Saturday, April 30, 2011

Ask Helen Thomas

White House Threatens
To Blacklist Paper
For Covering Protest

by Peter Hart, 29 April 2011

The San Francisco Chronicle is apparently in trouble with the White House for posting video of a protest against the White House's treatment of suspected WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning. The Chronicle's Carolyn Lochhead reports:

The White House threatened Thursday to exclude the San Francisco Chronicle from pooled coverage of its events in the Bay Area after the paper posted a video of a protest at a San Francisco fundraiser for President Obama last week, Chronicle editor Ward Bushee said. White House guidelines governing press coverage of such events are too restrictive, Bushee said, and the newspaper was within its rights to film the protest and post the video.

Chronicle reporter Carla Marinucci was the designated "pool" reporter at an Obama fundraiser--meaning that her write-up would be shared with other reporters who were not allowed into the event.

But something truly newsworthy happened--and she reported it:

At the St. Regis event, a group of protesters who paid collectively $76,000 to attend the fundraiser interrupted Obama with a song complaining about the administration's treatment of PFC Bradley Manning, the soldier who allegedly leaked U.S. classified documents to the WikiLeaks website.

As part of a "print-only pool," Marinucci was limited by White House guidelines to provide a print-only report, but Marinucci also took a video of the protest, which she posted in her written story on the online edition of the Chronicle at and on its politics blog after she sent her written pool report.

The Chronicle's story closes with this ironic point about the White House's view of technology and information-sharing:

At Facebook the day before the San Francisco fundraiser, Obama said,

"The main reason we wanted to do this is, first of all, because more and more people, especially young people, are getting their information through different media. And obviously, what all of you have built together is helping to revolutionize how people get information, how they process information, how they're connecting with each other."

Apparently Marinucci posting a video was a little too much revolutionizing.

The Royal Wedding

Is Behind Us.
What Else Is There?

I can’t wait for the Royal Bar Mitzvah…

Image by David Dees

Friday, April 29, 2011

Three Letter Lies

By Western Media About Syria

If you can't spell Mossad, try CIA.
Anybody can. That's just as easy as
and all the other three letter liers.

Interview by Nadezhda Kevorkova in RT 29 April 2011 by RT

While media reports paint a picture of the situation in Syria as a mass public uprising brutally suppressed by the dictatorial government, the events are viewed in a totally different way by those living there.

­RT caught up with Anhar Kochneva, director of a Moscow-based tourist firm specializing in the Middle East. She often travels to Syria, and stays in touch with hundreds of people in the region. She shared what her contacts say about the unfolding unrest and who they blame for the spreading violence.

RT: What’s happening in Syria? What have you seen? And that are the Syrians saying?

Anhar Kochneva: Not even once did I come across anyone who would in any way support these riots; and mind you, in the line of my job, I deal with all sorts of people. There are many vehicles with the president’s portraits driving the streets throughout the country – ranging from old, barely moving crankers to brand new Porsches and Hummers. You can't force people into hanging up portraits. It means that people, irrespective of their status and income, support the president rather than the rebellion. I saw quite a number of young people walking or driving around with Syrian flags. How can you force a young person hanging out with friends to wave flags? I think it's difficult too. If you understand the mentality of the Syrians you can tell there is a sincere impulse from a forced obligation.

On March 29, I saw a rally in Hama to support the president – indeed, many thousands of men and women, with their children, and entire families went out. The streets were flooded with people. It was quite a shock to see Al-Jazeera presenting rallies in support of the president as if they were protests against him. It was just as surprising to see the Israeli websites post photos and videos of supporters' rallies with comments saying those were opponents of the regime. There you have people holding portraits of Bashar al-Assad and flags, and we’re told that these people are against him.

RT: The media reports mass anti-government rallies.

AK: There’s a powerful misinformation swell going on. On April 1, the media reported a large anti-governmental rally in Damascus. I was in Damascus on that day. This rally never happened – I didn’t see it, and neither did the locals.

On April 16, Reuters news agency wrote that 50,000 opponents of the regime took to the streets of Damascus, and that they had been dispersed with tear gas and batons. Damascus’ residents realize that such a rally could not take place in the city unnoticed. How many policemen would it take to disperse it? And how come nobody saw it except Reuters? Five hundred people in the streets of Damascus are a large crowd. Reuters broadcast their material around the world, including Russia. One source lies, and then this lie is like a snowball rolling downhill creating a fake reality, and picking up rumor and speculation.

People in Syria watch the footage. What do they see? A picture allegedly from Yemen. A picture allegedly from Egypt. A picture allegedly from Syria. But the pictures all show people dressed in the same fashion. People in Syria can tell their fellow countrymen from their neighbors – both by their faces and their clothes.

There are videos on the internet showing how amateur footage of the so-called riots is made. There's a parked car and nothing’s going on around. And there's a man standing next to it throwing rocks. And people around are taking pictures.

There are a lot of staged videos. A Lebanese can tell the difference between footage taken in Lebanon and that taken in Damascus at a glance. And they show footage from Tripoli, or footage taken several years ago in Iraq, and say it is unrest in Syria.

There are many online forums for women in Arab countries. Women share information following TV reports on ‘mass unrests’. Women write – what’s happening outside your window? And they reply: we looked down from the balcony, and didn’t see anything that the TV was talking about.

Presently, a lot of young unarmed policemen get killed. The media propaganda immediately labels them as victims of the regime. I repeat, policemen are unarmed. The Syrian police are not too good with guns, because nothing like this has happened here for a long time. But the killed rookies are reported as either victims among the protestors, or as policemen who refused to shoot at their fellow countrymen, depending on the editors’ preference. Goebbels’ words seem to be true: the bigger the lie, the more easily they believe it.

RT: But why are policemen dying if there are no mass protests?

AK: Policemen die because they get shot by those who know that they are unarmed.

RT: Who shoots policemen?

AK: They talk a lot about it in Syria. Rumor has it that trained commandos came across the border from Iraq. People in Syria are well-aware that after the US occupied Iraq, they formed special squads there. They were killing people, stirring up conflicts between the Shiite and Sunni communities, and between Muslims and Christians; they were blowing up streets, markets, mosques and churches. Those terrorist attacks targeted civilians rather than the occupying regime.

Not long ago, they caught three such commandos in the outskirts of Damascus, when they were randomly shooting at people. They turned out to be Iraqis.

Syrian TV showed footage of somebody shooting at policemen and passers-by from bushes and rooftops. They occasionally get caught, and they either turn out to be Iraqis, or they admit that they were paid for it. Such militants were detained in Deraa and Latakia. They had US-made weapons.

The Lebanese security service intercepted several cars carrying weapons as they were coming into Lebanon. One such car was stopped coming from Iraq. There were American weapons in those cars too. Also there are reports about detained people who had large sums of money with them – with US dollars. These people carried expensive satellite phones that cannot be tapped by the Syrian security service.

In Syria, it is no longer a secret to anyone that the Americans have an unhindered opportunity to recruit and train the commandos in Iraq, and then send them wherever they want.

Hilary Clinton has already stated that if Syria cuts its relations with Iran and withdraws its support for Hamas and Hezbollah, the demonstrations would stop the next day. They don't even bother to keep secret the hand instilling riots in Syria.

There’s plenty of evidence of foreign interference.

Finally, people say protestors are brought in from afar for the rallies. Those people speak and look differently from the locals. Nobody in the neighborhood knows them. Who rents the buses and finances the delivery of these people? The question stands.

The former Syrian Vice-President Abdel Halim Khaddam had initiated the riots in the coastal regions. He had plundered half of the country. He was involved in corruption schemes and finally fled to the West. It was he who tried to accuse Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of assassinating the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri. The Syrians firmly believe that Sayed Hariri had personally given a villa to Abdel Halim Khaddam for spreading this version of Rafic Hariri’s murder. But when that version fell apart and was not confirmed, the villa was taken away. Today, those who shot at cars in Banias are shouting: “We don’t want Bashar. We want Abdel Halim!”

There are peaceful and cultured opposition members in Banias who have been against al-Assad’s regime for many years. But they are shocked by what’s going on and do not support Khaddam at all. They say: “He’s a thief. He who stole most calls to fight corruption and thievery.”

RT: What role are Syrian emigrants playing in the Syrian destabilization?

AK: It’s an open question. There was a leak claiming that Dan Feldman, Hillary Clinton’s special representative for the Middle East, met representatives of the Syrian opposition in Istanbul in mid-April and suggested the tactics for assassinations of civil and military officials. In less than three days, on April 19, several military officials had been brutally killed in Syria. Not only were they attacked and shot dead, some victims of the attacks, including three teenage children of a Syrian general, who were in a car with him, were cut to pieces with sabres.

