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

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 4 april 2009

De Nuance van de NRC 100


http://images.vimeo.com/21/35/09/213509530/213509530_506.jpg
De directeur/hoofdredacteur van de NRC, Birgit Donker, die niet weet dat welopgevoede mensen nooit het woord 'chique' gebruiken, maar dat alleen de nieuwe rijken dit doen, verklaart in het laatste nummer van het NRC-maandblad M: 'Ik zal niet zeggen dat de papieren krant het eeuwige leven heeft. De drager maakt niet zoveel uit. Of het nou inkt of papier is of pixels op het scherm. De kwaliteitsjournalistiek blijft wel van alle tijden.' Opmerkelijk is dat mevrouw Donker werkelijk van mening is dat de NRC kwaliteitsjournalistiek bedrijft, met andere woorden, journalistiek op wereldniveau. Ze meent serieus dat 'onze economiesectie echt ontzettend goed [is], zo niet beter' dan de International Herald Tribune. Slechts 1 voorbeeld: dit schreef ik op acht oktober vorig jaar:

Gisteren legde Egbert Kalse, economisch redacteur van nrc.next, de financiele crisis als volgt uit voor de leek: 'Jij vraagt je natuurlijk af waarom jouw bank in Nederland in hemelsnaam in Amerikaanse hypotheken gaat beleggen? Dat komt omdat ze dachten daar meer geld mee te kunnen verdienen dan met andere beleggingen. Iedereen (dan bedoel ik voor de verandering maar weer eens echt iedereen) dacht dat de huizenprijzen in Amerika altijd zouden blijven stijgen. Dom natuurlijk, maar zo was het wel. En omdat iedereen dat dacht, dacht ook iedereen dat het wel veilig was daarin te beleggen. Niet dus.'

Met andere woorden: een foutje van iedereen, de bankiers, de politici en de overgrote meerderheid van de journalisten die al jaren het gespeculeer met geld dat er niet is hebben toegejuicht zodra er op de beurs weer een record werd gebroken.
Maar Egbert is niet goed geinformeerd. De lezers die de afgelopen drie jaar de rubriek Het Neoliberale Geloof op deze weblog hebben gelezen, weten dat bepaalde Amerikaanse deskundigen hier allang voor hebben gewaarschuwd. Een voorbeeld van iemand die al lang geleden met klem waarschuwde:

'On Sept. 7, 2006, Nouriel Roubini, an economics professor at New York University, stood before an audience of economists at the International Monetary Fund and announced that a crisis was brewing. In the coming months and years, he warned, the United States was likely to face a once-in-a-lifetime housing bust, an oil shock, sharply declining consumer confidence and, ultimately, a deep recession. He laid out a bleak sequence of events: homeowners defaulting on mortgages, trillions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities unraveling worldwide and the global financial system shuddering to a halt. These developments, he went on, could cripple or destroy hedge funds, investment banks and other major financial institutions like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.The audience seemed skeptical, even dismissive. As Roubini stepped down from the lectern after his talk, the moderator of the event quipped, "I think perhaps we will need a stiff drink after that." People laughed — and not without reason. At the time, unemployment and inflation remained low, and the economy, while weak, was still growing, despite rising oil prices and a softening housing market. And then there was the espouser of doom himself: Roubini was known to be a perpetual pessimist, what economists call a "permabear." When the economist Anirvan Banerji delivered his response to Roubini’s talk, he noted that Roubini’s predictions did not make use of mathematical models and dismissed his hunches as those of a career naysayer.'

Maar naar deze deskundigen luisterden Egbert Kalse en de meeste andere journalisten niet. Sterker nog, deze deskundigen werden gemarginaliseerd omdat ze buiten de officieel erkende consensus stonden. Een 'permabear' werd je dan denigrerend genoemd.
Wat ronduit absurd is, is het feit dat economisch redacteuren als Egbert Kalse nu opgevoerd worden als deskundigen, die de oorzaak van de luchthandel gemakshalve als ''dom'' afdoen.

Welnu, dat was zes maanden geleden. En intussen is bij de commerciele media niets wezenlijks veranderd. Niet voor niets probeerde Andre Spoor, de eerste hoofdredacteur van NRC/Handelsblad, Donker uit te leggen dat hij 'de eigenwijze stemmen van controversiele spannende figuren, de stem van de rebel [miste]' in de door haar geleide krant. Een stem, die dus niet voldoet aan het profiel van de krant die zij voor zich ziet als 'een grande dame' die niet alleen 'avontuurlijk' is, maar tevens 'chique' met 'een open geest', en ook nog eens voldoet aan de allereerste en belangrijkste eis, te weten dat ze geld oplevert.

Het is de droom van een meisje uit een beschermd milieu, dat ineens in de grote mensenwereld is terechtgekomen. Dit alles heeft natuurlijk niets met serieuze kwaliteitsjournalistiek te maken. Kwaliteitsjournalistiek heeft alles te maken met wat de Amerikaanse president en opsteller van de Grondwet, James Madison, als volgt formuleerde: 'A popular Government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own Government, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives.' Als geen ander zag hij hoe de begeerte en het egoisme bezit nam van de opkomende politieke klasse, die de democratie misbruikten om zichzelf te verrijken en zo de democratie uitholden. Men kan veel zeggen over onze parlementaire democratie, maar niet dat dit systeem de meerderheid van de burgers werkelijk de mogelijkheid geeft om zijn lot te bepalen. Dat wordt bepaald in de directiekamers van banken en grote concerns.

Wat Birgit Donker niet weet is dat de eerste generaties journalisten na de Amerikaanse Onafhankelijkheidsverklaring alles behalve 'grandes dames' waren. Integendeel, ze waren straatvechters die de politieke en economische macht het vuur aan de schenen legden. Of zoals in het boek Tragedy and Farce. How the American Media Sell Wars, Spin Elections, and Destroy Democracy' beschreven staat: 'The New York Tribune, the great American Journal of the mid-nineteenth century, was never neutral. It prodded the still-new nation to adress the sin of slavery, to consider the dangers of imperialism and to recognize the need to provide for the common welfare.' En over de journalisten 'they were anything but impartial observers.' Deze werkelijkheid staat haaks op die van mevrouw Donker. Het is geen toeval dat Birgit tot hoofdredacteur en directeur benoemd. Ze zit daar om winst te maken. Dat is alles. En de rest is gebabbel van een mevrouw die zich graag als een 'grande dame' ziet. Het heeft zowel iets van een tragedie als van een farce. Such is life.

De Israelische Terreur 818

[RAMALLAH, 4 April 2009] - This year, Palestinian Child Day falls amidst an unprecedented rise in violations of Palestinian children’s rights in the occupied territory.

Israel unleashed a 22-day military assault on the Gaza Strip, codenamed Operation Cast Lead, on 27 December 2008, killing more than 330 children, injuring hundreds of others, destroying homes, services and infrastructure, and traumatizing the entire population. This attack took place during the ongoing blockade of Gaza, now entering its 22nd month. Children, who make up 56 per cent of the population of Gaza, bear the brunt of suffering from these actions, and continue to suffer today, while the blockade is continuing.

