Rice cancels Palestine Israel trip due to "political situation in Israel"

English (US)  May 8th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

The US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has postponed her trip to Palestine and Israel in May, announced the US State Department on Monday.

[More:]

State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said while the political turmoil surrounding Ehud Olmert has cancelled Rice's trip, the Secretary of State has not ruled out other stops in the Middle East as part of her May 14-15 visit to Moscow. "The political situation in Israel has become a bit more complex in the near term," McCormack said.

Olmert has faced widespread protests calling for his resignation in the wake of the Winograd Committee's report on Israel's failures in the Lebanon war.

Rice intended to meet Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas following the US proposal of a timeline for bolstering Israeli-Palestinian talks. The Palestinian government has rejected the proposal as it does not include, among other things, any reference to lifting the economic siege imposed on Palestinians.

AKM/KB
Press TV

No Comments for this post yet...

0 response(s) to Rice cancels Palestine Israel trip due to "political situation in Israel"

    This post has 148 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

    Leave a comment:

    Allowed XHTML tags:
    <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

    Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
    Your URL will be displayed.

    URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
    (Line breaks become <br />)
    (Set cookies for name, email and url)
    (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

    Bush's popularity hits new low

    English (US)  May 6th, 2007 by admin ( Email )


    Almost 62 per cent of Americans disapprove
    of Bush's execution of the Iraq war

    The public approval rating for the US president has hit an all-time low of 28 per cent and nearly two-thirds of Americans think George Bush is "stubborn and unwilling to admit his mistakes".

    [More:]


    The Newsweek poll released on Saturday found Bush's rating one percentage point lower than his father at the lowest point in his term in office.

    Almost 62 per cent of Americans disapprove of Bush's execution of the Iraq war, while 30 per cent think his actions show he is "willing to take political risks" to do what is right, Newsweek reported.

    The last US leader to be as unpopular as Bush was Jimmy Carter who also scored 28 per cent in 1979 in the wake of the Iran hostage crisis.

    Bush burden

    Bush's unpopularity may hurt Republican hopes of keeping the White House in 2008.

    "The US has to withdraw completely from Iraq" -- Munzir Baig, Muscat, Oman

    The poll also suggested that Democratic frontrunners have a promising lead over potential Republican contenders across the board, with Barack Obama, the Illinois senator, recording the best performance so far.

    Obama bested Rudolph Giuliani, the Republican frontrunner and former New York mayor, by 50 per cent to 43 per cent among registered voters who responded to the Newsweek poll.

    He also topped John McCain, the Arizona senator, by 52 per cent to 39 per cent and defeated Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, by 58 per cent to 29 per cent, the poll indicated.

    The other popular Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, who is New York senator, topped Giuliani by 49 per cent to 46 per cent, and beat McCain by 50 per cent to 44 per cent.

    She led Romney by 57 per cent to 35 per cent, the poll found.

    The poll, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International on Wednesday and Thursday, interviewed 1,001 adults 18 and older.

    It had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

    Agencies

    316 words posted in American EmpireLeave a comment

    No Comments for this post yet...

    0 response(s) to Bush's popularity hits new low

      This post has 52 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

      Leave a comment:

      Allowed XHTML tags:
      <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

      Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
      Your URL will be displayed.

      URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
      (Line breaks become <br />)
      (Set cookies for name, email and url)
      (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

      The Last Argument of Fools: How America has Changed Iraq

      English (US)  May 6th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

      By William Blum

      "If the United States leaves Iraq things will really get bad."

      This appears to be the last remaining, barely-breathing argument of that vanishing species who still support the god-awful war. The argument implies a deeply-felt concern about the welfare and safety of the Iraqi people. What else could it mean? That the US military can't leave because it's needed to protect the oil bonanza awaiting American oil companies as soon as the Iraqi parliament approves the new written-in-Washington oil law? No, the Bush administration loves the people of Iraq. How much more destruction, killing and torturing do you need to be convinced of that? We can't leave because of the violence. We can't leave until we have assured that peace returns to our dear comrades in Iraq.

      [More:]

      To better understand this argument, it helps to keep in mind the following about the daily horror that is life in Iraq: It did not exist before the US occupation.

      The insurgency violence began as, and remains, a reaction to the occupation; like almost all insurgencies in occupied countries -- from the American Revolution to the Vietcong -- it's a fight directed toward getting foreign forces to leave.

      The next phase was the violence of Iraqis against other Iraqis who worked for or sought employment with anything associated with the occupation regime.

      Then came retaliatory attacks for these attacks.

      Followed by retaliatory attacks for the retaliatory attacks.

      Jihadists from many countries have flocked to Iraq because they see the war against the American Satan occupiers as a holy war.

      Before the occupation, many Sunnis and Shiites married each other; since the occupation they have been caught up in a spiral of hating and killing each other.

      And for these acts there, of course, has to be retaliation.

      The occupation's abolishment of most jobs in the military and in Saddam Hussein's government, and the chaos that is Iraqi society under the occupation, have left many destitute; kidnapings for ransom and other acts of criminal violence have become popular ways to make a living, or at least survive.

      US-trained, financed, and armed Iraqi forces have killed large numbers of people designated as "terrorists" by someone official, or perhaps someone unofficial, or by someone unknown, or by chance.

      The US military itself has been a main perpetrator of violence, killing individually and en masse, killing any number, any day, for any reason, anyone, any place, often in mindless retaliation against anyone nearby for an insurgent attack.

      The US military and its coalition allies have also been the main target of violent attacks. A Department of Defense report of November 2006 stated: "Coalition forces remained the target of the majority of attacks (68%)."

      And here is James Baker, establishment eminence, co-chair of the Iraq Study Group, on CNN with Anderson Cooper:

      Cooper: And is it possible that getting the U.S. troops out will actually lessen that violence, that it will at least take away the motivation of nationalist insurgents?

      Baker: Many people have argued that to us. Many people in Iraq made that case.

      Cooper: Do you buy it?

      Baker: Yes, I think there is some validity to it, absolutely. Then we are no longer seen to be the occupiers.

      In spite of all of the above we are told that the presence of the United States military has been and will continue to be a buffer against violence. Iraqis themselves do not believe this. A poll published in September found that Iraqis believe, by a margin of 78 to 21 percent, that the US military presence is "provoking more conflict that it is preventing".

      Remember that we were warned a thousand times of a communist bloodbath in Vietnam if American forces left. The American forces left. There was never any kind of bloodbath.

      If the United States leaves -- meaning all its troops and bases -- it will remove the very foundation, origin, and inspiration of most of the hate and violence. Iraqis will have a chance to reclaim their land and their life. They have a right to be given that opportunity. Let America's deadly "love" embrace of the Iraqi people come to an end. Let the healing begin.

      William Blum is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, Rogue State: a guide to the World's Only Super Power. and West-Bloc Dissident: a Cold War Political Memoir.

      He can be reached at: BBlum6@aol.com

      Counterpunch

      735 words posted in American Empire, Iraq warLeave a comment

      No Comments for this post yet...

      0 response(s) to The Last Argument of Fools: How America has Changed Iraq

        This post has 765 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

        Leave a comment:

        Allowed XHTML tags:
        <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

        Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
        Your URL will be displayed.

        URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
        (Line breaks become <br />)
        (Set cookies for name, email and url)
        (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

        You sleepy?? Why?

        English (US)  May 6th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

        May 06, 2007

        Summer is just around the corner
        We wait with breaths held
        Not in anticipation
        But in dread
        Summer! Flowers and honey suckle
        Sunshine, blue sky
        Say they who know not
        Our summer, our bane
        It is a beauty that kills the unheeding
        Strikes down the unwary
        And although quite hazy
        Quite unrelenting
        Beware its seduction, stranger
        We know better.

        [More:]

        Temperatures are rising above 40 degrees Celsius, with electricity supply provided for one whole hour every 72 hours!
        WOW! Amazing how well the reconstruction efforts are going!
        How many billions has America taken out of its pouch in the name of reconstruction in Iraq??
        Where did the money go??
        What are the priorities??
        There is no national power supply to speak of.
        There is no petrol to fuel our own tiny generators.
        Why is there no petrol??
        Iraq has no petrol for its own consumption?!
        Don’t you find that a little hard to believe?
        Did you know that the pipelines in Basra, (where Iraq’s very rich southern oil wells are located) are loading oil tankers under the protection of the Coalition forces for the benefit of – God knows who?? UNGUAGED!! (They shamelessly say the gauges aren’t working. It has been four years!)
        Millions of barrels daily!!
        What about us??
        What about US??
        When did we fall out of the equation?
        Or is it that we were never in it?
        We are going without sleep.
        It’s too hot to sleep indoors.
        Too dangerous to sleep outdoors.
        My daughter and son dampen their clothes
        and lie down on the bare tiles of the floor.
        I sit up all night with a meheffa (a hand-held fan) in my hand
        to stir the air about them so that they can sleep
        – even fitfully is good enough. Me – forget me.
        Is this really the situation Mr. President aspired to?
        I don’t have the stomach to speak of the darkness we live in,
        the cold water we bathe in …etc.
        I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.
        Temperatures rise to above 55 degrees in July
        ... in the shade.

        Posted by correspondent Sahar

        Inside Iraq McClatchy Baghdad Bureau

        354 words posted in American Empire, Iraq warLeave a comment

        No Comments for this post yet...

        0 response(s) to You sleepy?? Why?

          This post has 23 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

          Leave a comment:

          Allowed XHTML tags:
          <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

          Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
          Your URL will be displayed.

          URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
          (Line breaks become <br />)
          (Set cookies for name, email and url)
          (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

          Utterly Forbidden: The Torture And Ill-Treatment Of Palestinian Detainees

          English (US)  May 6th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

          B'TSELEM is the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories was established in 1989 by a group of prominent academics, attorneys, journalists, and Knesset members. It endeavors to document and educate the Israeli public and policymakers about human rights violations in the Occupied Territories, combat the phenomenon of denial prevalent among the Israeli public, and help create a human rights culture in Israel

          May 2007, Joint report with Hamoked - Center for the Defence of the Individual

          Summary

          In recent years, Israel has openly admitted that ISA (formerly the General Security Service) interrogators employ "exceptional" interrogation methods and "physical pressure" against Palestinian detainees in situations labeled "ticking bombs". B'Tselem and HaMoked - Center for the Defence of the Individual have examined these interrogation methods and the frequency with which they are used, as well as other harmful practices. The report's findings are based on the testimonies of 73 Palestinian residents of the West Bank who were arrested between July 2005 and January 2006 and interrogated by the ISA. Although it is not a representative sample, it does provide a valid indication of the frequency of the reported phenomena.

          [More:]

          The Legal Framework

          International law absolutely prohibits torture and ill-treatment. States may not derogate from this prohibition even in the harsh circumstances of fighting terrorism. The responsibility, in case of violation, rests not just with the state, but also with the individual abusers who may face prosecution in other countries.

          In its ruling from September 1999, the HCJ determined that the ISA did not have legal authority to use "physical means" against interrogees. Pressure and a measure of discomfort are legitimate, according to this judgment, only as a side-effect of the necessities of the interrogation and not as a means for breaking the interrogees' spirit. However, it was established that ISA agents who abused interrogees in "ticking bomb" situations may avoid prosecution. This ruling implicitly legitimized these severe acts, contrary to international law, which does not acknowledge any exceptions to the prohibition on torture and ill-treatment.

          The "Softening Up" of Detainees Prior to Interrogation

          The witnesses reported being subjected to beating, painful binding, swearing and humiliation and denial of basic needs at the hands of security forces personnel from the moment of arrest until being transferred to the ISA. About two thirds of the witnesses (49 of 73) reported that they had undergone at least one of these forms of abuse, which are defined by international law as ill-treatment and may reach the level of torture. This research did not examine the question whether this ill-treatment was intended to "soften up" the detainees for the ISA interrogations. It is, however, its practical outcome.

          The ISA Interrogation System: Routine Ill-treatment

          The ISA interrogation system includes seven key aspects which harm, to varying degrees, the dignity and bodily integrity of the detainees. This injury is intensified considering the combined exercise of these aspects during the interrogation period which, for the witnesses in the sample, lasted an average of 35 days:

          1. Isolation from the outside world - prohibition on meetings between detainees and their attorneys or ICRC representatives;

          2. The use of the conditions of imprisonment as a means of psychological pressure - holding in solitary confinement and in putrid, stifling cells;

          3. The use of conditions of imprisonment as a means for weakening the body - preventing physical activity, sleep disturbance, inadequate food supply;

          4. Shackling in the " shabah " position - painful binding of the detainee's hands and feet to a chair;

          5. Cursing and humiliation - cursing, strip searches, shouting, spitting etc.;

          6. Threats and intimidation - including the threat of physical torture, arrest of family members, etc.;

          7. The use of informants, " 'asafir " to extract information - this method is not harmful, as such, but its efficacy largely depends on the ill-treatment of detainees immediately preceding its implementation.

          These methods were employed against the vast majority of witnesses included in the sample. These measures are not inevitable side-effects of the necessities of detention and interrogation, but are rather intended to break the spirit of the interrogees. As such, they deviate from the HCJ ruling and constitute, under international law, prohibited ill-treatment. Moreover, under certain circumstances, these measures may amount to torture.

          "Special" Interrogation Methods

          In addition to routine measures, in some cases, probably those considered "ticking bombs", ISA interrogators also use "special" methods which mostly involve direct physical violence. The sample witnesses described seven such methods:

          1. Sleep deprivation for over 24 hours (15 cases);

          2. "Dry" beatings (17 cases);

          3. Painful tightening of handcuffs, sometimes while cutting off blood flow (5 cases);

          4. Sudden pulling of the body while causing pain in the hand joints which are cuffed to the chair (6 cases);

          5. Sudden tilting of the head sideways or backwards (8 cases);

          6. The "frog" crouch (forcing the detainees to crouch on tiptoes) accompanied by shoving (3 cases);

          7. The "banana" position - bending the back of the interrogee in an arch while he is seated on a backless chair (5 cases).

          These measures are defined as torture under international law. Their use is not negligible, even if not routine. The HCJ did rule that ISA interrogators who abused interrogees in "ticking bomb" situations may be exempted from criminal liability, but this only when the ill-treatment was used as a spontaneous response by an individual interrogator to an unexpected occurrence. In practice, all evidence points to the fact that "special" methods are preauthorized and are used according a preset regulations.

          Cover up and Whitewashing Mechanisms

          The ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian detainees by soldiers and ISA interrogators do not take place in a void, but rather under the auspices of the Israeli law enforcement system.

          Despite the fact that since 2001 the State Attorney's Office received over 500 complaints regarding ill-treatment by ISA interrogators, it has not found cause to order the instigation of a single criminal investigation. The State Attorney's decisions on this issue are based on the findings of an examination conducted by the "Inspector of Complaints by ISA Interrogees," who is an ISA agent, answerable to the head of the organization. Even when the findings have shown that ISA interrogators did indeed abuse an interrogee, the State Attorney's Office has closed the file based on a biased interpretation of the ruling regarding the applicability of the "necessity defense" in the HCJ 1999 judgment.

          Most cases of ill-treatment of Palestinians by soldiers are not investigated at all, and few of those that do, culminate in an indictment. In many cases, this is due to various institutional failings such as delays in instigation investigations. Additionally, it may be assumed that without concerted and proactive efforts on the part of the authorities, the chances of detainees submitting complaints regarding injuries they have suffered during their arrest are quite low.

          The ISA interrogation system is significantly aided by the HCJ, which serves as a rubber stamp on orders which regulate the isolation of the interogees from the outside world. The HCJ did not accept even one of the hundreds of petitions brought before it against such orders. The HCJ also routinely allows the ISA to conceal from the detainees the very fact that an order against them has been issued as well as the legal proceedings taking place in their case. All this with the purpose of increasing the psychological pressure employed against them.

          Recommendations

          1. To instruct the ISA to halt immediately and completely the use of all interrogation methods that injure the dignity or physical integrity of interrogees;
          2. To initiate legislation strictly prohibiting torture and ill-treatment and preventing the possibility of the "necessity defense" being enjoyed by public employees suspected of such actions;
          3. To determine that any complaint filed against ISA interrogators on account of ill-treatment during interrogations will be investigated by an independent body, and prosecute those responsible where the complaint has been sustained;
          4. To document ISA interrogations by means of video filming and to open ISA interrogation facilities to objective external review, including review by the UN Special Rapporteur on torture;
          5. To ensure, in legislation and in practice, that every detainee receives minimum humane conditions of incarceration, and to abolish the provisions discriminating against "security" detainees in terms of such conditions;
          6. To abolish the military order permitting the ISA to prevent meetings between detainees and their attorneys, and to apply the same standards to Palestinian detainees as are established in the Israeli Detentions Law;
          7. To bring security forces personnel who abused Palestinian detainees to justice.

          These measures are defined as torture under international law. Their use is not negligible, even if not routine. The HCJ did rule that ISA interrogators who abused interrogees in "ticking bomb" situations may be exempted from criminal liability, but this only when the ill-treatment was used as a spontaneous response by an individual interrogator to an unexpected occurrence. In practice, all evidence points to the fact that "special" methods are preauthorized and are used according a preset regulations.

          For full report go to B'tselem

          No Comments for this post yet...

          0 response(s) to Utterly Forbidden: The Torture And Ill-Treatment Of Palestinian Detainees

            This post has 324 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

            Leave a comment:

            Allowed XHTML tags:
            <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

            Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
            Your URL will be displayed.

            URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
            (Line breaks become <br />)
            (Set cookies for name, email and url)
            (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

            Israeli Occupation Forces invade, kidnap, wound, kill in multi-raids on Palestinian towns

            English (US)  May 5th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

            For details of these stories go to International Middle East Media Center

            Israeli undercover troops assassinate three resistance fighters in Jenin
            Saturday May 05, 2007

            A Palestinian killed by Israeli gun fire in northern Gaza Saturday May 05, 2007

            Several Palestinian residents wounded by Israeli under-cover unit in northern Gaza
            Saturday May 05, 2007
            Palestinian medical sources said Saturday afternoon that a number of Palestinian residents were shot and wounded by an Israeli under-cover unit in northern Gaza.

            [More:]

            Painted peace activists entangle illegal separation fence in Al Numan near Bethlehem Saturday
            May 05, 2007

            Two civilians kidnapped and a third injured by he Israeli army in Hebron Saturday May 05, 2007

            Army invades Azon village east of Qalqilia and kidnaps one civilian in Qalqilia
            Sat May 05, 2007
            An Israeli army invaded the village of Azon located to the east of Qalqilia city in the northern part of the West Bank and kidnapped one civilian on Saturday morning.
            Troops searched and ransacked homes then installed a military checkpoint at the entrance of the village, Ahmad Islam, 19, was leaving the village he was stopped at the checkpoint then was kidnapped by the Israeli troops stationed there, eyewitnesses reported.

            Israeli Army kidnaps Palestinian students on their way to Nablus University Sat May 05, 2007

            Army kidnaps six civilians from a village near Tulkarem city
            Tulkarem

            Sat May 05, 2007

            Israeli army kills a Palestinian civilian near evacuated settlement in northern Gaza
            Sat May 05, 2007

            Israeli Army flying checkpoint seals off Wadi Al Neiss village near Bethlehem
            Fri May 04, 2007

            Israeli forces invades Beit Jala town and kidnaps one civilian
            May 04, 2007

            PCHR Weekly Report: “Two Palestinians killed, 3 injured, and 55 taken prisoner”
            Thursday May 03, 2007
            The Palestinian Center For Human Rights, based in Gaza, published its weekly report on the Israeli violations in the Palestinian occupied territories in the period between April 26 and May 2. During the reported period, soldiers carried 55 invasions, shot and killed two Palestinians, injured three others, and abducted 55 residents.

            Israeli forces invades Balata refugee camp in Nablus city
            Thu May 03, 2007

            Soldiers kidnap a female teacher in Hebron
            Thursday May 03, 2007
            Israeli soldiers continued their violations in the occupied Palestinian territories, and kidnapped a Palestinian female teacher on Thursday at dawn, after surrounding her home near Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, and breaking into it.

            One woman kidnapped as army invades Dora village near Hebron
            Thu May 03, 2007

            Palestinian civilian killed by unknown gunmen in the southern Gaza strip
            Thu May 03, 2007

            Israeli army installs checkpoints around Hebron and abuses Palestinian civilians
            Thu May 03, 200

            Israeli army invades Nablus city in the W.B. and kidnaps Mohamed Abu Lil
            Thu May 03, 2007

            Israeli army invades Beit Sahour and Beit Jala towns near Bethlehem
            Thu May 03, 2007

            Army bulldozer chases journalists; troops kidnap four civilians as army invades Jenin
            Wednesday May 02, 2007
            A massive Israeli army force and one military bulldozer invaded the city of Jenin and Jenin refugee camp located in the northern part of the West Bank on Wednesday morning, the army bulldozer tried to run over Palestinian journalists while Israeli troops kidnapped four civilians.

            Army killes a Palestinian civilian and kidnaps his brother in northern Gaza strip
            Wednesday May 02, 2007
            Palestinian sources reported that the Israeli army shot and killed Palestinian civilian and kidnapped his brother in the northern part of the Gaza strip on Wednesday midday.

            Israeli army invades Nablus and nearby village and kidnaps six civilians
            Wednesday May 02, 2007
            Israeli forces invaded the northern West Bank city of Nablus and nearby villages, during the invasion troops kidnapped 4 civilians another 2 were kidnapped at a nearby military checkpoint on Wednesday morning.

            Islamic Jihad leader isolated and tortured for more than four months
            Wednesday May 02, 2007
            Israeli Prison Administration transferred Sheikh Mahmoud Al Sa’adi one of the jailed leaders of the Islamic Jihad, to Majeddo prison, after he spent four months under interrogation and torture at the Al Jalama detention facility.

            Army attacks Palestinian labor union demonstrators at Qalandia checkpoint near Ramallah
            Tuesday May 01, 2007
            Israeli troops stationed at Qalandia checkpoint, located near the central West Bank city of Ramallah attacked, on Tuesday Palestinian labor union demonstration that was organized to make the international workers day.

            Palestinian resistance fighters survive an Israeli air strike attack
            Tuesday May 01, 2007
            In a statement, issued Tuesday by the Fatah-linked Martyr Ayman Jouda militant group read that a group of its resistance fighters survived an attack Tuesday morning by an Israeli drone to the east of Gaza city.

            25 Palestinian civilians kidnapped as Israeli army invades several West Bank areas
            Tuesday May 01, 2007
            25 Palestinian civilians were kidnapped by Israeli army as the later conducted pre dawn invasion in several part of the West Bank on Tuesday.

            No Comments for this post yet...

            0 response(s) to Israeli Occupation Forces invade, kidnap, wound, kill in multi-raids on Palestinian towns

              This post has 14 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

              Leave a comment:

              Allowed XHTML tags:
              <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

              Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
              Your URL will be displayed.

              URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
              (Line breaks become <br />)
              (Set cookies for name, email and url)
              (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

              Debacle over sale of church lands in Jerusalem continues as Israeli authorities "blackmail" new Patriarch

              English (US)  May 5th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

              Jerusalem – Ma'an – The Chair of the Christian National Coalition, Dimitri Deliani announced on Saturday that the coalition's foreign relations committee has recently pursued several contacts, aimed at supporting the position of Patriarch Theofelios III of the Roman Orthodox Church in Palestine and Jordan. The Israeli government and settlers are exerting pressure on the patriarch, aimed at forcing him to complete a deal over property in the Jaffa Gate area.

              The deal was made between his predecessor, Patriarch Erinios, and private Israeli companies. Erinios was dismissed from his post when the scandal emerged that he had authorised the sale of church property in the Old City to Israeli developers.

              [More:]

              The dismissal was followed by a national decision by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and King Abdullah II of Jordan, who withdrew their formal recognition of the priest, and entrusted Theofelios to replace him.

              Deliani warned that "there are certain parties which work for the former patriarch, who try to trick noble people as their prey. The attempts by these parties are no more than desperate tactics behind the scenes," explained Deliani.

              Deliani also stated that Israel, "who endeavour to transform Jerusalem into a purely Jewish city", still recognize the dismissed priest Erinios, and refuse to recognize the Orthodox decision to replace him.

              The member of the Orthodox conference, Dr Khaleel Andraws, said: "The Orthodox Church is being subjected to a fierce campaign of blackmail by the Israeli government, and the Israeli right-wing, represented in the settlers' association, Ateret Cohanim. The Israelis refuse to recognize the elected patriarch, who is recognized by the sacred society, Greece, Jordan, Palestine, all Orthodox churches, the Pope, and the Archbishop of Canterbury."

              He described Israel as "the ship of fools… who try to transform one of the oldest churches of Jerusalem into a Zionist agency for trading properties."

              Maan News

              No Comments for this post yet...

              0 response(s) to Debacle over sale of church lands in Jerusalem continues as Israeli authorities "blackmail" new Patriarch

                This post has 27 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                Leave a comment:

                Allowed XHTML tags:
                <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                Your URL will be displayed.

                URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                (Line breaks become <br />)
                (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                Fact-Checking Marvin Kalb: Harvard's Twisted Report on Israel's Invasion of Lebanon

                English (US)  May 5th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                By Franklin Lamb

                Qana, Lebanon.

                First it was (and is) that would be tenure-denying, torture-justifying, Israeli occupation apologist, opponent smearing, Alan Dershowitz. I could deal with Alan.

                But now it's Marvin Kalb! A boyhood hero of mine!

                [More:]


                When I spent a year at Harvard Law School, studying the Chinese Legal System a while back Dershowitz did not appear particularly out of control.

                Neither did Marvin Kalb when we chatted at a Washington NBC function and who seemed reasonable enough as moderator of Meet the Press. So the problem for sure has got to be Harvard! Or maybe it's just me!

                Currently a Senior Fellow at Harvard's, Joan Shorenstein Center, (no hard feelings that it's paid for by Walter Shorestein-AIPAC's favorite member and Californian fundraiser or that its DC office is very cozy with the nearby AIPAC office), Kalb recently published a 'study': The Israeli-Hezbollah War of 2006: The Media as a Weapon in Asymmetrical Conflict. He was joined by Carol Saivetz. So far so good. I'm all for 'academic studies.

                The JTA news desk featured Kalb's work on May 3, 2007 and AIPAC is now busy flooding Congress with this "academic study" as they attempt to intimidate the fourth estate with shrieks of "See we told you so! You guys are anti-Israel and maybe closet anti-Semites! We have Harvard scholarship to back it up!"

                Some Harvard scholarship!

                I won't nick pit Kalb's heavy duty sources for his tome: Fox News, Bill Kristol's, Weekly Standard, Anderson Cooper's " Hezbollah is still a Secretive Organization"( I hope they are or I'm in trouble!) The Jewish Press's Media Monitor, and as Kalb assures us "interviews with many Diplomats", none of whom he names. Forget about the DC Madams phone records, I am more curious about Kalb's secret 'Diplomats" and my concern is about what Harvard publishes as 'scholarship' these days.

                Kalb doesn't tell us how much time he or his sources actually spent in Lebanon doing research during or since the July war, but there were many solid journalists here, and while they don't need me to defend their work, I would offer Marvin a couple of fact-checks and an observation or two.

                Kalb's Abstract of his 'research paper' succinctly presents his thesis: During the Hezbollah-Israel "summertime war" (as in picnic, I guess) "the media moved from being objective to becoming "fiery advocates (of Hezbollah) and thus "a weapon of modern warfare".

                Kalb claims the media gave Hezbollah, which he calls "a closed sect" (that doesn't sound too good) "total control of the daily message of journalism and propaganda" and this fact "victimized Israel" because the latter is 'an open society" whereas Hezbollah is " a closed society, that engages in " undemocratic control of the media", is militant, secretive, a religiously fundamentalist sect, a state within a state, subnational(not good)'Party of God", , resisting 'the infidel' and seeking 'divine victory' and supported by Iran and Syria (!) )and, if that is not enough, is similar to the Madhi army. Kalb never mentions that Israel is supported by the US to the tune of 15.1 million dollars a day or 300 times more than the CIA claims Hezbollah gets in foreign aid each year and receives 83% of its weapons from the US.

                Kalb's first problem with the media focuses on the UN media website. His research reveals that the much maligned UNIFIL observers, who Israel have bombed and shelled 15 times in the past quarter century, posted on its media web site Israeli cross border incursions that took place each preceding day. The same job the UN has been tasked with doing since 1978, as it has documented more than 18,000 Israeli violations of Lebanese territory including its air and sea space. Remarkably Kalb's 'research' in this respect is identical to that of AIPAC's Lori Lowenthal Marcus,

                "What Did You Do during the War, UNIFIL?" in The Weekly Standard of mid-august. Kalb and Marcus claim that Hezbollah fighters, if they had laptops with internet connections (there was no electricity in the south after the first few hours of Israel's bombing) Hezbollah fighters learned something about where the Israelis were and hence got "a gift" from the UN which became an extremely valuable intelligence asset for Hezbollah, and Hezbollah exploited it."

                Fact check: Kalb and Harvard's Shorenstein Center may want to know that Hezbollah fighters, organized in groups of two or three (sometimes five depending on the weapons used) know every inch of their assigned areas in South Lebanon, in fact, much better than the UN does. They were born in these villages, have fought the Israelis in this hilly terrain since the 1970's and on July 12th knew exactly which 3 entry points (out of a possible 24) the IDF was going to use to invade Lebanon and they were waiting for them. Hezbollah also had a fairly good idea where every Israeli was at any given time during the conflict. Israel's problem was that they could not find Hezbollah until they wanted to be found whether it was at Marun al Ras, Eita Chaab, Bint Jbeil, Yarun or anywhere along the 'blue line'.

                The Harvard study complains that the UN did not report on Hezbollah movements, thereby exhibiting anti-Israel bias.

                Fact check: Excuse me Marvin but if the IDF with the latest US technology and night vision equipment, scores of cameras mounted on Israeli Heron, Searcher Mk II, or Hermes 450 drones, and close up satellite imaging could not find Hezbollah fighters the UN observers along the blue line dodging Israeli shells were unlikely to. (On July 26 Israel did bomb the UN post near Khaim killing four UN observers-Canadian, Chinese, and Finnish) Moreover, the UN mission is to report crossings of the 'blue line' (only Israel was doing that), not to survey what is going on inside Lebanon.

                Moreover, blaming the UN for doing its job, which Israel has done for 25 years, and claiming Hezbollah fighters, under a blitz in a free fire zone, including an estimated 4.8 million cluster bombs, were running around with laptops and relied on the UN website for Israeli movements is patent nonsense. His conclusion that "the UN media gave Hezbollah an extremely valuable intelligence asset which they exploited" is fantasy. "Tink tank" 'researchers' really should to get out to the field more often and learn the lay of the land, so to speak.

                Kalb is troubled by what his research revealed:

                "They (the Israelis) couldn't keep a secret. Hezbollah, on the other hand, controlled its message with an iron grip. It had one spokesman and no leaks. Hezbollah did not have to respond to criticism from bogglers, and it could always count on unashamedly sympathetic Arab reporters to blast Israel for its "disproportionate" military attack against LebanonDuring the 2006 summertime war in the Middle East, it was Israel versus Hezbollah, led by the charismatic Hassan Nasrallah, and because Israel did not win the war, it is judged to have lost."

                Fact check: Hezbollah operated an efficient press information office with several spokesmen and plenty of backgrounders and volunteer staff who answered every question they could and who did help the media. Nasrallah gave no interviews during the 33 day conflict but did issue statements. With virtually the whole Israeli military after him he was lying low.

                Kalb's research found that "the media showed too much destruction of Lebanon and in its reporting did not credit Israel's argument that international law allowed Israel to bomb civilian areas if soldiers were hiding within these homes." Israel used this same argument during its 1978, 1982, 1993, 1996, invasions, as it does in Palestine today. In the summer of 2006 it was very easy for the media to find evidence in Lebanon. 950,000 civilians were bombed out of their villages and the 32,000 homes destroyed and were crowded into public parks in Beirut and schools and all over north Lebanon and Syria. The media had lots of eye witness sources regarding the destruction of Lebanon and they properly reported what they learned.

                Kalb cites Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni's statement to the The New York Times, following the slaughter at Qana, "When you go to sleep with a missile, you might find yourself waking up to another kind of missile" as authority. Israel later admitted there were no missiles fired from Qana, and no Hezbollah in the area, but that it had made a mistake in killing those 28 civilians hiding in the shelter. Kalb might want to inform diplomat Livni that none of the 10 adults or 18 children had gone to sleep with a missile at Qana.

                Fact check: Again, researcher Kalb seems not to understand how the war was being fought on the ground here in South Lebanon. Hezbollah was not hiding from Israeli forces among the civilians. Contrariwise, they were eager to engage Israel every chance they got. Typically Hezbollah fired their missiles from camouflaged areas such as banana groves, orchards, dense foliage, bunkers, holes in the ground, sides of rocky hills and valleys not from houses or towns. They knew very well that Israel would not hesitate to bomb civilian houses which they have been doing since the late 1960's. After a particular mission, Hezbollah fighters would ditch their weapons and try to sleep. Only rarely making their way back to their villages to check on their families or property.

                With respect to Israel's admitted mistake of bombing the Qana shelter, according to NGO-Lebanon, Israel made 6,979 'mistakes' in bombing during the 33 day July War. Maybe Kalb finds that statistic acceptable given that Israel launched more that 17,000 attacks at more than 8,000 targets, including 300,000 artillery shells and approximately 4.8 million cluster bombs. The juggernaut international Israeli press operation did. Most of the media did not.

                Kalb's research also finds it problematical that "not only diplomats but the media forgot about who started the war and focused on Israel's "disproportionate response." (Kalb's quotation marks imply that his research found no disproportionate response which puts him at odds with virtually all the world's media including Israel's)). So they did and should have. The applicable principle of international law is simple enough. When one side trespasses, captures soldiers or commits a hostile act that does not allow the other side, in retaliation, to slaughter hundreds of civilians and destroy much of the country. The related principle of international law is the obligation to discriminate between civilian and military targets. Israel's responsive killing of more than 1,250 civilians, nearly 1/4 of them children, many fleeing in convoys waving white flags, or following Israeli orders to flee, or hiding in cellars with no fighters in the area, was indeed disproportionate to the capturing of the two soldiers. The international media properly reported these war crimes.

                Kalb's research revealed that "Supporters of Israel's position, (including scholars) tend to dismiss the proportionality/disproportional debate as misleading and foolish". He may be right regarding the first group but he's dead wrong regarding the second.

                Kalb fails to mention the reams of available material on the subject of Israel's illegal "disproportionate" bombing, which he denies occurred, including many testimonies from the Israeli military to the effect that Israel "lost it" early in the conflict, after being repeating ambushed and not being able to locate Hezbollah fighters and in a vengeful frenzy carpet bombed much of south Lebanon creating a free fire killing zone.

                "What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in cluster bombswe fired 1,800 cluster bombs, containing over 1.2 million cluster bomblets" (IDF head of just one rocket unit quoted in Ha'aretz on 9/12/06)

                "In the last 72 hours we fired all the munitions we had, all at the same spot, we didn't even alter the directions of the gun. Friends of mine in the battalion told me they also fired everything in the last three days-ordinary shells, clusters, whatever they had." (Israeli reservist in an artillery battalion, quoted in Ha'aretz on 9/8/06)

                Kalb, admits that Israel has tough military censorship laws, which did not allow reporting, or example, of the weapons stores and bases in northern Israel that many of Hezbollah's missiles were aiming at, rather than targeting civilians, but his media research criticized Hezbollah for restricting movement during Israel's bombing in Lebanon. Hezbollah press aids did sometimes suggest, during intensive bombing that for safety reporters might want watch the action on Al Manar TV. The reason is that Hezbollah films most of its battles live because over the years Israel undercounts its causalities and over counts Hezbollah's (Kalb uses Israel's claim of 600 Hezbollah killed in the July war when the actual figure is 264).

                Fact check: Al Manar viewership is often higher in Israel during conflicts than Israeli stations because Israelis have greater confidence in Al Manar for truthful reporting than their own government fed stations. Despite this well known fact, scholar Kalb, perhaps recalling his days as a reporter in the USSR, smears Al-Manar: "for reports and information about the war, Al-Manar was to Hezbollah what Pravda was to the Soviet Union." Israeli TV viewers don't agree.

                Kalb finds a media 'clash of civilizations' problem when Newsweek did not run a gruesome photo and Arab media did. His research concludes: "Two value systems were clearly in collision: one didn't go with the gruesome photo, one did go with it, in fact deliberately spread it far and wide, wanting nothing more than to use any and every weapon of "information" to defeat Israel"

                Interestingly Kalb's conclusion is nearly word for word, the one that appeared on AIPAC's website, before Kalb completed his own 'study'.

                To paraphrase Alan Dershowitz's statement on his website ("I like Carter") re President Carter, just before he trashed him, I want to say: "I like Marvin Kalb". And I won't trash him. But if he'll come to Lebanon I'll show him around and help him with additional sources for the next printing of his 'study'.

                Franklin Lamb's just released book, The Price We Pay: A Quarter Century of Israel's Use of American Weapons in Lebanon is available at Amazon.com.uk. His volume, Hezbollah: a Brief Guide for Beginners is due out in early summer, 2007. He can be reached at fplamb@gmail.com

                Counterpunch

                2323 words posted in Arts, Culture & Entertainment2 comments

                2 response(s) to Fact-Checking Marvin Kalb: Harvard's Twisted Report on Israel's Invasion of Lebanon

                1. Lori Lowenthal Marcus [Visitor] Email says:

                  Franklin Lamb:
                  So long as you are touting yourself as an expert at fact checking - how about doing some of your own? You cite the piece I wrote about the UN’s posting of Israel’s positions during the Second Lebanon War, and refer to me as “AIPAC’S Lori Lowenthal Marcus.” How much more delicious for you had you only done some fact checking - I am actually a regional president of the ZIONIST ORGANIZATION OF AMERICA - we’re even scarier than AIPAC for people like you.

                  Whatever Kalb’s editorializing was on my research, the facts I reported were just that: facts. During the Hezbollah war last summer, the UN posted information about Israel’s troop movements in news releases it placed, inter alia, on its website. That is a violation of its mandated neutrality and the requirement that it refrain from the provision of any information regarding either side during military conflicts. That’s a fact. The UN’s fealty to this standard was reflected in its refusal to provide Israel with videos and other evidence it had of an earlier Hezbollah kidnapping of Israeli soldiers in 2000. Neutrality uber alles. You may think it was just fine for the UN to publish Israeli military information on its website or you may not, but the fact is they were not permitted to do that.

                  While I’m on the subject of fact checking, you might want to check a book on grammar : according to US standards, commas always go within the quotes, when using quotes, there must always be a close quote, and dropped words and letters tend to distract readers’ attention. I hope your book editor is paid well.

                  I won’t bother with your substantive (I’m sure you and your fans consider them to be substantive, I find them to be as ironclad as your sloppy journalism) allegations.

                  And, to quote someone who may be your source of military intelligence, Gomer Pyle: “Surprise, surprise, surprise!” I am a Harvard Law graduate - class of ‘88.

                2. Khalil [Visitor] Email says:

                  Since Hezbollah defeated Israeli agression last summer, Zionists have been running around blaming everyone in sight. The Israeli government's current scapegoat is Azmi Bishara. ZOA's Lori Lowenthal Marcus's scapegoat are the U.N.'s Israel-hating Fins and Norwegians.

                  The Israeli government and ms. Lowenthal Marcus do not want to face the facts: Israel murdered one thousand Lebanese and Palestinian civilians to teach Hezbollah a lesson. The intentional killing of civilians for political purposes is terrorism.

                This post has 21 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                Leave a comment:

                Allowed XHTML tags:
                <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                Your URL will be displayed.

                URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                (Line breaks become <br />)
                (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                With New Clout, Antiwar Groups Push Democrats

                English (US)  May 5th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                By Michael Luo

                WASHINGTON, May 4 — Every morning, representatives from a cluster of antiwar groups gather for a conference call with Democratic leadership staff members in the House and the Senate.

                Shortly after, in a cramped meeting room here, they convene for a call with organizers across the country. They hash out plans for rallies. They sketch out talking points for “rapid response” news conferences. They discuss polls they have conducted in several dozen crucial Congressional districts and states across the country.

                [More:]

                Over the last four months, the Iraq deliberations in Congress have lurched from a purely symbolic resolution rebuking the president’s strategy to timetables for the withdrawal of American troops. Behind the scenes, an elaborate political operation, organized by a coalition of antiwar groups and fine-tuned to wrestle members of Congress into place one by one, has helped nudge the debate forward.

                But there are tensions in the relationship between the groups, which banded together earlier this year under the umbrella of Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, and the Democratic leadership. The fissures could be magnified in coming weeks as the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi of California, and the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, struggle to cobble together a strategy after President Bush’s veto of the $124 billion Iraq spending bill that tied the money to a timetable for withdrawal.

                On Thursday, leaders of the liberal group MoveOn.org, including Tom Matzzie, the group’s Washington director who also serves as the campaign manager for the coalition, sent a harshly worded warning to the Democratic leadership.

                “In the past few days, we have seen what appear to be trial balloons signaling a significant weakening of the Democratic position,” the letter read. “On this, we want to be perfectly clear: if Democrats appear to capitulate to Bush — passing a bill without measures to end the war — the unity Democrats have enjoyed and Democratic leadership has so expertly built, will immediately disappear.”

                The letter went on to say that if Democrats passed a bill “without a timeline and with all five months of funding,” they would essentially be endorsing a “war without end.” MoveOn, it said, “will move to a position of opposition.”

                The antiwar coalition combines the online mobilization capabilities of MoveOn with the old-school political muscle of organized labor. They have been working in tandem with Democratic leadership in both the House and the Senate on a systematic strategy to unify Democrats, divide Republicans and isolate the president.

                The alliance, including MoveOn, chose to stick with Ms. Pelosi as she ushered through a war financing bill that included a timeline for withdrawal, but many peace advocates called the measure too timid. Some critics accused the alliance of becoming too cozy with the Democratic leadership and selling out the cause.

                “There’s a dividing line between those groups who feel the most important thing is to be clear on bringing the troops home as soon as possible, and the groups that feel that unity within the Democratic Party is most important and the most important thing is for the Democrats to win the White House,” said Medea Benjamin, a co-founder of Code Pink, an antiwar group that is not part of the alliance. “So the groups who feel the most important thing is to win the White House would naturally be more inclined to listening to Speaker Nancy Pelosi when she says the only way we can get a vote through is if we water it down.”

