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

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 21 februari 2009

De Propaganda van Ron Edelheit


'De directie van The College Hotel heeft besloten dat de lezing van zondag 22 februari 2009 niet zal plaatsvinden in The College Hotel.' Dat is een verstandig en fatsoenlijk besluit. De spreker daar zou Ron Edelheit zijn, een extreem rechtse Israelische zionist die als woordvoerder van de Israelische strijdkrachten de Israelische oorlogsmisdaden in Gaza verdedigt en haatdragende cliche's en aperte leugens verspreidt. Hier zijn wat uitspraken van Edelheit: 'Goede dag. Ik heb vandaag voor de Likud gestemd... Hier ziet een deel van de extreme moslims liever hun kinderen als "Shahidim" zelfmoord terroristen dan ze vrede willen met ons... Houden de Palestijnen zich aan internationale rechten? Er zit een Israelisce soldaat al drie jaar als gevangene bij de Hamas. Nog geen Rode Kruis bezoek... Israel heeft in de laatste 20 jaar van uiterst linkse tot uiterst rechtse regeringen gehad - alle Israelische regeringen hebben vrede proberen te maken - het antwoord was altijd geweld... Waarom is de enige plek in de wereld waar Joden niet mogen leven het gebied van onze voorouders?'

Zie: http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php?option=com_mobile&task=viewaltcast&altcast_code=7ea20d612c&start=1

Het zijn niet meer dan leugens, propaganda, halve waarheden, aperte nonsens en haat van iemand die het internationaal recht weigert te respecteren en de Israelische terreur rechtvaardigt. Godzijdank accepteren steeds meer Nederlandse burgers deze propaganda niet meer en dankzij burgerinitiatieven zal Israel gedwongen moeten worden het recht te gehoorzamen.

Edelheit stemde op Likud, dezelfde partij die weigerde de Oslo Akkoorden te accepteren, zoals de Israelisch-Britse historicus professor Avi Shlaim schrijft: 'The Likud rejected the Oslo
accord from the beginning as incompatible with Israel’s security and with its
historic right to the whole Land of Israel. Binyamin Netanyahu spent his
three years in power (1996-1999) in a largely successful attempt to delay, to
subvert, and ultimately to derail the Oslo peace process.'


Lees verder: http://www.logosjournal.com/issue_3.3/shlaim.pdf

Deze extremistische zionisten zijn niet op vrede uit, maar op nog meer Palestijns land, omdat daar hun 'voorouders' 2000 jaar geleden enige tijd hebben geleefd. Ze weigeren te accepteren dat het internationaal recht en de VN de Westbank en de Gazastrook aan de Palestijnen toewijzen.

De Israelische Oorlogsmisdaden 67

Ik kreeg per ommegaande deze reactie van The College Hotel over de lezing van de Israelische legerwoordvoerder Ron Edelheit:

'Geachte heer of mevrouw,

De Directie van The College Hotel heeft besloten dat de lezing van zondag 22 februari 2009 niet zal plaatsvinden in The College Hotel.

Met vriendelijke groet,

De Directie

Reservations Office

THE COLLEGE HOTEL
Roelof Hartstraat 1
1071 VE Amsterdam
Tel: +31- (0)20 57 11 511
Fax: +31- (0)20 57 11 512
Email: reservation@thecollegehotel.com 
Website: www.thecollegehotel.com 

De Israelische Oorlogsmisdaden 66

De Pro-Israel lobby laat weten: 'Ron Edelheit, woordvoerder IDF, spreekt voor jullie.
Ron Edelheit was tijdens Operation Cast Lead samen met andere woordvoerders van het iDF in Sderot om van daaruit interviews te geven aan de internationale pers.
Ron Edelheit spreekt vloeiend Nederlands. Het is een unieke gelegenheid voor iedereen om vragen te stellen over Operation Cast Lead en de nasleep.

Prijs jongeren: 5 euro aan de deur, incl drankje.
Aanmelden: aanmelden@ijar.nl
http://www.ijar.nl/agenda_detail.php?id=169'

Naar aanleiding hiervan kreeg ik dit bericht:

'Hoi mensen,

Zie bericht hieronder. Dit is de man die in Eén Vandaag in beeld was (jawel, met Femke en mij) en als woordvoerder van het Israelische leger oorlogsmisdaden goedpraat.
Als je dit op tijd leest en even tijd hebt: bel naar het genoemde hotel.
Heb ik net ook gedaan. Werd uitermate serieus op gereageerd - en geschokt, die beste mensen weten natuurlijk ook van niets,
en ik word zometeen teruggebeld.

Meta

Kom direct in actie! Schrijf de directie van 'The College Hotel' : Geen Israelische oorlogspropaganda in uw hotel!!

Ik stuurde jullie gisteren een bericht door over een protest a.s. zondagavond in Amsterdam tegen de komst van de Israelische legerwoordvoerder. Vanavond zat ik mij opnieuw boos te maken en ik bedacht me dat we massaal het Hotel waar de lezing plaats vindt, kunnen verzoeken om geen podium te bieden aan de Israelische oorlogspropaganda.


Schrijf een email, stuur een fax of bel naar The College Hotel in Amsterdam met de volgende mededeling: 'U haalt iemand in huis die oorlogsmisdaden wil goedpraten, dat gaat u slechte publiciteit opleveren!'

Vraag de directie van het hotel of zij zich realiseert dat zij een bijeenkomst huisvesten van een man die oorlogsmisdaden goedpraat en mogelijke toekomstige misdaden gaat aankondigen.

Hoe meer berichten het hotel krijgt hoe beter! Misschien dat ze het wel zullen afgelasten. Het kost je maar een paar minuten tijd! Maak je eigen tekst of gebruik onderstaand voorbeeld dat je kunt knippen en plakken in een email bericht.

Gewoon even mailen, bellen of faxen naar:

Tel. 31 (0) 20 571 15 11 Fax. 31 (0) 20 571 15 12 Email. thecollegehotel@franklynhotels.com

***

Betreft: Protest tegen Israelische oorlogspropaganda

Geachte directie van 'The College Hotel',

Tot mijn grote verbazing en schok vernam ik dat uw hotel een bijeenkomst zal huisvesten van Ron Edelheit, woordvoerder van het Israelische bezettingsleger, een man die oorlogsmisdaden goedpraat en mogelijke toekomstige misdaden gaat aankondigen.

Gerespecteerde mensenrechtenorganisaties als Amnesty International en Human Rights Watch hebben de Israelische oorlogsmisdaden aangetoond en afgekeurd en ook de VN beschuldigt Israel van oorlogsmisdaden tegen de bevolking van Gaza.

Als gerespecteerd hotel dat middenin de maatschappij staat, kunt u met goed fatsoen deze bijeenkomst niet door laten gaan. U zult zich de woede op de hals halen van veel mensen die hun onvrede en boosheid zullen komen laten horen als de lezing in uw hotel doorgaat.

Ik verzoek u geen podium te bieden aan deze propagandabijeenkomst voor Israel en het Israelische leger.

De publiciteit die deze bijeenkomst en het protest daartegen zal krijgen, kan het hotel toekomstige klanten gaan kosten.'



vrijdag 20 februari 2009

Liduine Zumpolle 12

De reactie van Vrij Nederland journalist Harm Ede Botje illustreert de toenemende benauwdheid van journalisten zodra ze menen in gevaarlijk vaarwater te zijn gekomen. De commerciele journalistiek in Nederland is steeds banger voor openheid nu de oplagen en de reclamegelden in toenemende mate onder druk staan. Dat is iets wat de nieuwe VN-hoofdredacteur Frits van Exter zich maar al te goed zal realiseren. Het was onder zijn hoofdredactionele leiding dat Trouw zich destijds ontwikkelde tot een kweekvijver van nieuw rechts en daar bijna aan ten onder ging. 
Het is deze zelfde Frits van Exter die het zo fraai verwoordde toen hij tegenover het kritische mediatijdschrift Extra het volgende zei: 'Lezers horen wantrouwend te zijn tegenover de media ... De aandacht van de media [wordt] natuurlijk voor een belangrijk deel gestuurd … door de politieke machten … Dat geldt voor de nationale politiek, maar natuurlijk ook voor de internationale politiek … Het heeft voor een deel te maken met de vluchtigheid van het medium. Deels ook volgen de media elkaar, sommige zijn dominanter, en andere lijden aan kuddegedrag … Als je volgend bent, dan betekent dat als een autoriteit, of iemand die gekozen is om een bepaald gezag uit te oefenen, zegt “ik vind dit een belangrijk onderwerp, daar gaan we nou es wat aan doen,” dat je dat ook bekijkt. De dingen waar hij (sic) het niet over heeft, die volg je dus minder… het werkt voor een deel reflexmatig. Reflexen zijn het, je bent daar geconditioneerd in.'

