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

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 13 oktober 2007

Klimaatverandering 113

Science, October 2007

'IS BATTERED ARCTIC SEA ICE DOWN FOR THE COUNT?

[Rachel's introduction: "This [arctic] ice is more vulnerable than we thought." And that vulnerability seems to be growing from year to year, inspiring concern that Arctic ice could be in an abrupt, irreversible decline.]
By Richard A. Kerr

A few years ago, researchers modeling the fate of Arctic sea ice under global warming saw a good chance that the ice could disappear, in summertime at least, by the end of the 21st century. Then talk swung to summer ice not making it past mid-century. Now, after watching Arctic sea ice shrink back last month to a startling record-low area, scientists are worried that 2050 may be overoptimistic."This year has been such a quantum leap downward, it has surprised many scientists," says polar researcher John Walsh of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. "This ice is more vulnerable than we thought." And that vulnerability seems to be growing from year to year, inspiring concern that Arctic ice could be in an abrupt, irreversible decline. "Maybe we are reaching the tipping point," says Walsh.There's no doubt that 2007 was a special summer melt season. The ice area remaining in September--the year's low point--had been shrinking since satellite monitoring began in 1979. Some years it recovered a bit, others it declined further, but overall it shrank 8.6% per decade. In 2005, it hit a record low of 5.6 million square kilometers, down 20% from 1979. But last month, "we completely blew 2005 out of the water," says sea ice specialist Mark Serreze of the University of Colorado, Boulder. Ice area plummeted to 4.13 million square kilometers, down 43% from 1979. That's a loss equivalent to more than two Alaskas. The new low is more than one Alaska below the trend line. Nothing else like that appears in the satellite record or, for that matter, in monitoring from ships and planes during the rest of the 20th century, says Walsh. An immediate cause of the record-breaking year is clear enough. As Serreze explains, an unusually strong high- pressure center sat over the central Arctic Ocean while a strong low hovered over Siberia. This weather pattern allowed more solar heat through the clear skies beneath the high-pressure center and pumped warm air up from the south between the high and the low.'

lees verder: http://www.precaution.org/lib/07/prn_can_arctic_sea-ice_recover.071005.htm

Amsterdam

Amsterdam, 's avonds, Kloverniersburgwal.Posted by Picasa

Naomi Klein 3


Toespraak van de Canadese journaliste Noami Klein over haar nieuwe boek The Shock Doctrine. The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, georganiseerd door Sandra Rottenberg in het kader van een serie Globaliseringslezingen. De lezing werd gegeven op donderdag 11 oktober.
The lecure was given on the 11th of October 2007 in Amsterdam.
The Lecture: http://webdisk.planet.nl/houck006/default.aspx

'The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
In THE SHOCK DOCTRINE, Naomi Klein explodes the myth that the global free market triumphed democratically. Exposing the thinking, the money trail and the puppet strings behind the world-changing crises and wars of the last four decades, The Shock Doctrine is the gripping story of how America’s “free market” policies have come to dominate the world-- through the exploitation of disaster-shocked people and countries.

At the most chaotic juncture in Iraq’s civil war, a new law is unveiled that would allow Shell and BP to claim the country’s vast oil reserves…. Immediately following September 11, the Bush Administration quietly out-sources the running of the “War on Terror” to Halliburton and Blackwater…. After a tsunami wipes out the coasts of Southeast Asia, the pristine beaches are auctioned off to tourist resorts.... New Orleans’s residents, scattered from Hurricane Katrina, discover that their public housing, hospitals and schools will never be reopened…. These events are examples of “the shock doctrine”: using the public’s disorientation following massive collective shocks – wars, terrorist attacks, or natural disasters -- to achieve control by imposing economic shock therapy. Sometimes, when the first two shocks don’t succeed in wiping out resistance, a third shock is employed: the electrode in the prison cell or the Taser gun on the streets. Based on breakthrough historical research and four years of on-the-ground reporting in disaster zones, The Shock Doctrine vividly shows how disaster capitalism – the rapid-fire corporate reengineering of societies still reeling from shock – did not begin with September 11, 2001. The book traces its origins back fifty years, to the University of Chicago under Milton Friedman, which produced many of the leading neo-conservative and neo-liberal thinkers whose influence is still profound in Washington today. New, surprising connections are drawn between economic policy, “shock and awe” warfare and covert CIA-funded experiments in electroshock and sensory deprivation in the 1950s, research that helped write the torture manuals used today in Guantanamo Bay. The Shock Doctrine follows the application of these ideas though our contemporary history, showing in riveting detail how well-known events of the recent past have been deliberate, active theatres for the shock doctrine, among them: Pinochet’s coup in Chile in 1973, the Falklands War in 1982, the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Asian Financial crisis in 1997 and Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

"Impassioned, hugely informative, wonderfully controversial, and scary as hell."-John le Carre
At the most chaotic juncture in Iraq's civil war, a new law is unveiled that would allow Shell and BP to claim the country's vast oil reserves. Immediately following September 11, the Bush Administration quietly out-sources the running of the "War on Terror" to Halliburton and Blackwater. After a powerful tsunami devastates the coasts of Southeast Asia, the pristine beaches are auctioned off to tourist resorts. New Orleans's residents, still scattered from Hurricane Katrina, discover that their public housing, hospitals and schools will never be reopened.'

vrijdag 12 oktober 2007

60 jaar

Ik ben afgelopen maandag 60 jaar geworden, maar nog steeds een jongetje. Wanneer word ik nu oud? Deze twee zijn ook nog steeds jong. Wat is dat toch? Als u wat geld heeft, koop dan morgen deze cd. Geweldige muziek, en daar is alles mee gezegd. Uch. Ik heb gesproken!

donderdag 11 oktober 2007

Martelen 80



Carter: VS martelen wél
ANP

WASHINGTON - De Verenigde Staten martelen terreurverdachten in strijd met het internationale recht. Dat heeft de voormalige Amerikaanse president Jimmy Carter woensdag gezegd in een vraaggesprek met nieuwszender CNN.
‘Ik denk het niet, ik weet het zeker’ zei Carter op de vraag of hij gelooft dat de Amerikaanse regering foltering toestaat. Volgens hem hebben de VS de Conventies van Genève (over de behandeling van krijgsgevangenen) buiten toepassing verklaard en hanteert de huidige president George Bush zijn eigen definitie van mensenrechten.
Bush ontkende vorige week dat de VS martelen. Hij zei dat in een reactie op een publicatie in The New York Times. De krant meldde dat een intern document van het Amerikaanse ministerie van Justitie toestaat dat terreurverdachten op gewelddadige en traumatiserende wijze worden ondervraagd. Het zou onder meer gaan over het simuleren van verdrinking en slaan op het hoofd.'

Lees verder: http://www.volkskrant.nl/buitenland/article469295.ece/Carter_VS_martelen_wel

En: http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/politics/2007/10/10/tsr.carter.int.cnn?iref=videosearch

VS martelen wel en Nederland steunt dit in Afghanistan, door verdachten over te leveren aan de Afghaanse autoriteiten, die onder controle van de VS staan.

Christopher Hitchens



De affaire Hirsi Magan/Ali wordt steeds vermakelijker. Links op de foto ziet u Christopher Hitchens in actie, een verrukkelijke alcoholist en schrijver, in die volgorde zoals hij zelf zal toegeven. Gisteren berichtte de NRC:

'Hitchens, sinds een eerste ontmoeting met Hirsi Ali in 2003 onder de indruk van de combinatie van ‘kalmte en rede’ met een ‘pakkende en hypnotiserende schoonheid’ ,

http://www.nrc.nl/binnenland/article785149.ece/

Internationale_kritiek_op_behandeling_Hirsi_Ali

Juist ja, twee kwalificaties, waarvan de tweede illustrerend is voor heren op zekere leeftijd: 'pakkende en hypnotiserende schoonheid.' En inderdaad, Hitchens reageert alsof hij gehypnotiseerd is door een 'pakkende... schoonheid.' Zo ken ik Hitchens weer, glaasje op et voila.

De Volkskrant bericht vanochtend:

'Er waait een gure wind jegens Hirsi Ali...


Andere vrienden van Ayaan betonen zich geen vriend meer. Sylvain Ephimenco beklaagt zich in zijn Trouw-columns: ''Zoals de meeste mensen die haar in Nederland hebben gekend, heb ik nooit meer iets van haar vernomen.'''