Murders committed with a high degree of brutality are aimed at intimidating the population. The news that children had been cut to pieces served that purpose quite well.

RT: Media reports used to say that the riots started after the arrest in the city of Deraa, in southern Syria, of several children writing anti-government slogans? Is it really so?

AK: All the children had been released very quickly. Moreover, the government-owned Syrian newspapers published the release orders.

RT: Have the troops been brought into Deraa?

AK: Yes, troops are there. After an Islamic emirate had been proclaimed in Deraa, the local residents asked the government for help. Troops have been brought in. I’ve just seen the videos. The demonstrators published them on the internet and shortly after erased them. But people made copies. There are soldiers, and people come to them and talk peacefully. Nobody shoots anyone.

RT: Is there a sentiment in Syria that if it gets rid of Hamas support and the Palestinians and strike a peace deal with Israel, all the riots will end immediately?

AK: No, there’s no such sentiment. There’s consolidation of society. The people are sticking together because they see that the enemy is extremely dangerous. For instance, previously I never heard anything except pop music and the recital of the Koran on the radio when I rode in a taxi. Now, patriotic music is coming from all cars. When Bashar al-Assad was speaking on television, the people who were listening to him at the market applauded him. You cannot force people to applaud a president who speaks on television.

RT: What has the public mood been in recent days?

AK: People are afraid of going out. In some regions, people risked their lives to record with a secret camera how unidentified persons sneaked into a car, moved off and started shooting in all directions. This is how they are sowing panic in residential areas.

Bandits blocked a bridge on the road near the coast. Soon, the military pushed them back. One of my Syrian contacts told me: “you don’t need many people to plunge the country into trouble.”

Putting five people on a major road would be enough to paralyze the whole area. People are unable to deliver foodstuffs or reach hospitals. And the whole country is in shock because of a handful of bandits.

Now, Syrian television is making live broadcasts from various parts of Damascus and other cities for people to see how the situation is unfolding and how life is getting back to normal, whatever the Western media show.

It’s noteworthy that bandits intentionally tried to rouse hatred among various communities. Recently, a sheikh was insulting the Druze, particularly women, in an address to the residents of the south. This video is being broadcast by the foreign media and is advertized on the internet. Nothing like that ever happened in Syria before. Provocations failed in Damascus though attempts were made to set religious communities against each other. Provocateurs lack support in rural areas too – the sowing campaign has started there.

The most massive demonstrations in Dera gathered 500 people. But they say 450 people have been killed.

RT: Has the government launched any reforms?

AK: The government has lifted martial law and has allowed the staging of authorized rallies if permission for them is obtained five days ahead. Foreigners have been allowed to buy real estate. The Kurds have been granted citizenship. The Kurdish population didn’t have it before for a number of historical reasons. The government is opening business courses for women in northern Syria. Many provincial governors have been dismissed. Unfortunately, in some cases they were honest people. Like those who refused to free criminals from prison for bribes and had been targeted by smear campaigns in public for it.

RT: Have the number of flights to Syria been cut?

AK: There are no tickets for Syria. We wanted to dispatch a group of tourists to Syria but there were no air tickets to Damascus for April 30. But Russians are not fleeing from Syria. I have full information about it for my job.


The American prisoner population is exploding, jumping over 1000% in the last forty years. In its proposed documentary, Prisonocracy, Project Noise will delve into the causes and possible solutions, focusing primarily on what goes on outside the prison walls. This brief trailer, narrated by Tom Morello, is the product of our initial research on the contributing factors to this rise in population, including the failed and poorly conceived War on Drugs, a lucrative prison industrial complex, a complicit voting and tax-paying public, and fear-mongering in political campaigns and the media.

Right now, newborn black males in this country have greater than a 1 in 4 chance of going to prison during their lifetimes, hispanic males have a 1 in 6 chance, and white males have a 1 in 23 chance of serving time. No matter which side of the fence you're on politically, that's an alarming reality.

Prisonocracy will trace the evolution of the American prison system from the 1820s prototypes in New York and Pennsylvania, to the modern phenomena of private prison contractors Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO (formerly Wackenhut), to the lobbying power of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association.

As a documentary, there is no script. We expect the truth to take us to the story, we believe stories change people, and people change the world. To find out more, contact Maureen Herman at

AfPak To Africa

By Pepe Escobar, Asia Times, 27 April 2011

Be it liberal hawk or neo-conservative interventionism, one's got to love the proficient American way of techno war. Just as quite a few insider circles in Washington - and London - had been making a lot of noise for ramping up Western interventionism in Libya, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) this Monday hit Muammar Gaddafi's Bab al-Azizya compound in Tripoli for the second time in five weeks.

NATO insists it was not targeting the colonel - but a "communications center" inside the compound. Right; as if United Nations Security Council resolution 1973 authorized bombing

Gaddafi's compound as a means of "protecting civilians".

This "kinetic activity" took place after former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger had been hammering his endgame for Libya on at least three different occasions; at George Washington University's Elliot School of International Affairs; at an Aspen Institute session on "Values and Diplomacy", also in Washington; and at the Bretton Woods II conference in New Hampshire.

Kissinger's plan: invade Libya and keep this thing going until at least the spring of 2012. The (wacky) agenda; keep MENA (Middle East/Northern Africa) in total disarray as a diversionist tactic/pretext for Washington to attack Iran on behalf of Israel - to the benefit of the military-industrial complex. Maybe prospective US presidential candidate Field Marshall von Trump - aka the Donald - should command the invasion.

Gaddafi is the perfect villain for this Anglo-French-American farce unworthy of French playwright Georges Feydeau. For all his dictatorial megalomania, Gaddafi is a committed pan-African - a fierce defender of African unity. Libya was not in debt to international bankers. It did not borrow cash from the International Monetary Fund for any "structural adjustment". It used oil money for social services - including the Great Man Made River project, and investment/aid to sub-Saharan countries. Its independent central bank was not manipulated by the Western financial system. All in all a very bad example for the developing world.

Breaking up Libya would be just the hors d'oeuvres for breaking up other parts of Africa where China has sizable investments. Yes, because if Western boots hit the ground in northern Africa, the "footprint" will reach the Sahel - which is already in turbulence; Mali and Niger are receiving weapons from the "rebels" in Libya that are ending up in the hands of al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM). The powers that be in Algeria and Morocco - where pro-democracy protests continue non-stop - are already freaking out.

All these variables should be kept on close watch. For the moment, this spring's humanitarian blockbuster has got to be The Drones of Libya - another Pentagon/White House/State Department co-production straight out of Hollywood, sorry, Creech Air Force Base in Nevada.

Bring on the humanitarian drones

Why haven't they thought about this before; an army of drones (only five for the moment, based in southern Italy) instead of boots on the ground. Pentagon chief Robert Gates actually claimed the drones will strike Libya for "humanitarian reasons" (any hint of irony was as invisible as a drone camera). Gates had already misled the US Congress a few weeks ago, saying that the US role in Libya would end once NATO was in command.

So now it's time to crank-up that X-Box; time for the "cubicle warriors" to raise hell by dragging a mouse. Here's American techno war at its best; bring on the kids who grew up playing video games to fight - virtually - in the desert; the system's controls after all are modeled after video games.

Here are some things the Hellfire missiles will be up against in Libya. A gross domestic product per capita of US$14,192; unemployment benefits of around $730 a month; nurses being paid $1,000 a month; no major taxes; free education and medicine; interest-free loans for buying a car and an apartment. Quite a few unemployed Americans wouldn't mind a one-way ticket to Tripoli.

The attack of the drones is on so Washington may pretend it's not by any means expanding its "kinetic military action" - which is not a war. Kissinger was right on at least one count after all: President Barack Obama has made a bet on this air war to run through 2012 and feed on his re-election.

Then there's that pesky "collateral damage" issue (Who cares? Drones can fly 24 hours straight and provide, in Pentagon newspeak, "extended persistence"). Gaddafi's military has already morphed into civilians and are melting away Mao Zedong and Ho Chi Minh-style. Obama's Vietnam looms - what with Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, saying this is "certainly moving toward a stalemate".

Stalemate (and "collateral damage") as in AfPak; at least 25 people were killed by a Predator in Mir Ali, 35 kilometers east of Miranshah, in the North Waziristan tribal area - just as the arrival of the drones was hailed by the Libyan "rebels". Enterprising Gaddafi-related forces - and tribals - anyway are already busy working on their Pakistani-inspired shoot-a-Predator techniques, as in groups of four people placed apart using rocket-propelled grenades.

