zaterdag 6 maart 2010

Israel als Schurkenstaat 19

So when are you going to make war on Israel, Mr Brown?

By Alan Hart

6 March 2010

Alan Hart highlights the double standard displayed by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the Iraq Inquiry on 5 March, where he sought to justify the aggression against Iraq on the grounds of Iraq’s non-compliance with international law – something Israel has been doing for 62 years.

”... for 62 years the Zionist state of Israel has been, and continues to be, the biggest single violator of international law. No state on Planet Earth has been allowed to get away with defying UN resolutions for so long. And, I say, no state poses a bigger threat to the peace of the region and the world than Israel on its present course.”

There could not be a more graphic illustration of the double-standard that drives Western foreign policy and has prevented a resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict than Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s explanation to the Chilcot Inquiry on why he, when he was Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer and wrote the cheques for it, backed the war on Iraq.

He said, “It was the right decision for the right reasons.”

What were they?

Not 9/11 or the weapons of mass destruction assertions.

In an effort to distance himself from America’s neo-cons and their soul-mate in London, Prime Minister (at the time) Tony Blair, Brown said: "I never subscribed to what you might call the neo-conservative proposition, that somehow, at the barrel of a gun, overnight liberty or democracy could be conjured up. What I believed was that the case for intervention was that international law had to be observed."

"If Mr Brown means what he says, and if by chance he remains prime minister after Britain’s imminent election, logic suggests that he will take the lead with President Obama in putting together a coalition to require Israel, by war if necessary, to comply with 'the rules of the international community'".

Putting some flesh on that bone, Brown said his view was that if the international community could not act together over Iraq, he feared that “the new world order we were trying to create would be put at risk.”


“Aggressor states that refuse to obey the laws of the international community” have to be confronted. Iraq was a “serial violator of the rules of the international community”.

There is, of course, some truth in that, but not nearly as much truth as in the statement that for 62 years the Zionist state of Israel has been, and continues to be, the biggest single violator of international law. No state on Planet Earth has been allowed to get away with defying UN resolutions for so long. And, I say, no state poses a bigger threat to the peace of the region and the world than Israel on its present course.

As I have previously written, the double-standard which allows Israel to behave as it likes with impunity was effectively put into place when the major powers, all of them, refused to condemn Israel as the aggressor in 1967 and demand that it withdraw from occupied territories without preconditions.

If Mr Brown means what he says, and if by chance he remains prime minister after Britain’s imminent election, logic suggests that he will take the lead with President Obama in putting together a coalition to require Israel, by war if necessary, to comply with “the rules of the international community”.

Of course he won’t because logic, like truth and reality, has no place in politics, domestic or international.


A book by Karl Rove, once described as President “Dubya” Bush’s brains, is about to be published. The memoir is titled Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight. In it Rove says he doubts that Bush would have invaded Iraq and taken Britain into a disastrous war if he had known that intelligence on weapons of mass destruction was simply wrong. "The Bush administration itself would probably have sought other ways to constrain Saddam."

If Rove is right (and is being something other than self-serving), what would Prime Minister Tony Blair’s position have been? He is firmly on the BBC’s record as saying that he probably would have moved ahead with removing Saddam Hussein from power even had he known that the narrative about weapons of mass destruction was fictional by finding different ways to justify it. As I have previously written, I never saw Blair as Bush’s puppet. I think he was and is a neo-con in spirit. And I think it’s more likely than not that he was firmly in the camp of those pressing Bush to go to war. So if Rove had done what he now seems to be saying he should have done – played a part of exposing the intelligence on WMD for the nonsense it was, Blair might not have got the war he and apparently Gordon Brown wanted.

Alan Hart is a researcher, author and former correspondent for ITN’s "News At Ten" and the BBC’s "Panorama programme".

De Carnegie Stichting 4

Van Jose.

Chef Staf Rahm Emanuel 28

President Obama: Replace Rahm with Me open letter from Michael Moore

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Dear President Obama,

I understand you may be looking to replace Rahm Emanuel as your chief of staff.

I would like to humbly offer myself, yours truly, as his replacement.

I will come to D.C. and clean up the mess that's been created around you. I will work for $1 a year. I will help the Dems on Capitol Hill find their spines and I will teach them how to nonviolently beat the Republicans to a pulp.

And I will help you get done what the American people sent you there to do. I don't need much, just a cot in the White House basement will do.

Now, don't get too giddy with excitement over my offer, because you and I are going to be up at 5 in the morning, 7 days a week and I am going to get you pumped up for battle every single day (see photo). Each morning you and I will do 100 jumping jacks and you will repeat after me:


Then we will put on our jogging sweats and run up to Capitol Hill. We will take names, kick butts, and then take some more names. If we have to give a few noogies or half-nelson's, then so be it. In our pockets we will have a piece of paper to show the pansy Dems just how much they won by in 2008 -- and the poll results that show the majority of Americans oppose the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and want the bankers punished. Like drill sergeants, we will get right up in their faces and ask them, "WHAT PART OF THE PUBLIC MANDATE DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND, SOLDIER?!! DROP AND GIVE ME 50!"

I know this is the job Rahm Emanuel was supposed to be doing.

Now, don't get me wrong. I have always admired Rahm Emanuel (if you don't count his getting NAFTA pushed through Congress in the '90s which destroyed towns like Flint, Michigan. I know, picky-picky.). He is what we needed for a long time -- a no-apologies, take-no-prisoners fighting machine. Someone who is not afraid to get his hands dirty and pound the right wing into submission. Far from being the foul-mouthed bully he has been portrayed as, Rahm is the one who BEAT UP the bullies to protect us from them.

That's certainly what he did in 2006. After six long, miserable years of the middle-class getting slaughtered and the poor being flushed down the toilet, Rahm Emanuel took on the job of returning Congress to the Democrats. No one believed it could be done.

But he did it. Big time. He put the fear of God into the party of Rush and Newt. They had never been so scared. More importantly, though, he instilled a sense of hope in the Democrats that they could actually score the mother of all hat tricks in 2008 -- and with you, an African American no less, in the pole position!

It worked. The Darkness ended. The vast majority of nation wept with joy on the night of the election (those who weren't weeping went out and bought a record number of guns and ammo). Unlike the last president, you didn't "win" by 537 votes in Florida (although Gore won the popular vote by a half-million), you beat McCain nationally by 9,522,083 votes! The House Democrats got a walloping 79-vote margin. The Senate Dems would caucus with a supermajority of 60 votes unheard of in over 30 years. The wars would now end. America would have universal health care. Wall Street and the banks would, at the very least, be reined in. Hardworking citizens would not be thrown out of their homes. It was supposed to be the dawning of a new age.

