zaterdag 16 februari 2008

Het Neoliberale Geloof 95


Half-point cut? Testifying before the Senate banking committee, U.S. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke rejected the notion that a recession is imminent. But, he said, the Fed will act in a 'timely manner' in an effort to quell the downturn that's well under way.

Sluggish growth, more interest rate relief, but no recession.

That's the latest status update on the slumping U.S. economy from Federal Reserve Board chief Ben Bernanke as he testified yesterday before the Senate banking committee.

With the economy still deteriorating, he vowed that the central bank would act in a "timely manner" as an insurance policy against an even steeper downturn.

"My baseline outlook involves a period of sluggish growth, followed by a somewhat stronger pace of growth starting later this year as the effects of monetary and fiscal stimulus begin to be felt," Mr. Bernanke told the committee.

Mr. Bernanke also painted a grim picture of the housing market, which he said is continuing to worsen due to tighter lending standards.

There has been a "virtual shutdown" of the subprime loan market - geared at borrowers with poor credit histories - as well as much tighter credit conditions across a broad swath of the lending industry.

All that, he said, is depressing home values, pushing up the inventory of unsold homes and weighing on consumers.

Mr. Bernanke has been reluctant to acknowledge the possibility that the U.S. may be headed for recession, even though many Wall Street economists say the country is already in one. But he conceded the Fed's next quarterly forecast, due out shortly, would show "lower projections of growth" that are "reasonably consistent" with private sector numbers.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, testifying alongside Mr. Bernanke, also rejected the possibility of a recession, which is typically marked by at least two quarters of shrinking economic activity.

"Growth looks to be weak, but still positive," Mr. Paulson said.

Mr. Bernanke and Mr. Paulson faced a few subtle jabs about not anticipating the economic downturn. But on the whole, the hearing was remarkably civil given the growing angst about the economy among consumers, investors and businesses.

Credit problems that began in the housing sector have spread to other areas of lending, forcing up interest costs for many businesses and even local governments. Meanwhile, the first signs of trouble have emerged in the job market, where employment fell in January for the first time in nearly five years. What's more, high energy costs and falling stock prices are weighing on consumer confidence.

Economists interpreted Mr. Bernanke's comments as a pledge to cut the central bank's benchmark interest rate next month.

Economist Ryan Sweet of Moody's said he expects another half-a-percentage-point cut in the Fed's benchmark rate when it meets again on March 18.

"The Bernanke-led Fed has put gradualism to bed," Mr. Sweet said.

The Fed has already lowered the federal funds rate by 2.5 percentage points since last summer - 1.25 points in January alone. The rate currently stands at 3 per cent - the lowest rate since mid-2005.'

Lees verder:

woensdag 13 februari 2008

The Empire 356

Frida Berrigan: Surge in spending on nukes a grave error
Frida Berrigan
The Capital Times

For many Americans, nuclear weapons bring up old memories and forgotten associations -- the duck and cover drills of the 1950s, President Reagan's exhortations against the "evil empire," and the plot lines of countless straight-to-video political thrillers. It may then come as a surprise that in 2008 the United States is considering a huge new investment in nuclear weapons.The U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration is pushing for an estimated $150 billion to develop a new generation of nuclear weapons and a more "responsive" production network. The centerpiece of this move is called Complex Transformation, a multiyear plan to build new or upgraded facilities at each of the NNSA's eight nuclear weapons-related sites. The plan also calls for building a new nuclear weapon called the reliable replacement warhead, which would replace all deployed weapons in the U.S. arsenal.This proposal would build on the Bush administration's quiet surge in nuclear weapons spending. Adjusting for inflation, U.S. spending on nuclear weapons has increased by over 13 percent since 2001. More importantly, the U.S. is still spending one-third more than the Cold War average on nuclear weapons.There are considerable problems associated with the Complex Transformation plan; chief among them are its huge costs, questionable necessity and danger of provoking nuclear proliferation.Is it too costly? Any way you look at it, $150 billion is a lot of money. But, given the Department of Energy's track record, it could be even more. A report from the Government Accountability Office last year examined 12 major DOE construction projects and found that eight are saddled with cost over-runs ranging from $79 million to $7.9 billion.Is Complex Transformation necessary? Not likely. A 2007 study by JASON, the independent science group that advises the government on defense issues, confirmed that the existing warhead cores could be viable for 100 years or longer. And since the size of the U.S. arsenal should be moving down, not up, there is no need for a costly upgrade of the production complex.Is it provocative? Yes. An expanded U.S. nuclear arsenal tells the world that U.S. national security remains dependent on these devastating weapons. At the same time, Washington seeks to convince nations like Iran and North Korea not to produce them. This "do as we say, not as we do" approach encourages nuclear proliferation. If trends continue, nuclear expert Hans Blix forecasts at least a dozen new nuclear powers within 10 years.Green-lighting a massive investment in nuclear weapons is both premature and foolhardy. For one, the U.S. does not have a clear sense of what its nuclear policy should be going forward. There is a range of opinion among the presidential hopefuls, ranging from Barack Obama's pledge to work toward the elimination of nuclear weapons to Sen. John McCain's statement that "it's naive to say that we will never use nuclear weapons." The last Nuclear Posture Review, which articulates U.S. nuclear policy, was completed in 2001 and needs updating.The DOE's push to surge nuclear weapons runs contrary to the positions taken by Henry Kissinger, secretary of state under President Nixon; George Shultz, secretary of state under President Reagan; William Perry, President Clinton's secretary of defense; and Sam Nunn, the former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. This group and dozens of other former foreign policy officials are now championing "the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons" as a "bold initiative consistent with America's moral heritage."But there is a role for civil society as well. This week, posters depicting the devastating consequences of nuclear bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will be displayed in the rotunda of the Capitol. Organized by the Hiroshima-Nagasaki A-bomb Exhibition Committee, this weeklong exhibit will conclude with a public hearing at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Capitol exploring the role Wisconsin can play in turning Complex Transformation into nuclear disarmament.This and other like-minded efforts raise awareness about nuclear weapons and focus on the goals of stopping the spread of nuclear weapons, ending the pursuit of new warheads, and ensuring the dismantlement of existing stockpiles.Taken together, these steps will encourage the next president to truly relegate nuclear weapons to dim memories and old movies.Frida Berrigan is a senior program associate with the New America Foundation's Arms and Security Initiative, which is a member of the Campaign for a Nuclear Weapons Free World.'