What a pity Northrop Grumman still cannot deploy its mighty X-47B - a lean, mean killer drone which was launched last February with its own Blue Oyster Cult-ish music video ( Ed. furtherleft: The original article has a link at this point to a video of what the crazy bastards have in store. Rather than include the link, that video is instead embeded below. The killer will only be available in 2013 - after War-o-Bama gets re-elected.

Meanwhile, a clean video game war will run with a few "morally acceptable" accidents (as in "collateral damage"). And here operation Odyssey Dawn comes back full circle. The US is back where it feels most comfortable - not playing Ulysses in the Mediterranean, but playing Zeus from above, with Predators instead of thunderbolts.

A super fresh, old-school, throw down, futuristic dance contest remix of Fatboy Slim's Weapon of Choice would now be in order. Featuring, instead of Christopher Walken, a Pixar-designed dancing drone. And as master of ceremonies, Field Marshall von Trump, finally free to invade and take the oil. Didn't work in Iraq. Might as well work in Libya.

Relax with Grumman's musical theme of future slaughter.

Two minute musical revue of historic first flight of the U.S. Navy's X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstration aircraft, designed and built by Northrop Grumman Corporation. Flight occurred Feb. 4, 2011 at Edwards AFB, Calif.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

African 'Star Wars'

It Is The Pentagon's Africom
China's Web Of Investments

- The Ultimate Prize:
Africa's Natural Resources.

By Pepe Escobar, al Jazeera, 26 Apr 2011

As Africa increasingly turns to China for economic investment and guidance, Africom seeks to reverse China's geostrategic foothold on Africa.

From energy wars to water wars, the 21st century will be determined by a fierce battle for the world's remaining natural resources. The chessboard is global. The stakes are tremendous. Most battles will be invisible. All will be crucial.

In resource-rich Africa, a complex subplot of the New Great Game in Eurasia is already in effect. It's all about three major intertwined developments:

1) The coming of age of the African Union (AU) in the early 2000s.

2) China's investment offencive in Africa throughout the 2000s.

3) The onset of the Pentagon's African Command (Africom) in 2007.

Beijing clearly sees that the Anglo-French-American bombing of Libya – apart from its myriad geopolitical implications – has risked billions of dollars in Chinese investments, not to mention forcing the (smooth) evacuation of more than 35,000 Chinese working across the country.

And crucially, depending on the outcome – as in renegotiated energy contracts by a pliable, pro-Western government – it may also seriously jeopardise Chinese oil imports (3 per cent of total Chinese imports in 2010).

No wonder the China Military, a People's Liberation Army (PLA) newspaper, as well as sectors in academia, are now openly arguing that China needs to drop Deng Xiaoping's "low-profile" policy and bet on a sprawling armed forces to defend its strategic interests worldwide (these assets already total over $1.2 trillion).

Now compare it with a close examination of Africom's strategy, which reveals as the proverbial hidden agenda the energy angle and a determined push to isolate China from northern Africa.

One report titled "China's New Security Strategy in Africa" actually betrays the Pentagon's fear of the PLA eventually sending troops to Africa to protect Chinese interests.

It won't happen in Libya. It's not about to happen in Sudan. But further on down the road, all bets are off.

Meddle is our middle name

The Pentagon has in fact been meddling in Africa's affairs for more than half a century. According to a 2010 US Congressional Research Service study, this happened no less than 46 times before the current Libya civil war.

Among other exploits, the Pentagon invested in a botched large-scale invasion of Somalia and backed the infamous, genocide-related Rwanda regime.

The Bill Clinton administration raised hell in Liberia, Gabon, Congo and Sierra Leone, bombed Sudan, and sent "advisers" to Ethiopia to back dodgy clients grabbing a piece of Somalia (by the way, Somalia has been at war for 20 years).

The September 2002 National Security Strategy (NSS), conceived by the Bush administration, is explicit; Africa is a "strategic priority in fighting terrorism".

Yet, the never-say-die "war on terror" is a sideshow in the Pentagon's vast militarisation agenda, which favours client regimes, setting up military bases, and training of mercenaries – "cooperative partnerships" in Pentagon newspeak.

Africom has some sort of military "partnership" – bilateral agreements – with most of Africa's 53 countries, not to mention fuzzy multilateral schemes such as West African Standby Force and Africa Partnership Station.

American warships have dropped by virtually every African nation except for those bordering the Mediterranean.

The exceptions: Ivory Coast, Sudan, Eritrea and Libya. Ivory Coast is now in the bag. So is South Sudan. Libya may be next. The only ones left to be incorporated to Africom will be Eritrea and Zimbabwe.

Africom's reputation has not been exactly sterling – as the Tunisian and Egyptian chapters of the great 2011 Arab Revolt caught it totally by surprise. These "partners", after all, were essential for surveillance of the southern Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

Libya for its part presented juicy possibilities: an easily demonised dictator; a pliable post-Gaddafi puppet regime; a crucial military base for Africom; loads of excellent cheap oil; and the possibility of throwing China out of Libya.

Under the Obama administration, Africom thus started its first African war. In the words of its commander, General Carter Ham, "we completed a complex, short-notice, operational mission in Libya and… transferred that mission to NATO."

And that leads us to the next step. Africom will share all its African "assets" with NATO. Africom and NATO are in fact one – the Pentagon is a many-headed hydra after all.

Beijing for its part sees right through it; the Mediterranean as a NATO lake (neocolonialism is back especially, via France and Britain); Africa militarised by Africom; and Chinese interests at high risk.

The lure of ChinAfrica

One of the last crucial stages of globalisation - what we may call "ChinAfrica" – established itself almost in silence and invisibility, at least for Western eyes.

In the past decade, Africa became China's new Far West. The epic tale of masses of Chinese workers and entrepreneurs discovering big empty virgin spaces, and wild mixed emotions from exoticism to rejection, racism to outright adventure, grips anyone's imagination.

Individual Chinese have pierced the collective unconscious of Africa, they have made Africans dream – while China the great power proved it could conjure miracles far away from its shores.

For Africa, this "opposites attract" syndrome was a great boost after the 1960s decolonisation – and the horrid mess that followed it.

China repaved roads and railroads, built dams in Congo, Sudan and Ethiopia, equipped the whole of Africa with fibre optics, opened hospitals and orphanages, and – just before Tahrir Square – was about to aid Egypt to relaunch its civilian nuclear programme.

The white man in Africa has been, most of the time, arrogant and condescending. The Chinese, humble, courageous, efficient and discreet.

China will soon become Africa's largest trading partner – ahead of France and the UK – and its top source of foreign investment. It's telling that the best the West could come up with to counteract this geopolitical earthquake was to go the militarised way.

The external Chinese model of trade, aid and investment – not to mention the internal Chinese model of large-scale, state-led investments in infrastructure – made Africa forget about the West while boosting the strategic importance of Africa in the global economy.

Why would an African government rely on the ideology-based "adjustments" of IMF and the World Bank when China attaches no political conditions and respects sovereignty – for Beijing, the most important principle of international law? On top of it, China carries no colonial historical baggage in Africa.

Essentially, large swathes of Africa have rejected the West's trademark shock therapy, and embraced China.

Western elites, predictably, were not amused. Beijing now clearly sees that in the wider context of the New Great Game in Eurasia, the Pentagon has now positioned itself to conduct a remixed Cold War with China all across Africa – using every trick in the book from obscure "partnerships" to engineered chaos.

The leadership in Beijing is silently observing the waters. For the moment, the Little Helmsman Deng's "crossing the river while feeling the stones" holds.

The Pentagon better wise up. The best Beijing may offer is to help Africa to fulfil its destiny. In the eyes of Africans themselves, that certainly beats any Tomahawk.

Fatah And Hamas

Sign Reconciliation Deal

From al Jazeera

Fatah, the Palestinian political organisation, has reached an agreement with its rival Hamas on forming an interim government and fixing a date for a general election, Egyptian intelligence has said.

In February, Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority and a member of Fatah, called for presidential and legislative elections before September, in a move which was rejected by Hamas at the time.

"The consultations resulted in full understandings over all points of discussions, including setting up an interim agreement with specific tasks and to set a date for election," Egyptian intelligence said in a statement on Wednesday.