                Many of the major players in Americans Against Escalation in Iraq earned their stripes not from sit-ins, marches and other acts of civil disobedience but as Democratic operatives on Capitol Hill and in political campaigns. The sophisticated political operation they have built is a testament to how far the antiwar movement has come since the Vietnam era.

                But Tom Andrews, a former Democratic congressman from Maine and the national director of Win Without War, a member of the coalition, said there existed a “healthy tension” between working closely with Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill, many of whom were former colleagues and friends, and continuing to prod them to end the war.

                “Our constituency is the people across this country who want to shut this war down,” Mr. Andrews said. “It’s not the Democratic Party.”

                Mr. Matzzie underscored the coalition’s approach to a roomful of members on Thursday at the outset of a planning retreat at the headquarters of the Service Employees International Union here.

                “The principle under which we’ve been operating is more like a political campaign,” Mr. Matzzie said. “The central strategy is creating that toxic environment for people who want to continue this debacle.”

                The discussion at the retreat mirrored that of planning meetings for traditional political campaigns, with presentations on polling, strategy and field operations.

                “It’s no different than if you went over to the offices of Clinton for President, Obama for President, Giuliani for President,” said Brad Woodhouse, president of Americans United for Change, which has roots in organized labor and came out of the legislative battle over social security in 2005.

                The coalition, which has raised $7.1 million since January, has concentrated its activities on 57 House districts and senators in nine states, places where they believe Republican lawmakers face tough races in 2008 or have shown signs of wavering in their support for the president.

                The service employees’ union has mobilized its phone bank in New York City and asked local leaders to call members of Congress. Leaders of the union, long closely allied with liberal lawmakers, helped assuage many progressives who were uneasy about voting for the war-financing bill, fearing criticism from the left.

                The National Security Network, a collection of liberal-leaning military and foreign policy experts headed by Rand Beers, former national security adviser to the presidential campaign of Senator John Kerry, has deployed former generals and officials to persuade individual lawmakers.

                The coalition’s influence comes from its connections on Capitol Hill and political shrewdness, as well as its grass-roots reach. “The whole movement has updated themselves to be where campaign-style politics are generally,” said Stephanie Cutter, a Democratic strategist. “They’re just incredibly savvy, tactically and politically. They know how to use the news cycle.”

                Most important for lawmakers, said Mr. Andrews, the former congressman from Maine, the coalition members are committed to using their resources to changing the political climate in their districts, which gives them credibility on Capitol Hill.

                “We want members of Congress to do the right thing and do very well as a result,” he said. “We’re not just there asking them to do the right thing without fully recognizing the task we have on hand.”

                Rodell Mollineau, a spokesman for Mr. Reid’s office, said the coalition amplifies what Democrats are trying to do in Washington to end the war.

                “It helps us reverberate a unified message outside the Beltway,” he said. “These groups give voice to a message we’re trying to get outside.”

                One of the coalition’s strengths is its diversity, bringing to together groups like MoveOn.org and organized labor on one end and former Iraq veterans in the group Votevets.org on the other, members said. But that diversity can also create some tense moments, as each of the groups have different constituencies and some of the groups are more invested in the Democratic Party than others.

                But the organizations came together based on a sense of pragmatism, said Mr. Woodhouse, of Americans United for Change, “that we’re better fighting together than fighting apart.”

                After the president’s veto this week, the coalition organized 358 rallies and more than 20 news conferences across the country. Organizers had met with leadership staff members the week before to coordinate.

                On Friday, in a daily conference call, Tara McGuinness, the coalition’s deputy campaign manager, told members that leadership aides had expressed gratitude for the work, saying it had helped bolster members of their caucus.

                Ms. McGuiness also told them that she had received assurances from leadership staff members that all options were still being considered for the new version of the war spending bill.

                “The latest word from them is they are talking more and more about a short-leash option,” she said, referring to a plan in the House that would finance the war for only about three more months and require the administration to report back on progress being made by the Iraqi government. Congress would then vote again on the rest of the money requested by Mr. Bush.

                Members of the Senate appear to be cool to the idea, but it has currency among some liberal advocates and members of the coalition.

                Mr. Matzzie, of MoveOn, was clear about the stakes in the coming weeks, saying his group was only getting started. He emphasized that the next emergency spending bill must be one “to end the war.”

                “This is act one of a three-act play,” he said. “Act two will be the summer. During the summer, our job is to create a firestorm of opposition.”

                newyorktimes.com

                No Comments for this post yet...

                0 response(s) to With New Clout, Antiwar Groups Push Democrats

                  This post has 139 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                  Leave a comment:

                  Allowed XHTML tags:
                  <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                  Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                  Your URL will be displayed.

                  URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                  (Line breaks become <br />)
                  (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                  (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                  Letter from David Zeiger, director of "Sir! No Sir!" -- Film to be shown on Sundance Channel Monday

                  English (US)  May 5th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                  This coming MONDAY is the Sundance Channel's televised Premiere of "Sir! No Sir!" Don't miss this opportunity to see the film and show it to others. Make a night of resistance out of it!

                  Sir! No Sir!
                  Monday May 7
                  Sundance Channel
                  9 pm Eastern and Pacific

                  A Letter From David Zeiger

                  It's a unique experience to feel that you are part of making history.

                  So says Dr. Howard Levy who, as an army doctor in 1966, spent 3 years in federal prison for refusing to train Green Beret troops heading to Vietnam. His comments come at the end of my film about the GI Movement against the Vietnam War, Sir! No Sir!

                  [More:]

                  In a sadly ironic twist, 40 years later Dr. Levy and the thousands of active duty soldiers who openly organized against the Vietnam War while in the military are once again part of making history-because their story is sparking a new and significant movement in the military today.

                  Sir! No Sir! tells a story that has literally been erased from history. Hundreds of films, both fiction and non-fiction, have been made about Vietnam. But this story-the rebellion of thousands of American soldiers-has never been told in film. This is certainly not for lack of evidence. By the Pentagon's own figures, 503,926 "incidents of desertion" occurred between 1966 and 1971; officers were being "fragged"(killed with fragmentation grenades by their own troops) at an alarming rate; and by 1971 entire units were refusing to go into battle in unprecedented numbers. In the course of a few short years, over 200 antiwar underground newspapers were published by soldiers around the world; local and national antiwar GI organizations were joined by thousands; thousands more demonstrated against the war at every major base in the world in 1970 and 1971, including in Vietnam itself; and stockades and federal prisons were filling up with soldiers jailed for their opposition to the war and the military. Colonel Robert Heinl, the Marine Corp's official historian, wrote strikingly in 1971 that rebellion in the ranks had "permeated every branch of the service." His article in the Armed Forces Journal was titled "The Collapse of the Armed Forces."

                  Sir! No Sir! opened in theaters last Spring and got a good deal of attention. L.A. Times critic Kenneth Turan called it "A powerful documentary that uncovers half-forgotten history, history that is still relevant but not in ways you might be expecting," and another critic only half-jokingly called it "A film that threatens the war movement with every showing, the Bush administration should outlaw it from all theatres within fifty miles of an armed forces recruiting station."

                  It turns out he had a point. Since its release last spring, my little film about events that happened 40 years ago has had quite an impact inside the military. Kind of like giving a motorboat to prisoners abandoned on a remote Island. The organization Iraq Veterans Against the War has distributed hundreds of DVDs soldiers for free, and the film has been cited by several who have publicly refused deployment to Iraq on the grounds that the war is immoral and a clear violation of international law.

                  Navy Seaman Jonathon Hutto and Marine Sergeant Liam Madden met at a screening in Norfolk last fall and, inspired by the film and David Cortright's seminal book on the GI Movement, Soldiers in Revolt, decided to start the Appeal for Redress. Cleverly using the military's own whistleblower protection policy, the Appeal is a petition to congress calling for an immediate end to the war. Almost instantly they had 1,600 signatures (it has since risen to over 2,000). If the number seems small, consider this: There are currently about 140,00 troops in Iraq. In November 1969, with over 3.5 million GIs in Vietnam, 1,366 signed a New York Times ad calling for an end to the war-and the effect was electrifying. Numbers only take on their true meaning when understood in context.

                  True, Iraq is not Vietnam, and 2007 is not 1969. But something very profound is happening here. The world is full of moments when history intertwines with the present in dynamic and unexpected ways. The civil rights movement of the 1960s was fueled by the hundred-year-old stories of Harriet Tubman, John Brown, and the slave rebellions we never learned about in school. This is another one of those moments.

                  My film doesn't tell anyone what to do. But it does tell an incendiary story of thousands of soldiers who helped end a war 40 years ago. As the Bush administration plans only escalation of this horrendous war, the 200-pound gorilla blocking his way may well be the troops themselves.

                  David Zeiger

                  No Comments for this post yet...

                  0 response(s) to Letter from David Zeiger, director of "Sir! No Sir!" -- Film to be shown on Sundance Channel Monday

                    This post has 35 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                    Leave a comment:

                    Allowed XHTML tags:
                    <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                    Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                    Your URL will be displayed.

                    URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                    (Line breaks become <br />)
                    (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                    (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                    Hamas leader Meshaal rejects US peace document as "a farce"; says Israel preparing an attack

                    English (US)  May 5th, 2007 by admin ( Email )


                    Khaled Meshaal said Palestinians should prepare themselves for an Israeli military operation

                    The leader of Hamas has rejected a US proposal for a detailed timeline to ease Palestinian movement and improve Israeli security.
                    Instead, Khaled Meshaal said he believed Israel was planning a military attack against the Palestinians.

                    [More:]


                    However, Fatah's Saeb Erekat said the plan would be reviewed by the PLO Executive Committee on Saturday.

                    Officials from the Israeli prime minister's office cited security concerns over the document, saying some of the demands might be hard to meet, such as creating a West Bank-Gaza link.

                    Israel Radio said senior Israeli officials would discuss the document in detail at a meeting Sunday.

                    Meshaal, saying he expected an Israeli attack to be launched soon, said: "We in Hamas are also preparing ourselves for battle, and we expect hot months."

                    He urged all other Palestinian groups to also "seriously prepare themselves for battle."

                    Document timeline

                    The US document, recently given to Israel and the Palestinians, calls on Israel to remove many West Bank roadblocks, improve operations at Gaza's crossings and arrange for a truck convoy between the West Bank and Gaza, two areas separated by Israel.

                    The Palestinians are asked to stop firing rockets from Gaza at Israel and prevent weapons smuggling into the coastal strip.

                    Israel is urged to allow weapons and equipment to reach security forces loyal to Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas' Palestinian president.

                    Most of the points were already contained in a November 2005 agreement, brokered by Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, following Israel's pullout from Gaza.

                    Setting a timeline, albeit non-binding unless both sides accept it, is the main new element of the document.

                    Erekat said the Palestinians welcomed the timeline as the only way to translate words into action.

                    Document scorned

                    The document has already drawn the ire of Palestinian fighter groups involved in rocket attacks against Israel.

                    Abu Abeer, spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, said on Saturday: "The US plan does not serve our people's interests. The Committees will work to make it fail."

                    On Friday, Meshaal, told a rally in Syria that the Palestinians should not agree to halt rocket fire in exchange for an easing of travel restrictions.

                    Meshaal said: "I swear it's a farce... the equation has now become: dismantling the checkpoints, in exchange for [giving up] resistance. This has become the Palestinian cause."

                    Erekat said Meshaal's comments were premature.

                    Abbas was due to head to Gaza on Sunday to brief Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister on the document.

                    Meshaal and other Hamas leaders have threatened a third Palestinian uprising if the international community does not lift its sanctions on the Palestinian government, imposed after Hamas came to power last year.

                    Meanwhile, fighters in the Gaza Strip fired three rockets toward Israel on Saturday, damaging a house in the town of Sderot.

                    The attack was said to have been made to avenge the killing of three members of the group by Israeli undercover troops in the West Bank a day earlier.

                    Agencies

                    500 words posted in Human RightsLeave a comment

                    No Comments for this post yet...

                    0 response(s) to Hamas leader Meshaal rejects US peace document as "a farce"; says Israel preparing an attack

                      This post has 9 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                      Leave a comment:

                      Allowed XHTML tags:
                      <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                      Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                      Your URL will be displayed.

                      URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                      (Line breaks become <br />)
                      (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                      (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                      Scottish nationalists win vote

                      English (US)  May 4th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                      Pro-independence nationalists have become the largest party in Scotland's parliament for the first time, pushing the Labour party of Tony Blair, Britain's prime minister, into second place.

                      [More:]


                      The Scottish National Party (SNP) won 47 seats in the 129 seat parliament, to Labour's 46, in Thursday's parliamentary and municipal council elections.

                      Final results issued on Friday showed the Conservatives came third with 17 seats, followed by the Liberal Democrats with 16. The Green party won two seats and an independent canidate also won a seat.

                      "The SNP are now the largest party in the Scottish Parliament but by the narrowest of margins," Jack McConnell, Labour's First Minister in the parliament, said.

                      "We recognise their position but we also recognise our responsibilities to the people of Scotland."

                      Close vote

                      Labour and the SNP ran neck-and-neck throughout the day's vote, which was marred by problems with new ballot papers and electronic counting machines, as well as postal voting delays.

                      No party has an overall majority, so coalition talks between the parties appear set to take place in the coming days.

                      Alex Salmond, SNP leader, announced his candidacy for the First Minister's post in the wake of the final result.

                      He said the results showed Labour no longer had a "divine right" to rule Scotland and had "lost its moral authority" to govern.

                      "If the SNP is given the chance to lead, we shall do so in the national interest and not for political advantage," he said before the result was announced.

                      "We will lead with humility but also with passion. We will lead with verve and imagination but also and always mindful that we serve the people, all of the people, of this ancient and proud nation of Scotland."

                      The SNP has traditionally called for Scotland to be allowed to hold a referendum on whether it should seek independence from the United Kingdom.

                      Commission review

                      The independent electoral commission announced an immediate review into the problems at the ballot.

                      Analysts estimated 100,000 papers may have been discounted from the vote because they had not been filled in correctly.

                      In some parliamentary constituencies, the number of spoilt papers exceeded the majority of the winning candidate, a situation described as a "debacle" by Salmond.

                      The SNP made key gains over Labour in a number of Labour strongholds, including Dundee West and Central Fife, which are both in the backyard of Gordon Brown, Britain's finance minister.

                      Brown is strongly tipped to become Britain's next prime minister in the event of Blair standing down from the post.

                      Labour also lost control of several municipal councils. Nicola Sturgeon, SNP deputy leader, said the SNP had won the popular vote, but Blair said Labour had fought back from a 10-point deficit in pre-election polls.


                      Agencies

                      450 words posted in PoliticsLeave a comment

                      No Comments for this post yet...

                      0 response(s) to Scottish nationalists win vote

                        This post has 10 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                        Leave a comment:

                        Allowed XHTML tags:
                        <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                        Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                        Your URL will be displayed.

                        URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                        (Line breaks become <br />)
                        (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                        (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                        Survey examines US ethics in Iraq

                        English (US)  May 4th, 2007 by admin ( Email )


                        US involvement in Iraq has been dogged by claims of mistreatment of Iraqi detainees and civilians P]

                        Almost one in ten US combat troops deployed in Iraq have mistreated a civilian, according to a new survey conducted by an army mental health advisory team.

                        [More:]


                        The survey, released on Friday, also found that less than half of the soldiers and marines surveyed would report a fellow serviceman for killing or injuring an innocent Iraqi.

                        "Soldiers with high levels of anger, who had experienced high levels of combat or who screened positive for mental health symptoms were nearly twice as likely to mistreat noncombatants," Major General Gale Pollock, the acting army surgeon general, told reporters at a press conference.

                        Survey findings

                        The 89-page report found that the US troops surveyed had on average:

                        Insulted or cursed at non-combatants in their presence:
                        Marines - 30%
                        Soldiers - 28%

                        Damaged or destroyed Iraqi property when it was not necessary:
                        Marines - 12%
                        Soldiers - 9%

                        Physically hit or kicked non-combatants when it was not necessary:
                        Marines - 7%
                        Soldiers - 4%


                        The most common mistreatment reported by soldiers and marines was that of insulting non-combatants in their presence, the report said.

                        The survey showed that 55 per cent of US army soldiers, and only 40 per cent of marines, would report a fellow serviceman for killing or injuring an innocent non-combatant.

                        The survey, which shows increasing rates of mental health problems for troops on extended or multiple deployments in Iraq, was the first to include questions on ethics and ethical training.

                        As such, the report stresses the findings cannot be compared "with any other group of military personnel".

                        Torture

                        More than a third of the 1,320 soldiers and 447 marines surveyed said that torture should be allowed to save the life of a fellow soldier or marine, while almost 38 per cent said torture should be allowed in order to gather "important information about insurgents".

                        "These men and women have been seeing their friends injured and I think that having that thought is normal," said Pollock, but she added: "They're not acting on those thoughts. They're not torturing the people."

                        The survey showed only 47 per cent of soldiers and 38 per cent of marines agreed that non-combatants should be treated with dignity and respect.

                        US operations in Iraq have been dogged by claims of mistreatment of Iraqi detainees and civilians, including revelations of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in 2004 and reports of the killing of 24 Iraqi civilians by Marines in Haditha in November 19, 2005.


                        Only 47 per cent of soldiers agreed non-
                        combatants should be treated with dignity [EPA]

                        Mental health

                        The main aim of the report was to assess the mental health of soldiers and marines involved in operations in Iraq.

                        The report showed the rate of anxiety, depression and acute stress stood at 22 per cent among soldiers deployed in Iraq for more than six months.

                        It also recorded an average of 16.1 suicides per year per 100,000 soldiers for those involved in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

                        Overall, about 20 per cent of army soldiers and 15 per cent of marines showed mental health symptoms of either anxiety, depression or acute stress.

                        Among army soldiers, 27 per cent of those with more than one tour of duty tested positive for a mental health problem, versus 17 per cent for soldiers on their first deployment.

                        Morale among soldiers was worse than among marines, which it said was explained in part by the marines' shorter six month tours.

                        The report recommended that the army's year-long tours in Iraq either be shortened or soldiers be given 18 to 36 months between deployment to recover.

                        But instead, the army is moving in the opposite direction, with Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, announcing extended tours for US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan of up to 15 months instead of one year.

                        The army is struggling to allow units a year at home between deployments.

                        The survey was conducted by US army medical experts between August 28 and October 3, last year.


                        Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

                        647 words posted in American Empire, Iraq warLeave a comment

                        No Comments for this post yet...

                        0 response(s) to Survey examines US ethics in Iraq

                          This post has 15 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                          Leave a comment:

                          Allowed XHTML tags:
                          <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                          Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                          Your URL will be displayed.

                          URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                          (Line breaks become <br />)
                          (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                          (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                          Hometown Baghdad: Sick of this

                          English (US)  May 4th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                          Hometown Baghdad
                          An ongoing documentary web series following the lives of a few Iraqi 20-somethings trying to survive in Baghdad.

                          [More:]

                          The everyday life of the Iraqi citizen has been the great untold story of the Iraq war.

                          The Distribution
                          The brave Iraqi subjects and crew risked their lives every time they turned on a camera to make this series. They want to show the world what life is like when your hometown is a war-zone. We believe that people who see their stories will want to share them with others. That's why we're distributing the series online. So please - watch the videos, rewatch them, tell friends about them, comment on them, and link to them.

                          The Language
                          The intention of the Iraqi filmmakers and subjects was to show the world what Baghdad is truly like. That's why they usually speak English and not Arabic.

                          The Producers
                          It is a co-production between NY-based Chat the Planet and a group of Iraqi filmmakers in Baghdad. The subjects also turned the cameras on themselves when it became too dangerous for our crew to travel through Baghdad. Read more about the producers here.

                          193 words posted in Iraq warLeave a comment

                          No Comments for this post yet...

                          0 response(s) to Hometown Baghdad: Sick of this

                            This post has 41 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                            Leave a comment:

                            Allowed XHTML tags:
                            <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                            Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                            Your URL will be displayed.

                            URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                            (Line breaks become <br />)
                            (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                            (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                            Israel resists US peace timeline

                            English (US)  May 4th, 2007 by admin ( Email )


                            The timeline calls on Abbas to bolster security at the Egyptian border

                            A US timeline for bolstering Israeli-Palestinian talks has met its first resistance as Israel says it can not commit to some of the demands, citing security concerns.

                            [More:]


                            The timeline asks the Palestinian president to start deploying his forces by the middle of next month to halt rocket fire and smuggling by armed groups.

                            It also asks Israel to reciprocate by taking steps to ease the movement of people and goods between the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank.

                            The United States presented the timeline separately to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, and Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, last week.

                            But it is unclear how hard the Bush administration is prepared to push the parties to complete a list of so-called "benchmarks".

                            Israeli officials raised concerns that Israel was being asked to ease restrictions on Palestinian movements without assurances that Abbas has completed his own commitments on security.

                            While Israel appeared prepared to lift restrictions in the West Bank starting this month, it has serious reservations about other demands, including one that would allow Palestinian bus convoys to travel between Gaza and the West Bank by July 1, officials said.

                            "Some of the ideas Israel is already implementing, others are already well advanced, and there are some that Israel will not be able to address in the present because of security concerns," an official in Olmert's office said.

                            Israeli resistance to elements of the US plan followed an earlier rift between the allies over Washington's decision to hold limited contacts with non-Hamas ministers in the Palestinian unity government.

                            Olmert is boycotting the cabinet in its entirety.

                            US timeline

                            The US timeline calls on Abbas's security forces to form "joint co-ordinating cells" with Israeli and Egyptian forces by June 1 to bolster security at the Egyptian border.

                            By June 15, Abbas would deploy his forces along the border, from a key Israeli crossing point to the Mediterranean coast, to stop smuggling and destroy tunnels used by armed groups.

                            Under the US timeline, Abbas's national security adviser, Mohammad Dahlan, a bitter foe of Hamas, would develop a plan to prevent rocket attacks against Israel and begin deployments by June 21.

                            The US document asks Israel to allow the transfer of weapons, ammunition and other equipment for security forces under Abbas's direct control in the West Bank and Gaza.

                            The timeline calls for increased training and equipping of Abbas's forces until the end of this year.

                            Diplomats said Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, was committed to the effort despite the hurdles, and that she hoped to draw up a blueprint, or "rubric", that both sides would commit to, possibly in writing.

                            Washington hopes these measures will create conditions for talks on a final peace deal, but Olmert, who has agreed to push forward with the benchmarks, is unpopular in Israel and may be forced out of office over last year's Lebanon war.


                            Agencies

                            No Comments for this post yet...

                            0 response(s) to Israel resists US peace timeline

                              This post has 36 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                              Leave a comment:

                              Allowed XHTML tags:
                              <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                              Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                              Your URL will be displayed.

                              URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                              (Line breaks become <br />)
                              (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                              (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                              Israeli Labor Party my leave coalition government

                              English (US)  May 4th, 2007 by admin ( Email )


                              Ehud Olmert's approval ratings have plummeted
                              into single digits

                              The Israeli prime minister's position has come under renewed threat after members of the Labour party threatened to withdraw from Israel's ruling coalition after this week's damning inquiry into the Lebanon war.

                              [More:]


                              Public pressure has also increased - more than 100,000 Israelis took to the streets on Thursday demanding that Ehud Olmert resign.

                              Olmert has so far resisted the pressure after a government-appointed commission blamed him for serious failings during last year's 34-day war.

                              Labour, in the midst of its own power struggle, is the largest partner in Olmert's coalition government and its withdrawal could force new elections.

                              Peretz ponders

                              Israel's Haaretz newspaper quoted Olmert's aides as saying they were concerned that members of Labour would push to end their partnership with the prime minister's Kadima party in order to form a new government.

                              However, some coalition members have suggested that they would stick by Olmert because they might lose significant parliamentary clout if fresh elections were held now.

                              Amir Peretz, defence minister and head of Labour, is considering stepping down from his post in response to the Lebanon war report.

                              He has become increasingly unpopular within his own party and may be forced out when Labour holds internal elections on May 28.

                              Approval dropping

                              Olmert's approval ratings have plummeted into single digits and Tzipi Livni, his foreign miniser and deputy, joined calls for his removal this week.

                              Miri Eisin, Olmert's spokesperson, said: "The best way to face the challenges, and for the better of Israel, is for the prime minister to stay in his position."

                              Ofir Pines, a Labour party member, and several other Labour leaders said that Olmert must go, even if it means early elections.

                              Pines said: "We will make an effort to build a new coalition and a new government. If we won't be able to do so, we will have to have early elections.

                              "It is not the best option but it's a better option than to stay with the present government."

                              Danny Yatom, also a candidate for the Labour party leadership, said that as long as Labour stays in the coalition it gives legitimacy to a government that has lost the support of the Israeli people.

                              Yatom said: "I will try to convince my friends in the faction and in the central committee [to withdraw from the coalition] ... and finally I hope that after such a big demonstration, they will be convinced."

                              Israel's next general election is not due until 2010.
                              Agencies

                              No Comments for this post yet...

                              0 response(s) to Israeli Labor Party my leave coalition government

                                This post has 5 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                Leave a comment:

                                Allowed XHTML tags:
                                <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                Your URL will be displayed.

                                URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                (Line breaks become <br />)
                                (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                The price for Israel

                                English (US)  May 3rd, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                The best chance for ending the Palestinian plight is for the Arabs to take advantage of the US defeat in Iraq, writes Ayman El-Amir*

                                Israel marked its 59th anniversary of independence in mid-April by killing 10 Palestinians. Hamas, the Palestinian resistance movement, responded by announcing the end of a five-month-old ceasefire and aimlessly fired into Israel several homemade rockets that hurt no one. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is hounded by a government commission report blaming him for Israel's failed military campaign against Lebanon's Hizbullah last year, decided on a limited response in which only three Palestinians were killed and a dozen others arrested. Olmert's uncertain political future has cast a pall over peace prospects with the Palestinians.

                                [More:]

                                While Palestinians marked the moment with the usual manifestation of helpless grief over their expulsion from Palestine and the confiscation of their lands, Israelis were not exactly in a happier mood. Israeli newspaper Haaretz noted that: "An atmosphere of disappointment, despondency and anxiety prevailed in Israel in its 59th anniversary year." Palestinian-Israeli peace is as far from reach as ever.

                                The latest shot in the decades-long process of war and peace was the decision of the Arab summit meeting in Riyadh in late March to "activate" the Arab peace initiative. First introduced in Rabat by Saudi Arabia in 1982, the land-for-peace exchange remains like the peace process itself in a state of suspended animation. Several contributing factors are in play.

                                For one thing, the Hamas-dominated Palestinian government is throwing back at the Olmert government the argument which former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon used, in order to escape serious negotiations with the Palestinians -- that there is no peace partner to negotiate with. Hobbled by a fragile coalition and a set of old and new scandals, the Olmert government is much too weak to lead Israel into meaningful peace negotiations. Moreover, Israel and its leadership is still shaken by the military debacle of the war against Lebanon in July-August 2006 -- the first time in its history of six wars that Israel did not achieve decisive victory over its Arab adversaries. A government-appointed commission of inquiry censured Olmert for his "misguided and rash judgement" in launching the massive attack against the Lebanese resistance movement, Hizbullah. His coalition government is shaky and his Labour Party partners are lurking in the shadows, waiting for the government to fall, and new elections to be called.

                                So far, the Israeli government is propped up by the myopic political and diplomatic support of the Bush administration. That administration itself, however, needs a lifebuoy to float out of Iraq, sustain its 30-country strong fighting coalition in Afghanistan and help it press on with the war on terror, confront Iran and hold off its Democratic opponents at home. It is a situation of the blind leading the blind. Meanwhile, Israel is not making it easier for any peace initiative to take root; it recently seized 57 more acres (23 hectares, or 230,000 square metres) of Palestinian farmland for the purpose of its infamous apartheid wall.

                                On the other side sits Hamas, a democratically elected Palestinian government that has survived Israel's murderous campaigns, kidnappings and detentions, US-European political and economic strangulation, Arab pressure and Palestinian infighting. It retains the Palestinian people's support to engage confidently in negotiations without regard for the elaborate pre-conditions it is being pressured to meet before being accepted as a peace partner. After all, former Palestinian Authority president Yasser Arafat negotiated the Oslo Accords without recognising Israel. But the Hamas-led government can only have a negotiating partner if Israel has a majority government and the US a rational one.

                                Another stumbling block is the upcoming ritual of the US presidential elections when allies and foes alike are supposed to hold their breath and wait. It is a hiatus for US foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East. With the current administration embroiled in Iraq, struggling with Iran, and trying to save the Republican Party from overwhelming defeat, pragmatics dictates that the Palestinians will have to wait politely until mid-2009 when a new administration looks at their issue with fresh eyes. It is true, though, that former US president Bill Clinton vigorously tackled the Palestinian question in the last few weeks of his administration, almost like an afterthought. But it is also true that two months before the outbreak of the October 1973 war, during the second term of former president Richard Nixon, former secretary of state Henry Kissinger was arrogantly telling anxious Arab foreign ministers and diplomats that the Middle East file had not landed on his desk yet. At any rate, George W Bush is neither Kissinger nor Clinton, and it is doubtful that the Palestinians will dutifully wait that long in the tightening, crushing grip of the Israeli occupation.

                                What choices do the Palestinians and Arabs have?

                                One option is that moderate Arab countries, on which the US counts, try to goad both the Palestinians and Israelis into a new round of negotiations that would, at a minimum, resolve some peripheral issues such as the release of Palestinian prisoners in return for captured Israeli soldiers, as a "confidence-building measure", or extending the ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian resistance movements. But that may be sidetracking the critical issues of an overall Palestinian-Israeli settlement. This settlement involves the four major issues that were negotiated at Camp David II in 2000: Israeli withdrawal from the territories it occupied in 1967; the creation of a Palestinian state to exist alongside Israel; the status of Jerusalem; and the right of return for Palestinian refugees. Most if not all of these issues are embraced by the Arab peace initiative based on the land-for- peace formula. Israel does not accept any of the four elements, though in essence they simply reflect international law. Israel, supported by the US as usual, wants to turn the principles of international law into bargaining chips. Thus the lands seized by Israel in 1967 go from being "occupied territories" to being "disputed territories".

                                The other option for Arab states is to activate their initiative via the UN Security Council. This would be the place to build consensus for a new resolution that would provide for a settlement of the Palestinian question, not as a question of refugees, as in Resolution 242 of 1967, but under the right of self-determination. In resorting to the Security Council, two risks are involved; the US might veto any draft resolution that is not acceptable to Israel or, more dangerously, try and possibly succeed in passing a binding resolution that may be detrimental to Palestinian self-determination. Israeli interests determine US foreign policy in the Middle East and the European Union's inchoate foreign policy is guided by the US.

                                There was a time when the US edged towards an "even-handed" policy in the Middle East. In the mid-1970s, the US went as far as voting for Security Council resolutions that branded Israeli settlements in the occupied territories as "illegal and an obstacle to peace". That was a time when the provisions of international law guided the approach of nations to international disputes, when campaign contributions and the American Jewish lobby did not dictate US policy in the Middle East. This policy was gradually eroded by the Nixon-Kissinger partnership and was finally overturned, not by the events of 11 September 2001, but by how Ariel Sharon manipulated the failure of Camp David II and the reactionary tenor of the incoming Bush administration. At no time was Sharon interested in a peace settlement.

                                A new sense of Arab empowerment could shift the political and strategic balance in the region by reshaping alliances in such a way as to demonstrate to the US that it is not the reigning regional power with Israel as proxy pro-consul. As the US defeat in Iraq undermines its global influence, new or born-again powers like China and Russia are asserting themselves, with eyes wide open on Middle East/Gulf resources. Iran's rising power will not be stymied by US threats. Despite all US-Israeli attempts to provoke a Shia-Sunni war, an Iranian-Arab alliance is the Middle East's last and best hope for balanced security, regional stability and the elimination of foreign hegemony.

                                * The writer is a former correspondent for Al-Ahram in Washington, DC. He also served as director of UN Radio and Television in New York.

                                Al Ahram

                                No Comments for this post yet...

                                0 response(s) to The price for Israel

                                  This post has 6 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                  Leave a comment:

                                  Allowed XHTML tags:
                                  <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                  Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                  Your URL will be displayed.

                                  URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                  (Line breaks become <br />)
                                  (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                  (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                  For the Palestinians

                                  English (US)  May 3rd, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                  Not one more refugee, not one more concession. Arab leaders must recognise and honour the will of the Arab nation that believes in an Arab Palestine, writes Gamil Mattar*

                                  [More:]

                                  The Riyadh Arab summit was unequivocal in its affirmation of certain principles, or so we thought. The general feeling was that the summit had taken to heart the condition of the Arab people, and the most wronged segment in particular, who, to put it mildly, are at the end of their tether. It was not just Arabs who took this impression from statements and speeches that preceded, accompanied and followed the summit. The West did too, judging from some negative reactions emanating from Washington and elsewhere that reflect Zionist influence.

                                  But then, some organ of the Arab League announced that two Arab states with relations with Israel have been charged with going to Israel to explain the Arab peace initiative to officials there. The gesture, it was said, would be a way of kick-starting direct negotiations. I was not surprised by the announcement, but many Arabs, even some of the most informed, were. They were surprised for at least a couple of reasons.

                                  First, they had not imagined that Arab leaders would let current opportunities to push their case, slip through their hands. These opportunities are many and quite powerful. And they come presented in a nice tidy basket, which contains the American quagmire in Iraq, Israel's domestic problems, and Iran's nuclear capacities conflict, which, if handled correctly, could be brought to the service of the rights and causes of the peoples of this region. Somewhere in that basket, too, is the current mood of the Arab people, who have used various means on numerous occasions to voice their deep longing for renewed confidence in themselves, their culture, and their governments.

                                  A second reason for the surprise was that, whether out of principle or by convention or merely for fear of its reputation, the Arab League has never spoken directly to Israel. So no one had anticipated that an Arab League body would form a delegation of some of its members, and give it the assignment of talking to Israel. The two members in question could have gone on their own, or even together, in their capacity as sovereign governments with relations with Israel keen to step forward to help out the Arab League. But that is not what happened. Another purpose was in mind, and it is increasingly evident that this purpose was, as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice put it recently, to help Israel publicly acknowledge that it had practiced in Israel; of a government held up by the West as a bastion of democracy when, in fact, it is a democracy for its Jewish citizens only; of a state that is secular on the surface but religious in essence, and religiously extremist at that. Bishara is the living proof of the fallacy of the Israeli narrative of the origins of the Palestinian Diaspora. Few abroad know that Bishara's freedom and very life are in jeopardy if he returns to Israel. In other words, few abroad realise that he has become another of the millions of Palestinian refugees scattered against their own volition. So what are we going to do about him? Are we going to let him wander, receiving commiserations and encouragement from some, while others among us hint at the possibility of concessions on the refugee question? Are we going to signal to thousands of Palestinian victims of racism in Israel who are deprived of the hope of a safe and secure future that we will sit on our hands when they too find themselves in need of refuge?

                                  I feel doubly sorry for Bishara. I feel sorry for what lies ahead for him, whatever country he chooses as his refuge, for I fear that the forcefulness of his personality and academic rigour, and his ideological and political outlook will court any number of problems wherever he resides in the Arab world. On top of this, he will be carrying his sense of duty towards the hundreds of Palestinians inside Israel who understood very clearly the implicit message of the Bishara case, and who are now psychologically girding themselves for a horrendous drive on the part of Israeli authorities to generate another Palestinian exodus.

                                  We are facing a situation that flagrantly jars with our expectations from the Riyadh Arab summit. We were looking forward to a respite to contemplate the sources of our weakness and possible means of bolstering ourselves internationally, by drawing, for example, on our relations with Africa and Iran. This, we hoped, would be followed by some movement in the direction of a "revival" in Arab diplomacy, a form of Intifada that would reflect some of the pent up frustration and anger in Arab capitals. The opportunities were there and they were essential. I think they still are. Perhaps it is not too late.

                                  * The writer is director of the Arab Centre for Development and Futuristic Research.

                                  Al Ahram

                                  835 words posted in Human RightsLeave a comment

                                  No Comments for this post yet...

                                  0 response(s) to For the Palestinians

                                    This post has 24 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                    Leave a comment:

                                    Allowed XHTML tags:
                                    <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                    Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                    Your URL will be displayed.

                                    URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                    (Line breaks become <br />)
                                    (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                    (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                    Iraq's other war

                                    English (US)  May 3rd, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                    Ahead of a headline meeting on Iraq, doubts continue to grow in Sharm El-Sheikh about the efficacy of the Maliki government, reports Dina Ezzat

                                    This week, the foreign ministers of Iraq's neighbouring countries, along with Egypt and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and other members of the G8, are meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh to discuss ways of lending political support to the beleaguered Iraqi government as it struggles to establish a semblance of authority in a country largely beyond its control. The consultations precede the launching of the so-called "International Compact with Iraq" in a two- day conference to be held in the Red Sea resort, Thursday, through Friday with the expected participation of 40 delegations of concerned countries and organisations, similarly meant to help bolster Iraq's increasingly unpopular Shia-dominated government.

                                    [More:]

                                    While Iraqis continue to live in a grey zone between life and death, Al-Ahram Weekly has gained access to the text of resolutions to be adopted by both meetings. The lengthy documents that have been negotiated in exhaustive preparatory meetings over the past week are replete with illusive and generally non-committal language that vaguely offers support which is only dependent on the commitment of the Iraqi government to respond to the demands of key regional and international players, hard to reconcile as such demands might be.

                                    Nonetheless, delegates are determined to appear upbeat. According to statements made earlier in the week by Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister Labid Al-Abawi, "there is definitely a new spirit in the approach of regional and international players towards Iraq." Italian Ambassador in Cairo Antonio Badini also stressed the "positive atmosphere that prevails", and the "clear acknowledgement" on behalf of all participants in the meetings, of the tough situation which the Iraqi government currently faces, and its "desperate need" for support.

                                    Speaking to reporters yesterday, Ali Al-Dabbagh, spokesman for the Iraqi government, said there is a growing understanding on the part of many countries that stability and security in Iraq are a regional and international collective responsibility, and not just a task to be assigned to the Iraqi government.

                                    Not all participants in this week's consultative meetings agree with this sentiment. Many privately believe the meetings are not so much about lending support to the Iraqi government as helping address the anxieties of the Bush administration, at a time when signs abound of its failure in Iraq. Many Arab and non-Arab diplomats who spoke to the Weekly said this week's event was essentially a photo opportunity for the American press.

                                    In the text of statements to be adopted tomorrow evening, the Iraqi government receives qualified recognition from participants for its efforts to induce a semblance of stability in Iraq. On the other hand, the text includes demands that the Iraqi government take clear steps towards revising many of the policies that until now have been a source of pride for the Shia-dominated ruling regime -- in particular the revision of its stance on de- Baathification.

                                    On the issue of the constitution, the Iraqi government -- and the US administration -- have yet to agree on a clear set of reference points on demanded amendments. On the other hand, the Iraqi government -- with an American green light -- appears committed to withdrawing its tacit support, including provision of refuge, for Shia militias widely accused of large-scale atrocities. The Iraqi government also acknowledged the ongoing civil strife in Iraq, contrary to previous denials, and the need to expand the scope of representation in the reconciliation process.

                                    Meanwhile, no agreement seems in the offing on the controversial issue of the distribution of Iraq's oil revenues, which is a source of considerable inter-Iraqi conflict. Also, no agreement, spoken or unspoken, is forthcoming on the long-standing request of the Iraqi government that Arab diplomatic representation return to Baghdad.

                                    Silence also surrounded the so far inconclusive security plan adopted by the Iraqi government, as well as US plans to construct separation walls that many see as sectarian, in dozens of Baghdad neighbourhoods.

                                    Also, upon determined US and Iraqi insistence, and contrary to appeals made by several Arab participants, no timeframe, even tentative, for the withdrawal of US troops was included in either text, despite roundabout references to the commitment of the Iraqi government to take the destiny of Iraq in its own hands. "We all know that when we re- establish our security apparatus and our army we will be considering this timetable. For now, what we need is a timetable for the rehabilitation of Iraqi forces," Al-Dabbagh said yesterday.

                                    Also left aside was a proposal for all fighting factions to lay down arms to allow a genuine Arab-sponsored reconciliation process to be launched.

                                    Overall, despite commitments with regards to the cancelling of some Iraqi debts, not much was expected to come out of this week's meetings in terms of concrete action. In the words of one informed Arab diplomat, "there is not even firm evidence that whatever good intentions were reflected in the meetings, including from the Iraqi side, would be translated into executive policies."

                                    In the view of many participants, concrete results were more likely to emerge from side meetings. One such meeting scheduled for late last night between US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, who was not originally slated to participate aimed, according to American sources, to allow Rice to expressly demand action from Maliki on reducing sectarian bias. It was perhaps this expectation, Arab diplomats argued, that prompted Al-Dabbagh to announce a planned cabinet reshuffle hours before the arrival of Rice in Sharm El-Sheikh yesterday. Awareness of the growing impatience of Washington with Maliki may have been a catalyst for former Iraqi prime minister Iyad Allawi to arrive in Cairo this week to lobby support for replacing the current Iraqi government with one under his patronage.

                                    For many, the true eye-catching moment in Sharm El-Sheikh will be a scheduled meeting between Rice and her Iranian and Syrian counterparts. Informed sources say that Rice is hoping to receive firm commitments from both to assist in stabilising the situation in Iraq in return for some measure of policy flexibility from Washington.

                                    Meanwhile, the Sharm El-Sheikh meetings are taking place against a backdrop of a heightened tension between US President George W Bush and Congressional Democrats over the funding of the war in Iraq, in the wake of Bush vetoing a military spending bill that included a timetable for US withdrawal. The veto came exactly four years after Bush, speaking aboard a US aircraft carrier under a giant "Mission Accomplished" banner, declared "major combat operations" over in Iraq, following the US-led invasion of March 2003.

                                    Al Ahram

                                    1101 words posted in Iraq warLeave a comment

                                    No Comments for this post yet...

                                    0 response(s) to Iraq's other war

                                      This post has 98 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                      Leave a comment:

                                      Allowed XHTML tags:
                                      <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                      Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                      Your URL will be displayed.

                                      URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                      (Line breaks become <br />)
                                      (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                      (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                      Thousands rally against Israel's PM

                                      English (US)  May 3rd, 2007 by admin ( Email )


                                      The rally's turnout could determine whether Olmert remains in power or decides to resign

                                      Tens of thousands of people have demonstrated on the streets of Tel Aviv to call for the resignation of Ehud Olmert, Israel's prime minister.

                                      [More:]


                                      The rally in Yitzhak Rabin Square on Thursday comes in response to Olmert's refusal to step down after criticism of his handling of Israel's war against Hezbollah last summer.

