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

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 18 september 2010

The Empire 661

Classified: Perverting Democracy by Preventing Disclosure

by: Lt. Col. Barry Wingard, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed
photo
A converted air traffic control tower serves as a courthouse for the military commission trials at Guantanamo. (Photo: PBS NewsHour / Flickr)
Whether you believe the US Constitution should be applied literally or think the authors intentionally left room for interpretation by future generations, it is generally accepted that our nation’s founding document originates form the notion that government must be guided by the will of those who consent to be governed.
The lifeblood of any such democracy is an informed citizenry, which, provided with facts and context, can properly assess the course of the government's actions. Informed decision-making, in turn, requires open access to relevant information. Unfortunately, over the past several years, we in the United States have seen a concerted effort by our government to prevent massive amounts of revealing information from ever seeing the light of day.
Our Founding Fathers understood – and feared – the dangers of those in power operating outside the scrutiny of their less powerful constituents. Nonetheless, as I have discovered as legal counsel to Guantanamo Bay detainee Fayiz al-Kandari, the government seems dedicated to preventing information from coming to light and minimizing the significance of any information that does manage to escape.
The government is, in effect, taking a black marker to everything it believes could be viewed in a negative light and declaring it “classified” in the name of “security.” Thus, I contend the government is using its classification power as an offensive sword rather than a defensive shield. Is “not wanting the public to know” or “preventing embarrassment” standing alone sufficient to prevent disclosure and discussion?
When something is classified by our government at a bureaucratic level, we as Americans tend to assume there is logic behind the decision. We are thereby lulled into a false sense of propriety. We assume that, in policing itself, our government is acting in the best interests of its citizens. Sadly, as long as someone assures us we are safe, we too often abdicate our right to be fully informed. Accordingly, we fail to demand access to full information concerning our government’s actions.
As noted, I represent Fayiz al-Kandari, a man who has been held for 8½ years in a cage in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. His case is very simple: he is an Arab who was doing charity work in Afghanistan and was sold to American forces in response to a "bounty" on Arabs. Unfortunately, all of the hearsay evidence in Fayiz' factually straight-forward case has been classified by the government, not because it would reveal state secrets, but because the information is both unreliable and does not support the government's case. As a result, it is impossible to discuss his case or demonstrate his innocence.
It is important to remember that the same government officials who determine what is to be classified have recently been proven to be not only misguided, but completely wrong in virtually every area of forecasting intelligence for the past decade. Still, when it comes to the evidence in my client’s case, these same people are presumed to be laser accurate, rendering proof and court proceedings completely unnecessary if Fayiz is selected to be one of the fifty Muslims indefinitely detained.
I hope Americans will look beyond what their government expects them to believe. Americans have the right to know what their government is really doing in their name, and we should not let our top intelligence officials hide behind undemocratic, specious, and often dangerous assertions of “national security.” Today it may be a caged Muslim’s in Cuba; but tomorrow it could be you, since secrecy in the name of security now trumps informed debate and individual liberties.
The views expressed in this article do not represent the views of the Department of Defense or the United States government. Lt. Col. Wingard is a military lawyer who represents Fayiz al-Kandari and has served for 26 years in the military. When not on active duty, he is a public defender in the city of Pittsburgh.

Amnesty International 5

Sonja heeft een nieuwe reactie op uw bericht "Amnesty International 4" achtergelaten:
"Het boekingsformulier is inmiddels verwijderd van onze website waar het overigens op een bijna niet te traceren plek stond."

Gelogen. Het stond rechts in het 'steun Amnesty' menu, op de plek waar nu 'Collecte 2010' staat. Het was een speciale actie om geld te genereren.

Het 'Movies that Matter' verhaal is nog veel harder uit de duim gezogen. 'Movies that matter', of ook maar iets over film, kwam nergens in de tekst op de Amnesty actiepagina voor.
rouw BUITENLAND 13 JULI 2007
’Mijn orkest gaat op toernee naar China. Moet ik dan wel mee?’