Lees verder: http://www.volkskrant.nl/binnenland/article469273.ece/

Er_waait_een_gure_wind_jegens_Hirsi_Ali

Ik ben het zelden met Sylvain Ephimenco eens, maar nu slaat hij de spijker toch op de kop. Aangezien het wereldje in Nederland erg klein is, hoor je nog eens wat. Al eerder had ik vernomen dat de claque van Hirsi Magan/Ali nogal teleurgesteld was vanwege het feit dat men niets meer van haar hoorde nu ze bij een extreem rechtse denktank in de VS werkt. De heren van zekere leeftijd voelen zich op z'n plat Nederlands gezegd 'op hun pik getrapt'. En dat doet pijn, vandaar dat haar claque in Nederland afbrokkelt. Dat is voor mevrouw Magan/Ali geen enkel probleem want haar claque onder heren van zekere leeftijd in de VS schijnt te groeien.

woensdag 10 oktober 2007

De Israelische Terreur 259

Palestinians surround the bodies of five activists from Army of Islam at their funeral in Gaza City. The day earlier the five men were assassinated when their car was hit in an Israeli air strike, 27 September 2007. (Wissam Nassar/MaanImages

Het Palestijnse Centrum voor Mensen Rechten berichtte op 27 september, informatie die niet door de Nederlandse commerciele massamedia serieus is onderzocht. Waren daarentegen 11 Israelische joden gedood dan was dat groot nieuws geweest:

'Israel kills 11 Palestinians in Gaza in nine hours

Israeli Occupation Forces committed several crimes in the Gaza Strip over the past few hours, which left 11 Palestinians dead, including a child, and injured 33 others, five of them seriously. Some of the injured suffered amputation of limbs. Five of the victims were killed in an extra-judicial execution in Gaza City. The remaining six victims were killed in Beit Hanoun by aerial and land bombardment during an incursion into the town.The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns these crimes, and is concerned that they are a prelude to additional crimes against the Gaza Strip. It is noted that these crimes were perpetrated several hours after the announcement by the Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, that his forces are close to carrying out a wide-scale military operation in the Strip. In addition, these crimes came several days after the Israeli government declared that the Gaza Strip is a "hostile entity," and decided to deprive the Strip's population of a series of civil, political, and economic rights. The declaration did not bring new substance since Israel has been dealing with the Gaza Strip as such for many years. However, the declaration forewarns of a new campaign of collective punishment against the civilian population. PCHR calls upon the international community to move immediately to stop the Israeli threats that will result in additional suffering for the civilian population.The Center's preliminary investigation into the extra-judicial execution indicates that at approximately 16:45 on Wednesday, 26 September 2007, an IOF plane fired two rockets at a jeep traveling in Salah al-Deen Road near Dola intersection in the Zaitoon Quarter of Gaza City. The rockets hit the vehicle directly, killing its five occupants. The victims were members of Army of Islam, all of them from Gaza City:
Sami Samir El-Za'im, age 25
Fawzi Faris El-Ashram, age 27
Ayman Mohammad Daloul, age 26
Osama Salem El-Rifi, age 35
Hussein Deeb Ahel, age 27
In a second crime, IOF killed six Palestinians, including three unarmed civilians, in the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip. One of the victims was a child. Thirty-three others, including six children were injured. Five of the injuries were serious. PCHR's preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 12:30 on Wednesday, 26 September, IOF moved into the town of Beit Hanoun with approximately 60 armored vehicles under aerial cover from military aircraft. Several armored vehicles took positions near the Beit Hanoun municipality. At about 17:00, IOF fired tank shells and machine gun fire at a gathering of civilians and resistance activists in Zaitoon quarter in the town. Three people, including two civilians, were killed. One of the victims was a child and a second was a resistance activist. Thirty people were injured, including six children. Five of the injuries were listed as serious; and some of the injured suffered amputation of limbs. One of the injured civilians died of his wounds later during the day. The victims are:
Yusef Talal al-Basyouni, age 17
Khayri Mousa Hamdan, age 26, a resistance activist
Ahmad Osama Odwan, age 18
Tha'er Abd al-Wahhab al-Basyouni, age 22
At approximately 1:00 on Thursday, 27 September, an IOF plane fired a rocket at a group of resistance activists at the southern entrance to the town. Two of them were killed and three others injured, one of them seriously. The two killed are:
Raji Nabil Hamdan, age 23, from Beit Hanoun
Mohammad Sha'ban Abu Rokba, age 21, from Jabalia
The IOF incursion ended in the predawn hours. During the incursion, IOF cut off the electricity of the whole northern Gaza Strip. In addition, IOF razed agricultural land in the town.

PCHR is concerned over the continuation of IOF war crimes,'

Lees verder: http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article9012.shtml

De Israelische Terreur 258

'Israel’s Colonial Siege and The Palestinians
by Bashir Abu-Manneh

[This essay appears in The Socialist Register 2008: Global Flashpoints: Reactions to imperialism and neoliberalism, now available from Monthly Review Press in the USA, Fernwood Books in Canada and Merlin Press in the UK and the rest of the world. For the table of contents of the whole volume, click here.]

If there’s one short phrase that can describe Palestinian reality under Israeli occupation today, it is this: enduring under permanent siege, without surrender.{1}

My aim in the following is, first, to defend the accuracy of this statement. Since the Oslo Agreements of 1993, Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza has developed into a colonial siege, gradually atomizing and strangling Palestinian economy and society. Compounded by international boycott, poverty levels are now between 70 per cent and 80 per cent, with extreme and unprecedented levels of unemployment and rising dependency on food aid.{2} Second, although Israeli policy is mainly to blame for this drastic worsening of Palestinian living conditions since 1993, the Palestinian national secular elite is far from blameless. They have, in fact, played a junior yet pivotal role in bringing this new regime into being. By legitimizing their people’s continued dispossession and domination by Israel, they have ended up corrupting Palestinian national aspirations for justice and self-determination. With no alternative left project in sight, religious fundamentalism was destined to carry the mantle of an abandoned nationalism and drastically increase its own popular political constituency. Third, siege and capitulation also eventually generated mass resistance. As with the first Intifada of the late 1980s that led to Oslo, Palestinians again revolted in popular protest against colonization and national denial. And with the al-Aqsa Intifada in September 2000, resistance was re-legitimized.{3} This time round, though, conditions were much worse: social power and political leverage were in even shorter supply. Suicide bombing expressed growing Palestinian captivity and despair, and armed struggle replaced an earlier emphasis on mass political participation. I examine these new forms of resistance and scrutinize their prospects of achieving decolonization under continuing conditions of siege, Hamas-Fatah factionalism, and an absence of unified strategy.

ATOMIZED AND ENCIRCLED

Siege (or closure) is arguably Israel’s most pernicious instrument of colonial control and punishment. It basically means a denial of the Palestinian right to freedom of movement through the use of hundreds of roadblocks and checkpoints, numbering 546 in total. Closure doesn’t just restrict movement of goods and persons externally between the West Bank and Gaza, as well as from either area to Israel or the outside world. It blocks freedom of movement internally within the West Bank as well. Initially imposed as far back as the first Intifada in 1991, this regime was consolidated and incorporated into Oslo, only to be massively intensified since the second Intifada began. As a result, 40 per cent of the West Bank is today inaccessible to Palestinians.

In a recent report by the World Bank on movement restrictions in the West Bank, Israel was strongly criticized for the way ‘closure has been implemented through a complicated agglomeration of policies and practices which has fragmented the territory into ever smaller and more disconnected cantons’.{4} While acknowledging (but without going into the deeper roots of the conflict) that Israeli security concerns are ‘undeniable and must be addressed’, the report clearly states that ‘...it is often difficult to reconcile the use of closure for security purposes from its use to expand and protect settlement activity and the relatively unhindered movement of settlers in and out of the West Bank... It is also difficult to account for the discriminatory enforcement of zoning and planning regulations which minimize the amount of land available for the normal growth and development of Palestinian areas...’. As a result, the Palestinian economy has been thoroughly devastated and is on the brink of collapse: ‘The practical effect of this shattered economic space is that on any given day the ability to reach work, school, shopping, healthcare facilities and agricultural land is highly uncertain and subject to arbitrary restriction and delay’.

