstuhl is the first staging post for transporting most of the American wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan back to the United States, and these planes act as CCATs ("critical care air transport") with their AETs - "aeromedical evacuation teams" of doctors, nurses and medical technicians, whose task is to make sure that gravely wounded US troops arrive alive and fit enough for intensive treatment at the Walter Reed Army Medical Centre, just six miles up the road from me in Washington.
These days it is de rigueur for all politicians, ranging from President Bush and Ibrahim al-Jaafari (Iraq's "prime minister") to junior congressmen, to visit the 113-acre Walter Reed complex to pay tribute to the valour of horribly wounded soldiers. Last Christmas, the centre was so overwhelmed by the 500,000 cards and presents it received for wounded soldiers that it announced it could accept no more.
Yet the story of the US wounded reveals yet another deception by the Bush administration, masking monumental miscalculations that will haunt generations to come. Thanks to the work of a Harvard professor and former Clinton administration economist named Linda Bilmes, and some other hard-working academics, we have discovered that the administration has been putting out two entirely separate and conflicting sets of numbers of those wounded in the wars.
This might sound like chicanery by George W Bush and his cronies - or characteristic incompetence - but Bilmes and Professor Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel laureate economist from Columbia University, have established not only that the number wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan is far higher than the Pentagon has been saying, but that looking after them alone could cost present and future US taxpayers a sum they estimate to be $536bn, but which could get considerably bigger still. Just one soldier out of the 1.4 million troops so far deployed who has returned with a debilitating brain injury, for example, may need round-the-clock care for five, six, or even seven decades. In present-day money, according to one study, care for that soldier alone will cost a minimum of $4.3m.
However, let us first backtrack to 2002-2003 to try to establish why the administration's sums were so wildly off-target. Documents just obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show how completely lost the Bush administration was in Neverland when it came to Iraq: Centcom, the main top-secret military planning unit at Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon, predicted in its war plan that only 5,000 US troops would be required in Iraq by the end of 2006.
Rummy's deputy Paul Wolfowitz was such a whizz at the economics of it all that he confidently told us that Iraq would "really finance its own reconstruction". Rumsfeld himself reported that the administration had come up with "a number that's something under $50bn" as the cost of the war. Larry Lindsey, then assistant to the president on economic policy at the White House, warned that it might actually soar to as much as $200bn - with the result that Bush did as he habitually does with those who do not produce convenient facts and figures to back up his fantasies: he sacked him.
From official statistics supplied by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, we now know that the Iraq war is costing roughly $200m a day, or $6bn every month; the total bill so far is $400bn. But, in their studies, Bilmes and Stiglitz consider three scenarios that were not even conceivable to Bush, Rummy, Wolfowitz et al back in 2003. In the first, incurring the lowest future costs, troops will start to be withdrawn this year and be out by 2010. The second assumes that there will be a gradual withdrawal that will be complete by 2015. The third envisages the participation of two million servicemen and women, with the war going on past 2016.'

Irak 185

'Beyond Quagmire.
A panel of experts convened by Rolling Stone agree that the war in Iraq is lost. The only question now is: How bad will the coming explosion be?
By Tim Dickinson

"Rolling Stone" -- -- The war in Iraq isn't over yet, but -- surge or no surge -- the United States has already lost. That's the grim consensus of a panel of experts assembled by Rolling Stone to assess the future of Iraq. "Even if we had a million men to go in, it's too late now," says retired four-star Gen. Tony McPeak, who served on the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Gulf War. "Humpty Dumpty can't be put back together again."
Those on the panel -- including diplomats, counterterror analysts and a former top military commander -- agree that President Bush's attempt to secure Baghdad will only succeed in dragging out the conflict, creating something far beyond any Vietnam-style "quagmire." The surge won't bring an end to the sectarian cleansing that has ravaged Iraq, as the newly empowered Shiite majority seeks to settle scores built up during centuries of oppressive rule by the Sunni minority. It will do nothing to defuse the powder keg that an independence-minded Kurdistan, in Iraq's northern provinces, poses to the governments of Turkey, Syria and Iran, which have long brutalized their own Kurdish separatists. And it will only worsen the global war on terror.
"Our invasion and occupation has created a cauldron that will continue to draw in the players in the Middle East for the foreseeable future," says Michael Scheuer, who led the CIA's hunt for Osama bin Laden. "By taking out Saddam, we have allowed the jihad to move 1,000 kilometers west, where it can project its power, its organizers, its theology into Turkey -- and from Turkey into Europe."
How bad will things get in Iraq -- and what price will the world ultimately pay for the president's decision to prolong the war? To answer those questions, we asked our panel to sketch out three distinct scenarios for Iraq: the best we can hope for, the most likely outcome and the worst that could happen.
The Rolling Stone Panel
Zbigniew BrzezinskiNational security adviser to President Carter
Richard ClarkeCounterterrorism czar from 1992 to 2003
Nir RosenAuthor of In the Belly of the Green Bird, about Iraq’s spiral into civil war, speaking from Cairo, where he has been interviewing Iraqi refugees
Gen. Tony McPeak (retired) Member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Gulf War
Bob Graham Former chair, Senate Intelligence Committee
Chas FreemanAmbassador to Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War; president of the Middle East Policy Council
Paul Pillar Former lead counterterrorism analyst for the CIA
Michael Scheuer Former chief of the CIA’s Osama bin Laden unit; author of Imperial Hubris
Juan Cole Professor of modern Middle East history at the University of Michigan.'

zondag 11 maart 2007

The Empire 203


´In Debt We Trust - America Before the Bubble Bursts
In Debt We Trust is the latest film from Danny Schechter, "The News Dissector," director of the internationally distributed and award-winning WMD (Weapons of Mass Deception), an expose of the media's role in the Iraq War.
The Emmy-winning former ABC News and CNN producer's new hard-hitting documentary investigates why so many Americans are being strangled by debt. It is a journalistic confrontation with what former Reagan advisor Kevin Phillips calls "Financialization"--the "powerful emergence of a debt-and-credit industrial complex."´