"Diederik de Bruijn van Amnesty International wil geen lijstje maken met foute vakantiebestemmingen. Hij kan wel populaire landen noemen waar Amnesty zich zorgen over maakt. Turkije bijvoorbeeld: „Wij hebben net een rapport uitgebracht en concluderen dat de situatie er, wat martelingen betreft bijvoorbeeld, toch verslechterd is.”

Komen er wel eens mensen met gewetensvragen over hun bestemming? De Bruijn: „Dit jaar ben ik nog niet gebeld door mensen die reisadvies willen. Maar in het verleden wel. ’Mijn orkest gaat op toernee naar China. Moet ik wel mee? Ik hoor er zoveel slechts over en we spelen toch alleen voor de elite’. Wij roepen nooit op tot een boycot. Wij geven informatie, mensen moeten zelf uitmaken of ze naar zo’n land willen.”"
http://www.trouw.nl/nieuws/wereld/article1649271.ece

Dus waarom zoveel gedoe om die actie te verwijderen?


Taal 'grap':
"About 500,000 Jews live in about 100 settlements on the West Bank; about 2.5 million Palestinians also live there."

Dat was de laatste regel in een bericht op UPI.com.

"Er wonen ongeveer 8500 moslims in Drenthe; rond een half miljoen Nederlanders wonen daar ook."
UPI - 10 years of journalistic excellence

Trouw Misschien Wel 52

Sonja heeft een nieuwe reactie op uw bericht "Amnesty International 4" achtergelaten:


Trouw:
Enquête steun banken juiste middel om alsnog beleid te verantwoorden
"De commissie-De Wit boekte gisteren in de Tweede Kamer een eervol resultaat. Alle aanbevelingen van de parlementaire commissie, die onderzoek deed naar de oorzaken (in Nederland) van de kredietcrisis , werden door het parlement overgenomen.

SP-Kamerlid Jan de Wit mag dit resultaat op zijn conto bijschrijven.
Zijn commissie deed belangwekkend werk, al gingen ontwikkelingen zo snel, dat veel onderzoek alweer door nieuwe feiten achterhaald werd, nog voordat de commissie haar eindrapport kon publiceren."


Onze zelfbenoemde 'kwaliteitspers' geeft met dit anonieme 'commentaar' haarscherp haar werkelijke functie weer: het kweken van consensus van de bevolking voor de misdaden van regering en
banksters. In deze is dat het legitimeren (en zelfs promoten) van een commissie van leken die reeds bewezen heeft niet in staat te zijn om bankiers en hun trawanten effectief te ondervragen. De conclusie van haar eerste eerste onderzoek was dan ook niet verassend: iedereen is schuldig - dus niemand is schuldig.

Mijns inziens heeft de commissie-De Wit haar onkunde voldoende bewezen zodat het hele parlement nu met een gerust hart toestemming geeft aan een parlementaire enquete, waar, let op, Jan de Wit op tégen is. De enquete zal in de praktijk nog niets essentieels opleveren aangezien DNB zijn zwijgrecht behoudt, en mensen nog steeds niet kunnen komen opdagen.
"De enquête moet met ander woorden vooral gezien worden als een terechte poging een, om het zo te zeggen, democratisch gat te vullen. Dat Bos geen keuze had toen hij de banken met miljarden te hulp kwam staat buiten kijf."

En volgens mij is de crisis nog niet eens echt begonnen.