En die conditionering lijkt hij nu bij Vrij Nederland verder te begeleiden. Ik ga er dan ook vanuit dat hij Harm Ede Botje heeft geadviseerd niet via mijn weblog te reageren op kritiek. Frits bezit alle geconditioneerde reflexen van iemand die wil overleven. Hij is een manager, geen journalist. Pik het niet Harm, voordat je het weet ben je alleen nog maar een werknemer.

Liduine Zumpolle 11

Gisteren schreef ik dit:

'Hoe is het te verklaren dat een beslist geen naieve journalist als Harm Ede Botje zich zo op sleeptouw heeft laten nemen door Liduine Zumpolle? Waarom heeft hij onvoldoende distantie betracht? Via boeken en internet en uit ervaring had hij kunnen weten dat de beschermheren van Zumpolle alles behalve te goeder trouw zijn. Bovendien had hij kunnen weten dat anderen dwars door haar praatjes heen zouden prikken. Wat bezielde een oprechte journalist als Harm Ede Botje om zo weinig kritisch te zijn? Ik heb er een paar dagen over nagedacht, maar ik kom er niet uit. Ik stuur daarom deze vragen naar hem op in de verwachting dat hij ze beantwoordt. Ik hou u op de hoogte.' Zie: http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.com/2009/02/liduine-zumpolle-10.html

Vanochtend kreeg ik deze reactie van Harm Ede Botje:
'Beste Stan, ik heb je blogs in goede orde ontvangen! Ik nodig je uit een
ingezonden brief te schrijven naar redactie@vn.nl, dat is het podium waar
lezers hun grieven kunnen uiten!
Met vriendelijke groet, Harm'

Bete Harm,
Hier doet zich een misverstand voor. Allereerst heb ik geen 'ingezonden brief' gestuurd, maar als collega heb ik je werk beargumenteerd bekritiseerd, zoals ik vaker werk van mijn collega's tegen het licht hou en bekritiseer op deze weblog. Ik ben ook geen doorsnee ingezonden brievenschrijver van je, ik ben een vakgenoot van je. Het tweede misverstand is dat het hier 'grieven'  betreft. Nee, Harm, het woord 'grieven'  is hier niet op zijn plaats. Ik bekritiseer je weergave van de werkelijkheid door onder andere het verstrekken van door jou en Zumpolle verzwegen informatie. Dat is geen grief van een lezer, maar een gedocumenteerde correctie van een vakgenoot, die mij ertoe bracht je te vragen hoe je die fouten kon maken. Welnu, dit is een open weblog waarin ondermeer de werkwijze van commerciele massamedia wordt belicht. In de hoop jouw misverstand uit de wereld te hebben geholpen, verwacht ik alsnog een reactie van je die ik natuurlijk in zijn geheel zal publiceren.
collegiale groet
stan.

donderdag 19 februari 2009

Liduine Zumpolle 10


Hoe is het te verklaren dat een beslist geen naieve journalist als Harm Ede Botje zich zo op sleeptouw heeft laten nemen door Liduine Zumpolle? Waarom heeft hij onvoldoende distantie betracht? Via boeken en internet en uit ervaring had hij kunnen weten dat de beschermheren van Zumpolle alles behalve te goeder trouw zijn. Bovendien had hij kunnen weten dat anderen dwars door haar praatjes heen zouden prikken. Wat bezielde een oprechte journalist als Harm Ede Botje om zo weinig kritisch te zijn? Ik heb er een paar dagen over nagedacht, maar ik kom er niet uit. Ik stuur daarom deze vragen naar hem op in de verwachting dat hij ze beantwoordt. Ik hou u op de hoogte.

De Oneindige Oorlog 2



Even reclame maken voor mijn boek dat vandaag is verschenen. Vanavond om 19.00 uur bij het NOS-programma Kunststof op Radio I word ik daarover geinterviewd:
'Stan van Houcke - journalist
donderdag 19 februari 2009
In 2003 won hij de prijs voor de Journalist van de Vrede, die jaarlijks wordt toegekend aan een journalist die zich onderscheiden heeft door onafhankelijke, objectieve en kritische berichtgeving. Die kwaliteit laat Stan van Houcke nu ook zien in zijn nieuwe boek De oneindige oorlog, over het conflict in het Midden Oosten, waarvoor hij meer dan dertig Joden en Palestijnen geïnterviewd heeft.Presentatie Petra Possel.'
Zie: http://sites.nps.nl/jerome/index.cfm/site/kunststof/pageid/C0B8B3D0-1635-041D-06F3752822B98C3D/index.cfm

Het Neoliberale Geloof 339


How Banks Are Worsening the Foreclosure Crisis
How the banking industry is undermining efforts to keep people in their houses
By Brian Grow, Keith Epstein and Robert Berner

How the banking industry is undermining efforts to keep people in their houses.
The bad mortgages that got the current financial crisis started have produced a terrifying wave of home foreclosures. Unless the foreclosure surge eases, even the most extravagant federal stimulus spending won't spur an economic recovery.
The Obama Administration is expected within the next few weeks to announce an initiative of $50 billion or more to help strapped homeowners. But with 1 million residences having fallen into foreclosure since 2006, and an additional 5.9 million expected over the next four years, the Obama plan-whatever its details-can't possibly do the job by itself. Lenders and investors will have to acknowledge huge losses and figure out how to keep recession-wracked borrowers making at least some monthly payments.
So far the industry hasn't shown that kind of foresight. One reason foreclosures are so rampant is that banks and their advocates in Washington have delayed, diluted, and obstructed attempts to address the problem. Industry lobbyists are still at it today, working overtime to whittle down legislation backed by President Obama that would give bankruptcy courts the authority to shrink mortgage debt. Lobbyists say they will fight to restrict the types of loans the bankruptcy proposal covers and new powers granted to judges.
The industry strategy all along has been to buy time and thwart regulation, financial-services lobbyists tell BusinessWeek . "We were like the Dutch boy with his finger in the dike," says one business advocate who, like several colleagues, insists on anonymity, fearing career damage. Some admit that, in retrospect, their clients, which include Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C), and JPMorgan Chase (JPM), would have been better off had they agreed two years ago to address foreclosures systematically rather than pin their hopes on an unlikely housing rebound.'
Lees verder: http://www.truthout.org/021809O

Boycot Israel 32

'Boycott promotes debate
Protest takes nonviolent approach toward preserving intellectual freedom in Israel.
David Lloyd, Ph.D.
Daily Trojan Tuesday, February 17, 2009