                                      Local media said as many as 150,000 protesters were present as parents of soldiers killed in the conflict and prominent local authors, among others, spoke to the crowd.

                                      The demonstration also comes after strong debate in a special session of the Israeli parliament, where Benjamin Netanyahu, the opposition Likud Party leader, led the call for Olmert to step down and called for an early general election - a ballot that opinion polls show his party would win.

                                      During the session to discuss the scathing Winograd commission's report, Netanyahu said: "We have to go back to the people and let them have their say."

                                      However Olmert's governing coalition has held together, with little apparent appetite among its members for an election.

                                      On Wednesday, Olmert dismissed a public call to resign from Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister, and won critical support from loyalists in their Kadima party.

                                      Crucial turnout

                                      But Jacky Rowland, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Tel Aviv, said the real test for Olmert will come with Thursday’s demonstrations.

                                      "It would be best if he resigned and if the country elects a candidate who would reach for peaceful solutions" -- Casey, Kitchener, Canada

                                      As night fell on Thursday, both secular and religious demonstrators crowded Tel Aviv's Yitzhak Rabin Square calling on Olmert to go, echoing the parliamentary debate earlier in the day on the inquiry's report.

                                      Rowland said that many Israelis are simply sick and tired of politicians and politics.

                                      Organisers said up to 70,000 were present by 8pm (17:00 GMT) and the Associated Press reported that turnout appeared to top 100,000. But police refused to estimate the crowd's size.

                                      Exactly how many people turn out could determine whether Olmert remains in power or decides to resign.

                                      Yigal Armoni, one of Thursday's protesters, said: "We're here to tell Olmert ... to go. He's on the edge of a cliff. All he needs is a small push, but tonight we'll give him a big one."

                                      Uzi Dayan, a retired general and a main speaker, said organisers decided not to allow politicians to address the crowd, to give the gathering a grass-roots nature.

                                      He said: "The Israeli people don't trust Olmert and we can't go on like this. What you hear tonight is the voice of the people and you would need to be deaf not to hear a voice this loud."

                                      However, Tal Zilberstein, an adviser to Olmert, shrugged off the rally, saying it would not prompt the prime minister to think again.

                                      Olmert has accepted responsibility for "many mistakes" during the war against Hezbollah last summer but said he will not resign and insists he is the best man to put things right.


                                      Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

                                      No Comments for this post yet...

                                      0 response(s) to Thousands rally against Israel's PM

                                        This post has 96 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                        Leave a comment:

                                        Allowed XHTML tags:
                                        <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                        Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                        Your URL will be displayed.

                                        URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                        (Line breaks become <br />)
                                        (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                        (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                        Why Israel is after me

                                        English (US)  May 3rd, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                        AZMI BISHARA was a member of the Knesset until his resignation in April.

                                        By Azmi Bishara

                                        Amman, Jordan — I AM A PALESTINIAN from Nazareth, a citizen of Israel and was, until last month, a member of the Israeli parliament.

                                        But now, in an ironic twist reminiscent of France's Dreyfus affair — in which a French Jew was accused of disloyalty to the state — the government of Israel is accusing me of aiding the enemy during Israel's failed war against Lebanon in July.

                                        [More:]

                                        Israeli police apparently suspect me of passing information to a foreign agent and of receiving money in return. Under Israeli law, anyone — a journalist or a personal friend — can be defined as a "foreign agent" by the Israeli security apparatus. Such charges can lead to life imprisonment or even the death penalty.

                                        The allegations are ridiculous. Needless to say, Hezbollah — Israel's enemy in Lebanon — has independently gathered more security information about Israel than any Arab Knesset member could possibly provide. What's more, unlike those in Israel's parliament who have been involved in acts of violence, I have never used violence or participated in wars. My instruments of persuasion, in contrast, are simply words in books, articles and speeches.

                                        These trumped-up charges, which I firmly reject and deny, are only the latest in a series of attempts to silence me and others involved in the struggle of the Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel to live in a state of all its citizens, not one that grants rights and privileges to Jews that it denies to non-Jews.

                                        When Israel was established in 1948, more than 700,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled in fear. My family was among the minority that escaped that fate, remaining instead on the land where we had long lived. The Israeli state, established exclusively for Jews, embarked immediately on transforming us into foreigners in our own country.

                                        For the first 18 years of Israeli statehood, we, as Israeli citizens, lived under military rule with pass laws that controlled our every movement. We watched Jewish Israeli towns spring up over destroyed Palestinian villages.

                                        Today we make up 20% of Israel's population. We do not drink at separate water fountains or sit at the back of the bus. We vote and can serve in the parliament. But we face legal, institutional and informal discrimination in all spheres of life.

                                        More than 20 Israeli laws explicitly privilege Jews over non-Jews. The Law of Return, for example, grants automatic citizenship to Jews from anywhere in the world. Yet Palestinian refugees are denied the right to return to the country they were forced to leave in 1948. The Basic Law of Human Dignity and Liberty — Israel's "Bill of Rights" — defines the state as "Jewish" rather than a state for all its citizens. Thus Israel is more for Jews living in Los Angeles or Paris than it is for native Palestinians.

                                        Israel acknowledges itself to be a state of one particular religious group. Anyone committed to democracy will readily admit that equal citizenship cannot exist under such conditions.

                                        Most of our children attend schools that are separate but unequal. According to recent polls, two-thirds of Israeli Jews would refuse to live next to an Arab and nearly half would not allow a Palestinian into their home.

                                        I have certainly ruffled feathers in Israel. In addition to speaking out on the subjects above, I have also asserted the right of the Lebanese people, and of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, to resist Israel's illegal military occupation. I do not see those who fight for freedom as my enemies.

                                        This may discomfort Jewish Israelis, but they cannot deny us our history and identity any more than we can negate the ties that bind them to world Jewry. After all, it is not we, but Israeli Jews who immigrated to this land. Immigrants might be asked to give up their former identity in exchange for equal citizenship, but we are not immigrants.

                                        During my years in the Knesset, the attorney general indicted me for voicing my political opinions (the charges were dropped), lobbied to have my parliamentary immunity revoked and sought unsuccessfully to disqualify my political party from participating in elections — all because I believe Israel should be a state for all its citizens and because I have spoken out against Israeli military occupation. Last year, Cabinet member Avigdor Lieberman — an immigrant from Moldova — declared that Palestinian citizens of Israel "have no place here," that we should "take our bundles and get lost." After I met with a leader of the Palestinian Authority from Hamas, Lieberman called for my execution.

                                        The Israeli authorities are trying to intimidate not just me but all Palestinian citizens of Israel. But we will not be intimidated. We will not bow to permanent servitude in the land of our ancestors or to being severed from our natural connections to the Arab world. Our community leaders joined together recently to issue a blueprint for a state free of ethnic and religious discrimination in all spheres. If we turn back from our path to freedom now, we will consign future generations to the discrimination we have faced for six decades.

                                        Americans know from their own history of institutional discrimination the tactics that have been used against civil rights leaders. These include telephone bugging, police surveillance, political delegitimization and criminalization of dissent through false accusations. Israel is continuing to use these tactics at a time when the world no longer tolerates such practices as compatible with democracy.

                                        Why then does the U.S. government continue to fully support a country whose very identity and institutions are based on ethnic and religious discrimination that victimize its own citizens?

                                        LA Times

                                        No Comments for this post yet...

                                        0 response(s) to Why Israel is after me

                                          This post has 13 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                          Leave a comment:

                                          Allowed XHTML tags:
                                          <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                          Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                          Your URL will be displayed.

                                          URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                          (Line breaks become <br />)
                                          (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                          (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                          REMEMBER THESE CHILDREN

                                          English (US)  May 3rd, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                          Free copies of this booklet are available at REMEMBER THESE CHILDREN

                                          INTRODUCTION

                                          IN ANY CONFLICT, the death of innocent noncombatants is deplorable, and lamented by all. It is the death of children, however, that troubles us the most, for children are seen to be innocent in a way adults are not.

                                          From September 29, 2000, when the current Palestinian intifada erupted, through March 27, 2007, at least 934 Palestinian and 118 Israeli youths under the age of 18 were killed in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Thousands more have been injured, many permanently.

                                          Remember These Children lists each of these 1,052 deaths. Arranged chronologically by date of death, each entry includes the child’s name, hometown, how the child was killed and, where available, the nature of the fatal injury. The documentation, though painful, conveys the personal ­reality of these terrible statistics. The waste of human life—of hope and future promise—is almost too great to contemplate.

                                          [More:]

                                          Too many of these children died in the course of what should have been normal childhood pleasures—playing soccer, eating pizza, shopping for candy, or going to or from school. Others were at home, looking out their window, eating dinner or playing in their front yard.

                                          Even infants and the unborn have not been spared. In two days in February 2002, three pregnant women were shot: two Palestinian women trying to pass the same Israeli checkpoint to reach the hospital in Nablus, and an Israeli woman in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc. According to a September 2005 report by the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), UNRWA and the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 68 pregnant Palestinian women had to give birth at Israeli checkpoints since the beginning of the current intifada, leading to 34 miscarriages and the deaths of four women.

                                          Few of the children on these pages presented a danger to their killers, whether the latter were Israeli soldiers or Palestinian militants. We extend our deepest sympathy to the families of every child who has been killed.

                                          While it is not possible to reclaim these lives lost to their families and to the world, it is all the more imperative to ensure that no more Palestinian and Israeli children meet a similar fate. Nor is it sufficient simply to keep these imperiled children alive. Many are suffering psychological trauma, and, according to Shafik Masalha, a clinical psychologist at Tel Aviv University, some 15 percent of Palestinian children say they want to become ‘martyrs.’ “I believe that the motives are the terrible lives that the children live daily,” Masalha said. “This should be a warning not only to Israeli but also to Palestinian society [about] what they are doing to the next generation.”

                                          We ask you to add your voice to the call for an end to the killing of children, for a just peace in the region, for a fair resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. You might wish to call for an end to Israel’s illegal occupation since 1967 of land acquired by force. Or you might invoke international law, U.N. ­resolutions or the Geneva Conventions. At the very least you might wish to support the deployment of international observers in the ­region. We are confident that, in your own way, you will want to help save these children whom the world appears to have forsaken.

                                          * American Educational Trust
                                          * Americans for Middle East Understanding
                                          * The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
                                          * The Parents Circle – Bereaved Families Forum

                                          Sources: Every effort has been made to obtain accurate, verifiable data for this publication by comparing reports from a number of major news agencies, national and local media, human rights organizations and official sources, including:

                                          * Addameer: Prisoner’s Rights and Support Group
                                          * B’Tselem: the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories
                                          * Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
                                          * Jerusalem Media and Communications Center
                                          * LAW: the Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment
                                          * Palestinian Center for Human Rights
                                          * Palestinian State Information Service

                                          Definition of Terms:

                                          * "IDF": Israel Defense Forces, the overarching name for Israel’s state military branches, including the army, navy and air force.
                                          * "SETTLEMENT": A colony for Jews only built in Palestinian lands occupied by Israel since 1967, and declared illegal by United Nations resolutions.
                                          * "SETTLER": A resident of an Israeli settlement.
                                          * "REFUGEE CAMP": A United Nations-administered camp for registered Palestinian refugees from the 1947-8 and 1967 wars.
                                          * "INCURSION": An Israeli military operation into Palestinian-administered areas designated as Area A under the 1993 Oslo accords.
                                          * CHILDREN’S NAMES: Sources generally report an Israeli child’s given and family name, while Palestinian children frequently are reported with four names due to the significance of these names in Arab culture. Because Palestinian names indicate a child’s paternal ­lin­eage, four names are reported here, whenever possible, for each Palestinian child: the first is the child’s given name, the second the father’s name, and the third the paternal grandfather’s name. The fourth, when reported, is usually the family name, but in some cases may be the name of the child’s paternal great-grandfather. These four names not only locate the child historically, and many times physically, but also indicate that the reporting source is a more reliable one.
                                          * PLACE NAMES: Unless otherwise specified, cities, towns and settlements are located in the West Bank. Gaza refers to the Gaza Strip.

                                          Updated March 27, 2007
                                          If you think the information on this site -- http://www.rememberthesechildren.org/ -- is important, please make a donation to help us continue to provide this service. It is too late to help the children listed here, but continued attention to their plight may save their brothers, sisters, and playmates from joining them as tragic memories. Thank you.
                                          © 2005 American Educational Trust

                                          No Comments for this post yet...

                                          0 response(s) to REMEMBER THESE CHILDREN

                                            This post has 33 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                            Leave a comment:

                                            Allowed XHTML tags:
                                            <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                            Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                            Your URL will be displayed.

                                            URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                            (Line breaks become <br />)
                                            (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                            (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                            UK politician: Pro-Israel lobby controls West

                                            English (US)  May 2nd, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                            Baroness Jenny Tonge: ' The pro-Israeli lobby has got its grips on the Western World, its financial grips. I think they’ve probably got a certain grip on our party'

                                            By Hagit Kleinman

                                            Baroness Jenny Tonge, a former British parliament member from the Liberal-Democrat party, was invited for a clarification discussion with the party leader following outbursts she made against 'the Israeli lobby' at a pro-Palestinian solidarity event.

                                            [More:]


                                            "The pro-Israeli lobby has got its grips on the Western World, its financial grips. I think they’ve probably got a certain grip on our party,” Tonge said.

                                            Senior sources in the Liberal-Democrat party expressed revulsion from her comments. Jewish and Israeli sources in Britain described her
                                            comments as being anti-Semitic, and pointed out that Tone was removed from her parliamentary job in 2004, after she said she understood the hearts of Palestinian suicide bombers.

                                            The Daily Express newspaper, one of the media outlets to report on the episode, tied Tonge's comments to a confrontation between the party and the Israeli embassy in London, following a decision by Ambassador Zvi Hefetz to boycott the opening of the annual party conference, due to the position of the Liberal Democrats' party leader on the war in Lebanon.

                                            The confrontation took place after Liberal-Democrats leader Menzies Campbell sent a letter to British Prime Minister Tony Blair calling on him to place an arms embargo on Israel. During the same day Campbell met with Ambassador Hefetz in parliament, and discussed the situation in the Middle East – though he did not tell Hefetz about the letter he sent to Blair.

                                            'Anti-Semitic expression'

                                            When Hefetz learned of the letter, he sent a letter to Campbell in which he tried to explain to him why he saw his request for an arms embargo on Israel as being a one-sided stance. Embassy spokesman in London, Lior Ben Dor, told Ynet that Hefetz did not yet receive a reply to his letter.

                                            At the start of the week, Hefetz sent Campbell another letter in which he informed him that although he was invited to the annual conference of his party, like every year, he cold not take part in the event due to the one-sided stance his party took during the war.

                                            Responding to Tonge's comments, Hefetz told Ynet: "I assume that if these comments were made before the publication of the report on anti-Semitism of the independent parliamentary commission, which found a rise in anti-Semitism in Britain, the comments of the baroness would serve as an example of anti-Semitic expression."

                                            The embassy spokesman stressed that despite the boycott of the Liberal-Democrats conference, "we are interested in continuing the dialogue and relations with the Liberal-Democrat party like with every other party."

                                            Ynet News

                                            No Comments for this post yet...

                                            0 response(s) to UK politician: Pro-Israel lobby controls West

                                              This post has 37 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                              Leave a comment:

                                              Allowed XHTML tags:
                                              <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                              Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                              Your URL will be displayed.

                                              URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                              (Line breaks become <br />)
                                              (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                              (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                              Majority of Oxford Union students say pro-Israel lobby stifling debate

                                              English (US)  May 2nd, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                              British university’s prestigious debating society hosts Arab forum, majority of student audience approves motion claiming pro-Israel lobby in US suppresses criticism of Jewish state. Panelist: It wasn’t the Israeli lobby that made Egypt, Jordan, or Syria dictatorships

                                              A series of heated exchanges marked the arrival of the Doha Debates at the Oxford Union Tuesday night, where two-thirds of the student audience approved a motion claiming that Israel’s supporters are stifling western debate.

                                              [More:]

                                              This was the first time that the Doha Debates, a unique forum for free speech in the Arab world, have held an event outside Qatar.

                                              The debate took place amid mounting controversy over the role of the pro-Israel lobby in the United States and accusations that it has suppressed criticism of Israel – a charge that the lobby vigorously denies.

                                              Norman Finkelstein, a leading academic critic of Israeli policies, argued in favor of the motion claiming that the Pro-Israel lobby sows confusion to avoid being held to account:

                                              “They claim that the (Arab-Israeli) conflict is so complicated that it would require rocket science to penetrate its mysteries,” he said.

                                              Finkelstein maintained that the American people are ignorant of solutions to the conflict that have been available for 30 years due to the “misinformation, disinformation, and sheer fraud which masquerades as scholarship that is validated by mainstream media.”

                                              'Lobby didn't make Egypt or Syria dictatorships'

                                              The journalist and writer Andrew Cockburn supported this view, claiming there are “red lines” in discussing Israel that no politician or journalist in the US would dare cross for fear of being demonized or driven out of public life.

                                              Dr Martin Indyk, former US Ambassador to Israel, and Director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, argued strongly against the motion, saying that last night’s event in Oxford was proof of a lively debate on the subject.

                                              He said controversy over a recent book by former US president Jimmy Carter – branded anti-Semitic in some quarters – was further evidence that criticism of Israel was not being stifled.

                                              His fellow panelist David Aaronovitch, the journalist and broadcaster, dismissed accusations of conspiracy around the lobby, insisting that Americans naturally identified with Israel, a country surrounded by autocracies, because of their belief in democracy: “It wasn’t the Israeli lobby that made Egypt, Jordan, or Syria dictatorships,” he said.

                                              He added that what may be true in the US is not the case in Europe where there is no such movement to sow confusion or stifle debate.

                                              “But if debate is stifled it isn’t coming from the pro-Israeli lobby as some Danish cartoonists found out to their cost,” he said.

                                              Ynet News

                                              438 words posted in Arts, Culture & Entertainment1 comment

                                              1 response(s) to Majority of Oxford Union students say pro-Israel lobby stifling debate

                                              1. Courtenay Barnett [Visitor] Email says:

                                                There are 3 issues that hang over Israel:-

                                                1. If there is a state based on the assumption
                                                of "Jewishness" and "Zion", then a
                                                deomgraphic problem arises in a
                                                predominantly Arab region.
                                                2. If one accepts that Israel, under
                                                international law, does not have a right
                                                to extend its control beyond the pre-1967
                                                war boundaries, then there is a flagrant
                                                breach of internatinal law.
                                                3. The world community, while it has sympathy
                                                for a people brutalised ( read: "Holocaust")
                                                - there is very little sympathy for reverse
                                                discrimination against the Palestinians
                                                ( read: Apartheid wall built by Israel).
                                                In esence it is misguided to take the "God gave
                                                us the land" approach, and Zionism thus has
                                                built within it seeds of strife and tribulation.
                                                Courtenay

                                              This post has 483 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                              Leave a comment:

                                              Allowed XHTML tags:
                                              <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                              Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                              Your URL will be displayed.

                                              URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                              (Line breaks become <br />)
                                              (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                              (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                              Hezbollah's Nasrallah hails Israeli war report

                                              English (US)  May 2nd, 2007 by admin ( Email )


                                              Hassan Nasrallah has never before lavished such praise on his Israeli enemies

                                              Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, has said that he "respects" Israel for recognising that it was defeated by his guerrilla army during the 2006 war in Lebanon.

                                              [More:]


                                              Speaking in southern Beirut on Wednesday in a speech aired by Hezbollah's al-Manar TV, he added that he admired Israel's ability to criticise itself and learn from its failures.

                                              "It's worth respecting when the enemy's premier forms a commission to investigate the second [Lebanon] war, and it's even more worth respecting when the commission assigned by Olmert convicts Olmert and uses harsh terms in describing his performance and behaviour during the war," he said.

                                              On Monday Israel's Winograd commission, set by Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, to investigate the war, issued an interim report that damned his handling of the conflict.

                                              The report also said that Israeli had effectively lost the war by failing to achieve its war aims of freeing two soldiers captured by Hezbollah fighters.

                                              'Defeat and victory'

                                              Referring to the Israeli report, Nasrallah said he was pleased that Israel had agreed with his analysis that Israeli had effectively lost the war by failing to decisively defeat Hezbollah's fighters.

                                              "The first important outcome of this commission is that it has finally and officially decided the issue of victory and defeat ... This commission spoke about a very big defeat," he said.

                                              "Today the climate in the whole of the Zionist entity is that this war was a failure."

                                              However he also said that Israel's ability to learn from its mistakes was worthy of "respect".

                                              "Even though they're our enemies, it is worthy of respect that the political forces and the Israeli public act quickly to save their state, entity, army and their existence in the crisis," he said.

                                              Summer conflict

                                              The 34-day conflict began when Hezbollah members kidnapped two Israeli soldiers along the Lebanese border in July 2006 and said it would trade them for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

                                              Israel refused to negotiate for the release of the captured soldiers and instead launched devastating airstrikes against Hezbollah positions around Lebanon.

                                              These tactice proved ineffective and Israel's army then launched a ground offensive against southern Lebanon and bombed infrastructure such as bridges, roads and powerstations, vowing to recapture the missing Israelis soldiers.

                                              More than 1,000 Lebanese are believed to have died in the conflict along with over 100 Israelis.

                                              Israel did not succeed in finding the two captured soldiers, its declared war aim, and its forces left Lebanon after a United Nations force arrived to monitor a ceasefire.


                                              Agencies

                                              No Comments for this post yet...

                                              0 response(s) to Hezbollah's Nasrallah hails Israeli war report

                                                This post has 46 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                Leave a comment:

                                                Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                Your URL will be displayed.

                                                URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                'Mayflower' author lectures at UDLA annual dinner

                                                English (US)  May 2nd, 2007 by admin ( Email )


                                                Nathaniel Philbrick

                                                By Becca Hutchinson

                                                Nathaniel Philbrick, award-winning author of In the Heart of the Sea, Sea of Glory and, most recently, Mayflower, was the guest speaker at the annual UD Library Associates Dinner, held Monday evening, April 30, at Arsht Hall in Wilmington.

                                                Addressing an audience of more than 200 guests, Philbrick, a finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in History for his book Mayflower, made the point that the Plymouth colonists--and their first fumbling century in the New World--influenced the future America and its people.

                                                [More:]

                                                “There were about 150 years between the first Thanksgiving and the 'shot heard 'round the world,'” Philbrick said, “yet when you read most accounts of American history, this first century and a half is largely absent.”

                                                Philbrick, a native of New England himself, went on to recount the history of the Mayflower voyage and landing, including its dark underpinnings of bad planning, divisiveness, religious rigidity and righteousness, sickness and the graft and swindling of American Indians, before reading passages from the beginning and middle chapters of Mayflower.

                                                “When I moved to Nantucket 20 years ago, I became fascinated with the question of how the island had become the place it had,” Philbrick said. “As I began to think about writing the books, I realized I had to learn about who the pilgrims really were.”

                                                After digging through local archives, Philbrick said that many astonishing facts about the early Plymouth settlers were brought to light for him, and that he was suddenly struck with the very obvious fact that their story did not end with the first Thanksgiving.

                                                Sprinkling his lecture with humorous anecdotes, Philbrick debunked several myths and terminologies that have become entrenched in most casual accounts of American history. Among these, he said, are the facts that pilgrims never called themselves pilgrims, that the Plymouth Rock is largely a myth and that the first Thanksgiving was more likely an uneasy, piecemeal (and even desperately hungry) affair held in late September at an outdoor location where American Indians outnumbered settlers two to one.

                                                Philbrick also made the point that the first settlers were, in a word, marauders who took very little account of American Indians and their way of life.

                                                “When we look at the pilgrims as inspirational,” Philbrick said, “it's really our responsibility to look at the entire picture. They arrived near Provincetown not knowing a thing about where they were and they did everything wrong with the Native Americans, from stealing their corn to ransacking their gravesites.

                                                “With Mayflower, I tell a story that addresses the question of 'What is history?' and 'What is the past?'”

                                                Philbrick closed his lecture by taking questions from the audience and signing copies of his books. He also thanked those present--UD library staff, especially--for choosing the work they did.

                                                “What you are pursuing is absolutely vital,” Philbrick said. “It may not be glamorous work, but it's how you preserve records and it's how you make history an ongoing part of the present.”

                                                Philbrick was born in 1956 in Boston and received his bachelor's degree in English from Brown University and his master's degree in American literature from Duke University in Durham, N.C. While at Brown, he was the university's first Intercollegiate All-American sailor in 1978, the same year he won the Sunfish North Americans in Barrington, R.I.

                                                Before becoming a full-time freelance author, Philbrick worked for several years on the editorial staff of Sailing World magazine and started the Egan Maritime Foundation on Nantucket Island, where he has lived for more than two decades.

                                                His most recent book, Mayflower, published in 2006, was a finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in History. Sea of Glory, published in 2003, won the Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Naval History Prize and the Albion-Monroe Award from the National Maritime Historical Society. In the Heart of the Sea, published in 2000, won the National Book Award for nonfiction.

                                                Philbrick also has received the Byrne Waterman Award from the Kendall Whaling Museum, the Samuel Eliot Morison Award for distinguished service from the USS Constitution Museum, the Nathaniel Bowditch Award from the American Merchant Marine Museum and the William Bradford Award from the Pilgrim Society.

                                                UDLA

                                                1 response(s) to 'Mayflower' author lectures at UDLA annual dinner

                                                1. tom littledeer [Visitor] Email says:

                                                  I just want to thank you for digging into
                                                  the truth about how this country was really
                                                  established, and the principles on which it
                                                  was founded.
                                                  Not very many people would be so honest
                                                  in reporting the facts on how my ancestors
                                                  were dealt with by the newcomers.
                                                  I hope your book does well.
                                                  Thank You,
                                                  Tom Littledeer
                                                  Schaghticoke descendant

                                                This post has 120 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                Leave a comment:

                                                Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                Your URL will be displayed.

                                                URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire shot by Israeli forces at nonviolent demo in Palestine

                                                English (US)  May 1st, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                On the Road to Peace
                                                By John Dear S.J.

                                                Voices in the Wilderness founder Kathy Kelly called April 21 with alarming news. Our dear friend, Mairead Corrigan Maguire, the 1976 Irish Nobel Peace Prize winner, hailed as one of the world's great voices for nonviolence, was shot the day before by Israeli soldiers. She was in the middle of a Palestinian nonviolent vigil for human rights at the Israeli-built separation wall in the Palestinian village of Bil'in.

                                                News was sketchy at first, but we soon learned she was hit in the leg by a rubber bullet. And later, returning to the scene, she succumbed as Israeli soldiers unleashed tear gas to disperse the weekly protest.

                                                [More:]


                                                She returned to Ireland a few days later to recuperate, and we had a good long talk. A raw, angry bruise blackens much of her leg. And the aura of the brutality lies fresh in her mind. Yet her passion still burns for the Palestinians' nonviolent struggle for liberation.

                                                "Before the peace vigil," she said, "I participated in a press conference with the Palestinian Minister for Information. He praised the nonviolent vigil of the Bil'in people and the nonviolent resistance of many people around Palestine. He said that the Bil'in resistance movement was a model and example for all. He called for an end to the building of the wall, and for upholding of Palestinian rights under International Law.

                                                "I supported his call and thanked the people of Bil'in. I offered my support for the nonviolent resistance to the wall as it violates international law, including the International Court of Justice in the Hague. I also called for an end to the Palestinian occupation, which will mark 40 years in June, and full recognition by the international community of the Palestinian government, together with restoration of economic and political rights to the people.

                                                "Then during our peace walk to the wall," she continued, "Israeli soldiers started firing a mystery gas at us, and aimed plastic bullets directly at us. Later, they used water cannons. We were a completely unarmed. It was a completely peaceful, nonviolent gathering. This vicious attack upon civilians by the Israeli soldiers was totally unprovoked. The soldiers blocked the upper part of the road, preventing some from joining the main vigil.

                                                "As I helped a French woman, I was shot in the leg with a three inch long, rubber-covered steel bullet. I was targeted by an Israeli soldier and shot from a distance of 20 meters. This itself was illegal because such lethal weapons, under Israeli military law, are not allowed to be used within a 20-meter range. Altogether 20 people were injured. But as you know, six Palestinians were killed the next day, including a 17-year-old girl, a typical day under the occupation.

                                                Later she went back to the protest where people were still being viciously attacked with gas and plastic bullets. She said, "This time, I was overcome with gas. My nose bled terribly and I was carried again to an ambulance for treatment."

                                                Mairead is no stranger to active nonviolence. The Nobel Prize went to her 30 years ago after her nieces and nephew were killed on a Belfast street. A British soldier shot a fleeing IRA gunman. And the gunman's car careened into the sidewalk, killing the children and injuring Mairead's sister, who died a few years later.

                                                Within days, Mairead, along with friends Betty Williams and Ciaron McKeown, mobilized hundreds of thousands, mostly women, to march for peace. The marches continued every Saturday for the next six months, and grew to become the largest gesture for peace in the history of Northern Ireland. The Peace People movement, which advocates nonviolent conflict resolution, continues to this day.

                                                Maguire has traveled the globe since, speaking to millions about the practice of active nonviolence, and working tirelessly with other international figures such as the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Pope John Paul II. I edited a collection of her writings and speeches a few years ago and wrote the forward to the book The Vision of Peace: Faith and Hope in Northern Ireland and the World (Orbis Books).

                                                "This is not only an abuse of human rights and international law by the Israeli government," Mairead says of the Palestinian occupation. "It is a health and environmental issue. We were all traumatized by the Israeli attack. With the gas on the air, I remembered the words of a Palestinian doctor, who said, "The whole Palestinian people, after 40 years of occupation, are traumatized. It is time for the international community to act and put a stop to this suffering and injustice."

                                                I reached Archbishop Tutu, who is visiting Taiwan, and he issued a strong statement, condemning the attack on Mairead, "as I condemn all violence, whoever the perpetrator."

                                                Mairead is one of the wisest, holiest, most respected peacemakers in the world. She could easily sit back and put her feet up, and enjoy her wonderful family and her wee cottage along the Irish coast, especially now that Northern Ireland recently turned another corner toward peace.

                                                Instead she travels every few months to Palestine to stand with the resisters, and to draw attention to Israel's 200 to 400 nuclear weapons by supporting Israeli whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu. She takes great risks for peace, and practices the nonviolence she teaches. She does so, because she knows the people of Bil'in and elsewhere take great risks when they hold their weekly vigil under the Israeli army's bellicose eye.

                                                When a Nobel Peace Prize winner suffers violence, and the world scarcely takes notice, such times are outrageous and dark. But she's not deterred. And we can draw from her determination the inspiration to take risks ourselves for oppressed people everywhere. It is time, she said, for action to force the Israeli Government to enter into unconditional talks to end this tragedy upon the good and gentle Palestinian people. "Tell everyone," she told me over the phone, "we have to end the occupation now!" Hers is a call to pursue the Jewish vision of shalom -- human rights for all.

                                                National Catholic Reporter

                                                No Comments for this post yet...

                                                0 response(s) to Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire shot by Israeli forces at nonviolent demo in Palestine

                                                  This post has 28 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                  Leave a comment:

                                                  Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                  <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                  Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                  Your URL will be displayed.

                                                  URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                  (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                  (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                  (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                  European parliamentarians demonstrate Europe's cooperation with Palestinian government in visit to PM Imail Haniyeh in Gaza

                                                  English (US)  May 1st, 2007 by admin ( Email )


                                                  Palestinian PM Ismail Haniyeh

                                                  GAZA, Palesstinian - Ma'an - Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh received a European parliamentary delegation in his office in Gaza City on Tuesday. The prime minister explained to his guests the developments in the occupied Palestinian territories in the political, economic and social spheres. He also explained to them the suffering of the Palestinian people as a result of the embargo imposed on the Palestinian people since Hamas won the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) elections in January 2006.

                                                  [More:]

                                                  Haniyeh stressed to the delegation the need for the world to deal with the Palestinian national unity government as the representative of the Palestinian people. He also emphasized that aid and support should come direct to the Palestinian ministry of finance.

                                                  He pointed out that his government has presented many initiatives but Israel has always refused theses initiatives. The prime minister also briefed the European delegates on the latest developments regarding the anticipated prisoners' swap and the issue of the abducted BBC reporter, Alan Johnston.

                                                  The delegates affirmed to Haniyeh that their visit represents a clear expression of their direct dealing with the Palestinian government; they also affirmed that they recognize this government and cooperate with it.

                                                  They told Haniyeh that they are doing their best to convince the European governments to deal directly with the unity government. They also stressed that the PLC members and ministers, currently detained in Israeli jails, should be released.

                                                  A delegation of twelve high-ranking European members of parliament, from seven EU nations, is currently on a six-day visit to the occupied Palestinian territories.

                                                  Maan News Agency

                                                  261 words posted in Human RightsLeave a comment

                                                  No Comments for this post yet...

                                                  0 response(s) to European parliamentarians demonstrate Europe's cooperation with Palestinian government in visit to PM Imail Haniyeh in Gaza

                                                    This post has 12 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                    Leave a comment:

                                                    Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                    <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                    Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                    Your URL will be displayed.

                                                    URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                    (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                    (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                    (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                    Israeli PM Olmert Olmert refuses to step down

                                                    English (US)  May 1st, 2007 by admin ( Email )


                                                    Israeli PM Ehud Olmert has lived under a cloud of allegations of corruption and incompetence for months.

                                                    Israel's prime minister is refusing to step down despite mounting pressure to quit from within his own government after a report criticised his handling of the war against Lebanon last year.

                                                    [More:]


                                                    The fallout against Ehud Olmert was exacerbated by the resignation of Eitan Cabel, a cabinet minister from the main governing partner Labour party.

                                                    Parliament deputies from Olmert's own ruling Kadima party drafted a letter urging the prime minister to quit.

                                                    Cabel, a minister without portfolio, urged Olmert to follow his lead on Tuesday.

                                                    "Ehud Olmert must resign. He must bear responsibility," he said.

                                                    "I can no longer sit in a government led by Ehud Olmert," said Cabel, the first member of Olmert's government to resign over the Winograd Commission report on the war's handling which was released on Monday.

                                                    Following Cabel's announcement at a news conference, the prime minister's office immediately said that Olmert would not be leaving office.

                                                    A few hours later, however, Israel's Channel 2 reported that a majority of parliamentarians from Olmert's Kadima party now believed that he should step down as leader.

                                                    The channel also said that Kadima's MPs would press Olmert to step down at a meeting expected to be held on Thursday, when parliament meets to debate the report on the war.

                                                    Separately, Channel 10 reported that Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister, had told her aides that Olmert "must go". Livni is a favourite to succeed Olmert as the leader of Kadima.

                                                    Cabel, an entrepreneur and businessman, had little part in the 2006 war and has for several months hinted that he was considering leaving politics, Israeli media reported.

                                                    Domino effect

                                                    Cabel's resignation follows increasing speculation in Israeli media that Olmert and Amir Peretz, the country's defence minister, would soon resign in response to popular discontent over their handling of the war.

                                                    A poll on Tuesday conducted by public radio found that 69 per cent of the Israeli public think the prime minister should resign and 74 per cent believe Peretz, who is also the chairman of the Labour party, should also step down.

                                                    The government commission, appointed by Olmert seven months ago, accused him of "serious failure in exercising judgement, responsibility and prudence" during last year's war against Hezbollah.

                                                    The report was equally withering about Peretz and Dan Halutz, the then chief of staff, concluding that they had failed in fulfilling their duties.

                                                    Agencies

                                                    No Comments for this post yet...

                                                    0 response(s) to Israeli PM Olmert Olmert refuses to step down

                                                      This post has 165 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                      Leave a comment:

                                                      Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                      <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                      Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                      Your URL will be displayed.

                                                      URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                      (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                      (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                      (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                      Venezuela exits IMF and World Bank

                                                      English (US)  May 1st, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                      Venezuela is to withdraw from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, after Hugo Chavez, the country's president, said it no longer required the institutions.

                                                      Chavez made the announcement on Monday as part of plans to create an alternative lending bank run by South American nations.

                                                      [More:]


                                                      "I want to formalise our exit from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund," Chavez said, issuing an order for Rodrigo Cabezas, Venezuela's finance minister, to begin proceedings to withdraw from the organisations.

                                                      "We are going to withdraw before they go and rob us."

                                                      Alternative

                                                      Chavez intends to set up a new lender run by Latin American nations which he has called the 'Bank of the South'.

                                                      He has pledged to support it with Venezuela's oil revenues.

                                                      Separately, Chavez also offered on Sunday to contribute $250m to a new regional co-operation fund.

                                                      Since Chavez first took office in 1999, Venezuela has reduced its co-operation with the organisations.

                                                      Chavez blames the two organisations' economic programmes of tight budget control, privatisation and open markets for continued poverty across Latin America.

                                                      After years of strong oil prices, Venezuela said it paid off its final debts to the World Bank this month.

                                                      On Monday, Chavez announced a 20 per cent minimum wage rise and a gradual reduction in the working day to six hours, as part of a rejection of IMF and World Bank policies.

                                                      More independence

                                                      Venezuela is one of several countries, particularly in Latin America, that have reduced their dependence on the IMF and World Bank in the last few years.

                                                      Other Latin American countries are also distancing themselves from international lenders.

                                                      Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua's president said on Sunday that he hopes to "get out of that prison" of IMF debt and that "we are negotiating with the Fund to leave the Fund."

                                                      Condoleezza Rice, US secretary of state, said last week that Chavez was damaging his country "economically and politically".

                                                      As part of his continuing programme of nationalisation, Chavez on Tuesday will lead a rally to take over the operations of oil projects in the Orinoco Belt, currently run by some of the world's largest companies.

                                                      "The importance of this is that we are taking back control of the Orinoco Belt which the president rightly calls the world's biggest crude reserve," said Marco Ojeda, an oil union leader, before the planned rally.

                                                      Chavez has promised to take at least 60 per cent of the four projects, valued at more than $30bn.

                                                      US companies ConocoPhillips, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Britain's BP, Norway's Statoil and France's Total have agreed to obey a decree to transfer operational control.

                                                      Agencies

                                                      430 words posted in WorldLeave a comment

                                                      No Comments for this post yet...

                                                      0 response(s) to Venezuela exits IMF and World Bank

                                                        This post has 9 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                        Leave a comment:

                                                        Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                        <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                        Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                        Your URL will be displayed.

                                                        URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                        (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                        (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                        (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                        Ct News: Williams Brings Health Care Show to Capitol

                                                        English (US)  May 1st, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                        By Christine Stuart | May 1, 2007 7:35 PM

                                                        Senate President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, brought his multi-media health care show to the Capitol Tuesday to lobby for the passage of his ‘Medicare for All’ proposal, which is a hybrid of several pieces of legislation.

                                                        In addition to legislation to create electronic medical records and chronic disease management systems, Williams’ “HealthFirst Connecticut” plan uses about $300 million to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates and other health care initiatives that are part of the Democratic majority’s spending proposal. Click here to see more detail.

                                                        For full story click here.

                                                        92 words posted in HealthLeave a comment

                                                        No Comments for this post yet...

                                                        0 response(s) to Ct News: Williams Brings Health Care Show to Capitol

                                                          This post has 8 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                          Leave a comment:

                                                          Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                          <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                          Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                          Your URL will be displayed.

                                                          URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                          (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                          (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                          (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                          Barbour, Griffith and Roger in the spotlight

                                                          English (US)  May 1st, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                          By Gale Courey Toensing / Indian Country Today

                                                          WASHINGTON - Barbour, Griffith and Roger has been in the media spotlight for activities other than its lobbying of Washington decision-makers to terminate the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation's federal acknowledgement.

                                                          [More:]

                                                          The Financial Times reported recently on the Taiwan National Security Council's early termination of a $4.5 million contract with BGR, whose chairman, Ed Rogers, is a longtime Republican administration insider.

                                                          The contract termination was said to reflect ''internal political tensions'' among Taiwanese officials, but it came at a time when BGR was embroiled in litigation involving allegations that the firm and Diligence LLC, one of BGR's offshoots, engaged in corporate espionage on behalf of the Alfa Group, one of BGR's biggest clients, the report said.

                                                          The lawsuit filed by IPOC International Growth Fund, an offshore business, accuses Diligence of impersonating intelligence agents to illegally obtain information on an IPOC audit, the Legal Times reported.

                                                          Diligence and another BGR offshoot called New Bridge Strategies were set up in 2003 to take advantage of ''business opportunities'' provided by the Iraq war, according to Source Watch. The three companies are intricately connected to the Bush administration and Republican politics.

                                                          Rogers is vice chair of both New Bridge Strategies and Diligence. He served in the White House during the Reagan administration, on the Bush/Quayle campaign and in the current Bush administration. He co-founded BGR with Haley Barbour, the current governor of Mississippi, a longtime Republican insider and former longtime Republican National Committee chairman.

                                                          Robert Blackwill, former ambassador to India, former deputy national security adviser to the current administration and former Iraq administrator, is BGR's president.

                                                          New Bridge Strategies is headed by Joe Allbaugh, Bush's campaign manager in 2000 and the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency until March 2003. Lanny Griffith, CEO of BGR, is a director of New Bridge, according to The New York Times.

                                                          Neil Bush, the president's brother, has been paid a $60,000 annual consulting fee by New Bridge to aid in the procurement of contracts for companies seeking to do business in Iraq.

                                                          When the company was set up in 2003, its Web site - www.newbridgestrategies.com - said, ''The opportunities evolving in Iraq today are of such an unprecedented nature and scope that no other existing firm has the necessary skills and experience to be effective both in Washington, D.C., and on the ground in Iraq,'' according to a New York Times report.

                                                          The Washington Post quoted an unidentified New Bridge partner as saying: ''Getting the rights to distribute Procter and Gamble products would be a gold mine. One well-stocked 7-Eleven could knock out 30 Iraqi stores; a Wal-Mart could take over the country.''

                                                          A visit to the Web site now yields the message: ''new bridgestrategies.com expired on 04/15/2007 and is pending renewal or deletion.''

                                                          The war in Iraq has been very profitable for BGR. According to reports in O'Dwyers PR Daily, the Washington Post and The New York Times, among BGR/Diligence/New Bridge's deals are:

                                                          * $29,000 a month since 2004 from the Kurdish Democratic Party ''to ensure that Iraqi Kurdistan maintains its autonomy from Baghdad in the new Iraq Government'' and for the ''return of oil-rich Kirkuk, which Saddam Hussein had 'Arabized' as the capital of the region, to Kurdistan.''

                                                          * $300,000 in February 2005 with the government of Qatar ''to smooth relations with the Bush administration.''