The Empire 660

Iraqi Forces Struggling, Forcing US Troops to Fight


BAGHDAD — In the two weeks since President Barack Obama declared the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq, a series of bloody skirmishes has sharpened the questions about the Iraqi security forces' ability to protect the country.
In three incidents in different parts of Iraq, American forces stepped in with ground troops and air support when their Iraqi counterparts were threatened by suicide attackers or well-armed gunmen, according to U.S. and Iraqi military accounts.
The incidents suggest that the 50,000 U.S. soldiers who remain in Iraq, far from merely "advising and assisting" Iraqi forces, as the Obama administration has described their new role, are still needed on the battlefields as insurgents try to exploit the diminished American military presence and the six-month political stalemate that's failed to produce a new Iraqi government since the country's March 7 elections.
In one example of the challenges facing the Iraqi forces, an operation against at most 25 fighters dug into a palm orchard in Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad, escalated into an intense, three-day battle that left 11 Iraqi soldiers dead and 22 wounded. On the third day, Iraqi forces called for help from an American Army brigade, which sent Special Forces troops, Apache attack helicopters and Air Force F-16 fighters that dropped two 500-lb. bombs, the U.S. military said.
"If it wasn't for the American air support and artillery," said an Iraqi lieutenant, who described the battle to McClatchy on condition of anonymity to protect his job, "we would never have dreamed of entering that orchard."
Despite years of training by the U.S. military at a cost of some $24 billion, according to the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, the Iraqi forces have failed to win the public's confidence. Their performance lately has generated only criticism.
On Friday in Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad in the heart of Sunni Muslim Anbar province, protesters condemned Iraqi security forces for a raid Wednesday that killed seven people, including a fifth-grade boy, and badly injured a woman in her 90s. U.S. ground troops and helicopters accompanied the Iraqis on the raid, which targeted a suspected Sunni insurgent, the U.S. military said.
"We hold the Iraqi government responsible for the unjustified excessive use of force," said Sheikh Hameed Jadoa, reading a statement issued by Fallujah's religious leaders, who called for a federal investigation into the incident.
On Sept. 5, suicide bombers riding in an explosives-rigged minibus attacked an Iraqi military facility in central Baghdad and killed 18 people. After one bomber detonated his explosive vest and the car bomb exploded outside the compound, two suicide bombers slipped past Iraqi guards and into the facility.
U.S. soldiers based on the site opened fire on the two men as Iraqi soldiers gave chase.
Rashwan al Hiti, 33, whose brother-in-law, an Iraqi Army sergeant, worked on the second floor of a building in the compound and was found shot in the head, was stunned that insurgents could penetrate a supposedly well-guarded government facility.
"Where are the guards, where are the (workers at) reception?" al Hiti said. "How do terrorists enter that building?"
When Obama announced the end of U.S. combat operations on Aug. 31, he voiced confidence in the Iraqi forces' readiness, saying they "have moved into the lead with considerable skill and commitment to their fellow citizens."
Although six U.S. brigades remain in Iraq with all the manpower and weaponry of combat brigades and rules of engagement that allow them to defend themselves if they're attacked, military officials now describe U.S. troops as "advisers." In joint operations, officials emphasize that Iraqi units are in the lead.
However, after the incident in Diyala that's been dubbed the Palm Tree Battle, the Iraqi lieutenant expressed exasperation at his unit's performance.
The fight in the village of al Hadayda, just west of the city of Baqouba, began on Sept. 11 after police reported fighters and a possible bomb-making site in the area, the lieutenant said. Fighters were dug into trenches in a one-acre grove, and the lieutenant's battalion called for backup when the 19th Brigade of the Iraqi Army immediately came under fire from snipers.
Reinforcements failed to stop the barrage of sniper fire and grenades. On the second day, when the Iraqis called for a mortar battery, the soldiers were "shocked" to find that the team wasn't armed with any mortars.
"Morale was down to the ground," he said.
It wasn't possible to verify the lieutenant's account independently. According to the U.S. military, the Iraqi army called for help that afternoon from a nearby U.S. advisory unit — a Stryker brigade from the 25th Infantry Division based in Wahiawa, Hawaii — which arrived at night with a burst of airpower and reconnaissance planes.
About 25 Special Forces soldiers helped cordon off the palm grove, said Lt. Col. Robert Forte, the deputy commander of the division's 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade. The soldiers met with Iraqi commanders as they planned a ground attack for the following morning.
Throughout the next day, Iraqi forces took fire from the fighters. Finally, U.S. planes bombarded the grove, and Iraqi soldiers moved in on the morning of Sept. 13, arresting 50 people, Forte said.
One of the Special Forces soldiers suffered non-life threatening injuries.
Forte praised the Iraqis' performance, saying that the commanders acted on their own intelligence and led the operation. The Iraqis also efficiently evacuated a wounded soldier from the battlefield, he said.
"It was deep, dense, jungle terrain, incredibly thick," Forte said. "The enemy forces . . . had a very effective defensive network, different hiding positions, different fighting positions. It was very difficult to fight in."
The Iraqis, however, remember the Palm Tree Battle differently.
"The number of fighters we faced wasn't more than 15," the lieutenant said in frustration.
"Three-quarters of our soldiers only care about their salaries. They have no readiness to fight. And to add to it, we have no good command that can plan and lead the army to victory."
Another soldier from his brigade had a simpler take.
"Bottom line," he said, "if it wasn't for God and the Americans, we would never have won this."
Dulaimy is a McClatchy special correspondent. Special correspondent Jamal Naji contributed to this report from Fallujah, Iraq, and a special correspondent who can't be named for security reasons contributed from Diyala province.
All republished content that appears on Truthout has been obtained by permission or license.