At the height of Israel's ruthless assault on Gaza, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution offering its total and uncritical support to Israel. This deeply biased resolution, reputedly drafted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and misleading in virtually every clause, is one small symptom of the extent to which the pro-Israeli lobby maintains a choke hold over the U.S. political process and prevents open and honest debate on Israel's conduct and policies. Yet Israel is the largest single foreign recipient of U.S. taxpayers' dollars, benefiting from at least $2 billion per year or one-third of all U.S. foreign aid. In the academic world, faculty who criticize Israel's policies or challenge the political philosophy of Zionism and its disastrous consequences for the Palestinians are subject to insult, intimidation and even outright censorship. Such scholars' right to tenure has been concertedly attacked. Teachers who speak in public for the right of Palestinians have been faced with harassment, defamation and intimidation, though in most cases their "crime" has been their exercise of the right to free speech in contexts unrelated to their classroom teaching. Our mailboxes are filled with rabid messages of hatred, anti-Arab racism and, of course, the threadbare accusation that to be critical of Israel is to be anti-Semitic. The insidious racism of the latter accusation, which seeks to identify Judaism with the 19th century European nationalist philosophy of Zionism and all Jews with Israel, no matter what their conscience tells them about that state's conduct, should be as unequivocally repudiated as should all actual anti-Semitism.For any who spoke out against South African apartheid, or against Indonesia's illegal occupation of East Timor, such conduct in public debate is singular. Proponents of divestment were rarely accused of anti-white racism; we were never told that criticism of Djakarta was equivalent to hatred of all Indonesians or of Muslims. Only criticism of Israel meets such violent attempts to silence it. In consequence, debate about U.S. policy regarding Israel and Palestine, surely one of the most important issues now facing this country, is shut down. So on the basis of an insidious brew of myth, ideology and partial histories, the United States blindly pursues its slanted policy in the Middle East to the detriment of its reputation and in isolation from the rest of the world. It is on account of this climate of intimidation and the lockdown on political discourse that we resorted to calling for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions in the context of an international call for divestment. Where there is no access to the political process, those who seek justice must once more do so by appealing directly to the conscience of the public. In response to the call from Palestinian civil society and from more than 500 courageous Israeli citizens, we urge a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, not only to protest their utter silence in the face of the ongoing destruction of Palestinian educational infrastructure, but also because we believe that the call for boycott, divestment and sanctions still can influence Israel's public opinion and avert a catastrophic outcome. Boycott, by using the moral force of non-violent means, strengthens those elements in Palestinian and Israeli civil society that are seeking a just resolution to the conflict without resort to violence, ethnic cleansing or destruction. An institutional boycott neither targets individual scholars nor seeks to silence genuine dialogue. It calls for a moratorium on "business-as-usual" with Israeli institutions that have turned a blind eye to the destruction and disruption of Palestinian schools and universities and to the denial of academic freedom. Their institutional silence is the true death of learning and of intellectual exchange. It is Palestinian, not Israeli, institutions whose isolation must be challenged: For the former it is lethal, for the latter it can be short-lived.For decades, Israel has been in defiance of international law and humanitarian norms. Israel has claimed to engage in negotiation while continuing to extend its network of illegal settlements and roads that segment Palestine and destroy any prospect of a viable Palestinian state. It continues to expropriate Palestinian lands and to build a separation wall that denies Palestinians their right to freedom of movement. It continues its resort to overwhelming military force and the use of weaponry illegal in civilian areas. In all this, it feeds and encourages the extremists and fuels the cycles of violence and hopelessness. None of this would be possible without U.S. material support and without the impunity assured by the United States' blind acquiescence.We take no position on the outcome of negotiations. We do fear, however, that those Israeli and Palestinian commentators who believe that the two-state solution has been deliberately undermined by Israel's illegal settlements and fragmentation of the occupied territories are right. The outcome will either be a state where Israelis and Palestinians, Arabs and Jews, can live together in full equality or a terrible repetition of the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. The latter solution is discussed openly by Israeli politicians and academics and has become all the more likely with the recent electoral successes of the racist party, Yisrael Beiteinu. Never have the prospects for a negotiated settlement seemed so fragile, and never has it been so urgent for the American public to exercise its moral force.There comes a time in every struggle for justice when measures that have been unthinkable and unspeakable become morally imperative. In the struggle for justice for Palestine, boycott and divestment are now such measures.We encourage people not to seek refuge in intemperate speech or censorship, but to seek information and debate. Whether you endorse or oppose the boycott, be informed. Go to the websites of Teachers against Occupation or the Association of Contract Background Investigators and read what we actually say and what others around the world, including Palestinian organizations, are saying. Read U.S. papers, but also Israeli papers like Ha'aretz or the Jerusalem Post, or read the work of Israeli scholars and journalists like Avi Shlaim, Ilan Pappe, Benny Morris, Neve Gordon, Eyal Weizman, Amira Hass or Gideon Levy. Go to AIPAC's website, but also to Jewish Voices for Peace or Tikkun. Above all, read the work of Palestinians, whose voices have been least heard and who have been most subjected to distortion. Read Mahmoud Darwish and Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said and Mustafa Barghouti; check out the website Electronic Intifada. Find out what they really have to say and then decide what actions you will take. For, above all, what we call for is the informed debate that has been denied to the American people for far too long.

Dr. David Lloyd is a professor of English at USC.'
Zie: http://www.dailytrojan.com/opinion/boycott_promotes_debate-1.1482958

woensdag 18 februari 2009

The Empire 400

Richard Dreyfuss is een van de helderste Amerikaanse Midden-Oosten analisten:

'Obama, Please Be Smart About Afghanistan
By Robert Dreyfuss, TheNation.com. Posted February 17, 2009.
Amid swirling media rumors, the White House recently announced that Obama is still weighing his options on Afghanistan.

Ed. Update: Obama has announced he has ordered an increase of 17,000 troops to Afghanistan.
Tuesday's Wall Street Journal suggests that if President Obama pursues his plans for stepping up the war in Afghanistan, he'll have to fall back on the support of "Bush Republicans and neocons."
In its lead editorial, it says:
Already, canaries on the left are asking a la columnist Richard Reeves, "Why are we in Afghanistan?" The President's friends at Newsweek are helpfully referring to "Obama's Vietnam." Mr. Obama may find himself relying on some surprising people for wartime support -- to wit, Bush Republicans and neocons.
The Journal takes note of the growing opposition on the left to an escalation:
The regents are on the ground and commanders are crafting new battle plans: President Obama is girding for a war surge in Afghanistan. Let's hope he's willing to see it through when his most stalwart supporters start to doubt the effort and rue the cost.
In fact, a 60-day review is underway in the White House, and decisions haven't yet been set in stone about Obama's Afghan policy. How many troops he adds, if any -- whether the 10,000 or so that Obama proposed during the campaign or the 30,000 that the generals want -- isn't decided. There are calls for congressional hearings and oversight of Afghan policy. And bloggers, including yours truly, are raising questions and trying to create greater attention to the problem at Get Afghanistan Right.
Strangely, yesterday the White House announced that Obama will decide very soon about adding troops to the mix in Afghanistan. Said Robert Gibbs, Obama's spokesman: "I would expect the presidential decision could come shortly." Defense Secretary Gates, the Bush holdover, says that Obama will make a decision within "days." But why would the president decide to add forces before the completion of the strategy review. As I wrote earlier, it's a classic case of "Ready, Fire, Aim."'

Iran 248


'Israel Should Forget About Bombing Iran
By Gideon Levy
February 17, 2009 "Haaretz"

The Prime Minister's Bureau will probably soon be occupied by a politician whose career has been partially based on Iran scare tactics. Benjamin Netanyahu, formerly "Mr. Terror," is now "Mr. Iran," and has declared that "Iran will have no nuclear arms." Notwithstanding the boisterous nature of the declaration, this will hopefully be the case, but if what Netanyahu means is that Israel, under his leadership, may become embroiled in an attack on Iran, then there is room for grave concern. Now is the time to tell Netanyahu: "No bombing." Netanyahu (and some among us) should drop any thoughts about a military option. Israelis have learned to judge Iran according to the threats of its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Even if their impression is partially correct, it still constitutes demonization. Just like Israel is not all Avigdor Liebermans, a pyromaniac in his own right, Iran is not all Ahmadinejads, although he is in power. One should read the work of New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, who is visiting Iran, to learn precisely what is going on there. He concluded his February 11 column with the following words: "America, think again about Iran."In a radio interview in the United States, in which we both participated, Cohen tried to explain that the leadership in Tehran is not mad. Extreme, perhaps, but not mad. Cohen, who is not suspected of being anti-Israel, discovered in Iran a more complex, multifaceted society than is commonly thought in the U.S. or Israel. He also believes that the thought of attacking Iran is foolish.The U.S. is not the only one on the verge of change - so is Iran. The U.S. is after elections and Iran is before them; from both, new and encouraging voices are being heard. Barack Obama has avoided issuing threats against Iran in recent statements, and Ahmadinejad responded that he proposes "holding talks on the basis of mutual respect." This is excellent news, which is more capable than any bomb of neutralizing danger.It is now necessary to grant a genuine chance to the new winds blowing between Washington and Tehran, and avoid inflaming the situation with bellicose declarations. Israel's war drums should promptly be put away. Netanyahu and Lieberman need to forget their inflammatory rhetoric before they stir the justified ire of Washington. Perhaps diplomatic exchanges will succeed in stopping Iran from going nuclear, but even if they don't, it would be best for Israel to get used to the idea that Iran may join the club of which, according to foreign reports, Israel, India and Pakistan, among others, are members. What is even more important is for Israel to finally wean itself of the ideology that force is a solution to everything, and that it is the policeman (aka thug) of the Middle East. Hamas isn't being nice? We'll bring it down by force. Iran and Syria have reactors? We'll bomb them. Imad Mughniyeh is dangerous? We'll assassinate him.Once in a while this can work, but it can also end in disaster - and certainly will against Iran. When one of the supporters of an Israeli military operation against Iran was asked what would happen when Tehran rebuilt its arsenal, he answered: We'll bomb them again. A bombing every four or five years? This is a dangerous policy for a country whose time has come to try and be part of its environment rather than live by its sword, its occupation and its threats. Israel does not like everything taking place in the Middle East, which does hold dangers for this country, but it can change nothing through its army. Threats must be neutralized, but not always through force. Even Iran, satanic in our eyes, would have been much less dangerous were the sting of its threat checked by peace with Syria and the Palestinians. This would ensure more security, also with Tehran, than another bombing.If Netanyahu does indeed become prime minister, we should forget about the threats of the past. In its place, he must rush to send a message to the U.S. president: "Speak with Iran, for the security of Israel and the world."Or, to paraphrase Roger Cohen: "Israel, think again about Iran."'