                                                          * $300,000 for a six-month contract in 2006 with the ''National Dialogue Party'' of Lebanon and its chairman, Fouad Makhzoumi, a wealthy American-educated Lebanese businessman who made his initial fortune developing private industrial groups of companies in Saudi Arabia.

                                                          In March 2007, Rogers and Blackwell wrote an opinion piece in the conservative Washington Times, defending former Undersecretary of Defense Doug Feith, along with his fellow neoconservatives and a friend, Ahmed Chalabi, an Iraqi who had lived in the United States for decades and advised and encouraged the invasion of his homeland.

                                                          When asked for his opinion of the magnitude of the political power BGR brought against his 300-member tribe, Schaghticoke Tribal Nation Chief Richard Velky declined to comment.

                                                          Indian Country Today

                                                          662 words posted in American EmpireLeave a comment

                                                          No Comments for this post yet...

                                                          0 response(s) to Barbour, Griffith and Roger in the spotlight

                                                            This post has 144 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                            Leave a comment:

                                                            Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                            <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                            Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                            Your URL will be displayed.

                                                            URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                            (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                            (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                            (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                            Lobbying firm subpoenaed to release documents in Schaghticoke case

                                                            English (US)  May 1st, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                            By Gale Courey Toensing / Indian Country Today

                                                            Related: Barbour Griffith & Rogers in the spotlight

                                                            WASHINGTON - Barbour, Griffith and Rogers, the high-powered lobbying firm at the center of the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation's claim that unlawful political pressure forced the BIA to rescind its federal acknowledgement, refused to comply with a federal judge's order to produce documents unless it was subpoenaed, court records show.

                                                            [More:]

                                                            On March 19, New Haven U.S. District Court Senior Judge Peter Dorsey ordered BGR - a Republican firm with close ties to the Bush administration - to provide the Schaghticokes' attorneys with all documents relating to BGR's contacts with Congress members or Interior Department officials concerning the tribe from January 2004 through December 2005.

                                                            The order is part of STN's ongoing administrative appeal of the BIA's unprecedented reversal in October 2005 of its own previous decision in January 2004 to federally acknowledge the tribe. The appeal names Interior and several department officials as defendants and alleges, among other things, violations of due process, unlawful political influence and congressional interference in the reversed decision.

                                                            Although BGR is not a defendant in the appeal, the lobbyist is named in a separate lawsuit filed last July and pending in Superior Court of the District of Columbia in which it is charged with harmful and unlawful interference with the tribe's federal recognition.

                                                            BGR was working for Town Action to Save Kent, an anti-Indian sovereignty group that opposes the tribe's recognition and was formed by affluent residents of Kent, Conn., which borders the tribe's 400-acre reservation.

                                                            Schaghticoke Attorney Thomas Janick of Dorsey and Whitney LLP (no relationship to Judge Peter Dorsey) notified BGR attorney Ryan Bull of Baker Botts LLP about Dorsey's order on March 20, and the two had several discussions by e-mail and phone over the course of the next several days, court records show.

                                                            Bull told Janick in a March 26 e-mail that BGR ''does not submit to the jurisdiction of the Connecticut federal court, and respectfully preserves all objections to any effort by the Connecticut court to exercise jurisdiction over BGR.''

                                                            In a March 30 court filing, tribal attorneys reported that BGR would ''not produce documents in response to the court order alone, but instead has required that the Tribe issue a subpoena from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to undertaken the discovery that this Court has already ordered.'' At the same time, Bull said that BGR was planning to produce the documents, but could not meet the April 2 deadline because of technical difficulties, but BGR also refused to submit a joint motion asking the court for an extension and added conditions of secrecy to its document production.

                                                            In an e-mail responding to a request for comment from Indian Country Today, Bull said that BGR has ''complied with the judge's order and has produced responsive documents.'' He did not detail the content or number of documents produced.

                                                            When asked why BGR would choose this moment to refuse a federal court order, Bull said: ''It was always BGR's intention to comply with the judge's order. The issuance of a subpoena was a jurisdiction issue based on the federal rules.''

                                                            According to the court order, STN can now take sworn testimony from the BGR representative ''who, based on the documents, was most clearly aware of the actions taken by BGR on behalf of TASK.''

                                                            Schaghticoke attorneys declined to comment.

                                                            Documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and court records reveal, among other things, BGR/TASK's communications regarding the Schaghticoke with governors from Connecticut and elsewhere, congressional representatives from Connecticut and other states; White House staff, including former White House Director of Political Affairs Ken Mehlman; Interior officials; the national anti-Indian group One Nation United; former Secretary of State and Kent resident Henry Kissinger; and the staff of former Senate Indian Affairs Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, who helped BGR achieve the proper ''tone'' in a letter the lobbyist was writing for the Connecticut governor to send McCain, requesting a hearing on the federal recognition process and the Schaghticoke decision.

                                                            According to campaign contribution reports, BGR co-founder and Chairman Ed Rogers contributed $5,000 to McCain's election war chest and BGR Vice President John Walker Roberts gave McCain $500. Richard Burt, the president of a BGR-related company called Diligence LLC, contributed $1,000 to McCain. Rogers is a vice chairman of Diligence, which was created in Baghdad in 2003 just three months after the Iraq war was launched. ''The opportunity for business growth in the Middle East has never been better,'' Diligence Chairman Richard Burt said at the time, according to Source Watch, a project of the Center for Media and Democracy.

                                                            INdian Country Today

                                                            No Comments for this post yet...

                                                            0 response(s) to Lobbying firm subpoenaed to release documents in Schaghticoke case

                                                              This post has 43 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                              Leave a comment:

                                                              Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                              <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                              Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                              Your URL will be displayed.

                                                              URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                              (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                              (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                              (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                              Connecticut court ruling backs tribal sovereignty

                                                              English (US)  May 1st, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                              By Gale Courey Toensing / Indian Country Today

                                                              HARTFORD, Conn. - The state Supreme Court has issued a ruling upholding a federally recognized tribe's sovereign immunity that shields it from being sued in state court without its consent.

                                                              [More:]

                                                              The unanimous ruling upheld a lower court's decision to dismiss a lawsuit filed in 2005 by Bradley Beecher, a former commander of the state police casino and licensing unit, who began working for the Mohegan Tribe as an investigator in 1997 after retiring.

                                                              ''An Indian tribe is subject to suit only when Congress has authorized the suit or the tribe has waived its immunity,'' Senior Associate Justice David Borden wrote.

                                                              Beecher and his wife, Katherine, said they would appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

                                                              ''We never really thought we would win because Connecticut gets too much money from Indian gambling. The U.S. Supreme Court has been the plan all along,'' she told Indian Country Today.

                                                              The case began in October 2004 when the Mohegans brought an action against Bradley Beecher, claiming that he had tried to extort money from the tribe by threatening to disclose confidential information he had acquired while working for the tribe.

                                                              Beecher said he had in effect been fired after five years on the job because he had criticized the tribe's regulatory practices.

                                                              The tribe's lawsuit ended in December 2004 with an agreed-upon permanent injunction that allowed Beecher to talk publicly about his employment with Mohegan, but prohibited him from disclosing any confidential information about the tribe.

                                                              The Beechers have documenting their battle and claims against Mohegan and state officials on an e-mail listserv and a Web site.

                                                              In May 2005, Beecher sued the Mohegan Tribe in state Superior Court, alleging that the tribe's October 2004 lawsuit was a type of vexatious litigation known as a SLAPP suit - a ''strategic lawsuit against public participation.'' Specifically, Beecher complained that the tribe was trying to gag him from making adverse comments about Mohegan to state officials while the tribe was negotiating the purchase of the Pocono Downs racetrack in Pennsylvania.

                                                              Mohegan responded with a motion to dismiss Beecher's claim, claiming that without tribal or congressional consent, the tribe's sovereign immunity protects it from actions in state court.

                                                              The lower court agreed and dismissed the case.

                                                              Beecher's appeal alleged that the lower court improperly concluded that the tribe did not waive its immunity. He claimed specifically that the tribe had waived its immunity by filing its original claim in state court.

                                                              In upholding the lower court's dismissal, Borden quoted case law that says a waiver of immunity ''may not be implied, but must be expressed unequivocally. The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to find a waiver of tribal immunity based on policy concerns, perceived inequities arising from the assertion of immunity, or the unique context of a case.''

                                                              Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who has led the opposition to the federal recognition of the state's remaining unrecognized tribes, said the state Supreme Court ruling ''breaks no new ground and therefore has no broader ramifications. It will have little or no impact beyond this case.''

                                                              The ruling drew admiration from attorney Douglas Luckerman, who represents tribal nations in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maine.

                                                              ''I saw this case and wondered why the rest of New England can't have judges like that. They seem to get that tribal sovereignty is not something judges can play with easily,'' Luckerman said.

                                                              In a statement on tribal sovereignty, Katherine Beecher said, in part, that it ''allows tribes and their non-tribal management to violate the law. If tribes want to be considered separate countries then the same laws should apply to them as actual other countries. Any foreign government or their representatives must obey all American state and federal laws and can be held accountable in American courts.''

                                                              The Beechers are ''working closely with CERA, One Nation United and many other groups to see that the public is educated and that the unfair policies are changed,'' she said.

                                                              No Comments for this post yet...

                                                              0 response(s) to Connecticut court ruling backs tribal sovereignty

                                                                This post has 222 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                Leave a comment:

                                                                Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                Israel minister resigns over report

                                                                English (US)  May 1st, 2007 by admin ( Email )


                                                                Eitan Cabel is the first member of Ehud Olmert's cabinet to resign over the 2006 war

                                                                Eitan Cabel, an Israeli cabinet minister, has tendered his resignation after a commission lambasted the government over last year's war in Lebanon.

                                                                [More:]


                                                                Cabel, a minister without portfolio, said on Tuesday: "Ehud Olmert [Israel's prime minister] must resign. He must bear responsibility.

                                                                "I can no longer sit in a government led by Ehud Olmert."

                                                                Cabel is the first member of Olmert's government to resign over an interim report on the war's handling which was published on Monday.

                                                                Following the minister's announcement at a news conference, the prime minister's office immediately said that Olmert would not be leaving office.

                                                                A few hours later however, Israel's Channel 2 reported that a majority of parliamentarians from Olmert's Kadima party now believed that he should step down as leader.

                                                                The channel also said that Kadima's MPs would press Olmert to step down as party leader at a meeting expected to be held on Thursday, when parliament meets to debate Eliyah Winograd's interim report on the war.

                                                                Separately, Channel 10 reported that Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister, had told her aides that Olmert "must go." Lizni is a favourite to succeed Olmert as the leader of Kadima.

                                                                Eitan Cabel, an entrepreneur and businessman, played little role in the 2006 war and has for several months hinted that he was considering leaving politics, Israeli media has reported.

                                                                'Domino effect'

                                                                Cabel's resignation follows increasing speculation in Israeli media that Olmert and Amir Peretz, the country's defence minister, would soon resign in response to popular discontent over their handling of the war in Lebanon in summer 2006.

                                                                A poll on Tuesday conducted by public radio found that 69 per cent of the Israeli public think the prime minister should resign and 74 per cent believe Peretz, who is also the chairman of the Labor party, should also step down.

                                                                The government commission, appointed by Olmert seven months ago, accused him of "serious failure in exercising judgement, responsibility and prudence" during last year's war against Hezbollah.

                                                                The report was equally withering about Peretz and Dan Halutz, the then chief of staff, concluding that they had failed in fulfilling their functions.

                                                                Agencies

                                                                No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                0 response(s) to Israel minister resigns over report

                                                                  This post has 60 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                  Leave a comment:

                                                                  Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                  <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                  Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                  Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                  URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                  (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                  (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                  (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                  Arianna Huffington: Why Didn't George Tenet Just Resign?

                                                                  English (US)  April 30th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                  By Arianna Huffington

                                                                  Does this sound familiar? A senior Bush
                                                                  administration official plays a key role in selling the Iraq war debacle to the American public, resigns a few years later, and then tries to distance himself from Bush and the war by writing a book or talking to Bob Woodward, portraying himself as a poor, hapless victim who knew the truth at the time and really, really wanted to tell it, but, somehow, just had no choice but to go along. What else could he do?

                                                                  [More:]

                                                                  Each version of this contemptible tale shares the same fatal flaw. It requires that the remedy that was readily available -- resignation -- did not exist.

                                                                  The latest to trod this pathetic path is George Tenet.

                                                                  Poor George Tenet. Flogging his book, At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA, on 60 Minutes, Tenet tells Scott Pelley about how his phrase "slam dunk" was misused by the Bush administration. Tenet, you see, didn't mean it was a "slam dunk" that Hussein actually had WMD, he only meant it was a "slam dunk" that a public case could be made that Hussein had WMD.

                                                                  I can't really see that the distinction matters, but Tenet apparently does. "I became campaign talk," Tenet tells Pelley, "I was a talking point. 'Look at what the idiot told us, and we decided to go to war.' Well, let's not be so disingenuous. Let's stand up. This is why we did it. This is why, this is how we did it. And let's tell, let's everybody tell the truth."

                                                                  Great -- except he's about four years too late. Tenet seems to believe there's a major distinction between lying and standing by silently while others lie, and then proudly receiving a Medal of Freedom from the liars.

                                                                  He could have simply resigned and freed himself to "tell the truth." Tenet acts as if resignation were not an option. But it was. And the passion and anger he displays now in the service of book sales could have been used then in the service of his country.

                                                                  "It's the most despicable thing I've ever heard in my life," Tenet tells Pelley. "You don't do this... You're gonna throw somebody overboard just because it's a deflection? Is that honorable? It's not honorable to me."

                                                                  The problem is, the honorable train left the station a long time ago, and Tenet wasn't on board.

                                                                  But others were. Like John Brady Kiesling, a career U.S. diplomat, who resigned from the State Department. As he wrote in his resignation letter to
                                                                  Colin Powell:

                                                                  "I am resigning because I have tried and failed to reconcile my conscience with my ability to represent the current U.S. administration. I have confidence that our democratic process is ultimately self-correcting, and hope that in a small way I can contribute from outside to shaping policies that better serve the security and prosperity of the American people and the world we share."

                                                                  That, Mr. Tenet, is how it's done.

                                                                  It's way too late for George Tenet to do the right thing. But can someone please remind Paul Wolfowitz and Alberto Gonzales, as they are pathetically fighting tooth and nail to cling to their jobs, that there is another option.

                                                                  And how long do you think it's going to be after the end of the Bush administration before we are treated to General Petraeus' memoir explaining how the surge would have worked "if only he had been given the troops he needed to implement it properly."

                                                                  So here is a plea to all Bush administration officials: Now is the time. If, like John Brady Kiesling, you're finding it hard to reconcile what you see going on around you with what you know to be the truth, do the right thing and resign. While it matters.

                                                                  As Tenet says on 60 Minutes: "At the end of the day, the only thing you have is trust and honor in this world. It's all you have. All you have is your reputation built on trust and your personal honor. And when you don't have that anymore, well, there you go."

                                                                  George Tenet and I are both Greek and there is a great word for it: filotimo.

                                                                  There are still lives to be saved if a few administration officials have the guts to do what they know is right now -- instead of five years from now while flogging their books.

                                                                  Any takers?

                                                                  huffingtonpost.com

                                                                  737 words posted in American EmpireLeave a comment

                                                                  No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                  0 response(s) to Arianna Huffington: Why Didn't George Tenet Just Resign?

                                                                    This post has 20 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                    Leave a comment:

                                                                    Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                    <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                    Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                    Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                    URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                    (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                    (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                    (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                    Video: Should Paul Wolfowitz stay or should he go? Parts 1 & 2

                                                                    English (US)  April 30th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                    8 words posted in Politics, BusinessLeave a comment

                                                                    No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                    0 response(s) to Video: Should Paul Wolfowitz stay or should he go? Parts 1 & 2

                                                                      This post has 64 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                      Leave a comment:

                                                                      Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                      <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                      Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                      Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                      URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                      (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                      (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                      (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                      Wolfowitz refuses to resign

                                                                      English (US)  April 30th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                      In what can only be described as an act of supreme chutzpah, Paul Wolfowitz refuses to resign from his Bush-appointed job as head of the World Bank and now accuses those asking for his resignation of mounting a "smear campaign" against him for putting his girlfriend in a plush job and getting her a huge pay raise.


                                                                      Wolfowitz said he believed resigning would
                                                                      be harmful to the World Bank

                                                                      Paul Wolfowitz, president of the World Bank, has repeated his refusal to step down, while the US president has spoken out to back him.

                                                                      [More:]

                                                                      "Wolfowitz must resign because ... his act of favouritism for personal interest was wrong" Ibby, Mumbai, India


                                                                      Wolfowitz, a former deputy defence secretary, said the charges over his handling of a pay rise for his girlfriend was a "smear campaign". He said he would not resign over "unfair charges".

                                                                      The scandal over Shaha Riza's salary, higher than that of Condoleezza Rice, the present US secretary of state, has risked the reputation of the bank, which was set up to assist developing nations.

                                                                      Wolfowitz made his statement on Monday to a panel investigating whether he broke bank rules when securing Riza's rise. She is expected to appear later in the day.

                                                                      Wolfowitz said the issue had become "circus like".

                                                                      "I, for one, would not give in to such tactics. And, I will not resign in the face of a plainly bogus charge of conflict of interest."

                                                                      "I do not believe that doing so would serve the interests of the world's poor who are supposed to be the first concern of us all."

                                                                      Wolfowitz has been criticised by Europe since he took the job in 2005.

                                                                      "Only when the cloud of these unfair and untrue charges is removed, will it truly be possible to determine objectively whether I can be an effective leader of the World Bank," he said.

                                                                      US support

                                                                      Almost simultaneously at a news conference in the White House Rose Garden, George Bush, the US president, reiterated his support for Wolfowitz, but said the issue had not been discussed while meeting Angela Merkel, the German chancellor and EU president.

                                                                      Bush said: "I think he ought to stay. He ought to be given a fair hearing."

                                                                      The bank's 24-member board is expected to make a decision in the case this week, which has also raise expressions of concern that the bank's mission of helping the poor would be damaged.

                                                                      Wolfowitz said he regretted the "tumult" the controversy had caused the bank, but said: "To criticise me when I did nothing other than attempt in good faith to follow the guidance of the ethics committee would be unwarranted and grossly unfair."

                                                                      "Moreover, it would be harmful to the institution," he said.

                                                                      Source: Agencies

                                                                      No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                      0 response(s) to Wolfowitz refuses to resign

                                                                        This post has 98 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                        Leave a comment:

                                                                        Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                        <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                        Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                        Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                        URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                        (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                        (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                        (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                        Lebanon war report slams Israeli PM Olmert

                                                                        English (US)  April 30th, 2007 by admin ( Email )


                                                                        The commission said responsibility for the war's failures lay with Olmert, Peretz and Halutz

                                                                        A commission probing Israel's war in Lebanon last summer has accused the country's wartime leaders of "very severe failures" in their handling of the conflict in an interim report.

                                                                        "The problem is not the leaders of Israel but instead it is the Israeli society, it is the Israelis who vote and elect those leaders..."
                                                                        Politics, Cambridge, United Kingdom

                                                                        [More:]

                                                                        Timeline: Lebanon war
                                                                        - July 12, 2006: Hezbollah fighters crossed into Israel, killing eight soldiers and capturing two others.
                                                                        Ehud Olmert called the action an act of war and blamed the Beirut government.

                                                                        - July 13: Israel launched airstrikes on Beirut's International Airport, the first of many attacks on Lebanon's civilian infrastructure.
                                                                        Hezbollah started a series of rocket attacks, hitting Haifa in northern Israel.

                                                                        - July 14: Israeli planes bombed the Beirut offices of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.
                                                                        The next day airstrikes were extended to other cities starting with Tripoli.

                                                                        - July 30: An Israeli raid on a building housing refugees in Qana in southern Lebanon killed at least 28.

                                                                        - August 14: With Israeli troops still in position in southern Lebanon, a UN-brokered ceasefire came into force.
                                                                        By then more than a thousand Lebanese civilians had been killed as well as 39 Israeli civilians and 119 soldiers.

                                                                        Although Olmert's popularity has plunged to single digits as a result of the war and a series of scandals plaguing his government, Israel Maimon, the cabinet secretary, said the prime minister "is not considering resignation".

                                                                        The Winograd commission, appointed by Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, found he did not have a "well-processed plan" when he launched the campaign against Hezbollah.

                                                                        The commission on Monday criticised what it called Olmert's "severe failure in judgment, responsibility and caution" in going to war last July.

                                                                        The report capped a six-month investigation into the conflict, which has been widely perceived as a failure by the Israeli public.

                                                                        Upon receiving the report, Olmert said "failures will be remedied".

                                                                        'Overly ambitious'

                                                                        Eliyahu Winograd, chairman of the inquiry commission, said the prime minister's declared aims in going to war - to free captured Israeli soldiers and crush Hezbollah - were "overly ambitious and impossible to achieve".

                                                                        The report also sharply criticised Amir Peretz, the defence minister, and Lieutenant-General Dan Halutz, the wartime military chief, but did not call for Olmert or Peretz to resign.

                                                                        Israel went to war after Hezbollah fighters killed three soldiers and captured two others in a cross-border raid. In 34 days of fighting, Israel failed to return the captured soldiers, destroy Hezbollah or prevent the group from firing thousands of rockets into Israel.

                                                                        Monday's report criticised Peretz for his inexperience and lack of familiarity with the army, and said Halutz "acted impulsively" and misrepresented the army's readiness.

                                                                        Winograd said: "We establish that these decisions and the way they were taken suffered from the most severe failures. We put the responsibility for these failures on the prime minister, the defence minister and the former chief of staff.

                                                                        "If any one of them had acted in a different, better way, the decisions and the way they were made in the period in question, as well as the results of the campaign, would have been different and better."

                                                                        Sinking support

                                                                        Aides said before the interim findings were released that Olmert would fight for his political survival.

                                                                        The full report is to be released in a couple of months.

                                                                        It covers the first six days of the war, when Israel battered Lebanon with massive air strikes as Hezbollah pounded Israel with rockets. The report also looks at developments in the six years leading up to the conflict, beginning with Israel's pullout from southern Lebanon in 2000 and tracing Hezbollah's build-up along the border.

                                                                        A rally calling for Olmert and his government to quit was planned for Thursday in Tel Aviv. The demonstration was being organised by a former general, military reservists who fought in the war and parents of soldiers killed in the conflict.

                                                                        Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland in Jerusalem said the report is likely to damage Olmert's standing further.

                                                                        "One newspaper said his standing was somewhere between critical and terminal," she said.

                                                                        The report's harshest criticism is reserved for Halutz, who has already resigned, Rowland said.

                                                                        At least 1,200 Lebanese, including an estimated 270 Hezbollah fighters were killed in the summer war, as well as 119 Israeli soldiers and 39 civilians.
                                                                        Source: Al Jazeera and agencies


                                                                        Jazeera and agencies

                                                                        No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                        0 response(s) to Lebanon war report slams Israeli PM Olmert

                                                                          This post has 141 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                          Leave a comment:

                                                                          Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                          <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                          Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                          Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                          URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                          (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                          (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                          (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                          Hamas chief issues intifada warning

                                                                          English (US)  April 30th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                          Meshaal gave warning to the "Zionist entity" of another uprising [Reuters]

                                                                          Khaled Meshaal, the Hamas leader, has told Israel that it could face another Palestinian uprising unless conditions in the Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank improve.

                                                                          [More:]


                                                                          Meshaal said that the continuation of an international economic embargo of the Palestinian government and military actions by Israel would present a catalyst for such actions.

                                                                          He said that current conditions would "give notice to a huge explosion that would not only affect the Palestinians but also the entire region, especially the Zionist entity".

                                                                          Meshaal made the comments to al-Ayyam, a Palestinian daily newspaper, in an interview published on Monday.

                                                                          'Red lines'

                                                                          Meshaal said: "I warn and say that I see that the current situation is heading in the direction of the conditions that prevailed in the late 1990s ... that paved the way for the al-Aqsa intifada. I warn, and under 'warn' I put many red lines."

                                                                          The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the ruling Hamas movement, broke a five-month-old Gaza ceasefire last week by firing rockets into Israel in response to the killing of nine Palestinians by Israeli forces.

                                                                          Ehud Olmert, Israel's prime minister, said on Sunday that Israel would take measures to stop Palestinian fighters firing rockets from the Gaza Strip or attempting to infiltrate the Jewish state.

                                                                          Meshaal defended the firing of rockets, saying it was a response to Israeli killing of Palestinians, but said he hoped that a ceasefire could be expanded from Gaza to the occupied West Bank.

                                                                          Hamas formed a unity government last month with the Fatah movement of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinan president, in an effort to end internal fighting and ease the year-old economic embargo.

                                                                          But tensions between Hamas and Fatah remain high, particularly in the Gaza Strip.

                                                                          The Hamas leader, who held talks with Abbas in Cairo on Friday, has criticised Arab countries for being slow to live up to financial commitments made to the Palestinians.

                                                                          Agencies

                                                                          No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                          0 response(s) to Hamas chief issues intifada warning

                                                                            This post has 104 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                            Leave a comment:

                                                                            Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                            <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                            Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                            Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                            URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                            (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                            (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                            (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                            Israeli PM Olmert faces calls to resign

                                                                            English (US)  April 29th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                            Israeli politicians have called for the resignation of Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, a day before the release of a report that is expected to criticise his role in last year's war in Lebanon.

                                                                            [More:]

                                                                            Israeli media have said the Winograd Commission report will blast Olmert for "misguided and rash judgment" in launching military strikes on Lebanon.

                                                                            The commission's report focuses on the first five days of Israeli military action following the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah fighters in June last year.

                                                                            Ofir Pines, a former Labour cabinet minister, said both Olmert and Amir Peretz, the defence minister, should stand down.

                                                                            "I expect the prime minister and the defence minister to stand up and take responsibility and resign," he told Army Radio.

                                                                            Gideon Saar, a senior member of the main opposition party, Likud, said: "He has to accept responsibility. The people deserve better."

                                                                            Staying put

                                                                            Another Labour politician, Danny Yatom, said the entire cabinet should resign, since they unanimously approved the decision to go to war.

                                                                            "The whole cabinet is party to these matters," he told Israel Radio.

                                                                            "They are all partners ... by virtue of their vote, and by the fact that they didn't stand up and say a word even if they had something to say."

                                                                            Lieutenant-General Dan Halutz has already resigned in the face of public criticism of his handling of the conflict.

                                                                            Olmert was quoted by the YNet news website as telling members of his cabinet at their weekly meeting: "We cannot talk about what has been leaked. We will wait for the report, read it, study it and then we'll respond."

                                                                            Olmert's aides have said he has no intention of resigning.

                                                                            The prime minister has argued that Israel made strategic gains in the war in a ceasefire deal that left Hezbollah not in control of some of its territory under a strengthened UN peacekeeping force.

                                                                            Popularity drop

                                                                            Hezbollah fired about 4,000 rockets into Israel during the war, sending a million people into shelters in attacks the Israeli military failed to stop.

                                                                            Olmert's approval rating has since plunged to single digits in opinion polls.

                                                                            Suzanne Peretz, a spokeswoman for Kiryat Shmona, a northern Israeli town hit by Hezbollah fire, said: "There was no prime minister. There was no government. We were screaming for help."

                                                                            Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland in Jerusalem says the report is likely to damage Olmert's standing further.

                                                                            "One newspaper said his standing was somewhere between critical and terminal."

                                                                            The report's harshest criticism is reserved for Halutz, who has already resigned, Rowland said.

                                                                            At least 1,200 Lebanese, including an estimated 270 Hezbollah fighters, and 117 Israeli soldiers and 41 civilians were killed in the conflict.

                                                                            Aljazeera and agencies

                                                                            No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                            0 response(s) to Israeli PM Olmert faces calls to resign

                                                                              This post has 5 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                              Leave a comment:

                                                                              Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                              <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                              Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                              Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                              URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                              (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                              (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                              (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                              Israeli Occupation Forces kill four Palestinians in Gaza

                                                                              English (US)  April 28th, 2007 by admin ( Email )


                                                                              The injured activist was transferred to Dar al-Shifaa hospital in Gaza

                                                                              Israeli soldiers have shot dead three Palestinian activists and critically wounded another near the border, east of Gaza city.

                                                                              In a separate incident in southern Gaza, a Palestinian civilian was killed on Friday night by what local medics and residents said was an Israeli tank shell. The Israeli army said it was not involved.

                                                                              [More:]


                                                                              Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, accused Israel of violating a ceasefire in Gaza and said it has the right to respond by "all means available".

                                                                              An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed Saturday's shooting and said the three men were killed while trying to place explosive devices.

                                                                              Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas, confirmed that the three killed Palestinian activists and the injured fourth belong to the group.

                                                                              End of ceasefire

                                                                              Qassam Brigades resumed firing rockets into Israel on Tuesday after the killing of nine Palestinians in raids last week, which it cited as ending the five-month ceasefire.

                                                                              Other Palestinian factions, including the National Resistance Committees, al-Nasir Salah al-Din Brigades and Palestine's Mujahidin Brigades, have issued statements claiming responsibility for firing a number of rockets at Israeli targets north and east of Gaza Strip, Hiba Akila, Al Jazeera correspondent, said.

                                                                              The factions have vowed to continue firing rockets at Israeli targets in response to aggressive Israeli practices in the Gaza Strip and continuing military operations and arrest campaigns in the West Bank, Akila said.

                                                                              However, Palestinian leaders said the future of the cease-fire depended on Israeli actions.

                                                                              Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, decided in talks with security chiefs on Wednesday to step up "targeted attacks" against Palestinian rocket-launching crews.

                                                                              Ismail Haniya, the Palestinian prime minister, said his government would reassess its strategy in one to two months if international sanctions against the Palestinian were not lifted.

                                                                              Haniya leads a unity government with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president.


                                                                              Al Jazeera and agencies

                                                                              No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                              0 response(s) to Israeli Occupation Forces kill four Palestinians in Gaza

                                                                                This post has 40 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                Leave a comment:

                                                                                Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                Israel's lab in Palestine

                                                                                English (US)  April 27th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                Disturbing reports allege that Israel is using Gaza as a field to experiment its new lethal weapons, reports Mel Frykberg

                                                                                Doctors in Gaza have been reporting strange wounds on the bodies of innocent bystanders and those targeted by drones. These wounds consist of many small holes, often invisible to X-rays, and burns caused by heat so intense that many cases have required amputation because of the extensive burning.

                                                                                [More:]

                                                                                Habas Al-Wahid, head of the emergency centre at the Shuhada Al-Aqsa Hospital in Gaza city told the journalists that the legs of the injured were sliced from their bodies "as if a saw was used to cut through the bone." But there was no evidence of ordinary metal shrapnel in or near the wounds.

                                                                                At Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, Juma Saka said that on examination of the wounds, the doctors had found a powder on the victim's bodies and in their internal organs. Afterwards they removed the microscopic particles which turned out to be carbon and tungsten.

                                                                                "The powder was like microscopic shrapnel, and this is likely what caused the injuries," Saka said. Complicating the issue was the death of many patients several days afterwards, although they appeared to recover initially. Accusations that Israel is using Gaza and its inhabitants as a laboratory to test new military weapons, have been made from several quarters.

                                                                                "We don't know what it means -- new weapons or something added to a previous weapon," said Saied Joudda, deputy director at the Kamal Odwan Hospital in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip.

                                                                                To back up their personal experiences, a group of doctors compiled extensive documentary evidence of the extent of the wounds, which occurred specifically in the legs. In other parts of the body, metallic fragments, bigger than the size of the small wounds, were found.

                                                                                "In our opinion, Israel has also used chemical weapons, such as numerous cases demonstrate, documented cases, with persons having extremely serious burns to their internal organs in the absence of external wounds," said Mouawia, a cardio-vascular surgeon and director-general of emergency services in Gaza.

                                                                                An investigating team of Italian journalists produced a documentary on Italian state television's satellite channel, RAI News 24, alleging that Israel used dense inert metal explosives (DIME) against Palestinian targets in July and August of last year. This followed journalists taking samples of the microscopic explosives from Gaza and having them tested in a laboratory in Italy.

                                                                                Carmela Vaccaio, a doctor at the University of Parma, examined samples sent by the Italian reporters from the Gaza Strip and found a high concentration of carbon, as well as copper, aluminium and tungsten, which she considered to be unusual materials. In her report she concluded, "these findings could be in line with the hypothesis that the weapon in question is DIME. The same investigating team also exposed the US military's use of white phosphorus against civilians during attacks on Falluja in Iraq.

                                                                                Similar accusations were made against Israel during the Lebanon war, when the Jewish state originally denied using phosphorous against Lebanese civilians. But several days later, following the explosive allegations of the Italian journalists and with overwhelming evidence, Israeli cabinet minister, Jacob Edery confirmed that the Israeli military had in fact made use of phosphorous shells.

                                                                                Israel is accused of dropping more than a million cluster bombs in the south of Lebanon just a few days before the ceasefire. Since then there have been several Lebanese deaths on a daily basis after people accidentally trod on unexploded shells.

                                                                                According to military experts, DIME is a carbon-encased missile that shatters on impact into minuscule splinters, at the same time setting off an explosive that shoots blades of energy-charged, heavy metal tungsten alloy (HMTA) powder, such as cobalt and nickel or iron, with a carbon fibre casing. It turns to dust on impact, as it loses inertia very quickly due to air resistance, burning and destroying through a very precise angulation everything within a four-metre range, as opposed to the shrapnel which results from the fragmentation of a metal casing. The designation of the metal as "inert" is due to the metal's non-involvement in the blast, rather than the metal being chemically or biologically inert.

                                                                                This technology is one of a new range of "low collateral damage" or LCD weapons designed to minimise the damage to nearby property, by confining its increased lethal effects to a restricted space. So it is "ideal for densely populated areas" and "helping the warfighter to prevent the loss of public support," according to its enthusiastic proponents.

                                                                                Israeli military spokesmen have refused to acknowledge or deny the use of DIME in Gaza, but simply stated that Israel only uses weapons that are legal under international law. The catch is that as DIME is a new weapon, the jury is still out as it still has to be assessed.

                                                                                However, Yitzhak Ben-Israel, a major-general in the Israel Air Force, and former head of the army's weapons- development programme didn't deny that the Israelis had used DIME in Gaza but went on to explain its credentials.

                                                                                "The idea behind DIME is to allow the accurate pin- pointing of targets without causing collateral damage to innocent bystanders. This is a technology that allows the striking of very small targets."

                                                                                This would conveniently fit in with Israel's policy of targeted assassinations, however as the Gaza Strip is so densely populated with nearly 1.5 million people crammed into an area 10 by six miles, the chances of innocent bystanders being hit is very high.

                                                                                In addition to being seriously maimed, injured and killed, due to the carcinogenic effects of DIME, the number of Palestinians becoming afflicted with cancer will multiply in the long term, in addition to their environment being extensively damaged should the Israelis continue to use this new weapon with impunity.

                                                                                Al Ahram

                                                                                No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                0 response(s) to Israel's lab in Palestine

                                                                                  This post has 624 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                  Leave a comment:

                                                                                  Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                  <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                  Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                  Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                  URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                  (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                  (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                  (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                  Pelosi, Biden and Cluster Bombs: Failing to Hold Israel Accountable for War Crimes in Lebanon

                                                                                  English (US)  April 27th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                  By Michael F. Brown

                                                                                  In late January the State Department delivered a potentially explosive report to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Joe Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The classified report asserts that Israel may have violated the Arms Export Control Act with its use of American-made cluster munitions this past summer in Lebanon.

                                                                                  [More:]

                                                                                  Multiple contacts to both offices indicate neither Biden nor Pelosi has any intention of pursuing the matter. In contrast, a congressional investigation 25 years ago helped persuade President Ronald Reagan to suspend cluster munitions to Israel for six years. This Congress, however, will not call Israel to account for its actions.

                                                                                  Cluster munitions are a ghastly creation on two levels. First, these bombs blow apart into hundreds of smaller bomblets, thus spreading death over a wide radius. Second, a terrifying percentage of them fail to explode at least initially. These "duds" then sit on the ground like mines until the curious child or plowing farmer stumbles across them - often with devastating results.

                                                                                  As recently as July, the US House of Representatives voted 410-8 for a resolution including recognition of "Israel's longstanding commitment to minimizing civilian loss" and welcoming "Israel's continued efforts to prevent civilian casualties" in Lebanon and elsewhere. The language was an open insult to the hundreds of Lebanese civilians already killed and injured in the previous few days by the Israeli military.

                                                                                  Many at the State Department appear uncomfortable addressing Israel's seeming culpability. State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack, normally quite articulate, provided journalists with this circumlocution: "There may likely could have been some violations."

                                                                                  Indeed there were. And a bloody mess it is. Amnesty International asserted in late January that in the previous six months, "Thirty people, eight of them de-mining personnel, have been killed, and more than 180 people have been injured, including 20 mine clearers." Amnesty has called on Israel to turn over maps of where these munitions were used as a means to prevent future loss of civilian life. Israel has yet to provide sufficient information.

                                                                                  Israeli officials have defended the use of cluster bombs and other attacks by contending that they warned civilians to leave southern Lebanon, as though such warnings gave them carte-blanche to do as they pleased. But what if Hezbollah gave similar blanket warnings to Israelis in the north of Israel? Surely it is madness to suggest that a warning provides the liberty to fire rockets indiscriminately into Israel or to litter Lebanese villages and farmland with hundreds of thousands of deadly bomblets. Do the infirm and impoverished with no way out have no rights?

                                                                                  De-mining groups estimate that some 2.6 to 4 million submunitions were fired into Lebanon during the five-week war. Israeli Member of Knesset Ran Cohen stated, "The massive use by the IDF of cluster bombs during the war suggests an absolute loss of control and hysteria." It's a loss of control with munitions mostly produced in the United States.

                                                                                  We already know from the Israeli press that the Israeli military did not use the cluster munitions in keeping with the orders of then-Chief of Staff Dan Halutz. "I don't know if this is surprising," said Halutz, "it is more disappointing."

                                                                                  In fact, it is more than disappointing. It is criminal and a violation of US law.

                                                                                  Yet there is a real danger nothing will come of the State Department's report. Pelosi and Biden may not push hard because they dare not aggravate AIPAC. Silence, however, will harm American standing in the region, damage American commitment to human rights principles, and undercut (once again) American national security interests. Congress ought to grapple seriously with this issue rather than suppress the unpleasant facts about Israel's war crimes in Lebanon.

                                                                                  The failure to hold Israel accountable for its actions against Palestinian civilians (and, for that matter, American civilians) in the occupied Palestinian territories undoubtedly contributed to a climate in which many Israeli military leaders thought they could pummel Lebanese civilians with American-made weapons with no repercussions. So far American officials are proving them right.

                                                                                  Sen. Dianne Feinstein, while not addressing the possible AECA violation by Israel, introduced legislation earlier this year to "limit the use, sale, and transfer of cluster munitions." She cited heart-rending examples from around the world of the harm these weapons cause to civilians, including to "Hassan Hammade, a 13 year old Lebanese boy, [who] lost four fingers and sustained injuries to his stomach and shoulder after he picked up an unexploded cluster bomb in front of an orange tree."

                                                                                  Her legislation would do much to limit future harm to children such as Hassan in Lebanon and other innocent civilians in war-ravaged nations. She and co-sponsors Patrick Leahy, Barbara Mikulski, and Bernard Sanders ought to be commended for this legislative initiative. So, too, should Representatives James McGovern, Darrell Issa, and Betty McCollum for their accompanying legislation in the House.

                                                                                  Pelosi and Biden have shrunk from holding Israel accountable for its actions in Lebanon, but could exhibit some overdue leadership by signaling their support for the new cluster bomb legislation.

                                                                                  Michael F. Brown is a fellow at the Palestine Center. His views are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Center.

                                                                                  Counterpunch

                                                                                  No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                  0 response(s) to Pelosi, Biden and Cluster Bombs: Failing to Hold Israel Accountable for War Crimes in Lebanon

                                                                                    This post has 61 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                    Leave a comment:

                                                                                    Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                    <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                    Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                    Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                    URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                    (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                    (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                    (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                    Israel's Trump Card for the Treatment of Palestinians: The Holocaust as Political Asset

                                                                                    English (US)  April 27th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                    By Amira Hass

                                                                                    The cynicism inherent in the attitude of the institutions of the Jewish state to Holocaust survivors is not a revelation to those born and living among them. We grew up with the yawning gap between the presentation of the State of Israel as the place of the Jewish people's rebirth and the void that exists for every Holocaust survivor and his family. The personal "rehabilitation" was dependent on the circumstances of each person: the stronger ones versus the others, who did not find support from the institutions of the state. During the 1950s and 1960s we saw the demeaning view of our parents as having gone "like sheep to the slaughter," the shame of the new Jews, the Sabras, over their misfortunate, Diaspora relatives.

                                                                                    [More:]

                                                                                    It can be argued that during the first two decades, much of this attitude could be attributed to the lack of information and the very human lack of an ability to grasp the full meaning of the industrialized genocide perpetrated by Germany. But the awareness of the material aspects of the Holocaust started very early, with Jewish and Zionist institutions starting in the early 1940s to discuss the possibility of demanding reparations. In 1952, the reparations agreement with Germany was signed, by which that country agreed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to Israel to cover the absorption costs of the survivors and pay for their rehabilitation. The agreement obligated Germany to compensate survivors individually as well, but the German law differentiated between those who belonged to the "circle of German culture" and others. Those who were able to prove a connection to the superior circle received higher sums, even if they emigrated in time from Germany. Concentration camp survivors from outside the "circle" received the ridiculous sum of 5 marks per day. The Israeli representatives swallowed this distortion.

                                                                                    This is part of the roots of financial cynicism that the media is being exposed to today, due to several reasons: the advanced age and declining health of survivors, the intentional weakening of the welfare state, the presence of survivors from the former Soviet Union who are not included in the reparations agreement, the media activism of nongovernmental welfare organizations and the welcome enlistment of social affairs journalists.

                                                                                    They are shocked by the gap between the official appropriation of the Holocaust, which is perceived in Israel as understood and justified, and the abandonment of survivors.

                                                                                    Turning the Holocaust into a political asset serves Israel primarily in its fight against the Palestinians. When the Holocaust is on one side of the scale, along with the guilty (and rightly so) conscience of the West, the dispossession of the Palestinian people from their homeland in 1948 is minimized and blurred.

                                                                                    The phrase "security for the Jews" has been consecrated as an exclusive synonym for "the lessons of the Holocaust." It is what allows Israel to systematically discriminate against its Arab citizens. For 40 years, "security" has been justifying control of the West Bank and Gaza and of subjects who have been dispossessed of their rights living alongside Jewish residents, Israeli citizens laden with privileges.