http://www.truth-out.org/iraqi-forces-struggling-forcing-us-troops-fight63351

vrijdag 17 september 2010

Amnesty International 4

Diederik de Bruijn moet nog veel leren. Omdat Amnesty Nederland niet het burgerlijk fatsoen heeft om mij als journalist op de hoogte van een en ander te stellen, ben ik afhankelijk geweest van anderen die mij het volgende lieten weten:


----- Original Message -----
To:
Sent: Thursday, September 16, 2010 2:23 PM
Subject: Fw: Klacht via de Amnesty-website 2

Geachte,


Het filmfestival van Amnesty International heeft ooit een contract gesloten met bookings.com. Van iedere boeking via amnestybookings vloeide een bepaald bedrag naar het filmfestival. Het filmfestival is inmiddels losgekoppeld van Amnesty International en gaat verder onder de naam Movies that Matter. Movies that Matter is nu een onafhankelijke stichting. Helaas heeft niemand bij Movies that Matter en bij Amnesty International zich gerealiseerd dat ergens op de site www.amnesty.nl het boekingsformulier is blijven staan. Bij navraag bij Movies that Matter bleek dat er nauwelijks gebruik wordt gemaakt van de mogelijkheid om via amnestybookings een hotel te boeken. Het boekingsformulier is inmiddels verwijderd van onze website waar het overigens op een bijna niet te traceren plek stond. Amnesty Interational is van mening dat het niet strookt met de intenties van organisatie om via deze methode hotels te boeken op de Golan Hoogvlakte en in de Bezette Gebieden. 


Met vriendelijke groeten,


Diederik de Bruijn
publieksvoorlichter
Amnesty International
afdeling Nederland


From:       
To:        klacht@amnesty.nl
Date:        14/09/2010 17:24
Subject:        Klacht via de Amnesty-website 

Het valt me trouwens op in de VS hoeveel meer civiele beschaving de gewone Amerikanen bezitten. Het horkerig gedrag van Amnesty Nederland zal hier niet snel geaccepteerd worden.

The Empire 659

A must-read, the central issue:

Dismantle America’s Military Behemoth
By Jacob G. Hornberger

September 15, 2010 "
fff" -- An article in last Sunday’s New York Times provided an interesting analysis of the Egyptian military, one that holds some important lessons for America.
The article described the military in Egypt as “the single most powerful institution in an autocratic state facing its toughest test in decades, an imminent presidential succession.” The military, which has been the recipient of almost $40 billion in U.S. foreign aid for the past 30 years, has made it clear that it will not permit anyone to assume the presidency “without ironclad guarantees that it would retain its pre-eminent position in the nation’s affairs.”
The paper pointed out the big role that the military and military-industrial complex have come to play in Egyptian life: “The Egyptian military has turned into a behemoth that controls not only security and a burgeoning defense industry, but has also branched into civilian businesses like road and housing construction, consumer goods and resort management.”
When he was leaving office, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had been an army general in World War II, issued a fascinating warning to the American people:
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
In other words, Big Government was a necessary evil but because of the Cold War. Once the communist threat was vanquished, Big Government proponents argued, we could dismantle the standing army and the military-industrial complex.
Alas, however, it was not to be. When the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, along with the Berlin Wall, the time had finally come to dismantle the huge military behemoth that had been constructed over the almost 5 decades of the Cold War. There was no foreign regime that had the military means or even the desire to invade and occupy the United States. The time had arrived to relieve the American people of the tremendous (and always growing) tax burden needed to fund the enormous military machine along with the grave danger it posed to the American people, as per Eisenhower’s warning.
But the military and the military-industrial complex would hear nothing of it. Notwithstanding the demise of the Soviet threat and the end of the Cold War, they were as determined as the Egyptian military behemoth to preserve their pre-eminent position in American society.
Now, it’s true that the military behemoth in the United States doesn’t use its vast resources to engage in commerce and industry, as the one in Egypt does. But it spends its money in a way that the Egyptian military cannot — by maintaining an enormous string of expensive overseas military bases in more than a hundred countries, as part of the biggest overseas military empire in history.
What happens if U.S. troops are forced to suddenly exit Iraq and Afghanistan, thereby diminishing the threat of terrorist blowback against the United States? No problem — U.S. officials are already preparing for that contingency, by falling back on the drug war as a way to preserve the existence of America’s military behemoth.
Last week Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that drug cartels in Mexico are looking more like “insurgencies” and pointed to the growing threat they are posing. She said that the situation is “looking more and more like Colombia looked 20 years ago.”
In other words, if the “war on terrorism” starts to lose steam, there’s always the possibility of stationing U.S. troops in Mexico to fight the drug war, thereby provoking them into retaliating with some sort of attack on U.S. troops or even on federal officials or federal buildings in the United States.
Then, we’ve got a new excuse to keep the military behemoth in existence, along with a new round of illegal enemy combatants, indefinite detention, torture, kangaroo tribunals, denial of federal court trials, threats to national security, suspension of habeas corpus, illegal wiretapping, kidnapping, rendition, assassinations, etc., etc., etc.
The American people would be wise to heed the warning of President Eisenhower. There is no better time than now to dismantle America’s military behemoth (as well as to legalize drugs). It’s a necessary prerequisite to restoring a free and prosperous society and a limited-government republic to our land.
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Palestina 37

Start again with a clean sheet, Palestinians

16 September 2010

Stuart Littlewood argues that the Palestinian National Authority has become “an abomination” whose “leaders have so fouled the nest that the stink is unbearable” and that the future “hinges largely on Hamas, who at least are fiercely patriotic” and “see the enemy for what they really are”.

So criminal within itself, it flinches from upholding the rule of international law. So corrupt, it happily outsources its foreign policy to terrorists in Tel Aviv. The idea that America acts as an honest broker for peace between its fellow cut-throat Israel and their victim, Palestine, on whose neck the Zionist jackboot is firmly planted, is a joke that is only funny in the hysterical sense.

The idea that any country, let alone America, would promote talks where one party is expected to make concessions to another which is bent on land-theft and whose government can only survive if it continues to defy international law, is madness. But Barack Obama is up for it.

Why did Palestinian leaders allow themselves to be sucked into this instead of going over America's head to the UN and campaigning intelligently for implementation of the rulings the world community had already made?
"The Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority is an abomination… Its leaders have so fouled the nest that the stink is unbearable. This treacherous body needs dismantling and replacing with a genuine grassroots democratic organization.”
The Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA) is an abomination. Nearly everyone I meet agrees. Its leaders have so fouled the nest that the stink is unbearable. This treacherous body needs dismantling and replacing with a genuine grassroots democratic organization. Whether this would mean the revival of the Palestinian National Council, as Alan Hart suggests in his article “Does the Palestinian diaspora care enough to become engaged?", or something more radical, is open to debate.
I cannot bring myself to nod agreement when he says that "it is unrealistic to expect the governments of the major powers either to use the leverage they have to call and hold the Zionist state to account for its past crimes or to intervene to prevent the crimes it will commit in a foreseeable future". I suspect he’s right but it is a shocking indictment of the West's morality and I prefer to think that, when the crunch comes, the West’s leaders will, like Arab leaders, be more terrified of their masses than scared of offending the Zionists and Americans.