More on this from Saree Makdisi, a Palestinian scholar and author of the book "Palestine Inside Out - An Everyday Occupation". He also teaches at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Brutal And Turbulent

I was reading abundant materials and books to make good my promise of continuing writing on the Reflection of April 14 about the Battle of Girón when I had a look at the recent news that came yesterday, which were also as abundant as they are everyday. You could pile up mountains of news on any given week ranging from the earthquake in Japan to the electoral victory of Ollanta Humala over Keiko, the daughter of Alberto Fujimori, ex President of Perú.

Perú is a major exporter of silver, copper, zinc, tin and other minerals. It has huge reserves of uranium that powerful transnationals are hoping to exploit. Enriched uranium can be used to produce the most terrible weapons ever known by humankind as well as the fuel of electronuclear power stations which, despite every warning by the ecologists, was being manufactured at an increasing pace in the United States, Europe and Japan.

Of course, it would not be fair to blame Perú for all this. Peruvians did not invent colonialism, capitalism or imperialism. Neither can we blame the people of the United States, who are also victims of the system that has begotten the craziest politicians ever known in the planet.

On April 8 last, the masters of the world published their traditional annual report about “human rights violations”, which led to a thorough analysis on the website ‘Rebelión’ by the Cuban Manuel E. Yepe, based on a response given by the Council of State of China. The document lists several facts that show the disastrous situation of such rights in the United States.

“…the United States is the country that attacks human rights the most both inside its own territory and in the entire world. Is one of the nations that offers less guarantees to the life, property and personal security of its inhabitants.

“Every year one out of every five people is a victim of a crime in the United States. No other nation on Earth has a rate that is higher. According to official figures, persons above the age of 12 have suffered from 4.3 million violent actions.

“Crime has surged in an alarming way in the four most important cities of the country (Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York). Notorious increases as compared to the previous year have also been reported in other big cities (Saint Louis and Detroit).

“The Supreme Court has ruled that the possession of firearms for self-defense purposes is a constitutional right that can not be ignored by state governments. Ninety million persons -out of the 300 million inhabitants in the country- have 200 million firearms.

“A total of 12 000 homicides caused by firearms were recorded in the country, while 47 per cent of robberies were equally perpetrated with the use of firearms.

“Under the “terrorist activities” section of the Patriot Act, torture and extreme violence to obtain confessions from suspicious persons are common practices. Unjust sentences are evidenced in the 266 persons -17 of them are already on death row- who have been acquitted thanks to the DNA tests.

“Washington advocates for freedom in the Internet to turn the network of networks into an important diplomatic tool of pressure and hegemony, but imposes strict restrictions in cyberspace within its own territory and tries to put up a legal siege to deal with the challenges posed by Wikileaks and its leaks.

“With a high unemployment rate, the number of US citizens living in poverty sets new records. One out of every eight citizens resorted to the food stamp program last year.

“The number of families welcomed in homeless shelters increased by 7 per cent. Those families had to stay longer in those shelters. Violent crimes against these homeless families are increasing nonstop.

“Racial discrimination is permeating every aspect of the social life. Minority groups are discriminated against at their work places; they receive a humiliating treatment and are not taken into account for promotions, benefits or any labor selection process. One third of blacks suffered discrimination at their work place although only 16 per cent dared to submit a complaint.

“Unemployment rate among whites is 16.2 per cent, among Hispanics and Asians is 22 per cent and among blacks is 33 per cent. Afro-Americans and Latin account for 41 per cent of the inmate population. The rate of Afro-Americans serving life sentences is 11 times higher that that of whites.

“Ninety per cent of women have suffered some type of sexual discrimination at their work place. Twenty million women are victims of rape. Almost 60 000 female inmates have suffered some kind of sexual assault or violence.

One fifth of female university students are sexually assaulted and 60 per cent of rapes at the university campus occur at the ladies dorms.

“Nine out of every 10 homosexual, bisexual or transsexual students are harassed at schools.

“The report devotes one chapter to remind us of the human rights violations that the US government is responsible for outside its borders. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, led by the United States, have produced sky-rocketing figures of victims among the civil population in these countries.

“The US anti-terrorist actions have included serious scandals of abuses against prisoners, indefinite detentions without any indictment or trial in detention centers like that in Guantánamo and elsewhere in the world, which were created to interrogate the so called “high value detainees”, where the worst tortures are applied.

“The Chinese document also reminds us that the United States has violated the Cuban people’s right to exist and develop in disregard of the world’s opinion, expressed by the United Nations General Assembly during 19 consecutive years regarding the “necessity to put an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba”.

“The United States has failed to ratify several international human rights conventions such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“The data contained in the report by the Chinese government show that the nefarious performance of the United States in this field disqualifies it as “judge of human rights in the world”. Its ‘human rights diplomacy’ is sheer double standards hypocrisy to the service of its strategic imperialist interests. The Chinese government advises the government of the United States to take concrete measures to improve its own human rights situation examine and rectify its activities in that field and stop its hegemonic actions whereby it uses human rights to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.”

In our view, the important thing about this analysis is that such denunciation is contained in a document issued by the Chinese government, a country of 1 341 million inhabitants, whose monetary reserves amount to two trillion dollars. Without China’s commercial cooperation the empire would sink. I though it was important for our people to know the accurate data contained in the document issued by the Chinese Council of State.

Had Cuba said this, it would not be so important. We have been denouncing those hypocrites for more than 50 years.

Martí had said in 1895, 116 years ago: “…the road that is to be closed, and is being closed with our blood, annexing our American nations to be brutal and turbulent North that despises us…”

“I have lived inside the monster and I know its entrails.”

Fidel Castro Ruz
April 23, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Israeli Car Ad

Boasts Running Over Kids


"We'll see who can stand against you," reads the Hebrew line to the right corner of the picture.

A new photo advertisement of a Japanese car in Israel has drawn considerable outrage for its implied promotion of running over Palestinian kids.

The commercial advertisement, published by a Subaru dealership in Israel, features the scene photographed last year, when an Israeli settler struck two Palestinian children with his car in the East al-Quds (Jerusalem) neighborhood of Silwan before speeding away, Xinhua reported on Thursday.

"We'll see who can stand against you," reads the Hebrew line to the right corner of the picture.

The October incident targeted two youngsters, aged 10 and 12, breaking the younger victim's leg.

Following the attack, the victims initially resisted to be hustled into a car, which apparently meant to take them to a hospital. Palestinian youngsters fear getting into strangers' vehicles because they have seen their friends taken away by Israeli troops posed as civilians on a regular basis.

The acting Palestinian Authority (PA) Chief Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party has said the promotion of the act of aggression "is a dirty advertisement and propaganda that reached to the status of calling for [the] killing Palestinian children by running them over."

The attacker, named David Be'eri, is the director general of Elad, a hard-line real estate development conglomerate.

The organization encourages Jews to move into dense neighborhoods in East al-Quds.

East al-Quds forms part of the Palestinian territories, which Tel Aviv occupied in 1967 and later annexed despite international refusal to recognize either aggression. It has been promised as the capital of any future Palestinian state.

Heist Of The Century

Confiscating Libya's Sovereign Wealth Funds

By Mailio Dinucci published 22 April in 2011 in Il Manifesto and translated from Italian by John Catalinotto.

The objective of the war against Libya is not just its oil reserves (now estimated at 60 billion barrels), which are the greatest in Africa and whose extraction costs are among the lowest in the world, nor the natural gas reserves of which are estimated at about 1,500 billion cubic meters. In the crosshairs of "willing" of the operation “Unified Protector” there are sovereign wealth funds, capital that the Libyan state has invested abroad.

The Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) manages sovereign wealth funds estimated at about $70 billion U.S., rising to more than $150 billion if you include foreign investments of the Central Bank and other bodies. But it might be more. Even if they are lower than those of Saudi Arabia or Kuwait, Libyan sovereign wealth funds have been characterized by their rapid growth. When LIA was established in 2006, it had $40 billion at its disposal. In just five years, LIA has invested over one hundred companies in North Africa, Asia, Europe, the U.S. and South America: holding, banking, real estate, industries, oil companies and others.

In Italy, the main Libyan investments are those in UniCredit Bank (of which LIA and the Libyan Central Bank hold 7.5 percent), Finmeccanica (2 percent) and ENI (1 percent), these and other investments (including 7.5 percent of the Juventus Football Club) have a significance not as much economically (they amount to some $5.4 billion) as politically.

