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

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 24 april 2010

Gidi Markuszower. Extremisme 8


Geachte Gidi Markuszower,

Het is algemeen bekend dat de Mossad een uitstekend functionerende inlichtingendienst is, die overal in weet door te dringen. Dat is ook de functie van een geheime dienst. 'De dienst heeft als voornaamste taak voor de veiligheid van de staat te zorgen door het inwinnen van informatie die hiervoor van belang is.' http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mossad

Welnu, mijn vraag aan u als toekomstige Nederlandse volksvertegenwoordiger is de volgende:

heeft u contacten met de Mossad en zo ja, welke?

Als Nederlandse burger stel ik die vraag vanwege het volgende: als parlementslid kunt u straks vertrouwelijke informatie over van alles en nog wat krijgen, en vergadert u soms achter gesloten deuren over zaken die de gewone Nederlander niet mag weten. Die geheimhouding wordt officieel gelegitimeerd met het argument dat de gewone burgers sommige zaken moeten overlaten aan hun volksvertegenwoordigers. Of dit juist is of niet laat ik hier in het midden. Het gaat mij namelijk om iets anders:

is die vertrouwelijke en soms misschien wel geheime informatie binnenkort in goede handen bij u? Speelt u die niet door naar de Mossad? En zo nee, waarom niet?

Ik zal mijn wantrouwen toelichten: u, als Joods-Israeli, als iemand dus die in de zogeheten 'Joodse staat' is geboren heeft geeist dat joodse Nederlanders die de bevindingen van het rapport van de joodse en zelfs zionistische rechter Goldstone accepteren uit de joodse gemeenschap moeten worden gestoten omdat ze 'verraders in ons midden' zijn van de joodse zaak, en u kwalificeerde deze Nederlanders zelfs als 'verachterlijke joodjes' die gestraft moeten worden, desnoods met de dood, zo suggereerde u.

Gidi Markuszower, u wilt nu volksvertegenwoordiger worden van een niet-joods volk, namelijk het Nederlandse. Welnu, het laatste bekende voorbeeld in Nederland van een dergelijke uitstoting en bedreiging door de joodse gemeenschap werd in 1656 tegen de filosoof Baruch Spinoza uitgesproken vanwege zijn ‘afschuwelijke ketterijen’. Bijna vier eeuwen later leven wij niet in een theocratie maar in een moderne rechtstaat, waarin dit sectarisch geweld niet geaccepteerd wordt, net zomin als de sharia hier geaccepteerd wordt. Duidelijk is dat u dit niet begrijpt. Dat is op zich geen probleem, overal lopen extremisten rond, en in elk geloof of ideologie, maar zolang deze fanatici geen macht hebben en geen wapen is dit geen onmiddellijke bedreiging van de normen en waarden van onze rechtstaat. Zover, zo goed.

Maar nu: uw dreigementen tegen joodse Nederlanders maken ook iets anders duidelijk, iets veel problematischer: u stelt uw joodse identiteit boven alles. Boven de democratie, waar de vrijheid van denken en handelen wettelijk is geregeld, en boven de rechtstaat. De democratische rechtstaat is voor u niet de norm, maar uw joodszijn, daaraan meet u de werkelijkheid af en op grond daarvan bent u bereid om actie te nemen, zoals blijkt uit uw houding ten opzichte van joodse Nederlanders die het internationaal recht wensen te respecteren. U accepteert die internationaal rechtsorde niet en u accepteert ook niet dat er Nederlanders zijn die dat recht wensen te eerbiedigen. Ze moeten in uw ogen daarvoor gestraft worden omdat ze 'verraad' plegen tegen het jodendom dat volgens u de belangrijkste norm is. Uw joodse identiteit is voor u belangrijker dan wat dan ook op aarde, daar moet alles voor wijken. Uw loyaliteit is niet met de Nederlandse multiculturele rechtsstaat, maar met een etnisch zuivere 'Joodse staat'. U bent zelfs bereid om andere joden zwaar te straffen zodra deze burgers in uw ogen 'verraders in ons midden' zijn. 'Het radicale middel is volgens Markuszower gerechtvaardigd omdat het rapport van Goldstone, waarin Israël van oorlogsmisdaden wordt beschuldigd, het voortbestaan van dat land ernstig in gevaar brengt.' En zo is de cirkel rond, als vanzelf komen we weer bij de Mossad terecht, immers 'de dienst heeft als voornaamste taak voor de veiligheid van de staat te zorgen door het inwinnen van informatie die hiervoor van belang is.'

Ik ben er dus van overtuigd dat u vertrouwelijke en geheime informatie naar de Mossad zult doorspelen zodra u denkt dat dit de 'Joodse staat' of de 'joodse zaak', wat dit ook moge zijn, ten goede komt. Sterker nog: ik denk dat de reden waarom u zich kandidaat stelt louter en alleen te maken heeft met de steun die u zo aan een vreemde staat kunt geven, te weten de schurkenstaat Israel. Het is bekend dat de AIVD uw partijleider, Geert Wilders, langere tijd in de gaten hield omdat hij de deur bij de Israelische ambassade bijkans plat liep om daar nog als VVD-Kamerlid het standpunt van de 'liberalen' ten aanzien van de Nederlandse Midden-Oosten politiek voor te koken, zoals ik uit betrouwbare bron weet.

Kunt u mij en de andere Nederlandse burgers vertellen waarom u zo graag het Nederlandse volk wilt vertegenwoordigen en niet het Joods-Israelische? In afwachting van uw antwoord,

Stan van Houcke
Journalist/schrijver
Amsterdam


Obama 160

Via Paul:


Obama reassures Wall Street on bank regulation bill

23 April 2010

President Barack Obama went to lower Manhattan Thursday to deliver a message to Wall Street: Your profits and bonuses will not be disturbed by the regulatory overhaul making its way through Congress.