That day might not be too far off for the battle is now joined against the enemy in our midst – the Zionist stooges who are embedded in our political fabric and work behind the scenes to prop up the swaggering invader of the Holy Land. Increasing awareness of these people and their vile agenda will generate disgust and waves of anger that will eventually turn into a hurricane and purge them.

“We ain’t seen nothing yet”

What is at stake here is not so much Palestine but human decency. The hope must be that the innate humanity of ordinary people will eventually triumph against the Zionist abomination and the treachery of their own governments.

In the meantime we see civil society – individuals and unions – across the globe taking action against Israel's trade and cultural interests in defiance of their corrupted political leaders.
“…I don't believe the Palestinian diaspora has a chance of exerting the necessary pressure as long as there are no Palestinian embassies or delegations energetic enough and patriotic enough to mobilize an uprising of the exiles.”
I agree that there’s little point in demanding the right of return unless those exiled are clamouring for it in a concerted way. But I don't believe the Palestinian diaspora has a chance of exerting the necessary pressure as long as there are no Palestinian embassies or delegations energetic enough and patriotic enough to mobilize an uprising of the exiles.

However, a wider international movement (not just the diaspora) might well be able to blow the Zionist walls down, and we have been treated to brilliant flashes of this possibility from the various Free Gaza initiatives.

We ain’t seen nothing yet, I suggest.

To their shame Palestine’s ambassadors/delegates, under Fatah orders presumably, practise what can only be described as “the silent routine”. In other words they operate a communications blackout. Fatah want to keep their villainous antics under wraps and don’t believe they have a duty to inform and persuade.

Here in the UK the ambassador, the last time I looked, hadn’t updated the Palestinian General Delegation website for several months. Today, as I write this, the website is not even accessible. Emails from the ambassador's desk are mainly about entertainment events within London’s wonderful social whirl. Press releases and briefings on issues that matter are rarely seen.

And get this. A local branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) is arranging a fundraising supper next month with the ambassador as guest speaker. But the word on the street is that the organizers will have to pay his and his wife’s expenses.

As one member remarked, "It's like we are holding this supper as banquet to honour him so what we are going to raise will be spent on his majesty's transportation and accommodation!"

You couldn't make it up, could you?
“The PA thinks nothing of sending a squad of thugs out to Hebron to beat up the family of Ahmed Amr because he delivered a sermon at Friday prayers, and has vast sums of money to mount countless other brutal and oppressive operations against their own people.”
Of course, this is one way to keep the diaspora demoralized. The ambassador is said to be having difficulty getting any money through from Ramallah. Considering the huge flow of funds into the PA, the idea that the first GBP 150+ of money raised from supporters of Palestinian freedom should be gifted as another subsidy to the discredited and unrepresentative outfit run by Mahmoud Abbas and his henchmen, is preposterous. The PA thinks nothing of sending a squad of thugs out to Hebron to beat up the family of Ahmed Amr because he delivered a sermon at Friday prayers, and has vast sums of money to mount countless other brutal and oppressive operations against their own people.

If he cannot afford to cut a decent figure the ambassador should of course step down, pack his bags and go back to his lucrative job in the West Bank. This same ambassador has complained before that the Delegation in London lacks funds. One wonders how hard he fought to get proper resources. Wouldn’t the right thing be to resign in disgust?

“Arabs don’t see the importance of image building”

It is not enough to have a just cause. You must work hard to communicate the fact and convince the global public to support it.

An Arab friend recently told me: "I am afraid the concept of PR [public relations] is alien to the overwhelming majority of Arabs."

"The Palestinians have been suffering on the receiving end of Israel's PR for decades,” I replied. “They must know its importance by now."

"Of course," he said, "but most Arabs, including Palestinians, definitely don't appreciate the importance of PR and image building. That's why they're so crap at it. And that's why Hamas can't seem to appreciate the damage its charter, and the language in which it is framed, is doing to it and to the Palestinian cause."

The essential point is that Arabs, and especially Palestinians, can no longer afford to be “crap at it”. They must embrace it and master it.