Much of this has been known for years. Indeed, four years earlier Salem Ajluni, chief UN economist, described Israel’s economic strangulation of the Occupied Territories as a deliberate ‘mass impoverishment -- indeed immiseration -- a process that is unprecedented in modern Palestinian history’.{5} With the recent economic and political boycott of the Palestinian government following on the heels of Hamas’s election victory in January 2006, siege has been compounded by even harsher restrictions. As part of what the special rapporteur on human rights in the Occupied Territories, John Dugard, called ‘economic coercion for regime change’, Palestinians have been strangled even more: ‘In effect, the Palestinian people have been subjected to economic sanctions -- the first time an occupied people have been so treated.... [they] have been subjected to possibly the most rigorous form of international sanctions imposed in modern times’.{6}

So what started as ‘an ad hoc military-bureaucratic measure crystallized into a fully conscious Israeli strategy with a clear political goal: separation between the two peoples with an appearance of political separation, but with only one government -- Israel -- having any effective power to shape the destinies of both’.{7} If Israel’s strategy before the first Intifada was the exploitation and partial inclusion of the Palestinian working class into the Israeli economy as daily migrant labour, since 1991 Israel has reverted to its original Zionist goal of complete exclusion.{8} Unlike apartheid, then, Zionism combines political separation with economic exclusion. Azmi Bishara has described the logic of Zionist colonialism as ‘separation, within separation’: ‘This colonialism displaces people, confiscates their land or bypasses them (the term, often applied to roads, is pertinent). It “develops” the land for settlement, but not for the inhabitants’.{9} The process of Zionist conquest and siege is, thus, more reminiscent of whites’ treatment of Native Indians in North America than it is of Blacks under South African apartheid.{10} As Fayez A. Sayegh put it: ‘The people of Palestine has lost not only political control over its country, but physical occupation of its country as well: it has been deprived not only of its inalienable right to self-determination, but also of its elemental right to exist on its own land!’'

Lees verder: http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=22&ItemID=13979

The Empire 277

'Oil, Israel, and America: The Root Cause of the Crisis
By Scott Ritter"Common Dreams"

-- -- There is no shortage of examples of historical points of friction between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States to draw upon in order to illustrate the genesis of the current level of tension. One can point to the Islamic revolution that cast aside America’s staunch ally, Reza Shah Pahlevi, the period of reactionary exportation of Islamic “revolution” that followed, the take over of the US Embassy and subsequent holding of Americans hostage (replete with a failed rescue mission), the Iranian use of proxy’s to confront American military involvement in Lebanon, inclusive of the bombing of the Marine barracks and US Embassy compounds, America’s support of Saddam Hussein during the 8-year war between Iran and Iraq, the ‘hot’ conflict between Iran and the United States in the late 1980’s, or Iran’s ongoing support of the Hezbollah Party in Lebanon. The list could continue.With the exception of the current situation in Lebanon, most of these “friction points” are dated, going back nearly three decades past. And when one examines the ‘root’ causes of these past points of friction, we find that there is no simple ‘black and white’ causal relationship which places Iran firmly in the wrong. Much of the early animosity between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States was derived from the resentment most Iranians felt over American support for a brutal, repressive regime. This resentment, coupled with an uncompromising approach taken by the United States towards maintaining cordial relations with a post-Shah Iran, manifested itself in the furtherance of anti-American activity in Iran, which in turn hardened the posture of the US government against Iran, leading to a cycle of devolution that ultimately resulted in the severance of all ties between the two nations.The animosity between the United States and Iran was further exacerbated by the US support for Saddam Hussein during the bloody 8-year war between Iran and Iraq. This support, which manifested itself by actually drawing the US military into a shooting war with elements of Iran’s military during the re-flagging of Kuwaiti oil tankers in the late 1980’s, in turn created the conditions which led to the policy of “dual containment” of both Iran and Iraq from 1991, in the aftermath of the first Gulf War. “Dual Containment” was more a product of the lack of policy between the United States and Iran than it was representative of a singular policy direction. The end result, namely a failure to achieve any discernable results, created the conditions for “policy drift,” which by 1998 led to the adoption of a policy of regime change in Iraq, and the embrace of ideologically-driven national security strategies which expanded regime change to be inclusive of the Islamic Republic of Iran. These policy directions on the part of the United States took place in a virtual reality-deprived atmosphere, being driven more from the perspective of a domestic American perspective based on inaccuracies and misperceptions of Iran than they were from any hard, factual analysis of the genuine state of affairs inside Iran. It is largely because of this systemic lack of intellectual curiosity regarding Iran that many in America, including the main stream media, find themselves divining models of national behavior derived from actions and events more than 20 years past.Iran’s nuclear program, far from being the “root cause” of Iranian-American animosity, is simply a facilitator for those who are predisposed to accept at face value anything that paints Iran in a negative light. The same can be said of almost every effort undertaken by the US government, post-1998, regarding Iran. A major impetus behind this trend towards rhetorically-based negativism regarding Iran is the influence exerted on the US national security decision making process by the government of Israel, and those elements within the United States, both governmental and non-governmental, which lobby on behalf of Israel. Israel has, for over a decade, listed Iran as its most serious national security threat, and has lobbied extensively to get the United States to embrace a similar policy direction.'

Lees verder: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18529.htm

Het Israelisch Expansionisme 52

De Nederlandse regering steunt de Israelische terreur en het Israelische expansionisme op politiek, diplomatiek, economisch en zelfs militair gebied. Een meerderheid in de Tweede Kamer accepteert dat voor het schenden van het internationaal recht door Nederland wordt gesteund. De Nederlandse commerciele massamedia zwijgen er doorgaans over. Al meer dan 40 jaar lang worden de Palestijnen geconfronteerd met de dagelijkse terreur van een militaire bezetting, die bijvoorbeeld alleen al in 2006 de dood van 120 Palestijnse KINDEREN veroorzaakte. Stel u voor dat er 120 joodse kinderen vermoord waren. Dan zouden de persen gestopt worden. En terecht. Maar nu het 'slechts' arabieren betreft dan is het de moeite niet waard om het melden. En alleen al voorstellen dat er sancties moeten komen tegen Israel omdat het doorgaat met het stelen van andermans land is vloeken in de kerk, zo niet een van de ergste vormen van anti-semitisme, althans in de ogen van de pro-Israel lobby, bestaande uit joodse en christelijke extremisten.

'Israeli army orders confiscation of Palestinian land in West Bank.

Map: new Jewish settlements· Seizure would allow huge expansion of settlements· Move seen as rush to make changes before US summit Conal Urquhart in Jerusalem

Wednesday October 10, 2007The Guardian

The Israeli army has ordered the seizure of Palestinian land surrounding four West Bank villages apparently in order to hugely expand settlements around Jerusalem, it emerged yesterday.
The confiscation happened as Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met to prepare the ground for a meeting hosted by President George Bush in the United States aimed at reviving a diplomatic solution to the conflict.
However, critics said the confiscation of land suggested that Israel was imposing its own solution on the Palestinians through building roads, barriers and settlements that would render a Palestinian state unviable.
The land seized forms a corridor from East Jerusalem to Jericho and is intended to be used for a road that would be for Palestinians only. Analysts said the road would run on one side of the Israeli security barrier, while the existing Jerusalem-Jericho road would be reserved for Israelis.
A spokeswoman for the Israeli army said it was necessary to build a road to link Bethlehem and the Judea region with Jericho and the Jordan valley area in order to "improve the quality of life" for Palestinians.
She said the road would be nearly 10 miles long and would be built on 145 hectares (357 acres) of state land and 23 hectares of private land that had been confiscated. She added that the army had designed the route to minimise losses to private landowners.
Adam Keller of the Israeli peace group, Gush Shalom, said the confiscation of land belonging to the villages of Abu Dis, Arab al-Sawahra, Nebi Musa and Talhin Alhamar would "rob many villagers of their sole livelihood" but would also "facilitate the big annexation plan known as E-1, which is aimed at linking the settlement of Ma'aleh Adummim with Jerusalem and cutting the West Bank in two."
He said the confiscations were aimed at constructing a "Palestinian bypass road" that would "push the Palestinian traffic between Bethlehem and Ramallah deep into the desert and effectively bar them from the central part of the West Bank".
The E-1 area has been marked out on Israeli government maps for years but the state has refrained from large scale development of the area. The only building to be completed is the proposed headquarters of the Israeli police in the West Bank.'