Prior to Operation Cast Lead, 90 Palestinian children had been killed by the Israeli military over the course of 2008. The overwhelming majority (74) were not involved in hostilities when they were killed. During the same period, nearly 690 children were arrested, including 14 who were placed in administrative detention (without charge or trial). The occupied Palestinian territory remains a violent and unsafe environment in which to grow up, especially for vulnerable children in refugee camps, along the route of the Wall, and in villages situated near Israeli settlements. Last autumn, we reported an alarming increase in the number of physical assaults by settlers on Palestinian children. In the summer of 2008, two boys were killed by the Israeli army while demonstrating against the construction of the Wall near their village in Ni’lin.

As for the internal Palestinian situation, due to the ongoing factional divisions and fighting, children's rights are being violated at the very hands of those who are supposed to protect them. During 2008, more than 15 children were killed as a result of internal violence, including internal factional fighting and misuse of weapons. This has had a grave impact on children's sense of safety and security and their ability to cope. Sadly, Palestinian Child Day coincides with the suspension of the Palestinian dialogue on reconciliation in Cairo. On this occasion and on behalf of all Palestinian children, we appeal to political leaders to resume reconciliation talks and work towards national unity as a priority and a basic condition for the fulfillment of the rights of Palestinian children.

Children require special protection. It is imperative that we work to protect the lives and rights of Palestinian children. There is a need to strengthen child rights standards and services and take all necessary measures to ensure the protection and care of children affected by the conflict. There is also a need to develop an environment free from violence and that maximizes children’s potential to learn, grow and develop. We call for the continuous improvement of the fulfillment of Palestinian children’s rights without discrimination, as well as for their development and education in peace and security. Minimizing the impact of the armed conflict on children is everyone's responsibility.

In light of this, we must redouble our efforts to fulfill our commitment to all Palestinian children by protecting and promoting their rights as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Palestinian Child Law adopted in 2004. It is not just the responsibility of the Israeli government or the Palestinian Authority, but the responsibility of all of us as individuals to realise the rights of Palestinian children. Let us work together to achieve this goal.
http://www.dci-pal.org/english/display.cfm?DocId=1103&CategoryId=1

Palestina 16

Where do the Ashkenazi Jews come from?

The Thirteenth Tribe
The Khazar Empire and its Heritage
By Arthur Koestler

This book traces the history of the ancient Khazar Empire, a major but almost forgotten power in Eastern Europe, which in A.D. 740 converted to Judaism. Khazaria, a conglomerate of Aryan Turkic tribes, was finally wiped out by the forces of Genghis Han, but evidence indicates that the Khazars themselves migrated to Poland and formed the craddle of Western (Ashkenazim) Jewry...
The Khazars' sway extended from the Black sea to the Caspian, from the Caucasus to the Volga, and they were instrumental in stopping the Muslim onslaught against Byzantium, the eastern jaw of the gigantic pincer movement that in the West swept across northern Africa and into Spain.
Thereafter the Khazars found themselves in a precarious position between the two major world powers: the Eastern Roman Empire in Byzantium and the triumphant followers of Mohammed. As Arthur Koestler points out, the Khazars were the Third World of their day, and they chose a surprising method of resisting both the Western pressure to become Christian and the Eastern to adopt Islam. Rejecting both, they converted to Judaism.
The second part of Mr. Koestler's book deals with the Khazar migration to Polish and Lithuanian territories, caused by the Mongol onslaught, and their impact on the racial composition and social heritage of modern Jewry. He produces a large body of meticulously detailed research in support of a theory that sounds all the more convincing for the restraint with which it is advanced.
Mr. Koestler concludes: "The evidence presented in the previous chapters adds up to a strong case in favour of those modern historians - whether Austrian, Israeli or Polish - who, independently from each other, have argued that the bulk of modern Jewry is not of Palestinian, but of Caucasian origin. The mainstream of Jewish migrations did not flow from the Mediterranean across France and Germany to the east and then back again. The stream moved in a consistently westerly direction, from the Caucasus through the Ukraine into Poland and thence into Central Europe. When that unprecedented mass settlement in Poland came into being, there were simply not enough Jews around in the west to account for it, while in the east a whole nation was on the move to new frontiers" ( page 179, page 180).
"The Jews of our times fall into two main divisions: Sephardim and Ashkenazim.
The Sephardim are descendants of the Jews who since antiquity had lived in Spain (in Hebrew Sepharad) until they were expelled at the end of the fifteenth century and settled in the countries bordering the Mediterranean, the Balkans, and to a lesser extent in Western Europe. They spoke a Spanish-Hebrew dialect, Ladino, and preserved their own traditions and religious rites. In the 1960s, the number of Sephardim was estimated at 500,000.
The Ashkenazim, at the same period, numbered about eleven million. Thus, in common parlance, Jew is practically synonymous with Ashkenazi Jew." ( page 181).
In Mr. Koestler's own words, "The story of the Khazar Empire, as it slowly emerges from the past, begins to look like the most cruel hoax which history has ever perpetrated."

The history of the Ashkenazi Jews was widely known and appreciated in the former Soviet Union. Ashkenazi militants traced the area where the Turkic Khazars originated before their migration to Southern Russia to Birobidjan, an Eastern Siberian area as big as Switzerland bordered by the Amur river, by China and Mongolia. Around 1928 they started building settlements with the Soviet government's help and in 1934 the Autonomous Republic (Okrug) of Birobidjan Yevrei came into being with official languages of Yiddish and Russian. It is still there as an Autonomous Republic to this day, offering the only historically legitimate settlement area for Ashkenazi Jews willing to exercise their "right to return"...

Mr. Koestler was an Ashkenazi Jew and took pride in his Khazar ancestry. He was also a very talented and successful writer who published over 25 novels and essays. His most successful book, Darkness at Noon, was translated in thirty-three languages.
As expected, The Thirteenth Tribe caused a stir when published in 1976, since it demolishes ancient racial and ethnic dogmas...At the height of the controversy in 1983, the lifeless bodies of Arthur Koestler and his wife were found in their London home.
Lees verder: http://198.62.75.1/www2/koestler/

Palestina 15

When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?
by Shlomo Zand January 29, 2009 2:44 AM

Controversial Bestseller Shakes the Foundation of the Israeli State

By Joshua Holland, AlterNet. Posted January 28, 2009.

What if the entire tale of the Jewish Diaspora is historically wrong?

What if the Palestinian Arabs who have lived for decades under the heel of the modern Israeli state are in fact descended from the very same "children of Israel" described in the Old Testament?

And what if most modern Israelis aren't descended from the ancient Israelites at all, but are actually a mix of Europeans, North Africans and others who didn't "return" to the scrap of land we now call Israel and establish a new state following the attempt to exterminate them during World War II, but came in and forcefully displaced people whose ancestors had lived there for millennia?

What if the entire tale of the Jewish Diaspora -- the story recounted at Passover tables by Jews around the world every year detailing the ancient Jews' exile from Judea, the years spent wandering through the desert, their escape from the Pharaoh's clutches -- is all wrong?

That's the explosive thesis of When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?, a book by Tel Aviv University scholar Shlomo Zand (or Sand) that sent shockwaves across Israeli society when it was published last year. After 19 weeks on the Israeli best-seller list, the book is being translated into a dozen languages and will be published in the United States this year by Verso.