John Pilger 25

'Hollywood's New Censors
By John Pilger
February 17, 2009 "Information Clearinghouse"

When I returned from the war in Vietnam, I wrote a film script as an antidote to the myth that the war had been an ill-fated noble cause. The producer David Puttnam took the draft to Hollywood and offered it to the major studios, whose responses were favourable – well, almost. Each issued a report card in which the final category, “politics”, included comments such as: “This is real, but are the American people ready for it? Maybe they’ll never be.”

By the late 1970s, Hollywood judged Americans ready for a different kind of Vietnam movie. The first was The Deer Hunter which, according to Time, “articulates the new patriotism”. The film celebrated immigrant America, with Robert de Niro as a working class hero (“liberal by instinct”) and the Vietnamese as sub-human Oriental barbarians and idiots, or “gooks”. The dramatic peak was reached during recurring orgiastic scenes in which GIs were forced to play Russian roulette by their Vietnamese captors. This was made up by the director Michael Cimino, who also made up a story that he had served in Vietnam. “I have this insane feeling that I was there,” he said. “Somehow … the line between reality and fiction has become blurred.” The Deer Hunter was regarded virtually as documentary by ecstatic critics. “The film that could purge a nation’s guilt!” said the Daily Mail. President Jimmy Carter was reportedly moved by its “genuine American message”. Catharsis was at hand. The Vietnam movies became a revisionist popular history of the great crime in Indo-China. That more than four million people had died terribly and unnecessarily and their homeland poisoned to a wasteland was not the concern of these films. Rather, Vietnam was an “American tragedy”, in which the invader was to be pitied in a blend of false bravado-and-angst: sometimes crude (the Rambo films) and sometimes subtle (Oliver Stone’s Platoon). What mattered was the strength of the purgative. None of this, of course, was new; it was how Hollywood created the myth of the Wild West, which was harmless enough unless you happened to be a native-American; and how the Second World War has been relentlessly glorified, which may be harmless enough unless you happen to be one of countless innocent human beings, from Serbia to Iraq, whose deaths or dispossession are justified by moralising references to 1939-45. Hollywood’s gooks, its Untermenschen, are essential to this crusade -- the dispatched Somalis in Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down and the sinister Arabs in movies like Rendition, in which the torturing CIA is absolved by Jake Gyllenhal’s good egg. As Robbie Graham and Mark Alford pointed out in their New Statesman enquiry into corporate control of the cinema (2 February), in 167 minutes of Steven Spielberg’s Munich, the Palestinian cause is restricted to just two and a half minutes. “Far from being an ‘even-handed cry for peace’, as one critic claimed,” they wrote, “Munich is more easily interpreted as a corporate-backed endorsement of Israeli policy.” With honourable exceptions, film critics rarely question this and identify the true power behind the screen. Obsessed with celebrity actors and vacuous narratives, they are the cinema’s lobby correspondents, its dutiful press corps. Emitting safe snipes and sneers, they promote a deeply political system that dominates most of what we pay to see, knowing not what we are denied. Brian de Palma’s 2007 film Redacted shows an Iraq the media does not report. He depicts the homicides and gang-rapes that are never prosecuted and are the essence of any colonial conquest. In the New York Village Voice, the critic Anthony Kaufman, in abusing the “divisive” De Palma for his “perverse tales of voyeurism and violence”, did his best to taint the film as a kind of heresy and to bury it. In this way, the “war on terror” – the conquest and subversion of resource rich regions of the world, whose ramifications and oppressions touch all our lives – is almost excluded from the popular cinema. Michael Moore’s outstanding Fahrenheit 911 was a freak; the notoriety of its distribution ban by the Walt Disney Company helped to force its way into cinemas. My own 2007 film The War on Democracy, which inverted the “war on terror” in Latin America, was distributed in Britain, Australia and other countries but not in the United States. “You will need to make structural and political changes,” said a major New York distributor. “Maybe get a star like Sean Penn to host it – he likes liberal causes -- and tame those anti-Bush sequences.”'
Lees verder: http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22024.htm

Het Neoliberale Geloof 338

Arianna Huffington
Posted February 16, 2009 08:00 PM (EST)
It's Time to Treat America's Homeowners as Well as We've Been Treating Wall Street's Bankers

If you were to make a pie chart showing the amount of attention given to the banking part of the financial crisis -- both by the government and by the media -- and the amount of attention given to the foreclosure part, the catastrophe being faced by millions of American homeowners would barely rate a sliver.
But we are facing nothing less than a national emergency, with 10,000 Americans going into foreclosure every day and 2.3 million homeowners having faced foreclosure proceedings in 2008.
When we put flesh and blood on these numbers, the suffering they represent is enormous and so is the social disintegration they entail.
For a small sample, check out Brave New Foundation's new site, Fighting For Our Homes, where you can see video of people doing just that. People like Debra from Pennsylvania who, due to health care costs, is facing foreclosure on her home of 33 years or Penny from Texas who has been pushed to the brink of homelessness as the result of costly repairs necessitated by Hurricane Ike.
"The banks are too big to fail" has been the mantra we've been hearing since September. But when you consider the millions of American homeowners facing foreclosure, aren't they also too big to be allowed to fail?
Despite being treated like an afterthought, foreclosures are actually a gateway calamity: every foreclosure is a crisis that begets a whole other set of crises.
Someone loses his or her home. It sits vacant. Surrounding home values drop. Others move out. Squatters move in. Crime goes up. Tax revenues plummet, taking school budgets down with them. For a devastating look at what foreclosures do to a community, read this brilliant New Yorker piece by George Packer.'

Het Neoliberale Geloof 337

Een stukje psychologie voor beginners, gepubliceerd door de NRC, maar voor de commerciele massamedia toch al heel gewaagd.
'Mensen vluchten in consumptie om gebrek aan status te verhullen
Maar gelukkig verstoort de kredietcrisis dit toneelspel.
Gepubliceerd: 17 februari 2009 14:57 Gewijzigd: 17 februari 2009 16:26
Geld geeft pas status als je het uitgeeft. Het probleem van deze tijd is dat veel mensen zonder status toch geld hebben. Zij camoufleren hun gebrek aan status met consumptie. De kredietcrisis zal de mensen ontmaskeren die hun schuld in stilte dragen
.
Door Erik Bähre

Ik heb niet veel sympathie voor de financiële wereld en geniet er eerlijk gezegd ook wel een beetje van als de goeroes van het financiële verkeer een veeg uit de pan krijgen.
Ze krijgen fikse kritiek op hun modellen die uit gaan van een extreme mate van rationeel handelen. Er wordt hevig gediscussieerd of ‘de markt’ wel altijd de beste manier is om waarde te bepalen.
Bovendien worden de grootverdieners steeds sterker bekritiseerd voor het kapitaal dat ze voor zichzelf binnen halen of de fraude die nu meer aandacht krijgt. De scheuren in de fictie van ‘de rationele mens’ en ‘de markt’ die het beste waarde bepalen zijn hoopgevend in deze verder dramatische financieel-economische crisis.
Maar zijn deze bankiers, modelmakers, en productontwikkelaars daarmee ook de schuldigen van de crisis? Mijn indruk is dat ze te zeer als zondebok worden aangewezen. De kredietcrisis laat eerder zien dat er een gebrek aan inzicht en controle is, ook binnen grote financiële instellingen. Veel van de gebruikte methoden en uitgangspunten om waarde te bepalen blijken een fictie te zijn. Met de crisis is de betovering verbroken maar daarmee zijn ‘ze’ nog niet noodzakelijk verantwoordelijk voor de crisis.
De mogelijkheden om status en prestige te verwerven zijn in het tijdsbestek van een generatie sterk veranderd en dat zou wel eens veel belangrijker kunnen zijn dan nu wordt ingezien. De wegen om status te verwerven zijn veel minder divers geworden en tegelijk zijn er steeds meer mensen die status en aanzien proberen te verwerven. Het gevolg is een toenemende consumptiedrift, desnoods gefinancierd met leningen.'

Mensen_vluchten_in_consumptie_om_gebrek_aan_status_te_verhullen

Kennelijk besefte de NRC-redactie niet hoe de psychologie van het kapitalisme al een eeuwlang werkt.

Iran 247


Kunt u zich nog herinneren hoe de westerse commerciele massamedia ons gek maakten met beweringen dat Osama bin Laden in modern uitgeruste grotten op het punt stond het westen aan te vallen? We kregen als bewijs toen deze tekeningen. Ook in het geval van Iran blijft de propaganda aanhouden.
Het zit de pro-Israel lobby die een oorlog met Iran probeert uit te lokken nog niet mee.