Libya, after Washington removed it from the blacklist of “rogue states,” has sought to carve out a space at the international level focusing on "diplomacy of sovereign wealth funds." Once the U.S. and the EU lifted the embargo in 2004 and the big oil companies returned to the country, Tripoli was able to maintain a trade surplus of about $30 billion per year which was used largely to make foreign investments. The management of sovereign funds has however created a new mechanism of power and corruption in the hands of ministers and senior officials, which probably in part escaped the control of the Gadhafi himself: This is confirmed by the fact that, in 2009, he proposed that the 30 billion in oil revenues go "directly to the Libyan people." This aggravated the fractures within the Libyan government.

U.S. and European ruling circles focused on these funds, so that before carrying out a military attack on Libya to get their hands on its energy wealth, they took over the Libyan sovereign wealth funds. Facilitating this operation is the representative of the Libyan Investment Authority, Mohamed Layas himself: as revealed in a cable published by WikiLeaks. On January 20 Layas informed the U.S. ambassador in Tripoli that LIA had deposited $32 billion in U.S. banks. Five weeks later, on February 28, the U.S. Treasury “froze” these accounts. According to official statements, this is "the largest sum ever blocked in the United States," which Washington held "in trust for the future of Libya." It will in fact serve as an injection of capital into the U.S. economy, which is more and more in debt. A few days later, the EU "froze" around 45 billion Euros of Libyan funds.

The assault on the Libyan sovereign wealth funds will have a particularly strong impact in Africa. There, the Libyan Arab African Investment Company had invested in over 25 countries, 22 of them in sub-Saharan Africa, and was planning to increase the investments over the next five years, especially in mining, manufacturing, tourism and telecommunications. The Libyan investments have been crucial in the implementation of the first telecommunications satellite Rascom (Regional African Satellite Communications Organization), which entered into orbit in August 2010, allowing African countries to begin to become independent from the U.S. and European satellite networks, with an annual savings of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Even more important were the Libyan investment in the implementation of three financial institutions launched by the African Union: the African Investment Bank, based in Tripoli, the African Monetary Fund, based in Yaoundé (Cameroon), the African Central Bank, with Based in Abuja (Nigeria). The development of these bodies would enable African countries to escape the control of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, tools of neo-colonial domination, and would mark the end of the CFA franc, the currency that 14 former French colonies are forced to use. Freezing Libyan funds deals a strong blow to the entire project. The weapons used by "the willing" are not only those in the military action called “Unified Protector.”

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Truth About Facebook

Not What You May Think

Facebook Is CIA


Saturday, April 23, 2011


- Democracy Or Police State?

Beached White Male

Is USA Exceptional?

The Truth About American Exceptionalism

By David Morris

America is exceptional but not in the way Republican Presidential candidates think (Ed. furtherleft: Oh, and their Democrats differ?)

But the myth that we became richer than other countries because of our blessedness encouraged us to develop a truly exceptionalist culture, one that has left us singularly unequipped to prosper when our luck changed, when inexpensive land and energy proved exhaustible, when the best and the brightest in the world began staying at home rather than emigrating to our shores, when wars began to burden us and enrich our economic competitors.

The central tenet of that culture is a celebration of the “me” and an aversion to the “we”. When Harris pollsters asked US citizens aged 18 and older what it means to be an American the answers surprised no one. Nearly 60 percent used the word freedom. The second most common word was patriotism. Only 4 percent mentioned the word community.

To American exceptionalists freedom means being able to do what you want unencumbered by obligations to your fellow citizens. It is a definition of freedom the rest of the world finds bewildering. Can it be, they ask, that the quintessential expression of American freedom is low or no taxes and the right to carry a loaded gun into a bar? To which a growing number of Americans, if recent elections were any indication, would respond, “You’re damn right it is.”

Strikingly, Americans are not exceptional in our attitudes toward government. In a survey of 27 countries, two thirds of the respondents on both sides of the Atlantic answered yes to the following question, “Does the government control too much of your daily life? Is it usually inefficient and wasteful?”

What makes us exceptional is our response to the next question. “It is the responsibility of the government to reduce the difference in income”. Less than a third of Americans agreed while in 26 other countries more than two thirds did.

Citizens in other countries are as critical of their governments as we are. But unlike us they do not criticize the importance of government itself or the fundamental role it plays in boosting the general welfare. They do not like to pay taxes, but they understand the necessity of taxes not only in building a public infrastructure but also in building a personal security infrastructure.

Far more than other peoples, Americans believe that skill and hard work are the keys to success and wealth is a measure of how hard you work or how skilled you are. Which leads us to believe that people should have the right to amass as much wealth as they can and view a graduated income tax as a punitive penalty on success and a sturdy social safety net an invitation to slothfulness, reduced productivity and an overall slowdown in economic growth.

The expression, “The Nanny State” is singularly American. The expression “We’re all in this together”, while rhetorically still extant in the United States, less and less describes the values that motivate our policies.

In contrast, Europeans believe luck and circumstance are more important than hard work and skill and a sturdy social safety net is needed to help those who are unlucky. Acting on this principle, they have designed most of their social benefits to be universal, as have Canada and Japan, unlike here where residents have to prostrate themselves before bureaucrats to validate their penury before they are grudgingly doled out ever-smaller and temporary amounts of assistance.

One consequence of universality is that even while they complain about taxes, Europeans can point to many aspects of their lives where they directly and personally benefit from taxes (e.g. universal health insurance). Americans cannot.

For many Americans even means tested benefits are unwelcome. The term “welfare” is a pejorative a handout given to undeserving people who will use it in unworthy ways. Ronald Reagan’s lethal phrase “welfare Queen” accurately captured that mindset.

The new influence of Tea Party conservatives has taken this anti-social attitude a step further best reflected in the speeches of Representative Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Budget Committee and made concrete in his recent budget. Ryan believes that helping the poor represents a “collectivist” philosophy. His heroine is Ayn Rand, the God of libertarians. He requires his staffers to read Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged and calls Rand “the reason I got involved in public service.”

Jonathan Chait sums up Rand’s moral philosophy, “The core of the Randian worldview, as absorbed by the modern GOP, is a belief that the natural market distribution of income is inherently moral, and the central struggle of politics is to free the successful from having the fruits of their superiority redistributed by looters and moochers.”

For Ayn Rand charity is not only unwelcome; it is evil.

"Do not confuse altruism with kindness, good will or respect for the rights of others…The irreducible primary of altruism, the basic absolute, is self-sacrifice—which means; self-immolation, self-abnegation, self-denial, self-destruction—which means: the self as a standard of evil, the selfless as a standard of the good. Do not hide behind such superficialities as whether you should or should not give a dime to a beggar. That is not the issue. The issue is whether you do or do not have the right to exist without giving him that dime.

That value system is made explicit in Paul Ryan’s much publicized budget which would slash taxes on the rich by almost $3 trillion while cutting spending on the needy by almost that much."

The United States is also exceptional among industrialized nations not only in having by far the world’s most unequal income distribution but in believing that this inequality benefits us all, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary.

The data is crystal clear. Since 1980, the income share of the upper 1 percent of Americans has doubled. The share going to the top 0.1 percent, those earning more than $1.2 million a year, has quadrupled. Meanwhile the average worker’s wages have declined. In 2004 a full-time worker’s wage was 11 percent lower than in 1973, adjusting for inflation, even though productivity had risen 78 percent between 1973 and 2004

In the last decade, while the top 1 percent of Americans saw their incomes rise, on average, by more than a quarter of a million dollars each, the average income of the bottom 90 percent of all working Americans actually declined.

To Republicans, inequality is unimportant because of another aspect of American exceptionalism, the unparalleled opportunity in the United States for those with ambition and grit to move up the economic ladder. They insist, and most of us firmly believe, that America is still the land of opportunity, that the probability of a rags to riches saga is much higher here than abroad.

But recent data contradicts that fundamental tenet of American exceptionalism. A Brookings Institution report comparing economic mobility in the United States and other countries concludes, "…"Starting at the bottom of the earnings ladder is more of a handicap in the United States than it is in other countries." And more broadly notes, "there is growing evidence of less intergenerational economic mobility in the United States than in many other rich industrialized countries.”

Another hobbling fundamental tenet of American exceptionalism is that we have nothing to learn from other countries. Why mess with God’s perfection? Back in the late 1980s I went to producers at Minneota’s public television station, TPT and proposed a show tentatively entitled, “What We Can Learn From Others”. They wondered what in the world I was smoking.

This sense of uniqueness has most clearly been reflected in our debates on national health care reform. In 1994 both the United States and Taiwan engaged in national debates about how their health care systems might be improved. To come up with the answers, Taiwan’s leaders visited about a dozen other countries to gain insights about the wide variety of existing national health system structures and used these insights to tailor a system adapted to their own needs. US leaders visited no other countries. The debate rarely even mentioned other countries except dismissively and usually inaccurately (e.g. Canadians cannot choose their own doctors). This occurred despite the overwhelming evidence that the US medical system is the most expensive, the least accessible and by many measures, one of the least well-performing of any in the industrialized world.