Lees verder: http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,2187261,00.html

Salman Rushdie



Gisteren kreeg ik deze email:

'Beste Stan,

Ik las net het artikel in de NRC over Salman Rushdie.
http://www.nrc.nl/buitenland/article784214.ece/Salman_Rushdie_breekt_lans_voor_Ayaan_Hirsi_Ali
Is Rushdie soms knettergek geworden? Is Hirsi Ali de eerste
West-europese vluchteling sinds de holocaust?
Ik kook van woede als ik dit soort demagogische praat lees.
Wil je hier een artikel over schrijven?
Ik denk dat ik mijn boekenkast maar ga zuiveren, destijds heb ik
Leon de Winter er ook al uitgegooid.'

Ik moest meteen denken aan de geweldige ironie van het leven. '‘In ’86 was ikzelf ook een fundamentalist, in Kenia. Ik was lid van de Islamitische Broederschap,’ vertelde Hirisi Magan/ Ali tijdens een tv-programma en ze voegde daar tijdens een bijeenkomst in de Rode Hoed aan toe: ‘In 1989 vond ik de fatwa tegen Salman Rushdie nog vanzelfsprekend. Ik was ook een radicaal.

De enige zinnige conclusie die we kunnen trekken is deze: wat een mazzel dat de toenmalige moslim fundamentaliste mevrouw Magan/Ali haar zin destijds niet heeft gekregen, want dan had Salman Rushdie nu niet voor haar belangen kunnen opkomen. Hoe ironisch het leven kan zijn. Nu maar hopen dat ze ook in de toekomst haar zin niet krijgt. De vrouw is een fundamentaliste van nature, het is een karaktertrekje.

In mei van dit jaar schreef ik over Magan/Ali: 'Was ze eerst een fervent voorstander van het vermoorden van een auteur vanwege zijn gedachtegoed, ruim een decennium later benoemde ze zichzelf als volgt: ‘Ik ben een extremistische aanhanger van de vrijheid van meningsuiting.’ Ze zei dit in een rechtvaardiging van het overigens niet bestaande 'recht om te krenken.' Dit extremisme leidde tot allerlei absurde hersenspinsels, zoals haar voorstel om bij sollicitaties moslims eruit te lichten en apart te screenen op politieke overtuigingen, hetgeen een breuk is met het principe van de rechtstaat dat iedere burger gelijk is voor de wet. In een open brief in Trouw zette Hans Wiegel in diezelfde tijd zijn partijgenoot Magan/Ali elegant op haar nummer door haar de voorgeschiedenis uit te leggen van de Nederlandse vrijheid van onderwijs. Hij eindigde zijn brief met 'een welgemeend advies: Niet op de persoon spelen, geen wiggen drijven, niet zo fanatiek, respect voor andersdenkenden en verdraagzaamheid: zo kunnen wij onze Nederlandse samenleving versterken en een toekomst bieden.' Maar dat advies negeerde mevrouw Magan/Ali en vertrok naar de VS om haar boodschap verder te verspreiden.' Waar ze nu onbeschermd rondloopt net als 300 miljoen anderen, die in de Verenigde Staten leven.

Toen ik de opgewonden woorden van Rushdie las vroeg ik me af of hij net zo gegrepen was door Magan/Ali als professor Paul Scheffer en professor Herman Philipse, en al die andere heren van zekere leeftijd.

Overigens staat nergens in de koran, noch in de hadith, iets over vrouwenbesnijdenis. Het heeft niets met de islam te maken. Het is een gebruik van wat de volgelingen van Wilders 'achterlijke' volkeren noemen, zoals de Somaliers.

dinsdag 9 oktober 2007

Noam Chomsky 21


Noam Chomsky:
'NUCLEAR-armed states are criminal states. They have a legal obligation, confirmed by the World Court, to live up to Article 6 of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which calls on them to carry out good-faith negotiations to eliminate nuclear weapons entirely. None of the nuclear states has lived up to it.The United States is a leading violator, especially the Bush administration, which even has stated that it isn't subject to Article 6.On July 27, Washington entered into an agreement with India that guts the central part of the NPT, though there remains substantial opposition in both countries. India, like Israel and Pakistan (but unlike Iran), is not an NPT signatory, and has developed nuclear weapons outside the treaty. With this new agreement, the Bush administration effectively endorses and facilitates this outlaw behaviour. The agreement violates US law, and bypasses the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the 45 nations that have established strict rules to lessen the danger of proliferation of nuclear weapons.Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, observes that the agreement doesn't bar further Indian nuclear testing and, "incredibly, ... commits Washington to help New Delhi secure fuel supplies from other countries even if India resumes testing." It also permits India to "free up its limited domestic supplies for bomb production." All these steps are in direct violation of international nonproliferation agreements.The Indo-US agreement is likely to prompt others to break the rules as well. Pakistan is reported to be building a plutonium production reactor for nuclear weapons, apparently beginning a more advanced phase of weapons design. Israel, the regional nuclear superpower, has been lobbying Congress for privileges similar to India's, and has approached the Nuclear Suppliers Group with requests for exemption from its rules. Now France, Russia and Australia have moved to pursue nuclear deals with India, as China has with Pakistan — hardly a surprise, once the global superpower has opened the door.The Indo-US deal mixes military and commercial motives. Nuclear weapons specialist Gary Milhollin noted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's testimony to Congress that the agreement was "crafted with the private sector firmly in mind," particularly aircraft and reactors and, Milhollin stresses, military aircraft. By undermining the barriers against nuclear war, he adds, the agreement not only increases regional tensions but also "may hasten the day when a nuclear explosion destroys an American city." Washington's message is that "export controls are less important to the United States than money" — that is, profits for US corporations — whatever the potential threat. Kimball points out that the United States is granting India "terms of nuclear trade more favourable than those for states that have assumed all the obligations and responsibilities" of the NPT. In most of the world, few can fail to see the cynicism. Washington rewards allies and clients that ignore the NPT rules entirely, while threatening war against Iran, which is not known to have violated the NPT, despite extreme provocation: The United States has occupied two of Iran's neighbours and openly sought to overthrow the Iranian regime since it broke free of US control in 1979.Over the past few years, India and Pakistan have made strides towards easing the tensions between the two countries. People-to-people contacts have increased and the governments are in discussion over the many outstanding issues that divide the two states. Those promising developments may well be reversed by the Indo-US nuclear deal. One of the means to build confidence throughout the region was the creation of a natural gas pipeline from Iran through Pakistan into India. The "peace pipeline" would have tied the region together and opened the possibilities for further peaceful integration.'

Bouke Ylstra


Eergisteren verscheen een werkelijk schitterend uitgevoerd boek met werk van een van de beste tekenaars/schilders die Nederland bezit, de beeldend kunstenaar Bouke Ylstra. Het boek heet eenvoudigweg Bouke Ylstra. Dagboeken. 2001/07 en het voorwoord is van de schrijver/vertaler August Willemse.
Ik heb twee tekeningen overgenomen, die een beeld geven van Bouke's meesterschap. Ik heb het boek gisteren voor mijn 60ste verjaardag gekregen en weet niet waar het te koop is. Dit is Ylstra's website: http://www.ylstra.dds.nl/rotonde.html