Its thesis has ramifications that go far beyond some antediluvian academic debate. Few modern conflicts are as attached to ancient history as that decades-long cycle of bloodletting between Israelis and Palestinians. Each group lays claim to the same scrap of land -- holy in all three of the world's major Abrahamic religions -- based on long-standing ties to that chunk of earth and national identities formed over long periods of time. There's probably no other place on Earth where the present is as intimately tied to the ancient.

Central to the ideology of Zionism is the tale -- familiar to all Jewish families -- of exile, oppression, redemption and return. Booted from their kingdom, the "Jewish people" -- sons and daughters of ancient Judea -- wandered the earth, rootless, where they faced cruel suppression from all corners -- from being forced to toil in slavery under the Egyptians, to the Spanish massacres of the 14th century and Russian pogroms of the 19th, through to the horrors of the Third Reich.

This view of history animates all Zionists, but none more so than the influential but reactionary minority -- in the United States as well as Israel -- who believe that God bestowed a "Greater Israel" -- one that encompasses the modern state as well as the Occupied Territories -- on the Jewish people, and who resist any effort to create a Palestinian state on biblical grounds.

Inventing a People?

Zand's central argument is that the Romans didn't expel whole nations from their territories. Zand estimates that perhaps 10,000 ancient Judeans were vanquished during the Roman wars, and the remaining inhabitants of ancient Judea remained, converting to Islam and assimilating with their conquerors when Arabs subjugated the area. They became the progenitors of today's Palestinian Arabs, many of whom now live as refugees who were exiled from their homeland during the 20th century.

As Israeli journalist Tom Segev summarized, in a review of the book in Ha'aretz:

There never was a Jewish people, only a Jewish religion, and the exile also never happened -- hence there was no return. Zand rejects most of the stories of national-identity formation in the Bible, including the exodus from Egypt and, most satisfactorily, the horrors of the conquest under Joshua.
But this begs the question: if the ancient people of Judea weren't expelled en masse, then how did it come to pass that Jewish people are scattered across the world? According to Zand, who offers detailed histories of several groups within what is conventionally known as the Jewish Diaspora, some were Jews who emigrated of their own volition, and many more were later converts to Judaism. Contrary to popular belief, Zand argues that Judaism was an evangelical religion that actively sought out new adherents during its formative period.

This narrative has huge significance in terms of Israel's national identity. If Judaism is a religion, rather than "a people" descended from a dispersed nation, then it brings into question the central justification for the state of Israel remaining a "Jewish state."

And that brings us to Zand's second assertion. He argues that the story of the Jewish nation -- the transformation of the Jewish people from a group with a shared cultural identity and religious faith into a vanquished "people" -- was a relatively recent invention, hatched in the 19th century by Zionist scholars and advanced by the Israeli academic establishment. It was, argues Zand, an intellectual conspiracy of sorts. Segev says, "It's all fiction and myth that served as an excuse for the establishment of the State of Israel."

Zand Gets Slammed; Do His Arguments Stand Up?

The ramifications of Zand's argument are far-reaching; "the chances that the Palestinians are descendants of the ancient Judaic people are much greater than the chances that you or I are its descendants," he told Ha'aretz. Zand argues that Israel should be a state in which all of the inhabitants of what was once "British Palestine" share the full rights and responsibilities of citizenship, rather than maintaining it as a "Jewish and democratic" state, as it's now identified.

Predictably, Zand was pilloried according to the time-tested formula. Ami Isseroff, writing on ZioNation, the Zionism-Israel blog, invoked the customary Holocaust imagery, accusing Zand of offering a "final solution to the Jewish problem," one in which "No auto da fe is required, no charging Cossacks are needed, no gas chambers, no smelly crematoria." Another feverish ideologue called Zand's work "another manifestation of mental disorder in the extreme academic Left in Israel."

That kind of overheated rhetoric is a standard straw man in the endless roil of discourse over Israel and the Palestinians, and is easily dismissed. But more serious criticism also greeted Zand's work. In a widely read critical review of Zand's work, Israel Bartal, dean of humanities at the Hebrew University, slammed the author's second assertion -- that Zionist academics had suppressed the true history of Judaism's spread through emigration and conversion in favor of a history that would give legitimacy to the quest for a Jewish state.

Bartal raised important questions about Zand's methodology and pointed out what appears to be some sloppy details in the book. But, interestingly, in defending Israel's academic community, Bartal supported Zand's more consequential thesis, writing, "Although the myth of an exile from the Jewish homeland (Palestine) does exist in popular Israeli culture, it is negligible in serious Jewish historical discussions." Bartal added: "no historian of the Jewish national movement has ever really believed that the origins of the Jews are ethnically and biologically 'pure.' " He noted that "[i]mportant groups in the [Zionist] movement expressed reservations regarding this myth or denied it completely."

"As far as I can discern," Bartal wrote, "the book contains not even one idea that has not been presented" in previous historical studies. Segev added that "Zand did not invent [his] thesis; 30 years before the Declaration of Independence, it was espoused by David Ben-Gurion, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi and others."

One can reasonably argue that this ancient myth of a Jewish nation exiled until its 20th century return is of little consequence; whether the Jewish people share a common genetic ancestry or are a far-flung collection of people who share the same faith, a common national identity has in fact developed over the centuries. But Zand's central contention stands, and has some significant implications for the current conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

Changing the Conversation?

The primary reason it's so difficult to discuss the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is the remarkably effective job supporters of Israel's control of the Occupied Territories -- including Gaza, still under de facto occupation -- have done equating support for Palestinian self-determination with a desire to see the destruction of Israel. It effectively conflates any advocacy of Palestinian rights with the specter of Jewish extermination.

That's certainly been the case with arguments for a single-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Until recent years, advocating a "single-state" solution -- a binational state where all residents of what are today Israel and the Occupied Territories share the full rights and responsibilities of citizenship -- was a relatively mainstream position to take. In fact, it was one of several competing plans considered by the United Nations when it created the state of Israel in the 1940s.

But the idea of a single, binational state has more recently been marginalized -- dismissed as an attempt to destroy Israel literally and physically, rather than as an ethnic and religious-based political entity with a population of second-class Arab citizens and the legacy of responsibility for world's longest-standing refugee population.

A logical conclusion of Zand's work exposing Israel's founding mythology may be the restoration of the idea of a one-state solution to a legitimate place in the debate over this contentious region. After all, while it muddies the waters in one sense -- raising ancient, biblical questions about just who the "children of Israel" really are -- in another sense, it hints at the commonalities that exist between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs. Both groups lay claim to the same crust of earth, both have faced historic repression and displacement and both hold dear the idea that they should have a "right of return."

And if both groups in fact share common biblical ties, then it begs the question of why the entirety of what was Palestine under the British mandate should remain a refuge for people of one religion instead of being a country in which Jews and Arabs are guaranteed equal protection -- equal protection under the laws of a state whose legitimacy would never again be open to question.

http://www.alternet.org/audits/122810/?page=1

Palestina 14

An invention called 'the Jewish people'

By Tom Segev

Tags: Israel

Israel's Declaration of Independence states that the Jewish people arose in the Land of Israel and was exiled from its homeland. Every Israeli schoolchild is taught that this happened during the period of Roman rule, in 70 CE. The nation remained loyal to its land, to which it began to return after two millennia of exile. Wrong, says the historian Shlomo Zand, in one of the most fascinating and challenging books published here in a long time. There never was a Jewish people, only a Jewish religion, and the exile also never happened - hence there was no return. Zand rejects most of the stories of national-identity formation in the Bible, including the exodus from Egypt and, most satisfactorily, the horrors of the conquest under Joshua. It's all fiction and myth that served as an excuse for the establishment of the State of Israel, he asserts.