Lees verder:

The Empire 355

'Lebanon's new proxy force
Matthew Cassel,

Electronic Lebanon

"We don't want a confrontation. But if we are dragged into one, we will not stay [with our] hands tied," warned Parliamentary Majority Leader Sa'ad Hariri during a speech to supporters and journalists in Tripoli on Saturday night. His words to Hizballah and the Lebanese opposition echoed those of top US diplomat to the Middle East David Welch in a letter to Arab League chief Amr Mousa in which he warned that the US would not sit by with its "hands tied" if the current political crises continues.The US, along with its close ally and Lebanon's hostile neighbor, Israel, have long wanted to see the disarmament of the resistance and now political movement Hizballah. This is especially so after Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000 and Israel's failure to militarily defeat the group during the July 2006 war, both widely viewed as Hizballah victories.Hariri, the son of assassinated former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, and others in the ruling March 14 coalition, who say Syria and its allies are responsible for the string of bombings and assassinations that have killed more than 100 people in Lebanon over the last three years, have tried to fight off accusations that they are acting on behalf of the US and Israel. However it didn't help their case when, a day after Hariri's speech, Druze leader allied with the March 14 coalition Walid Jumblatt spoke to his supporters using nearly identical rhetoric as the US and Hariri, saying that March 14 would not sit with their "arms folded" waiting for conflict in Lebanon to occur. The "hands tied" and "arms folded" statements suggest coordination between the US and March 14 and their new unified and more aggressive stance towards Hizballah. These statements also indicate that the playing field for Lebanese politics is changing, and fast. The country has been without a president since Emile Lahoud's extended term ended in November 2007, and since then both sides have in principle agreed to a candidate, though they have not agreed on the composition of the government, where the big issue, should Hizballah be included, is whether they will be able to protect their right to bear arms as a resistance movement against any future Israeli aggression in Lebanon. The US and Israel perceive their interests in eliminating and disarming the Shia political party, formed as a resistance movement in the early 1980s soon after the beginning of the 22-year-long Israeli occupation. This was Israel's motivation behind the 2006 war when it tried to defeat Hizballah and cause them to lose popular support but failed to do so. Now, if armed conflict does arise March 14 can also be sure that it will receive US military support like it did during the summer of 2007, when the Lebanese army received US weaponry to help them conduct their battle against extremists in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp.'