But the Republicans were not going to go quietly into the night. You see, instead of having just one Rahm Emanuel, they are ALL Rahm Emanuels. That's why they usually win. Unlike most Democrats, they are relentless and unstoppable. When they believe in something (which is usually themselves and the K Street job they hope to be rewarded with someday), they'll fight for it till the death. They are loyal to a fault to each other (they were never able to denounce Bush, even though they knew he was destroying the party). They dig their heels in deep no matter what. If you exiled them to a lone chunk of melting polar ice cap, they would keep insisting that it was just a normal "January thaw," even as the frigid Arctic waters rose above their God-fearing necks ("See what I mean -- this water is COLD! What 'global *warming*'?! Adam and Eve rode dinos...aagghh!!... gulp gulp gulp").

We thought we were all done with this craziness, but we were mistaken. Like a beast that you just can't cage, the Republicans convinced not only the media, but YOU and your fellow Dems, that 59 votes was a *minority*! Precious time was lost trying to reach a "consensus" and trying to be "bipartisan."

Well, you and the Democrats have been in charge now for over a year and not one banking regulation has been reinstated. We don't have universal health care. The war in Afghanistan has escalated. And tens of thousands of Americans continue to lose their jobs and be thrown out of their homes. For most of us, it's just simply no longer good enough that Bush is gone. Woo hoo. Bush is gone. Yippee. That hasn't created one new friggin' job.

You're such a good guy, Mr. President. You came to Washington with your hand extended to the Republicans and they just chopped it off. You wanted to be respectful and they decided that they were going to say "no" to everything you suggested. Yet, you kept on saying you still believed in bipartisanship.

Well, if you really want bipartisanship, just go ahead and let the Republicans win in November. Then you'll get all the bipartisanship you want.

Let me be clear about one thing: The Democrats on Election Day 2010 are going to get an ass-whoopin' of biblical proportions if things don't change right now. And after the new Republican majority takes over, they, along with a few conservative Democrats in Congress, will get to bipartisanly impeach you for being a socialist and a citizen of Kenya. How nice to see both sides of the aisle working together again!

And the brief window we had to fix this country will be gone.


Gone, baby, gone.

I don't know what your team has been up to, but they haven't served you well. And Rahm, poor Rahm, has turned into a fighter -- not of Republicans, but of the left. He called those of us who want universal health care "f***ing retarded." Look, I don't know if Rahm is the problem or if it's Gibbs or Axelrod or any of the other great people we owe a debt of thanks to for getting you elected. All I know is that whatever is fueling your White House it's now running on fumes. Time to shake things up! Time to bring me in to get you pumped up every morning! Go Barack! Yay Obama! Fight, Team, Fight!

I'm packed and ready to come to D.C. tomorrow. If it helps, you won't really be losing Rahm entirely because I'll be bringing his brother with me -- my agent, Ari Emanuel. Man, you should see HIM negotiate a deal! Have you ever wanted to see Mitch McConnell walking around Capitol Hill carrying his own head in his hands after it's just been handed to him by the infamous Ari? Oh, baby, it won't be pretty -- but boy will it be sweet!

What say you, Barack? Me and you against the world! Yes we can! It'll be fun -- and we may just get something done. Whaddaya got to lose? Hope?

Retardedly yours,
Michael Moore

P.S. Just to give you an idea of the new style I'll be bringing with me, when a cornhole like Sen. Ben Nelson tries to hold you up next time, this is what I will tell him in order to get his vote: "You've got exactly 30 seconds to rescind your demand or I will personally make sure that Nebraska doesn't get one more federal dollar for the rest of Obama's term. And then I will let everyone in your state know that you wear Sooner panties, backwards. NOW DROP AND GIVE ME 50!"

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Israel als Schurkenstaat 18

Wat de Nederlandse commerciele media niet durven berichten doet The New York Times wel:

Gaza a Year Later

Published: March 4, 2010

Last week I visited Gaza, the first European Union foreign minister to do so in over a year. My purpose was very much a humanitarian one, to see for myself the impact of a blockade that has now been imposed on the people of Gaza for some two-and-a-half years and to meet with the courageous and dedicated staff of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), including its director of operations, Irishman John Ging. They play an indispensable role in maintaining vital humanitarian services to the people of Gaza.

From my arrival in Gaza, the deprivations and hardships resulting from the blockade were all too evident. Visiting an UNRWA food distribution center, I could see for myself the despair and suffering etched in the faces of those who queued for the most basic rations of rice, milk powder and sunflower oil. Eighty percent of the population of Gaza now lives below the poverty line and UNRWA is encountering increasing levels of abject poverty where people basically do not have enough food, even with their meager food allocations, to live.

The tragedy of Gaza is that it is fast in danger of becoming a tolerated humanitarian crisis, a situation that most right-thinking people recognize as utterly unacceptable in this day and age but which is proving extremely difficult to remedy or ameliorate due to the blockade and the wider ramifications of efforts to try and achieve political progress in the Middle East.

One can imagine how hard it is not to give in to despair and hopelessness in such an environment. However, what was most impressive and heartening during my visit was the resilience and incredible dignity of ordinary people.

In particular, I want to mention two young girls whom I met during a visit to the UNRWA girls’ preparatory school in Rafah. Reem Abu Owida is 10, though her diminutive stature would suggest she was at least two years younger. Dina Ali Awaja is 15.

As a former schoolteacher myself, I was deeply impressed by the eloquence, enthusiasm and positive attitude of these two girls. Their sense of self-worth and their commitment to the values of human rights and respectful dialogue, about which they spoke eloquently and passionately, shone through and confirmed the value of the wonderful work being performed by UNRWA in the education sector.

I was similarly struck by what I heard from a business group at the Karni industrial park. This group of predominantly young businessmen and women graphically described the devastation that has been wrought on the private sector in Gaza, an economy that is now only operating at some 10-15 percent of capacity. Over a thousand companies have gone out of business since the Israeli Army’s Operation Cast Lead in early 2009. Unemployment now runs at over 50 percent.

What I witnessed in Gaza, amidst all the rubble and devastation still so evident from last year’s conflict, was a population traumatized and reduced to poverty by an unjust and completely counterproductive blockade. All that is being achieved through the imposition of the blockade is to enrich Hamas and marginalize even further the voices of moderation.

I view the current conditions prevailing for the ordinary population as inhumane and utterly unacceptable, in terms of accepted international standards of human rights.

These are the clear messages that I will be bringing when I travel to Córdoba next weekend to meet with E.U. High Representative Catherine Ashton and my fellow E.U. foreign ministers. The European Union and the international community simply must do more to increase the pressure for the ending of the blockade and the opening of the border crossings to normal commercial and humanitarian traffic.