In a deferential speech pitched to top bankers in the Cooper Union audience, Obama urged what he called the “titans of industry” to call off their lobbyists and “join us” in passing his so-called reform. The subtext was that the White House and congressional Democrats had already removed most of the provisions to which the bankers objected, and were prepared to go even further in accommodating them.

The speech came less than a week after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) indicted Goldman Sachs, the most profitable Wall Street bank, for defrauding its clients in order to cash in on—and encourage—the collapse of the subprime housing market in 2007. Obama did not mention the indictment. Nor did he suggest that what he called a “failure of responsibility” on Wall Street included criminal activities.

Among those in the audience to whom Obama appealed was Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman, who attended the event to underscore his contempt and defiance of the SEC.

It was also a week in which the top five banks reported combined profits of more than $15 billion for the first three months of 2010—a huge increase over the previous year.

As the Goldman indictment makes clear, these profits are bound up with rampant fraud that helped crash the financial system--driving millions in the US and around the world into unemployment and poverty—followed by trillions of dollars in taxpayer bailouts and virtually free credit from the Federal Reserve.

Obama took pains to affirm his obeisance to capitalism. “I believe in the power of the free market,” he declared. “I believe in a strong financial sector …” To reassure Wall Street that his financial overhaul would not impose serious restrictions, he said, “We do not have to choose between markets that are unfettered by even modest protections against crisis, or markets that are stymied by onerous rules that suppress enterprise and innovation.”

There was no suggestion that a single banker or trader should be held accountable for the social catastrophe he helped create. Yet less than two months ago, addressing the US Chamber of Commerce, Obama hailed the mass firing of teachers in an impoverished school district in Rhode Island as a positive educational “reform” measure. “There’s got to be a sense of accountability,” Obama said.

With complete cynicism, Obama and congressional Democrats, with the assistance of the media, are presenting their regulatory proposals as a sweeping reform comparable to the banking measures implemented by the Roosevelt administration in the Great Depression.

In reality, the Senate measure, like the bill passed last December by the House of Representatives, proposes certain marginal changes in the way government agencies monitor financial firms, but does nothing to reverse the deregulation of banking carried out over the past three decades, which dismantled the restrictions imposed during the 1930s. It introduces no structural reforms to limit, let alone ban, the speculative practices that have become central to the accumulation of profit and personal wealth by the American ruling class.

Obama and the congressional Democrats have rejected capping executive pay or banning credit default swaps, collateralized debt obligations, structured investment vehicles and other exotic forms of speculation that played a major role in the financial crash and global recession. Provisions to regulate derivatives markets, a major source of profits for the top Wall Street banks, are loaded with loopholes and exemptions. A financial consumer protection body will have no power over 98 percent of banks or any car dealerships, and will be subject to a Federal Reserve veto.

The most important innovation in the House and Senate bills is the establishment of a procedure for the government to wind down large financial firms, including insurance companies and other non-bank entities, whose failure could trigger a systemic collapse. This is being billed as an end to “too-big-to-fail” financial companies and a guarantee against future taxpayer-funded bailouts.

It is nothing of the kind. The proposal would institutionalize government rescue operations to protect the interests of bank executives, shareholders and creditors and the wealth of the financial elite as a whole, ultimately at public expense. It is designed to keep the banking system in private hands while preparing for the inevitable consequences of allowing the banks and big investors to continue “business as usual,” i.e., another financial crisis on the order of the crash of 2008.

In his speech on Thursday, Obama declared that “a vote for reform is a vote to put a stop to taxpayer-funded bailouts.” This is a lie. The administration-backed bill passed by the House would give the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, with the consent of the treasury secretary and the Federal Reserve, the power to “extend credit or guarantee obligations … to prevent financial instability during times of severe economic distress.” This amounts to a blank check to use taxpayer funds for future bailouts.

Obama has continued Bush administration policies that, far from reining in Wall Street, have strengthened the power of the biggest financial firms. The share of all banking industry assets held by the top 10 banks rose to 58 percent in 2009, from 44 percent in 2000 and 24 percent in 1990.

Nothing other than a license for Wall Street to continue stealing from the American people could possibly emerge from a political system dominated by an all-powerful financial aristocracy and awash in corruption and bribery. The financial industry has to date spent $455 million to lobby Congress on the financial overhaul.

The securities and investment industry has thus far handed out $34 million for the 2010 election cycle. Goldman Sachs is the second biggest corporate donor to political campaigns, after AT&T. Since 1989, the bank’s political action committee and employees have given $31.6 million in campaign contributions, two-thirds of the total to Democratic candidates.

The financial industry funded Obama’s presidential election campaign to the amount of $15 million. Goldman was Obama’s single biggest donor, giving nearly $1 million.

One indication of the ties between Wall Street and the White House: Gregg Craig, who until January was Obama’s White House counsel, has been hired by Goldman Sachs to defend the firm against the SEC indictment.

Barry Grey

The author also recommends:

The Goldman Sachs indictment
[19 April 2010]

http://wsws.org/articles/2010/apr2010/pers-a23.shtml

vrijdag 23 april 2010

Het Joods Slachtofferisme 5


Bijna elke etnische/ sectarische/chauvinistische beweging heeft druk van buitenaf nodig om de interne samenhang veilig te stellen. Zodra een extremistische beweging niet meer bedreigd wordt valt het nagenoeg spontaan uiteen, de stroming implodeert of explodeert. De NSDAP explodeerde, de LPF implodeerde. De zionisten dreigen nu te gaan exploderen zoals te zien is aan de strijd tussen joden onderling in Israel en daarbuiten. De oproep van Gidi Markuszower om gematigde joden die het internationaal recht respecteren, te isoleren, boycotten, uit de gemeenschap te stoten of nog erger te straffen voor hun zogeheten 'verraad' is een saillant voorbeeld van die ontwikkeling. De haat binnen Israel tegen joodse vredesactivisten is een andere voorbeeld van de groeiende ressentimenten. En net zoals met elke gefrustreerde emotie zoekt ook haat een uitlaatklep, een slachtoffer op wie de haat kan worden geprojecteerd. En als er geen buitenstaanders meer zijn om die haat op te richten dan slaat de haat naar binnen en wordt de eigen groep er de dupe van.