De Israelische Terreur 257


'Mohammed al-Dura lives on
By Gideon Levy
The concern Israel demonstrates for the fate of one Palestinian boy touches the heart: Again, note what a fuss is being made about the case of the killing of Mohammed al-Dura. Our heart is impervious to the fate of other children who have been killed. Just little Mohammed continues to haunt us. But the question of who killed al-Dura is not important. And maybe he is even alive, as some eccentrics claim. Perhaps he committed suicide, as the strange investigations are liable to suggest. All of these are tasteless questions designed to divert attention from the truly important issues: According to data collected by human rights group B'Tselem, Israel is responsible for killing more than 850 Palestinian children and teenagers since al-Dura was killed, including 92 in the past year alone. Last October, we killed 31 children in Gaza. This is what should have raised a storm and not the measurements by the former head of the Israel Defense Forces' Southern Command, Yom Tov Samiyeh, aimed at proving that his soldiers did not kill al-Dura, or the "investigations" by the physicist Nahum Shahaf. In an eccentric obsession, Shahaf has devoted the past years to this affair, after previously having also obtained "amazing material" on the murder of Yitzhak Rabin. Al-Dura refuses to step down from the stage because he has become an icon of the Palestinian struggle and a symbol of Israeli brutality. A thousand Nahum Shahafs will not succeed in blurring the unequivocal fact that a scandalous killing of children is taking place in the territories.
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Even if the director of the Government Press Office, Danny Seaman, is right in determining that the film made by the reliable and experienced French journalist Charles Enderlin was "staged," and even if he succeeds in clearing Israel from responsibility for this killing, what will we say about the other children who have been killed? That their killing was also "staged?" That the IDF did not kill them through carelessness and contempt for their lives; by being trigger-happy and even acting with premeditation? If Israel were really interested in improving its "public relations," it would embrace the al-Dura family instead of all the foolish investigations. It would provide compensation to the family and show the world that it is truly and sincerely sorry about the death of one child. The question of who killed al-Dura is like the question of what Joseph Trumpeldor mumbled before his death. The myth in both cases is already stronger than any investigation. Al-Dura became a symbol because his killing was documented on videotape. All the other hundreds of children were killed without cameras present, so no one is interested in their fate. If there had been a camera in Bushara Barjis' room in the Jenin refugee camp while she was studying for a pre-matriculation test, we would have a film showing an IDF sniper firing a bullet at her head. If there had been a photographer near Jamal Jabaji from the Askar camp, we would see soldiers emerging from an armored jeep and aiming their weapons at the head of a child who threw stones at them. But these children did not become symbols; there are no stamps bearing their portraits, no streets named after them and no songs composed for them as with al-Dura because they were not filmed at the time of their deaths.'

Lees verder: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/909972.html

The Empire 276

Mass grave of 146 killed at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, USA December 29, 1890they died for the color of their skin and their religion.
Five days after being killed any bodies too large to be drug off by coyotes are thrown into a pit dug on January 3, 1890


Columbus and the Beginning of Genocide in the "New World" It has been contended by those who would celebrate Columbus thataccusations concerning his perpetration of genocide are distortive"revisions" of history. Whatever the process unleashed by his"discovery" of the "New World," it is said, the discovererhimself cannot be blamed. Whatever his defects and offenses, they aresurpassed by the luster of his achievements; however "tragic" or"unfortunate" certain dimensions of his legacy may be, they aremore than offset by the benefits even for the victims of the resultingblossoming of a "superior civilization" in theAmericas. Essentially the same arguments might be advanced with regardto Adolf Hitler: Hitler caused the Volkswagen to be created, afterall, and the autobahn. His leadership of Germany led to jetpropulsion, significant advances in rocket telemetry, laid thefoundation for genetic engineering. Why not celebrate his bona fideaccomplishments on behalf of humanity rather than "dwelling" sopersistently on the genocidal by-products of his policies? To be fair, Columbus was never a head of state. Comparisons ofhim to Nazi SS leader Heinrich Himmler, rather than Hitler, aretherefore more accurate and appropriate. It is time to delve into thesubstance of the defendants' assertion that Columbus and Himmler, NaziLebensraumpolitik (conquest of "living space" in eastern Europe) andthe "settlement of the New World" bear more than casualresemblance to one another. This has nothing to do with the Columbian"discovery," not that this in itself is completelyirrelevant. Columbus did not sally forth upon the Atlantic for reasonsof "neutral science" or altruism. He went, as his own diaries,reports, and letters make clear, fully expecting to encounter wealthbelonging to others. It was his stated purpose to seize this wealth,by whatever means necessary and available, in order to enrich both hissponsors and himself. Plainly, he pre-figured, both in design and byintent, what came next. To this extent, he not only symbolizes theprocess of conquest and genocide which eventually consumed theindigenous peoples of America, but bears the personal responsibilityof having participated in it. Still, if this were all there was to it,the defendants would be inclined to dismiss him as a mere thug alongthe lines of Al Capone rather than viewing him as a counterpart to Himmler.'

Lees verder: http://mit.edu/activities/thistle/v9/9.11/1columbus.html

maandag 8 oktober 2007

De Pro-Israel Lobby 47



Posted by Daniel Levy on October 4, 2007 3:54 PM
'Ok, here we go, the Israel Lobby
I have not commented thus far on the publication of the Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer book on the Israel lobby. The reason is simple – I agreed to review the book for Haaretz and so have waited for that to be published. Well the review came out yesterday in the monthly Haartetz book supplement and should be on the website any day (it is being delayed by the Succot holiday). I have though decided to post that review here below. (I will provide the Haaretz link once it’s available.)It is a long piece, but I hope that you stick with it. Allow me to set out my stall in this kind of pre-amble. While I certainly take issue with the specific recent policy examples in the book (Iraq and Syria in particular), I am convinced that the relationship between the US, Israel and the lobby that speaks in its name needs to change for everyone’s sake, that this book contributes to a re-think and that the authors are not driven by prejudice.A key distinction to draw for instance is that it is not Israel per se that has become a strategic liability for the US, but rather Israel as an occupier (which is indeed, a liability to itself). To quote Walt and Mearsheimer, “if the conflict were resolved, Israel might become the sort of strategic asset that its supporters often claim it is.”I am not an American Jew (despite the valiant and appreciated efforts of Matt Yglesias to enfranchise me as such). I can at best empathize with the sensitivities of American Jews and the raw nerves that the book and the debate surrounding it have touched. Some of the commentary, including from people I respect, admire and personally like – JJ Goldberg, Jeffrey Goldberg and Leonard Fein (I had to find a non-Goldberg) for example, pushes back powerfully against the book and comes from a place that is undoubtedly sincere and, I believe, often emotional. It is an emotive subject for me also, but my emotions are those of an Israeli (by choice admittedly) who has witnessed the devastating consequences of the lobby-mediated US policy towards Israel, on our ability to build an Israel of hope, peace, decency and dare I say, longevity.Without himself being an Israeli, my friend MJ Rosenberg probably captures the essence of this position best when he writes: “There is nothing pro-Israel about supporting policies that promise only that Israeli mothers will continue to dread their sons’ 18th birthdays for another generation.”'