Het Neoliberale Geloof 94

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

The Hollow Men

T.S. Eliot

Let me open up today with stories about the economic decline that is already beginning to decimate the lives of so many Americans. I have been writing about this every day and the response has hardly been deafening. Political gossip and minutia seems to have a greater grip on the progressive imagination than tracking the financial collapse. This is a media reform issue too because the coverage remains so sporadic and confusing. The NY Times discovered today as its lead story that the subprime mortgages mess is just one part of a much larger story. That story was reported MONTHS ago in many business publications. I have been saying it for two years. Maybe I am in my own bubble, but it is one that I want to burst.
Michael Moore made his first movie about General Motors. Read about what’s happened to that company and its workers because it went from being an auto manufacturer to a lender. Thousand of workers are being axed.
We are watching the “fall of America,” folks, a slow-motion process that is escalating. I can’t do it justice but I will repeat a quote from last December by a man I am not a big fan of but who nailed it in part as reported just before Xmas on
First there is the credit bubble. Then there is the credit bubble collapse. Then there is the political haggling as Rome burns. Then there is the Depression. But former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers has a plan.He spelled out the problems facing the U.S. economy and proposed solutions in a speech “Risks of Recession, Prospects for Policy” yesterday at The Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. In summary:
“I am speaking here today because I believe that our current economic situation requires a comprehensive program of measures to contain the fallout from problems in the financial and housing sectors and to assure sufficient policy support for economic growth over the next several years. Perhaps because of a failure to appreciate the gravity of our current situation and the problems our political process has in responding quickly and collaboratively to emergent threats, such a comprehensive program is neither in place nor in immediate prospect.”
· news on yr dissector’s wire:
AP: WASHINGTON - The federal budget deficit is running at a pace that is more than double last year’s imbalance through the first four months of the budget year.
In its monthly review of the government’s finances, the Treasury Department said Tuesday that the budget was in surplus in January, but totals $87.7 billion so far this budget year, double the $42.2 billion imbalance recorded during the same period in 2007. The new budget year started last Oct. 1.
NYT: Lenders Offer Plan to Head Off Foreclosures
A group of major mortgage lenders will allow some homeowners facing foreclosure to delay losing their homes for 30 days.
ANALYSIS IN LA TIMES: “Conventional wisdom holds that Wall Street is driven by two emotions: greed and fear. Today we see the second of those — the fear factor — on public display, in the form of the latest effort to forestall foreclosures.
(Headline for those who missed it: “The Bush administration, trying to deal with a worsening housing slump, announced a new initiative today aimed at helping homeowners about to lose their homes. For qualified homeowners, it will put the foreclosure process on hold for 30 days.”)
Banks and lenders are afraid — afraid of a deepening housing crisis, afraid of the political blowback, afraid of writing down more bad loans, and very, very afraid of being stuck owning foreclosed houses that are declining in value every day. The knife is still falling; banks and lenders do not want to catch it……CREDIT CRISIS IS NO LONGER JUST A SUBPRIME PROBLEMFOX BUSINESS NEWS REPORTS: PANIC, PANIC, PANIC
The risk of complete stock market meltdown, a crippling 5000 point nose-dive, is becoming increasingly likely.
The wild swings on Wall Street are becoming increasingly wild and more frequent. The fallout from the sub- prime crisis and slowdown in the economy increase the chances of a genuine economic nightmare.
To prevent the dominos from crashing the Federal Reserve has slashed interest rates by 1.25 percent in just the past two weeks. This means that “Real Interest Rates” are barely positive now. If they go any lower, they’ll be below official inflation rates.
“After inflation is considered, the bank will pay you to borrow its money, instead of the other way around,” says James DiGeorgia, editor of the Gold and Energy Advisor ( “Central banks like the Fed don’t do this unless they’re desperate — in panic mode.”
The latest reason for the Fed to panic is that bond insurers are in serious trouble.
“Bond insurers are capable of triggering a chain-reaction meltdown on Wall Street that spreads worldwide,” explains DiGeorgia. “A few years ago, bond insurers like MBIA and Ambac had quiet but profitable businesses. They insured bonds issued by municipalities, state governments, and other large organizations. Since these issuers rarely defaulted, the bond insurers rarely paid out on their policies. But the insurer executives got greedy. So they started insuring riskier bonds — such as mortgage-backed bonds, including subprime debt.”
These bonds are looking increasing fragile. Last Wednesday, Standard & Poor’s downgraded or took negative rating action against 8,000 mortgage bonds and CDOs, worth $534 billion. If only half of those go into default, it will mean $267 billion in losses. This is over two and a half times worse than anything in this crisis thus far.
And, according to estimates, if one or more of the insurers gets downgraded, Wall Street will face an estimated $70 billion in more losses.
“The risk of complete stock market meltdown, a crippling 5000 point nose-dive, is becoming increasingly likely. This would send gold to $2,500, and may even cause sudden 1929-type runs on banks and financial institutions across the country,” cautions DiGeorgia.
The fact that Fox Business Channel is reporting this–given its predeliction to offer “positive” business news is a sign of how serious things are….Billionarire Investor Warren Buffet Offered To Rescue Wall Street From This Crisis By Guaranteeing The Bonds–But At A Stiff Price; Many Fear His Plan Won’t Work; Government Asleep?

Paul Brill 2

Eergisteren schreef ik dit over:

'Paul Brill
De atlanticus en politiek commentator van de Volkskrant Paul Brill is ernstig verontrust, zo lees ik in een openingsartikel in zijn krant. Paul wordt dit keer aangekondigd als 'onze verslaggever' en lepelt klakkeloos en zonder context de woorden van de Amerikaanse minister van Defensie Robert Gates op.''‘Tweedeling NAVO zou fataal zijn’Van onze verslaggever Paul Brillgepubliceerd op 11 februari 2008 02:47, bijgewerkt op 11 februari 2008 09:05'

Gisteren nam de NRC een column van de goed ingevoerde William Pfaff over de NAVO met als onderkop: 'Er is al jaren geen sprake meer van gemeenschappelijke opvattingen en belangen.' Pfaff concludeert: 'Er is maar 1 model voor een doelmatig militaire alliantie, en wel dat de groep krachtige gemeenschappelijke opvattingen en grote gemeenschappelijke belangen heeft, en bereid is elkaar te raadplegen en tegemoet te komen. Als die gemeenschappelijke opvattingen ontbreekt, is de alliantie een schijnvertoning. Washington doet in de benadering van Afghnaistan graag of de oude NAVO nog bestaat. Maar die bestaat niet meer. In de zogeheten oorlog tegen de terreur ontbreekt het politieke wezen van een bondgenootschap.' En zo is het maar net. Ideologische commentatoren als Paul Brill beseffen niet dat in de politiek geen vriendschappen bestaan, maar alleen belangen, zoals De Gaulle dat altijd benadrukte. Welnu, de Amerikaanse belangen zijn in sommige gevallen tegengesteld aan die van Europa. De EU vormt een grote economische bedreiging van de VS. Europa heeft geen imperia meer, de Verenigde Staten wel. Europa heeft geen enkel belang in Afghanistan of Irak of waar dan ook waar het Amerikaans imperium verdedigd moet worden. Europa verkoopt niet langer meer het kolonialisme onder de titel dat het de westerse blanke christelijke beschaving verspreidt. De VS moet nu maar een tijdje de white man's burden dragen. Dat Paul Brill dit niet begrijpt is toch opmerkelijk. Het illustreert nog eens hoe diep men in een ideologie kan geloven.