In zijn essaybundel Naar Een Normaal Joods Bestaan schreef de Joods-Israelische auteur Abraham Jehoshua in 1980 over de status quo in Israël tussen joodse extremisten en de gematigde joden, een status quo die een dreigende gewelddadige confrontatie nog heeft voorkomen. Jehoshua:

Status quo is een geladen begrip vervuld van een bijna militaire dreiging. Er is een intense ondergrondse oorlog gaande, die alleen door wederzijdse afspraken binnen de perken kan worden gehouden. De emoties in beide kampen zijn heftig, en de kleinste bres zou een dijkbreuk kunnen veroorzaken… In zekere zin is de status quo een substituut voor de ballingschap (in de diaspora, SvH), in die zin dat beide fungeren als een buffer die de voortdurende confrontatie binnen de totale Joodse levenssituatie afremt. De dreigende oorlogssituatie is tot nu toe altijd een doeltreffend argument geweest om de status quo te handhaven en onnodige conflicten te vermijden. Maar desondanks bestond het vage gevoel dat, als er ooit vrede zou komen, juist deze kwestie de aanleiding zou vormen tot een nieuwe Joodse Oorlog […] Het is een blijvend, diepgeworteld en fundamenteel conflict, maar er komt een moment dat een open confrontatie niet langer kan worden vermeden.

Kort samengevat kan gesteld worden dat zolang de zionisten erin slagen de onderlinge haat naar buiten te projecteren op hun buren ze hun macht zullen behouden, en Israel permanent in staat van oorlog zal blijven. Zolang de zionistische leiders hun Joodse landgenoten kunnen blijven overtuigen dat zij alleen maar slachtoffers zijn en geen daders is hun macht veilig gesteld. Maar zodra dit niet meer het geval is dan zal er een burgeroorlog uitbreken, zoals dat ook in de Romeinse tijd gebeurde. Dit zei Jehopshua tegen mij erover:

Ik vrees ten zeerste dat het almaar door laten gaan van het conflict onze identiteit uiteindelijk zal vernietigen. Er zijn joods-Israëli’s die de externe strijd voortdurend zoeken, want – zo zeggen ze – zolang er een externe druk bestaat zal er onder de Joden zelf geen gewapend geschil uitbreken. Vooral sommige religieuze fanatici zijn buitengewoon bang voor vrede, omdat dan de seculiere Joodse identiteit in Israël zich vrij zal kunnen ontwikkelen. Juist uit angst daarvoor zijn de zeloten zo fel tegen vrede. Zij zijn ervan overtuigd dat de joden gedoemd zijn om in een permanent conflict met de buitenwereld te leven, niet alleen met de Arabieren, maar met alle andere volkeren op aarde. Aan dat conflict ontlenen ze hun identiteit, vrede zou hun identiteit vernietigen. Die sluimerende strijd tussen extremistische en gematigde joden is al millennia oud, het leidde er tweeduizend jaar geleden toe dat de joden in ballingschap gingen. Men moet zich goed realiseren dat wij niet uit Israël zijn verdreven, maar dat wij in ballingschap zijn gegaan om zo aan de aanhoudende crisis tussen het nationale gezag en het religieuze systeem te kunnen ontsnappen. Door in de diaspora te vluchten hoefden de joden geen keuze te maken, we hadden namelijk niets meer te kiezen, in de buitenwereld bestond eenvoudigweg geen Joods nationaal gezag meer. De gola, de ballingschap, was dus niet een van buitenaf opgelegd fenomeen, zoals algemeen wordt beweerd, maar een van binnenuit gevormd verlangen ernaar, om zo aan de interne strijd te ontkomen, de strijd over de vragen: wie en wat is een Jood en hoe moet hij zich als Jood gedragen? Door de stichting van de staat Israël is dit oeroude conflict ineens weer uiterst actueel geworden. Zoals gezegd, hieraan ten grondslag liggen de vragen: wie is een Jood en wat is een Jood? Dat betreft niet alleen een religieus vraagstuk, ook onder seculiere joden in Israël bestaat hierover veel verwarring. Een deel van hen heeft net als de religieuze fundamentalisten dat permanente externe conflict nodig om zich te definiëren, ze zijn niet zeker over zichzelf, ze geloven niet echt in hun seculariteit. Ze zijn bang dat als er vrede uitbreekt ze niet langer meer als Jood worden beschouwd, dat ze dan als het ware gedwongen worden zich te bekeren tot de religie om weer Jood te kunnen zijn. Die onzekerheid over wie ze zijn ervaren ze als een bedreiging en zij kunnen hun nationale identiteit alleen handhaven dankzij het externe conflict. Kijk, de uiterst orthodoxe joden van Neturei Karta zijn absoluut niet bang voor vrede, omdat zij een identiteit bezitten. Zij hebben Israël niet nodig om joods te kunnen zijn, waar ze ook zijn, al zouden op de maan zitten, dan nog zullen ze uiterst orthodoxe joden blijven. Sterker nog: ze zijn fel gekant tegen de staat Israël die volgens hen de normen en waarden van het judaïsme probeert te vernietigen. Die mensen zijn dus niet bang voor vrede met de Arabieren, maar het zijn de semireligieuzen, de Gush Emunim, het fanatieke Blok der Getrouwen, zoals ze zichzelf noemen en de lui die eromheen hangen, die zoeken het permanente conflict, want alleen op die wijze kunnen ze telkens weer de grenzen van hun identiteit bepalen.