I genuinely believe that the medieval siege conditions being imposed on the people of Gaza are unacceptable. I am also all too conscious that somewhere within Gaza, now enduring his fourth year of captivity, is the young Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, and I equally repeat my call for his speedy release and return to his family.

The people of Gaza are justifiably proud of their heritage. It is a rich one, as I discovered when I visited the small but impressive archaeological museum recently constructed on the outskirts of Gaza City. Young people such as Reem and Dina deserve the opportunity to have a future in line with their heritage.

I urge all who truly care about peace in the Middle East to do what they can to ensure that all young people like Reem and Dina enjoy what we would all wish for our own children: a decent future.

Micheál Martin is the foreign minister of Ireland.

De Westerse Terreur 59

One in three killed by US drones in Pakistan is a civilian, report claims

One in three "militants" killed in US Predator Drone attacks in Pakistan's remote tribal areas is in fact a civilian, according to a report by an American think tank.

By Dean Nelson, South Asia Editor
Published: 10:22AM GMT 04 Mar 2010

The report, by the Washington-based New America Foundation, will fuel growing criticism of the use of unmanned drones in the fight against al-Qaeda and Taliban militants, who use Pakistan as a base for attacks on Nato forces in Afghanistan.Critics say their use not only takes innocent lives, but amounts to unlawful extra-judicial killing of militants.

The report by Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann found that 32 per cent of those killed in drone attacks since 2004 were civilians.
Their report, The Year of the Drone, studied 114 drone raids in which more than 1200 people were killed. Of those, between 549 and 849 were reliably reported to be militant fighters, while the rest were civilians.
"The true civilian fatality rate since 2004 according to our analysis is approximately 32 per cent," the foundation reported.
The number of drone attacks has increased dramatically since Barack Obama replaced George W Bush as US president early last year.
There were 45 drone attacks during Mr Bush's two terms of government, compared with 51 during the first year of Mr Obama's new administration. In the first two months of this year, up to 140 "militants" have been killed.
Despite the controversy surrounding the scale of civilian deaths, and public opposition from Pakistan's government, the Obama administration has increased its reliance on drones to target "high-value" Taliban and al-Qaeda figures.
Since last autumn, they have killed the Taliban's notorious leader Baitullah Mehsud in South Waziristan, and more recently, it is claimed, his successor Hakimullah Mehsud.
In 2008, Pakistani intelligence sources said they had killed Rashid Rauf, the British al-Qaeda militant behind the 2006 transatlantic airliner bomb plot.
Osama bin Laden's deputy Ayman al Zawahiri is believed to had a lucky escape when a drone struck a compound he had recently left.
Taliban leaders this week confirmed another of their top leaders Mohammed Qari Zafar had been killed in north Waziristan.
He was believed to have organised the 2006 bombing of the American embassy in Karachi.
The report said although civilian casualty figures are high, they did not believe their study would cause American commanders to reconsider their use.
"Despite the controversy drone strikes are likely to remain a critical tool for the United States to disrupt Al Qaeda and Taliban operations and leadership structures," it concluded

The Empire 540

Via AdR:

Who in Future Generations will Believe This?

Zinn and the Art of History


Six days after Howard Zinn’s death on January 27, I asked my class of forty-seven Introduction to Anthropology students about Christopher Columbus. “Take out a piece of paper and respond to this scenario. You are the Director of Community Theater here in Dearborn, Michigan and you decide to produce a play on Columbus’s life. Describe one scene in your play. Why that scene? Be as detailed as possible.”

Of the 47 students, a full 40 (84%) depicted some version that praised Columbus as a great mariner who “sailed the ocean blue” and “discovered” America. One said he landed on Plymouth Rock, another that he addressed the US Congress.

Only four noted that there was murder and enslavement involved, though no scene was explicitly described. The three others said that there was violence but they knew little more. It was all cloudy and vague. No one used the term “genocide.”

I greatly suspect that comparatively few U.S. college graduates know many of the details about what happened.

I tremble as I write

I learned about Columbus’s genocidal activities from Howard Zinn (1922-2010) who, in his telling, introduced me to his chief source, Bartolome de las Casas, America’s first “cultural anthropologist.” A Spanish priest, Las Casas (1474-1566), told the truth (as he knew it) about Columbus’s invasion of the Americas in his insurgent, History of the Indies (Las Casas 2007 (circa 1552). He risked his life to do so.

In his magisterial “Peoples History of the United States” (1980) Zinn carefully relayed las Cases’ eyewitness accounts on how Spanish soldiers killed hundreds of thousands – perhaps millions – of Arawak, Taino and other native peoples through torture, beheadings, forced labor in mines and slicing the hands off of those children who did not uncover the required quota of gold during their allotted three month period. Here’s Las Casas:

“Thus husbands and wives were together only once every eight or ten months and when they met they were so exhausted and depressed on both sides . . . .they ceased to procreate. Some mothers even drowned their babies from sheer desperation . . . .In this way, husbands died in the mines, wives died at work, and children died from lack of milk . . . and in a short time this land which was so great, so powerful and fertile . . . was depopulated . . . .My eyes have seen these acts so foreign to human nature, and now I tremble as I write . . . .Who in future generations will believe this? I myself writing it as a knowledgeable eyewitness can hardly believe it . . . ." (Zinn 1980:7)

Many still do not.

It took about 400 years for Howard Zinn to effectively rebroadcast Bartolome’s ethnographic accounts to a world-wide audience prompting outrage, reaction and horror. And yet, too many US citizens have yet to engage this vital curriculum.

I myself was not lectured on Las Casas in my formal education through graduate school in anthropology (1981-86; 1991-98). I learned about Las Casas and Zinn from social activists protesting US intervention in El Salvador in 1981. I remember two graduate anthropology students ridiculing Zinn for “having no theory” and being “just a storyteller.” They preferred Louis Althusser, popular at the time. Anthropologist Carl Maida shared a similar story. “I completed my doctorate in anthropology at UCLA in 1981, through the Center for Afro-American Studies without having heard of La Casas.”

Today Zinn is known and admired by a good many anthropologists, though I wonder how much and to what degree he and Las Casas are employed pedagogically? The looming question is this, Why did it take a people’s historian to do what conventional anthropologists should have been doing, i.e., educating the U.S. public in a compelling, holistic way about their own radical cultural history?

The Makings of a Critical Pedagogue

Zinn was born and raised in the tenements of New York. A working class organic intellectual Zinn was “the Other” in a U.S. university system that too often reproduces elite cultural capital. A bombardier in World War 2, Zinn was educated at Columbia on the GI Bill of Rights. He then pursued a teaching career and made a searing impact on US culture through his writings and social activism. Along the way he suffered arrests, humiliations, FBI surveillance, poverty, and a famous firing from Spelman College. You can read all about it in his autobiography, “You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train (Zinn 1994).”