dinsdag 12 februari 2008

The Empire 354

'Soldier, After Bipolar Treatment and Suicide Attempts, Sent Back to War Zone

The Associated Press

Fort Carson - A Fort Carson soldier who says he was in treatment at Cedar Springs Hospital for bipolar disorder and alcohol abuse was released early and ordered to deploy to the Middle East with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team.
The 28-year-old specialist spent 31 days in Kuwait and was returned to Fort Carson on Dec. 31 after health care professionals in Kuwait concurred that his symptoms met criteria for bipolar disorder and "some paranoia and possible homicidal tendencies," according to e-mails obtained by a Denver newspaper.
The soldier, who asked not to be identified because of the stigma surrounding mental illness and because he will seek employment when he leaves the Army, said he checked himself into Cedar Springs on Nov. 9 or Nov. 10 after he attempted suicide while under the influence of alcohol. He said his treatment was supposed to end Dec. 10, but his commanding officers showed up at the hospital Nov. 29 and ordered him to leave.
"I was pulled out to deploy," said the soldier, who has three years in the Army and has served a tour in Iraq.
Soldiers from Fort Carson and across the country have complained they were sent to combat zones despite medical conditions that should have prevented their deployment.
Late last year, Fort Carson said it sent 79 soldiers who were considered medical "no-gos" overseas. Officials said the soldiers were placed in light-duty jobs and are receiving treatment there. So far, at least six soldiers have been returned.
An e-mail sent Jan. 3 by Capt. Scot Tebo, the brigade surgeon, says the 3rd Brigade Combat Team had "been having issues reaching deployable strength" and that some "borderline" soldiers were sent overseas.
Paul Sullivan, executive director of Veterans for Common Sense, was outraged.
"If he's an inpatient in a hospital, they should have never taken him out. The chain of command needs to be held accountable for this. Washington needs to get involved at the Pentagon to make sure this doesn't happen again.
"First, we had the planeload of wounded, injured and ill being forced back to the war zone. And now we have soldiers forcibly removed from mental hospitals. The level of outrage is off the Richter scale."
The soldier said that on Nov. 29, he was called to the office at Cedar Springs. His squad leader, his platoon leader, his Army Substance Abuse Program counselor and two counselors from Cedar Springs "came and ambushed me."'

De Israelische Terreur 323

'Olive Trees in “Zion”

"On behalf of the landowners, the Shahadeh family, and the residents of the village of Al-Mashhad, I want to send a message to people everywhere – the Jewish National Fund, to the Nazareth Illit Municipality, to the Members of Knesset and the government, and to the residents of Israel. We don’t want the events of 1976 to repeat themselves, but I have to say that not one meter of land will be taken from us unless we die on our lands. We do not hold any hatred or racist feelings toward anyone. We just want to resolve the matter in a just way. If not, there will be no turning back. We don’t have anywhere else to live or to build our homes. We are a family that makes its living from agriculture and we have no other land to farm. Either we will die or we will live in peace with the neighboring cities without our lands being harmed. I repeat: what happened in 1976 won’t be repeated."
Ramzi Shahadeh,
landowner in Al-Mashhad village'

Institute of Social Studies

Voor gedegen informatie kunt u bij het ISS terecht:

'Dear Colleagues and Friends,

We've developed a web PORTAL for our teaching specialisation in human rights, development and social justice (HDS). It's designed to interact with the main website of the Institute of Social Studies as well as various forms of multi-media.It will serve as a complement for our teaching, inform our students and colleagues about projects we're working on and be a point of reference for HDS alumni as well as potential HDS students. Being a portal, what we have here is only a start and will forever be a and all feedback on and suggestions for the HDS Portal are very much welcomed!Human Rights, Development and Social Justice (HDS)'


De Dood van een Massamoordenaar 4

De hypocrisie van de westerse commerciele massamedia wordt door de mensen van Medialens scherp geanalyseerd:


The death of the former Indonesian dictator, Suharto, on January 27 could have unleashed a flood of revelations detailing British and American support for one of the 20th century’s worst mass murderers. Instead, the media continued the cover up that has so far lasted more than forty years.The 1965-6 massacres that accompanied Suharto’s rise to power claimed the lives of between 500,000 and 1 million people, mostly landless peasants. A 1977 Amnesty International report cited a tally of "many more than one million” deaths. ( In the words of a leaked CIA report at the time, the massacre was "one of the worst mass murders of the 20th century". (Declassified US CIA Directorate of Intelligence research study, 'Indonesia - 1965: The Coup That Backfired,' 1968;, while assuring readers of US involvement, leading New York Times commentator James Reston described these events as "a gleam of light in Asia". ( Max Frankel, then the New York Times’ Washington correspondent, wrote an article titled, "US Is Heartened by Red Setback in Indonesia Coup.” He commented: "The Johnson administration believes that a dramatic new opportunity has developed both for anti-Communist Indonesians and for United States policies. Officials... believe the army will cripple and perhaps destroy the Communists as a significant political force."( United States had been heavily involved, not just in bringing Suharto to power, but in arming, equipping and training his army. In May 1990, Kathy Kadane of the Washington-based States News Service reported admissions of US government officials that the US embassy in Jakarta had drawn up lists of 5,000 suspected Communist leaders. These “zap lists” were given to the Indonesian military who used them to track down and kill party members. One former embassy official told Kadane: "I probably have a lot of blood on my hands, but that's not all bad." ( McGehee, a senior CIA operations officer in the 1960s, described the terror of Suharto's takeover as "the model operation" for the US-backed coup that later destroyed Chile’s Salvador Allende. McGehee indicated the key deception that had sparked Suharto’s massacre:"The CIA forged a document purporting to reveal a leftist plot to murder Chilean military leaders... [just like] what happened in Indonesia in 1965." (John Pilger, ‘Our model dictator,’ The Guardian, January 28, 2007;,,2247948,00.html)The British government was secretly involved in the slaughter. Roland Challis, BBC south-east Asia correspondent at the time, later revealed: "British warships escorted a ship full of Indonesian troops down the Malacca Straits so they could take part in the terrible holocaust... I and other correspondents were unaware of this at the time... There was a deal, you see. In establishing the Suharto regime, the involvement of the IMF and the World Bank was part of it... Suharto would bring them back. That was the deal." (Ibid)

Lees verder:

De Israelische Terreur 322

Ook dit zult u niet snel via de Nederlandse commerciele massamedia te weten komen.