Hetzelfde vernietigende proces hebben we gezien bij de orthodoxe Serven, een ander volkje dat zijn identiteit alleen in termen van slachtofferschap kan definieren. Het is dus ook niet vreemd dat Israel permanent het gewapende conflict opzoekt en weigert zich terug te trekken uit de bezette Palestijnse gebieden. De zionistische leiders willen geen vrede, ze willen de hegemonie in de regio, hoe meer frictie hoe steviger ze in het zadel zitten. Ze worden daarbij gesteund door een militair industrieel complex dat miljarden dollars opslokt, en daarom een legitimatie nodig heeft. Dit alles is geheel conform de gedachtewereld van de Duitse nazi-ideoloog Carl Schmitt die stelde dat een staat niet zonder een vijand kan. De angst voor de ander is noodzakelijk om de massa te mobiliseren achter een door de macht opgelegd programma. 'The feeling of a need for an external enemy to maintain internal cohesion.' Vandaar ook de drang van de nazi's tot gebiedsuitbreiding en grootschalig geweld. Zolang er maar gemarcheerd kon worden was de macht van de fascisten in Duitsland, Italie en Japan verzekerd. Dezelfde ontwikkeling zien we al enkele decennialang in Israel.

Het achterliggende probleem hier is de vraag: wie is een jood? En: wat is een jood? Omdat de joden door hun religie tot een volk werden gevormd, dus niet door een grondgebied of een eigen taal, ontstaat er binnen de joodse gemeenschap telkens weer een onoplosbaar conflict over de vraag wie zich nu eigenlijk jood mag noemen en wat een jood dan precies is? Dat conflict wordt nu getemperd door de druk van buitenaf, maar op een bepaald moment zal de onderlinge haat toch gaan exploderen, en zal opnieuw datgene gebeuren wat er tijdens de Romijnse tijd ook gebeurde, de staat zal ophouden te bestaan, zal aan intern geweld ten onder gaan. En het christelijke Westen zal er bij staan en er naar kijken. Maar voorafgaand daaraan zal de zionistische terreur gewoon doorgaan. Tot de 'verachtelijke joodjes' van Gidi Markuszower aan de beurt zijn om door hysterische zionisten vernietigd te worden.

Gidi Markuszower. Extremisme 7

Mug shot of Menachem Begin, 1940. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menachem_Begin


Geachte Gidi Markuszower,

Ik heb enkele vragen waarop ik graag antwoord zou willen hebben van u als toekomstige Nederlandse volksvertegenwoordiger. Laat ik beginnen mij voor te stellen: ik ben een 62-jaar oude journalist/schrijver, al sinds jaar en dag belastingbetalende burger van het Koninkrijk. Zoals u weet vertegenwoordigt een Nederlands parlementslid niet alleen zichzelf en zijn partij/secte, maar de gehele Nederlandse bevolking. Vandaar dat wij allemaal binnenkort uw inkomen en kostenvergoeding betalen. Ik voel mij dan ook gerechtigd u een aantal vragen te stellen. Immers, voor wat hoort wat, zo werkt de parlementaire democratie.

Ik ben van origine, zoals dat in deze polder heet, een 'allochtoon', net als u. Mijn moeder werd in Schotland geboren en ontmoette daar tjdens de oorlog mijn vader die op een Nederlandse onderzeeboot voer. Ik ben niet joods maar heb wel joodse familieleden, van wie enkelen, niet allemaal, in uw ogen 'verachtelijke joodjes' zijn, die wegens 'verraad' aan de 'joodse zaak' gestraft moeten worden met uitstoting en erger.

Welnu Gidi Markuszower, wat ik niet begrijp is het volgende. U voelt zich joods, sterker nog, u definieert uw geboorteland, Israel, als de 'Joodse staat'. Met andere woorden: Palestijnen, de oorspronkelijke bewoners, horen daar niet. Nu mijn vraag: waarom meent u dat u als 'Joods-Israeli' wel in Nederland hoort? Ik bedoel, als Israel uw land is, waarom wilt u dan in een vreemd land als Nederland volksvertegenwoordiger worden van mensen die in overgrote meerderheid niet-joods zijn? Waarom wordt u niet in Israel volksvertegenwoordiger? Het land is toch niet voor niets in 1947/48 en in 1967 etnisch gezuiverd om de 'Joodse staat' mogelijk te maken? Waarom wilt u zo graag hier volksvertegenwoordiger worden van niet-joden? Dat is op zijn minst toch merkwaardig, vooral ook gezien het feit dat geen enkele buitenlandse niet-jood in Israel ooit volksvertegenwoordiger kan worden. Bovendien bent u hier de stem van de extremistische Likoed-partij, een rechtse partij die opgericht werd door en het gedachtegoed eert van een voormalige terrorist, Menachem Begin. Zijn terroristische beweging Irgoen pleegde tijdens de oorlog tegen de nazi's aanslagen op de Britse strijdkrachten. Na de oorlog was Begin verantwoordelijk voor een bomaanslag in het King David Hotel in Jerusalem, het militaire en administrtatieve hoodkwartier van de Britten in Palestina, een aanslag waarbij 91 mensen werden vermoord. Een andere Likoed-voorman, Yitzhak Shamir, was als joodse terroristenleider verantwoordelijk voor de moord op Graaf Bernadotte, de VN-bemiddelaar die pleitte voor de terugkeer van de Palestijnen naar hun door zionisten etnisch gezuiverde geboorteland. Ironisch was dat Bernadotte vooral ook bekend is vanwege het feit dat hij gedurende de Tweede Wereldoorlog joden van de ondergang redde. Tijdens de oorlog al, nog voordat Auschwitz was bevrijd, was Shamir betrokken geweest bij de moord op de Britse minister van staat voor het Midden-Oosten, Lord Moyne.

Gidi Markuszower, u verdedigt in Nederland het gedachtegoed van deze extremisten. Waarom? Waarom gaat u niet terug naar uw geboorteland dat u ziet als het land van alle joden, of die nu zionistisch zijn of niet? Wat wilt u in Nederland doen? Haat verspreiden? Het gedachtegoed van joodse terroristen verspreiden? Waarom zouden al dan niet islamitische Nederlanders u moeten betalen om de belangen van een schurkenstaat te verdedigen, een staat die doorgaat met het stelen van Palestijns land?