The 2009 debate over health reform took place as the United States economy collapsed, unemployment soared and foreclosures mushroomed. Yet there was virtually no discussion about the relationship of health care and personal financial adversity. A study by Steffie Woolhandler and colleagues at the Harvard Medical School done in 2007 revealed a remarkable statistic: 62 percent of US bankruptcies were a result of medical expenses. Equally damning, 75 percent of the people with a medically related bankruptcy had health insurance.

How does this woeful statistic compare to other countries? It is impossible to say because in other countries such a statistic would be a sign of gross irresponsibility and perhaps a societal breakdown. On Frontline, Washington Post veteran reporter T.R. Reid examined health systems around the world. In the process he interviewed the President of the Swiss Federation. Switzerland had dramatically changed its own health system in 1994 through a national referendum.

Reid: How many people in Switzerland go bankrupt because of medical bills?

Swiss President Pascal Couchepin: Nobody. It doesn't happen. It would be a huge scandal if it happens.

Conservatives proudly point to the Declaration of Independence as the foundational source of their guiding principles. “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

But American exceptionalism has bred a culture and value system that have in turn embraced policies that have made the pursuit of happiness exceedingly difficult.

More and more Americans are desperately trying to hold on. In an astonishing reversal of the first 200 years of American history when we were seen as perhaps the most optimistic of all peoples, we have become one of the most personally insecure.

To make up for the decline in wages, Americans are working longer hours and taking on more debt just to make ends meet. Today Americans are at work 4-10 weeks longer than their counterparts in Europe. Forty million Americans lack health insurance and tens of millions more have health insurance with limited coverage.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, at the founding of the American Republic a key difference between the Old World and the New World was that in the New World a baby survived. Today, the numbers paint a different picture. The proportion of infants that survive in the United States is one of the lowest in the industrialized world.

At the founding of the nation, access to low cost land transformed the United States into the first large nation in history populated principally by property owners. Since late 2007. however, there have been more than 7 million foreclosures in the United States and some predict another 2 million in 2011.

America has been and continues to be exceptional. At first we were exceptional because of circumstances that conferred on us enormous advantages over other nations. Today we are exceptional because of our culture, a culture born of our unusually fortunate history and now perhaps the single biggest handicap to our collective survival and prosperity in the less favorable circumstances of the 21st century.

We’re #1

Charting American Exceptionalism

Friday, April 22, 2011

Law Of Mother Earth

Behind Bolivia's Historic Bill

By by Nick Buxton 21 April 2011

A new law expected to pass in Bolivia mandates a fundamental ecological reorientation of the nation's economy and society.

Indigenous and campesino (small-scale farmer) movements in the Andean nation of Bolivia are on the verge of pushing through one of the most radical environmental bills in global history. The "Mother Earth" law under debate in Bolivia's legislature will almost certainly be approved, as it has already been agreed to by the majority governing party, Movimiento Al Socialismo (MAS).

The law draws deeply on indigenous concepts that view nature as a sacred home, the Pachamama (Mother Earth) on which we intimately depend. As the law states, “Mother Earth is a living dynamic system made up of the undivided community of all living beings, who are all interconnected, interdependent and complementary, sharing a common destiny.”

The law would give nature legal rights, specifically the rights to life and regeneration, biodiversity, water, clean air, balance, and restoration. Bolivia's law mandates a fundamental ecological reorientation of Bolivia's economy and society, requiring all existing and future laws to adapt to the Mother Earth law and accept the ecological limits set by nature. It calls for public policy to be guided by Sumaj Kawsay (an indigenous concept meaning “living well,” or living in harmony with nature and people), rather than the current focus on producing more goods and stimulating consumption.

In practical terms, the law requires the government to transition from non-renewable to renewable energy; to develop new economic indicators that will assess the ecological impact of all economic activity; to carry out ecological audits of all private and state companies; to regulate and reduce greenhouse gas emissions; to develop policies of food and renewable energy sovereignty; to research and invest resources in energy efficiency, ecological practices, and organic agriculture; and to require all companies and individuals to be accountable for environmental contamination with a duty to restore damaged environments.

The law will be backed up by a new Ministry of Mother Earth, an inter-Ministry Advisory Council, and an Ombudsman. Undarico Pinto, leader of the 3.5 million-strong campesino movement CSUTCB, which helped draft the law, believes this legislation represents a turning point in Bolivian law: "Existing laws are not strong enough. This will make industry more transparent. It will allow people to regulate industry at national, regional, and local levels."

However, there is also strong awareness among Bolivia's social movements—in particular for the Pacto de Unidad (Unity Pact), a coalition of the country's five largest social movements and a key force behind the law—that the existence of a new law will not be enough to prompt real change in environmental practices.

A major obstacle is the fact that Bolivia is structurally dependent on extractive industries. Since the discovery of silver by the Spanish in the 16th Century, Bolivia's history has been tied to ruthless exploitation of its people and its environment in order to transfer wealth to the richest countries; poet and historian Eduardo Galeano’s famous book Open Veins draws largely on the brutal story of how Bolivia's exploitation fuelled the industrial expansion of Europe. In 2010, 70 percent of Bolivia's exports were still in the form of minerals, gas, and oil. This structural dependence will be very difficult to unravel.

Moreover, there is a great deal of opposition from powerful sectors, particularly mining and agro-industrial enterprises, to any ecological laws that would threaten profits. The main organization of soya producers, which claimed that the law “will make the productive sector inviable,” is one of many powerful groups who have already come out against the law. Within the government, there are many ministries and officials that would also like the law to remain nothing more than a visionary but ultimately meaningless statement.

Raul Prada, one of the advisors to Pacto de Unidad, explained that the Mother Earth law was developed by Bolivia's largest social movements in response to their perceived exclusion from policy-making by the MAS government, led by indigenous President Evo Morales. They have generally supported MAS since its resounding election victory in 2005, but were frustrated by what they saw as a lack of progress. Rather than merely expressing their concern, these movements—comprised mainly of indigenous and farming communities—are pro-actively developing a series of new laws. Their first priority was the passage of the Mother Earth Law, based on a commitment made at the historic global Peoples Conference on Climate Change held in Bolivia in April 2010. To some surprise, the diverse movements soon developed a consensual agreement that was supported by MAS legislators.

Raul Prada notes that, even with significant pressure from social movements, transitioning to an economy based on the concept Vivir Bien will not be easy. “It is going to be difficult to transit from an extractive economy. We clearly can't close mines straight away, but we can develop a model where this economy has less and less weight. It will need policies developed in participation with movements, particularly in areas such as food sovereignty. It will need redirection of investment and policies towards different ecological models of development. It will need the cooperation of the international community to develop regional economies that complement each other.”

Ultimately, though, this is a challenge far bigger than Bolivia, says Prada: “Our ecological and social crisis is not just a problem for Bolivia or Ecuador; it is a problem for all of us. We need to pull together peoples, researchers, and communities to develop real concrete alternatives so that the dominant systems of exploitation don't just continue by default. This is not an easy task, but I believe with international solidarity, we can and must succeed.”

End Of The Road

Dedicated To Vittorio Arrigoni

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Taking Apart

Of Deborah Lipstad

By Gilad Atzmon
This was authored by Gilad Aztman and posted on several web sites on 30 March 2011. Our team member sundew added it here yesterday. It was then deleted, recovered, and reposted today.

In a recent article, Shoa-logist Deborah Lipstadt attempts to reinstate her argument against historical revisionism.

Lipstadt is clearly opposing holocaust deniers whom she also identifies as anti Semites, yet, she fails to define what denial means. She also comes short of suggesting what anti Semitism stands for. I guess that for Lipstadt, ‘deniers’ are those who insist that our past must be revisited, scrutinised and be told from different perspectives. People who hold such views are usually called historical revisionists or simply historians. Yet, historical revisionists are clearly perceived by Lipstadt as anti Semites -- I guess that for Lipstadt , those who dare touch or fiddle with the Jewish past are nothing less than enemies.

The ‘deniers’, according to Lipstdat, are a lively movement that is working vigorously to “distort history and inculcate anti-Semitism”. Yet, it is far from being clear how anyone can ‘distort history’, for history is not a singular set of facts laid down and dictated by one group of people alone. Rather it is an attempt to transform the past into a story aspire to as full a narrative as is possible, drawn from as many points of view and from as wide a body of research as is available. History is an attempt then, to build a narrative. Different people should be entitled to hold different perspectives of their past.