'Palestinians who appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court to stop settlers from digging tunnels under their homes were rounded up by the Israel police
For months the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA), with funding from the settler organization ELAD, has been digging under the private property of Silwan residents in occupied East Jerusalem. The owners of the land were not informed nor did they give their consent to the digging that has already resulted in damage to the walls of their homes. The damage to buildings and infrastructure has reached a state where the main road caved in recently under the weight of the winter snow. Letters sent by Attorney Sami Ershed on behalf of the residents to the IAA requesting information about the digging taking place on their land have not been answered.
On Friday, February 7th Silwan residents established a protest tent on a privately owned plot adjacent to the ELAD visitors center where digging has been taking place. Yesterday, February the 10th, Silwan residents appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court for a temporary stop work order.
Late last night, police raided the village, and arrested four people. Three of them were land owners who had submitted the appeal to the Supreme Court. They were charged with sabotaging ELAD’s property, didn’t see a judge, and ended up signing conditions, placing them under house arrest for five days. The gross irony is the land they are charged with sabotaging, is their own.
Israeli Human Rights Attorney Gabi Laski stated: “When, in a politically sensitive place like Silwan, the settlers are being allowed to build and dig without permits and the law is not being enforced. And when people who want to complain about this to the police are the ones who are arrested, it indicates that there is something wrong with how the law is being enforced.”
MK Yossi Beilin (Meretz) also came to see the dig yesterday; he asked the IAA to allow him to have a look into the archaeological site, but was told that ELAD would not allow him to enter.
On Sunday workers arrived at the land to continued digging, but left after the owner of the land told them to leave his land. Later an Israeli settler from ELAD came with a worker. The owner of the land again attempted to tell the workers to stop, but this time the settler began cursing and pushing him, forcing him to call the police.'

The Empire 353

Informatie die u doorgaans niet snel in de Nederlandse commerciele massamedia zult aantreffen, aangezien men het er te druk heeft met lokaal gekeutel.
'United States Lacks the Capability to Counter Insurgency in the Muslim World
Recognizing that the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will not be the last of their kind, a new RAND Corporation study issued today finds that U.S. capabilities to meet the threat of Islamist insurgencies are seriously deficient and out of balance.
The report finds that large-scale U.S. military intervention and occupation in the Muslim world is at best inadequate, at worst counter-productive, and, on the whole, infeasible. The United States should shift its priorities and funding to improve civil governance, build local security forces, and exploit information — capabilities that have been lacking in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Violent extremism in the Muslim world is the gravest national security threat the United States faces,” said David C. Gompert, the report's lead author and a senior fellow at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “Because this threat is likely to persist and could grow, it is important to understand the United States is currently not capable of adequately addressing the challenge.”
The findings are from a major review of strategies to combat insurgencies RAND initiated at the request of the Department of Defense.
The study finds that when infected by religious extremism, local insurgencies become more violent, resistant to settlement, difficult to defeat and likely to spread. The jihadist appeal to local insurgents is the message that their faith and homelands are under attack by the West and they should join the larger cause of defending Islam. This makes U.S. military intervention not only costly, but risky.
While the recent military surge has improved security in much of Iraq, “it would be a profound mistake to conclude from it that all the United States needs is more military force to defeat Islamist insurgencies,” Gompert said. “One need only contemplate the precarious condition of Pakistan to realize the limitations of U.S. military power and the peril of relying upon it.”
The authors cite data from some 90 conflicts since World War II that show the surest way to defeat insurgencies is to foster local governments that are seen by their citizens as representative, competent and honest. “Foreign forces cannot substitute for effective local governments, and they can even weaken their legitimacy,” said co-author John Gordon.
Historically, large-scale military intervention against insurgencies — e.g., France in Indochina and Algeria and the Soviet Union in Afghanistan — more often fails than succeeds.
The study finds that because it can take time for a local insurgency to acquire strength and turn jihadist, the chances of defusing an insurgency are better than 90 percent when caught early. But those chances drop to less than 50 percent if the insurgency has the chance to become a full-blown uprising. Thus, the United States needs the ability to interpret “indicators and warnings” so it can act in the early stages of the insurgency.
The United States can be more effective in countering insurgencies in the Muslim world, the study finds, by strengthening its capabilities:
To build effective and legitimate local governments.
To organize, train, equip and advise indigenous military and police forces.
To gather, share and exploit information.
Among the many functions a capable local government must perform, three are critical to counterinsurgency: job training and placement of ex-combatants; an efficient and fair justice system, including laws, courts and prisons; and accessible mass lower education.'

11 september 2001 (38)

Nadat ons allemaal was wijs gemaakt dat Osama bin Laden de grote planner achter de aanslagen van 11 september was, en er zelfs wereldwijd opnamen waren uitgezonden waarin een als Osama bin Laden verklede figuur ons vertelde dat hij de aanslagen had laten plegen, komen de Amerikaanse militairen ineens met weer een andere man op de proppen die nu de rol van hoofdschuldige moet spelen. Verwarrend. Nog verwarrender is dat mijn collega's in Nederland dit alles zonder blikken of blozen overnemen. Die lui kun je alles wijsmaken.Veel terughoudender is de verslaggeving van de kwaliteitskrant The Independent:
'US accused of using 'kangaroo court' to try men accused of role in September 11 attacks