                                                                                    Security serves the creation of a regime of separation and discrimination on an ethnic basis, Israeli style, under the auspices of "peace talks" that go on forever. Turning the Holocaust into an asset allows Israel to present all the methods of the Palestinian struggle (even the unarmed ones) as another link in the anti-Semitic chain whose culmination is Auschwitz. Israel provides itself with the license to come up with more kinds of fences, walls and military guard towers around Palestinian enclaves.

                                                                                    Separating the genocide of the Jewish people from the historical context of Nazism and from its aims of murder and subjugation, and its separation from the series of genocides perpetrated by the white man outside of Europe, has created a hierarchy of victims, at whose head we stand. Holocaust and anti-Semitism researchers fumble for words when in Hebron the state carries out ethnic cleansing via its emissaries, the settlers, and ignore the enclaves and regime of separation it is setting up. Whoever criticizes Israel's policies toward the Palestinians is denounced as an anti-Semite, if not a Holocaust denier. Absurdly, the delegitimization of any criticism of Israel only makes it harder to refute the futile equations that are being made between the Nazi murder machine and the Israeli regime of discrimination and occupation.

                                                                                    The institutional abandonment of the survivors is rightly denounced across the board. The transformation of the Holocaust into a political asset for use in the struggle against the Palestinians feed on those same stores of official cynicism, but it is part of the consensus.

                                                                                    Amira Hass writes for Ha'aretz. She is the author of Drinking the Sea at Gaza.

                                                                                    Counterpunch

                                                                                    No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                    0 response(s) to Israel's Trump Card for the Treatment of Palestinians: The Holocaust as Political Asset

                                                                                      This post has 189 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                      Leave a comment:

                                                                                      Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                      <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                      Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                      Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                      URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                      (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                      (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                      (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                      For Jews Only? Israeli Democracy

                                                                                      English (US)  April 27th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                      By Sonja Karkar

                                                                                      The time will have to come for Israel to declare its hand: is it "a state of the Jewish people throughout the world" as it defines itself, or a state of all its citizens, both Jewish and non-Jewish? So far Israel has managed to convince the Western world that it is the only democracy in the region, but neglects to add that this democracy works only for its Jewish citizens. This is the conundrum: Israel has been unable to reconcile what it says it is, with want it wants to be ­ democratic and exclusively Jewish.

                                                                                      [More:]

                                                                                      All of Israel's one million plus Palestinian residents ­ the survivors and descendants of the 1948 Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestine - have long felt discriminated against, despite Israel paying lip-service to their democratic rights. They also felt on the sidelines of what was being played out in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, that is until Azmi Bishara, the outspoken political leader of the National Democratic Assembly (NDA) or Balad in Israel and a Knesset member, began campaigning for the collective rights of Palestinians. His vision is not just for change inside Israel, but involves an all-inclusive civil rights struggle against political Zionism - the racist and colonialist policies that have dispossessed, marginalised and oppressed all Palestinians for almost 60 years. This is what Israel is at pains to put down by any means. It cannot afford to have someone like Azmi Bishara rallying people to his way of thinking. Now, after many attempts to muzzle him, Israel has finally succeeded in getting him to resign from the Knesset and to stay out of the country.

                                                                                      A list of unpublished charges were drawn up against Bishara whilst he was abroad - charges so serious that they would likely have landed him in jail on his return. While the charges themselves are not known, it is not difficult to guess at what they involve. Bishara has been previously charged with undermining the "Jewish nature of the state", but the charges have always been dropped. This time it seems that Israel's state security services may have formulated charges that not only label Bishara a national security threat, but accuse him of treason and espionage. The media is not allowed to discuss any of it and even Bishara himself is reticent on the matter, no doubt to protect himself from being further arraigned because he is adamant that he will eventually return to Israel.

                                                                                      Effectively, Bishara and the NDA skated on thin ice legally whenever they called for full and complete equality between Jews and Palestinians in a state for all its citizens. Israel's Basic Law: The Knesset (Amendment No 9 of 1985) stops people from participating in elections if any party platform implies the "denial of the existence of the state of Israel as the state of Jewish people". Only recently, Israel's Shin Bet (secret police) let it be known that it would "disrupt the activities of any groups that seek to change the Jewish or democratic character of Israel, even if they use legal means." However, Bishara's intention was not to create a fifth column inside Israel. He was in favour of exercising his and his movement's democratic civil rights to demand that Israel treat all its citizens equally and recognise its Palestinian citizens as a national minority in their own homeland. The latter demand, of course, is enormously contentious because that would require Israel to acknowledge the falsity of its own historical narrative of exclusive rights to a land it claimed was without people. From that would follow that the indigenous Palestinians were, and still are being, systematically uprooted to make way for an exclusively Jewish democratic state in all of the land.

                                                                                      The discourse has been taken up in the Palestinian public arena and now Israel is beginning to feel the same stirrings that finally exposed Apartheid South Africa for the racist state it was. It knows that sooner or later it will be forced to commit to being a "Jewish state only" or recognise the Palestinians as equal citizens and a national minority in their own land. Already Palestinian intellectuals have drafted a document called The Democratic Constitution which envisages Israel as a multicultural democracy for the people living and born there. Whatever Azmi Bishara does now in exile, the seed has burst: he has inspired a subjugated people to seek again their liberation. What is surprising is that Israel has taken so long to understand the lessons of history - that no one person or state no matter how powerful can oppress a people forever. However, Israel still has the option to switch course and institute democracy for all, and if genuinely undertaken, this may well be the solution worth working towards for both peoples.

                                                                                      Sonja Karkar is the founder and President of Women for Palestine in Melbourne, Australia. See www.womenforpalestine

                                                                                      Countrpunch

                                                                                      No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                      0 response(s) to For Jews Only? Israeli Democracy

                                                                                        This post has 185 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                        Leave a comment:

                                                                                        Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                        <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                        Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                        Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                        URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                        (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                        (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                        (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                        Hanan Ashrawi: "Palestine & Peace: The Challenges Ahead"

                                                                                        English (US)  April 27th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                        Edited Transcript of Remarks by Hanan Ashrawi

                                                                                        “For the Record” No. 278 (27 April 2007)

                                                                                        At a 24 April 2007 Palestine Center lecture, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi argued that Palestine's pursuit of peace is challenged by unilateralism, selectivity, polarization and violence on three fronts: domestically, regionally and internationally. Ashrawi stressed that for peace to be realized both sides must work through a binding timeframe and monitoring and verification mechanisms. In addition, international assurances and guarantees and a massive reconstruction and development plan must be put in place.

                                                                                        Hanan Ashrawi:

                                                                                        Thank you very much. Thank you for coming, today. It's great to be back at the Jerusalem Fund again. I'm a frequent visitor here. I'm sure you know, we go back a long, long way and I'm glad to see that you are still thriving. Let me begin by thanking the wonderful staff that you have here with the two Samars, Jessica, Nadeem and Zeina, of course. I'm happy to be here with you and, of course, all the old friends who are members of the Board now. Let me say that it is indeed a pleasure to see all of you, and there are so many old friends here in the audience that once again I feel like it's a reunion.

                                                                                        [More:]

                                                                                        I did choose to emphasize the theme of peace in the topic because it seems to have fallen by the wayside. Everybody has been talking about crisis management and damage control and will the Palestinian realities hold up or not and who's doing what and so on without really getting back into the real issue of whether there is an opportunity for peace or not. Yes, we all agree that these are very difficult times indeed, and we all know that the terrible Ds or the dreadful Ds have come up again. We see in Palestine a process of de-development, deconstruction. We see devastation, deprivation and, of course, leading to the attitudes or the moods of despondency and despair. All these are not conducive to peace. But out of all these terrible Ds or dreadful Ds, is there an opportunity for peace? Is there a promise despite the difficulties, despite the problems? Now, that requires a confluence of several factors to come together, and they have to be crowned by the political will to intervene positively and to do something to change realities on the ground. So, I will try this afternoon to talk about what works and what doesn't work if we really are to pursue peace and place it in a different context: the Palestinian, the regional and the international or global.

                                                                                        Now, what doesn't work. Of course, we all know from experience that what doesn't work is disengagement or non-engagement. Like nature, any conflict resents, dislikes and abhors a vacuum. When there is a vacuum in any conflict, particularly a political vacuum, violence takes over and fills that vacuum. Extremism fills that vacuum. And this is exactly what happened given the fact that since the year 2000, there has been no peace process, the U.S. has kept its distance [and] there was no genuine intervention in order to re-legitimize peace. So, keeping one's distance is certainly quite counterproductive if not destructive. In cases of conflict, you do need the political will to intervene effectively.

                                                                                        What doesn't work also is selectivity. I will try to speak quickly to save some time for questions or discussion. Selectivity and exclusion or exclusiveness do not work. In Palestine, of course, the fact that the people decided that Hamas is not an acceptable interlocutor or not an acceptable result of the democratic process has led to serious ramifications, not least of which is the undermining of democracy in Palestine because there was a certain degree of hypocrisy-you can have elections provided you elect the people we like or you guarantee the outcome. We were, in Palestine, electing under severe conditions. We were under occupation, and of course a people traumatized and in pain and constantly subject to violence and escalation and ideology, they elected in kind-those who will respond in kind to this trauma and the pain. And I assure you that if we were in a peaceful, sovereign state, I'm sure you will find a very functioning, multi-party, pluralistic, enlightened system in Palestine. But anyway, regardless, we do have the results of these elections. Not only were they boycotted, the Palestinians were under sanctions-which is ironic again because for the first time in history you have a people under occupation and under sanctions at the same time-while for decades Israel has been violating international law, flouting the will of the international community and with no sanctions, sometimes with even full immunity. But because the Palestinians happen to elect the wrong people, now they are under sanctions. And now after the Mecca initiative and the forming of what is called the national unity government-sometimes I call it a coalition government-there is selectivity in the individuals: whom to talk to and whom not to talk to, who is worthy of dialogue and personal attention and who's not or who's Kosher and who's not. It doesn't matter. But certainly that has had, again, effects on the economy, on peace, on moderation in Palestine.

                                                                                        Throughout the region, it's the same thing. You cannot select a people to talk to whom you approve of and exclude others. You cannot say well Syria and Iran are outside the verbal realm, but everybody else is fit company. If you want to deal with the whole region, you deal with it in an integrated way, and we'll talk about it soon. The Baker-Hamilton study, of course, gave us several handles on how to move ahead. It may not be perfect, but at least it is much more insightful than other attitudes and studies. Syria has been saying, "Let's make a deal. We want to make peace. Talk to us. Let's negotiate." And Israel reacted with the utmost of horror, with awe. How dare Syria propose to negotiate? So in a sense, there are options, but are there takers? That's the real question.

                                                                                        Of course, conversely, what works is a comprehensive, integrated approach both to the region and to all the players [and] to the peace process itself, including all the major players in the region regardless of whether you like them or not. Unlike friends, interlocutors and negotiating partners are not people you have to love. And you don't have to choose them or marry them or whatever. So, you need to be able to talk to everybody. Again, the peace process has to be inclusive in terms of all the topics it addresses. You cannot deal with parts of Arab land. You have to deal with all of them. And when it comes to the Palestinians, you have to talk to all Palestinian interlocutors-those who were chosen by the Palestinian people. And fortunately right now, we all know that the PLO is the party in power to negotiate, and the presidency has the mandate to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinian people. There is no reason not to engage. To use the pretext that Israel has used for the last six to seven years-there is no partnership for peace-is entirely useless because there is a clear partnership and a properly mandated address for negotiations.

                                                                                        There is, of course, the Arab initiative that is ready. Again, it may not be perfect, but it is there. It's a comprehensive approach. It represents an opportunity for Israel and the rest of the world to have a comprehensive peace with all the Arab countries on board, and this is something they should pick up and run with instead of view with weariness and suspicion.

                                                                                        What doesn't work also is de-contextualization. This is particularly true when we address the issue of Iraq and Lebanon-the Iraqi quagmire and the Lebanese debacle, of course-and the lessons from those two experiences. The region is not a set of discrete, isolated entities or units. It is made up of a set of relationships and with an interactive public opinion that is quite open and easily influenced by events and highly politicized and highly critical. I'm sure you all know that. I don't believe there is any public opinion that is as political, as critical and as intrusive as the Palestinian and Arab public opinion. And, of course, they are easily affected by what's happening. The rise of violence and extremism is due to the failure of voices of moderation and a failure of will at producing a just peace that will work. Again, the lessons learned from Iraq and Lebanon should tell us that military power has its limits, particularly in the region when you are fighting against either irregular forces or a captive civilian population. No matter how strong your army is there is no way in which you can defeat the will of the people or defeat irregular forces. You may bomb, shell, destroy, kill thousands, but at the same time [if] there's a people bent on being free, they will be free ultimately unless you eradicate all of them. And if there are irregular forces, you cannot defeat them using a strong army, and that experience in Lebanon and Palestine has proven that.

                                                                                        The dangers of unilateralism whether in the withdrawal from south Lebanon or the withdrawal from Gaza-if you insist on negating the partnership for peace, if you insist on negating the other and claiming there is no partner to talk to and acting unilaterally. We all know how unilateralism is a recipe or a euphemism for power politics. It's the dictation of the will of the strong on the weak because only the strong can afford to be unilateral, and we've seen that in Iraq, particularly when unilateralism is translated as the strategic doctrine of preemptive strike which is negative military intervention. And returning to UN resolutions, for the first time, Israel and the U.S. had to go to the UN and ask for a UN resolution and at the same time, they asked for international troops on the ground. All these are precedents, and these have to be understood in context again. They can be in many ways not a blueprint but influences or indicators for how to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli issue.

                                                                                        Another thing that doesn't work is polarization and dualism in the region. Of course, those who insist on dividing the region into devils and angels or axis of extremists versus a quartet of moderates or the Sunni/Shi'a divide do not understand the very complex realities and the nuanced reality of the region. And, of course, that makes it all that more difficult to engage in a genuine way and to try to find solutions. The fact is labels may be very convenient and may give you instant sound bytes but they do not give you handles on reality. And we do not want to be, as Palestinians, frankly a part of any axis or any alliance. We want to be free to engage with everybody and to deal with the region in such a way also as one way of losing your grips or your handles on reality in the region.

                                                                                        Within Palestine, again, we see this dualism and polarization. The latest elections prove that Palestinian society is extremely polarized. And I am saying this as [Palestinian Finance Minister] Salam [Fayyad] and I are in the Third Way, as you know. Salam was here last week. But the polarization was very clear between Fateh and Hamas, between people who had militias, people who had extreme ideologies and so on. The third alternative, including the old traditional left, did not make it numerically significant. We may be qualitatively significant but quantitatively certainly not that decisive. However, this kind of polarization reflects a certain malfunction. I don't want to say dysfunction. Dysfunction is for the Israeli political system. We have a malfunction in the political system, and it did happen at the expense of the pluralistic multi-party political system. We have again polarization between the government and the presidency, which we had hoped to overcome with the new government.

                                                                                        Again, we have the extremes between Gaza and the West Bank. They're dealing with Gaza as though it's a different reality, not just a geographic entity, but as though this is the Palestinian state while the West Bank is open up for grabs, open for dispute. And this so-called national unity government instead of genuine power-sharing became, let's say, a coalition government or a divvying up of these points and benefits and privileges, and that again is detrimental to political development.

                                                                                        Also, what doesn't work is procrastination and further transitions as usual. The whole concept of a state with transitional borders or what was called a transitional state is a very bizarre concept. I don't think it's ever been applied anywhere. There's no such thing as a state with transitional borders, and I hope that this is now dropped from the lexicon of politics and the region. We cannot have a state with transitional borders and we cannot have further transitions, which would be buying time for Israel to create facts in order to continue with the settlement expansion, with the building of the wall, with the annexation and transformation and captivity of Jerusalem. All these things cannot continue because they are the foundations of peace. When Israel is given a free hand unilaterally to predetermine their fate and their outcome then you're destroying the very foundations of peace.

                                                                                        And, of course, we talked about the U.S. dual approach. Now, the dual approach of the U.S. is the one plus one. Get [Israeli Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert and [Palestinian President] Mahmoud Abbas to talk one on one, Palestinians and Israelis, on issues of security and conditions of freedom of movement and conditions of life and so on. Now we've tried that before. When you talk about conditionality, when you talk about conditions of life, when you talk about Israel determining whether its security conditions have been met by the Israelis, this is a recipe not just for paralysis but for regression. So far, these meetings have not produced anything. Remember how many meetings they had before, and issues like release of prisoners and so on were supposed to be resolved and have not been. So, you raise expectations, you do not meet them, the let down can be extremely dangerous. So, one plus one does not work. We talk about bilateralism as being, again, the will of the powerful over the week.

                                                                                        Now, there is a four plus two. Israel asked for the four plus two, which is what they call the Arab Quartet plus Israel and Palestine. This is another term for normalization. Israel then wants to be recognized, wants to be accepted in the Arab world-let's talk, let's adopt the Arab initiative as a basis and then change it because we have reservations about the right of return, about Jerusalem and about settlements but we'd love to meet Saudi Arabia, for example. So, the four plus two is another formula for normalization.

                                                                                        Then there is also the four plus four plus two, which is the regular Quartet with the Arab Quartet with Palestine and Israel. So, what's different from the international conference? In that sense, why not go straight to the international conference? Let's put together a coalition of the willing for peace this time and see whether we can make a difference. So what works? Rapid, bold, decisive steps straight into permanent status issues that we all know; we do not need to reinvent the wheel. We do not have much time.

                                                                                        Now in Palestine, everybody is asking, how long will this government last? The average lifespan of any Palestinian government has been about eleven months to a year, so far, since 1994. So, I think this government will be coming to its end very soon by the end of the year, probably if it is within the average. Now how would this government end? How long will it last? How would it end? It depends on other factors, but if there is agreement, this government could be in preparation for elections. Elections cannot take place without consensus, without the agreement of all parties involved, particularly Hamas and Fateh. So maybe between now and the end of the year, there can be elections if all parties are convinced that early elections can work or it can be a preparation for a new type of government which we had advocated earlier: a government of professional, independent nationalists and not a factional government because factionalism has been detrimental to the development of a national program.

                                                                                        So, let's have a government of professionals, of independents who do not put factional interest above national interest and who are capable of building a system of meritocracy. We don't want them to be, you know, brilliant politicians. We want them to start providing services to people. That's what we need, and we need institutions to be built. Now that's another option. The third option, of course, is a horrible option of a breakdown and violence, particularly given the fact that there are people who are stockpiling weapons- it's no secret. We should be very careful about that and notice it.

                                                                                        Now what doesn't work, of course, is violating the rule of law. In the peace process, you cannot violate international law and international humanitarian law. You cannot accommodate settlements and allow for settlement expansions and allow for the building of the wall and the annexation of Jerusalem. You cannot begin by negating [UN Resolution] 194 and the Palestinian refugees' rights and then say, "Well now that we've done all these things, let's start negotiating," because that would deprive this peace process of its legality, of its very foundations in international law. And again, the same thing in Palestine, we also need the rule of law. And the rule of law requires primarily security reform. We do not need to reinvent the wheel, again, but it has to be implemented.

                                                                                        The security forces cannot be political forces, they must be depoliticized and they must not be engaged in anything financial. They must be reformed in terms also of their numbers. The militias have to be disbanded, including the executive force. I do not see the executive force as a legitimate security service. It is a militia and it was given the title of a security force. All illegal weapons must be collected. The use of weapons must be regulated, particularly in Gaza. The security services must become law enforcement agencies rather than power centers for warlords and tribes. We must get rid of tribalism.

                                                                                        If you do not have rule of law, if people do not have recourse to justice, then what you will end up with is revenge because so many things have happened, particularly in Gaza. There are many families that have their own militias and as a result, again, of economic deprivation, militias have become a way of making a living for some of the young men. So if you do not have due process, if people do not have recourse to the law, then of course they will take the law into their own hands and revenge, within a tribal traditional system, will continue to be the main motivation.

                                                                                        The National Security Council has to be a credible and effective council and not, again, a combination of power basis and leaders. Lawlessness and kidnappings have to end. We cannot continue to say that we want to build a state and at the same time act outside the law and kidnap journalists and others. Now with Israel, of course, there has to be an upholding and an extension of the period of quiet to include also the West Bank. All these incursions in the last couple of days have killed nine Palestinians. The incursions are ongoing in the West Bank-the destruction, the abductions, this has to stop. And with Israel, we need to carry out an exchange of prisoners, and Israel has to stop the taking of hostages as well because the PLC [Palestinian Legislative Council] members and the cabinet members have been abducted as hostages. So, we do need a prisoner exchange that is rapid and decisive. Now again, what doesn't work is the logic of violence. We all know that, whether with assassinations; incursions; infighting in Palestinians or in the region; the Iraqi war and the so-called war on terrorism.

                                                                                        What works is the logic of national building and reconstruction and peace. We need economic revitalization in Palestine if we are to engage in a genuine peace process. The international community is called upon to first lift the sanctions and the siege [and] two, return the funds, the Palestinian funds that Israel is withholding. The U.S. also has to lift the banking restrictions and the E.U. must end TIM. I don't know if you are aware of TIM-Temporary International Mechanisms. The E.U. adopted TIM as a way of sort of circumventing dealing with the government. So, TIM is a mechanism in which you give money directly either to the presidency or to the poor or whatever and you bypass the government. Now this has, again, wreaked havoc in the Palestinian national economic system because this way there is no transparency no accountability, and you have destroyed the Ministry of Finance and all the procedures of transparency and accountability. We need to go back to the developmental agenda, national building agenda rather than the agenda of relief and charity and welfare and emergency assistance and so on. The Palestinians have to return to a unified treasury account, restore transparency and accountability, meet the wage bill [and] end the paralysis in the public institutions.

                                                                                        They have just declared today another strike in the civil service. We need to provide the essential services. The health and educational services are really regressing in very drastic ways. We need to carry out serious reform measures, reduce the numbers both in the civil service and in the security. Reform requires a blue ribbon commission that is properly mandated, that is formed in accordance with the law and is properly empowered to carry out the reform. The last thing you need is a reform that is, again, a dividing of the spoils where Hamas will agree that it will have so many in the civil service, so many in the security, so many ambassadors, so many governors, and Fateh will have so many. This is not reform. That's why we call for a properly mandated, empowered blue ribbon commission for reform that has no vested interest [and] that will not have a conflict of interest.

                                                                                        Of course, we need internal empowerment and good governance. We cannot separate nation building from peace making, again. The international community must not think that exacting political concessions from Hamas is the only achievement; that this is one way they can get legitimacy for Hamas and get the peace process going, which is exactly what's been happening. The Hamas political agenda has really undergone some serious transformations. I don't know if you're aware of it, but they have accepted the two-state solution. They've accepted the long term period of quiet and ceasefire. They have accepted all these things. They recognized signed agreements, Arab legitimacy international legitimacy and so on. All the things we were asking them to do, they have done. But that is not the real issue. To me, the real question is what is the nature of Palestinian society? This is something that people ignore. What kind of society are we going to build? Are we going to build an open, pluralistic, tolerant society or are we going to go back into a closed ideological system? This is what we want to know. Is there a deal being made between Hamas and Fateh at the expense of the people? Now, I must say in all candor that Palestinians have always been quite protective and possessive of our fundamental rights and basic freedoms. And we will not condone-and I will say this again-we will not condone the destruction of books or folk tales. And we will not condone the banning of the dabkeh or music as being immoral. And we will not condone the blowing up of internet cafes or beating up of young women because of the dress code in Gaza or burning of schools. They just burned the American school in Gaza.

                                                                                        So what we need to do, which is what civil society is doing, is stand up to any attempts at capturing Palestinian society and transforming it by force into a closed regressive unenlightened ideological system. That's why we are calling, as another mechanism, the national council for culture, education and the arts. These are the legacies of the future generations. We cannot leave them at the mercy of one party or the other or the narrow concerns or petty ideologies of one party or the other. That council will be in charge of the curriculum rather than each party manipulating the curriculum to suit its ends. And for social justice, we need a women's commission and the information council.

                                                                                        Barely what works now is the two-state solution. What we need to do for the peace process, a rapid decisive and comprehensive peace process, is define the objectives and move rapidly within a binding timeframe with monitoring and verification mechanisms, with international assurances and guarantees and with a massive reconstruction and development plan. Without all these things together, using the Arab initiative as the focus, we will not get anywhere. The political horizon must not be what everybody talks about a receding line in the distance. Ultimately, it has to be a genuine landscape for peace.

                                                                                        Thank you very much.

                                                                                        Dr. Hanan Ashrawi is a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and founder and chair of the executive committee at The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy, MIFTAH. She is a former Minister of Higher Education and Research as well as a Palestinian spokesperson.

                                                                                        The Palestine Center
                                                                                        Washington, DC
                                                                                        24 April 2007

                                                                                        www.thejerusalemfund.org

                                                                                        4348 words posted in Human RightsLeave a comment

                                                                                        No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                        0 response(s) to Hanan Ashrawi: "Palestine & Peace: The Challenges Ahead"

                                                                                          This post has 207 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                          Leave a comment:

                                                                                          Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                          <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                          Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                          Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                          URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                          (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                          (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                          (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                          US army to continue Baghdad wall; claims Maliki now told army to continue

                                                                                          English (US)  April 26th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                          What blackmail or threat did the Bush administration use to coerce Maliki to change his mind? If, in fact, he did change his mind.


                                                                                          Colonel Don Farris said the Iraqi government
                                                                                          has told the US army to continue building

                                                                                          The US military has said that it will continue building a concrete wall around Adhimiya, a mainly-Sunni district of Baghdad, the Iraqi capital.

                                                                                          Colonel Don Farris, of the US army, said that after briefly halting construction of the barrier, the Iraqi government had now ordered the building of the wall to continue.

                                                                                          "It's not a wall - if you will - the intent is that there's no limitation of pedestrian traffic," Ferris said.

                                                                                          [More:]


                                                                                          "We were asked to stop placing the barriers," Farris said on Thursday.

                                                                                          "Since then, it has been communicated to me through the chain of command that the prime minister and Iraqi security officials have authorised work to continue."

                                                                                          Residents had protested against the wall.

                                                                                          Farris said that construction of the barrier would continue in the near future - although he did not specify an exact date.

                                                                                          "We will begin placing the barriers shortly, assisting the Iraqi security forces in placing the barrier along the Adhimiya," he said.

                                                                                          Sunni district affected

                                                                                          The US army and the Iraqi security services said in mid-April they had begun constructing the wall around Adhimiya to stop Sunni car-bombers leaving the area and to stop Shia death squads from getting in.

                                                                                          Col Farris said on Thursday that the intention of the wall was still to stop vehicle movement into and out of the area, rather than to prevent the passage of people on foot.


                                                                                          The Iraqi government plans to build walls around several Baghdad districts


                                                                                          "It's not a wall - if you will - the intent is that there's no limitation of pedestrian traffic," he said.

                                                                                          After the Iraqi government began building the wall, heavy criticism forced Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, to order a stop to the construction - an order which he has now apparently reversed.

                                                                                          The barrier - composed of upright concrete blocks several metres high - is part of a wider effort by the Iraqi government to halt violence in the capital.

                                                                                          Source: Agencies

                                                                                          357 words posted in American Empire1 comment

                                                                                          1 response(s) to US army to continue Baghdad wall; claims Maliki now told army to continue

                                                                                          1. hello [Visitor] Email says:

                                                                                            I think that the wall will be ok if you allow the iraq's to have control over it's design.

                                                                                          This post has 1367 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                          Leave a comment:

                                                                                          Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                          <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                          Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                          Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                          URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                          (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                          (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                          (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                          Beit Hanoun fears Israeli raid

                                                                                          English (US)  April 26th, 2007 by admin ( Email )


                                                                                          Israeli raids have reduced many buildings to rubble
                                                                                          in the town of Beit Hanoun

                                                                                          By Nour Odeh in Gaza

                                                                                          There has been a recent spike in Israeli military raids across the Palestinian territories.

                                                                                          Nine Palestinians have died in Israeli raids since last weekend despite a ceasefire between Israel and armed Palestinian factions agreed last November.

                                                                                          [More:]

                                                                                          Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, has appealed for Israeli restraint while calling for Palestinians' commitment to the ceasefire.

                                                                                          However, ordinary Palestinians remain fearful that rising tensions could threaten their community.

                                                                                          Home threatened

                                                                                          Residents in the town of Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip are among those fearing such an escalation.

                                                                                          "Often, I try to sleep and my eyes are looking up towards the ceiling. I look at my children, I think of what has happened to us" -- Um Ayman Abu Odeh, resident of damaged house in Beit Hanoun

                                                                                          After losing her husband, a daughter and two sons, Um Ayman Abu Odeh is living in what's left of her badly damaged home in Beit Hanoun.

                                                                                          Though she has little material possessions, she says she would rather die than leave the home she has known for 27 years.

                                                                                          From her home at the eastern edge of the town, Um Ayman can see the Israeli military base at the other side of the fence.

                                                                                          She says Israeli tanks pass her home regularly and special forces often take over what is left of her top floor while everybody is asleep.

                                                                                          "Often, I try to sleep and my eyes are looking up towards the ceiling. I look at my children, I think of what has happened to us.

                                                                                          "Sometimes I sit up, sometimes I cry or just toss and turn. What else can I do?"

                                                                                          Destruction

                                                                                          Azhar was shot six times by Israeli soldiers along with her sister, father and brother.

                                                                                          She bled for five hours before an ambulance arrived, but survived. The others were not so lucky.

                                                                                          Her brother Hatem showed Al Jazeera what was once his parents' wing in the house.

                                                                                          "The tank shell fell over our heads. The room was burned and the bathroom was blown up. You can see the destruction," he said.

                                                                                          The family were hosting guests for lunch when the shell landed on their home.

                                                                                          "The men were sitting in the guestroom and the girls were here when suddenly the tank shell went through the roof and everybody ran out," Hatem said.


                                                                                          Azhar told Al Jazeera of being shot six times by Israeli soldiers

                                                                                          Since that day a year ago, Hatem moved out with his wife and children.

                                                                                          Piles of rubble

                                                                                          Beit Hanoun is a town that hasn't recovered from previous Israeli incursions. Piles of rubble remain from tens of houses that once stood there.

                                                                                          Now the residents anticipate another Israeli military attack.

                                                                                          Throughout Beit Hanoun, signs of utter devastation remain fresh. Repair work is still underway, almost six months after the last Israeli raid on the town.

                                                                                          The last time Israeli tanks went in to Beit Hanoun, they left it in ruins.

                                                                                          Local authorities say over 60 Palestinians were killed and properties worth tens of millions of dollars were lost as a result of what Israel called a "limited operation".

                                                                                          Now, Israel is threatening to carry out another "limited attack".

                                                                                          Needless to say, everyone in Beit Hanoun is preparing for the worst.

                                                                                          Source: Al Jazeera

                                                                                          No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                          0 response(s) to Beit Hanoun fears Israeli raid

                                                                                            This post has 62 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                            Leave a comment:

                                                                                            Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                            <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                            Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                            Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                            URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                            (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                            (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                            (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                            US Iraqi prison commander detained, for "aiding the enemy"

                                                                                            English (US)  April 26th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                            Saddam Hussein received medical treatment at the jail commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Steele

                                                                                            The commander of the US military prison in Iraq which occasionally held Saddam Hussein, Iraq's former president, is under investigation after being held by military police.

                                                                                            Lieutenant Colonel William Steele will face a panel hearing before a ruling on whether he should face a court martial over charges which include "aiding the enemy".

                                                                                            [More:]

                                                                                            "He has been detained and is now in Kuwait. His current status is that he is in confinement and waiting for his Article 32 hearing," Lieutenant Colonel Josslyn Aberle said on Thursday.

                                                                                            Charges

                                                                                            Steele stands accused of "aiding the enemy" by providing detainees with unmonitored mobile phones between October 2005 and October 2006, said a US military statement released on Thursday.

                                                                                            Other charges include having an improper relationship with a translator and with the daughter of a detainee and violating an order against keeping pornographic videos.

                                                                                            The offences were alleged to have occurred between October 2005 and February 2007.

                                                                                            "These charges are merely an accusation of wrongdoing. Lieutenant-Colonel Steele is presumed innocent unless and until he is proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of any alleged offence," the military statement said.

                                                                                            Steel was the commander of Camp Cropper, a US detention facility outside Baghdad which holds "high value detainees".

                                                                                            Saddam, who was executed on December 30 after being convicted of crimes against humanity by an Iraqi court, received medical treatment at the prison but was not a permanent inmate.


                                                                                            Source: Agencies

                                                                                            241 words posted in American Empire, Iraq warLeave a comment

                                                                                            No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                            0 response(s) to US Iraqi prison commander detained, for "aiding the enemy"

                                                                                              This post has 259 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                              Leave a comment:

                                                                                              Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                              <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                              Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                              Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                              URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                              (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                              (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                              (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                              Wide-scale Gaza offensive still likely, Israeli media warns

                                                                                              English (US)  April 25th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                              Jerusalem - Ma'an - The office of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert issued a statement on Wednesday saying Israel would not carry out a large-scale ground offensive in the Gaza Strip. However, other Israeli officials and analysts still described a Gaza invasion as "likely".

                                                                                              [More:]

                                                                                              According to Israeli daily Haaretz, Olmert's statement assured that the Israeli army is still authorized to carry out limited operations in Gaza "in order to foil kidnapping attempts and terror attacks in the future."

                                                                                              The statement included a threat that "Israel will not hesitate to take harsh measures against those who try to harm its sovereignty by firing rockets into our territory, attempting attacks on soldiers, and (by) other means."

                                                                                              Prime Minister Olmert held an emergency meeting on Wednesday with senior security officials following a barrage of projectiles fired into Israel on Tuesday. Hamas' military wing, the Al-Qassam brigades, claimed to have fired over 80 projectiles at Israeli targets on Tuesday morning.

                                                                                              Abu Ubeida, the head of Hamas' military wing, announced on Tuesday evening that the ceasefire had been broken long ago, by Israel through its continuous violations and aggressions.

                                                                                              'Kick Haniyeh out'

                                                                                              Despite Olmert's conciliatory message, the Israeli minister of infrastructure, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, warned Hamas on Wednesday that the Israeli army will not hesitate to invade the Gaza Strip and "kick Ismail Haniyeh out of his own home" if they think of kidnapping another Israeli soldier.

                                                                                              Talking to Israeli Radio on the occasion of the anniversary of the establishment of Israel, he added that Israel has tried to demonstrate the highest level of self-restraint towards the Palestinian launching of homemade Qassam projectiles. He added that he hoped that Hamas realizes that Israel possesses "several other means of response", but the decision on when and how to respond was left to the army.

                                                                                              Israeli media: Gaza offensive, sooner the better

                                                                                              Israeli newspapers also generally considered that a wide-scale Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip was likely.

                                                                                              The newspapers stated on Wednesday that the Israeli army had been preparing for the possibility of conducting such an operation over the past months; however the operation had been delayed due to the Passover feast and Israel's Independence Day.

                                                                                              The newspapers also revealed that several Israeli army leaders, specifically in the southern command, are in favor of a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, because they believe that Hamas has been taking advantage of every day to prepare for a future confrontation, in an attempt to imitate Hezbollah in south Lebanon. Consequently, these pro-confrontation leaders believe that the sooner the operation takes place, the better the results Israel may have.

                                                                                              In their analyses, various Israeli writers and analysts discussed the military and security escalation on the borders with the Gaza Strip, especially following the barrage of Palestinian projectiles launched at Israeli targets on Tuesday. That shelling, they said, demonstrated Hamas' intention to resume military actions.

                                                                                              Maan News

                                                                                              No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                              0 response(s) to Wide-scale Gaza offensive still likely, Israeli media warns

                                                                                                This post has 39 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                Leave a comment:

                                                                                                Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                UN Criticises Iraq for Concealing Casualty Figures

                                                                                                English (US)  April 25th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                By Agence France Presse staff

                                                                                                UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq criticised Baghdad on Wednesday for concealing the casualty figures from its sectarian war and charged that many detainees have “disappeared”.While placing the blame for the majority of violent civilian deaths on the insurgents and illegal militias fighting in Iraq, UNAMI expressed concern about the human rights record of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s government.

                                                                                                [More:]

                                                                                                0425 07In its quarterly report on the human rights situation, the UN mission said the Iraqi government had stopped providing casualty figures and denied that its previous reports had exaggerated the death toll in the conflict.

                                                                                                In a report on January 16, UNAMI said more than 34,400 people had died in the daily acts of violence across the country in 2006.

                                                                                                “The prime minister’s office told UNAMI that the mortality figures contained in the report were exaggerated, although they were in fact figures compiled and provided by a government ministry,” UNAMI said on Wednesday.

                                                                                                “It was a matter of regret that the Iraqi government did not provide UNAMI with access to the ministry of health’s overall mortality figures for the reporting period.

                                                                                                “UNAMI emphasises again the utmost need for the Iraqi government to operate in a transparent manner and does not accept the government’s suggestion that UNAMI used the mortality figures in an inappropriate fashion.”

                                                                                                At a news conference in Baghdad’s fortified administrative compound to launch the latest report, UN human rights officer Ivana Vuco insisted: “These figures are probably the most carefully screened.

                                                                                                “Unofficially in follow-up meetings we were told that the government was concerned that people would misconstrue the figures to portray a grim situation,” she said.

                                                                                                Maliki’s office hit back at the UN mission and complained that its latest report lacked credibility.

                                                                                                “Despite the Iraqi government’s full cooperation and transparency in dealing with the UN delegation in Iraq, much of the information contained in the report was not taken from credible sources,” it said.

                                                                                                “Considering the conditions which Iraq is currently enduring, this report calls into question the credibility of the United Nations office in Iraq, aggravating the humanitarian situation instead of resolving it.”

                                                                                                While being unable to provide statistics because of the government’s decision, the new report for the first quarter of 2007 said violence remained a serious problem in Iraq, despite a US and Iraqi security operation.

                                                                                                “In February and March, sectarian violence claimed the lives of large numbers of civilians, including women and children, in both Shiite and Sunni neighbourhoods,” the report said.

                                                                                                “While government officials claimed an initial drop in the number of killings in the latter half of February following the launch of the Baghdad Security Plan, the number of reported casualties rose again in March.”

                                                                                                Iraqi and US officials insist the civilian death toll from Iraq’s sectarian war has declined since the plan began on February 14, but refuse to release detailed figures to back up the assertion.

                                                                                                UNAMI said that “violent deaths were a regular feature of several other cities in the governorates of Nineveh, Salaheddin, Diyala and Babel” and not just Baghdad, the centre of the bloodshed.

                                                                                                The Baghdad Security Plan seeks to quell the violence but Vuco said it also had increased the potential for the abuse of detainees’ human rights.

                                                                                                “The disappearance of detainees still continues,” she said. “We have serious concerns that not all detainees are being registered. We found people looking for detained family members who they were unable to locate.”

                                                                                                Most of these detainees are held for “prolonged periods of time without charge in overcrowded conditions,” she said.

                                                                                                At least 37,641 people were being held in detention centres across Iraq as of end of March, UNAMI said, adding of these about 3,000 were detained since the Baghdad crackdown began.

                                                                                                The US-led coalition continued to hold 17,898 people, while the rest were in the custody of Iraqi authorities.

                                                                                                UNAMI said that at least 736,422 Iraqis had fled their homes since the sectarian unrest flared up in February last year, on top of 1.2 million who had been displaced previously.

                                                                                                Common Dreams

                                                                                                No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                0 response(s) to UN Criticises Iraq for Concealing Casualty Figures

                                                                                                  This post has 128 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                  Leave a comment:

                                                                                                  Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                  <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                  Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                  Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                  URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                  (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                  (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                  (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                  Congressional Panels Ramp Up Bush Probes: Subpoena for Rice, Immunity for Gonzales Aide

                                                                                                  English (US)  April 25th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                  By Laurie Kellman

                                                                                                  WASHINGTON (April 25) - In rapid succession, congressional committees Wednesday ramped up their investigations of the Bush administration by approving a subpoena for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and granting immunity to a former key aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

                                                                                                  [More:]

                                                                                                  By 21-10, the House oversight committee voted to issue a subpoena to Rice to compel her story on the Bush administration's claim, now discredited, that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa.

                                                                                                  Moments earlier in the committee chamber next door, the House Judiciary Committee voted 32-6 to grant immunity to Monica Goodling, Gonzales' White House liaison, for her testimony on why the administration fired eight federal prosecutors. The panel also unanimously approved -- but did not issue -- a subpoena to compel her to appear.

                                                                                                  Simultaneously across Capitol Hill, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved - but did not issue - a subpoena on the prosecutors' matter to Sara Taylor, deputy to presidential adviser Karl Rove .

                                                                                                  The House oversight committee also issued subpoenas for the Republican National Committee for testimony and documents about White House e-mails on RNC accounts that have apparently gone missing.

                                                                                                  In case Gonzales thought the worst had passed with his punishing testimony last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the chairman and top Republican issued a new demand: Refresh the memory that Gonzales claimed had failed him 71 times during the seven-hour session.

                                                                                                  "Provide the answers to the questions you could not recall last Thursday," Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and ranking Republican Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, wrote to Gonzales on Wednesday.

                                                                                                  Specter's letter underscored that Congress ' march against the administration isn't driven solely by Democrats. Only six members of the House Judiciary Committee voted against immunity for Goodling - all Republicans. Several Republican lawmakers have lobbed harsh criticism at Gonzales in the two days since Bush issued a fresh statement of support for him.

                                                                                                  "I'll be as vigilant as ever in overseeing the Justice Department and working with other senators both Republicans and Democrats for accountability from the attorney general and the department he leads," said Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

                                                                                                  Democrats say they want to force into the open the story of why the eight U.S. attorneys were fired and whether they were singled out to influence corruption cases. Republicans point out that Gonzales survived a brutal Senate hearing last week with President Bush 's support and no evidence of wrongdoing in the prosecutors firings.

                                                                                                  For his part, Gonzales tried Wednesday to mend fences on Capitol Hill. He met with a key critic, Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., who has complained that Gonzales was not truthful with him over the dismissal of Bud Cummins, the former U.S. attorney in Little Rock, Ark.

                                                                                                  But his outreach apparently didn't take.

                                                                                                  "I reiterated with the attorney general, face-to-face, that I think he should resign," Pryor told reporters in a conference call after meeting with Gonzales in Washington. "I think it's the best thing for the Department of Justice and it's probably the best thing for him personally and the administration."

                                                                                                  On the uranium issue, Rice's allies maintained that she has for years answered Congress' questions under oath, as well as media inquiries, about her knowledge of the veracity of Bush's claim about uranium.

                                                                                                  Still, Democrat -led committees pressed ahead. Waxman said Rice was "giving us no choice but to proceed with a subpoena."