According to Zand, the Romans did not generally exile whole nations, and most of the Jews were permitted to remain in the country. The number of those exiled was at most tens of thousands. When the country was conquered by the Arabs, many of the Jews converted to Islam and were assimilated among the conquerors. It follows that the progenitors of the Palestinian Arabs were Jews. Zand did not invent this thesis; 30 years before the Declaration of Independence, it was espoused by David Ben-Gurion, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi and others.

If the majority of the Jews were not exiled, how is it that so many of them reached almost every country on earth? Zand says they emigrated of their own volition or, if they were among those exiled to Babylon, remained there because they chose to. Contrary to conventional belief, the Jewish religion tried to induce members of other faiths to become Jews, which explains how there came to be millions of Jews in the world. As the Book of Esther, for example, notes, "And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them."
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Zand quotes from many existing studies, some of which were written in Israel but shunted out of the central discourse. He also describes at length the Jewish kingdom of Himyar in the southern Arabian Peninsula and the Jewish Berbers in North Africa. The community of Jews in Spain sprang from Arabs who became Jews and arrived with the forces that captured Spain from the Christians, and from European-born individuals who had also become Jews.

The first Jews of Ashkenaz (Germany) did not come from the Land of Israel and did not reach Eastern Europe from Germany, but became Jews in the Khazar Kingdom in the Caucasus. Zand explains the origins of Yiddish culture: it was not a Jewish import from Germany, but the result of the connection between the offspring of the Kuzari and Germans who traveled to the East, some of them as merchants.

We find, then, that the members of a variety of peoples and races, blond and black, brown and yellow, became Jews in large numbers. According to Zand, the Zionist need to devise for them a shared ethnicity and historical continuity produced a long series of inventions and fictions, along with an invocation of racist theses. Some were concocted in the minds of those who conceived the Zionist movement, while others were offered as the findings of genetic studies conducted in Israel.

Prof. Zand teaches at Tel Aviv University. His book, "When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?" (published by Resling in Hebrew), is intended to promote the idea that Israel should be a "state of all its citizens" - Jews, Arabs and others - in contrast to its declared identity as a "Jewish and democratic" state. Personal stories, a prolonged theoretical discussion and abundant sarcastic quips do not help the book, but its historical chapters are well-written and cite numerous facts and insights that many Israelis will be astonished to read for the first time.'
Lees verder: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/959229.html

De Nuance van de NRC 99

Het maandblad M van de NRC houdt op te bestaan. In het laatste nummer staat vandaag een dubbel-interview met Birgit Donker, de huidige hoofdredacteur/directeur van de krant, en Andre Spoor, de eerste hoofdredacteur van de in 1970 gefuseerde NRC/Handelsblad. Laatst genoemde vindt het feit dat Donker zowel hoofdredacteur als directeur is een 'rampzalige ontwikkeling.' Duidelijk was dat 'in zijn tijd de directie maar 1 keuze [had]. Of hem steunen. Of hem eruit gooien.' Birgit Donker: 'Ik houd de geldmannen niet buiten de deur, ik praat zeker met ze.' Daarmee benadrukt de directeur/hoofdredacteur nog eens dat de krant voor haar allereerst een commercieel bedrijf is, en de journalistiek zich daaraan dient aan te passen. Spoor: 'In mijn tijd heb ik de directie altijd buiten de deur gehouden. Ik begrijp dat jij een derde van je tijd besteedt aan het contact met de uitgever. Ik kan niet eens bedenken hoe laag dat percentage in mijn tijd was.' Duidelijk wordt ook dat 'aan de lezersonderzoeken waar Birgit Donker veel waarde aan hecht' Spoor 'zich niets gelegen [liet] liggen.' Het is ook niet verwonderlijk dat het beeld dat de huidige directeur/hoofdredacteur van de NRC voor ogen heeft een marketing-beeld is: 'Birgit Donker ziet een avontuurlijke vrouw voor zich, een vrouw die veel wil weten, die erop af durft te gaan, een vrouw met stijl ook, een chique vrouw, een wereldreizigster met een open geest en met oog voor vertier op niveau, en een die het nieuws ook vindt op de puinhopen in Brazilie.' Kortom 'een chique vrouw... met oog voor vertier op niveau' die desondanks niet blind is voor 'de puinhopen in Brazilie', het is het beeld van de reclame, de marketing, het beeld van een bepaalde middenklasse, voor wie 'chique' nog een kinderlijke betekenis heeft en voor wie de journalistiek van ondergeschikt belang is geworden. Spoor mist in de NRC dan ook 'de eigenwijze stemmen van controversiele spannende figuren, de stem van de rebel... Hans van Mierlo heeft ooit gezegd dat er een grauwsluier over dit land hangt. Op zichzelf vind ik het verdomde saai in Nederland. Geweldig veel gemekker over onbenullige dingen.' Volgens Spoor 'is zijn NRC Handelsblad in de tien jaren van Jensma's hoofdredacteurschap zich op een breder publiek gaan richten. Hij noemt dat "eigenlijk een vorm van populaire journalistiek" en daar is hij niet gelukkig mee.' De huidige directeur/hoofdredacteur heeft als uitgaangspunt dat 'over zware dingen haar krant licht [moet] schrijven en over lichte dingen moet haar krant zwaar schrijven.' Met als gevolg dat Spoor 'de meer diepgravende stukken' niet meer in het Cultureel Supplement aantreft. 'Tegenwoordig bladert hij het door, in een paar minuten is hij er doorheen.' Birgit Donker: 'We brengen het nieuws, maar dan met iets erbij.' Het is een treffende illustratie van de tendens om de vorm belangrijker te vinden dan de inhoud. De krant moet verkocht worden, is allereerst een commercieel product en de rest is marketing jargon, witter dan wit.

vrijdag 3 april 2009

De Israelische Terreur 817

En nu opletten hoe machtig de joodse en christelijke pro-Israel lobby is. En let u ook eens op hoe onze zogeheten 'onafhankelijke' commerciele massamedia dit bericht gaan brengen.

'The message from Israel's new prime minister is stark: if the Obama administration doesn't prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons, Israel may be forced to attack.

An Atlantic exclusive
by Jeffrey Goldberg
Netanyahu to Obama: Stop Iran—Or I Will

This story has been updated on Jeffrey Goldberg’s blog in response to some controversy that it generated.

In an interview conducted shortly before he was sworn in today as prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu laid down a challenge for Barack Obama. The American president, he said, must stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons—and quickly—or an imperiled Israel may be forced to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities itself.

“The Obama presidency has two great missions: fixing the economy, and preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu told me. He said the Iranian nuclear challenge represents a “hinge of history” and added that “Western civilization” will have failed if Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons.

In unusually blunt language, Netanyahu said of the Iranian leadership, “You don’t want a messianic apocalyptic cult controlling atomic bombs. When the wide-eyed believer gets hold of the reins of power and the weapons of mass death, then the entire world should start worrying, and that is what is happening in Iran.”