By Andrew Gumbel

The United States military announced yesterday that it was bringing death penalty charges against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and five other men suspected of orchestrating the September 11 attacks, and intended to try them under the Bush administration's much-criticised military tribunal system, which is subject only to partial oversight by the civilian appeals system.
The decision to use Mohammed and the others as guinea-pigs in a constitutionally dubious legal proceeding is likely to trigger a firestorm of anti-American sentiment in the Islamic world and spark a fractious domestic debate in an already highly charged presidential election year.
Concerns were raised last night of political interference by the White House in the military's decision to go to trial in the middle of an election campaign in which the Republican frontrunner, John McCain, has made the fight against al-Qa'ida central to his election bid.
"What we are looking at is a series of show trials by the Bush administration that are really devoid of any due process considerations," said Vincent Warren, the executive director head of Centre for Constitutional Rights, which represents many Guantanamo detainees. "Rather than playing politics the Bush administration should be seeking speedy and fair trials," he said. "These are trials that are going to be based on torture as confessions as well as secret evidence. There is no way that this can be said to be fair especially as the death penalty could be an outcome."
While few doubts have been raised, domestically or internationally, about the men's involvement in the attacks on New York and Washington, just about everything else about their treatment has been bitterly contested and is likely to continue to be contested, inside the courtroom and out. Everything is laden with potential controversy – the decision to try the six men together rather than individually, the proposed venue at Guantanamo Bay, where all six are being held, the threatened use of the death penalty, and perhaps the most controversial question of all: the admissibility of evidence gathered through waterboarding and other coercive techniques generally defined as torture.
Even Brig-Gen Thomas Hartmann, the Pentagon official co-ordinating the case, acknowledged yesterday that it could be several months before a trial begins and months more, if not years, before any death penalty – assuming it is enforced – is carried out.
General Hartmann was careful to say that he wanted the trial proceedings to be "as completely open as possible", with lawyers and journalists present in the courtroom – barring the possibility of some closed sessions to consider classified information. He stressed that the men would be regarded as innocent until proven guilty, just as they would in a civilian court. And he promised to provide "every piece of evidence, every stitch of evidence, every whiff of evidence" to the defendants' lawyers so they would be fully able to prepare for trial.
That did little to stop Clive Stafford Smith, the British lawyer who has worked on behalf of "enemy combatants" at Guantanamo, to issue a condemnation of the "kangaroo court". He said: "Anyone can see the hypocrisy of espousing human rights, then trampling on them. We will infuriate our allies who firmly oppose the death penalty. We will anger the world."'

maandag 11 februari 2008

De Israelische Terreur 321

Informatie over de Israelische terreur die de westerse commerciele massamedia in alle vrijheid doorgaans weigeren te melden:
'Israeli forces kill one, injure 24 and destroy property in Gaza Report, Al Mezan.
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) stepped up their attacks against the Gaza Strip, launching aerial attacks on different parts of the Strip. The IOF launched two raids on Rafah, killing a policeman and causing considerable material damage in al-Shaboura refugee camp in Rafah. Also, IOF jet planes launched four attacks on a training site under construction and one attack on a steel factory in al-Zaitoun neighborhood in Gaza City, destroying it. Many homes in the vicinity were damaged. The attacks also resulted in the injury of 24 persons, including 14 children and six women.According to Al Mezan's initial field investigations, at approximately 11:30pm on 9 February, IOF warplanes fired a missile at a policeman as he was walking in the al-Brazil neighborhood in Rafah. He was identified as 22-year-old Muhammad Ismail Abu Mteir.In another attack that same day, an IOF warplane fired four missiles at a large vegetable storage facility in al-Shaboura refugee camp in Rafah. As a result, the facility was destroyed completely. The owners of the 800-square-meter facility estimated their loss at approximately $700,000 US. Forty workers at this facility, which is owned by Dr. Abdul-Hadi Qishta, lost their jobs.The strike also targeted another vegetable factory owned by the Shabana Company. The factory's owners estimated their loss at approximately $350,000. The factory employed 80 workers in two shifts. Fourteen houses in the area were damaged partially or severely; one of them was destroyed completely and its owner and his wife received minor injuries. These fourteen homes were inhabited by 106 persons. Ten citizens were injured in this shelling; most of them were children.Later that night, at approximately 11:55pm, IOF warplanes launched four air strikes at an unfinished training site in the town of Bani Suhaila, east of Khan Younis. The attack caused damage to the building.A few minutes later, at approximately 12:30am (10 February), IOF warplanes fired a missile at a steel factory in al-Zaitoun neighborhood, southeast of Gaza City, destroying it completely and causing severe damage to a nearby workshop. The factory is owned by Yasin al-Madhoun. The shelling also caused damage to many houses and injury to 13 people from the neighborhood, including four children and six women.'

De Israelische Terreur 320

'Photostory: Solidarity with Gaza Slideshow, The Electronic Intifada, As Israel tightened its siege on the Gaza Strip, Palestinians and solidarity activists demonstrated their support for the people of Gaza. The above images were sent to The Electronic Intifada from around the world and document various actions, demonstrations and vigils in solidarity with Gazans under siege. If you have images to which you hold the rights documenting Palestine, Palestinian life, politics and culture, or of solidarity with Palestine, please email images and captions to photos A T electronicintifada D O T net.'