Seemingly, Lipstdat is not happy with it all. She wants the chapter known as the holocaust to become a meta-historical impenetrable narrative. It is not clear to me and to a growing number of academics, artists and ordinary people, why Jewish academics and institutions are so afraid of this particular chapter in history being looked-at and discussed freely.

For some peculiar reason Lipstadt regards herself as a ‘scholar’, yet her engagement with the subject matter is far from being scholarly oriented. Her reading of the Nazi era is utterly embarrassing-- for instance, she says “had the world taken Nazi anti-Semitism more seriously from the outset of the rise of the Third Reich the subsequent tragedy might have been quite different.”

But seems as if the world did actually react very seriously to Nazi anti Semitism -- It basically followed the Nazi agenda. America and Britain closed their gates to Jews, leaving European Jewish refugees to face their fate. Even the Zionists failed to do much to save their European brothers and sisters. It is also clear that the Nazis would not have succeeded in their ethnic cleansing project unless they had been assisted by European communities, governments, and even by Jewish institutions. It seems as if the Nazis were not the ‘only anti Semites;’ they were just more open about it.

Lipstadt’s ignorance knows no limits. She continues, “in the 1930s and 1940s, of course, observers—and the potential victims—could not fathom where Hitler and his cohort’s anti-Semitism might lead.” I guess that the Jewish ‘historian’ doesn’t really know that in the 1930’s and the early 1940’s ‘Hitler and his cohort’ also didn’t know themselves where they were aiming’. We do know that they wanted a Germany free of Jews -- and this is, indeed, pretty outrageous. Yet, it is not that different from the vast majority of Israelis, who want a Palestine that is free of Palestinians.

Lipstadt is convinced that the ‘deniers’ are motivated by “hatred of Jews and their desire to do them harm”. But the truth of the matter is slightly embarrassing -- Historical revisionism is a growing body of knowledge. It doesn’t claim to address ‘the Jewish question’, nor does it offer any political agenda, and neither does it call to harm Jews. However, one may note that rather too often we come across Jewish institutional calls to harm, and even to destroy Arabs and Muslims. I would then, expect Lipstadt to be consistent, and to stand against her own brothers’ and sisters’ genocidal inclinations. But clearly, integrity is not something you should expect from a Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies.

When it becomes clear that Lipstadt has nothing clever to say about the subject (or maybe any subject) she pulls the rabbit out of her hat, or should we say, she pulls Ahmadinejad out of her wig. “During the past five years we have heard a stream of Holocaust denial, overt anti-Semitism, and threats against Israel emanate from the mouth of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad… Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denial is linked directly to his animus toward Israel.”

And this is where Jewish past, present and future are wrapped together into a collective meaning that appears totally impervious to reason, ethics or humanity. It is obviously clear that those who oppose Israeli barbarism may, at a certain stage, look at the Zionist’s raison d'être, namely the holocaust. It is obviously natural for those who detest Israeli lies to scrutinise every Israeli or Jewish narrative – And the question is, what is so wrong with doing so? Why are Jews, or at least some Jews, horrified by the idea that others might be suspicious of aspects of their historical narratives? Why is it so difficult for Lipstadt to accept that Ahmadinejad opposes Israel, and also, questions aspects of the Jewish past?

“In 2009”, Says Lipstadt, “after questioning the existence of the Holocaust, he (Ahmadinejad) declared it was a ploy used by the Jews to get the West to accede to the creation of Israel.” Again, isn’t it a scholarly and legitimate question on behalf of Ahmadinejad? Are not the holocaust and the foundation of the Jewish State inherently linked?

But -- Don’t you worry, it is not Ahmadinejad alone whom the Yeshiva Scholar hates. “Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser spoke of the lie of the 6 million Jews… Spokesmen for Hamas have also engaged in Holocaust denial. Holocaust denial themes can be found in newspapers in many parts of the Arab world, including in Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon.”

Even Mahmoud Abbas was a ‘denier’ according to the Shoa genius, “as a young student, (Abbas) wrote a dissertation that was pure denial.” But guess what, Abbas doesn’t have to worry; Lipsdat has forgiven him already. He (Abbas) “subsequently repudiated his view” and Lipstadt “fully believes his repudiation.” At least, Lipstadt is flexible enough to amend her ‘academic’ views so they fit into the current Israeli political agenda.

I guess that it would make sense to argue that Lipstadt is continuing to fight what is by now a lost battle. Our past is not a Jewish property . When I read Lipstadt’s pseudo academic diatribe, I am convinced that aspects of the Zionist view of history must continue to be scrutinised and debated, for history cannot be handled or censored by any form of Yeshiva scholarship, for Yeshiva ideology is the complete opposite of Western spirit, intellectual debate and openness.

Lipstadt asserts, “seventy years ago people had an acceptable reason to say, ‘We could never fathom that Hitler meant what he said.’ Today we no longer have that luxury. At the very least it behooves us to take Ahmadinejad and those among his fellow Muslim leaders and opinion-makers seriously.”

Seemingly Lipstadt urges Western leaders to dismantle Iran and other Muslim countries in the name of the history she doesn’t allow them to revise or scrutinise. I guess that for the sake of world peace, it is necessary to expose people like Lipstadt and her cohort.

In her final paragraph Lipstadt seems to find out what is wrong with the revisionists, “their Holocaust denial is part of their contemporary political agenda.”

In psychological terminology, the above is defined as projection -- Lipstadt projects her own symptoms on historical revisionists. It is obviously clear that Lipstadt’s ‘holocaust evangelism’ is there to serve her own Zio-centric political agenda.

The question you may want to ask yourself at this stage is, for how long will we let Yeshiva supremacist Ideology determine our vision of our past? I myself believe that time is ripe to say NO to Jewish Ideology and politics. Enough is certainly enough.

Is This A War?

Or, Arn't We Supposed To Call It That

Using Truth To Lie

The Zionist Story

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Regime Change

By Pepe Escobar

How to turn a ''kinetic military action'' - which is not a war - into some sort of endgame, by bending a United Nations resolution that was allegedly passed to minimize a humanitarian threat? You write a lame op-ed. Just ask The Three Amigos - US President Barack Obama, UK Prime Minister David Cameron and neo-Napoleonic French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

In a joint article published last Friday, The Three Amigos insisted they don't want to remove Libya's Muammar Gaddafi by force. But they also insist bringing democracy by bombing will continue (allegedly to protect democracy-seeking civilians). And continue they will because Gaddafi must ''go and go for good''.

So much for the original UN mandate. So much for a real ceasefire. The ''enlightened'' West and its coalition of the semi-willing does not do ceasefires, although the BRICS nations - top emerging powers Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - have officially condemned the bombing and called for a much-needed reform of the UN Security council.

Russian president Dmitry Medvedev accused the minuscule coalition of the semi-willing and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) of being the weaponized arm of the ''rebels''. In his words, ''the UN forces should help disengage the parties, and in any case should not assist any of the parties.''

As far as Washington, London and Paris go, that's irrelevant. So now it's official. The bombing goes until Gaddafi is removed. Welcome to Mission Regime Change.

History repeats itself
It's no surprise UN resolution 1973 reveals itself to be a farce - as much as the manufactured Libyan ''revolution'', which has essentially orchestrated by French intelligence, British MI6 and the US Central Intelligence Agency since Gaddafi's former chief of protocol, Nuri Mesmari, defected to Paris in October 2010.

Dodgy exiles abound - from the British-supported network of Prince Mohammed el-Senoussi, currently exiled in London, to Khalifa Hilter, a CIA asset until recently exiled near Langley, Virginia and self-appointed ''military commander'' of the ''rebels''.

The ''rebels'' now expect that the no-fly zone ramblingly implemented by NATO will translate - farcically - into a weapons supply channel; a 21st-century rerun of the arming of the mujahideen in Afghanistan during the 1980s, with Britain, France and Qatar playing the former starring roles of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the US.

And there will be (Western) boots on the ground - sooner rather than later, as the narrative is already being spun across Atlanticist corporate media.

Next glorious chapter: a column of glorious M1 Abrams tanks taking Tripoli in chivalric mood, with the rag-tag ''revolutionaries'' showered with flowers (''If you're going / to Tripolitania / be sure to wear / some flowers in your hair''). It didn't work in Baghdad in 2003 under neo-conservative patronage; it might as well work in Tripoli under humanitarian imperialism.