History teaches Jews that threats against their collective existence should be taken seriously, and, if possible, preempted, he suggested. In recent years, the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has regularly called for Israel to be “wiped off the map,” and the supreme Iranian leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, this month called Israel a “cancerous tumor.”

But Netanyahu also said that Iran threatens many other countries apart from Israel, and so his mission over the next several months is to convince the world of the broad danger posed by Iran. One of his chief security advisers, Moshe Ya’alon, told me that a nuclear Iran could mean the end of American influence in the Middle East. “This is an existential threat for Israel, but it will be a blow for American interests, especially on the energy front. Who will dominate the oil in the region—Washington or Tehran?”

Netanyahu said he would support President Obama’s decision to engage Iran, so long as negotiations brought about a quick end to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. “How you achieve this goal is less important than achieving it,” he said, but he added that he was skeptical that Iran would respond positively to Obama’s appeals. In an hour-long conversation, held in the Knesset, Netanyahu tempered his aggressive rhetoric with an acknowledgement that nonmilitary pressure could yet work. “I think the Iranian economy is very weak, which makes Iran susceptible to sanctions that can be ratcheted up by a variety of means.” When I suggested that this statement contradicted his assertion that Iran, by its fanatic nature, is immune to pressure, Netanyahu smiled thinly and said, “Iran is a composite leadership, but in that composite leadership there are elements of wide-eyed fanaticism that do not exist right now in any other would-be nuclear power in the world. That’s what makes them so dangerous.”

He went on, “Since the dawn of the nuclear age, we have not had a fanatic regime that might put its zealotry above its self-interest. People say that they’ll behave like any other nuclear power. Can you take the risk? Can you assume that?”

Netanyahu offered Iran’s behavior during its eight-year war with Iraq as proof of Tehran’s penchant for irrational behavior. Iran “wasted over a million lives without batting an eyelash … It didn’t sear a terrible wound into the Iranian consciousness. It wasn’t Britain after World War I, lapsing into pacifism because of the great tragedy of a loss of a generation. You see nothing of the kind.”

He continued: “You see a country that glorifies blood and death, including its own self-immolation.” I asked Netanyahu if he believed Iran would risk its own nuclear annihilation at the hands of Israel or America. “I’m not going to get into that,” he said.
Ya’alon, a former army chief of staff who is slated to serve as Netanyahu’s minister for strategic threats, dismissed the possibility of a revitalized peace process, telling me that “jihadists” interpret compromise as weakness. He cited the reaction to Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza four years ago. “The mistake of disengagement from Gaza was that we thought like Westerners, that compromise would defuse a problem—but it just encouraged the problem,” he said. “The jihadists saw withdrawal as a defeat of the West … Now, what do you signal to them if you are ready to divide Jerusalem, or if you’re ready to withdraw to the 1967 lines? In this kind of conflict, your ability to stand and be determined is more important than your firepower.”

American administration sources tell me that President Obama won’t shy from pressuring Netanyahu on the Palestinian issue during his first visit to Washington as prime minister, which is scheduled for early May. But Netanyahu suggested that he and Obama already see eye-to-eye on such crucial issues as the threat posed by Hamas. “The Obama administration has recently said that Hamas has to first recognize Israel and cease the support of terror. That’s a very good definition. It says you have to cease being Hamas.”

When I noted that many in Washington doubt his commitment to curtailing Jewish settlement on the West Bank, he said, in reference to his previous term as prime minister, from 1996 to 1999, “I can only point to what I did as prime minister in the first round. I certainly didn’t build new settlements.”

Netanyahu will manage Israel’s relationship with Washington personally—his foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, of the anti-Arab Israel Beiteinu party, is deeply unpopular in Washington—and I asked him if he could foresee agreeing on a “grand bargain” with Obama, in which he would move forward on talks with the Palestinians in exchange for a robust American response to Iran’s nuclear program. He said: “We intend to move on the Palestinian track independent of what happens with Iran, and I hope the U.S. moves to stop Iran from gaining nuclear weapons regardless of what happens on the Palestinian track.”

In our conversation, Netanyahu gave his fullest public explication yet of why he believes President Obama must consider Iran’s nuclear ambitions to be his preeminent overseas challenge. “Why is this a hinge of history? Several bad results would emanate from this single development. First, Iran’s militant proxies would be able to fire rockets and engage in other terror activities while enjoying a nuclear umbrella. This raises the stakes of any confrontation that they’d force on Israel. Instead of being a local event, however painful, it becomes a global one. Second, this development would embolden Islamic militants far and wide, on many continents, who would believe that this is a providential sign, that this fanaticism is on the ultimate road to triumph.

“Third, they would be able to pose a real and credible threat to the supply of oil, to the overwhelming part of the world’s oil supply. Fourth, they may threaten to use these weapons or to give them to terrorist proxies of their own, or fabricate terror proxies. Finally, you’d create a great sea change in the balance of power in our area—nearly all the Arab regimes are dead-set opposed to Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. They fervently hope, even if they don’t say it, that the U.S. will act to prevent this, that it will use its political, economic, and, if necessary, military power to prevent this from happening.”

If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, Netanyahu asserted, Washington’s Arab allies would drift into Iran’s orbit. “The only way I can explain what will happen to such regimes is to give you an example from the past of what happened to one staunch ally of the United States, and a great champion of peace, when another aggressive power loomed large. I’m referring to the late King Hussein [of Jordan] … who was an unequalled champion of peace. The same King Hussein in many ways subordinated his country to Saddam Hussein when Saddam invaded Kuwait in 1990. Saddam seemed all-powerful, unchallenged by the United States, and until the U.S. extracted Kuwait from Saddam’s gullet, King Hussein was very much in Iraq’s orbit. The minute that changed, the minute Saddam was defeated, King Hussein came back to the Western camp.”

One of Iran’s goals, Netanyahu said, is to convince the moderate Arab countries not to enter peace treaties with Israel. Finally, he said, several countries in Iran’s neighborhood might try to develop nuclear weapons of their own. “Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons could spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. The Middle East is incendiary enough, but with a nuclear arms race it will become a tinderbox,” he said.

Few in Netanyahu’s inner circle believe that Iran has any short-term plans to drop a nuclear weapon on Tel Aviv, should it find a means to deliver it. The first-stage Iranian goal, in the understanding of Netanyahu and his advisers, is to frighten Israel’s most talented citizens into leaving their country. “The idea is to keep attacking the Israelis on a daily basis, to weaken the willingness of the Jewish people to hold on to their homeland,” Moshe Ya’alon said. “The idea is to make a place that is supposed to be a safe haven for Jews unattractive for them. They are waging a war of attrition.”

The Israeli threat to strike Iran militarily if the West fails to stop the nuclear program may, of course, be a tremendous bluff. After all, such threats may just be aimed at motivating President Obama and others to grapple urgently with the problem. But Netanyahu and his advisers seem to believe sincerely that Israel would have difficulty surviving in a Middle East dominated by a nuclear Iran. And they are men predisposed to action; many, like Netanyahu, are former commandos.