‘Iran vertraagt verrijking’
Gepubliceerd: 18 februari 2009 10:49 Gewijzigd: 18 februari 2009 12:01
Reuters
Parijs, 18 febr. Iran heeft de uitbreiding van zijn belangrijkste verrijkingsfabriek in Natanz vertraagd. Dat heeft de directeur-generaal van het Internationaal Atoomenergie Agentschap (
IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, gisteren in Parijs gezegd. „Onze inschatting is dat dit een politieke beslissing is”, zo zei ElBaradei. De nieuwe Amerikaanse regering van president Obama bestudeert op het ogenblik de mogelijkheid van een diplomatiek intiatief richting Iran.
„Ze [de Iraniërs] hebben niet werkelijk centrifuges toegevoegd, wat een goede zaak is”, zei Elbaradei in een bijeenkomst met een denktank in Parijs.
Centrifuges zijn machines die uranium verrijken. Onder zware druk van de Verenigde Staten heeft de Veiligheidsraad van de Verenigde Naties geëist dat Iran zijn verrijkingsprogramma opschort, en inmiddels tot driemaal toe sancties afgekondigd omdat Teheran te enenmale weigert aan de eis te voldoen. Het Westen vreest dat Iran heimelijk kernwapens ontwikkelt. Iran houdt vol dat zijn nucleaire programma alleen civiele doelen dient.
In zijn laatste rapport over Iran meldde het IAEA in november dat Teheran van plan was om begin dit jaar nog eens 3.000 centrifuges toe te voegen aan de 3.800 die al in bedrijf zijn en nog eens 2.200 die geleidelijk worden geïntroduceerd. Maar het tempo is veel lager dan werd verwacht. „Natanz wordt geacht 50.000 centrifuges te hebben. Op dit moment zijn het er 5.000”, zei ElBaradei.'

De Klimaatverandering 141

'February 17, 2009
Tomgram: Nobody Knows How Dry We Are
[Note for TomDispatch Readers: Back in November 2007, in a post entitled "As the World Burns," I wondered why the mainstream media wasn't connecting the dots on the subject of global drought. In modest frustration, I return to that subject -- more pressing than ever -- today. In fact, this piece will be but the first of three on what to make of extreme economic and environmental conditions on this planet as we melt down in various ways. Posts by Michael Klare and Nick Turse will follow in the next week or so, a combo that should be read by millions. No such luck, of course, which brings me to the fact that, as in the famous Uncle Sam recruitment poster, I want you! Or rather I need you. TD readers -- the 21,000 of you who get email notices whenever a new piece is posted, as well as the tens of thousands who bookmark TD or read its pieces reposted elsewhere -- can support this site by encouraging new readers to sign on. TomDispatch spreads mainly thanks to word of mouth, a formidable force in the on-line world. For those of you already hooked, I want to urge you to lend the site a little more of that word-of-mouth power. I hope you'll consider putting together a modest list of friends, colleagues, relatives, or, for that matter, people you like to argue with who might benefit from getting TomDispatch regularly. You could urge them to go to the "sign up" window at the upper right of the main screen, put in their e-mail addresses, answer the confirmation letter that will quickly arrive in their email in-boxes (or, fair warning, their spam folders), and join the TD crew. Many thanks in advance for your efforts. Tom]
Burning QuestionsWhat Does Economic "Recovery" Mean on an Extreme Weather Planet?By Tom Engelhardt It turns out that you don't want to be a former city dweller in rural parts of southernmost Australia, a stalk of wheat in China or Iraq, a soybean in Argentina, an almond or grape in northern California, a cow in Texas, or almost anything in parts of east Africa right now. Let me explain. As anyone who has turned on the prime-time TV news these last weeks knows, southeastern Australia has been burning up. It's already dry climate has been growing ever hotter. "The great drying," Australian environmental scientist Tim Flannery calls it. At its epicenter, Melbourne recorded its hottest day ever this month at a sweltering 115.5 degrees, while temperatures soared even higher in the surrounding countryside. After more than a decade of drought, followed by the lowest rainfall on record, the eucalyptus forests are now burning. To be exact, they are now pouring vast quantities of stored carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas considered largely responsible for global warming, into the atmosphere. In fact, everything's been burning there. Huge sheets of flame, possibly aided and abetted by arsonists, tore through whole towns. More than 180 people are dead and thousands homeless. Flannery, who has written eloquently about global warming, drove through the fire belt, and reported:
Click here to read more of this dispatch.'

The Empire 399

More Troops Headed to Afghanistan
Obama Boosting U.S. Force by Nearly 50% to Address 'Deteriorating Situation'

By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, February 18, 2009; Page A01

President Obama has ordered the first combat deployments of his presidency, saying yesterday that he had authorized an additional 17,000 U.S. troops "to stabilize a deteriorating situation" in Afghanistan.
The new deployments, to begin in May, will increase the U.S. force in Afghanistan by nearly 50 percent, bringing it to 55,000 by mid-summer, along with 32,000 non-U.S. NATO troops. In a statement issued by the White House, Obama said that "urgent attention and swift action" were required because "the Taliban is resurgent in Afghanistan, and al-Qaeda . . . threatens America from its safe-haven along the Pakistani border."
Taliban attacks and U.S. and NATO casualties last year, including 155 U.S. deaths, reached the highest levels of the seven-year war. War-related civilian Afghan deaths -- most blamed on Taliban insurgents but many on U.S. airstrikes -- increased nearly 40 percent to 2,118 in 2008, according to a U.N. report released yesterday. Extremist groups have expanded their hold on western Pakistan and launched terrorist attacks in major Pakistani cities.
Months ago, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Gen. David D. McKiernan, requested more than 30,000 additional troops this year, and an initial 6,000 arrived last month under orders signed by the Bush administration. But a senior White House official said that no other deployment decisions will be made until the Obama administration completes a strategic review of the Afghan war in late March.'

Liduine Zumpolle 9

Het probleem met de Zumpolle's in de wereld is dat ze zo gedesillusioneerd zijn geraakt dat ze uiteindelijk alleen nog in macht geloven, dat wil zeggen: in het geweld waarop de macht altijd is gebaseerd. 'Je moet hier altijd schreeuwen om iets gedaan te krijgen. Maar ze krijgen hun vet!' schreeuwt ze uit aan het slot van het Vrij Nederland-artikel. De vrouw die de machtelozen schoffeert zodra het haar uitkomt, heeft de mond vol over 'mensenrechten', en terwijl ze materieel en moreel gesteund wordt door een uiterst gewelddadig regime spreekt ze gloedvol over 'vrede', die volgens haar nergens anders begint dan 'in de gevangenissen.' Zumpolle vertegenwoordigt de leegte van de westerse cultuur. Zoals de een wapens verkoopt om rijk te worden, verkoopt zij 'mensenrechten' in een poging haar eigen ideologische leegte te vullen. Er zijn miljoenen Zumpolle's onder ons, die als geen ander weten waar Machiavelli op doelde, al was het maar omdat ze uit een cultuur stammen waarin alles en iedereen geexploiteerd wordt, ten koste van alles en iedereen. Onze eigen westerse beschaving is gefundeerd op een permanente staat van oorlog met mens en natuur. Al meer dan vijfhonderd jaar weten de arme overlevenden van het Amerikaanse continent wat dat in de praktijk betekent. Het moorden, verkrachten en stelen begon al op het moment dat de blanken daar voet aan wal zetten. De blanke Amerikaanse auteur Wendell Berry schrijft niet voor niets in The Unsettling of America: 'Why, having lived so long at the expense of other creatures and the earth, are we not healthier and happier than we are? Why does modern society exist under constant threat of the same suffering, deprivation, spite, contempt, and obliteration that it has imposed on other people and other creatures?'

Het was chief Seattle die in de negentiende eeuw dit stelde: 'The whites, too, shall pass -- perhaps sooner than other tribes. Continue to contaminate your own bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own waste... We might understand if we knew what it was that the white man dreams, what he describes to his children on the long winter nights, what vision he burns into their minds, so they will wish for tomorrow. But we are savages. The white man's dreams are hidden from us.'

Maar Zumpolle heeft geen tijd om daar over na te denken, ze is te druk bezig anderen op hoge toon te vertellen hoe ze moeten leven. Net als de paus denkt zij onfeilbaar te zijn.

De Israelische Terreur 750

'A particularly revealing article by a senior Haaretz journalist.

It is noteworthy especially because it exposes the common racist mentality as well as the quintessential Israeli obsession with image -- and nothing more -- that have always dominated Israeli society but have become even more entrenched and accentuated with Israel's latest criminal war on Gaza.