                                                                                                  "If we are stonewalled then we can't hesitate to call on the powers available to us," Waxman said.

                                                                                                  Even as he pressed ahead on Rice, Waxman postponed a vote on issuing a subpoena to former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card on the same issue, saying White House Counsel Fred Fielding had made a compromise proposal worth pursuing. Under it, the committee would first talk to the White House office of administration about Card's knowledge of the uranium claim.

                                                                                                  On the prosecutor firings, the House Judiciary Committee approved two measures that would compel Goodling's testimony and grant her immunity from prosecution.

                                                                                                  "I do not propose this step lightly," Conyers told the panel. "If we learn something new in the course of our investigation ... we can always stop the process s before the court issues an order."

                                                                                                  Some Republicans cautioned that immunity has tied the hands of prosecutors in the past, notably during the Iran -Contra scandal. Admiral John Poindexter and Lt. Col. Oliver North were granted immunity and later had their convictions reversed when a judge ruled that they were based too much on immunized testimony.

                                                                                                  "Think of the consequences to the integrity and reputation of this committee and this institution should we grant immunity and it's impossible to prosecute someone," said Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., a former chairman of the panel.

                                                                                                  But Sensenbrenner was one of only six lawmakers, all Republicans, to vote against the immunity grant. The others were Reps. Chris Cannon of Utah, Randy Forbes of Virginia, Steve King of Iowa, Trent Franks of Arizona and Louis Gohmert of Texas.

                                                                                                  At the Justice Department, spokesman Dean Boyd declined comment on the House panel's vote to give Goodling immunity. He said he would not speculate on whether giving her immunity could tie prosecutors' hands should evidence of criminal activity surface.

                                                                                                  Associated Press

                                                                                                  852 words posted in American EmpireLeave a comment

                                                                                                  No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                  0 response(s) to Congressional Panels Ramp Up Bush Probes: Subpoena for Rice, Immunity for Gonzales Aide

                                                                                                    This post has 24 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                    Leave a comment:

                                                                                                    Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                    <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                    Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                    Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                    URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                    (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                    (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                    (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                    430 Haitians Get By on Ms. Riza's Annual Salary: Paul Wolfowitz and Haiti

                                                                                                    English (US)  April 25th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                    By Brian Concannon

                                                                                                    The controversy over World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz and the payraise (to $193,590/year) to his Bank colleague and domestic partner, Shaha Riza, has focussed on the propriety of Mr. Wolfowitz' involvement in the promotion and raise, and the apparent hypocrisy of Mr. Wolfowitz lecturing against corruption in World Bank borrower countries while engaging in questionable practices at the Bank (see a good article in the Washington Post by William Easterly). But there has been very little discussion about the propriety of an institution whose mission is to fight poverty to be paying anyone that much money, and the hypocrisy of the Bank in general telling poor countries to cut salaries for nurses and teachers while it paid such high staff salaries.

                                                                                                    [More:]

                                                                                                    The absence of these issues from the debates may be explained by the absence of the voices of the Bank's supposed constituents- the poor of Haiti and countries like it. The debates have been exclusively framed by relatively wealthy journalists, officials and policy makers living in relatively wealthy countries, with no input from the poor the Bank is supposed to be helping.

                                                                                                    The World Bank compares the relative wealth of countries with a figure called per capita GNI (or Gross National Income), which is roughly a country's annual wealth produced divided by the number of people living there. According to the Bank's website, Haiti's per capita GNI is $450, so on average 430 Haitians get by on Ms. Riza's annual salary.

                                                                                                    The World Bank does not release its general salary information, and although Ms. Riza's salary is probably at the high end of the scale, it is a high scale to begin with. The Bank defends its salaries by saying that its employees live in expensive cities with high rents, and that it needs high salaries to attract the employees it wants- people with excellent resumes and world-class financial and management skills- who are also coveted by the private sector.

                                                                                                    Although financial and management skills are vital to the successful operation of any financial institution, the World Bank is not just any bank- its success is supposed to be measured not by profits but by reducing poverty. The Bank has financial policies, but it also has political, moral and social policies: it tells poor governments how much they can spend on healthcare (and implicitly, how many citizens will die of preventable diseases), on education, clean water, roads, etc.

                                                                                                    Solid analysis of the financial data is essential for making good economic, moral, political and social policy decisions, but the decisions require other skills as well, including an understanding of the implications of those policies beyond the spreadsheets. Someone making $193,000 year would have only a limited understanding of what healthcare cuts mean to the 430 Haitians struggling to getting by on their share of that amount, a share that leaves no room for health insurance.

                                                                                                    I have no reason to doubt that the Bank's employees do a good job of financial analysis, but there are plenty of reasons to doubt that the institution is effectively fulfilling its poverty-fighting missions. Many of its borrowers are poorer now than they were when the Bank started to help them. Global inequality, as well as death by preventable disease, increases every year. In recent years, countries that have had the opportunity to escape the Bank's "help" have been willing to pay billions of dollars to do so.

                                                                                                    This scandal might be a good opportunity for the Bank to reflect on what kind of an institution it is, and what kind of people it wants to attract. It may find that by emphasizing its mission over salary, that it can find people with the technical skills who are willing to accept as part of their compensation the knowledge that they are working to fight poverty.

                                                                                                    Brian Concannon Jr. is a human rights lawyer and directs the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, www.ijdh.org</em>

                                                                                                    Counterpunch

                                                                                                    No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                    0 response(s) to 430 Haitians Get By on Ms. Riza's Annual Salary: Paul Wolfowitz and Haiti

                                                                                                      This post has 22 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                      Leave a comment:

                                                                                                      Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                      <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                      Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                      Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                      URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                      (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                      (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                      (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                      European MPs demand Wolfowitz quit

                                                                                                      English (US)  April 25th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                      Calls for the resignation of Paul Wolfowitz from the presidency of the World Bank are intensifying with the European Parliament adding its voice to calls for him to stand down over allegations that he arranged a promotion and pay package for his girlfriend.

                                                                                                      [More:]


                                                                                                      The demand from the European Union's legislature comes as a special panel at the bank is investigating whether Wolfowitz violated any bank rules in his handling of the promotion Shaha Riza to a high-paying job at the State Department in 2005.

                                                                                                      The World Bank's 24-member board will ultimately decide what action, if any, to take.

                                                                                                      "If he won't jump himself, he must be pushed" -- Caroline Lucas, Member of European parliament

                                                                                                      The controversy has prompted calls for Wolfowitz, a former member of the Bush administration, to step down from many of the bank's staff, former World Bank executives, aid groups and some Democrat politicians.

                                                                                                      They fear the matter has tarnished the reputation of the institution, which is responsible for fighting global poverty, and could hobble efforts to raise billions of dollars to bankroll a World Bank programme to help poor countries.

                                                                                                      The EU assembly said it wanted to "signal to ... Wolfowitz that his withdrawal would be a welcome step toward preventing the bank's anticorruption policy from being undermined."

                                                                                                      They voted 333-251 with 31 abstentions to include a paragraph in a resolution on transatlantic relations calling on Germany, holder of the 27-nation bloc's rotating presidency, and the United States to ask Wolfowitz to stand down.

                                                                                                      'Disrepute'

                                                                                                      "By digging in his heels and refusing to resign as president of the World Bank, Wolfowitz is dragging the whole organisation into disrepute and further undermining the credibility of its anti-corruption policy," said Caroline Lucas, a British member of the Greens.

                                                                                                      "If he won't jump himself, he must be pushed."

                                                                                                      Wolfowitz has acknowledged making a mistake and has apologised but has said he will not resign.

                                                                                                      At the White House on Wednesday George Bush, the US president, took care to offer a positive mention of Wolfowitz at an event to mark Malaria Awareness Day.

                                                                                                      "I appreciate very much the fact that the World Bank is taking the lead in eradicating poverty in places like Africa, and Paul Wolfowitz, thank you for your leadership of the World Bank,'' Bush said.

                                                                                                      'Changes'

                                                                                                      Wolfowitz was deputy defence secretary in the first Bush administration and helped plan the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.

                                                                                                      The United States - the bank's largest shareholder - has expressed confidence in Wolfowitz, but representatives of European governments want to see him go.

                                                                                                      Hoping to repair relations with staff and boost morale, Wolfowitz said on Tuesday he would make "major changes" in the way his office and the senior management team work in order to deal with the concerns.

                                                                                                      Source: Agencies

                                                                                                      452 words posted in WorldLeave a comment

                                                                                                      No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                      0 response(s) to European MPs demand Wolfowitz quit

                                                                                                        This post has 174 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                        Leave a comment:

                                                                                                        Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                        <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                        Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                        Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                        URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                        (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                        (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                        (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                        Azmi Bishara: I have been targeted

                                                                                                        English (US)  April 25th, 2007 by admin ( Email )


                                                                                                        Bishara says Israel is looking for a scapegoat for what he terms its defeat in the 2006 war in Lebanon

                                                                                                        Israeli police say Azmi Bishara, who resigned from Israel's parliament on Sunday, aided enemies of the country during last year's war against Hezbollah.

                                                                                                        Bishara, who heads the anti-Zionist party Balad, has denied any wrongdoing, telling Al Jazeera he did not have direct contact with the Lebanese fighters.

                                                                                                        [More:]

                                                                                                        A police document, released after a court partially lifted a gag order on Wednesday, said Bishara, 50, is suspected of aiding the enemy in wartime through information he conveyed, violating money-laundering laws and committing other security-related crimes.

                                                                                                        'Racist' climate

                                                                                                        The document did not specifically mention Hezbollah nor elaborate on the allegations. No charges have been brought in the case.

                                                                                                        Bishara resigned from the Knesset on Sunday at the Israeli embassy in Cairo and said he would stay abroad for a time because of a "racist" climate back home.

                                                                                                        A police source said Bishara could be arrested immediately if he returned to Israel. He lost his immunity to criminal prosecution when he quit the legislature.

                                                                                                        Bashira has called for a fair and impartial state for all Israeli citizens, describing it as unrealistic and prejudiced for Israel to be both Jewish and democratic.

                                                                                                        This has led to accusations that he is trying to destroy the Jewish character of Israel.

                                                                                                        Here is a full transcript of his interview with Jane Dutton in Qatar on Talk to Al Jazeera.

                                                                                                        Al Jazeera: You are being investigated by Israeli police for unpublished charges. You have been in this situation before. Do you think that, being an Arab member of the Knesset, you are being targeted?

                                                                                                        Bishara: Well, yes, I have been targeted. It is a reality now because, in the last few years, I was two times brought to court and this is the third investigation.

                                                                                                        The first two times had to do with my political opinions. Once because I was not recognising the Jewish character of the state and calling for a state of its citizens.

                                                                                                        The second time was for visiting an enemy country. They consider Syria and Lebanon as enemy countries. I was charged with that.

                                                                                                        Actually we do not accept that the enemies of Israel are our enemies as Arabs and Palestinians. We think we are part of the Arab world too and not only citizens of the state of Israel.

                                                                                                        This is the third time. We can see the first two charges were once probably constitutional charges or normal felonies and I was stripped of my immunity, but I was not guilty because the court did not accept the Israeli charges.

                                                                                                        It seems for me it has to succeed in Israel because the charge is about security. Something has to do with our connections to journalists and friends in the Arab world, as if passing the information to the enemy at a time of war, which is a very serious charge but had to do with what we think as normal for our relations with the Arab world.

                                                                                                        Israel wants to use this as a tool in order to get rid of this position in Israel which calls for Israel to be the state of its citizens and accepting the national character of the Arabs in the country.

                                                                                                        How do you balance your interests? You say that Syria and Lebanon, particularly Hezbollah, are not your enemy, but they are enemies of the Israeli state?

                                                                                                        The Israeli state was established in 1948 on the ruins of the Palestinian people. Now if you want, in the language which will be known probably in Australia or America or even in South Africa, we are indigenous people, the natives of the place.

                                                                                                        And Israel was built on our ruins. We did not immigrate to Israel in order to become Israelis like many French people would like the Algerians to integrate into France or to accept as equal citizens.

                                                                                                        But these people immigrated to France and they chose to be French. We did not choose to be Israelis. Israel came to Palestine, destroyed Palestine and emerged from the ruins of Palestine.

                                                                                                        We are Arab Palestinians. Israeli identity does not exist even according to Israel, they insist their identity is Jewish. There is no such thing as Israeli identity.

                                                                                                        Our Israeli citizenship was forced upon us. Now we use it as a framework for work to demand for equality. But this does not amount to identification with the goals of the country in the region, which we do not accept. We are not Zionists and we do not consider Syria and Lebanon our enemies, on the contrary.

                                                                                                        So you are advocating the destruction of Israel?

                                                                                                        Of course not. We do not identify with everything that other organisations demand.

                                                                                                        We live in the state of Israel and in the framework of such a regime and we think that Israel should be accepted if it accepts a just peace, which means a just settlement with the Palestinians to co-exist in justice and equality.

                                                                                                        But we do not accept a kind of apartheid reality with the West Bank and Gaza and third- or fourth-class citizenship for the Arabs in Israel. We also do not accept Israel to be the policeman of the region. In that sense, yes we do identify, for example, with the victims of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza as victims of the occupation, Lebanon as a victim of Israeli aggression and we do not conceal this.

                                                                                                        We think that Israel turned the border incident into a full-scale war. It was an aggression against Lebanon which destroyed about a third of the country. And we also say that war crimes were committed. We said that as Palestinians, and actually we can say that as parliamentarians.

                                                                                                        It is our duty to speak out against Israeli aggression. In addition to this, I think what is cultural and what is historical and what people do not understand is the fact that historically we cannot identify with the Zionist project. It is a Zionist project which is built on our ruins.

                                                                                                        How do you find your working with other Israelis on the Knesset?

                                                                                                        The Knesset is not the worst political culture in Israel. The street could be even more racist than the parliament. But in the parliament, I think Israel is democratic within the limits of being a Jewish state.

                                                                                                        I would call it trivial democracy. It is a democracy for Jews, and Arabs are granted rights because they are a minority and because they can be endured.

                                                                                                        What is amazing or what would be amazing for Westerners who think that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, is the media. It is totalitarian actually. There is one orchestrated incitement calling for ousting us etc, while in the Arab media there are different opinions.

                                                                                                        What options are open to the Arabs there? What do Arab Israelis want?

                                                                                                        Normal people, of course, are not professional politicians and they don't think of ideologies etc. Most Arabs, even people who do not support us politically, think that Arabs should be acknowledged to run their own affairs as a national minority like other national minorities. And that the state should be the state of all its citizens, Because as long as it is a Zionist stae, it cannot grant equality for its citizens.

                                                                                                        The majority of the Arabs, I think, do believe that. But of course there are different interests, like any other minority. Some of the Arabs are connected to the state apparatus, some work in the state and are afraid to say their opinions. Some have even connections with Zionist parties.

                                                                                                        So we have different opinions, but I think that the majority of the people agree to this platform and I think this is driving a lot of people in Israel crazy. What we started is now actually becoming commonplace.

                                                                                                        You said that the Arabs are persecuted in Israel. Give us a sense if you will of the conditions in which they live?

                                                                                                        First of all, not all Arabs are persecuted. If you are a loyal Arab or a good Arab as many Zionists would say, you are not persecuted of course. It depends on what the definition of a good Arab.

                                                                                                        What makes a good Arab?

                                                                                                        Accepting to be marginalised, accepting to be a second-class citizen and being pleased and thankful because you live better than in Gaza. You have to be grateful.

                                                                                                        Anyway, many times when we talk like this, they would say you should be pleased that we allow you to talk, in Syria you cannot talk. We would say, well, you took the whole country and you give us the freedom of speech.

                                                                                                        Give us back the country and you take your freedom of speech if you want. And at the end Syria will be democratic, Egypt will be democratic. I know that democracy will win in the Arab world in the end. But these are their countries which you took.

                                                                                                        How do the bad Arabs live then?

                                                                                                        Well, the bad Arabs have to do with not accepting to be just tolerated. They have the pride of the indigenous people that this is their country and actually you are not doing them a favour that you are in the Knesset. Probably if you look at it from my side, I am doing them a favour that I am in the Knesset because this gives them legitimacy. And many Arabs blame us for being in the Knesset.

                                                                                                        So, people like us, who come with this approach that our rights are derived from being natives, not from Zionism, or not a favour done for us that we have to be grateful for, then, you know, you start being a bad Arab.

                                                                                                        You want us to recognize your national character, we also have a national character and we want to run our cultural affairs autonomously etc. Then you are provoking the limits of the tolerance of the state.

                                                                                                        So then you become a bad Arab and then they try to persecute you. One charge after another, and if they fail, they seem they are ready to carry on and charge you with treason because you do not identify with the state or because you have connections with the Arab world, which is the principal issue for us because we are Arabs.

                                                                                                        Do you think that Israeli state is in a state of flux at the moment? Do you think what is happening in the Middle East at the moment will determine Israel's future?

                                                                                                        It could be. If Israel does not grab now and does not jump on the opportunity of the current Arab peace initiative, I think, they are going into catastrophe. Because at the end what will impose itself is the fact that this is an apartheid country. And the two state solution will fail because people will live in inequality and in the end people will not accept to be second-class citizens.

                                                                                                        Most Arabs in Israel live in discrimination in all walks of life.

                                                                                                        They cannot go back to their villages, I am not speaking about refugees who are outside Israel. I am not also speaking about the right of return.

                                                                                                        Many internal refugees, Arabs in Israel who live five kilometres from their villages, were driven away and cannot go back to their properties.

                                                                                                        There is no demographic question here, if they go back to their villages the number of Arabs won't be bigger. They are already citizens.

                                                                                                        Sometimes things are happening to Arabs in Israel because the state ignores them. There is a phenomenon called unrecognised villages. Villages that should not be there, although they were there before the state of Israel emerged. So it is a severe case of discrimination. That's why, I think, Israel is making a huge mistake if it is not taking the peace initiative which is suggested by the Arab world.

                                                                                                        What do you think of the significance of the timing in this investigation?

                                                                                                        I think media interest has one timing and the interest of the security apparatus has a totally different timing. The media interest in blowing it all at once probably has to do with the failure of the war against Lebanon. They are looking for a scapegoat. I think this is a mechanism that we know in cases of, let me call it, problematic minorities at times of war.

                                                                                                        Jews were like this once in Europe and were treated like that sometimes. In our case, we are speaking about minority Arabs in a country at war with Arabs.

                                                                                                        So it is very easy to speak about a scapegoat to blame at times of war, especially when they fail in war and they failed in the war.

                                                                                                        It also has to do with the distribution of our ideas in Israeli society, especially at the time of the discussions of the Israeli constitution.

                                                                                                        A lot of papers were recently published by Arab institutions which adopted our ideas. They say that the source of the problem is the fact that a group, or Azmi Bishara, or someone else, published their ideas freely and speak about the state of the citizens etc althought they are in the parliament.


                                                                                                        Al Jazeera

                                                                                                        No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                        0 response(s) to Azmi Bishara: I have been targeted

                                                                                                          This post has 91 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                          Leave a comment:

                                                                                                          Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                          <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                          Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                          Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                          URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                          (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                          (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                          (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                          A coverup of UK torture, racism and complicity in Iraq war crimes

                                                                                                          English (US)  April 24th, 2007 by admin ( Email )


                                                                                                          The evidence of British abuse and killing of Iraqi civilians is part of an iceberg of disgrace which demands a public inquiry

                                                                                                          By Phil Shiner
                                                                                                          The Guardian

                                                                                                          Images of the battered, bloodied, bruised face of Baha Mousa, tortured to death while in detention with British troops under the Iraq occupation, should have shocked the nation when they appeared last week. Instead, most media outlets chose to ignore them. By comparison, when Canadian troops meted out similar treatment to a prisoner in Somalia in the 1990s, the result was a five-year public inquiry and spring-clean of the military justice system. What is going on?

                                                                                                          [More:]

                                                                                                          To answer that question is to dig into what was described as a cover-up by the judge advocate at the conclusion of the court martial into the incident. What follows arises from publicly available material, most of it in the House of Lords case, which finishes tomorrow, into whether the Human Rights Act applied to protect Mousa and others. There are four clusters of issues we have to face.

                                                                                                          First, the incident led to more than just a single death. Photographs and medical evidence show our troops nearly killed another civilian, and badly injured five others. The judge found that a group of soldiers had engaged in systematic torture and humiliation, but none had been charged because of an "obvious closing of ranks". Who were the torturers?

                                                                                                          Second, the torture included the use of four techniques banned by the government in 1972: hooding, stressing and sleep and food deprivation. And it was not just one rogue battalion, 1st Queen's Lancashire Regiment (QLR), but others. Further, we are asked to believe that only a single battalion relied on senior brigade legal advice, which said it would not be breaching international humanitarian law to hood and stress civilian detainees. Is this credible?

                                                                                                          Third, the facility where Mousa and others were tortured was small. The soldiers' shouting and detainees' screaming were audible to anyone on the site. So, who are those in command who knew, or ought to have known, what was going on in the critical 36 hours before Mousa's death? Even more potentially damning to the chain of command responsibility, who knew, or ought to have known, of the complete breakdown in the system of training troops? There was a failure to train troops to observe the law and also, it seems, to teach them the basic principles to enable them to fulfil their role.

                                                                                                          The evidence on the training of tactical questioners is striking. They have an important balance to strike. They need to obtain evidence from detainees that may, for example, save the lives of our troops. And they must do so without using torture or ill-treatment. This is about prisoner handling. The evidence shows the tactical questioners in the Mousa incident had precisely 1.25 hours training on this. Further, those responsible did not ensure that rules of engagement appropriate to an occupation, not a war, were promulgated to reflect the change for 10 weeks. There is a risk that during this period our troops were following the wrong rules.

                                                                                                          The final cluster of issues is where it starts to get really ugly. What are we supposed to make of material that shows it was standard to refer to Iraqis as "Ali Babas"? Or of military operations that had similar racist connotations from an earlier era? Or material that indicates a remorseless disregard of Iraqis' human rights, which dehumanised them in the eyes of the troops who were supposed to protect them? When our troops were supposed to be exercising policing functions, we appear to have shot first and asked questions later.

                                                                                                          Uncomfortable questions about our complicity in war crimes with the US also lurk beneath the surface. The evidence from prosecution witnesses in the court martial shows that the US was putting pressure on us to adopt its interrogation techniques.

                                                                                                          Consider that the facility involved in the Mousa incident was in the middle of an urban area and the abuse occurred in broad daylight. By comparison, our theatre internment facility, Camp Bucca in southern Iraq, was in the middle of nowhere. But the government claims the US ran Camp Bucca. The evidence in the court martial is clear. We had two compounds for UK detainees, they had six. We had jurisdiction over UK detainees who were subject to questioning by our tactical questioners. So why the blatant denial of responsibility where it is obvious the UK did have jurisdiction? The MoD admitted in 2004 that six other Iraqis had died while in detention with British troops, and we know all British detainees were taken to Camp Bucca until Christmas 2003. We also know that US forces killed Iraqis during "riots" at the facility and that three US soldiers were discharged in 2004 after being found guilty of abusing prisoners. If Mousa died in our custody where he did, what was happening in the British section of Camp Bucca?

                                                                                                          Most of this iceberg of disgrace will remain hidden unless there is an independent and public inquiry. What is our government's response to Mousa's death and its implications? Sadly, it knows no shame. Despite the shocking facts and images, it argues in the Lords that the Human Rights Act does not apply outside the territory of the UK. If it succeeds in this argument, we can all give up hope of there being any proper domestic accountability for any human rights abuses by UK personnel outside the country. I can almost hear the howl of anguish from Baha Mousa's grave.

                                                                                                          · Phil Shiner is a solicitor and acts for the family of Baha Mousa and in 40 other cases of torture, beatings and killings by UK forces in Iraq

                                                                                                          phil_shiner@publicinterestlawyers.co.uk

                                                                                                          http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,2063360,00.html

                                                                                                          956 words posted in Human RightsLeave a comment

                                                                                                          No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                          0 response(s) to A coverup of UK torture, racism and complicity in Iraq war crimes

                                                                                                            This post has 127 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                            Leave a comment:

                                                                                                            Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                            <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                            Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                            Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                            URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                            (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                            (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                            (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                            UK mulls human rights for robots

                                                                                                            English (US)  April 24th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                            Japan has embraced robots but it may be a while before one is allowed to play for Man Utd

                                                                                                            British scientists are seeking to open a public debate to raise awareness of robotics and find out to what extent people want such machines integrated into everyday life.

                                                                                                            [More:]

                                                                                                            The discussion is being convened after a government report last year said that, in the future, calls could be made to grant machines human rights.

                                                                                                            The report, issued by the office of science and innovation, said: "If artificial intelligence is achieved and widely deployed, calls may be made for human rights to be extended to robots."

                                                                                                            The report was based on a collection of papers from futurist researchers looking at trends in health, science and technology and whose topics included human rights for intelligent machines.

                                                                                                            Premature suggestion

                                                                                                            Some experts in robotics, such as Owen Holland from the University of Essex, say such statements are premature and do not address the real issues of how robots should be integrated into modern life.

                                                                                                            "We are not there yet," says Holland, a professor of computer science.

                                                                                                            "We have no time scale for what can be done in robotics."

                                                                                                            Noel Sharkey, a fellow professor of computer science at the University of Sheffield, said: "The idea of machine consciousness is a bit of a fairy tale. Discussing robot rights now is very premature."

                                                                                                            Like all technologies, Sharkey says, the problem with robotics lies in its applications.

                                                                                                            "We can imagine lots of frightening scenarios," he said, adding that it is up to the public to decide how robots should be employed.

                                                                                                            "If they are used properly, robots will ultimately benefit mankind."

                                                                                                            Robots are already a part of everyday life, from vacuum cleaners that clean rooms on their own to autopilots that fly aeroplanes.

                                                                                                            Robot wars

                                                                                                            While British scientists seek to define more clearly how such technology is used, other countries have used robots more readily.

                                                                                                            Japan has embraced robots and developed some capable of taking care of the elderly.

                                                                                                            Researchers have created a 1.52m tall robot that can see, hear, smell and carry up to 70kg in weight.

                                                                                                            The US congress declared six years ago that it wanted one-third of its military robots to be autonomous by 2015.

                                                                                                            Robots are currently used by the army to navigate independently in desert terrain, and researchers are now investigating whether they could also do so in urban areas.

                                                                                                            Last year in South Korea, scientists produced an armed robot guard with the capacity to kill.

                                                                                                            Some Korean officials even proposed that robots equipped with guns could one day patrol the border with North Korea.

                                                                                                            Jazeera

                                                                                                            431 words posted in General NewsLeave a comment

                                                                                                            No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                            0 response(s) to UK mulls human rights for robots

                                                                                                              This post has 152 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                              Leave a comment:

                                                                                                              Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                              <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                              Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                              Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                              URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                              (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                              (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                              (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                              Cheney: Iraq pullout would hurt Israel

                                                                                                              English (US)  April 24th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                              A U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq would be damaging to Israel, Dick Cheney said.

                                                                                                              "We must consider, as well, just what a precipitous withdrawal would mean to our other efforts in the war on terror, to our interests in the broader Middle East, and to Israel," the U.S. vice president said over the weekend to a Republican Jewish Coalition leadership gathering in Latana, Fla.

                                                                                                              [More:]

                                                                                                              "Commentators enjoy pointing out mistakes through 20/20 hindsight. But the biggest mistake of all can be seen in advance: A sudden withdrawal of our coalition would dissipate much of the effort that has gone into fighting the global war on terror, and result in chaos and mounting danger. And for the sake of our own security, we will not stand by and let it happen," Cheney said. He has a similar message earlier this month to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual policy forum.

                                                                                                              Jewsihs News

                                                                                                              No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                              0 response(s) to Cheney: Iraq pullout would hurt Israel

                                                                                                                This post has 18 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                Gallup on global warming : Just what are Americans willing to do to stop global warming?

                                                                                                                English (US)  April 24th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                                Gallup looks at Americans' opinions on global warming and their willingness to support specific policy to curb its effects.

                                                                                                                To view the video click here

                                                                                                                25 words posted in ScienceLeave a comment

                                                                                                                No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                0 response(s) to Gallup on global warming : Just what are Americans willing to do to stop global warming?

                                                                                                                  This post has 37 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                  Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                  Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                  <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                  Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                  Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                  URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                  (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                  (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                  (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                  Global warming causing thirstier trees

                                                                                                                  English (US)  April 24th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                                  OAK RIDGE, Tenn., April 24 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists have determined increased levels of ozone associated with the release of greenhouse gases are causing vegetation to use more water.

                                                                                                                  [More:]

                                                                                                                  The research conducted by the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory found increased levels of greenhouse gases might intensify the effects of global warming on ecological systems.

                                                                                                                  Researchers Sandy McLaughlin of the University of Tennessee and Stan Wullschleger of ORNl studied of trees in the mountains of East Tennessee. They found current levels of ozone amplified the effects of climate stresses on large tree growth, transfer of water from soil to the atmosphere and rates of stream flow from forested watersheds.

                                                                                                                  The mechanism for those effects, implicated by several studies, is plants' reduced capacity to regulate water loss through stomata -- the breathing pores in leaves.

                                                                                                                  Researchers cautioned, however, further tests are necessary involving additional forest types and climatic systems.

                                                                                                                  The study is reported in the journal New Phytologist.

                                                                                                                  Science Daily

                                                                                                                  160 words posted in ScienceLeave a comment

                                                                                                                  No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                  0 response(s) to Global warming causing thirstier trees

                                                                                                                    This post has 109 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                    Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                    Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                    <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                    Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                    Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                    URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                    (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                    (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                    (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                    Germany 'wants Wolfowitz to go'

                                                                                                                    English (US)  April 22nd, 2007 by admin ( Email )


                                                                                                                    Many people have urged Wolfowitz to resign ahead of a World Bank board decision on his future

                                                                                                                    Germany believes Paul Wolfowitz's position as head of the World Bank has become unsustainable, a German minister has told the Financial Times Deutschland (FTD) newspaper.

                                                                                                                    [More:]


                                                                                                                    World Bank staff have called for Wolfowitz to quit following his admission that he approved promotion and high salaries for his girlfriend.

                                                                                                                    "The situation ... is no longer acceptable," Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, a development minister, told the FTD in an article to run on Monday.

                                                                                                                    "My conclusion is that Wolfowitz should do the bank a service and take the consequences himself. The sooner, the better."

                                                                                                                    Architect of Iraq war

                                                                                                                    Wolfowitz, whose appointment to the World Bank presidency in mid-2005 was controversial because of his role as an architect of the Iraq war while at the Pentagon, has refused to step down.

                                                                                                                    The US government has urged leading European countries to withhold judgment until the World Bank's 24-nation board decides on his future.

                                                                                                                    The World Bank's board delayed a final decision on Wolfowitz's future on Friday and called for further investigation.

                                                                                                                    The board said in a statement: "The executive directors agreed on a process to deal with the situation urgently, effectively and in an orderly manner."

                                                                                                                    The World Bank chief has apologised for his role in the promotion for his girlfriend and said he would accept any decision the board makes.

                                                                                                                    "I made a mistake for which I am sorry", he said.

                                                                                                                    "I'm not going to pre-empt their deliberations, I will accept any remedies they propose."


                                                                                                                    Agencies

                                                                                                                    No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                    0 response(s) to Germany 'wants Wolfowitz to go'

                                                                                                                      This post has 115 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                      Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                      Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                      <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                      Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                      Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                      URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                      (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                      (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                      (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                      Bishara resigns from Knesset

                                                                                                                      English (US)  April 22nd, 2007 by admin ( Email )


                                                                                                                      Bishara is a staunch opponent of Israel's policies towards Palestinians and other Arab states [AFP]

                                                                                                                      Azmi Bishara, an Israeli Arab MP and leader of the National Democratic Assembly, has submitted his resignation from the Knesset at the Israeli embassy in Cairo.

                                                                                                                      [More:]


                                                                                                                      Bishara handed over his resignation on Sunday following a meeting with Shalom Cohen, the Israeli ambassador to Egypt.

                                                                                                                      Bishara is subject of an Israeli police investigation into unspecified criminal charges.

                                                                                                                      "Exile is not an option. Return is definite but the matter will take some time and arrangements. I want to set the rules of the game," Bishara told Al Jazeera.

                                                                                                                      "I have commitments now with other countries which I cannot make if I were there. This is why I decided to end my responsibilities with my former post," he added.

                                                                                                                      He said that if he stayed in Israel the legal proceedings against him could drag on for years.

                                                                                                                      "There's no point now to clinging to parliamentary status and immunity in this right-wing, fascist, racist orchestra," he added.

                                                                                                                      An Israeli court last week partially lifted a gag order on the inquiry into Bishara, allowing police to announce that its international crimes unit is investigating him.

                                                                                                                      The 50-year-old entered the Israeli parliament in 1996 and three years later became the first Arab Israeli to run for prime minister.

                                                                                                                      He later joined the National Democratic Assembly, or Balad, which was formed following the Oslo accords between Israel and the Palestinians.

                                                                                                                      Bishara has previously made solidarity visits to countries such as Syria and Lebanon, which Israel designates as its enemies.

                                                                                                                      Al Jazeera and agencies>

                                                                                                                      260 words posted in Science, Politics, , ReligionLeave a comment

                                                                                                                      No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                      0 response(s) to Bishara resigns from Knesset

                                                                                                                        This post has 26 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                        Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                        Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                        <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                        Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                        Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                        URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                        (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                        (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                        (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                        'INDEPENDENT JEWISH VOICES'

                                                                                                                        English (US)  April 22nd, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                                        Letter to New York Review of Books

                                                                                                                        By Ann Jungman, Dr. Anthony Isaacs, Ellen Dahrendorf, Gillian Slovo, Henry Stewart, Lisa Appignanesi, Prof. Donald Sassoon, Prof. Jacqueline Rose, Prof. Lynne Segal, Prof. Susie Orbach, Rabbi Dr. David J. Goldberg, Sir Geoffrey Bindman, Uri Fruchtmann

                                                                                                                        In response to On Israel, America and AIPAC (April 12, 2007)

                                                                                                                        To the Editors:

                                                                                                                        George Soros deserves congratulations for his frank, sensible, and comprehensive analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the failure of American policy in the region, the questionable influence of AIPAC, and the difficulties that have so often arisen when Jews themselves speak out in criticism of Israel ["On Israel, America, and AIPAC," NYR, April 12]. Soros's long support for an ideal of an open society, in Eastern Europe and elsewhere, makes him particularly attuned to the pitch of societies that are censoriously closing down.

                                                                                                                        [More:]

                                                                                                                        The need for America and Europe to recognize the unity government in Palestine and end the economic boycott is clear. The March initiative from Riyadh must be taken seriously: it substantially offers what has been Israel's dream since its conception — full normalization of relations with Arab countries once a viable Palestinian state has been put in place. It will not be easy. But negotiation on such difficult matters as the recognition of Israel by Hamas, and on refugees and prisoners, is the only way. As for Jerusalem, political gossip in the city is rife about the desk drawers full of plans for its division, some of these making use of constructive ambiguity. Surely all must recognize that what is now required is a degree of good will and strong leadership. The current opening has come about as a result of the vested interests of moderate Arab states in the wake of the war in Iraq. If this chance is missed, it may well disappear forever.

                                                                                                                        But it is the second matter raised by George Soros, the question of representation and political pressure by Jewish lobbies such as AIPAC, which moves us to write. This is an issue that has recently come to the fore in Britain as well. Partially as a result of the war in Lebanon, there has been growing concern that the institutions which claim the authority to represent British Jews en masse have tended to offer unquestioning support for Israeli government policies. Criticism of the Israeli position is often denounced as an expression of "self-hatred" or anti-Semitism, "endangering the very existence of the Jewish state," as Soros notes. In order to legitimate and expand the space for debate within the Jewish community, a group of us — Jews from diverse backgrounds, occupations, and affiliations — have come together to form a network of "Independent Jewish Voices" (IJV).

                                                                                                                        Our declaration stresses the universality of human rights — therefore both for Palestinians and Israelis. It insists on the need to observe international law, rejects all forms of racism, and urges a negotiated peace settlement between Israelis and Palestinians. We also stress "that individuals and groups within all communities should feel free to express their views on any issue of public concern without incurring accusations of disloyalty."

                                                                                                                        IJV has attracted an astonishing amount of support in Britain, as well as from groups and individuals around the world. Clearly, Jews in many countries feel the need to speak out as Jews and deplore the fact that critical openness has incurred attempts to silence it either by the withdrawal of funds for research groups or by accusations of anti-Semitism. Because of its political and economic clout, America above all needs just the openness Soros has called for. We sincerely hope that at last this is beginning to take place. Contrary to the views of the pro-Israel lobby, uncritical support of current Israeli policy is NOT a service to Israel.

                                                                                                                        Dr. Lisa Appignanesi, Sir Geoffrey Bindman, Lady Ellen Dahrendorf, Uri Fruchtmann, Rabbi Dr. David J. Goldberg, Dr. Anthony Isaacs, Ann Jungman, Prof. Susie Orbach, Prof. Jacqueline Rose, Prof. Donald Sassoon, Prof. Lynne Segal, Gillian Slovo, Henry Stewart, members of the Independent Jewish Voices initiating group

                                                                                                                        No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                        0 response(s) to 'INDEPENDENT JEWISH VOICES'

                                                                                                                          This post has 77 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                          Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                          Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                          <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                          Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                          Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                          URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                          (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                          (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                          (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                          Israel escalates attacks in Occupied Palestinian Territories, kills 8, including a child

                                                                                                                          English (US)  April 22nd, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                                          Eight Palestinians including one child killed in 24 hours. As the late Palestinian journalist Amer Abdelhadi (may he rest in peace) said, "The world watches, yet nothing is being done."

                                                                                                                          Report from the Palestinian Center for Human Rights

                                                                                                                          In the past 24 hours, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have escalated attacks in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). They have killed 8 Palestinians, including a child. Four of the victims were extra-judicially executed. PCHR strongly condemns this latest escalation and the reactivation of the policy of extra-judicial executions, which increases tension in the region and threatens the life of Palestinian civilians.

                                                                                                                          [More:]

                                                                                                                          According to investigations conducted by PCHR:
                                                                                                                          At approximately 05:00 on Saturday, 21 April 2007, IOF moved into Kufor Dan village, west of Jenin. They besieged and opened fire at a house belonging to the family of Mahmoud Nasfat Naddaf, 20, in the west of the village. They also raided a number of neighboring houses and transformed them into military sites, from which they fired at whatever moved in the area.

                                                                                                                          In the meantime, Mohammed Sa’id Talal ‘Aabed, 23, stepped up to the roof of his house to check what was going on. Immediately, an IOF soldier positioned in a neighboring house belonging to Mohammed Saleh ‘Aabed shot him dead with two gunshots to the jaw and the chest. The victim was a member of the Palestinian police, but he was not on duty and was wearing civilian clothes.

                                                                                                                          At approximately 17:00 on the same day, an IOF undercover unit moved into Jenin, traveling in two civilian vehicles with Palestinian registration plates. The two vehicles stopped near a girls secondary school in Abu Duhair Mount area, which overlooks Jenin refugee camp. IOF soldiers then intercepted and opened fire at a Palestinian civilian car that was traveling in the area. Three Palestinians who were traveling in the car were instantly killed:

                                                                                                                          1)Mohammed Ghaleb al-Dumaj, 22, a member of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (an armed wing of Fatah movement);

                                                                                                                          2) Ahmed Mohammed al-‘Eissa, 24, also member of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades; and

                                                                                                                          3)Mahmoud ‘Abdul Latif Ghlail, 23, a member of the al-Quds Brigades (the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad).

                                                                                                                          At approximately 20:35 also on Saturday, an IOF aircraft fired a missile at a civilian car (a red Fiat 127) belonging to Kamal Kazem Mohammed ‘Anan, 43, from Gaza City, which stopped at Sha’sha’a intersection to the east of Jabalya town. The missile directly hit the car burning it. ‘Anan was seriously wounded by shrapnel throughout the body, as he was standing near it. He was evacuated to the hospital, but he died half an hour later. The reasons of the attack are not apparent. It is not clear whether IOF launched this attack in the context of the policy of extra-judicial executions. According to information available to PCHR, ‘Anan was not involved in any resistance activities. He used to work at the Municipality of Gaza and he was on duty when the attack took place.

                                                                                                                          Nearly half an hour prior to this attack, an IOF aircraft fired a missile at a civilian vehicle, in which a number of members of the al-Quds Brigades (the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad) were traveling, after they had launched home-made rockets at Israeli towns. The missile went astray.

                                                                                                                          At approximately 22:00 on the same day, IOF moved into Jenin town and refugee camp. They besieged and opened fire at a house belonging to Naji Wahesh Bargheesh near Dr. Khalil Suleiman Hospital. Bargheesh’s daughter, 17-year-old Bushra, was killed by a gunshot to the head, when she was in her bedroom. IOF continued to besiege and fire at the house to arrest the victim’s brother, 22-year-old ‘Abdul Rahman. They then called through megaphones on residents of the house to get out and they did. However, IOF resumed firing at the house. At approximately 23:30, IOF withdrew from the area, without finding the targeted person.

                                                                                                                          At approximately 00:15 on Sunday, 22 April 2007, an IOF undercover unit moved into Nablus, traveling in a civilian vehicle with a Palestinian registration plate. The vehicle stopped neat a house belonging to Nabeel al-Zorba in the old town. Soon after, IOF military jeeps arrived at the area to support the undercover unit. IOF soldiers broke into two neighboring houses belonging to the families of Abu al-Hayat and al-Shilla. They then ordered residents of the al-Zorba’s house to get out. Al-Zurba, his wife and their two children immediately got out. Soon after, IOF fired 8 shells at the house and many gunshots at the house. Two members of the Palestinian resistance exchanged fire with IOF. The exchange of fire continued until 04:45, and as a result of it, the two resistance activists were killed. They were identified as:

                                                                                                                          1) Ameen Mahmoud Libbada, 20, hit by a gunshot to the neck; and

                                                                                                                          2) Fadel Mohammed Nour, 25, hit by 3 gunshots to the neck.

                                                                                                                          PCHR strongly condemns this latest escalation by IOF, and:

                                                                                                                          1)Reiterates its condemnation for extra-judicial executions and the excessive use of force by IOF against Palestinian civilians, and emphasizes that such practices serve to increase tension in the region and threaten the lives of Palestinian civilians.

                                                                                                                          2)Calls upon the international community to immediately intervene to stop such crimes, and reiterates its call for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under the Convention and ensure protection for Palestinian civilians in the OPT.