In afwachting van uw antwoord,
vriendelijke groet
Stan van Houcke
Amsterdam.

PS: misschien kunnen ook mijn immer wakkere collega's die permanent rond Kamerleden hangen deze vragen eens aan de PVV stellen.

donderdag 22 april 2010

Iran 330

En de stemmingmakerij gaat gewoon door, net als zeven jaar geleden met Irak.

Iran exports 'revolutionary principles' to Venezuela, report claims
Iran has stepped up its military presence in Venezuela as part of a programme to export its "revolutionary principles" to America's enemies, according to a Pentagon report.


By Toby Harnden in Washington
Published: 8:08PM BST 21 Apr 2010

The report on Iran's military states that paramilitaries from the Quds Force, a special paramilitary unit attached to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, have "an increased presence in Latin America, particularly Venezuela".

It also alleges that Iran is continuing to supply weapons and explosives to the Taliban to help them kill American and British troops in Afghanistan.

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The Quds force [IRGC-QF] "maintains operational capabilities around the world," the report states that "it is well established in the Middle East and North Africa" but has been extending its reach into Latin America in recent years.

"If US involvement in conflict in these regions deepens, contact with the IRGC-QF, directly or through extremist groups it supports, will be more frequent and consequential".

The report does not supply details of Iranian activity in Venezuela but represents to the first warning in an official US government report about Iranian paramilitary activities in the Western Hemisphere. President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has been accused of supporting Marxist terrorists in Colombia.

Iranian-backed terrorists have conducted few attacks in the region but American intelligence officials told The Washington Times that Quds Force operatives are developing networks of terrorists in Latin America who could be activated to attack the US if there was a conflict over Iran's nuclear programme.

The Quds force is said to support US enemies by giving them arms, funding and paramilitary training and is not constrained by Islamist ideology.

"Many of the groups it supports do not share, and sometimes openly oppose, Iranian revolutionary principles, but Iran supports them because they share common interests or enemies," the report states Qods force operatives are stationed in Iranian embassies, charities and religious and cultural institutions that support Shia Muslims.

They provide some humanitarian support but also take part in "paramilitary operations to support extremists and destabilise unfriendly regimes," according to the report.

The report links Quds force and the larger IRGC to some of the deadliest terrorist attacks of the past 30 years: the bombing of the American Embassy in Beirut in 1983, the bombing of a Jewish centre in Argentina in 1994, the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia in 1996 and insurgent attacks in Iraq after 2003.

It states that the Quds force is working through non-governmental organisations and political opposition groups in Afghanistan and Tehran is backing the insurgent leaders Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Ismail Khan.

"Arms caches have been recently uncovered [in Afghanistan] with large amounts of Iranian-manufactured weapons, to include 107 millimetre rockets, which we assess IRGC-QF delivered to Afghan militants," the report states.

"Tehran's support to the Taliban is inconsistent with their historic enmity, but fits with Iran's strategy of backing many groups to ensure that it will have a positive relationship with the eventual leaders."

Iran 329

Netanyahu: Less Time to Act on Iran with Each Passing Day


by Gil Ronen

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sounded an urgent note regarding the Iranian threat in a Monday interview on America's ABC network, saying that “we have a lot less time with each day that passes.”


“And the crucial thing,” he said, “is to use the time available for forceful international action led by the United States. If you can, go through the [UN] Security Council. If you can't, go outside the Security Council.”

“I spoke with President Obama when he was Senator Obama,” he said on the morning news show, Good Morning America. “He visited Israel. And I was the leader of the Opposition at… that time. And I said… if he gets elected President... all the issues that will flood his desk will one day be pushed aside by one overriding issue. And that is if Iran attempts to develop atomic bombs. Because they could very well either use it or threaten to use it or threaten to give it to terrorists or even give them a crude device with fissionable material that can be put in a container ship. And this could come to Manhattan or to any port in the United States or in Europe or, for that matter, in Israel.”

'A minimal requirement'
The international community can deliver “crippling sanctions” against Iran, he said. “If you stop … Iran from importing refined petroleum, that's a fancy word for gasoline,” Netanyahu explained, “then Iran simply doesn't have refining capacity and this regime comes to a halt. I think that's crippling sanctions. Now if the UN Security Council doesn't pass it because they'll dilute the resolution to get acquiescence of their members, then certainly the United States and other willing partners in the international community can... enforce these sanctions outside the Security Council. There is a way to deliver these crippling sanctions. This should be done now.”

“I think this is a minimal requirement right now,” he added. The point was “not really to send [Iran] messages," he said, “but to actually make this regime begin to make choices. Because right now they feel they don't have to make choices. They understand that the spotlight is on them but they're not doing anything. And the critical thing is I think there's an understanding in Washington, certainly in Jerusalem and quite a few other capitals in the world, that very forceful action has to be taken to make Iran stop. I think the future of peace in the world and of stability and security is at stake.”

Asked if he was worried that war could break out this summer, the prime minister said: “If it's up to us, there won't be any war." Iran, he added, is trying to create tensions through Hizbullah, “probably to deflect the world's attention from Iran's advancement and its plan to develop nuclear weapons.” (IsraelNationalNews.com)


http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/137123

Iran 328

US official: Iran military strike 'off the table'

The U.S. has ruled out a military strike against Iran's nuclear program any time soon, hoping instead negotiations and United Nations sanctions will prevent the Middle East nation from developing nuclear weapons, a top U.S. defense department official said Wednesday.

"Military force is an option of last resort," Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy said during a press briefing in Singapore. "It's off the table in the near term."

The U.S. and its allies fear Tehran is using its nuclear program to build arms. Iran denies the charges, and says its program only aims to generate electricity.

"Right now the focus is a combination of engagement and pressure in the form of sanctions," Flournoy said. "We have not seen Iran engage productively in response."