De Israelische Terreur 319

'Book review: "Israel and the Clash of Civilisations" Raymond Deane, The Electronic Intifada,

11 February 2008

Much debate on conflict in the Middle East is beset by contradictions and unanswered questions. These include: If the war in Iraq was motivated by oil, then why was it opposed by so many within the oil industry itself? Was the US incited by the omnipotent Zionist lobby to a war that is opposed to America's vital interests (and is the lobby omnipotent?)? Or is Israel merely a tool of the US establishment, seen as a vital defender of Western interests in the recalcitrant Orient?In his second book, Nazareth-based English author Jonathan Cook seeks to cut these Gordian knots, and in the process proposes an uncompromisingly grim diagnosis of what is happening in the world's most unstable region, and why it is happening.Borrowing analysis by Greg Palast, Cook accepts that the oil industry wished to see Saddam toppled, but maintains that it envisaged "a US-backed coup by a Ba'athist army general; the new strongman would be transformed into a democratic leader by elections held within three months." There would ensue "the creation of an Iraqi state-owned company that would restrict production, staying within quotas and shoring up Saudi Arabia's control of OPEC ... The neocons, on the other hand, wanted the Iraqi oil industry privatized so that the global market could be flooded with cheap oil and the Saudi-dominated cartel smashed."Given that Saudi Arabia is "Israel's only Middle Eastern rival for influence in Washington," the Jewish state had long desired to see the destruction of OPEC, which would also deprive the Saudis of their "muscle to finance Islamic extremists and Palestinian resistance movements." Furthermore, as far back as 1982 the Israeli newspaper Haaretz's legendary military correspondent Ze'ev Schiff (recently deceased) had written that Israel's "best" interests would be served by "the dissolution of Iraq into a Shi'ite state, a Sunni state and the separation of the Kurdish part," a prescription that the US is attempting to fill a quarter of a century later. Israel was also wary of "strongmen" who might act as a focus to awaken the dozing giant of Arab nationalism, although Quislings are always welcome.Clearly Israeli and US neoconservative perceived interests are being met by the current Iraq war better than by its predecessor, when George H.W. Bush, advised by the wily oilman James Baker, declined to advance on Baghdad and oust Saddam Hussein, whose survival was still regarded as essential for "stability" in the region.Six months before the 2003 reinvasion of Iraq, the egregious neocon Michael Ledeen wrote: "We do not want stability in Iran, Iraq, Syria Lebanon and even Saudi Arabia; we want things to change. The real issue is not whether, but how to destabilize." Clearly, a cynical travesty of Schumpeter's "creative destruction" has become the motto for a breed of militaristic ideologues whose element is chaos.'

De Israelische Terreur 318

'Israel's "next logical step"
Ali Abunimah,
The Electronic Intifada,

"The next logical step" for the Israeli government " will have to be a decision whether to target the top political leadership" of Hamas. So said an Israeli official quoted in The Jerusalem Post. Tzahi Hanegbi, a senior member of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Kadima party and chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, echoed the call, arguing that "There's no difference between those who wear a suicide suit and a diplomat's suit." Following a cabinet meeting on 10 February, Israel's Interior Minister Shimon Sheetrit specifically called for the execution of Ismail Haniyeh, the democratically-elected Hamas prime minister, and added that for good measure "We must take a neighborhood in Gaza and wipe it off the map."Last September, Yossi Alpher, the co-founder of the European Union-funded publication Bitterlemons, wrote an article advocating "decapitating the Hamas leadership, both military and 'civilian.'" Alpher, a former special adviser to Israel's defense minister Ehud Barak when the latter was prime minister, worried that Israel would "pay a price in terms of international condemnation," for "targeting legally elected Hamas officials who won a fair election," but that overall it would be well worth it.Executing democratically-elected leaders may require more chutzpah than even Israel has shown, but the possibility and its disastrous consequences have to be taken seriously given Israel's track record. Israel executed Hamas' elderly, quadriplegic and wheelchair-bound co-founder, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, in 2004, followed shortly afterwards by the execution his successor as the movement's leader, Dr. Abdel Aziz Rantisi.Aside from the United States, Israel is the only country where the murder of foreign leaders is openly debated as a policy option.Israeli official propaganda presents all its recent actions as defensive and necessary to stop the rockets fired by Palestinian fighters in Gaza. But if Israel's goal was to achieve calm and a cessation of violence, the first logical step would not be to contemplate new atrocities, but to respond positively to Hamas' repeated ceasefire proposals.When it was elected in January 2006, Hamas had observed a unilateral ceasefire for more than a year. After the election, Hamas' leaders offered a long-term total truce, tentatively following the political path of other militant groups including the Irish Republican Army (IRA), whose 1994 ceasefire paved the way for the peace agreement in Northern Ireland. (In December, US President George W. Bush received Martin McGuinness, former second in command of the IRA, and now Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, at the White House.)Last December, Haaretz reported that Hamas had secured the agreement of all factions to end rocket fire on Israel, provided Israel reciprocated. Hamas was also engaged in indirect negotiations for the release of Palestinian political prisoners in exchange for an Israeli prisoner of war held in Gaza.'

Lees verder:

Paul Brill

De atlanticus en politiek commentator van de Volkskrant Paul Brill is ernstig verontrust, zo lees ik in een openingsartikel in zijn krant. Paul wordt dit keer aangekondigd als 'onze verslaggever' en lepelt klakkeloos en zonder context de woorden van de Amerikaanse minister van Defensie Robert Gates op.

''‘Tweedeling NAVO zou fataal zijn’
Van onze verslaggever Paul Brill
gepubliceerd op 11 februari 2008 02:47, bijgewerkt op 11 februari 2008 09:05

MÜNCHEN - De NAVO mag geen alliantie met twee klassen worden: een eerste klasse van lidstaten die bereid zijn te vechten, en een tweede klasse van lidstaten die dat mijden. Een ontwikkeling in die richting zou de verdragsorganisatie ‘feitelijk de das om doen’.
Deze krachtige waarschuwing gaf de Amerikaanse minister van Defensie Robert Gates zondag in München, waar hij de jaarlijkse Conferentie over vredes- en veiligheidsbeleid toesprak.
Deze conferentie wordt wel omschreven als de ‘politieke salon van de NAVO’, waar tal van ministers en hoge diplomaten hun opwachting maken. De laatste jaren worden ook coryfeeën van buiten de alliantie uitgenodigd. Dit jaar was de Russische vice-premier Sergei Ivanov een prominente gast.
Gates is al enige tijd doende de NAVO-bondgenoten aan te sporen tot een grotere militaire inspanning in Afghanistan. Hij lijkt daarbij de methode van het wisselbad te volgen: kritiseren, masseren, prijzen en weer een beetje kritiseren. De boodschap in München luidde: individuele lidstaten valt misschien weinig te verwijten, maar collectief schiet de verdragsorganisatie tekort. Daarom moet toch iedereen proberen er een schepje bovenop te doen, in navolging van de Verenigde Staten die binnenkort nog eens 3.200 mariniers naar Afghanistan sturen.'