As I waited in the Knesset cafeteria to see Netanyahu, I opened a book he edited of his late brother’s letters. Yoni Netanyahu, a commando leader, was killed in 1976 during the Israeli raid on Entebbe, and his family organized his letters in a book they titled Self-Portrait of a Hero. In one letter, Yoni wrote to his teenage brother, then living in America, who had apparently been in a fight after someone directed an anti-Semitic remark at him. “I see … that you had to release the surplus energy you stored up during the summer,” Yoni wrote. “There’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s too bad you sprained a finger in the process. In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with a good fist fight; on the contrary, if you’re young and you’re not seriously hurt, it won’t do you real harm. Remember what I told you? He who delivers the first blow, wins.”'

Neither Netanyahu nor his principal military advisers would suggest a deadline for American progress on the Iran nuclear program, though one aide said pointedly that Israeli time lines are now drawn in months, “not years.” These same military advisers told me that they believe Iran’s defenses remain penetrable, and that Israel would not necessarily need American approval to launch an attack. “The problem is not military capability, the problem is whether you have the stomach, the political will, to take action,” one of his advisers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told me.'
Lees verder: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200903u/netanyahu

Chef Staf Rahm Emanuel 26

Blagojevich Tried To Extort Rahm Emanuel: Lawyers
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/02/blagojevich-tried-to-exto_n_182629.
html

AP | MIKE ROBINSON | April 2, 2009 at 10:44 PM

President Barack Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, was the congressman
targeted by an alleged extortion plan described in the indictment against
former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, according to attorneys familiar with the case.

At the time, in 2006, Emanuel was the congressman from the 5th District on
Chicago's North Side. The attorneys spoke on condition of anonymity
Thursday because the congressman isn't named and the information is secret
grand jury material.

The indictment says the congressman sought a $2 million grant for a school.
But Blagojevich allegedly told a lobbyist to tell the lawmaker his brother
would have to raise campaign funds or the grant wouldn't go through.

Some of the funds were later released, even though no fundraiser had been
held.

The White House declined to comment on the indictment.

De Israelische Terreur 816

'Iraeli FM questioned over graft
Avigdor Lieberman, the new Israeli foreign minister, has been questioned by police on suspicion of corruption.

Israeli police said that Lieberman had been placed under caution on Thursday and questioned for more than seven hours at the national fraud squad headquarters in central Israel, as part of an ongoing investigation.

"Avigdor Lieberman was questioned under caution by police today for seven-and-a-half hours on suspicion of carrying out the following: bribery, money laundering and breach of trust," Micky Rosenfeld, a police spokesman, said.


The long-running investigation is examining Lieberman's business dealings.

His lawyer and daughter have also been interrogated.

Lieberman denies all of the allegations.

In a statement issued by his office, Lieberman said he is "in a hurry to end this inquiry which has gone on for 13 years. The minister co-operated and answered the investigators' questions".

Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland, reporting from Jerusalem, said: "Lieberman has actually complained about the way that this investigation has been dragged out, he says it is having a very damaging effect on his public image and he has filed a petition to the court asking for it all to be speeded up.

She noted that the previous government of Ehud Olmert "was brought down by exactly these kind of corruption allegations".

Lieberman became Israeli foreign minister on Tuesday after weeks of talks during which Binyamin Netanyahu, the new prime minister, brought together a ruling coalition.

He is a controversial politician with ultra-nationalist views, which have left analysts doubting the possibility of peace between Israel and the Palestinians during his tenure.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Gideon Levy of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz said: "One way or the other, this [investigation] should come to an end, hopefully soon, because it is impossible to [be] Israel's foreign minister and to be under such heavy suspicion.

"In any normal country, he [Lieberman] would not have been nominated at all with such suspicions, but in Israel everything is possible, and we have to wait and see what will come out of those investigations."'
Zie: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/04/200942145820429387.html

Iran 260

War is Coming to Iran and Israel

PM: We may be forced to attack Iran
Apr. 1, 2009
JPost.com Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST

The primary imperative for the United States and President Barack Obama is to put an end to Iran’s nuclear race, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said before his swearing-in Tuesday, adding that if the US failed to do so Israel might be forced to resort to a military strike on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear installations.


“The Obama presidency has two great missions: fixing the economy, and preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu told The Atlantic. The Iranian drive for a nuclear weapon was a “hinge of history,” he said, emphasizing that all of “Western civilization” was responsible for preventing an Iranian bomb.

“You don’t want a messianic apocalyptic cult controlling atomic bombs,” Netanyahu said of the Iranian regime. “When the wide-eyed believer gets hold of the reins of power and the weapons of mass death, then the entire world should start worrying, and that is what is happening in Iran.”

Netanyahu suggested that Israeli preemptive strikes against perceived threats were the result of the Jewish people learning from a long history of grappling against those who threatened their collective existence. He cited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s repeated calls to “wipe Israel off the map,” as well as a recent remark by the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to the effect that Israel was a “cancerous tumor.”

However, despite Iran’s singling-out of Israel, he said, the rest of the world would be well advised to take the threat emanating from Teheran seriously. He voiced support for Obama’s strategy of engaging Iran in dialogue, as long as the negotiations worked swiftly to convince Iran to relinquish its nuclear program.

“How you achieve this goal is less important than achieving it,” he said, although he was not optimistic regarding the chances that dialogue could persuade Iran to reconsider its interests. Nevertheless, he said, economic sanctions could still make a difference. “I think the Iranian economy is very weak, which makes Iran susceptible to sanctions that can be ratcheted up by a variety of means,” he said.

Iran’s leadership, Netanyahu added, was not immune to pressure, but fanatic elements made it extremely dangerous to risk relying on economic sanctions alone.

“Iran is a composite leadership, but in that composite leadership there are elements of wide-eyed fanaticism that do not exist right now in any other would-be nuclear power in the world. That’s what makes them so dangerous,” he said. “Since the dawn of the nuclear age, we have not had a fanatic regime that might put its zealotry above its self-interest. People say that they’ll behave like any other nuclear power. Can you take the risk? Can you assume that?”

Netanyahu cited Teheran’s tactics during its protracted war with Iraq in the 1980s as evidence of irrational behavior on the part of Iran. “[They] wasted over a million lives without batting an eyelash,” he said. “It didn’t sear a terrible wound into the Iranian consciousness. It wasn’t Britain after World War I, lapsing into pacifism because of the great tragedy of a loss of a generation. You see nothing of the kind.”
Zie: http://pakalert.wordpress.com/2009/04/02/war-is-coming-to-iran-and-israel/

De Pro Israel Lobby 113

Israel Launches New 'Soft War'
By MEL FRYKBERG (Middle East Times)Published: March 11, 2009

GAZA'S NEW WAR FRONT -- A Palestinian father and his two sons pass by the ruins of a house in Jabaliya, northern Gaza on March 2, which was attacked during Israel’s 23-day war on the Gaza Strip. The bombs have stopped, but 'war' continues through the Internet. As the head of an Israeli PR organization explains, "This is Internet advocacy on a war footing and we are making a significant difference.” (Sipa Press via Newscom)


JERUSALEM -- Shortly after the guns fell silent over Gaza, during Operation Cast lead, Israel's three-week bloody onslaught over the coastal territory which left over 1,400 Palestinians dead and over 5,000 wounded, most of them civilian, the Israeli Foreign Ministry stepped up its 'soft war.'
This 'soft war' or intensive public relations campaign was meant to try and undo some of the damage done to Israel's reputation abroad as an international chorus of condemnation expressed disgust at the indiscriminate attacks on Gaza's mostly civilian population, which was trapped with nowhere to run.