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quoted Wednesday by Iran's state media saying the country won't give in to U.S. pressure. Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard is preparing to hold large-scale military maneuvers in the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

"We've said time and again that we are not after weapons of mass destruction but the Iranian nation won't give in to such threats and will bring those threatening it to their knees," Khamenei said.

Iran has rejected a 2009 U.N.-backed plan that offered nuclear fuel rods to Tehran in exchange for Iran's stock of lower-level enriched uranium. The swap would curb Tehran's capacity to make a nuclear bomb.

But Iran has proposed variations on the deal, and Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Tuesday that a fuel agreement could be a chance to boost trust with the West.

Earlier this week, he said Iran wants direct talks about the deal with all the U.N. Security Council members, except one with which it would have indirect talks - a reference to the United States, which with Tehran has no relations.

The U.S. is lobbying heavily in the Security Council for sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

Associated Press Writer Ali Akbar Dareini in Dubai contributed to this story.


http://www.kansascity.com/2010/04/21/1892355/us-official-iran-military-strike.html

Jewish Voice for Peace 2

Dear stan,

Every so often, we get a moment when a remarkable future starts to unfold before our eyes. And when it happens, it's our responsibility to do everything within our power to help it along. One of those moments is happening right now, unbeknownst to most of the world, on the University of California's Berkeley campus.

Berkeley professors and students of every race, religion, and nationality are standing courageously side by side and calling on the university to divest from companies that profit from the occupation of the Palestinian Territories. In March, the student Senate voted 16 to 4 to divest. Then, the Senate president vetoed their vote and last week, after 10 life-changing hours of testimony that lasted through the night, the vote to overturn the veto was tabled.

In 6 days, on April 28, the students will again try to overturn the veto. That's how many days we have to demonstrate our support and solidarity with these amazing people who are standing for justice for all people in Palestine and Israel. I urge you to stand with them - to let them know that they are not alone.

What happens over the next week in Berkeley is critical, not just for the movement there but for the burgeoning movement around the country. Once again, Berkeley is a birthplace of a movement that could change the course of history. Students all over the United States are watching closely, learning, and preparing a massive divestment campaign the likes of which hasn't been seen in decades. Important? World-changing? Without a doubt.

Last week, I was there during the first attempt to overturn the veto when nearly 900 people packed the room. We were Muslims, Jews, Palestinians, Israelis, Christians; grandmothers and students and everyone in between - the majority in support of divestment. This next vote is even more critical. Most of us can't be in the room when UC students hold their vote, but we can and must be represented. Our diversity, our staunch support, and our commitment must be represented.

Last week, hundreds in the room wore bright green stickers that said "Another (fill in the blank) for human rights. Divest from the Israeli occupation." We want your name on those stickers next week.

Please, add your name to the thousands of supporters - you'll be represented by a bright green statement and we intend to turn the room into a sea of green - a sea of hope and support.

The truth is that the students at UC Berkeley have already won, building on the efforts of students at Hampshire College and the University of Michigan's Dearborn campus. They have secured support from an unprecedented range of people including Nobel prize winners, rabbis, world renown scholars, Israeli and Palestinian peace groups and more. There has never been a debate on an American campus like the debate these students have made happen.

But with your voice, they can make it to the finish line.

Thank you in advance for you help today. These students are making history - and I'm grateful we can count on you to help.

Sincerely,

Dana Bergen
Board President, Jewish Voice for Peace

John Pilger 33

Why Sharks Should Not Own Sport



By John Pilger



April 21, 2010 "Information Clearing House" -- -As Tiger Woods returns to golf, not all his affairs are salacious headlines. The Tiger Woods Golf Course in Dubai is costing $100million to build. Dubai relies on cheap third world labour, as do certain consumer brands that have helped make Woods a billionaire. Nike workers in Thailand wrote to Woods, expressing their “utmost respect for your skill and perseverance as an athlete” but pointing out that they would need to work 72,000 years “to receive what you will earn from [your Nike] contract”.


The American sports writer, Dave Zirin, is one of the few to break media silence on the corporate distortion and corruption of sport. His forthcoming book Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love (Scribner) blows a long whistle on what money power has done to the people’s pleasure, its heroes like Woods and the communities it once served. He describes the impact of the Texan Tom Hicks’s half-ownership of Liverpool Football Club, which followed another rich and bored American Malcolm Glazer’s “leveraged takeover” of Manchester United in 2005. As a result, England’s most successful club (with Liverpool) is now 716.5 million pounds in debt.

How long has this been going on? In 1983, you could buy a ticket to a first division game for 75 pence. Today, the average at Old Trafford is around 34 pounds. Watch the latest crop of parents on morose queues to buy overpriced club strips and insignia, also made with cheap and often sweated labour, with the brand of a failed multinational emblazoned on it. Profiteering is now an incandescent presence across top-class sport. Sven-Goran Eriksson will trouser up to two million pounds for just three months’ work in Ivory Coast, where half the population has barely enough to survive. Australia’s finest, most boorish cricketers are collecting their bundles for a few months’ cavorting in the Indian franchises. The attitude is entitlement, the kind that less talented “celebrities” flaunt. It was in no way remarkable that in 2007-8 a number of the heirs to Don Bradman’s Invincibles achieved what was once nigh on impossible; they were disliked in their own country. Those high fives and air-punching fists have become salutes not to “everyone working for each other, everyone having a share of the rewards” (Bill Shankly), but to the voracious sponsor and the forensic camera.

Take for example FIFA, which has effectively taken charge of South Africa for the World Cup. Along with the International Olympic Committee, FIFA is sport’s Wall Street and Pentagon combined. They have this power because host politicians believe the “international prestige” of their visitation will bring economic and promotional benefits, especially to themselves. I was reminded of this watching a documentary by the South African director Craig Tanner, Fahrenheit 2010. His film is not opposed to the World Cup, but reveals how ordinary South Africans, whose game is football, have been shoved aside, dispossessed and further impoverished so that a giant TV façade can be erected in their country.