Lees verder:

Als onafhankelijke journalist zou ik zeggen dat een breuk in de NAVO toe te juichen is, want zonder dat de bevolking geraadpleegd werd, is de NAVO van een verdedigingsorganisatie een aanvallende organisatie geworden, die kennelijk overal ter wereld kan worden ingezet zodra dit de Amerikaanse belangen dient. Wie heeft dat beslist en op grond waarvan? Kan Brill dat zijn lezers uitleggen? Wat doen de Europese landen in Afghanistan? De Taliban verdrijven? Dat lukt niet. De vraag is ook: waarom zou Europa met geweld de Taliban willen verdrijven. Het zijn slechterikken, dat is waar, maar de wereld zit vol met tuig. Sterker nog, onze bondgenoten als de VS en Israel schenden dagelijks het internationaal recht en toch steunen onze politici deze agressieve staten. Het komt zelfs niet in hun hoofd op dat Europa deze schendingen niet hoeft te steunen. Waarom legt Paul Brill zijn lezers niet uit wat nu volgens hem het probleem is. Natuurlijk wil een Amerikaanse oorlogsminister dat Europa meedoet aan het miljarden verslindende Amerikaans expansionisme, dat spreekt voor zich. Maar is dat goed voor Europa? Paul Brill, wiens visie al decennialang op zijn zachtst gezegd behoudend is, is een schoolvoorbeeld van een journalist die blind allerlei belangen dient die hij voor de buitenwereld niet expliciet maakt. Beseft Brill niet dat er al lang een economische strijd tussen Europa en de VS gaande is, die de VS aan het verliezen is, en dat de belangen tussen Europa en de VS al langere tijd niet meer sporen? Natuurlijk beseft Brill dat als politiek commentator, maar hij zit bij de Volkskrant, niet om "verslaggever" te spelen, maar om propaganda te bedrijven.

Meer over Paul Brill als pro-Israel lobbyist. Vandaar ook de tendentieuze Midden Oosten berichtgeving van de Volkskrant.

'Een Ander Joods Geluid
Paul Brill bijziend

Hoe lukt dat Paul Brill toch, helderziend en blind tegelijk te zijn? Helderziend is hij zeker: in de Volkskrant van afgelopen zaterdag wist hij te melden dat ''de vraag niet langer is, of in Iran een kernwapen wordt ontwikkeld, maar wanneer het zo ver is''.

Jaap Hamburger over Paul Brill'


zondag 10 februari 2008

De Israelische Terreur 317

'Photostory: The month in pictures,

January 2008 Slideshow,

The Electronic Intifada,

January 2008 saw a tightening of Israel's siege of the Gaza Strip following Hamas' routing of Fatah there the previous June. Palestinians in Gaza have been cut off from the outside world and Israel has banned or severely restricted the import of basic needs such as fuel, medicine and medical equipment, food, school supplies and cement. In January, electricity cuts lasted more than 12 hours per day as lack of fuel forced the closure of the region's sole power plant. In the early morning hours of 23 January, 17 bombs planted by Palestinian resistance created an opening in the iron Israeli-built wall separating Gaza from Egypt and allowed a moment of free movement for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who seized the opportunity to visit family in Egypt, buy much needed supplies, or simply have a taste of the normal life being denied to them by Israel.The above slideshow is a selection of images related to the breaking the Gaza siege in January 2008 taken by MaanImages photographer Wissam Nassar. "The month in pictures" is an ongoing feature of The Electronic Intifada. If you have images documenting Palestine, Palestinian life, politics and culture, or of solidarity with Palestine, please email images and captions to photos A T electronicintifada D O T net.'

De Israelische Terreur 316

Onder de ogen van de wereld, we staan erbij en we kijken er naar, de Israelische terreur tegen een hele bevolking. En het mag van het Westen. Sterker nog, dit terrorisme wordt gesteund door het Westen, diplomatiek, economisch, politiek en zelfs militair. Zolang het nog kan. Wij zijn namelijk beschaafd, wij zijn blank, wij zijn dus beter dan de rest. En het Westen heeft eeuwenlang de joden vervolgd, dus mogen van het Westen de joods-Israeli's de Palestijnen terroriseren, die moeten van het Westen nu maar een tijdje de rol van jood spelen.

'Leaving Gaza
Riven by factional violence and under blockade from Israel, which regards it as a hostile entity, life in the Gaza Strip has become ever more brutalised. The recent blasting open of the southern border with Egypt by Hamas offered a temporary respite to its occupants. But the opening of the Rafah border masked the reality of a population still largely cut off from the world by Israel to punish Gaza for Qassam rocket attacks on Israeli targets. Peter Beaumont spent 10 days in Gaza photographing daily life and compiling this exclusive report.'

Yeats: The Wheel

The Wheel THROUGH winter-time we call on spring, And through the spring on summer call, And when abounding hedges ring Declare that winter&#...