De Pro-Israel Lobby 46

'THE ISRAEL LOBBY

Two authors from the elite of American academia, an attempted answer to the what-went-wrong-for-the-U.S.-in-the-Middle-East question, and a controversy that has been brewing for over a year, no wonder this book is on the New York Times Best-Seller list. Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer's book is far more expansive in scope, detailed in argument, and thoroughly sourced (106 pages of footnotes) than their 2006 article on the same subject, although their methodology still eschews firsthand interviews. This is a difficult and challenging book. It is also an important book that deserves to be keenly debated. The book has generally elicited three types of response since its release. The first: Ignore it. Controversy, after all, breeds attention, debate and even sales, all of which, for some, are undesirable. Second: Take it seriously and deal with the substance, something this review will do in a moment. But before that, one must note the third type of response: To vilify, delegitimize and discredit the book and its authors. "Anti-Jewish bias" (Jeff Robbins, Wall Street Journal); "inspired by the Nuremburg Laws" (Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times); "a bigoted attack" (Alan Dershowitz) these are just a few of the Pavlovian responses to the book. Despite the accusations, this a not a hateful screed. Painful, yes. Prejudiced, no. As the authors close off each possible avenue of anti-Semitic intent or effect, they come across as thorough, not ritualistic or tokenistic.According to Walt and Mearsheimer, both political scientists, the former at Harvard, the latter at the University of Chicago, "the Israel lobby is the antithesis of a cabal or conspiracy." Interest group politics, including ethnic lobbies, are for them central to America's democracy and pluralistic society "as American as apple pie." Multiple loyalties are also very American, and not confined to Jews. To specifically question the dual loyalty of Israel's supporters would be "wrong," say the authors, as they "have every right to advocate their positions." Walt and Mearsheimer argue that, far from controlling the media, the Israel lobby has to work hard to ensure that its position wins out. Perhaps unexpectedly, the authors even describe themselves as "pro-Israel," and declare, "we are not challenging Israel's right to exist, or questioning the legitimacy of a Jewish state." Hardly very radical stuff. Their gripe is with where the lobby, effective as they claim it is, has taken U.S. foreign policy. Yes, they recognize it would be easier and more comfortable to discuss the pharmaceutical, gun or Free Cuba lobbies. Alas, their theme is the Middle East. Their more shrill detractors have either not read the book, are emotionally incapable of dealing with harsh criticism of something they hold so close (certainly a human tendency), or are intentionally avoiding a substantive debate on the issues. The authors' challenge is "to convince readers that the United States provides Israel extraordinary material aid and diplomatic support, the lobby is the principal reason for that support, and this uncritical and unconditional relationship is not in the American national interest." Proving the first point does not make for particularly arduous labor. Israel became the largest single annual recipient of U.S. foreign assistance in 1976 and has topped the league ever since. We receive approximately $500 every year for every Israeli (it's $5 per Pakistani). All this is rather nice. In fact, it is a remarkable achievement that few Israelis would prefer to do without. But is it a consequence of the Israel lobby's work? Rather than replying with an "obviously it is," and moving on, Walt and Mearsheimer treat us to an unforgiving debunking of the alternative explanations. This entails holding a mirror up to Israel and highlighting all the warts. We all know they exist, but still, it's not a pretty sight. Punch to the gutChapter Three, "A Dwindling Moral Case," is their punch to the gut of any Israeli claim to extraordinary U.S. support on the basis of merit alone. It is hardly unfair that they give us the most egregious examples of Israel behaving badly, that is precisely what clinches their argument. Just for good measure, the vast majority of their sources are Israeli. Many will recoil at this chapter, especially when the criticism comes from outsiders. By the time the authors ask "which group [Israelis or Palestinians] now has a stronger moral claim to U.S. sympathy?,” the question is clearly rhetorical. But what about Israel's value as a strategic ally? Walt and Mearsheimer are having none of it, and here the American elite consensus is probably on their side. If Israel was of "limited strategic value" during the Cold War, it has become a veritable "liability" in the war on terror. The alliance with Israel does not serve American Middle East interests as defined by these authors: It doesn't help keep Gulf oil flowing to markets; doesn't discourage the spread of weapons of mass destruction; and certainly doesn't reduce anti-American terrorism originating in the region. Last year's bipartisan Iraq Study Group of wise American policy elders may have put it more politely, but they essentially reached the same conclusion. For Walt and Mearsheimer, support for an Israel that is at war with its neighbors "has fueled anti-Americanism ... gives Islamic terrorists a powerful recruiting tool, and contributes to the growth of radical Islam." It is not Israel per se that is a liability, but Israel as an occupier: "If the conflict were resolved, Israel might become the sort of strategic asset that its supporters often claim it is." The distinction should be on the radar screen of Israel's strategic planners. The authors argue that current Israeli policy is a liability to the U.S., and many would argue (the authors actually do) that it is also a liability to Israel itself. This is the first half of their argument often debatable, sometimes flawed, always compelling. I would argue for instance that they understate at least three factors in popular culture that embellish U.S. support for Israel. First, there is a significant element of emotion, sentiment and identification in the way Americans relate to Israel; manufactured or not, it exists. Just witness the response to Shahar Peer at this year's U.S. Tennis Open. Second they refer to but underestimate the role of the Christian evangelical Zionists and their impact at the local level, especially in the media. The main Christian pro-Israel lobby group, Christians United for Israel (CUFI), has grown exponentially in recent years. It is fanatical in its devotion and politically way over to the right, channeling millions annually to support settlements. A third and not unconnected phenomenon requires a closer look at America's warts namely, the prevalence of popular Islamophobia. Pro-Israel sentiment is strengthened not by Israel's moral case, but by an immoral negative stereotyping of Arabs and Muslims by many mainstream media outlets since 9/11. But Walt and Mearsheimer are less good at seeing America's warts, and totally overlook this trend. Having set out their own stall, that this extraordinary state of affairs is explained by the influence of the Israel lobby, the authors then describe what the lobby is and how it operates. The lobby, they say, is a "loose coalition of individuals and organizations," not all of whom are lobbyists, with "fuzzy" boundaries. Their definition is interesting and probably over-inclusive, ranging from obvious groupings, such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and Christian Zionists, to think tanks, certain journalists and scholars, and the neoconservative movement (neocons), of whom more in a moment. It is not synonymous with American Jewry. Their description of how the policy process is "guided" would have most interest groups green with envy, and makes for entertaining, if at times disturbing reading. Former House Speaker Richard Armey's eminently quotable "my number one priority in foreign policy is to protect Israel," from 2002, does get you thinking how it would be received were the Speaker of the Knesset to opine that "my number one priority in foreign policy is to protect America." The tools and tactics used include: draft legislation, speeches, talking points; tours of Israel for politicians and radio talk-show hosts; cultivation of congressional staffers; campaign contributions. Their analysis of campaign financing is weak and leaves one feeling somewhat short-changed. Finally and not surprisingly, given their own treatment, the authors turn the spotlight on the ugliest face of supposedly pro-Israel activism-smear campaigns and silencing tactics, often perpetrated by organizations masquerading as watchdog groups. The attacks, for instance, on Kenneth Roth and Human Rights Watch, after they criticized Israel's offensive activity in Lebanon in 2006, were not only unjustified, undemocratic and un-Jewish, they are also a big turn-off for an increasing number of young American Jews. Bad for U.S., bad for Israel The second half of the book is devoted to concrete examples, with which the authors make their case that the lobby influences foreign policy in ways that are detrimental to the U.S. national interest, "and," the authors add, "although these policies were intended to benefit Israel, many of them have damaged Israeli interests." All of the examples are taken from the Bush era, post 9/11 and this brings us to the book's core weakness. Walt and Mearsheimer see too much continuity and not enough exceptionalism in this period. At the center of their argument stand the neocons, and their interplay with the Israel lobby. The neocons are a tight-knit group of ultra-hawks, favoring unilateral projection of U.S. power as a benign hegemon. They are predominantly, though not exclusively, Jewish, congregate around certain think tanks and publications (notably the American Enterprise Institute and The Weekly Standard, respectively) and are most associated with the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), which set out their goals in the 1990s. After 2000, neocons took up key positions in the Bush administration. Walt and Mearsheimer place them four-square inside the Israel lobby. The reality seems more complicated than that. Many leading neocons, by their own admission, care greatly about Israel, but they want to impose their policy, not follow Jerusalem's. Unlike, for instance, AIPAC, which takes its lead from the Israeli government, and then tends to give it an extra twist to the right, the neocons adhere to a rigid ideological dogma and are not afraid to confront a government in Jerusalem they view as too "soft." The view that sees neocons as spearheading the Israel lobby position under Bush has serious flaws. It is more likely that the neocons co-opted the Israel lobby, and Israel itself, to their own vision of regional transformation. Still, most of the Israel lobby were willing accomplices, and this represents their historic error. The gradual and consistent ideological drift to the right of key Israel lobby elements since the 1970s, and the hawkish excess of mainstream groups, made this cooperation not only possible, but natural, almost seamless. The picture is complete when the role of Ariel Sharon, then Israeli premier, is added. Sharon was a hawk, but no neocon. He viewed dreams of regional transformation, democratization and regime change with scorn and disdain, but he could spot a useful political ally when he saw one. The neocons would be his bulwark against being dragged into a negotiating process with the Palestinians or Syrians, as America re-calibrated its approach to the Middle East post-9/11. Negotiations were Sharon's "Room 101." The Dov Weissglas-Elliott Abrams channel saved him the trouble. Walt and Mearsheimer describe a damning end product, policies that are a disaster for America and Israel alike, but in over-conflating the neocons with the Israel lobby they overlook a dynamic and nuance that might have implications for the future. Outsourcing regional policy In recent years the Israel lobby, and even Israel itself, largely outsourced regional policy to the neocons, and this is crucial for better understanding all the issues that "The Israel Lobby" looks at: Iraq, Iran, Syria, the Palestinians and the Second Lebanon War. Walt and Mearsheimer devote a chapter to each of these, but there is no space here for a detailed discussion of the entire region. "Removing Saddam Hussein from power" was, to quote Walt and Mearsheimer, a neocon "obsession," and it is more likely that Israel and the lobby fell into line in promoting the Iraq war than that they drove the agenda. Israeli leaders much too publicly went to bat for the war in American media outlets, and this is well documented in the book, even embarrassingly so (Ehud Barak, in The Washington Post: "Once he [Saddam] is gone there will be a different Arab world"), but there are also suggestions of senior Israelis urging caution in private. Democratic support for the war was propelled by the post-9/11 mood and a political fear of appearing weak on national security issues, and if the Israel lobby played a role it was not the leading one. On Iran, the authors draw our attention to two missed opportunities, both under former-president Mohammad Khatami, for a comprehensive U.S.-Iranian dialogue, and suggest a diplomatic way forward out of the current impasse. They contend that Israel and the lobby are driving policy in the opposite direction. If that is true, and evidence is certainly out there, then it suggests the neocon world view is still in the driver's seat, and that Israel and the lobby have learned nothing from the last years. Israel, declaratively at least, prefers a diplomatic solution, and both Israel and her friends should be pushing actively for enhanced diplomacy, not the ratcheting up of military threats that so play into the hands of Ahmadinejad.Syria is the arena in which the neocon-inspired U.S. position and the Israeli position seem most at odds: a policy of promoting regime change versus one that says, we are ready to negotiate with you (when we're not conducting military missions inside your territory). The book also makes the case that in the Second Lebanon War, the Israel lobby helped prevent early U.S. intervention to end the war. If that is true, it would present a particularly glaring example of the lobby working against the Israeli interest, and another reason why Israelis should follow this issue closely. Analysis of key ministerial testimonies to the Winograd Committee and the Interim Winograd Report itself suggests that very senior Israelis based their calculations and decisions on an expectation that the U.S. would pursue an early diplomatic solution. The neocons implacably opposed this, the lobby fell into line and Israel "reaped the rewards," all the way to the cemeteries.Walt and Mearsheimer explain Bush Middle East policy as Israel-lobby driven. Another way to look at it would be: This is the first Republican administration since the Christian evangelical Zionists emerged as a potent force in the GOP; since the mainstream pro-Israel community planted itself firmly on the Likud right, and with an executive that contained a sizeable and senior neocon presence. At the same time a hawk was ensconced in the Israeli Prime Minister's residence (Sharon). Then came the shock of 9/11, followed by the swagger and hubris that followed an apparently easy military victory in Afghanistan. This was a potent mix. These actors can all be described with some accuracy as pro-Israel, but they are also all different, and charting a future course is helped by recognizing that difference. Prescriptions on what to do next are precisely how Walt and Mearsheimer end their book. They come from the realist school of American foreign policy, and their policy advice combines off-shore balancing (deploy militarily only when under direct threat; maintain a military presence in, but do not own, the region) with broad diplomatic engagement and a push to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This last point is crucial, given the conflict's mobilizing and recruiting role for radicals, and its potency as a symbol for anti-American PR in the era of the Internet and Al Jazeera. On addressing the lobby, the authors consider four options. They reject weakening the lobby via campaign finance reform as impractical, and countering it via an anti-Israel lobby as unwelcome, given that it might lead to anti-Semitism. They prefer countering the lobby with a more open debate on the Middle East and encouraging the evolution of a more moderate Israel lobby (building, for instance, on the work of Americans for Peace Now, Brit Tzedek veShalom and the Israel Policy Forum). For liberal American Jews who care about Israel, that means ending the outsourcing contract with neocons and right-wing evangelicals. It also means disowning the McCarthyite hate-mongering tactics used by groups like Campus Watch, and accepting dissenting voices. On his delightfully named and popular blog, "Rootless Cosmopolitan," Tony Karon has spoken of the beginnings of a "Jewish glasnost." It will take though a greater commitment of time and resources from liberal Jews who pursue multi-issue agendas. This debate would become acutely relevant were the Democrats to re-take the White House in next year's election. And finally, what about our role, in Israel? Three powerful conclusions emerge. First, as exposed in the Lebanon war and understood by the Winograd Committee, there is a dire lack of Israeli strategic planning capacity. How to respond to a weakened America in the region, occupation or peace with the Palestinians and Syrians, whether to outsource our policy to the neocons? For Israel, the answer seems to be: No comment. Israel lacks a definition of strategic objectives and their articulation to our friends across the pond. Second, alongside the undoubted benefits, the agenda pursued by the lobby in America has come at a great cost to Israel. NIS 45 billion could not have been wasted on settlements without U.S. complicity. As the book's authors argue, "Washington has helped insulate it [Israel] from some of the adverse consequences of its own actions," and that is a very dubious luxury indeed. Finally, while the right was busy investing in building allies and alliances in the U.S., the left was asleep or intimidated or both. A small number of center-left Israeli politicians display an active interest in events States-side, but very few display sufficient courage and conviction to challenge the self-defeating orthodoxy of the current mainstream Israel lobby. It is an absence sorely felt. Walt and Mearsheimer suggest that "it is time to treat Israel like a normal country." Presumably unintentionally, they echo the classical Zionist goal of creating a normal country. The two are linked. Absent a different discussion with the U.S. and our friends there, Israel is unlikely to become normal. Perhaps this difficult book can help advance that discussion.'