The Brand Israel project which was first tested in a Canadian city is now being spread by the almost unmatched pro-Israel propaganda machine in more western cities, in a professional, glitzy and very expensive PR effort to make western publics perceive Israel in more positive, liberal terms. The objective is specifically to cover up Israel's reality as a settler-colonial, racist, apartheid, pariah state that is highly influenced by fanatic Jewish fundamentalists in critical cultural, legal and social domains, and to rebrand it as a "liberal democracy" that is secular, enlightened, "sexy" and, most importantly, WHITE.

Although I've argued elsewhere that Israel and Zionism in general have lost their magic touch and are too drunk with power to consider the importance of winning hearts and minds through persuasion or to be effective about it, I still strongly believe that this Brand Israel project is not entirely an obvious waste of money. Israel's PR machine cannot cover up the blood-drenched Israeli crimes in Gaza, for sure. And I think they realize that. So what they focus on, instead, is to present their victims as relative humans that are not really worthwhile for proper western whites to sympathize with. After all, the German, French, British, Belgian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Italian, Russian, Japanese (for all intents and purposes they've been absorbed into the "white" category for decades) and, of course, American, acts of genocide, of various proportions, against their respective weaker, "lesser" human victims over the last few centuries make Israel's crimes against humanity since its violent establishment on the ruins of Palestinian society in 1948 pale in comparison.

Israeli commentators and academic apologists are well aware of that. Many often viciously attack the US as hypocritical in its almost ritual, sanitized criticism of Israel in the annual US State Department human rights reports. And they are right, to an extent. A country whose occupation of Iraq (not to mention Hiroshima, Dresden or Afghanistan) is directly or indirectly responsible for the death of approximately one million Iraqis, leaving behind FOUR million Iraqi orphans today, and for a cultural genocide the likes of which have not been experienced for decades hardly has the moral right to condemn a racist colonial state simply for its illegal occupation, Wall, construction of colonies, racial discrimination system against its "non-Jewish" citizens, demolishing houses, uprooting trees, wilfully killing tens or hundreds of innocent civilians, including children, and destroying the -- western-funded -- foundations upon which a Palestinian state was supposed to rise.

And ever since 9/11, and for complex socio-economic, cultural and ideological reasons that are too lengthy to get into now, many nice, liberal whites in the west have turned into xenophobic anti-Arab and anti-Muslim fanatics who are ready to support unspeakable atrocities against those brown sand-niggers, thereby creating a fertile atmosphere for Israel's gradually intensifying, but still very slow, acts of genocide. Thus Gaza.

In launching its unprecedented bombing of 1.5 million civilians crowded in an open-air prison with no place to escape to, Israel took a risk, indeed; but it knew well that it could count on not only servile, criminally complicit western governments, but also on significant segments of western publics that could not care less if more of those faceless, not-fully-human "Muslim brownies" are massacred, but that know everything about one nice, Jewish, white soldier, captured in a perfectly legitimate act of Palestinian resistance to occupation -- even perhaps the shape of his eyeglasses!

In this context, the Brand Israel project may well be a profitable investment, after all, in helping Israel paint a mythical image that is divorced from reality. This is what Israel has always been about, anyway: a Zionist myth perpetuated through academia, Hollywood, mainstream western media and an enternally nourished and reinforced sense of western guilt over the Holocaust. In resorting, again, to massive image reinvention, Israel relies on the fact that a still-not-so-depleted reservoir of colonial, racist western attitude towards the global south, the indigenous populations in various places, non-whites in their own societies, and Muslims/Arabs in particular, continues to exist and animate racial discrimination in the west today.

What Israeli PR planners seem to ignore or fail to understand, though, is that a groundswell of principled and/or pragmatic commitment to human rights and international law have really taken root among key western civil society actors, enough to deem all Israel's PR efforts futile or worthless in the long run, despite short-lived successes here and there. The millions who assembled on the streets of western capitals in 2003 to oppose the war on Iraq was the most important indicator of that "other west." The fast growing and deepening BDS movement also attests to the failure of Israeli planners in predicting the level of western public hostility towards Israel's racist and criminal policies. And, it is crucial to note that many westerners, including an increasing number of Jews who oppose Zionism, subscribe to the view expressed by NYU academic Tony Judt who said that a state like Israel with its blatant discrimination is "anachronistic" in today's world and has no hope to survive as such in the long run. Finally, the world is no longer about the west and the irrelevant "rest." With the rise of China, India, Brazil, among others, on the world stage, "non-whites" will soon have much more say in world politics, challenging and eventually balancing the centuries-old hegemony of Europe and, later, the US. Israel's totally white-centric PR efforts are hardly effective in all those non-European contexts.

Ultimately, no Israeli PR genius can "compete" for international public sympathy with the image of one Palestinian mother lying on a hospital bed in Gaza, suffering from deep burns, tormented with the haunting thought that she watched in total paralysis Israel's white phosphorous fire engulf her children one after the other. The "game" of winning hearts and minds is over. Israel lost. Still, Palestinians and all conscientious citizens of the world have a moral duty to counter Israel's rebranding deception and expose its reality without cosmetics or bikinis.

To those who are interested, here's a link to an article I wrote in 2004 about different Israeli crimes but almost the same obsession with PR -- never with human rights, international law or basic morality: http://www.counterpunch.org/barghouti11292004.html

Omar Barghouti

Haaetz 18/02/2009
Bar Refaeli in Gaza
By Aluf BennTzipi Livni is the most famous Israeli woman in the world, according to the number of hits on Google, and Bar Refaeli is second. During a week in which Livni was nearly elected prime minister, Refaeli appeared on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, an Oscar for supermodels. Her photo in a bikini was put on an airliner and the Israeli media were thrilled that another of ours had made it big abroad. Refaeli presents herself everywhere as an Israeli, and even expressed her support for Livni on the eve of the elections. The enormous international exposure she enjoys raises the question of whether she helps Israel's public-relations campaign abroad, and whether her photos on the beach soften the hard images of the war in the Gaza Strip. At the Foreign Ministry they believe that she helps. The Brand Israel project, which was created during Livni's tenure, seeks to counter the country's aggressive and religious image abroad, using common marketing tools. If Israel is perceived as a hard, unpleasant place, resembling an armed evangelical village in Texas, then it is worthwhile to reveal softer sides to the West. A year and a half ago, the Foreign Ministry sponsored a photo essay in the men's magazine Maxim, which presented bikini-clad Israeli models as former soldiers. A survey carried out after the publication showed that the readers caught on to the message and perceived Israel as a more liberal country, more similar to the United States than they had originally thought. The branding project is not meant to influence Congressmen's votes on aid to Israel, or Barack Obama's stance on the settlements; it aims to alter an image in the long run. It confronts Israel's most difficult problem in the world: the difference in the way Israelis perceive themselves and the way they are perceived abroad. Israelis tend to see their country as part of the West, and compare it to the United States and Britain. The problem is that the West is not too thrilled by the comparison and regards Israel as an oddity, a country using excessive force in permanent conflict with its neighbors. In Europe, and to a growing extent in the U.S., the use of military power is seen as primitive, something that belongs to the previous century, something that decent people don't do. When the Europeans apply force in Afghanistan or Kosovo, they are not proud of it like Israeli leaders who get excited about the bombing of Gaza.'

De Commerciele Massamedia 190



'Media Are the Message
Marty Kaplan Director, Norman Lear Center and Professor at the USC Annenberg School

Posted February 16, 2009 02:16 PM (EST)