A new stadium near Nelspruit will host four World Cup matches over 10 days. Jimmy Mohlala, speaker of the local municipality, was gunned down in his home in January last year after whistle-blowing “irregularities” in the tenders. An entire school, which was in the way, has been removed into prefabricated, sweltering steel boxes on a desolate site with a road running through it. “When the World Cup is over,” said the writer Ashwin Desai, “it will become obvious that these stadiums are going to be empty shells, that our money has been used for what is really a pyramid scheme”.

A community of 20,000 people, the Joe Slovo Informal Settlement, is threatened with eviction from where they live near the main motorway between Cape Town and the city’s airport. They are deemed an “eyesore”. Street vendors will be arrested if they fail to comply with FIFA rules about trade and advertising and mention the words “World Cup”, even “2010”. FIFA will earn about two and quarter billion pounds from the TV rights, exceeding its income from the last two World Cups combined.

Incredibly, South Africa will get none of this. And this is country with up to 40 per cent unemployment, a male life expectancy of 49 and thousands of malnourished children. This truth about the “rainbow nation” is not what fans all over the world will see on their TV screens, although they may glimpse an unreported feature of modern South Africa, which is a vibrant, rolling resistance that has linked the World Cup to an economic apartheid that remains as divisive as ever. Indeed, another kind of World Cup for effective popular protest has long been won in the streets of South Africa’s townships.

In his chapter on Liverpool FC, Dave Zirin describes a similar resistance that also offers inspiration to those struggling to reclaim sport from the sharks. A fans’ organization, Share Liverpool FC, is aiming for 100,000 shareholders to buy back the club from Tom Hicks and his co-owner, George Gillett. Liverpool fans have also formed the Liverpool Supporters Union (LSU), which has had thousands in the streets calling for a boycott of the Bank of Scotland if it gives Hicks and Gillett any more credit. Remember how the boycott of Murdoch press succeeded in Liverpool following the Sun’s lies over the Hillsborough tragedy. “If we stand together and speak with one voice, regardless of language or accent,” says the LSU, “we can make a genuine difference to our football club, the city of Liverpool and indeed the wider footballing world.” On 17 April, Hicks and Gillett announced they were selling the club. Manchester United fans are mounting a similar, principled resistance in defence of the sport they love and which they believe rightly is theirs. We should support them.


www.johnpilger.com
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article25277.htm

The Empire 554

American Kleptocracy

How Fears of Socialism and Fascism Hide Naked Theft

By William J. Astore

April 21, 2010 "
Tom Dispatch" -- Kleptocracy -- now, there’s a word I was taught to associate with corrupt and exploitative governments that steal ruthlessly and relentlessly from the people. It’s a word, in fact, that’s usually applied to flawed or failed governments in Africa, Latin America, or the nether regions of Asia. Such governments are typically led by autocratic strong men who shower themselves and their cronies with all the fruits of extracted wealth, whether stolen from the people or squeezed from their country’s natural resources. It’s not a word you’re likely to see associated with a mature republic like the United States led by disinterested public servants and regulated by more-or-less transparent principles and processes.

In fact, when Americans today wish to critique or condemn their government, the typical epithets used are “socialism” or “fascism.” When my conservative friends are upset, they send me emails with links to material about “ObamaCare” and the like. These generally warn of a future socialist takeover of the private realm by an intrusive, power-hungry government. When my progressive friends are upset, they send me emails with links pointing to an incipient fascist takeover of our public and private realms, led by that same intrusive, power-hungry government (and, I admit it, I’m hardly innocent when it comes to such “what if” scenarios).

What if, however, instead of looking at where our government might be headed, we took a closer look at where we are -- at the power-brokers who run or influence our government, at those who are profiting and prospering from it? These are, after all, the “winners” in our American world in terms of the power they wield and the wealth they acquire. And shouldn’t we be looking as well at those Americans who are losing -- their jobs, their money, their homes, their healthcare, their access to a better way of life -- and asking why?

If we were to take an honest look at America’s blasted landscape of “losers” and the far shinier, spiffier world of “winners,” we’d have to admit that it wasn’t signs of onrushing socialism or fascism that stood out, but of staggeringly self-aggrandizing greed and theft right in the here and now. We’d notice our public coffers being emptied to benefit major corporations and financial institutions working in close alliance with, and passing on remarkable sums of money to, the representatives of “the people.” We’d see, in a word, kleptocracy on a scale to dazzle. We would suddenly see an almost magical disappearing act being performed, largely without comment, right before our eyes.

Of Red Herrings and Missing Pallets of Money

Think of socialism and fascism as the red herrings of this moment or, if you’re an old time movie fan, as Hitchcockian MacGuffins -- in other words, riveting distractions. Conservatives and tea partiers fear invasive government regulation and excessive taxation, while railing against government takeovers -- even as corporate lobbyists write our public healthcare bills to favor private interests. Similarly, progressives rail against an emergent proto-fascist corps of private guns-for-hire, warrantless wiretapping, and the potential government-approved assassination of U.S. citizens, all sanctioned by a perpetual, and apparently open-ended, state of war.

Yet, if this is socialism, why are private health insurers the government’s go-to guys for healthcare coverage? If this is fascism, why haven’t the secret police rounded up tea partiers and progressive critics as well and sent them to the lager or the gulag?

Consider this: America is not now, nor has it often been, a hotbed of political radicalism. We have no substantial socialist or workers’ party. (Unless you’re deluded, please don’t count the corporate-friendly “Democrat” party here.) We have no substantial fascist party. (Unless you’re deluded, please don’t count the cartoonish “tea partiers” here; these predominantly white, graying, and fairly affluent Americans seem most worried that the jackbooted thugs will be coming for them.)

What drives America today is, in fact, business -- just as was true in the days of Calvin Coolidge. But it’s not the fair-minded “free enterprise” system touted in those freshly revised Texas guidelines for American history textbooks; rather, it’s a rigged system of crony capitalism that increasingly ends in what, if we were looking at some other country, we would recognize as an unabashed kleptocracy.