The Israeli foreign ministry sent six ministers on a blitz tour of European and American cities to try and explain to politicians and media groups Israel's version of events in Gaza.

The Jewish State has one of the most organized and efficient publicity machines abroad known as Hasbara, which means 'explanation' in Hebrew.

For years Hasbara has operated from Israeli embassies and consulates abroad disseminating pro-Israeli propaganda.

Several pro-Israeli public relations organizations also work for Hasbara and are involved in intensive letter-writing and talk-back radio call campaigns aimed at challenging any views critical of Tel Aviv.

Many journalists covering the Middle East will confirm that this area is one of the touchiest in regard to hyper-sensitive lobby groups.

Editors too are regular recipients of a flurry of mail protesting any articles deemed too critical of Israel.

Students, supportive of Israel, on university campuses throughout the United States have also been supplied with the Hasbara Handbook, which details how to promote Israel and counter criticism of the country.

While Hasbara has been active for many years, the movement went into overdrive in the light of Operation Cast Lead.'
Lees verder: http://www.metimes.com/International/2009/03/11/israel_launches_new_soft_war/4604/

De Israelische Oorlogsmisdaden 86


'Spanish judge asked to suspend Israel probe

04/02/09: Ynetnews.com reports that Spanish prosecutors have asked a Madrid judge to suspend an investigation of seven Israeli officials over a 2002 bombing in Gaza that killed Hamas commander Salah Shehada and 14 others, including nine children. In a writ issued Thursday, prosecutors at the National Court asked Judge Fernando Andreu to hold off because they said Israel is investigating the attack.

03/31/09: Time discusses the possibility that Baltasar Garzón, the same Spanish Investigative Judge who brought Chile's Pinochet to justice, may seek to bring charges against Alberto Gonzales and other former Bush officials behind the Bush administration's justification for the use of torture at Guantánamo.

03/30/09: Law.com reports that a human rights lawyer has urged Six former Bush administration officials accused in a Spanish complaint of sanctioning the torture of terror suspects should come to Spain to face justice. The case against the American officials -- including former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith -- was brought by human rights lawyers before Spain's investigative judge Baltasar Garzon, who has sent it on to prosecutors to see if the charges merit a full investigation.

03/29/09: Jurist and New York Times report that Spanish judge Baltazar Garzon has asked prosecutors to examine the US lawyers reportedly behind the establishment of the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Garzon's request comes after a criminal complaint was filed last week in the Audiencia Nacional against six lawyers from the Bush administration, including David Addington, John Yoo, and former attorney general Alberto Gonzales. The lawsuit, brought under Spain's universal jurisdiction statute, alleges that the six lawyers committed crimes against the international community, as well as crimes against persons and property protected during armed conflict, in violation of the Spanish constitution, as well as the Geneva Conventions and the Convention against Torture.

Thread: Spanish investigation of Bush Administration lawyers'
Zie: http://www.securitylawbrief.com/main/2009/04/spanish-judge-asked-to-suspend-israel-probe.html

De Israelische Terreur 815

Amnesty: US Arms Delivery to Israel Threatens “Mideast Peace”
Readers Number : 445

02/04/2009 The delivery of munitions in the Zionist entity from the US earlier this month has thrown President Barack Obama's commitment to maintaining peaceful relations between Israel and Palestine into question, according to Amnesty International.


The humanitarian group said Thursday that the arrival of the Wehr Elbe, a German cargo ship, and her delivery of 300 containers of munitions to the Israeli port of Ashdod suggested the new administration will not act to prevent further attacks against civilians.

A Pentagon spokesperson confirmed the delivery of munitions to Ashdod had been completed successfully, but said they were destined for a US ammunition stockpile held in the Zionist entity.

However, under an agreement with the US, the Israeli's could use the munitions for their own purposes if it was required.

The Pentagon said although they were looking for ways to restrict Israel's use of some US munitions, they had not yet come to an agreement.

Amnesty International's arms control campaign manager Brian Wood said given the suspected war crimes the group says to have identified in the recent Gaza conflict, Obama should not have allowed the shipment to be delivered to Israel after it left the US on December 20th.
"There is a great risk that the new munitions may be used by the Israeli military to commit further violations of international law, like the ones committed during the war in Gaza," said Wood.

"We are urging all governments to impose an immediate and comprehensive suspension of arms to Israel and to all Palestinian armed groups, until there is no longer a substantial risk of serious human rights violations."

The Wehr Elbe left North Carolina on 20th December 2008, and arrived in Ashdod on March 22nd. It is reported to have been carrying a net weight of 14,000 tons of munitions.

Amnesty International also expressed its concern Obama had shown no intention of cutting back the billions of dollars in military aid which were promised to Israel in a ten-year agreement by George Bush's previous administration.

Wood added: "Legally and morally, this US arms shipment should have been halted by the Obama administration given the extent of the evidence showing how military equipment and munitions of this kind were recently used by the Israeli forces for war crimes. Arms supplies in these circumstances are contrary to provisions in US law."
Zie: http://www.almanar.com.lb/NewsSite/NewsDetails.aspx?id=80057&language=en

De Israelische Terreur 814

Syria offers Israel chance to avoid war
Thu, 02 Apr 2009 14:13:35 GMT
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says all Israeli governments have pursued hawkish policies only to give rise to the philosophy of resistance.

In an interview with the al-Sharq newspaper on Thursday, Assad said there is enough evidence to assume that Tel Aviv will never seek peace.

"All Israeli governments are the same: Ariel Sharon carried out a massacre in Palestine, and [Ehud] Barak aided the war in Gaza in that there is no difference between the right and the left in Israel," he explained. "This enemy does not want peace."


Assad described how normal citizens have grown tired of the sixty years of Israeli efforts to grab more land and occupy other territories.

"From the war of Palestine (in 1948) to the occupation of the Golan (in the Six Day War in 1967) people are becoming more hostile towards Israel. There may come a generation that is unwilling to talk peace," he said.

His remarks are considered a reaction to a Thursday announcement by Israel's new foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman -- who ruled out the possibility of Israel withdrawing from the Golan Heights.

"There is no cabinet resolution regarding negotiations with Syria, and we have already said that we will not agree to withdraw from the Golan Heights," said Lieberman in an interview with Israeli daily Ha'aretz.

"Whoever thinks that he will achieve something by way of concessions - no, he will only invite more pressure and more wars. If you want peace, prepare for war," he added.

Israel captured the Golan Heights following the 1967 Six-Day War and annexed the Syrian territory in 1981.