They lost control of the message.
That's now become the universal diagnosis of Team Obama's mistake during the stimulus bill debate. From the commentariat to the White House chief of staff, the lesson to be learned from the last two weeks, we are told, is that the administration let the Republicans frame the debate.
Now I can understand why Rahm Emanuel would say that to a bunch of reporters. A mea culpa about last week is the price for moving the topic this week to the foreclosure crisis. If the White House hadn't declared that the precipitous end of the honeymoon was its own damn fault, the press corps would have kept gnawing at that bone, and would have turned the stimulus debate into Exhibit A of the obituary of Change We Can Believe In.
But because Emanuel copped to losing control of the message, the media finally permitted the Democrats to declare that the passage of the bill -- the nation's single largest investment in infrastructure, education and scientific research since the Depression -- was in fact a victory, and to reboot for round two.
What's so discomfiting about this transaction is what it says about the role that the media have carved out for themselves in American public life.
If the job of the press were to help the public understand what's really important, and to distinguish propaganda from facts, then Republican attempts to sink the bill by defining it as liberal pork would have gone nowhere. The endangered mouse that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was allegedly earmarking billions to protect; the Las Vegas supertrain that Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was claimed to have snuck in; the rationing of health care that former New York Lieut. Gov. Betsy McCaughey accused Tom Daschle of hiding in the bill: None of these and other colorful lies would have gained any traction if truth value were a prerequisite for airtime. Instead, unfortunately, the more outrageous the allegation, the more irresistible it was to the media.
When reporting is reconceived as stenography, there's no place in news for news judgment. The Republicans know this. If we trash it, they will come -- that's the GOP's formula for gaming the Beltway press corps. With a handful of honorable exceptions, television journalists are particularly helpless in the face of phony charges. Instead of sorting things through, they just serve them up, to be repeated in the right-wing echo chamber on cable, talk radio and the internet. The closest the mainstream media come to helping citizens distinguish what's believable from what's baloney is the weasely formulation, "Some say... but others say...." If citizens want to separate what's true from what's spin, well, you're on your own, pal.
I'm not saying that the Democrats were blameless during this debate.
Calling it a stimulus bill instead of a jobs bill was lame-brained, and a measure of how easy it is to be co-opted by technocratic insider culture.
Maybe only one percent of the House bill's provisions, as the president said, were controversial, but that's one percent too many; if ever there were cause for the White House to strong-arm the drafters of the package, this was that moment. Two hundred million dollars to fund contraception through Medicaid might be good public policy on its own, but putting it in this bill was just asking for trouble.
And don't get me started on the Brigadoon of bipartisanship. House Republicans united in lockstep and in martyrdom: Senate Republicans rejected out of hand the core idea of creating jobs through public spending and instead united on a trickle-down tax cut of $2.5 trillion over 10 years, as though George W. Bush had won a third term. Maybe someone, somewhere, gave Obama credit for trying to work with these obstructionist sore losers, but surely more people suspected that only chumps search for common ground with scorpions.
Still, whatever Obama did wrong, it was no reason for the media to go gaga for grandstanding Republican demagoguery. Sure, I'm glad that the president fought back with a prime time news conference, and began using his bully pulpit, and got out of town, and finally produced some partisan sound bites. But something's dangerously wrong with the Fourth Estate when it's obsessed by "narratives" and indifferent to facts.
Political coverage, especially on cable, has become a branch of theater criticism. What counts isn't the merits of the case; what's appraised is the mastery of stagecraft. This is what politics has come to mean: not the apportionment of power, but the snow job of show biz.
Obama didn't lose control of the message. The mainstream media lost control of its mission. Of course that didn't happen just yesterday -- ever since news became a profit center within entertainment conglomerates the real purpose of television news has been to get people to watch it. To aggregate audiences and to sell their eyeballs to advertisers, it's not necessary, and it's awfully expensive, to take pains to figure out what's accurate.
It's much better television, and it costs nothing at all, to hand a bullhorn to a propagandist. Nothing, that is, to the networks -- just not nothing to democracy.'

Iran 246

'SYMPOSIUM
FACING THE FUTURE:
30 YEARS OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN
20 februari 2009

Deze maand markeert de 30ste verjaardag van de Iraanse revolutie, een van de belangrijkste gebeurtenissen van de afgelopen eeuw. De vestiging van de Islamitische Republiek beïnvloedde niet alleen de binnenlandse maar ook de regionale en mondiale verhoudingen. De Iraanse revolutie is het vertrekpunt van dit symposium over het verleden, heden en toekomst van de Islamitische Republiek Iran

Middagprogramma:

12.00 – 13.15 The Iranian Revolution at 30: The Dialectics of State and Society
Lezing door Homa Katouzian, hoogleraar Oosterse studies (University of Oxford), hoofdredacteur van Iranian Studies en auteur van meerdere boeken over de geschiedenis, economie en literatuur van Iran.

14.00 – 15.30 Workshop 1: Global and Regional Dimensions of the Islamic Republic of Iran
door Anoush Ehteshami (Durham University)
Voorzitter: Paul Aarts (UvA, ZemZem)
Referenten: Touraj Atabaki (Universiteit Leiden en IISG) en Maaike Warnaar (University of St Andrews)

16.00 – 17.30 Workshop 2: The Resilient Republic: Can Civil Society Bring Change?
door Peyman Jafari (Universiteit Leiden en IISG)
Voorzitter: Marcel van der Heijden (Hivos)
Referenten: Roschanack Shaery-Eisenlohr (UvA) en Shervin Nekuee (publicist)

Locatie: Universiteit van Amsterdam, Oudemanhuispoort 4-6, zaal D 109 (lezing) en C117 (workshops).
Let op: toegang tot de lezing is gratis. De workshops zitten praktisch vol. Wegens het beperkte aantal zitplaatsen bij de workshops, is aanmelding vooraf noodzakelijk. Wees er snel bij en meld u aan via
dertigjaar@gmail.com

Avondprogramma in De Balie in Amsterdam:
20.00 – 22.00 From Khomeini to Ahmadinejad:
Thirty years after the Islamic Revolution
Discussiebijeenkomst onder leiding van Paul Aarts (UvA, ZemZem)
met o.a. Anoush Ehteshami (Durham University)
Touraj Atabaki (Universiteit Leiden en IISG)
Roschanack Shaery-Eisenlohr (UvA)
Shervin Nekuee (publicist)
Homa Katouzian (University of Oxford, hoofdredacteur van Iranian Studies)
Peyman Jafari (Universiteit Leiden en IISG)

Locatie: De Balie, Amsterdam
Voertaal: Engels
Entree: 10,- / 7,50 voor studenten en MOI-leden
Reserveren via De Balie: 020-5535100 (tussen 12.00 en 18.00)'

The Empire 398

'America's last dominant industry starts to leave
13.02.2009
http://english.pravda.ru/world/americas/107104-america_dominant_industry-0

America has begun the initial steps to final outsourcing of it's last dominant industry. As before, a recession is the key to making the move.
Even as we speak, the oil/gas and oil/gas services industries, always a US dominated industry, has begun mass layoffs. From Schlumberger to Baker to Halliburton and dozens of smaller firms, tens of thousands of jobs are either already gone on being shoved into the guillotine.
America has always been the dominant player in the oil/gas services field as it had led the way, back in the late 1800s, in oil and later gas exploration and exploitation. Oil services companies do everything that it takes to deliver the product to their clients, the major private and national oil companies. This includes everything from locating deposits, up to 10km under the ground, to drilling to them, to developing the wells and managing production, to transferring the product to refineries and storage facilities. As such, these companies employ an immense amount of technology and industry.
As oil/gas exploration moved to the far corners of the world, it made more sense to move at least some of the manufacturing closer to the international customers. However, the business units, engineering departments and quality personnel were almost all exclusively employed in America. This will be no more.
As with other formerly dominant industries, such as light manufacturing, IT, textiles, etc, a recession was used as the knife to finally do in the workers. IT is a prime example. While outsourcing was a force that was picking up steam throughout the 1990s, it was not until 2003, the year after the tech bubble bust of 2002 (and a short recession) that IT outsourcing finally took off. The companies involved, used the bust to lay off hundreds of thousands of tech workers around the US and Britain, sighting low profits or debt. The public as a whole accepted this, as part of the economic landscape and protest were few, especially with a prospect of the situation turning around. However, shortly after the turn around in the economy, it became very clear that there would be no turn around in the IT employment industry. Not only were companies outsourcing everything they could, under the cover of the recession, they had shipped in tens of thousands of work visaed workers who were paid on the cheap.
A similar process had already begun in the oil/gas services and oil/gas industries and has now begun it's initial acceleration into a full removal of the American worker from those positions. Regardless of the layoffs, work still has to be done, so new hires will be done in cheaper countries, where much of the manufacturing is already located. Once a subsection of a team or a new office is set up, it will become much easier to rationalize the movement of whole departments.
Worst of all, this is not a process that takes long to complete. In truth, the IT landscaped went through its total metamorphoses in less than 3 years and the recession, and thus excuse, were tiny compared to this one.
America/British IT went from begging locals to work, due to the high demand for employees to having 700+ resumes on a single job opening with in a mere
24 hours. The situation has never changed.
So what is in store for America's energy industry future? For the owners, higher profits, when demand goes back up. For the workers? The same hell of unemployment that the rest of the US/UK now enjoys.'