De Israel-Lobby is onlangs in Nederlandse vertaling verschenen bij uitgeverij Atlas.

De Pro-Israel Lobby 45

"The Israel Lobby” authors John J. Mearsheimer (left) and Stephen M. Walt.

Breaking the Taboo: Why We Took On the Israel Lobby

Eric Chinski, the editor of John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt’s provocative new bestseller, asks the authors whether their book is good for the Jews and good for America. This interview originally appeared on the Web site of the publishing house Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Why did your article “The Israel Lobby,” which was published in the London Review of Books in 2006, provoke such heated discussion around the world? James Traub wrote in The New York Times Magazine: “ ’The Israel Lobby’ slammed into the opinion-making world with a Category 5 force.” How would you describe the reaction?
The article received enormous attention because it challenged what had become a taboo issue in mainstream foreign policy circles, namely the impact of the Israel lobby on U.S. Middle East policy. We did not question Israel’s legitimacy and explicitly stated that the United States should come to Israel’s aid if its survival is at risk, but we did argue that pro-Israel groups in the United States were encouraging policies that were ultimately not in America’s national interest. Although the views we expressed are often discussed openly in other democracies—including Israel itself—they have rarely been set forth in detail by mainstream figures in the United States. The article was also of great interest to many readers because it has become increasingly obvious that U.S. Middle East policy has gone badly awry. Although a number of groups and individuals either mischaracterized our views or attacked us personally, many other readers agreed that such an examination of the lobby’s role was long overdue.
Why did you feel the need to follow up the article with your book “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy”? What more is there to say?
Writing a book provided an opportunity to present a more nuanced and complete statement of our views, and also allowed us to address some of the responses to the original article. Although the article was long by magazine standards, space limitations forced us to omit several key issues and to deal with other topics more briefly than we would have liked. Events like the 2006 Lebanon war had not occurred when the article was published, and additional information about other episodes—such as the U.S. decision to invade Iraq—had since come to light. Thus, writing a book allowed us to refine our analysis and bring it up to date.
In particular, the book presents a more detailed definition of the lobby, an extended discussion of its development and rightward drift over time, an examination of the role of the so-called Christian Zionists, and an analysis of the controversial issue of “dual loyalty.” We also offer a more detailed description of the various strategies that groups in the lobby use to advance their goals within the U.S. political system. The book also addresses the widespread belief—as illustrated by Michael Moore’s documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11”—that oil companies are the real driving force behind America’s Middle East policy, and explains why this view is incorrect.
Finally, our original article did not offer much in the way of positive prescriptions, but the book outlines a new approach to U.S. Middle East policy that would better serve U.S. interests and, in our view, be better for Israel as well. To that end, it also identifies how the influence of the lobby might become more constructive, for the good of both countries.'

Lees verder: http://www.truthdig.com/interview/item/20071004
_breaking_the_taboo_why_we_took_on_the_israel_lobby/

De Israelische Terreur 256

'-Gaza: Ceasefire Now!