“How can you have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness if you don’t have the right to food, housing and health care?” he said in Artists in Times of War (Zinn 2004:59).

Like Woody Allen’s film Zelig, Zinn always seemed to be where history was happening: on a bus with the freedom riders, marching with Martin Luther King in the 1950s, taking a trip to Hanoi to rescue three US soldiers during the Vietnam War, informing the world about SNCC, assisting Father Daniel Berrigan while underground from the US government, harboring a copy of Ellsberg’s The Pentagon Papers before publication.

Zinn did not separate his social science teaching from his citizenship activism. They were as intertwined as the ramble to a rose. Henry Giroux, a friend of Zinn for thirty years, wrote in a memorial column, “We had grown up in similar neighborhoods, shared a similar cultural capital and we both probably learned more from the streets than we had ever learned in formal schooling. There was something about Howard's fearlessness, his courage, his willingness to risk not just his academic position, but also his life, that marked him as special - untainted by the often corrupting privileges of class entitlement. (Giroux 2010).”

In many ways Zinn and Las Casas are distant cousins. Both exhibited a habit of transgression in their everyday lives and this was reflected in their writings.

The Art of Teaching History

After discussing Las Casas and Zinn for the better part of two hours I give my anthropology students the Columbus play assignment again. Only this time it’s a five-page paper due in two weeks so they can give it some solid thought. Also, this time the context changes. They now become a Detroit-based teacher of high school history and theater. This time they are instructed to conceive of a play (scenes, outlines, titles, sample dialogue) that is heavily based on the historical evidence as revealed by Las Casas.

Lees verder:

vrijdag 5 maart 2010

Nederland en Afghanistan 249

Afghanistan's My Lai Massacre

by: Dave Lindorff, t r u t h o u t | News Analysis

(Photo: Omer Wazir; Edited: Lance Page /t r u t h o u t)

When Charlie Company's Lt. William Calley ordered and encouraged his men to rape, maim and slaughter over 400 men, women and children in My Lai in Vietnam back in 1968, there were at least four heroes who tried to stop him or bring him and higher officers to justice. One was helicopter pilot Hugh Thompson Jr., who evacuated some of the wounded victims, and who set his chopper down between a group of Vietnamese and Calley's men, ordering his door gunner to open fire on the US soldiers if they shot any more people. One was Ron Ridenhour, a soldier who learned of the massacre and began a private investigation, ultimately reporting the crime to the Pentagon and Congress. One was Michael Bernhardt, a soldier in Charlie Company, who witnessed the whole thing and reported it all to Ridenhour. And one was journalist Seymour Hersh, who broke the story in the US media.

Today's war in Afghanistan also has its My Lai massacres. It has them almost weekly, as US warplanes bomb wedding parties or homes "suspected" of housing terrorists that turn out to house nothing but civilians. But these My Lais are all conveniently labeled accidents. They get filed away and forgotten as the inevitable "collateral damage" of war. There was, however, a massacre recently that was not a mistake - a massacre, which, while it only involved fewer than a dozen innocent people, bears the same stench as My Lai. It was the execution-style slaying of eight handcuffed students, aged 11-18, and a 12-year-old neighboring shepherd boy who had been visiting the others in Kunar Province on December 26.

Sadly, no principled soldier with a conscience like pilot Thompson tried to save these children. No observer had the guts of a Bernhardt to report what he had seen. No Ridenhour among the other serving US troops in Afghanistan has investigated this atrocity or reported it to Congress. And no American reporter has investigated this war crime the way Hersh investigated My Lai.

There is a Hersh for the Kunar massacre, but he's a Brit. While American reporters, like the anonymous journalistic drones who wrote "CNN's" December 29 report on the incident took the Pentagon's initial cover story - that the dead were part of a secret bomb squad - at face value, Jerome Starkey, a dogged reporter in Afghanistan working for the Times of London and the Scotsman, talked to other sources - the dead boys' headmaster, other townspeople and Afghan government officials - and found out the real truth about a gruesome war crime - the execution of handcuffed children. And while a few news outlets in the US like The New York Times did mention that there were some claims that the dead were children, not bomb makers, none, including CNN, which had bought and run the Pentagon's lies unquestioningly, bothered to print the news update when, on February 24, the US military admitted that in fact the dead were innocent students. Nor has any US corporate news organization mentioned that the dead had been handcuffed when they were shot. Starkey reported the US government's damning admission
. Yet still the US media remain silent as the grave.

Under the Geneva Conventions, it is a war crime to execute a captive. Yet, in Kunar on December 26, US-led forces, or perhaps US soldiers or contract mercenaries, cold-bloodedly executed eight hand-cuffed prisoners. It is a war crime to kill children under the age of 15, yet in this incident a boy of 11 and a boy of 12 were handcuffed as captured combatants and executed. Two others of the dead were 12 and a third was 15.

I called the secretary of defense's office to ask if any investigation was underway into this crime or if one was planned, was told I had to send a written request, which I did. To date, I have heard nothing. What the Pentagon has done - no surprise - is to pass the buck by leaving any investigation to the International Security Assistance Force - a fancy name for the US-led NATO force fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. It's a clever ruse, since Congress has no authority to compel testimony from NATO or the ISAF as it would the Pentagon. A source at the Senate Armed Services Committee says the ISAF is investigating, and that the committee has asked for a "briefing" - that means nothing would be under oath - once that investigation is complete, but don't hold your breath or expect anything dramatic.

I also contacted the press office of the House Armed Services Committee to see if any hearings into this crime have been planned. The answer is no, though the press officer asked me to send her details of the incident. (Not a good sign that House members and staff are paying much attention - the killings led to countrywide student demonstrations in Afghanistan, to a formal protest by the office of President Hamid Karzai and to an investigation by the Afghan government, which concluded that innocent students had been handcuffed and executed and, no doubt, contributed to a call by the Afghan government for prosecution and execution of American soldiers who kill Afghan civilians.)

There is still time for real heroes to stand up in the midst of this imperial adventure that may now appropriately be called Obama's War in Afghanistan. Plenty of men and women in uniform in Afghanistan know that nine innocent Afghan children were captured and murdered at America's hands last December in Kunar. There are also probably people who were involved in the planning or carrying out of this criminal operation who are sickened by what happened. But these people are, so far, holding their tongues, whether out of fear or out of simply not knowing where to turn. (Note: If you have information you may contact me.)

There are also plenty of reporters in Afghanistan and in Washington who could be investigating this story. They are not. Don't ask me why. They certainly should not be able to call themselves journalists - at least with a straight face.