                                                                                                                          Public Document
                                                                                                                          For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8 2824776 - 2825893

                                                                                                                          PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip. E-mail: pchr@pchrgaza.org, Webpage http://www.pchrgaza.org

                                                                                                                          No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                          0 response(s) to Israel escalates attacks in Occupied Palestinian Territories, kills 8, including a child

                                                                                                                            This post has 175 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                            Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                            Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                            <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                            Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                            Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                            URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                            (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                            (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                            (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                            US builds Baghdad wall to keep Sunnis and Shias apart

                                                                                                                            English (US)  April 21st, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                                            Another bad idea the U.S. military picked up from training with the Israeli Occupation Forces


                                                                                                                            An Iraqi contractor attaches chains to a huge concrete barrier for a "gated community" in Baghdad. Photograph: Sgt Mike Pryor/US army

                                                                                                                            By Mark Tran

                                                                                                                            US soldiers are building a three-mile wall to separate one of Baghdad's Sunni enclaves from surrounding Shia neighbourhoods, it emerged today.

                                                                                                                            The move is part of a contentious security plan that has fuelled fears of the Iraqi capital's Balkanisation.

                                                                                                                            [More:]

                                                                                                                            When the barrier is finished, the minority Sunni community of Adamiya, on the eastern side of the River Tigris, will be completely gated. Traffic control points manned by Iraqi soldiers will provide the only access, the US military said.

                                                                                                                            "Shias are coming in and hitting Sunnis, and Sunnis are retaliating across the street," Captain Scott McLearn, of the US 407th brigade support battalion, told the Associated Press.

                                                                                                                            The project, which began on April 10, is being worked on almost nightly, with cranes swinging enormous concrete barriers into place.

                                                                                                                            Although Baghdad is rife with barriers around marketplaces and areas such as the heavily fortified Green Zone, this is the first in the city to be set up on sectarian lines.

                                                                                                                            The concrete wall, which will be up to 12ft high, "is one of the centrepieces of a new strategy by coalition and Iraqi forces to break the cycle of sectarian violence," US officials said.

                                                                                                                            The officials said the barrier would allow authorities to screen people entering and leaving Adamiya "while keeping death squads and militia groups out".

                                                                                                                            The construction - which has been nicknamed the "great wall of Adamiya" - is not the first time US military planners have attempted to isolate hostile regions.

                                                                                                                            In 2005, attempts were made to surround the Sunni-dominated city of Samarra with raised earth barriers to prevent insurgents from entering and leaving. A similar strategy was also deployed in both Tal Afar and Falluja.

                                                                                                                            General David Petraeus, the new US commander in Iraq, said he believed the tactics in Tal Afar, close to the Syrian border, were successful - but the area has since fallen back under insurgent control.

                                                                                                                            Critics of the scheme said it had been tried in past counter-insurgency campaigns in Vietnam and Algeria, but found wanting.

                                                                                                                            Some Sunnis living in Adamiya have welcomed the attempt to improve security but warned that it was another sign of the deep hostility between Sunnis and Shias.

                                                                                                                            Others were sceptical about the latest initiative to staunch the bloodshed in Baghdad, which reached new heights when a series of suicide bombings killed more than 200 people in a single day this week.

                                                                                                                            "I don't think this wall will solve the city's serious security problems," Ahmed Abdul-Sattar, a 35-year-old government worker, told the Associated Press. "It will only increase the separation between our people, which has been made so much worse by the war."

                                                                                                                            Meanwhile, the US defence secretary, Robert Gates, will today arrive in Iraq, where he is expected to meet sectarian leaders and government officials in Baghdad.

                                                                                                                            In his third trip to the country in four months, he is expected to put pressure on the Shia prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, to move faster on reconciliation with the Sunnis, who have been elbowed aside since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

                                                                                                                            "The clock is ticking," Mr Gates told reporters yesterday. "I know it's difficult ... but I think that it's very important that they bend every effort to getting this legislation done as quickly as possible."

                                                                                                                            In an ominous sign for the US, an insurgent coalition yesterday announced an "Islamic cabinet" in an attempt to provide an alternative to the country's US-backed administration.

                                                                                                                            The Islamic State of Iraq group named the head of al-Qaida in Iraq as its "minister of war". The alliance of eight insurgent groups first emerged in October, claiming to hold territory in Sunni-dominated areas of western and central Iraq.

                                                                                                                            www.guardian.co.uk

                                                                                                                            No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                            0 response(s) to US builds Baghdad wall to keep Sunnis and Shias apart

                                                                                                                              This post has 34 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                              Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                              Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                              <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                              Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                              Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                              URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                              (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                              (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                              (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                              Jefferson Jackson Bailey Dinner

                                                                                                                              English (US)  April 21st, 2007 by admin ( Email )


                                                                                                                              Nancy Pelosi (Christine Stuart photo)

                                                                                                                              By Christine Stuart

                                                                                                                              Once Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-California, arrived at the Connecticut Convention Center Friday, she thanked Democrats for helping shift the balance of power in Congress by electing Congressmen Joe Courtney and Chris Murphy to the House of Representatives.

                                                                                                                              [More:]

                                                                                                                              CT News Junkie

                                                                                                                              51 words posted in General NewsLeave a comment

                                                                                                                              No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                              0 response(s) to Jefferson Jackson Bailey Dinner

                                                                                                                                This post has 38 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                Defining the enemy: The motives behind Israel's media campaign against Azmi Bishara

                                                                                                                                English (US)  April 20th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                                                Arab-Palestinian Knesset member Azmi Bishara explains to Amira Howeidy the motives behind the Israeli media's campaign against him and how it affects the Arab community

                                                                                                                                Israel, it seems, is at war with one man. The Israeli media and politicians from across the political spectrum are up in arms against him, the Shabak (intelligence) is said to be preparing a file on him and his fate could have an impact on 1.3 million Arabs living in Israel.

                                                                                                                                [More:]

                                                                                                                                This might be the kind of attention someone as high-profile as Azmi Bishara expects when faced with accusations of treason. Then again, it might not. Bishara is, after all, not just an outspoken Arab-Palestinian member of the Israeli parliament the Knesset but an embodiment of Israel's paradoxes and its complex relationship with itself and its Arab-Palestinian community.

                                                                                                                                Over the past 11 years this Christian Arab- Palestinian politician, intellectual, novelist, philosopher and citizen of Israel has struggled to redefine the status and identity of the Palestinians whose lands, towns and villages were occupied by the Jewish state between 1948 and 1949 and who later became Israeli citizens. While Israel sought to assimilate them and "Israelise" their collective identity, Bishara and his National Arab Alliance party begged to differ.

                                                                                                                                Their vision, which has gained momentum within the Arab community (known as the 1948 Arabs) insists that Israel should be a state for all its citizens and not -- as it now perceives itself -- a Jewish state. A Jewish state, they argue, defies the logics of democracy because it does not equate between its Jewish and non-Jewish populations. Even more alarming for Israeli nationalists is the fact that such a position could represent the nucleus of a bi-national secular state.

                                                                                                                                Three weeks ago Bishara left Israel for an Arab tour. Given recent developments it is now unclear when, or if, he will be returning. A week after his departure, the Israeli press began a campaign of incitement against him, the opening shot being the publication of news reports that he will resign from the Knesset while in Qatar. This was followed by leaks to the media concerning a criminal investigation against him. But with a court-imposed gag on the nature of the investigation it is not clear what is actually being investigated though the Israeli press has hinted at charges involving "contact with the enemy during wartime".

                                                                                                                                Although Bishara is no stranger to prosecution based on similar allegations -- in the past he has always been found innocent - he now believes that "the rules of the game have changed" and that the target is not just him but the entire Palestinian-Arab community living in Israel.

                                                                                                                                "There is a decision to end our political stream and the unprecedented challenge it represents for them," he told Al-Ahram Weekly in a telephone interview from Doha. "The message is: Palestinian-Arabs who support us will be regarded as people working against Israel. And to do that they are targeting the head of the movement. They cannot tolerate an Arab Knesset member who refutes their claims of democratic practice and argues that Zionism defeats the notion of democracy."

                                                                                                                                By presenting Bishara's case as one with security dimensions, "Israel will have more tools to fight us with," he said, "and it is evident that they've been preparing a huge file for over a year now which involved monitoring all my moves and recording all my telephone conversations without a court order. It makes me wonder what parliamentary immunity means in practice."

                                                                                                                                It is rumoured that the secret police have records of phone conversations Bishara conducted with "hostile" Arab figures, including Hizbullah members, during Israel's war against Lebanon last summer.

                                                                                                                                Such "security fabrications", in Bishara's words, could affect international solidarity with him since the suggestion being propagated "translates into providing the enemy with information which ultimately transforms me from a political, cultural and intellectual figure to an agent for a hostile state or terrorist organisation as they call it".

                                                                                                                                "This changes the logic of things because I have my political views, I publish articles, I give interviews and I talk on the phone but I do not enjoy a security position or have access to security information in the first place in order to deliver it. In fact, it is clear that these hostile states or organisations like Hizbullah and Hamas are more informed about Israel's security than we are. We are men of thought, culture and literature."

                                                                                                                                Bishara denies all the rumoured charges against him and says they "disgust" him. And because he realises the rules of the game have changed he has yet to decide if he will play by the new rules.

                                                                                                                                "It is out of the question that someone like myself should sit with prosecutors and answer their questions about my phone calls, what I say to my friends, what did I mean by this word or in this article with all the humiliation it involves."

                                                                                                                                The active involvement of the Israeli left alongside the extreme right in teaming up against Bishara in the current media campaign against him comes as no surprise. "The Israeli left and right stood together during the first weeks of the war on Lebanon last summer and the same scenario is repeating itself with me. They're all united against the path that we chose which rejects Zionism and the Zionist nature [of Israel], our emphasis on Arab identity, extending our cultural and civilisational roots to the Arab world and our emphasis on the fact that there are two nations and that we are not merely a minority."

                                                                                                                                A leading Palestinian intellectual, Bishara's popularity extends across the Arab world. Not only did his movement contribute to breaking many of the political taboos imposed on the 1948 Palestinian community, his eloquence and staunch pan-Arab stands helped redefine the term "Israeli-Arab" which for decades was treated with suspicion across the Arab world.

                                                                                                                                This might be good news for the Arabs, but why would Israel tolerate a vocal Arab- Palestinian who supports resistance?

                                                                                                                                "Israel has a problem of course," says Bishara, "and [its leaders] are not trying to redefine the borders and prevent us from expressing such views. But we do not ask anything of Israel in this regard. We are against the Israeli aggression on Lebanon and we support people's right in resisting occupation. We do not support a specific form of resistance and we oppose the targeting of civilians in this context. But in the context of citizenship and activism within a political framework we have to distinguish between people like us, Palestinians and Arabs, whose lands were occupied, and our right to express ourselves about resisting occupation and actually being directly involved in resistance. There is a difference between our liaisons as democratic Palestinians and Arabs with the rest of the Arab world and making our position known and being part of the resistance... Of course Israel cannot tolerate resistance but then freedom [fighters] do not want Israel's tolerance in the first place."

                                                                                                                                Israel, says Bishara, suffers from an identity crisis. "But then I have one too," he admits. "I have a problem tolerating them just as they have a problem tolerating me. In the past five years I feel I have grown 50 years older as a result of the conflicts and having to go to the Knesset every day and actually sit with people I regard as war criminals. I did it out of responsibility for my people even though it exhausted and drained me. But I'm not talking about predicaments here, I'm talking about equilibrium. They now want to change that equilibrium so that we no longer take the stands that we do."

                                                                                                                                When Bishara took what he considered a democratic stand following Israel's war on Lebanon last year by visiting Beirut's southern suburb Al-Dahia -- Hizbullah's stronghold, Israelis went berserk. "It's ABC political work for a Palestinian democrat like myself who exists as part of the political entity that launched the aggression to show solidarity with the victims of this aggression... [The Israelis] in turn decided this is participating in resistance. I reject that completely."

                                                                                                                                During a war, he said, people talk to each other on the phone and they talk about the war. "But if we talk about the war this could be contact with the enemy. Turning every triviality between human beings who are Arabs -- and are naturally connected -- into transferring information to the enemy is simply an attempt to quash us. There is a big cultural misunderstanding here, a huge gap in understanding who we are."

                                                                                                                                Israel, says Bishara, perceives its Arabs as a minority who immigrated to Israel, requested an Israeli card and became Israelis. "And therefore when we communicate with other Arabs we are in contact with the enemy. We have a different perception. We are Arabs and our brothers and sisters in the Arab world are Arab, and we were Arab long before Israel was created [in 1948] and imposed its identity on us. Now it wants to impose its enemies as our enemies. They're not."

                                                                                                                                According to Bishara, his decision to resign from the Knesset was taken a year ago but his party wanted him to postpone it for a while. But now he has to decide whether or not he will resign and have his immunity lifted, "or if I should throw this immunity at them anyway". He will "eventually" return to Israel and the occupied territories, he says, but only after he has decided how to handle the campaign against him and the 1948 Arab-Palestinian community.

                                                                                                                                Al Ahram

                                                                                                                                No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                0 response(s) to Defining the enemy: The motives behind Israel's media campaign against Azmi Bishara

                                                                                                                                  This post has 44 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                  Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                  Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                  <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                  Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                  Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                  URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                  (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                  (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                  (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                  Shattered illusions

                                                                                                                                  English (US)  April 20th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                                                  If the fall of Baghdad exposed the dangers of identifying the state solely in its leader, Iraq's past four years show the folly of those -- especially Arabs -- who thought democracy could be imposed by foreign force, writes Azmi Bishara

                                                                                                                                  No amount of overstatement does justice to the significance of the fall of Baghdad. Yet stunned gasps at how easily the regime was toppled have little bearing on the subject. When you consider that the invasion was preceded by 10 years of war followed by 15 years of sanctions, the fall wasn't "easy" by any count. The importance of studying the fall of Baghdad resides in the insight it gives into how a regime that rested on a personality cult grew hollow. It sheds light on a type of regime that disengaged itself from the concerns, rights and interests of the people, that lumped its citizens into an amorphous body called "the masses", and that believed that slogans were enough to make this body move, as though it had a single head to process the information it was fed.

                                                                                                                                  [More:]

                                                                                                                                  If the public can be spontaneously stirred to action by powerful emotions such as jubilation, pent up resentment or outrage, then the government's task would seem to be to create the agenda and institutions for channelling these energies. The kind of regime at hand, however, does not deal well with spontaneity. In fact, spontaneity is one of its greatest fears and it is very good at containing it and sapping it of its force. Such a regime cannot suddenly mobilise "the masses" behind a strategy for resistance, especially when those so-called masses realise that resistance is synonymous with defending the regime.

                                                                                                                                  The people of the Soviet Union fought the Nazi occupation at a time when the Soviet order was at its most robust, in spite of Stalin's dictatorship. But even then, popular resistance alone could not have prevented the fall of Stalingrad and Leningrad. Those battles required the full and concerted strength of the entire army and the state. Contrary to the common impression, democracy doesn't come into it. Many dictatorships have emerged victorious from their wars, just as many democracies have lost theirs. What does come into it is an organised government, the loyalty of the army, current balances of power and the horizons of opportunity this offers. In the case of Iraq, the government and the army were in a disastrous condition.

                                                                                                                                  Of course that regime appealed to the Arab people, who had spontaneously demonstrated their outrage at the invasion. However, as there was no alternative project to steer these energies towards the realisation of a political agenda, they quickly dissipated. In some instances, other regimes succeeded in co-opting these energies in the interest of reaping a quantity of popular kudos. In other cases, governments simply loosened the leash a bit to let their public vent itself in a direction that was not aimed at them.

                                                                                                                                  In Iraq, the eruption of popular energies came after the collapse of the regime that had kept such a tight cap on them. The explosion took two trajectories: one directed inwards, as previously repressed conflicts between diverse social forces erupted; the other directed outwards, in the form of resistance against the occupation. Both trajectories influence and feed off each other, of course. Resistance under conditions of an intense and bloody domestic power struggle quickly descends to a conflict over the reading of the past and, hence, the definition of the future. This conflict, in turn, contributes to the deconstruction of existing identities and the reconstruction of new identities shaped by the current political struggle and by attendant images of the self as victim and the other as interloper or proxy of the interloper, all reinforced by the spiralling cycle of violence, vengeance and retribution. These volatile forces may inflict great moral and material damage on the occupation, as they are doing in Iraq, but they do not offer a viable national alternative to a united Iraq.

                                                                                                                                  In like manner, today's sectarian conflict in Iraq has assumed the guise of a conflict between those with and those opposed to the occupation. Tomorrow, it may assume the shape of a race to oust the occupation and claim the laurels for liberating Iraq -- or for achieving the partition of Iraq, which appears to be the way the current dynamics are heading.

                                                                                                                                  Perhaps the foregoing underscores why it is important to home in on the role and condition of the government and the army when studying the fall of Baghdad. After all, current social circumstances and the resistance have put paid to all studies and theories that preceded the war and that foresaw a victorious entrance of American troops, the clouds of dictatorship dispelled by the purifying forces of aerial and naval bombardment, and the rise of democracy from the devastation, like a phoenix from the ashes.

                                                                                                                                  Democracy is not borne from chaos or from the destruction of a nation, that's for sure. Democracy in Germany and Japan did not emerge from the destruction of those countries, contrary to the ridiculous myth. Democracy is an expression of the sovereignty of a nation and a form of exercising this sovereignty -- the most ideal form of exercising sovereignty, according to advocates of democracy, because it reflects the will of the people. Democracy cannot come into effect by manacling the sovereignty of a nation and dismantling a country as is currently taking place in Iraq and as some mad theorists had envisioned.

                                                                                                                                  It wasn't just Baghdad that fell, not even at first glance. What also came crashing to the ground was the fairytale that one could build democracy just by pointing some mighty barrels at a dictatorship. The commonly held impression is that society without government is civil society. The notion has become something of a fad. But it is an illusion and a dangerous one at that. Society without government is a society at war, a society in which everyone is at the throats of everyone else. With the collapse of the state in Iraq the fires from "society's hell" flared out of control. The dual collapse of the dictatorship of Baghdad and the myth of building democracy on the ruins gave rise to the current Iraqi nightmare.

                                                                                                                                  The current situation in Iraq marks a historic juncture in the Arab world; a juncture that raises a big question mark over the future of the Arab nation state as it currently stands. Iraq has driven home as never before that if this collection of nation states does not develop a higher level of cooperation on the basis of their common Arab identity it will disintegrate into a morass of warring sectarian and tribal groupings and revert to the pre-state era. Globalisation, as opposed to Americanisation and marginalisation, is a process that the Arabs must not allow themselves or their common identity to abandon in its wake. The Arabic language and culture are inherent media of communication and Arab satellite networks, television stations, newspapers, books, coffeehouses and all other public venues offer easily accessible channels for drawing the Arabs together and unifying their agendas. Unless they take advantage of these instruments to develop closer political, economic, social and supranational bonds, globalisation will bring nothing but the fragmentation of each nation state into sectarian and tribal pawns in the political and economic agendas of others.

                                                                                                                                  Iraq's isolation from the rest of the Arab world stemmed, firstly, from the nature of the decision- making process in Iraq, itself; secondly, from the ability of an American-led coalition to corner the country, subject it to a prolonged blockade and then to pound it militarily on pretexts that would not legitimise a war even if they were true; and, thirdly, from the mechanisms that elevated sectarian and tribal groupings into political blocs that recruit allegiance either to or against the occupation on the basis of their various organic affiliations. Building a nation ultimately rests on the creation of a sense of the overriding bonds of citizenship. Yet, prior to this, in both the pre- and post-independence phases, there must exist a sense of common cause -- generally referred to as the right of self-determination -- for it is this that affirms that overriding bond as the primary cornerstone for building the nation. The Arabs, however, have produced neither the type of national entities that can serve as a basis for generating a sense of identification with a common cause or a foundation of citizenship that may be smaller than the Arab world combined but larger than the Arabs within a single sub-regional national entity. What is left and what is now forcefully advancing itself as the intermediary between the individual and tyranny is political unity based on ethnic, religious and tribal affiliations.

                                                                                                                                  Even in the non-civil national entities we have, these same organic bonds form the primary units of affiliation within the state and army, in view of the absence of democratic institutions and the government's distrust of the loyalty of the individual to it. For the individual, meanwhile, these same units serve as the shield between him and the state. The irony is that what protects the individual from the despotism of the state forms one of the primary underpinnings of that despotism. The despotic regime justifies its existence on the grounds that it preserves the unity of the state, but in fact it sustains itself through its perpetration of and juggling with a vast diversity of centrifugal forces. But when the state and its army are defeated, these disparate disintegrative forces pounce upon the inheritance, in the course of which they exercise their own brand of tyranny as they fight it out with one another. Perhaps for this reason, some yearn for just plain tyranny.

                                                                                                                                  Clearly, then, the Arabs' task is to find the ways to forestall the emergence of a situation that opens the way to such phenomena as the blockade of Iraq and the military intervention in that country. Surely this is the lesson to be derived from that tragic experience. One hopes, therefore, to hear again the voices of those who had appealed for outside intervention in the name of slogans that quickly proved themselves hollow, if not extremist -- slogans, for example, that espoused bringing democracy on the back of American tanks. One might expect to hear some honest self-criticism instead of the pieties spouted by those who have shown themselves to have no real interest in democracy.

                                                                                                                                  There are a good many neo-liberals who parade beneath the banner of democracy, in spite of their general disregard for democratic methods and civil liberties, and who trumpet the need to prevent dictatorship only to retroactively justify a war that was waged on patently false pretences. If we add this behaviour to the actual crime of the dismantlement of the Iraqi state, we know that there was nothing unwitting in their complicity. The innocent ones blanched, admitted their mistakes and, at the very least, recognised the folly of American policies. The others never say what they mean and never mean what they say, and may well resort to the same theoretical hocus-pocus somewhere else in the future. No Arab state, at present, is immune to the spectre of fragmentation if it is subjected to the type of pounding visited upon Iraq.

                                                                                                                                  Proponents of privatisation are not necessarily economic neo-liberals. The system of patronage, sectarianism and tribalism, and the corruption that pervades it, does not form the foundation for neo- liberal capitalism. Nor are economic neo-liberals necessarily politically liberal. Under the shadow of American interventionism in the region there have emerged forces that have called for change, but in fact are thirsty for power and numb to the cause of civil rights and liberties. The current Arab condition breeds the type of people who propel themselves to the fore on liberal platforms and then quickly reveal themselves liberal only in the amount of economic and political influence they seek to lavish on themselves.

                                                                                                                                  Baghdad has fallen, but so to have all the illusions that had been pinned upon its fall. Here precisely is where an intensive reassessment must begin.

                                                                                                                                  Al Ahram

                                                                                                                                  2012 words posted in Op-Eds, Iraq warLeave a comment

                                                                                                                                  No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                  0 response(s) to Shattered illusions

                                                                                                                                    This post has 117 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                    Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                    Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                    <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                    Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                    Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                    URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                    (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                    (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                    (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                    Face to face

                                                                                                                                    English (US)  April 20th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                                                    THE LONG-STANDING dispute between Cairo and Berlin over the iconic bust of Nefertiti, currently housed in Berlin's Altes Museum, reached new heights this week when German Culture Minister Bernd Neumann rejected a request to loan the bust to Egypt for three months, reports Nevine El-Aref.

                                                                                                                                    The decision came a year after the Supreme Council of Antiquities' (SCA) Secretary-General Zahi Hawass requested the loan in a speech delivered before presidents Hosni Mubarak and Horst Khöler at the inauguration of the Egypt's Sunken Treasures exhibition in Berlin last May. Hawass asked for the loan of the bust so it could go on show at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo to coincide with the centenary celebrations of the German Archaeological Institute in Egypt. In return, Hawass pledged during his speech, that the SCA would offer another statue to the Egyptian Museum in Berlin for the three months that Nefertiti was in Egypt.

                                                                                                                                    [More:]

                                                                                                                                    "Experts have reservations about taking Nefertiti on a long trip, which we have to take seriously," said Neumann.

                                                                                                                                    This response triggered anger among local Egyptologists who claim that the bust, discovered in 1912 by German excavator Ludwig Borchardt in an artist's atelier in Tel Al-Amarna, was taken illegally from Egypt. Anxious to take the bust to Germany, Borchardt took advantage of the practice, common at the time, of splitting any new discovery between the Egyptian Antiquities Authority and the foreign mission concerned. Borchardt himself reported that he did not clean the bust but left it covered in mud when he took it to the Egyptian Museum for the usual division of spoils. The museum took two limestone statues of Akhenaten and Nefertiti and gave the head of Queen Nefertiti to the expedition because it was made of gypsum -- or so they thought.

                                                                                                                                    Rumours over what actually went on that day have persisted, one common claim being that Borchardt disguised the head, covering it with a layer of gypsum to ensure that the committee would note that it was actually made of painted limestone.

                                                                                                                                    Culture Minister Farouk Hosni described the German decision as "unjustified, especially given that Egypt has never withheld permission for archeological exhibitions held in Germany".

                                                                                                                                    Last Thursday Hawass announced that he will resubmit the request to borrow the bust.

                                                                                                                                    Al Ahram

                                                                                                                                    No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                    0 response(s) to Face to face

                                                                                                                                      This post has 51 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                      Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                      Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                      <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                      Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                      Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                      URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                      (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                      (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                      (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                      Gay Marriage: From the Capital to the Classroom

                                                                                                                                      English (US)  April 19th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                                                      By Christine Stuart

                                                                                                                                      The Judiciary Committee Co-Chairmen joined three University of Connecticut Law professors and a same-sex marriage advocate for a panel discussion on marriage equality Wednesday.

                                                                                                                                      The panelists seemed to conclude the easiest route to equality is public policy rather than the courts and the proponents of marriage equality believe confusion is their best ally.

                                                                                                                                      Full story at:
                                                                                                                                      CT News Junkie

                                                                                                                                      62 words posted in LawLeave a comment

                                                                                                                                      No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                      0 response(s) to Gay Marriage: From the Capital to the Classroom

                                                                                                                                        This post has 156 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                        Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                        Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                        <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                        Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                        Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                        URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                        (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                        (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                        (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                        Building Economic Independence in Palestine

                                                                                                                                        English (US)  April 19th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                                                        Note: The following is a talk given at the Second Annual Conference on Non-Violent Popular Resistance in the Palestinian village of Bil’in. Bil'in is a village where Palestinian, Israeli and international solidarity activists have non-violently protested the construction of the Apartheid Wall of Hatred regularly for the past two years. You can read more about it at stopthewall.org

                                                                                                                                        By Sam Bahour
                                                                                                                                        April 19, 2007

                                                                                                                                        First, allow me to salute the people of Bil’in. Your steadfastness is being registered in the annals of history with every meter of Wall being built and every olive tree ripped from it roots by this deplorable occupation.

                                                                                                                                        I’ve been asked to speak briefly on Building Economic Independence. A complicated topic but let me start by posting a question.

                                                                                                                                        How do we integrate a future Palestinian economy into a U.S.-dominated globalized world today, while yet still under foreign military occupation -- an occupation operating in the full view of the international community? Yes, I speak of those 3rd parties that are signatories to the 4th Geneva Convention that, for the last year, and the majority through today, have opted to apply economic and political boycotts and sanctions against the occupied people, driving us to a nation of poverty, crime and lawlessness. How do we do all of this while our very own leadership drinks tea on a bimonthly basis with that very same occupier that is removing, by daily actions on the ground, the option of a meaningful Palestinian independence?

                                                                                                                                        [More:]

                                                                                                                                        For 40 years, Israel linked the occupied Palestinian territory economy to its own. By design, an economic umbilical cord was weaved into every one of our sectors. To fast forward for the sake of time, it is worthy to note that the Oslo Peace Accords kept that umbilical cord fully attached, while at the same time laying on the Palestinian side the colossal burden of meeting the challenges of economic development without having the access to the full toolbox of economic resources.

                                                                                                                                        State donors entered the picture. Instead of rising to the obligations placed upon them in the 4th Geneva Convention to ensure no harm be done to the occupied people, the ‘protected people’ as we are classified under international law, these 3rd party states began feeding us fish instead of assisting us to learn how to fish for ourselves. In short, donors have become accomplices to the economic repression and sustaining of the status quo that is simmering us to death as we stand and struggle here today.

                                                                                                                                        Donors are not the only players in the equation. Sustainable development cannot be based on the agenda and political moods of foreign donors. Palestinian business and Palestinian consumers are, or should I say should, be the foundations in which we build our economy upon. It would be unfair to say the Palestinian business community has failed, it has not. Many businesses have remained steadfast in the face of unimaginable odds. Many others have been exceedingly successful. However, the success criteria of many of the movers and shakers in our business community needs scrutinized. Is success a single firm extracting an annual $100 million profit from the occupied people for a basic service? Is success considering building of industrial zones between this Apartheid Wall and the Green Line? Is success the monopolization of the various sectors and blocking new investments and new jobs from being created? As I noted, thousands of business are doing amazing things to keep their doors open, but a few movers and shakers have no intention of moving or shaking the occupation out of our lives and it is these elements of our own society we must hold accountable.

                                                                                                                                        Accountability cannot come from an expired Authority, pre-occupied with factional politics, despite our love of those trying to make it an operational body. The Palestinian citizen, the Palestinian consumer, and those in solidarity with Palestinians must carry the burden.

                                                                                                                                        I cannot comprehend how we can peacefully co-exist with Israeli settlement products on our shelves.

                                                                                                                                        I cannot comprehend how we can allow Israeli firms to dump their products and services into our market with no repercussions whatsoever.

                                                                                                                                        I cannot comprehend how 3rd party states refuse to take on their obligations under the 4th Geneva Convention when they see the economic roadblocks, checkpoints and Walls that Israel has constructed.

                                                                                                                                        Our land is being grabbed by the hour. Through what our good friend, Jeff Halper, coined a “matrix of control” Israel is making sure land is not sufficient for daily life, let alone economic independence. The hand of occupation controls the lands we can cultivate and the destiny of the trees that we plant.

                                                                                                                                        We are forced to buy our water from the Israeli water company, paying more than Israelis buying from the same source but using less per capita. The hand of occupation controls our water facets.

                                                                                                                                        All of the West Bank electricity is bought from the Israeli Electric Company and resold to us. The hand of occupation controls our light switches.

                                                                                                                                        Every telephone call all you make abroad is forced to go through an Israeli operator. The hand of occupation controls our conversations.

                                                                                                                                        Every laborer wanting to work in Israel, or on their land west of the wall for that matter, must be issued an Israeli permit. The hand of occupation controls the sweat of our workers.

                                                                                                                                        For the first time ever in our history, over a 1/3 of Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem desire to voluntarily emigrate. Over a 1/3! I should note that International Humanitarian Law is clear about war crimes. The bloody events of 1948 and 1967 and 2002 were all war crimes no doubt – a military occupation, drunk on power – still drink on power – bent on destroying the fabric of Palestinian society with results well known to you all. But it is an equal war crime under the laws of occupation for the “occupying power,” that’s Israel if we have forgotten, to create the conditions for the occupied people to voluntary to be left with no option but to leave their homes in search of security and a livelihood. I add to this the new Israeli policy of outright denying entry to those of us that are prevented by Israel of ascertaining residency. This denied entry policy is separating families and contributing to faster pace of our brain drain. I tend to call all of this a sterile ethnic cleansing, one that happens one family at a time, far from any media and bloodless.

                                                                                                                                        This is our reality. A reality many try to brush aside or under the carpet while pretending to be building or contributing to a viable state. Such a reality is incompatible with viability. Such a reality is not conducive to building economic independence.

                                                                                                                                        So what do we do? Fold up? Hide under a rock and hope for the best? Accept and acquiesce the foreign military occupation that has kept its boot on our necks for the last 40 years and which has separated us from our people for 60 years?

                                                                                                                                        NO. NOT THIS PEOPLE! We may not yet know how to win and end this nightmare, but I can assure you we definitely know how not to lose.

                                                                                                                                        As we, as a community, make our structural adjustment to our internal politics, new leadership is bound to emerge.

                                                                                                                                        As we learn and master the tools of our oppressors, our just case will be articulated online, offline, around the wall, and over the wall.

                                                                                                                                        As we focus on what matters in life: people, family, community and our inalienable rights, more focus will be placed on our ability to create Global Development Partnerships, our own kind of GDP, rather than chase the World Bank’s traditional measure of GDP. Our GDP includes all of those laborious hours mothers spend up keeping their children’s sanity and maintaining family life. Our GDP includes the efforts that all our political prisoners spend remaining steadfast in Israeli prisons. Our GDP is Global in scope, Developmental in substance, and in Partnership with peace and justice loving people wherever they reside.

                                                                                                                                        I’m sorry if I disappointed you by not talking about the many economic accomplishments over the last decade, several which I had the honor of contributing to. It is not that I’m not proud that, under odds most communities would have buckled under, we have built productive companies, a stock market, a banking industry, an ICT industry, an olive oil industry, a furniture industry, and a pharmaceutical industry, among others.

                                                                                                                                        These are all important but they are all trappings of a status quo that is taking us to a level of despair, unknown to our struggle. In a normal environment, as a private sector player, I would yearn for return on investments. In Palestine, I challenge my peers to translate that return to:

                                                                                                                                        The return to international law;

                                                                                                                                        The return to recognized borders; The return of our political prisoners to their families;

                                                                                                                                        The return of our refugees; and

                                                                                                                                        The return to community building.

                                                                                                                                        These returns are the only returns that will put us on the path toward economic independence.

                                                                                                                                        In closing, I want to note a quote passed to me by an Israeli friend of mine in Jerusalem. One of the Jewish sages, someone famous in Judaism, from the 17th Century; Rabbi Nachman from Bratzlav once said, "There is nothing that is more whole than a broken heart".

                                                                                                                                        My friend said that "this is not so easy to see from within." I agree.

                                                                                                                                        Thank you for your attention.

                                                                                                                                        Sam Bahour is a Palestinian-American business consultant and activist based in Ramallah/Al-Bireh and may be reached at sbahour@palnet.com.

                                                                                                                                        1595 words posted in Human Rights, BusinessLeave a comment

                                                                                                                                        No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                        0 response(s) to Building Economic Independence in Palestine

                                                                                                                                          This post has 70 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                          Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                          Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                          <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                          Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                          Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                          URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                          (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                          (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                          (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                          Human Shield

                                                                                                                                          English (US)  April 19th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                                                          No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                          0 response(s) to Human Shield

                                                                                                                                            This post has 86 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                            Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                            Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                            <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                            Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                            Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                            URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                            (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                            (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                            (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                            Violence and Racism

                                                                                                                                            English (US)  April 19th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                                                            Opinion

                                                                                                                                            By Mazin Qumsiyeh

                                                                                                                                            Two issues jumped at me in the media coverage of violent events recently: the terminology and lack of context on violence.

                                                                                                                                            Imagine if a student who happens to be a Muslim and/or Arab carried out the attack at Virginia Tech.
                                                                                                                                            Imagine the media frenzy that would have ensued to serve Zionist interests.

                                                                                                                                            [More:]

                                                                                                                                            The religion of the killer in this case was not mentioned. While it was mentioned that he is Asian/Korean no one used terms like Korean Terrorist or Asian Terrorist, let alone Christian Fascist or Christian Terrorist. But such language as Islamofascist or Arab Terrorist is now so common and no talk show (let alone government official) is censored or fired for using them.

                                                                                                                                            Does anyone doubt that the interview with the gun dealer would have been very different had the killer been an Arab or even Middle Eastern looking?

                                                                                                                                            This is part and parcel of the same mentality that holds that elevates certain victims while dehumanizing others.* The hypocrisy is astounding.
                                                                                                                                            While few mumbled things about gun control, few dared to challenge the culture of violence that is promoted at the highest levels of this government, in the media, in Hollywood, and in just about every segment of public discourse in America. To the detriment of our economic and physical well being as taxpayers and citizens, the racism that begets violence is increasing thanks to the influence of those who unabashedly work to make
                                                                                                                                            America into the image of racist Zionist Israel.

                                                                                                                                            The largest single donor to the Democratic Party is an Israeli by the name of Haim Saban who became a billionaire peddling violent video games (e.g.
                                                                                                                                            Mighty Morphin Power Rangers**) and promoting violence in his ever-growing media empire. I think people will begin to see that this horrific violence
                                                                                                                                            at Virginia Tech cannot be separated from the violent and racist lifestyles that many lead without even knowing it (games they play, videos they watch,
                                                                                                                                            talk show they listen to, movies they attend). It is this normalization of violence and racism that allows people to ignore the role of our government
                                                                                                                                            in the violence that resulted in the continued ethnic cleansing of Palestine (70%) of Palestinians are now refugees or displaced people) and the violence unleashed on Iraq and Afghanistan. It is the same ideology of racial superiority that informed US and Israeli collaboration for decades with Apartheid South Africa and the US war on Vietnam. Why is there little in our media about the hundreds killed at Universities in Iraq** or the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed thanks to a war of choice built on lies and deception?

                                                                                                                                            Most US discretionary spending goes to the military (not even counting supplementals to pay for current wars on Iraq and Afghanistan). The US makes 70% of all the weapons in the world and is by far the largest weapon exporter. The criminal justice system imprisons the largest number and percentage of any industrialized nation (nearly 7 million on
                                                                                                                                            parole/jail/probation) and employs 2% of the US workforce. Yet crime rates in America are higher than most countries. The toll this past week for
                                                                                                                                            these failed policies: 32 innocent lives lost in VA, hundreds of Americans murdered in inner cities, more young soldiers killed in Iraq, and hundreds of Iraqi civilians massacred. When do we say enough is enough: that racism promotes violence and that, as MLK said "injustice anywhere is a threat to
                                                                                                                                            justice everywhere"?

                                                                                                                                            *The Holocaust as political asset by Amira Hass, Haaretz
                                                                                                                                            http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/849669.html
                                                                                                                                            ** http://www.mediamonitors.net/mazin32.html
                                                                                                                                            *** http://www.iraqslogger.com

                                                                                                                                            Source: Qumsiyeh

                                                                                                                                            600 words posted in Op-EdsLeave a comment

                                                                                                                                            No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                            0 response(s) to Violence and Racism

                                                                                                                                              This post has 30 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                              Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                              Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                              <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                              Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                              Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                              URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                              (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                              (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                              (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                              Middletown Alaska Native wins semi-pro football team franchise

                                                                                                                                              English (US)  April 18th, 2007 by admin ( Email )


                                                                                                                                              Photo courtesy Jeff Hurlburt -- Jeff Hurlburt, an Alaska Native residing in Middletown, Conn., was awarded the franchise for the newest team in the New England Football League, which plays semi-pro football. He has named the team the Middletown Spartans.

                                                                                                                                              By Gale Courey Toensing / Indian Country Today

                                                                                                                                              MIDDLETOWN, Conn. - Jeff Hurlburt is a busy guy. The 27-year-old Alaska Native is married with four children. He's a full-time graduate student studying physical education at Central Connecticut State University. He also works full-time for the state as a mental health worker at Connecticut Valley Hospital: and now he's kicking off the first season of the newly created Middletown Spartans, a semi-pro football team in the New England Football League.

                                                                                                                                              [More:]

                                                                                                                                              Hurlburt, a Dena'ina Athabascan whose family is from the village of Tyonek, Alaska, was recently awarded ownership of the NEFL expansion team by the league's board of directors.

                                                                                                                                              The NEFL is the largest semi-pro football league in the country, with 38 teams in all six New England states and three different skill levels.

                                                                                                                                              The award was the result of a competitive application process that involved showing financial support and recruiting a roster of around 60 players and a coaching staff - all dedicated volunteers with a competitive edge and love of the game.

                                                                                                                                              But not only is Hurlburt the owner of the new team, he's also the general manager and a player.

                                                                                                                                              ''I always thought about doing this,'' Hurlburt told Indian Country Today.

                                                                                                                                              Hurlburt, who was born and raised in Middletown, played football at Middletown High School and during his undergraduate years at Southern Connecticut State University, where he got a degree in business.

                                                                                                                                              Recently, he has played football for another NEFL team - the Connecticut Thunder.

                                                                                                                                              ''It was good, but it was a 45-minute drive both ways for practice and games. I wanted to form a team with people from my own area, people I grew up with, people I went to school with,'' Hurlburt said.

                                                                                                                                              A blitz of fliers at local colleges and gyms and a story in the Middletown Press helped recruit all the players he needs.

                                                                                                                                              As excited as Hurlburt is about his new football venture, he is looking toward a future plan to move his family to Alaska and teach Native children.

                                                                                                                                              ''I think it'll be a really good experience for me working with Native children, many of whom are the same tribe, the same clan and being Alaska or Native American,'' Hurlburt said.

                                                                                                                                              In 1997, Hurlburt's mother moved back to Tyonek. He has visited her several times and on one of the visits he decided to become a Native educator there.

                                                                                                                                              ''Our village is in the Alaska bush. The only way you can get there is by plane or boat. They still pretty much live a subsistence lifestyle. They still eat bear and moose and salmon. We plan on moving up there, I'm thinking in three years. This football team has been one of my dreams for many years, but I got into this physical education degree and my other dream is to work in the Anchorage school system as a Native teacher,'' Hurlburt said.

                                                                                                                                              Like so many others living in two worlds, Hurlburt has an acute sense of ''home.''

                                                                                                                                              ''It's different, but of course Alaska feels like home to me. When I go to Alaska I meet people who are Athabascan, who are from Tyonek. I meet tribal members and it's like, this is my cousin, this is my uncle. The only time I see Indians in Connecticut is at the pow wows. I've been going to those my entire life. My mom would bring me to the pow wows from a very young age,'' Hurlburt said.

                                                                                                                                              Hurlburt said he hopes he'll be a role model for young Alaskan Natives and American Indians.

                                                                                                                                              ''I'm taking a big risk [by taking on the football team]. But this was a dream of mine for years and I think my business degree gave me a bit of confidence so maybe it shows that anybody with hard work and discipline can achieve their goals. For the last couple of years my dream has been to move to Alaska and work with Alaskan and Native children. I've spent my entire life in Connecticut. I might go up there and get homesick, but it's something I need to do,'' Hurlburt said.

                                                                                                                                              Right now Hurlburt is focusing on making a successful football team. ''Successful'' in this context doesn't mean ''money-making.''

                                                                                                                                              ''This is all about the love of the game. It's really organized and very competitive, but we're not playing for money; we're playing for fun, for pride, for where you live,'' Hurlburt said.

                                                                                                                                              Nevertheless, it costs money to operate. No one, including Hurlburt, will be paid this season. Hurlburt estimated it will cost around $5,000 for the season's field rentals for practice, games and other expenses.

                                                                                                                                              The players kick in $100 each to play on the team and will pay for their own equipment and health insurance.