With the ''rebels'' under this Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds-style spell, no wonder the African Union (AU) mission trying to establish a ceasefire floundered. What these rebels with a cause don't know is that their masters' cause prevails. They are rebels as much expendable as were the Nicaragua contras and the Afghan mujahideen.

Take me to Somalia
No wonder the apocalyptic theme of the moment is ''Somalia''. On March 2, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that Libya might become ''a giant Somalia". On March 30, former foreign minister and now prized defector Moussa Koussa said he feared civil war, under which ''Libya would be a new Somalia".

The Africom, then NATO, ''humanitarian intervention'' is actually creating the conditions of a Somalia. The wall of mistrust between the Gaddafi regime and the ''rebels'' is insurmountable, bound to degenerate into a Somalia.

Gaddafi's repression of what was essentially a military coup morphed into an armed rebellion has been of course brutal. But that never warranted a definition of genocide - or was enough to justify R2P (''responsibility to protect''). By the same standard, the UN would have to vote for a NATO-enforced no fly zone if China threatened to repress an insurrection in Tibet.

And frankly, R2P enforced by bombing is a cruel, tragic joke. Even more when compared with the UN's - and NATO's - non-reaction to a real massacre, the 1991 hardcore repression by Saddam Hussein of mass rebellions in both northern and southern Iraq, when over 200,000 people were actually killed, not arguably a few thousand as in Libya.

In Iraq in 1991, Washington had vociferously incited the Shi'ites to rebel against Saddam - just as the CIA today helps the Libyan ''rebels'' against Gaddafi. Yet when push came to shove, Washington did absolutely nothing. And to top it off, a no-fly zone was in effect (the Americans lifted it so Saddam's gunships could massacre Shi'ites in peace). Farce, farce, utmost farce.

The Pentagon agenda
As far as the Pentagon is concerned, Gaddafi is a serious nuisance. He's blocking the ''progress'' of Africom; he's in charge of a strategic stretch of the Mediterranean; and he's made deals with China. As a nationalist with a pan-African streak, allowing China access to the Mediterranean, he's the ultimate scourge of Africom's agenda of militarizing Africa for American benefit. So he has to be at least isolated.

But the fall of Gaddafi is not a priority. The Pentagon would rather deal - or not deal - with a cornered Gaddafi in an impoverished Tripolitania than face a powerful, unified Libya that in the future might stand up again against Western imperialist designs. The Pentagon ''votes'' for balkanization.

For the moment, the Pentagon - via Africom and NATO - is just taking care of the Big Picture in the air and in the seas, while subcontracting possible ground operations to European minions. Things are going great - as in the partition of Sudan and the possible Somalia scenario in Libya. When the boots hit the ground they will be provided by the European minions; see the French example in the Ivory Coast.

What comes ahead may be even messier. NATO as a weaponized arm of the UN is already a fact on the ground. If NATO gets rid of Gaddafi, the next target is Syria. As much as Libya allows Chinese trade access to the southern Mediterranean, Syria allows the Russian Navy access to the eastern Mediterranean.

The Pentagon / NATO / Africom agenda is and will always remain the same. To prevent real emancipation of the Arab world. To prevent real emancipation and unity of Africa. For all his serious flaws as a ruler, Gaddafi was a bad example. With the ghastly IMF blackmailing poor African countries, Gaddafi instead financed African development projects.

This is not only about Libya - far from it. This is the message of the ruling elites in Washington - and their satrapies in London and Paris - for Africa. We're going flat out for the military subjugation of Africa, and for the control of Africa's natural resources. Keep doing deals with China, and this is what you get. With NATO as global Robocop, nothing can stop us - with or without regime change, but always under the cover of farce.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It's A Laugh

You're Having, Isn't It.

Ed.Note, 12 July 2011: YouTube removed this video for what they termed violation of their policy prohibiting "hate speech". George Galloway disagreed with a call in who claimed Jewish religion and historically incorrect heritage entitled inclusion in and justified an Israeli homeland in Palestine. Galloway made fun while showing the claim historically false. A guess is someone of Zionist leanings raised their favorite magic word, "antisemitism"."

George Galloway

Well, here it is again from another YouTube user. Wonder for how long.

My Only Wish

By Sami Yusuf

Econony Collapse

Explained In Three Minutes

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Israeli Nukes

Which country in the Middle East has undeclared Nuclear weapons? Which country in the Middle East has undeclared biological and chemical capabilities? Which country in the Middle East has no outside inspections? Which country jailed its nuclear whistleblower for 18 years? Mordechai Vanunu told the world that Israel had developed between one hundred and two hundred atomic bombs and had gone on to develop neutron bombs and thermonuclear weapons. Enough to destroy the entire Middle East and nobody has done anything about it since. It's thought plutonium is made in Dimona; nuclear weapons are assembled at Yodefat and stored at Zachariah and Eilabun. Three nuclear submarines are based in Haifa and Israel's biological and chemical warfare laboratories are at Nes Ziona.

Israel never comments on such reports. But evidence continues to emerge. In 1992 an Israeli cargo plane crashed in Amsterdam killing forty-three people. The Israelis claimed it was carrying flowers and perfume. It took six years and a Dutch parliamentary enquiry before they admitted it was carrying DMMP, a key component for sarin nerve gas. The DMMP was bound for The Israeli Institute of Biological Research at Nes Ziona, one of Israel's most secret defense sites. It is subject to no international inspection and reporting of its activities in Israel is prevented by strict military censorship.

The BBC Documentary of March 2003

Wikipedia On Mordechai Vanunu

Full Wikileaks article with references.

Mordechai Vanunu is a former Israeli nuclear technician who, citing his opposition to weapons of mass destruction, revealed details of Israel's nuclear weapons program to the British press in 1986. He was subsequently lured to Italy by a female Mossad agent, where he was drugged and kidnapped by Israeli intelligence agents. He was transported to Israel and ultimately convicted in a trial that was held behind closed doors.

Vanunu spent 18 years in prison, including more than 11 years in solitary confinement. Released from prison in 2004, he became subject to a broad array of restrictions on his speech and movement. Since then he has been arrested several times for violations of those restrictions, including giving various interviews to foreign journalists and attempting to leave Israel. He says that he suffered "cruel and barbaric treatment" at the hands of Israeli authorities while imprisoned, and suggests that his treatment would have been different if he were Jewish (Vanunu is a Christian convert from Judaism).

In 2007, Vanunu was sentenced to six months in prison for violating terms of his parole. The sentence was considered unusual even by the prosecution who expected a suspended sentence. In response, Amnesty International issued a press release on 2 July 2007, stating that "The organization considers Mordechai Vanunu to be a prisoner of conscience and calls for his immediate and unconditional release." In May 2010, Vanunu was arrested and sentenced to three months in jail on suspicion that he met foreigners in violation of conditions of his 2004 release from jail.

Dimona Above and Below

Friday, April 15, 2011

Vittorio Arrigoni

Journalist And Human Rights Defender
Murdered In Gaza On April 14 2011

Vittorio has been active in the Palestine cause for almost 10 years. For the past two and a half years, he has been in Gaza with the International Solidarity Movement, monitoring human rights violations by Israel, supporting the Palestinian popular resistance against the Israeli occupation and disseminating information about the situation in Gaza to his home country of Italy. He was aboard the siege-breaking voyage in 2008 with the Free Gaza Movement and was incarcerated in Israeli prisons several times. He was in Gaza throughout Israel's brutal assault (Operation Cast Lead), assisting medics and reporting to the world what Israel was doing to the Palestinian people. He has been arrested numerous times by Israeli forces for his participation in Palestinian non-violent resistance in the West Bank and Gaza. His last arrest and deportation from the area was a result of the Israeli confiscation of Palestinian fishing vessels in Gazan territorial waters.

Vittorio frequently writes on the issue of Palestine for the Italian newspaper, IL Manifesto and Peacereporter. Additionally, he maintains a popular blog ( and facebook page

Khalil Shaheen, a friend of Vittorio and Head of the Economic and Social Rights Department at the Palestinian Center for Human Rights said, "This is outside of our traditions. We are calling for the immediate release of my best friend. Vittorio Arrigoni is a hero of Palestine. He was available everywhere to support all the poor people, the victims. I'm calling on the local authorities here in Gaza, and all security departments, to do their best to guarantee his safety and immediate release."

Vittorio was granted honorary citizenship for his work on promoting the cause of the Palestinian people. Members of Gazan civil society are demanding his release; tomorrow at 4:00pm there will be a mass demonstration in Jundi Square.

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