De Nuance van de NRC 174

De NRC bericht:

Oud-NAVO-chef: Afghanistan toont crisis bondgenootschap

Gepubliceerd: 5 maart 2010 13:44 | Gewijzigd: 5 maart 2010 13:44
Door een onzer redacteuren

Rotterdam, 5 maart. De NAVO staat aan de rand van de afgrond, volgens haar voormalige secretaris-generaal Lord Robertson, die het bondgenootschap leidde van 1999 tot 2004.Nederland heeft in Afghanistan een waardevolle bijdrage geleverd, aldus Robertson dinsdag in een toespraak in Washington, net als Canada dat zijn militairen naar verwachting eveneens zal terugtrekken. „Maar als deze twee stevige bondgenoten, én degenen die overwegen hetzelfde te doen, én degenen die minder bijdragen dan ze zouden moeten, als die allemaal kunnen wegduiken voor hun verplichtingen die voortvloeien uit het besluit dat we in 2003 unaniem hebben genomen, dan is dit toch een crisis?”

Als we voortijdig Afghanistan verlaten weten we allemaal wat er gebeurt, aldus de Schotse voormalige NAVO-chef. „Als de Talibaan en hun bondgenoten de meest succesvolle militaire alliantie in de geschiedenis kunnen verslaan, waarom zouden ze dan stoppen in Afghanistan? Dat zullen ze niet doen en dat weten we allemaal.”

De conclusie is juist, het Westen is niet langer meer in staat om de Derde Wereld in het gareel te meppen en daarmee komt een eind aan ruim 500 jaar westers kolonialisme. Dat verzwijgt de NAVO-chef en ook de NRC. Wat ze tevens verzwijgen is hoe de 'het besluit dat we in 2003 unaniem hebben genomen' precies tot stand kwam.

Voor mijn boek 11 september. het keerpunt citeerde ik op dinsdag 4 oktober 2001 het volgende bericht uit de Volkskrant:

'Nederland heeft dinsdag in de NAVO-raad vergeefs bedenktijd gevraagd om het bewijsmateriaal over de betrokkenheid van Bin Laden bij de aanslagen in de VS te bestuderen. NAVO-ambassadeur Patijn kreeg nul op het rekest. Volgens diplomaten in Brussel beschikken de VS niet over harde bewijzen tegen Bin Laden, hooguit over sterke aanwijzingen... Patijn vroeg dinsdag op verzoek van minister Van Aartsen van Buitenlandse Zaken een uur bedenktijd nadat de Amerikaanse gezant Frank Taylor de NAVO-raad bewijzen had overlegd van de betrokkenheid van Bin Laden bij de terroristische aanslagen. Ook enkele andere landen, waaronder Luxemburg, vroegen om een "stilteprocedure" ... Volgens goed geinformeerde bronnen wees NAVO-chef Robertson het verzoek meteen af met de woorden dat een NAVO-bondgenoot om onvoorwaardelijk vertrouwen vroeg en dat dit onverwijld gehonoreerd moest worden... Het "bewijs" tegen Bin Laden dat Taylor de NAVO-raad presenteerde, zou in een rechtzaal nooit standhouden... Dit stellen diplomaten en ambtenaren bij de NAVO en ministers van Buitenlandse Zaken die de presentatie bijwoonden... Bij de NAVO brengen diplomaten daar tegenin dat "we op dit moment geen rechtzaak aan het voeren zijn. Dus juridisch spijkerhard hoeft het ook niet te zijn. We staan voor een politiek besluit, dat politieke argumenten behoeft. En die hebben we voldoende gekregen," meent een diplomaat ... Dat is ook het verweer van de Amerikaanse regering. "Het is niet terecht om een puur juridisch criterium te hanteren," zegt een Amerikaanse functionaris... De Amerikaanse regering wil de beschikbare gegevens niet openbaar maken.'

Welnu, de weigering om de 'beschikbare gegevens' te geven is niet verbazingwekkend, want inmiddels is bekend dat er geen enkel hard 'bewijs' is dat Osama bin Laden achter de aanslagen van 11 september 2001 zat.

Here is a surprising but little-known fact, because it has scarcely been reported in the mainstream media: The FBI's "Most Wanted Terrorist" webpage on "Usama bin Laden" does not list the 9/11 attacks as one of the crimes for which he is wanted. It does list bombings in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi as terrorist acts for which he is wanted. But it makes no mention of 9/11.10 In 2006, Rex Tomb, then the FBI's chief of investigative publicity, was asked why not. He replied: "The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Usama Bin Laden's Most Wanted page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11."

Die doorslaggevende nuance verzwijgt de NRC. Het past niet in de propaganda. De NAVO dreigt van een defensief militair bondgenootschap tegen de Sovjet Unie te veranderen in een offensieve militaire organisatie tegen de Derde Wereld zonder dat daar een democratische discussie aan vooraf is gegaan.

The Empire 539

Michael Moore: There's Going to Be a Second Economic Crash (and Glenn Beck Can 'F--k off')

Michael Moore lets loose on Beck, the Democrats, and the state of our economy as he unrolls his DVD release of capitalism.
March 4, 2010 |
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We interviewed Michael Moore on The Young Turks today and he was not shy about sharing his opinions. Anyone surprised? He had very strong words for the Democratic Party, the state of our political system and Glenn Beck.

What he thinks of Democrats and Republicans:

You know, I tell you, these Democrats are disgusting. Wimps and wusses and weasels. You know, get some spine. This is why I have to admire the Republicans. They at least stand for something. They at least have the courage of their convictions. They get elected to office, they come into town, and they go "Get outta my way, there's a new sheriff in town. This is the way we're doing things. Get outta here." And then they do it. You know. I mean what they do is crazy. But dammit, they are good at it. We should take a page out of their book.

Can we fix the broken political and economic system in America?

It's not going to get fixed. There's going to be another crash. The commercial real estate bubble hasn't burst yet. That's going to burst. The credit card debt is so huge right now, it will never be repaid. That's a house of cards waiting to fall. So the crash of '08 is going to look like coming attractions. And we're in for a much, much worse time.

What he would have said to Glenn Beck if he was in Van Jones' place:

Fuck off! That's what I would have said. But again, you mentioned Glenn Beck, and of course, he's the guy that's called for my removal from the planet Earth, so...

Watch the whole interview here:

There's one thing you know about Michael Moore, he's going to come strong. Unfortunately, I share hispessimism about the system. But I believe there is hope at the end of that tunnel. And as corny as it sounds, that hope is with the American people. We have to stop letting corporate interests buy our politiciansand government officials. Make a change.

The following is the transcript of the interview with Michael Moore:

Cenk: Now joining us, Michael Moore, director of 'Capitalism: A Love Story', and a couple of other ones you might remember, 'Sicko', 'Fahrenheit 911',' Bowling for Columbine', 'Roger and Me'--just to name a few. Michael, welcome to The Young Turks.