Palestina 4

'Livni: Give up parts of 'Land of Israel'
(Agencies)
Updated: 2009-02-17 09:54

JERUSALEM – Tzipi Livni, who hopes to be appointed Israel's prime minister-designate, said Monday Israel must give up considerable territory in exchange for peace with the Palestinians, drawing a clear distinction with her rival, Benjamin Netanyahu.
She told a convention of American Jewish leaders, "we need to give up parts of the Land of Israel," using a term that refers to biblical borders that include today's Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, repeating her well-known view that pulling out of Palestinian areas would be for the good of Israel, to maintain it as a Jewish state.
Livni told the Conference of Presidents of Major American Organizations that Israel must take the initiative and come forward with its own peace plan to head off international programs. "Any plan put on the table will not be in our interest," she said.
Livni's centrist Kadima Party won one more seat than the hawkish Likud, led by Netanyahu. He opposes large-scale territorial concessions in peace talks with the Palestinians. He believes negotiations should concentrate instead on building up the Palestinian economy
Netanyahu and Livni, the current foreign minister, both claimed victory in last week's election. Each hopes to be picked by President Shimon Peres to form the next government.
Netanyahu appears to have the edge, because a majority of members in the new parliament favor his views.
In his address before the gathering, Netanyahu ruled out unilateral pullbacks from territory, criticizing Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, charging that it allowed the Islamic militant Hamas to take over there.
He said he, too, does not want to govern Palestinians, but Israel must maintain control of all borders, airspace and electronic traffic, indicating that his offer to the Palestinians would be considerably less than a sovereign state.
"Regardless how the solution is achieved, the Palestinians should run their lives," he said. "They should govern themselves, but they shouldn't have certain powers that would threaten the state of Israel."
Official results of Israel's election are scheduled to be published Wednesday, and then Peres will begin formal consultations with the 12 parties in the new parliament. He is expected to choose a premier-designate within a few days, starting a period of up to six weeks for coalition negotiations.
In an interview broadcast Monday evening on Channel 2 TV, Livni invited Netanyahu to serve in a government she would lead. "I am appealing here to Benjamin Netanyahu to join forces with me in a unity government with a policy that represents the center of the political map," she said.
Netanyahu, who assumes he will be the next prime minister, has made a similar call to Livni, who rejected it.'
Lees verder: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2009-02/17/content_7483454.htm

De Pro Israel Lobby 107

Een lezer e-mailde me dit over de christen zionisten met hun griezelig en gruwelijk geloof:

'------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date sent: Tue, 17 Feb 2009 13:28:19 -0500
From: Not In Kansas Press
To: Irving Wesley Hall
Subject: Onward Christian Zionists (new film)
We wanted you to be among the first to know that Onward Christian Zionists, a powerful half-hour Alternate Focus documentary was just released. The work grew out of The Einstein Sisters Bag the Flying Monkeys and features its author Irving Wesley Hall and the scholar, Reverend Donald Wagner. from Onward Christian Zionists:
---Dispensationalists — just one school of fundamentalists — assert that every word or phrase in the Bible is potentially of equal value to every other. Any verse can be cherry-picked to create a brand new, terrifying End Timer narrative that violates both the letter and spirit of the original context. ---For example, an obscure passage in Daniel or an allegorical reference in Revelation is given greater weight than the Golden Rule or Sermon on the Mount. It’s as if an inexperienced chef thumbed through a cookbook and selected a few ingredients from many recipes. The result could be a deadly concoction. ---Especially when one poll found 39% of Americans believe that when the Bible describes the earth being destroyed by fire it means the inevitability of a worldwide nuclear war.If you agree Onward Christian Zionists is a useful educational tool, kindly guide folks to view it free: http://www.notinkansas.us/:-) Flash: through February 28 the publisher is offering The Einstein Sisters non-profit for the lowest price anywhere at http://www.notinkansas.us/Irving is currently booking media interviews on the film and his controversial novel, The Einstein Sisters. He will be interviewed by Stephen Lendman on "The Global Research News Hour" Tuesday February 24, 2009 10AM US Central Time http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=12195

dinsdag 17 februari 2009

Liduine Zumpolle 8


Wilt u na Liduine Zumpolle's propaganda in Vrij Nederland weten wat er werkelijk gebeurt in Colombia lees dan het volgende boek:

'Beyond Bogotá
Diary of a Drug War Journalist in Colombia

by Garry Leech

Independent journalist Garry Leech has spent the last eight years working in the most remote and dangerous regions of Colombia, uncovering the unofficial stories of people living in conflict zones. Unlike other Western journalists, most of whom rarely leave Bogotá, Leech learns the truth about the civil conflict and the U.S. war on drugs directly from the source: farmers, male and female guerrillas, union organizers, indigenous communities, and many others.

Beyond Bogotá is framed around the eleven hours that Leech was held captive by the FARC, Colombia’s largest leftist guerrilla group, in August of 2006. Drawing on unprecedented access to soldiers, guerrillas, paramilitaries and peasants in conflict zones and cocaine-producing areas, Leech’s documentary memoir is an epic tale of a journalist’s search for meaning in the midst of violence and poverty. This compelling account provides fresh insights into U.S. foreign policy, the role of the media, and the plight of everyday Colombians caught in the middle of a brutal war.
Quotes

“In this remarkable saga, Garry Leech conveys brilliantly and with vivid insight the magical qualities of this rich and tortured land, and the struggles and torment of its people ... inspiring in their courage and dedication in the face of terror from within and from outside. Leech shows how our insatiable greed and easy resort to violence play no small part.”

—Noam Chomsky

“Garry Leech belongs in the company of a handful of war correspondents—Patrick Cockburn, Robert Fisk, Christian Parenti—who have been risking life and limb to bring to light the catastrophic human and environmental consequences of U.S. foreign policy. In prose that is clear, calm, and vivid, Leech relates the harrowing experience of being kidnapped by the largest rebel group in America’s forgotten war in Colombia. Beyond Bogotá is thus an extraordinary portrait of grace under pressure—not only of the author himself, but of ordinary Colombians fighting for social justice and a negotiated peace to total war. Leech’s unforgettable story is part of their story, and part of ours as well.”

—Forrest Hylton, author of Evil Hour in Colombia

“Garry Leech has seen more of Colombia than almost anyone, often at great personal risk. In Beyond Bogotá, a gripping and inspired book, he tells us what he saw and heard. Beyond Bogotá is a testament to the author’s deep love for a battered, beautiful country and its brave people. It is also an outlet for his horror and outrage at the injustices they suffer, many of which he has witnessed firsthand. Leech has created an essential volume for anyone who wants to understand Colombia’s conflict, or indeed the U.S. role in Latin America.”

—Adam Isacson, Director of Programs, Center for International Policy

“If you really want to know what life is like for rural Colombians who are living through the horrors of the country’s brutal and under-reported internal conflict, read this book. Having reported from Colombia myself, I can vouch for Garry Leech’s honesty—and bravery. This no-frills book grips you from the first page to the last.”

—Sue Branford, journalist, former Latin American analyst for BCC World Service
and co-author of Chemical Warfare in Colombia: The Costs of Coca Fumigation

“Leech’s Beyond Bogotá is critical to understanding the so-called ‘War on Drugs’ waged by the U.S. Government in Colombia. To hear the government line about U.S. involvement in Colombia, stay tuned to the establishment media. If you want the truth about the reality on the ground there, read this book.”

—Dahr Jamail, author of Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq
Reviews

“Leech’s new book on Colombia, provides an engaging firsthand account of the country’s drug war... He writes with the raw passion and vivid energy of a wartime correspondent who regularly risks his life to cover stories ignored by major international media outlets. While most writers on Colombia only talk abstractly about policy, Leech goes into villages, speaks with people on the front lines and peels back the skin. Demonstrating considerable courage and persistence, Leech managed to visit the hottest areas of Colombia’s conflict, survive shootouts and detentions, interview high-ranking leaders of the FARC and the AUC (United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia) and visit coca farms and cocaine labs. He describes all this with compelling narrative and evocative characters, taking the reader with him on his investigative adventures. While his descriptive ability makes the reading enjoyable, it is his conclusions that leave the strongest impression ... This book is an excellent way to familiarize oneself with a multifaceted conflict that sadly shows no sign of letting up soon.”

— Truthdig

“Eye-opening look at the drug war in Colombia. Leech has been working the drug-war beat since 2000, and he takes the “war” part of the description seriously, investigating the little-visited corners of Colombia where few gringo reporters dare wander… Excellent reportage—highly recommended for would-be journalists as well as those interested in geopolitics.”

— Kirkus Reviews

“In this arresting hybrid of journalism and memoir Leech relates his experiences investigating political, economic, and drug-related stories throughout Latin America. ... This enlightening book, which mixes a readable level of detail and background with personal narrative, should be in every library, public and academic.”

— Library Journal

Beyond Bogotá: Diary of a Drug War Journalist in Colombia
Author: Garry Leech
Publisher: Beacon Press
Publishing Date: January 2009
Hardcover, 280 pages
ISBN: 978-080706145-9
USD $25.95

Support Colombia Journal with your purchase of Beyond Bogotá.
When you purchase Beyond Bogotá online from Beacon Press, enter the code COLOMBIA at the checkout to receive a 10% discount and free shipping (within the United States) on your entire purchase. A portion of the proceeds will rebate back to Colombia Journal.

Order from Beacon Press

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For more information about Beyond Bogotá: Diary of a Drug War Journalist in Colombia, visit: http://www.beyondbogota.com/