Under the auspices of Turkey, Israel and Syria last May launched peace talks aimed at reaching a comprehensive peace agreement.'
Lees verder: http://www.presstv.com/detail.aspx?id=90273&sectionid=351020206

De Israelische Terreur 813

'Abbas says Netanyahu 'does not believe in peace' RAMALLAH, West Bank (AFP) – Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Wednesday that Israel's new Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "does not believe in peace" and urged world leaders to pile pressure on him. "Benjamin Netanyahu never believed in a two-state solution or accepted signed agreements and does not want to stop settlement activity. This is obvious," Abbas told the official Palestinian news agency. "We have to tell the world that this man does not believe in peace, so how should we deal with him? Let's put the ball in the world's court so that it puts pressure on him and assumes its responsibilities."
Abbas's remarks came hours after Netanyahu was sworn in as prime minister at the helm of a right-wing government that has said it will hold talks with the Palestinians but is not committed to the two-state solution.
"We will carry out peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority with a view to reaching a final accord," Netanyahu said Tuesday.
"Under the final accord, the Palestinians will have all the rights to govern themselves except those that can put in danger the security and existence of the state of Israel," he said.
The Palestinian Authority said Netanyahu's statements "mark a start that is not encouraging" and urged US President Barack Obama -- who has vowed to actively pursue peace talks -- to put pressure on Israel.
"The American administration should pressure the Netanyahu government to stick to the fundamentals of the peace process, in other words land for peace.
"This means the restitution of all the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, including east Jerusalem," Abbas's spokesman said Tuesday.
The Islamist Hamas movement ruling the Gaza Strip, which weathered a massive Israeli offensive at the turn of the year, insisted there was "no difference between the governments of the Zionist entity (Israel)... because all of them have killed and slaughtered our people."'
Lees verder: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090401/wl_mideast_afp/mideastpoliticsisraelpalestinian3rdlead

Nederland en Afghanistan 198

US reconciliation offer lunatic idea, say Taliban
Thursday, April 02, 2009
KABUL: Taliban rejected on Wednesday a US offer of “honourable reconciliation” as a “lunatic idea” and said the withdrawal of foreign troops was the only way to end the war in Afghanistan.

With the Afghan conflict now in its eighth year, the Nato-led forces and the Taliban are locked in a bloody stalemate with violence set to rise further this year as more US troops arrive and seek to contain the insurgency ahead of August elections.

President Barack Obama is redoubling US efforts with more troops, more diplomatic effort and more economic assistance, but he has also already spoken of the need for an “exit strategy”. If the US plan fails to show results, analysts say, time is on the Taliban side.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told an international conference on Afghanistan that those members of the Taliban who abandoned extremism must be granted “honourable form of reconciliation”.

“This matter was also raised in the past,” said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, referring to comments by Obama last month speaking of reaching out to moderate Taliban. “They have to go and find the moderate Taliban, their leader and speak to them. This is a lunatic idea,” Mujahid said by telephone from an unknown location. The 21,000 extra US troops ordered by Obama to join the 70,000 foreign soldiers now fighting insurgents in Afghanistan showed the United States wanted the war to continue, Mujahid said, and the Taliban would keep fighting till they left. “There is no other way. We want our freedom and respect for our independence,” Mujahid said.'
Zie: http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=21296

Het Neoliberale Geloof 406

Foreclosure Crisis Hits Warp Speed:

6 Million Families Face Losing Their Homes in the Next Three Years

By Nan Mooney

April 01, 2009 "AlterNet" -- - What would you do if someone foreclosed on your home? If suddenly you and all your possessions were out on the street with a bank account depleted from trying to make mammoth mortgage payments, where would you go?

An estimated 6 million families could be facing this question in the next three years, with nearly 1 in 10 mortgage holders either delinquent or in foreclosure. And although we've heard a lot about trying to help people stay in their homes -- like President Obama's $275 billion foreclosure-prevention package -- it's been far more difficult to follow what happens to these families once they've been forced out.

"We haven't done a good job of tracking those people who were not able to stay in their homes," admits Douglas Robinson of NeighborWorks, an umbrella organization for more than 230 local nonprofits focused on community development. "Over the past four years, we've been heavily focused on foreclosure prevention -- keeping people in their homes. We're just starting to look at the other side of things now."

According to Robinson, those victims of foreclosure who do wind up being pushed out of their homes can be roughly divided into two waves.

The first wave consists of those who lost their homes because they were unable to keep up with payments on poor mortgages, often with cripplingly high interest rates. There's no hard research as yet, but anecdotal evidence indicates that, although these people didn't have the financial resources to keep up with their mortgage payments, most were able to rent apartments or even homes in their same communities.

But for the second wave, the transition hasn't been nearly so seamless. These are the people who are unable to make mortgage payments because they've lost their jobs. They no longer have the incomes to afford rentals.

This second wave is creating a strong demand for social services, including homeless shelters -- a demand that far exceeds supply. Again, as yet there is no hard data, but anecdotal evidence indicates a far higher percentage of these people are winding up in hotel rooms, with friends and relatives, in shelters, or even sleeping in cars or on the street.'
Lees verder: http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22335.htm

De Dollar Hegemonie 45


'U.S. Debtor Meets G20 Creditors at the Dollar’s Funeral

MAJOR GLOBAL TURNING POINT

By Jim Willie CB

Perhaps it was a grand error of judgment to host the G20 Meeting in London. The epicenter of the financial hegemony, corruption, hidden agency influence, and financial market destruction has clearly been the United States and the United Kingdom working in tandem. So great risk comes with the hosting of this meeting in London. The British Empire, aka Great Britain, is the site of the most devastating economic and banking ruin in a century, on a scale much larger than Iceland, but with a certain hand in the Iceland downfall. Millions of British citizens are angry, worried, and justifiably so. Their economists, bankers, and government leaders have presided over at best a severe national decline that must withstand diverse reform and reconstruction, and over at worst a national failure of state that must endure a collapse before any conceivable reconstruction. The decline if not collapse in the UK seemed for a time to lag that of the US, but lately events have accelerated inside the harrowed United Kingdom. The United States has the advantage of just printing trillion$ and floating about for a bit much like a derelict vessel with feigned movement!

Certainly it was a grand error of judgment at the February Davos Global Economic Forum for President Obama not to attend. He used extremely bad judgment in sending TinyTim Geithner as his minion envoy, the Treasury Secretary who bears Goldman Sachs stripes, and likely GSax branded skivvies. Obama took harsh criticism for skipping an opportunity to meet with certain heads of state in attendance, key banking and industrial leaders. He could have met Russian leaders Putin and Medvedev, who truly stole the entire Davos show. My guess is that Obama was deeply intimidated at the Davos prospect, was busy assembling a staff, but had no choice now. The chorus of criticism, if not revolt against the US$, has grown deafening. The US$-based global financial structure is broken, without any doubt irrevocably. The last to notice are the USGovt and US banking stewards, who are busily looting still.

There are 20 members of the G20 organization. These include the finance ministers and central bank governors of the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States. The 20th member is the European Union, which is represented by the rotating presidency and its European Central Bank. In addition to these 20 members, the following forums and institutions participate in G20 Meetings: International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Intl Monetary & Financial Committee, Development Committee of the IMF & World Bank.

For the past decade or more, it is well understood and well documented how the IMF and World Bank are each riddled with US security agency non-bankers, complete with associated covert activity. Some accuse them of routine operations that include collusion, kidnapping, murder, but all for the benefit of the United States and its power structure. These espionage accusations are not idle, but well documented. See “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” by John Perkins (2004). In it, he provides account of his career that included his hire by an alleged NSA liaison to become a self-described economic hit man. My first exposure to Perkins was in 2005 when he published chapter by chapter, portions of his book in magazine format. My reading centered on the NSA in Saudi Arabia, to further their acceptance of the USTreasury Bond and US Dollar as official Petro-Dollar payment. That Saudi-US contract has been a cornerstone of the US-based global foundation for a generation. It apparently required enforcement. Of course, for the greater good.'
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