Michael: Thank you. Don't forget Blue Hawaii, too, with Elvis.

Cenk: All right, so the DVD is coming out for 'Capitalism' soon. My question is-- you know I saw the movie--obviously, we agree on a lot of things, including the huge flaws in the system as it currently exists, but do you think that capitalism is fundamentally flawed, and we need to change it entirely? If so, to what?

Michael: Yes, I do believe it's fundamentally flawed, because I don't think that in the 21st century the big decisions that need to be made should be based on profit. They should be based on what we need as a society and what the world needs. And when I say that, I don't mean that I don't think people should be able to earn money or do well or work hard or have a great idea or whatever. That's not what I'm talking about.

The kind of capitalism that we have now is a three-card Monte game. And it's rigged--it's rigged against the working person, and I just think that until we decide that we have to get away from that and into a more democratic economy--in other words, economic decisions that are made by our elected representatives as opposed to Wall Street, the banks, the Fed, etc., etc.

Cenk: But how do we do it? How do we do it? How do we switch to that system?

Michael: Well, no switch will occur until we remove money from politics. We would have to start a movement where people will be running for Congress and for Senate and signing a pledge that states that they will not accept in their first run for election more than $25 or $50 from a person. And after that, when they get in there, their number one priority is to remove funding of our elections from individuals who have the most money, and have it be federally funded like it is in most democracies.'s_going_to_be_a_second_economic_crash_(and_glenn_beck_can_'f--k_off')

The Empire 538

Winter in America: Democracy Gone Rogue

by: Henry A. Giroux, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

(Image: Lance Page / t r u t h o u t; Adapted:hugovk, ishmagination)

The absolute ... spells doom to everyone when it is introduced into the political realm.

- Hannah Arendt [1]

Democracy in the United States is experiencing both a crisis of meaning and a legitimation crisis. As the promise of an aspiring democracy is sacrificed more and more to corporate and military interests, democratic spheres have largely been commercialized and democratic practices have been reduced to market relations, stripped of their worth and subject to the narrow logics of commodification and profit making. Empowerment has little to do with providing people with the knowledge, skills, and power to shape the forces and institutions that bear down on their lives and is now largely defined as under the rubric of being a savvy consumer. When not equated with the free market capitalism, democracy is reduced to the empty rituals of elections largely shaped by corporate money and indifferent to relations of power that make a mockery out of equality, democratic participation and collective deliberation.

The undoing of democracy as a substantive ideal is most visible in the illegal legalities perpetuated by the Bush-Cheney regime and reproduced under the presidency of Barack Obama that extend from the use of military commissions, the policy of indefinite detention, suppressing evidence of torture, maintaining secret and illegal prisons in Afghanistan to the refusal to prosecute former high-level government officials who sanctioned acts of torture and other violations of human rights. As part of the crisis of legitimation, democracy's undoing can be seen in the anti-democratic nature of governance that has increasingly shaped domestic and foreign policy in the United States, policies that have been well documented by a number of writers extending from Noam Chomsky to Chris Hedges. What is often missed is how such anti-democratic forces work at home in ways that are less visible and when they are visible seem to become easily normalized, removed from any criticism as they settle into that ideological fog called common sense.

If the first rule of politics is to make power invisible, the second rule is to devalue critical thought by relieving people of the necessity to think critically and hold power accountable. And always in the name of common sense. Under the rubric of common sense, democracy is now used to invoke rationalizations for invading other countries, bailing out the rich and sanctioning the emergence of a national security state that increasingly criminalizes the social relations and behaviors that characterize those most excluded from what might be called the consumer- and celebrity-laden dreamworlds of a market-driven society. As democracy is removed from relations of equality, justice and freedom, it undergoes a legitimation crisis as it is transformed from a mode of politics that subverts authoritarian tendencies to one that reproduces them. Used to gift wrap the interests and values of an authoritarian culture, the rhetoric of democracy is now invoked to legitimate its opposite, a discourse of security and a culture of fear enlisted by pundits and other anti-public intellectuals as all-embracing registers for mobilizing a rampant nationalism, hatred of immigrants and a bunker politics organized around an "us" versus "them" mentality. When tied to the discourse of democracy, such practices seem beyond criticism, part of a center-right mentality that views such policies as natural and God-given - beyond ethical and political reproach.

As the country undermines its own democratic values, violence and anti-democratic practices become institutionalized throughout American culture, their aftershocks barely noticed, testifying to how normalized they have become. For instance, one major report indicated recently that more "than 60 percent of children were exposed to violence within the past year ... [with] nearly half of adolescents surveyed ... assaulted at least once in the previous year [and] one-quarter had witnessed an act of violence."[2] In one week, the media reported on a 12-year-old student who was arrested for doodling on her desk at school. Her teacher thought it was a criminal act and called the New York City police who promptly handcuffed her and took her to the local police station.[3] In Montgomery, Maryland, a 13-year-old student at Roberto Clement Middle Schools was taken out of class by security officers after she refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.[4] The mainstream media provide glimpses of such assaults, but rarely are they analyzed within a broader political and social context that highlights the political and economic conditions that make them possible. For instance, such assaults say nothing about the increasing militarization of public schools, the right-wing attempts to defund them so they can be privatized, the rampant inequality that approximates a form of class warfare, or the racism often at the heart of such practices.[5]

Such actions are now normalized within the discourse of a bunker politics fueled by both the increasing militarization of all levels of society and legitimated further through a harsh and cruel notion of economic Darwinism. There are no shades of gray in this militarized discourse, no room for uncertainty, thoughtfulness or dialogue, since this view of engagement is modeled on notions of war, battle, winning at all costs and eliminating the enemy. Complex understanding is banished under the call for thoughtless, one-size-fits-all zero-tolerance policies in schools, intelligence is now quantified using formulas that may be useful for measuring the heights of trees but little else, and teachers are deskilled through the widespread adoption of both a governing-through-crime pedagogy and an equally debilitating pedagogy of high-stakes testing. Resentment builds as social services either collapse or are stretched to the limit at a time when over 17 million people are unemployed and over "91.6 million people - more than 30 percent of the entire population - fell below 200 percent of the federal poverty line."[6] Emerging out of this void and shaping a more militaristic anti-politics are the anti-public intellectuals and their corporate sponsors, eager to fill the air with populist anger by supporting right-wing groups, Sarah Palin types, Glenn Beck clones and self-styled patriots that bear an eerie resemblance to the beliefs and violent politics of the late Timothy McVeigh, who bombed a federal building in Oklahoma in 1995.[7]