And what did I read in Maan News on 15 September? “President Mahmoud Abbas will visit Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem on Wednesday [15 September] to continue peace negotiations,” according to his spokesman.

What message does he think this sends? Why isn’t he insisting on neutral ground for talks? Next they’ll be going on holiday together with their buckets and spades.

It seems to me as an outsider – and Palestinians must win over outsiders if they are to make progress – that the future hinges largely on Hamas, who at least are fiercely patriotic, see the enemy for what they really are and have a healthy contempt. Whether they act entirely in the interests of the Palestinian people I wouldn’t like to say. But they are no fools and have a reputation of being incorruptible, which is why the US won't talk with them.

Some in the Hamas government are fairly moderate but, as my friend points out, their core constituents believe in an Islamic state governed by shari'ah law, such as prevailed in the Arabian desert 1,500 years ago!

Hamas, if they are going anywhere, will have to face facts – namely that "most Palestinians do not want shari'ah or an Islamic state of any kind, and world public opinion will always be put off by this shari'ah nonsense", my friend, who is a Muslim Arab, added.

When that is accepted, as it must be sooner or later, daylight will shine through and put a different complexion on matters.

Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. For further information please visitwww.radiofreepalestine.co.uk.


http://www.redress.cc/palestine/slittlewood20100916

donderdag 16 september 2010

Noam Chomsky 42

Noam Chomsky: “President Obama is Involved in War Crimes Right Now” 

The New Statesman Interviews: Noam Chomsky

By Alyssa McDonald

September 15, 2010 "
New Statesman" -- Do you consider yourself to be primarily a scientist or a political activist?
If the world would go away, I would be happy to keep to the science, which is much more interesting and challenging. But the world has an unfortunate habit of not going away and the problems are quite urgent.
What are your thoughts on President Obama?
He's involved in war crimes right now. For example, targeted assassinations are war crimes. That's escalated quite sharply under Obama. If you look at WikiLeaks, there are a lot of examples of attacks on civilians.
What did you think when he was given the Nobel Peace Prize?
Considering the history of the Nobel Peace Prize, it's not the worst example. It was given to him before he had the time to commit many war crimes.
Is there any point in us being in Afghanistan?
We wouldn't have asked in 1985: "Is there any point in the Russians being in Afghanistan?" The fact is that the invasion was a crime. Then comes the question: "Is there any point in continuing?" But that presupposes legitimacy. Putting aside questions of morality and legality and simply asking about the goals of the US government is a very narrow consideration.
What would you like to see happen next in Afghanistan?
There has to be an internal political settlement. Like it or not, the warlords and the Taliban are Afghans, so there has to be a settlement among them. The regional powers also have to be involved, including Pakistan, India and the US - because it's there, not because it belongs there.
Do you worry about Obama's lack of experience in foreign policy?
I don't think that experience is a very useful or convincing attribute for a sensible foreign policy. Henry Kissinger had a lot of experience. [And he still became involved in] the major mass murders in Cambodia.
Is the focus of US foreign policy right?
Let's take the main focus: the Iranian threat. The brutal, clerical regime is a threat to its own population, but it's hardly unique in that respect. The threat to the US came in the presentations to Congress by Pentagon officials in April - they pointed out that the threat is not military; it's to the "stability" of the region.
Do you agree with that assessment?
It's imperial doctrine. Stability is when the UK and US invade a country and impose the regime of their choice. But if Iran tries to interfere, that's destabilising.
What do you make of David Cameron?
It's too early to say much. I haven't been greatly impressed by his policies or his statements.
He recently identified the UK as the junior partner in the "special relationship".
That's too bad for England. It's been a very injurious relationship for England for a long time.
Do countries such as Bolivia have lessons to teach the rest of the world?
Yes. The poorest country in South America, Bolivia had been devastated by neoliberal economic policies. In recent years, the majority of the population won significant battles against privatisation of water. They then entered the political arena and elected someone from their own ranks, and people really engaged with the issues. Their economic growth is now, I think, the best in Latin America.
Are you optimistic about the future of the left?
I don't think it makes much sense to be optimistic, but there's not much point in speculating, either. Either way, the tasks are the same.
Do you vote?
I often do, without much enthusiasm. In the US, there is basically one party - the business party. It has two factions, called Democrats and Republicans, which are somewhat different but carry out variations on the same policies. By and large, I am opposed to those policies. As is most of the population.
What would you like to forget?
There are a lot of things I regret - for example, the Indochina war. I was deeply involved with it, facing a long jail sentence. But I deeply regret that I didn't get involved until the mid-1960s, which was much too late.
Was there a plan?
Well, I had some general guidelines. They're so banal I hate to say them. But what's not banal is applying them in particular situations.
Are we all doomed?
If there was an observer on Mars, they would probably be amazed that we have survived this long. There are two problems for our species' survival - nuclear war and environmental catastrophe - and we're hurtling towards them. Knowingly. This hypothetical Martian would probably conclude that human beings were an evolutionary error.