Recall, if you care to, those pallets stacked with hundreds of millions of dollars that the Bush administration sent to Iraq and which, Houdini-like, simply disappeared. Think of the ever-rising cost of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, now in excess of a trillion dollars, and just whose pockets are full, thanks to them.

If you want to know the true state of our government and where it’s heading, follow the money (if you can) and remain vigilant: our kleptocratic Houdinis are hard at work, seeking to make yet more money vanish from your pockets -- and reappear in theirs.

From Each According to His Gullibility -- To Each According to His Greed

Never has the old adage my father used to repeat to me -- “the rich get richer and the poor poorer” -- seemed fresher or truer. If you want confirmation of just where we are today, for instance, consider this passage from a recent piece by Tony Judt:

In 2005, 21.2 percent of U.S. national income accrued to just 1 percent of earners. Contrast 1968, when the CEO of General Motors took home, in pay and benefits, about sixty-six times the amount paid to a typical GM worker. Today the CEO of Wal-Mart earns nine hundred times the wages of his average employee. Indeed, the wealth of the Wal-Mart founder’s family in 2005 was estimated at about the same ($90 billion) as that of the bottom 40 percent of the U.S. population: 120 million people.

Wealth concentration is only one aspect of our increasingly kleptocratic system. War profiteering by corporations (however well disguised as heartfelt support for our heroic warfighters) is another. Meanwhile, retired senior military officers typically line up to cash in on the kleptocratic equivalent of welfare, peddling their “expertise” in return for impressive corporate and Pentagon payouts that supplement their six-figure pensions. Even that putative champion of the Carhartt-wearing common folk, Sarah Palin, pocketed a cool $12 million last year without putting the slightest dent in her populist bona fides.

Based on such stories, now legion, perhaps we should rewrite George Orwell’s famous tagline from Animal Farm as: All animals are equal, but a few are so much more equal than others.

And who are those “more equal” citizens? Certainly, major corporations, which now enjoy a kind of political citizenship and the largesse of a federal government eager to rescue them from their financial mistakes, especially when they’re judged “too big to fail.” In raiding the U.S. Treasury, big banks and investment firms, shamelessly ready to jack up executive pay and bonuses even after accepting billions in taxpayer-funded bailouts, arguably outgun militarized multinationals in the conquest of the public realm and the extraction of our wealth for their benefit.

Such kleptocratic outfits are, of course, abetted by thousands of lobbyists and by politicians who thrive off corporate campaign contributions. Indeed, many of our more prominent public servants have proved expert at spinning through the revolving door into the private sector. Even ex-politicians who prefer to be seen as sympathetic to the little guy like former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt eagerly cash in.

I’m Shocked, Shocked, to Find Profiteering Going on Here

An old Roman maxim enjoins us to “let justice be done, though the heavens fall.” Within our kleptocracy, the prevailing attitude is an insouciant “We’ll get ours, though the heavens fall.” This mindset marks the decline of our polity. A spirit of shared sacrifice, dismissed as hopelessly naïve, has been replaced by a form of tribalized privatization in which insiders find ways to profit no matter what.

Is it any surprise then that, in seeking to export our form of government to Iraq and Afghanistan, we’ve produced not two model democracies, but two emerging kleptocracies, fueled respectively by oil and opium?

When we confront corruption in Iraq or Afghanistan, are we not like the police chief in the classic movie Casablanca who is shocked, shocked to find gambling going on at Rick’s Café, even as he accepts his winnings?

Why then do we bother to feign shock when Iraqi and Afghan elites, a tiny minority, seek to enrich themselves at the expense of the majority?

Shouldn’t we be flattered? Imitation, after all, is the sincerest form of flattery. Isn’t it?

William J. Astore is a TomDispatch regular; he teaches History at the Pennsylvania College of Technology and served in the Air Force for 20 years, retiring as a lieutenant colonel. He may be reached at wjastore@gmail.com.


http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article25280.htm

Clairy Polak



NOVA-presentatrice Clairy Polak zei onlangs tegenover het KRO Magazine:

Er is niets op tegen om links te zijn, maar juist vanuit mijn opvatting dat journalistiek gericht moet zijn op waarheidsvinding, vond ik het uiterst vervelend om alleen maar in de linkse hoek te worden gezet.

Ondanks haar gevorderde leeftijd en haar ervaring in de journalistiek is het nog steeds niet to Clairy doorgedrongen dat 'waarheidsvinding' een zaak voor de religie of filosofie is. Journalisten zijn niet in staat om de waarheid te achterhalen. De journalistiek is er om de werkelijkheid weer te geven. Dat is iets heel anders. En aangezien de werkelijkheid altijd via een bepaalde manier van kijken tot stand komt is de journalist nooit objectief. Dat kan ook niet, het is per definitie onmogelijk dat de mens objectief is. En dat geldt niet alleen voor de journalistiek, maar zelfs ook voor de wetenschap.

De grote Amerikaanse historicus Howard Zinn schreef dit erover:

From the start of my teaching and writing, I had no illusions about 'objectivity,' if that meant avoiding a point of view. I knew that a historian (or a journalist, or any one telling a story) was forced to choose, from an infinite number of facts, what to present, what to omit. And that decision inevitably would reflect, whether consciously or not, the interests of the historian.

There is an insistence, among certain educators and politicians in the United States, that students must learn facts. I am reminded of the character in Charles Dickens’s book
Hard Times, Gradgrind, who admonishes a younger teacher: “Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life.

But there is no such thing as a pure fact, innocent of interpretation. Behind every fact presented to the world–by a teacher, a writer, anyone–is a judgment. The judgment that has been made is that this fact is important, and that other facts are not important and so they are omitted from the presentation.

From Voices of a People’s History of the Untied States, Introduction, p.25, edited by Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove.


Of zoals Zinn zei: You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train


Waarom zouden Nederlandse journalisten toch zo graag voor 'objectief' willen doorgaan? Wat is dit voor afwijking? Willen ze macht?