This emerging conglomerate and diverse group of anti-public intellectuals, political pundits, populist agitators expresses a deep-seated hatred for government (often labeled as either socialist or fascist), progressive politics, and the notion that everyone should have access to a quality education, decent health care, employment and other public services. Under such circumstances, it is not surprising that Sarah Palin in addressing the recent National Tea Party Convention stated "I will live, I will die for the people of America, whatever I can do to help." Surely, these words leave little ambiguity for members of the John Birch Society, right-wing militia groups, Oath Keepers white supremacists, and other armed anti-government groups that appear to be growing in numbers and influence under the Obama presidency. But while these lines received much attention from the dominant media, the more telling comment took place when Palin offered the Tea Party audience lines she lifted from one of the more fascistic films released by Hollywood in the last decade, "Fight Club." Inhabiting the character of a self-styled, pathologically violent maverick, Tyler Durden (played by Brad Pitt), whose misogyny is matched by his willingness to engage in acts of militia-inspired terrorism, Palin unabashedly mimics one of Tyler's now famous wisecracks in attacking Obama's clever rhetoric with the line, "How's that hopey, changey stuff working out for ya?"[8] Going rogue in this context suggests more than a compensatory quip for any kind of sustained analysis; instead it offers a seductive populist reference to lawless violence.

This somewhat confused but reckless appropriation of the discourse of glamorized violence suggests the not-so-subtle ways in which violence has become the framing mechanism for engaging in almost any mode of politics. Under such circumstances, politics shares an ignoble connection to a kind of soft terrorism, a kind of symbolic violence blatantly tied to the pathologies of corporate corruption, state-sanctioned brutality and authoritarian modes of engagement.

As violence and politics merge, the militarization, disciplining and oppressive regulation of American society continue, often legitimated by a popular culture in which the spectacles of celebrity idiocy and violence become the only stimuli left to shock people out of their boredom or offer them an outlet for their anger. But they continue in ways that seem incidental rather than connected, diffused of its real meaning and abstracted from the politics that informs it - hence, it slips into a kind of invisibility, wrapped in the logic of common sense. Under its common-sense rubric, homelessness and poverty are now criminalized, schools are dominated by zero-tolerance policies that turn public schools into a low-intensity war zone, school lockdowns are the new fire drills, the welfare state morphs into the warfare state, and university research is increasingly funded by the military and designed for military and surveillance purposes. In one of the more frightening examples of the militarization of American society, David Price has brilliantly documented how government intelligence agencies are now placing "unidentified students with undisclosed links to intelligence agencies into university classrooms ... and has gone further ... than any previous intelligence initiative since World War Two. Yet, the program spreads with little public notice, media coverage or coordinated multicampus resistance."[9] Is it any wonder that when intellectuals in the social sciences and medical fields assist in the illegal torture of "enemy combatants" or embed themselves in military-sponsored counter-insurgency campaigns, such practices rarely get the critical attention they deserve. All too often, the blathering disciples of common sense tell us that politics is rooted in natural laws, unhampered by critical thought. Such appeals to common sense suggest that thinking is at odds with politics, and its hidden order of politics is hateful of those public spaces where speaking and acting human beings actually engage in critical dialogue, exercise discriminating judgments, and address important social problems. Common sense is in effect an anti-politics because it removes questions of agency, governance and critical thought from politics itself. As part of the logic of common sense, scapegoating rhetoric replaces the civic imagination, and a brutalizing, calculating culture of fear, demonization and criminalization replaces judgment, emptying politics of all substantive meaning. In this discourse, there are no social problems, only individual failings. Poverty, inadequate health care, soaring public debt, the bailout of corrupt financial institutions, the prison binge, the destruction of public and higher education cannot be addressed by the logic of common sense, because such issues point to broad, complex considerations that demand a certain amount of understanding, literacy and a sense of political and moral responsibility - all enemies of the anti-public intellectuals who wrap themselves in the populist appeal to a know-nothing common sense. Common sense makes human beings superfluous, depoliticizes politics and transforms human beings into the living dead, unable to recognize "that politics requires judgment, artful diplomacy, and judicious discrimination."[10] Common sense occupies the antithesis of Hannah Arendt's insistence that debate constitutes the very essence of political life."[11] This is the central message of Fox News, Glenn Beck and other right fundamentalists who live in circles of certainty and reject any real attempt at debate, persuasion and deliberation as the essence of politics. Their populist appeal to common sense to justify their various views of the world rejects enlarged ways of thinking, thoughtfulness and the exercise of critical judgment. Such a discourse creates a zombie politics in which deliberation is blocked and the ethos of democracy is stripped of any meaning.

A zombie politics enmeshed in the production of organized violence, surveillance, market-driven corruption and control, buttressed by an appeal to common sense, blocks the path to open inquiry. War not only becomes normalized under such circumstances, it becomes a defining force in shaping all aspects of society, including its use of science and technology. Put differently, as warlike values become more prevalent in American society, science and technology are increasingly being harnessed in the interest of militarized and commercialized values and applications. For example, the defense industries are developing drone aircraft that can be used to deliver high-tech violence not only abroad but also at home. Unmanned drones fitted with surveillance cameras will soon be used to monitor demonstrations. As the technology becomes more advanced, the drones will be mounted with taser guns, rubber bullets and other non-lethal weaponry in order to contain allegedly unruly individuals and crowds.[12] High-tech weapons have already been used on American protests and as the state relies more and more on military values, money and influence to shape its most basic institutions, the use of organized violence against civilians will become more commonplace. For instance, at the 2009 G20 summit of world leaders, democracy took a hit as the Pittsburgh police used sonic canons against protesters.[13] These high-tech weapons were used previously by the US military against Somali pirates and Iraqi insurgents and create sounds loud enough to damage eardrums and potentially produce fatal aneurysms. In public schools, surveillance has become so widespread that one school in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, issued over 1,800 laptops to high school students and then used the Webcams fitted on the computers to spy on students. The mainstream media hardly blinked and the public yawned.

Common sense may be good or bad in terms of its value, but in all cases it is unreflective sense and as such shortcuts the types of critical inquiry fundamental to an engaged public and an aspiring society. Surely, common sense is of little help in explaining the existence of brain research that is now being used to understand and influence how people respond to diverse sales and political pitches. Nor does it explain why there is not a huge public outcry over the emergence of a field such as neuromarketing, designed by politicians and corporations, who are "using MRIs, EEGs, and other brain-scan and medical technology to craft irresistible media messages designed to shift buying habits, political beliefs and voting patterns."[14] Nor does it explain the politics or the lack of public resistance to food industries using the new media to market junk food to children. Zombie politics loves to depoliticize any vestige of individual agency and will. How else to explain a story by New York Times writer Nicholas D. Kristof, who incredulously legitimates the notion that political judgments are primarily the result of how our brains are hard-wired. This is the ultimate expression of anti-politics, in which matters of agency are now removed from any sense of responsibility, relegated to the brave new world of genetic determinism.