At least 12 Palestinians have been killed in IDF military attacks on Gaza in the past two days. At least 10 Qasam rockets have been fired into bordering Israeli towns with no fatalities so far. The IDF is now operating inside northern Gaza with dozens of tanks on the outskirts of Beit Hanun. For more details, see this piece.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has warned that “we are moving closer to a major operation in Gaza.” The military correspondents on Israeli TV suggest that a full scale ground incursion is a matter of when, not if. One senior Hamas leader, Nizar Rayyan, is quoted as responding “50,000 fighters and 400 would-be suicide bombers await the invasion.”
Israeli-Palestinian relations were on everybody’s lips in the corridors of the UN General Assembly meetings this week, where I had the opportunity to visit with senior officials from various parties. But the Gaza-Hamas reality was the elephant in the room, nobody wanted to talk about it. The chatter in New York was of preparations for the November Peace Summit. This disconnect is not only astonishing and irresponsible; it is also dangerous.
Of course, there is an element of psychological warfare and testing of limits in part of the IDF and Hamas maneuvering and threats right now. However, the danger of escalation intended or unintended is very real and even the situation as it is produces a terrible scale of human suffering.
The Israeli military and settlements were withdrawn from Gaza in the summer of 2005, but the external envelope remained under Israeli control. Under international law Israel is still considered to have the responsibilities of an occupying power. Following June 10th and the Hamas seizure of power in Gaza, an already dire reality lurched further toward crisis. Rocket fire from Gaza into Israel and IDF actions in the opposite direction have become a constant feature of the landscape. On September 19, the Israeli cabinet declared Gaza a hostile entity. The government took the decision in principle to respond to rocket fire by restricting electricity and other vital utilities to the entire Gazan population. This would further exacerbate an already desperate predicament in which access to and from Gaza for basic supplies and people is at a bare minimum. Eighty-five percent of manufacturing businesses are not operating and 70,000 Gazans have been laid off since the Hamas takeover.
The Israeli government decision may have been an attempt to placate political and media pressure and avoid a full invasion, nonetheless it remains a myopic approach. The UN Secretary General, EU, and Arab leaders have protested the siege being imposed on Gaza (and most have also called for an end to rocket attacks). The US administration has declared its commitment to helping the civilian population in Gaza, but there is precious little evidence that it is backing up these words with action. PA President Abbas, who has not been in Gaza in 3 months, is no fan of the new regime there (yes, that is a huge understatement). But he cannot sit idly by and be blamed for complicity in the suffering of the Palestinian population, he called for an end to the “massacre” being carried out.'

Lees verder: http://www.prospectsforpeace.com/2007/09/israelgaza_ceasefire_now_1.html

zondag 7 oktober 2007

Jezus en de Clusterbommen 3




'Pope Versus President
Heather Wokusch

The Vatican’s recent snub of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is only the latest salvo in the battle between Pope Benedict XVI and President George W. Bush. This tug of war has profound implications for both U.S. foreign policy and the critical Catholic vote in 2008's presidential race.
On issues ranging from the war in Iraq to global warming, the Vatican and Washington have not seen eye to eye. With the popularity of U.S. foreign policy at record lows around the world, however, the Vatican’s diplomatic approach is more consistent with global public opinion.

Overlapping Agendas
Things haven't always been tense between Bush and Benedict. They share similar views regarding abortion, gay marriage, and other hot-button conservative issues. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (as Benedict was known before becoming Pope in April 2005) even helped Bush secure the White House for a second term.
Specifically, after Bush visited the Vatican in June 2004, complaining that "not all the American bishops are with me," Ratzinger sent a letter to U.S. bishops, ordering them to refuse communion to "a Catholic politician … consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws" – a thinly-veiled reference to John Kerry. Ratzinger added that any person even voting for this Catholic politician “would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion." Probably no surprise, then, that Bush increased his margin among Catholics by 6% from 2000 to 2004.
In an interesting twist, Ratzinger also partnered with George W. Bush's brother Neil in a foundation "to promote ecumenical understanding and publish original religious texts" in 1999. Oddly enough, business credit reports listed the foundation as a "management trust for purposes other than education, religion, charity or research," leaving the true nature of the Neil Bush/Cardinal Ratzinger venture unclear.
In 2005, Ratzinger was named as a defendant in a U.S. lawsuit suit accusing him of conspiring to cover up the sexual abuse of minors. At the center of the controversy was a May 2001 confidential letter he had sent Catholic bishops across the world ordering them to keep evidence of the sexual abuse of minors by clergy secret until 10 years after the child had reached adult status.
Soon after becoming Pope, however, Ratzinger was dismissed from the case. A U.S. federal judge decided the lawsuit would be "incompatible with the United States' foreign policy interests."'

Lees verder: http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/4610

Het Neoliberale Geloof 57

'U.S. factory orders plunge as businesses remain cautious
Rise in jobless claims adds to tension as Wall Street awaits September employment data

MARTIN CRUTSINGER

Associated Press, with files from Bloomberg News

WASHINGTON -- Orders to U.S. factories fell in August by the largest amount in seven months, reflecting weakness across a wide swath of manufacturing as the turbulent financial market made businesses more cautious.

The U.S. Commerce Department said orders dropped by 3.3 per cent in August, even worse than the expected 2.8-per-cent decline. It was the biggest setback since orders fell 4.2 per cent in January.

Demand for commercial aircraft fell 39.9 per cent, leading the decline. Boeing Co., the world's second-largest maker of commercial jets, received 75 orders in August, about half the 149 the Chicago-based company had in July, according to company figures. Orders also were weak for other industries, from autos and home appliances to industrial machinery and steel.

Orders for durable goods, which are items expected to last at least three years, fell by 4.9 per cent. Demand for non-durable goods, such as food, clothing and gasoline, declined 1.6 per cent. In a troublesome sign, business demand for non-defence capital goods excluding aircraft - considered a good gauge for investment plans - dropped 0.5 per cent in August. This decline was blamed partly on greater caution among businesses in the face of the credit crunch, which caused stock-market turbulence in the late summer.

The drop in factory orders included big declines in two industries affected by troubles in the housing market: Demand for home appliances fell 7.2 per cent and orders for furniture slipped 4.4 per cent.'

Lees verder:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20071005.IBUSECON05/TPStory

Klimaatverandering 112


Two girls rescue a dog in floods in Trinidad, Bolivia. Photograph: Aizar Raldes/AFP
Misschien kan mevrouw Halsema van GROEN LINKS wakker worden en hier een spoeddebatje voor aanvragen. Hirsi Magan/Ali is weer terug naar haar reactionaire denktank en haar beveiliging zal uiteindelijk toch moeten worden betaald door haar aanhangers, en die zullen dat - met het oog op het belang van het vrije woord - natuurlijk maar al te graag doen. Nu dit probleempje is opgelost kan mevrouw Halsema zich met werkelijke problemen gaan bezighouden. Let u op wat ze gaat doen!
De Guardian bericht:
'Climate change disaster is upon us, warns UN
· Emergency relief chief calls for swift action · 12 out of 13 'flash' appeals in 2007 related to weather · In pictures: floods, droughts and storms across the world· World in crisis map, 2007
A record number of floods, droughts and storms around the world this year amount to a climate change "mega disaster", the United Nation's emergency relief coordinator, Sir John Holmes, has warned.
Sir John, a British diplomat who is also known as the UN's under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said dire predictions about the impact of global warming on humanity were already coming true.
"We are seeing the effects of climate change. Any year can be a freak but the pattern looks pretty clear to be honest. That's why we're trying ... to say, of course you've got to deal with mitigation of emissions, but this is here and now, this is with us already," he said.
As a measure of the worsening situation, Ocha, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - part of the UN secretariat that employs Sir John - has issued 13 emergency "flash" appeals so far this year. The number is three more than in 2005, which held the previous record.
Two years ago only half the international disasters dealt with by Ocha had anything to do with the climate; this year all but one of the 13 emergency appeals is climate-related. "And 2007 is not finished. We will certainly have more by the end of the year, I fear," added Sir John, who is in charge of channelling international relief efforts to disaster areas.
More appeals were likely in the coming weeks, as floods hit west Africa. "All these events on their own didn't have massive death tolls, but if you add all these little disasters together you get a mega disaster," he said.
The only one of this year's emergency appeals not connected to the climate was an earthquake in Peru, in August. The others arose after an unprecedented string of catastrophic floods across much of Africa, south Asia and North Korea, and followed severe drought in southern Africa, Nicaragua's category-five hurricane, and extreme climate conditions in Bolivia, which brought both drought and floods.

Susan Akram


Lecture by and interview with Susan Akram, Professor, Boston University School of Law, about the violated rights of Palestinian refugees.
Susan Akram (50) is one of the foremost legal experts in the world of the rights of Palestinian refugees. Beginning October 2007 she gave a lecture on this subject at the Insitute of Social Studies in The Haque, the Netherlands. The next day I interviewed her at Schiphol Airport about the pro-Israel lobby in the US and the future of international law.
The Interview: http://webdisk.planet.nl/houck006/default.aspx Under Interviews