http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article26371.htm

Tony Blair. 14

Jodie Evans

Jodie Evans

Posted: September 15, 2010 03:40 PM


Last night Tony Blair was in conversation with Katie Couric at the 92nd St Y. I happened to be in town for a board meeting so headed over to a sold-out house to see if I could get in. Luck was with me as I got a ticket about 13 rows from his chair on the aisle. Blair has been traveling across the US and UK recently to promote his new memoir, A Journey. Peace activists from both countries have rightly been calling it "A Journey to Crime," and have even been taking it upon themselves to move copies of the book to the Crime section of their local bookstores.
I had handcuffs in my purse and was ready to get to the front of the room in five strides. Very early on, Katie talked about him being forced out of Ireland by a pelting of eggs and shoes. His answer was that these actions are the 'tyranny of protesters.' "Those that shout the loudest don't necessarily deserve to be heard," he said. Undeterred by his attempt to marginalize people who speak out at his book events I waited to hear what he had to say.
Her next line of questions was about the Iraq War. Did he have regrets? No, he said, because he had acted correctly. Saddam wouldn't allow weapons inspectors in, so therefore there must have been WMDs. My blood was boiling. What about the weapons inspectors who were there, who had been given access to everything who said there were no WMDs??? He continued to say he had done right and it was just like Iran. No weapons inspectors means WMDs.
I leapt up with handcuffs held high above my head. "You Liar. I was in Iraq and met with weapons inspectors before we invaded and they said they had found no WMDs. You are a War CRIMINAL! LIAR!" At this moment I was surrounded by NYC cops and British Secret Service and they slammed me up against the wall and dragged me out of the room to cheers. The British guys were brutal, dragging me, yelling at me and begging the NYPD to arrest me. They looked at them like they were off a bit and didn't really react. One of the NYPD went back to get my purse and handed it to the British SS who has literally just thrown me out into the street. He was so furious that he put my purse far away from me. He told me to thank him for not putting me in jail. Just minutes before, he told me that the broadcast had cost a lot of money and that I have ruined it. I told him if he wanted to arrest me, then go ahead, it makes for a better story. He was not happy with me.
I brushed myself off and went to pick my computer bag, which I had left at Gloria Steinem's. There I met up with awesome feminist activist Shelby Knox, who took a photo of me with the handcuffs, which I somehow managed to leave the event with. I'll have to keep them handy with so many war criminals still on the loose.
What was really frightening to me, beyond the fear of being kicked out or arrested, was to be in an audience eating up his every word. I was in Iraq during the time we were discussing. International media and 30 some members of the EU Parliament were there at the same time being taken to all the supposed WMD sites that were just empty spaces in a desert. Medea Benjamin spoke to inspectors in their various languages (since she speaks them all) and they assured us they had found none and had been looking hard.
How do we bring liars like Tony Blair to justice? Continue to disrupt their lies everywhere they go. At noon yesterday, Medea disrupted Karl Rove at his speaking event in Washington DC. As he backed off from the podium, he exclaimed, "It's the CODEPINK women!" They know they are lying and we can't let them continue to re-write history. 
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