Under such circumstances, memory is lost, history is erased, knowledge becomes militarized and education becomes more of a tool of domination rather than empowerment. One result is not merely a collective ignorance over the meaning, nature and possibilities of politics, but a disdain for democracy itself that provides the condition for a lethal combination of political apathy and cynicism on the one hand and a populist anger and an ethical hardening of the culture on the other. Symbolic and real violence are now the defining features of American society. Instead of appealing to the principles of social justice, moral responsibility and civic courage, the anti-public intellectuals and the market-driven institutions that support them laud common sense. What they don't mention is that underlying such appeals is a hatred not merely for government, but for democracy itself. The rage will continue and the flirtations with violence will mount. Going rogue is now a metaphor for the death of democratic values and support for modes of symbolic and potentially real violence in which all vestiges of thought, self-reflection and dialogue are destroyed. Hopefully, the voices of reason and justice will recognize how serious this threat to democracy really is and when they do, they will surely understand what Gil Scott-Heron meant when he talked about winter in America.


[1] Hannah Arendt, "On Revolution" (New York: Viking, 1963), p. 79.

[2] Editorial, "Violence in the Lives of Children and Youth," The Child Indicator, 10: 1 (Winter 2010), p. 1.

[3] Jenna Johnson, "Pledge of Allegiance dispute results in Md. teacher having to apologize," The Washington Post, (February 24, 2010), p. B01.

[4] Liliana Segura, "Arrested for Doodling on a Desk? "Zero Tolerance" at Schools Is Going Way Too Far," AlterNet, (February 27, 2010).

[5] I have taken this issue up in great detail in Henry A. Giroux, "Youth in a Suspect Society: Democracy or Disposability?" (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).

[6] Bob Herbert, "They Still Don't Get It," New York Times (January 23, 2010), p. A21.

[7] Frank Rich, "The Axis of the Obsessed and the Deranged," The New York Times, (February, 28, 2010), p. WK10.

[8] Cited in Kathleen Hennessy, "Sarah Palin to Tea Party Convention: 'This is about the people.'" Los Angeles Times (February 7, 2010).

[9] David Price, "How the CIA is Welcoming Itself Back Onto American University Campuses," CounterPunch 17:2 (January 16-21, 2010), p. 1.

[10] Richard J. Bernstein, "The Abuse of Evil: The Corruption of Politics and Religion Since 9/11," (Polity Press, 2005) pp. 1-124.

[11] Hannah Arendt, Between Past and Future (New York, Penguin Books, 1977), p. 72.

[12] Paul Joseph Watson, "Surveillance Drones to Zap Protesters Into Submission," Prison Planet (February 12, 2010). For an excellent source on how the robotic revolution is being used to transform the nature of war, see P.W. Singer, Wired for War: The Robotic Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century (New York: Penguin Press, 2009).

[13] News Blog, "G20 Protesters Blasted by Sonic Cannon," The Guardian (September 25, 2009).

[14] (See, for example, Rinaldo Brutoco and Madeleine Austin, "'Spellcasters': The Hunt for the 'Buy Button' in Your Brain", TruthOut, (January 10, 2010).

De Pro Israel Lobby 193

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown surrenders to Zionist pressure

Israeli war criminals to roam UK streets at will

By Gilad Atzmon

5 March 2010

Gilad Atzmon considers the role of Britain’s Israel lobby and stooges in Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s announcement that soon the UK would be turned into a safe haven for suspected Israeli war criminals.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced plans to block private groups from seeking arrest warrants against visiting foreign officials suspected of war crimes or crimes against humanity, such as Tzipi Livni, Ehud Barak and other suspected Israeli war criminals.

In December 2009 former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was forced to cancel a trip to Britain after a UK court issued an arrest warrant against her on suspicion of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Under Brown’s proposals, the Crown Prosecution Service will take over responsibility for prosecuting war crimes and other violations of international law. Currently, magistrates have to consider the case for an arrest warrant to be issued.

Brown wrote in the Daily Telegraph: “As we have seen, there is now significant danger of such a provision being exploited by politically-motivated organizations or individuals who set out only to grab headlines knowing their case has no realistic chance of a successful prosecution.”

"Clearly, the Israeli lobby has much more influence within the British cabinet than the USA. This isn’t a big surprise for us, considering our foreign secretary, David Miliband, is a listed 'Israeli Hasbara [Propaganda] Author'."

Brown must explain to the nation why arresting genocidal war criminals like Livni, Olmert or Barak is a “politically motivated” act. He should also explain to us all why he is convinced that a case against Livni wouldn’t stand a chance in court. As far as the UN-appointed judge Richard Goldstone is concerned, the case against Israel and its leadership is actually watertight.

According to the Daily Mail, Colin Powell, the former US secretary of state and a leading player in the Iraq war, has also reportedly expressed alarm about the prospect of arrest in Britain. Yet, no one in Britain politics rushed to appease the American politician or to amend the application of universal jurisdiction laws in Britain just for him. Clearly, the Israeli lobby has much more influence within the British cabinet than the USA. This isn’t a big surprise for us, considering our foreign secretary, David Miliband, is a listed “Israeli Hasbara [Propaganda] Author”.

Brown said: “There is already growing reason to believe that some people are not prepared to travel to this country for fear that such a private arrest warrant - motivated purely by political gesture - might be sought against them.” Surely, this is good news. Criminals such as Livni or Barak should never dare to step on a plane. Instead, they should stay in their Jewish ghetto and stare at the separation walls they erected around themselves.

Gordon Brown said he wanted legislation putting jurisdiction for war crimes and similar offences under the Crown Prosecution Service to be brought in “as soon as possible”. This is indeed what you would expect from a government that is so heavily funded by the Jewish lobby. Such a move would allow attorneys such as Lord “Green Light” Goldsmith to open Britain’s gate to Israeli genocidal murderers.

Yet Brown failed to tell the British people what it is that stops magistrates from taking the right decisions regarding war criminals. Let us face it, if Brown doesn’t trust Britain’s magistrates, then he had better let them go. He can always hire some rabbis to look after Britain legal system. If Britain is about to give up on its universal jurisdiction laws, it better be prepared to let some tribal experts look after its ethical stand.

Brown also said: “I am confident that an amendment on better enforcement of existing legislation will serve to enhance Britain's status in the eyes of international law, world opinion and history.”

I do not know much about the “eyes of the international law” or “world opinion”, but I can assure Brown that his move is more than welcome by the Jewish Chronicle and his Jewish fundraisers.

Don’t you forget it, it is election time after all.

Gilad Atzmon is an Israeli-born musician, writer and anti-racism campaigner. His latest jazz album, "In loving memory of America", was released on 1 March 2009 and can be purchased