                                                                                                                                              There will be four home games and four games away, possibly a few scrimmages and, hopefully, the team will be in the playoffs and bring home the championship, Hurlburt said.

                                                                                                                                              ''I took out a $1,500 loan just to help with any expenses that come up. I'm just hoping for some local sponsorship and maybe some help from the Native American community,'' Hurlburt said.

                                                                                                                                              The team is poised and ready to begin the season in July.

                                                                                                                                              ''My head coach and coaching staff are taking on a lot of the responsibility with my schedule being what it is. They know this is something I wanted to do for many years, and I picked a busy time to do it; but with the staff, the players who really want to play, and if some sponsors step up, this can really happen,'' Hurlburt said.

                                                                                                                                              For more information about the team or to become a sponsor, e-mail Hurlburt at hurlburtjet@students.ccsu.edu or call (860) 347-3795 (home) or (860) 301-6915 (cell).

                                                                                                                                              Indian Country Today

                                                                                                                                              981 words posted in General News2 comments

                                                                                                                                              2 response(s) to Middletown Alaska Native wins semi-pro football team franchise

                                                                                                                                              1. julie johnnie [Visitor] Email says:

                                                                                                                                                I am so proud of you son. I cried when i read this.At work so I gotta run. Kick their butts!!
                                                                                                                                                love you indian'
                                                                                                                                                MOM

                                                                                                                                              2. Michael Smith [Visitor] Email says:

                                                                                                                                                Best Wishes for a great season! I'm a former
                                                                                                                                                resident of Middletown, place of some of the
                                                                                                                                                best memories of my life and now a huge Spartan
                                                                                                                                                fan way out here in California. Go Spartans!!!

                                                                                                                                              This post has 3954 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                              Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                              Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                              <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                              Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                              Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                              URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                              (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                              (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                              (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                              Two on trial over Al Jazeera memo

                                                                                                                                              English (US)  April 18th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                                                              A government official and a former political researcher have stood trial for allegedly leaking a classified memo in which the US president reportedly referred to bombing Al Jazeera's TV station in Qatar.

                                                                                                                                              [More:]

                                                                                                                                              David Keogh and Leo O'Connor are accused of violating secrets laws by disclosing a document relating to 2004 talks between George Bush and Tony Blair, the British prime minister.

                                                                                                                                              Keogh is alleged to have passed the memo to O'Connor in May 2004, who in turn placed it in a file he handed to his boss, Tony Clarke, then a legislator who had voted against Britain's decision to join the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

                                                                                                                                              Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper previously had reported that the memo noted that Blair had argued against Bush's suggestion of bombing Al Jazeera's headquarters in Doha, Qatar.

                                                                                                                                              The Daily Mirror said its sources disagreed on whether Bush's suggestion was serious.

                                                                                                                                              'Outlandish and inconceivable'

                                                                                                                                              Blair has said he had no information about any proposed US action against Al Jazeera, and the White House called the claims "outlandish and inconceivable".

                                                                                                                                              David Perry, the prosecutor, did not mention the claim in court on Wednesday, but said jurors would see the document during parts of the hearing, closed to the public, because of the sensitivity of the contents.

                                                                                                                                              The document - marked "Secret-Personal" - was intended to be restricted to senior officials and was written by a Blair adviser, he said.

                                                                                                                                              Blair's staff circulated the memo to a range of military and political officials in London, Washington, the United Nations and Iraq - including Britain's MI6 intelligence agency.

                                                                                                                                              Keogh and O'Connor had put the lives of troops in Iraq at risk because the memo contained defence data, Perry said.

                                                                                                                                              Bush and Blair met in Washington on April 16, 2004, while the Coalition Provisional Authority was acting as administrator in post-war Iraq and "against the background of the insurgency."

                                                                                                                                              "We live in a democratic society, not the Wild West," Perry told the court.

                                                                                                                                              "It is not for people to decide they are going to be the sheriff in town."

                                                                                                                                              Sensitive documents

                                                                                                                                              Keogh worked at a government communications bunker handling sensitive documents and intelligence, Perry said.

                                                                                                                                              The unit relayed information to diplomats overseas via encrypted or secure methods.

                                                                                                                                              Perry said Keogh received a faxed copy of the memo to send on to official, but duplicated it unlawfully before doing so and later passed the document to O'Connor.

                                                                                                                                              Clarke, who is no longer a lawmaker, alerted authorities when he discovered the memo among paperwork from O'Connor.

                                                                                                                                              Britain's foreign office said Keogh is currently suspended pending the outcome of the case.

                                                                                                                                              Both defendants deny offences under the Official Secrets Act.

                                                                                                                                              Keogh denies two charges of making a damaging disclosure of part of a government document. O'Connor denies two similar charges.

                                                                                                                                              Source: Agencies

                                                                                                                                              452 words posted in American EmpireLeave a comment

                                                                                                                                              No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                              0 response(s) to Two on trial over Al Jazeera memo

                                                                                                                                                This post has 21 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                                Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                                Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                                <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                                Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                                Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                                URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                                (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                                (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                                (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                                US ban on abortion procedure upheld

                                                                                                                                                English (US)  April 18th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                                                                A closely divided US Supreme Court has upheld the first nationwide ban on a specific abortion procedure.

                                                                                                                                                [More:]


                                                                                                                                                The ruling restricting abortion rights is one of the most divisive and politically charged issues facing the country.

                                                                                                                                                The ruling is a major victory for conservative forces in the United States, which have battled for decades to reverse the landmark 1973 Roe vs Wade law establishing a woman's legal right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.

                                                                                                                                                The five-to-four decision in a case challenging the constitutionality of a ban on what critics call "partial birth abortion" is a reflection of the impact of the recent addition to the US high court of two conservative justices appointed by George Bush, the US president.

                                                                                                                                                Abortion opponents condemn the procedure as infanticide, because the head and torso of the foetus is delivered intact while alive, but the foetus does not die until doctors extract its brain.

                                                                                                                                                'Culture of life'

                                                                                                                                                Bush hailed the decision, which he said affirms the "culture of life" espoused by many Americans.

                                                                                                                                                "The partial-birth abortion ban, which an overwhelming bipartisan majority in congress passed and I signed into law, represents a commitment to building a culture of life in America."

                                                                                                                                                Bush also said that years-long efforts to outlaw the "abhorrent procedure" reflect "the compassion and humanity of America."

                                                                                                                                                "The Supreme Court's decision is an affirmation of the progress we have made over the past six years in protecting human dignity and upholding the sanctity of life," he said.

                                                                                                                                                "We will continue to work for the day when every child is welcomed in life and protected in law."

                                                                                                                                                Outright ban

                                                                                                                                                Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the high court majority, wrote that the ban does not impose an "undue burden" since there were other options, such as making sure the foetus was not intact when it had to be extracted.

                                                                                                                                                US anti-abortion activists hailed the watershed ruling, and expressed hope that the decision eventually will pave the way to an outright ban on all abortions across the country.

                                                                                                                                                "The time is now right to launch aggressive legal challenges across America to abortion on demand," said Troy Newmann, of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue.

                                                                                                                                                Unease

                                                                                                                                                For their part, "pro-choice" interests said they were fearful about the future of access to abortion, although they couched their unease in the narrow terms of Wednesday's decision.

                                                                                                                                                Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in a sharply worded dissent, called Wednesday's decision "alarming."

                                                                                                                                                "It tolerates, indeed applauds, federal intervention to ban nationwide a procedure found necessary and proper in certain cases," she said.

                                                                                                                                                "For the first time since Roe, the Court blesses a prohibition with no exception safeguarding a woman's health," Ginsburg wrote.

                                                                                                                                                US Senator Barbara Boxer, a pro-choice advocate, echoed that alarm.

                                                                                                                                                "As a result of today's ruling, the health of women who have dangerous pregnancies is now in deep jeopardy," the California politician said.

                                                                                                                                                "Women who are in need of this banned procedure will be denied it, even if they risk losing their fertility, becoming paralysed or sustaining organ damage" while having a less safe procedure, Boxer said.

                                                                                                                                                According to estimates, around 10 per cent of the roughly 1.2 million annual voluntary abortions take place after the third month of pregnancy; the method in question affects a few thousand of those.

                                                                                                                                                Source: Agencies

                                                                                                                                                537 words posted in HealthLeave a comment

                                                                                                                                                No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                                0 response(s) to US ban on abortion procedure upheld

                                                                                                                                                  This post has 21 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                                  Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                                  Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                                  <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                                  Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                                  Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                                  URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                                  (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                                  (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                                  (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                                  Baghdad hit by string of attacks

                                                                                                                                                  English (US)  April 18th, 2007 by admin ( Email )


                                                                                                                                                  Carnage continues despite a US-led security crackdown in Baghdad

                                                                                                                                                  The Iraqi capital Baghdad has been struck by five car bombings killing at least 127 people on Wednesday.

                                                                                                                                                  [More:]

                                                                                                                                                  The attacks came only hours after Nuri al-Maliki, the country’s prime minister, said his forces would take over security in Iraq from US-led forces by the end of the year.

                                                                                                                                                  A defence ministry official said the deadliest explosion near a market in the mixed Kurdish and Shia Sadriya area of the city killed at least 82 people and wounded a further 94.

                                                                                                                                                  Another security official put the death toll at 75 with 105 wounded, although a medical official at the capital's Al-Kindi hospital said doctors there had received only 69 bodies so far.

                                                                                                                                                  Al Jazeera sources said the death toll could be as high as 90.

                                                                                                                                                  Multiple bombings

                                                                                                                                                  An earlier explosion killed least 30 people in the predominately Shia area of Sadr City in Baghdad.

                                                                                                                                                  45 people were also wounded when the suicide bomber hit a traffic jam of civilian cars queuing at a checkpoint in the large suburb that is home to around 2.5 million people.

                                                                                                                                                  Police said five Iraqi security officials were among the dead.

                                                                                                                                                  At least eight vehicles were incinerated and huge plume of black smoke could be seen rising from the scene.

                                                                                                                                                  Earlier another car bomb killed 10 people and wounded 15 in the predominantly Shia district of Karrada. The blast damaged the Abdul-Majid hospital and other nearby buildings.

                                                                                                                                                  A bomb inside a minibus killed two people and wounded five near al-Shurja in central Baghdad, police said.

                                                                                                                                                  The fourth explosion was from a bomb left on a minibus in the northwestern Risafi area, killing four people and wounding six others.

                                                                                                                                                  US officials have said there has been a slight decrease in sectarian killings in Baghdad since a joint security plan was launched on February 14.

                                                                                                                                                  But the past week has seen several large attacks on the capital, including a suicide bombing inside the parliament building and a powerful attack that caused a bridge across the Tigris river to collapse.

                                                                                                                                                  "We've seen both inspiring progress and too much evidence that we still face many grave challenges," William Caldwell, a spokesman for the US military, told reporters on Wednesday in Baghdad.

                                                                                                                                                  "We've always said securing Baghdad would not be easy."

                                                                                                                                                  Nationwide violence

                                                                                                                                                  Elsewhere in Iraq on Wednesday, US troops killed five suspected fighters and captured 30 others in a raid in the western Anbar province, a day after police uncovered 17 decomposing corpses beneath two school yards in the provincial capital.

                                                                                                                                                  In other violence, two brothers were killed and a policeman was hurt in a gun battle in Baqouba, 60 km northeast of Baghdad, police said.

                                                                                                                                                  The dead were believed to be civilians, caught in the crossfire as police fought unidentified gunmen.

                                                                                                                                                  In the northern city of Kirkuk gunmen wounded a judge, his wife and son in a drive-by shooting.

                                                                                                                                                  The violence across the country continued as the prime minister declared that his forces were aiming to take over security matters in Iraq from US-led forces by the end of the year.

                                                                                                                                                  Handover

                                                                                                                                                  In a speech delivered on his behalf at a ceremony marking the handover of southern Maysan province from British to Iraqi control, al-Maliki said three provinces in the autonomous Kurdistan region would be next, followed by Kerbala and Wasit provinces.

                                                                                                                                                  "Then it will be province by province until we achieve (this transfer) before the end of the year," al-Maliki said in the speech delivered by Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, the national security adviser.

                                                                                                                                                  Al-Rubaie said this could happen even sooner.

                                                                                                                                                  "We are working very hard to get all provinces to have control and transfer security responsibilities ... well before Christmas," he told reporters in English after the ceremony.

                                                                                                                                                  Jazeera

                                                                                                                                                  603 words posted in American Empire, Iraq warLeave a comment

                                                                                                                                                  No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                                  0 response(s) to Baghdad hit by string of attacks

                                                                                                                                                    This post has 17 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                                    Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                                    Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                                    <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                                    Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                                    Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                                    URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                                    (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                                    (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                                    (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                                    Monks rally for a Buddhist Thailand

                                                                                                                                                    English (US)  April 18th, 2007 by admin ( Email )


                                                                                                                                                    The call has raised fears that tensions in
                                                                                                                                                    the Muslim south could be inflamed

                                                                                                                                                    Hundreds of Buddhist monks have rallied in the Thai capital calling for Buddhism to be enshrined in the constitution as Thailand's national religion.

                                                                                                                                                    [More:]

                                                                                                                                                    The protest outside parliament in Bangkok comes as the country's military appointed government plans

                                                                                                                                                    to unveil a new national constitution this month.

                                                                                                                                                    The monks' call revives a debate that dates back to 1997 when a campaign to make Buddhism the national religion was dropped amid concerns that it would divide the country.

                                                                                                                                                    The proposal has split Thais, with some worried that it could inflame tensions in the Muslim south of the country, where three years of violence have left more than 2,000 people dead.

                                                                                                                                                    Previous Thai constitutions have never declared a state religion, although about 90 per cent of Thais consider themselves Buddhists.

                                                                                                                                                    Supporters of the move want to see an existing clause in the constitution which states that the king must be a Buddhist and upholder of all religions, to include an addition making Buddhism the national religion.

                                                                                                                                                    The government installed by a military coup last September has said the new constitution will help guide the kingdom back to democracy.

                                                                                                                                                    It says a draft of the charter, due to be released on April 26, will be put to a national referendum in September before elections expected in December.

                                                                                                                                                    However, critics have said they fear the new constitution will be used as a tool by coup leaders to cement the power of the military, long a powerful force in Thai politics.

                                                                                                                                                    Source: Agencies

                                                                                                                                                    No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                                    0 response(s) to Monks rally for a Buddhist Thailand

                                                                                                                                                      This post has 17 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                                      Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                                      Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                                      <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                                      Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                                      Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                                      URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                                      (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                                      (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                                      (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                                      Capuano and Kucinich Come Clean About the Lobby: Why is the Peace Movement Silent About AIPAC?

                                                                                                                                                      English (US)  April 17th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                                                                      By John Walsh

                                                                                                                                                      "AIPAC!" was the forceful one-word answer of Congressman Michael Capuano when we asked him, "Why was the Iran clause forbidding war on Iran without Congressional approval taken out of the recent supplemental for the Iraq war funding?" I nearly fell out of my chair at his reply - not because this was news but because of who had just said it. Capuano is a close ally of Nancy Pelosi, her fixer and enforcer. That was last Friday morning when a small delegation from Cambridge and Somerville, MA, were visiting the Congressman, known for his bluntness, as part of the nationwide UFPJ (United For Peace and Justice) home lobbying effort during the Congressional recess.

                                                                                                                                                      [More:]

                                                                                                                                                      Later that day, Dennis Kucinich made an appearance at Harvard, where he was asked the same question, the reason for removing the Iran provision. "AIPAC," I volunteered out loud. Kucinich looked my way and said, "Exactly." Again my chair almost failed to contain me.

                                                                                                                                                      A few weeks earlier we had gone to the offices of Senators Kennedy and then Kerry to discuss the war. (My intention was to call their attention to www.FilibusterForPeace.org to which the Kennedy aide was sympathetic and the Kerry aide predictably hostile.) I raised the question of AIPAC directly with Kerry's aide, inquiring about its hawkish influence on Kerry and other Senators. Suddenly the aide was quite engaged. Leaning forward, he said: "That will never be discussed publicly. That will never be discussed publicly." Clearly even Kerry's office is unhappy with the pressure that comes from AIPAC.

                                                                                                                                                      It is widely acknowledged that the reps and senators are ticked at AIPAC, and their hostility seems to be growing these days. With upwards of 60% of their campaign contributions coming directly or indirectly from the Israel Lobby, the Democratic congressmen are not free to respond to their antiwar base. This opens them to an antiwar electoral challenge on the Left or Right from forces not subservient to AIPAC. And that could cost them their next election, a little thing which has them very worked up. Capuano's cry of "AIPAC" was no simple outburst of candor but a cri de coeur for his career.

                                                                                                                                                      So here we have even Congressmen and Senator's aides complaining publicly about AIPAC. AIPAC is being outed all over the mainstream media, largely thanks to the door opening work of Mearsheimer and Walt. AIPAC is skewered routinely by Justin Raimondo on Antiwar.com and by Alex Cockburn and many others here on CounterPunch. But there remains no anti-AIPAC campaign within the mainstream antiwar organizations, like UFPJ or Peace Action. (Even one supposed Congressional ally of the peace movement was announced as a celebrity guest at the recent colossal AIPAC meeting in Washington, where half the Congress shows up and Dick Cheney is a regular speaker. What gives?)

                                                                                                                                                      I have been told by leaders of the peace movement that AIPAC is a distraction from the main thrust of the antiwar movement. And so we should not engage it; AIPAC is to be immune. But with all due respect to the sentiments of that leadership, immunity for AIPAC is a prescription for disaster. To use a military analogy, which I do not especially like, suppose that we were trying to take a hill in Germany in 1944. And suppose we said that we would not attack one pillbox, which kept devastating our forces. Leave just that one pillbox alone! The result would be devastating; we would be cut down with every succeeding attempt at advance. So it is with AIPAC which campaigns relentlessly for war on Iraq, war on Iran, war on Syria, war on Lebanon and the slow genocide of the Palestinian people. AIPAC constantly puts the peace movement on the defensive while it is free to be on the offensive all the time.

                                                                                                                                                      AIPAC is not just an issue for Jewish Americans or the Jewish wing of the peace movement like Jewish Voice for Peace; it is a major force, although not the only one, driving the U.S. to wars in the Middle East. AIPAC is no less a force for war than is the Republican National Committee. In fact it is worse, because it sinks its teeth into the foreign policy establishment of both parties, perhaps the Dems more so than the Republicans. If the peace movement is to be worth its salt, then it must take action against AIPAC. (It is marathon season here in Boston and my friend, Israeli expatriate Joshua Ashenberg, tells me that the foregoing thought harbors a logical error. As he says: "A 'movement' that does not work against AIPAC is NOT a peace movement by definition. It will not help if I call myself a marathon runner, while I never ran a marathon.")

                                                                                                                                                      In the Boston area, AIPAC appears to be especially powerful, and so we have a special responsibility to take it on. At the recent AIPAC conference in Washington, the delegates from Boston/New England were the most hawkish toward Iran. Just before the last election a notorious ad in the Boston Globe, cheering on the Israeli bombing of Lebanon, was engineered by the Jewish Community Relations Council, an arm of AIPAC here. Every major political figure in MA signed the ad, including our "liberal" governor, Deval Patrick, and supposed peacenik Congressman Jim McGovern. Only Conressmen Capuano and Delahunt withheld their signatures. In addition AIPAC appears to raise a lot of money in our neck of the woods.

                                                                                                                                                      So I have a modest suggestion. On Sunday, April 29, beginning at 6 pm, AIPAC has its annual fundraising dinner at the Westin Hotel in Copley Square in Boston. (Last year a good table for 10 went for a modest $10,000.) Show up at 5 pm to protest the machinations of AIPAC. Which peace organizations in our area will be there? Which ones will promote the rally? And which will maintain their silence?

                                                                                                                                                      * American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)

                                                                                                                                                      John V. Walsh can be reached at John.Endwar@gmail.com.

                                                                                                                                                      He urges one and all to sign and circulate the petition at www.FilibusterForPeace.org. The Senate Dems have the power to stop the war with 41 votes; tell them to use it.

                                                                                                                                                      Counterpunch

                                                                                                                                                      No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                                      0 response(s) to Capuano and Kucinich Come Clean About the Lobby: Why is the Peace Movement Silent About AIPAC?

                                                                                                                                                        This post has 19 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                                        Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                                        Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                                        <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                                        Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                                        Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                                        URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                                        (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                                        (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                                        (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                                        Israel's Strategic Threat

                                                                                                                                                        English (US)  April 17th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                                                                        By Neve Gordon

                                                                                                                                                        In early April the rumors about Dr. Azmi Bishara, the most famous Arab Knesset member, began circulating on the Internet: Bishara is afraid to return to Israel; Bishara intends to resign from the Knesset; the Israeli Security Agency has decided to accuse Bishara of treason and espionage. The gag order preventing the publication of any information about Bishara's actions made the rumors all the more intriguing. What did Bishara, in fact, do?

                                                                                                                                                        [More:]

                                                                                                                                                        Bishara, a Christian Palestinian citizen of Israel from Nazareth, established the National Democratic Assembly known as Balad in 1995 and became a Knesset member in 1996. Since then he has been interrogated several times by the Israeli Security Agency, and has been charged and found not guilty twice: once for organizing visits to Syria for Israeli Arabs who wished to visit family members and a second time for speeches he gave in Syria and Israel praising Hezbollah's resistance in southern Lebanon and Palestinian opposition in the occupied territories. His visit to Beirut following last year's Lebanon war, alongside his claim that Israel was committing war crimes in Lebanon and carrying out genocide against Shiite Muslims, was, for many Israelis, yet another indication that Bishara has been using his parliamentary immunity to harm Israel. Many Jewish members of the Knesset have argued for years that Bishara is a fifth column and that Israeli democracy has a right and indeed an obligation to defend itself against the Bishara threat.

                                                                                                                                                        But what, one might ask, are Bishara's new offenses? It is, after all, highly unlikely that he is a spy on the payroll of a foreign entity. And while one may not like his uncompromising opposition to Israeli and American regional policies and his admiration for Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah's militancy and strategic intelligence, expressing such views does not in and of itself jeopardize Israel's existence. Bishara, it seems, is a threat not because of any particular action or statement but because he has become a symbol of a new kind of opposition within Israel.

                                                                                                                                                        During the past few months, political activists and members of the Palestinian intellectual elite within Israel, all of whom are Israeli citizens, have drafted four documents that articulate how they conceive the state's future. The underlying assumption of all of these documents is that as long as Israel is defined as a Jewish state, its laws will always fall short of basic democratic principles and, more particularly, the right of all its citizens to full equality.

                                                                                                                                                        The authors of the document called "The Democratic Constitution" maintain that the Arab citizens of Israel should be considered a "homeland minority" with national rights. The idea is to transform Israel into a bilingual and multicultural democracy for all its citizens, rather than a Jewish democracy, which they argue is an oxymoron. Such transformation would inevitably mean changing the laws of citizenship and immigration so that citizenship would no longer be granted automatically to any Jew wishing to immigrate but rather to anyone born within Israel's territory or whose parent or spouse is a citizen, or to people persecuted due to their political beliefs.

                                                                                                                                                        Not long after the documents' publication, Israel's second-largest newspaper, Ma'ariv, reported a meeting between the head of the security agency, Yuval Diskin, and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. During the meeting Diskin warned Olmert that the radicalization of Israel's Arab citizens constitutes a "strategic threat to the state's existence."

                                                                                                                                                        Diskin added that "the proliferation of the visionary documents published by the different Arab elites in Israel is particularly worrisome, [since] the documents are united by their conception of Israel as a state for all its citizens and not a Jewish state." The head of the security services concluded that "the separatist and subversive patterns represented by the elites might engender a new direction and mobilize the masses."

                                                                                                                                                        Balad sent a letter protesting Diskin's assertions, arguing that legitimate political activity whose aim is to change the state's character should not be considered subversive or dangerous. According to Ha'aretz, the Israeli Security Agency replied that it "would foil the activity of anyone seeking to harm Israel's Jewish or democratic character, even if that activity was carried out by legal means."

                                                                                                                                                        Diskin's words are telling. He admits not only that anyone who strives to alter the Jewish character of the state is considered an enemy and will be treated as such but that the secret service has no respect for democratic practices and procedures. It is precisely within the context of the four historic documents that one should understand the recent accusations against Bishara. More than anything else, Bishara constitutes a symbolic threat, since he personifies the recent demand of the Palestinian elite to transform Israel from a Jewish democracy to a democracy for all its citizens.

                                                                                                                                                        The Nation

                                                                                                                                                        No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                                        0 response(s) to Israel's Strategic Threat

                                                                                                                                                          This post has 94 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                                          Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                                          Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                                          <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                                          Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                                          Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                                          URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                                          (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                                          (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                                          (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                                          US-Israel ties bad for peace: Soros

                                                                                                                                                          English (US)  April 17th, 2007 by admin ( Email )


                                                                                                                                                          George Soros is Jewish but not often engaged
                                                                                                                                                          in Israeli affairs

                                                                                                                                                          George Soros, the billionaire investor, has added his voice to the debate over the role of Israel's lobby in shaping US foreign policy.

                                                                                                                                                          [More:]


                                                                                                                                                          In the current issue of the New York Review of Books, Soros takes issue with "the pervasive influence of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC]" in Washington and says the Bush administration's close ties with Israel are obstacles to a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

                                                                                                                                                          Soros, who is Jewish but not often engaged in Israeli affairs, echoed arguments that have fuelled debate in academia, foreign policy think tanks and parts of the US Jewish community.

                                                                                                                                                          "The pro-Israel lobby has been remarkably successful in suppressing criticism," wrote Soros. Politicians challenge it at their peril and dissenters risk personal vilification, he said.

                                                                                                                                                          AIPAC has consistently declined comment on such charges, but many of its supporters have been vocal in dismissing them.

                                                                                                                                                          Historian Michael Oren, speaking at AIPAC's 2007 conference in March, said the group was not merely a lobby for Israel. "It is the embodiment of a conviction as old as this (American) nation itself that belief in the Jewish state is tantamount to belief in these United States," he said in a keynote speech.

                                                                                                                                                          The long-simmering debate bubbled to the surface a year ago, when two prominent academics, Stephen Walt of Harvard and John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, published a 12,500-word essay entitled "The Israel Lobby" and featuring the fiercest criticism of AIPAC since it was founded in 1953.

                                                                                                                                                          AIPAC now has more than 100,000 members and is rated one of the most influential special interest groups in the United States, its political clout comparable with such lobbies as the National Rifle Association.

                                                                                                                                                          The AIPAC members are all US citizens and the group receives no funding from the Israeli government.

                                                                                                                                                          Its annual conference in Washington attracts a Who's Who of American politics, both Republicans and Democrats.

                                                                                                                                                          Unwavering support

                                                                                                                                                          Mearsheimer and Walt said the lobby had persuaded successive administrations to align themselves too closely with Israel.

                                                                                                                                                          "The pro-Israel lobby has been remarkably successful in suppressing criticism" George Soros, the billionaire investor
                                                                                                                                                          "The combination of unwavering support for Israel and the related effort to spread 'democracy' has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardised not only US security but much of the rest of the world," they wrote.

                                                                                                                                                          No other lobby group has managed to divert US foreign policy so far from the US national interest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that US interests and those of Israel are essentially identical, they wrote.

                                                                                                                                                          The two academics said that pressure from Israel and its lobby in Washington played an important role in President George Bush's decision to attack Iraq, an arch-enemy of Israel, in 2003.

                                                                                                                                                          Mearsheimer and Walt found no takers for their essay in the US publishing world. When it was eventually published in the London Review of Books, they noted it would be hard to imagine any mainstream media outlet in the United States publishing such a piece.

                                                                                                                                                          It has been drawing criticism that ranged from shoddy scholarship to anti-Semitism, chiefly from conservative fellow academics and political supporters of the present relationship between Washington and Israel.

                                                                                                                                                          In his contribution to the debate, Soros said: "A much-needed self-examination of American policy in the Middle East has started in this country; but it can't make much headway as long as AIPAC retains powerful influence in both the Democratic and Republican parties."

                                                                                                                                                          That influence is reflected by the fact that Israel is the largest recipient of US aid in the world.

                                                                                                                                                          Going mainstream


                                                                                                                                                          Carter's book provoked angry reactions more
                                                                                                                                                          in the US than in Israel

                                                                                                                                                          Mearsheimer and Walt are now working on expanding their article into a book - to be published in September by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The company has not commented on online reports that it paid the two authors a $750,000 advance and plans to print one million copies.

                                                                                                                                                          Another mainstream publisher, Simon and Schuster, already discovered that not only is it possible to publish criticism of Israel but it can also be good for the bottom line.

                                                                                                                                                          Former president Jimmy Carter's book "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid" shot up the bestseller lists after its publication last November; stayed there for more than three months and is still selling well.

                                                                                                                                                          It had an initial print run of 300,000 copies and there are now 485,000 copies in print, said Victoria Meyer, a spokeswoman for Simon and Schuster.

                                                                                                                                                          Carter's book and its reference to apartheid provoked angry reactions - more in the United States than in Israel, where leftists opposed to the occupation of the West Bank have been accusing the government of apartheid practices for years and where the word has lost its shock value.

                                                                                                                                                          In response to charges of bias and anti-Semitism, Carter said he wanted to provoke a discussion of issues debated routinely and freely in Israel but rarely in the United States.

                                                                                                                                                          "This reluctance to criticize any policies of the Israeli government is because of the extraordinary lobbying efforts of the American Israel Political Action Committee and the absence of any significant contrary voices," he wrote in the Los Angeles Times during a tour to promote his book. "It would be almost politically suicidal for members of Congress to espouse a balanced position between Israel and Palestine."

                                                                                                                                                          According to Oren, the pro-AIPAC historian, the Carter book and the Mearsheimer-Walt paper had the same "insidious thesis" and suffered from the same flaw - ignoring oil as a driving element in US policies on the Middle East.


                                                                                                                                                          Agencies

                                                                                                                                                          No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                                          0 response(s) to US-Israel ties bad for peace: Soros

                                                                                                                                                            This post has 16 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                                            Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                                            Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                                            <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                                            Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                                            Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                                            URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                                            (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                                            (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                                            (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                                            Malaysia issues fatwa on ghosts

                                                                                                                                                            English (US)  April 17th, 2007 by admin ( Email )


                                                                                                                                                            Genies are also a target of the decree

                                                                                                                                                            A Malaysian museum has closed an exhibition on supernatural beings after Islamic religious authorities issued a fatwa, or decree, against it, state media have reported.

                                                                                                                                                            [More:]


                                                                                                                                                            The National Fatwa Council had ruled on Thursday that exhibitions on ghosts, ghouls and supernatural beings were forbidden, as they could undermine the faith of Muslims.

                                                                                                                                                            Abdul Shukor Husin, the council's chair, was quoted as saying that "supernatural beings are beyond the comprehension of the human mind."

                                                                                                                                                            "We don't want to expose Muslims to supernatural and superstitious beliefs," the Berita Harian newspaper quoted him as saying.

                                                                                                                                                            Mythical attractions

                                                                                                                                                            Thousands of visitors had attended musuem in the western state of Negri Sembilan since it launched the ghost and genie exhibition on March 10, due to run until May 31.

                                                                                                                                                            Its curator had previously resisted calls from Malaysia's arts minister and a religious leader for it to be shut down amid criticism that encouraging a belief in ghosts was un-Islamic.

                                                                                                                                                            But Kamaruddin Siaraf, Negeri Sembilan's state secretary and chair of the state museum board, said the exhibition was terminated after the National Fatwa Council ruled against such events.

                                                                                                                                                            He said the decision was made out of respect for the council's views, the state Bernama news agency reported.

                                                                                                                                                            Malaysian government officials have already called for a ban another exhibition in a state museum that has put on display decaying objects described as the carcasses of a genie and a mythical phoenix bird.

                                                                                                                                                            Last year more than 200,000 people attended an exhibition of about 100 coffins, ghosts and genies that organisers claimed included relics of mermaids and vampires.

                                                                                                                                                            Agencies

                                                                                                                                                            264 words posted in ReligionLeave a comment

                                                                                                                                                            No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                                            0 response(s) to Malaysia issues fatwa on ghosts

                                                                                                                                                              This post has 18 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                                              Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                                              Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                                              <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                                              Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                                              Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                                              URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                                              (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                                              (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                                              (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                                              Mammoth skeleton sold at auction

                                                                                                                                                              English (US)  April 16th, 2007 by admin ( Email )


                                                                                                                                                              The "mammuthus primigenius" dated back to the Quaternary, or later Pleistocene period

                                                                                                                                                              The skeleton of a Siberian mammoth around 15,000 years old went under the hammer for $352,000 at a rare paleontology sale by Christie's auction house in Paris, the French capital.

                                                                                                                                                              [More:]

                                                                                                                                                              The name of the buyer who bought the 3.8 metres high and 4.8 metres in length skeleton, was not made public.

                                                                                                                                                              The "mammuthus primigenius" dating back to the Quaternary period, or later Pleistocene, was put up for sale by an unnamed "private European collector".

                                                                                                                                                              Also sold on Monday was the 10,000 year old skeleton of a woolly rhinoceros that went for $135,000, well above its estimated price.

                                                                                                                                                              Rare species

                                                                                                                                                              Christie's auctioned 87 rare objects, including the three skeletons - the third that of a cave bear - owned by a private collector, as well as a collection of trilobites, or fossils of arthropods, dating from 400 million years ago.

                                                                                                                                                              Among them was the fossil of an angel fish dating back 50 million years, one of only five known examples of the species in the world.

                                                                                                                                                              A rare bezoar, a pearl that forms in the stomach of certain herbivores, also went under the hammer.

                                                                                                                                                              Scientists expressed concern about fossils being put up for auction.

                                                                                                                                                              Philippe Janvier, a paleontologist from France's Natural Science Museum, said: "while many fossils are of little interest ... major pieces which could help science progress can always turn up in such sales".


                                                                                                                                                              Agencies

                                                                                                                                                              No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                                              0 response(s) to Mammoth skeleton sold at auction

                                                                                                                                                                This post has 18 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                                                Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                                                Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                                                <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                                                Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                                                Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                                                URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                                                (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                                                (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                                                (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                                                UK abandons 'war on terror' phrase

                                                                                                                                                                English (US)  April 16th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                                                                                The British government has stopped using the phrase "war on terror", a Cabinet minister announced in a speech delivered in New York.

                                                                                                                                                                [More:]

                                                                                                                                                                Hilary Benn, Britain's international development secretary, said on Monday that the expression strengthens terrorists resolve by making them feel part of a larger struggle.

                                                                                                                                                                "We do not use the phrase 'war on terror' because we can't win by military means alone... this isn't us against one organised enemy with a clear identity and a coherent set of objectives," Benn told an audience at New York University's Centre of International Co-operation.

                                                                                                                                                                The phrase "war on terror" was popularised by George Bush, the US president, after the September 11 attacks.

                                                                                                                                                                'Shared identity'

                                                                                                                                                                Benn said a variety of disparate minority radical groups have gained exposure by sharing a "distorted view of the world" with similar organisations.

                                                                                                                                                                "What these groups want is to force their individual and narrow values on others without dialogue, without debate, through violence.

                                                                                                                                                                "And by letting them feel part of something bigger, we give them strength."

                                                                                                                                                                An official spokesman for Tony Blair, Britain's prime minister, said he was unsure when Blair had last used the phrase.

                                                                                                                                                                "We all use our own phraseology, and we talk about terrorism, we talk about the fight against terrorism, but we also talk about trying to find political solutions to political problems," he said on condition of anonymity.

                                                                                                                                                                'Soft' power appeal

                                                                                                                                                                Benn called on the US to use the "soft power" of values and ideas as well as the "hard power" of military strength to defeat extremist groups.

                                                                                                                                                                He also highlighted Britain's support for the International Criminal Court (ICC), which the US has refused to join to protect US soldiers and officials from prosecution, and appealed for the closure of the US' Guantanamo Bay detention centre.

                                                                                                                                                                Benn's speech was partly an appeal to Labour party members, who are largely opposed to the war in Iraq and Blair's close relationship with Bush.

                                                                                                                                                                Benn is widely expected to become Labour's deputy leader in a party election after Blair steps down as prime minister later this year.

                                                                                                                                                                Al Jazeera

                                                                                                                                                                No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                                                0 response(s) to UK abandons 'war on terror' phrase

                                                                                                                                                                  This post has 47 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                                                  Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                                                  Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                                                  <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                                                  Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                                                  Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                                                  URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                                                  (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                                                  (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                                                  (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                                                  "Olive Branch From Hamas"

                                                                                                                                                                  English (US)  April 16th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                                                                                  By Robert Novak

                                                                                                                                                                  On April 7, ending a seven-day visit to Israel, I finally got an interview I had sought for a year. I sat down in a Palestinian Authority office in Ramallah with a leader of Hamas, the extremist organization that won last year's elections. This leader pushed a two-state Israeli-Palestinian solution and deplored suicide bombers. But officials in Washington seem not to want to hear Hamas calling for peace.

                                                                                                                                                                  [More:]

                                                                                                                                                                  No fringe character, this was Naser al-Shaer: education minister and deputy prime minister in the new coalition government. Shaer signaled that the regime recognizes Israel's right to exist and forgoes violence -- conditions essential for talks about a viable Palestinian state adjoining Israel -- even if Hamas does not. "We hope that it is going to be a matter of time," Shaer told me. "But there is a big chance now."

                                                                                                                                                                  When I returned to Washington last week, I sought the reaction of Bush administration officials (who refuse to have any contact with Hamas). I asked to talk to Elliott Abrams, the deputy national security adviser who is most influential in policy on Israel. Abrams was once a fellow Cold Warrior and friend whom I have defended, but an aide let me know on Thursday that Abrams would not talk to me about Hamas. A senior State Department official also showed no interest in what Shaer said.

                                                                                                                                                                  U.S. policy is not just adherence to the economic boycott that has devastated the Palestinian Authority since Hamas won elections in January 2006. U.S. government officials and contract workers in the Israeli-occupied territories must leave when someone from Hamas enters a room. Because the State Department lists Hamas as a terrorist organization, Americans not employed by the government fear that contacting a Hamas member of the Palestinian government would violate the USA Patriot Act.

                                                                                                                                                                  Accordingly, a year ago, sources who put me in touch with other Palestinians refused to help with Hamas. The best contact I could make then was a brief telephone conversation with a Hamas underling.

                                                                                                                                                                  I was back in Jerusalem on April 3, two weeks after Hamas brought the more moderate opposition Fatah party into the new national unity government. The Los Angeles Times had just run a remarkable op-ed by the new government's finance minister, Salam Fayyad, a political independent who lived in Washington for 20 years, served as a World Bank official and is well respected in the West. Fayyad wrote that the Palestine Liberation Organization's 1993 acceptance of Israel and disavowal of violence is "a crystal-clear and binding agreement" that "no Palestinian government has the authority to revoke." He added that the unity government's platform "explicitly" pledges to honor all PLO commitments.

                                                                                                                                                                  Over dinner in a Ramallah restaurant on April 4, Fayyad told me that he offered his column simultaneously to several major American newspapers to get this story out quickly. But do his Hamas colleagues accept his reasoning? Fayyad made clear that he was not flying solo.

                                                                                                                                                                  Just before my trip ended, the Palestinian Authority put me in touch with Shaer. On Aug. 19, when he was deputy prime minister in the all-Hamas regime, Shaer was seized in an Israeli raid of his Ramallah home and held for a month without charges or evidence.

                                                                                                                                                                  In his ministry office a few days later, Shaer, who holds a doctorate from England's University of Manchester, looked nothing like the shirt-sleeved, tie-less man photographed when he was released in September. He was dressed in a stylish suit, but more telling than his appearance was what he said.

                                                                                                                                                                  When I asked whether Hamas agreed with Fayyad's formulation, Shaer said it did not matter: "We are talking about the government, not groups." He said Hamas was no more relevant to Palestinian policy than the views of extremist anti-Palestinian cabinet member Avigdor Lieberman are to Israeli policy. Unexpectedly, Shaer expressed dismay that "previous attempts at peace were ruined by suicide bombers. Now, we look forward to a sustained peace."

                                                                                                                                                                  While avoiding Israel-bashing, Shaer conjectured: "I don't think the Israeli government wants a two-state solution. Without pressure from the president of the United States, nothing is going to happen." That sounded like a plea for help from George W. Bush. But will he hear it if Elliott Abrams does not listen?
                                                                                                                                                                  Robert Novak is a political columnist at the Washington Post.

                                                                                                                                                                  Washington Post

                                                                                                                                                                  713 words posted in Human RightsLeave a comment

                                                                                                                                                                  No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                                                  0 response(s) to "Olive Branch From Hamas"

                                                                                                                                                                    This post has 17 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                                                    Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                                                    Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                                                    <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                                                    Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                                                    Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                                                    URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                                                    (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                                                    (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                                                    (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                                                    Chavez defies US with energy summit

                                                                                                                                                                    English (US)  April 16th, 2007 by admin ( Email )


                                                                                                                                                                    Chavez: Ethanol will increase world hunger

                                                                                                                                                                    Venezuela will seek to use oil wealth to consolidate regional support for anti-US politics as it hosts an energy summit of South American leaders.

                                                                                                                                                                    [More:]

                                                                                                                                                                    The meeting on the Caribbean island of Margarita on Monday comes as a rift over ethanol fuel has emerged - with Brazil working with the US to promote its use.

                                                                                                                                                                    Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, wants the 12-nation conference to focus on regional integration as a counterweight to the US.

                                                                                                                                                                    "Gradually, the US empire will end up a paper tiger and we, the peoples of Latin America, will become true tigers of steel," Chavez said on the eve of the summit.

                                                                                                                                                                    At the two-day meeting, Chavez will promote a project to build a 8,000km natural gas pipeline linking the Opec nation's gas reserves to countries such as Brazil and Argentina.

                                                                                                                                                                    Chavez still wants to show unity with Lula da Silva, the Brazilian president, taking him on a tour early on Monday of a petrochemical plant and then holding discussions on ethanol, which Chavez says will increase world hunger.

                                                                                                                                                                    Aides to Lula say it is his "obsession" despite being labeled "genocidal" by Fidel Castro, the Cuban leader and Chavez's political mentor.

                                                                                                                                                                    Consumption problems

                                                                                                                                                                    "This planet is in danger, the human race is in danger" -- Hugo Chavez, Venezuelan president

                                                                                                                                                                    Venezuela, the fifth-largest exporter of oil to the US, has urged Latin America to pass over ethanol and rely on its oil reserves and co-operate in developing ways to reduce energy consumption.

                                                                                                                                                                    Power outages have traditionally blighted Margarita island, and particularly its main city Porlamar.

                                                                                                                                                                    But with Cuban help, the government has installed millions of power-saving light bulbs in recent months that Chavez - who often speaks in apocalyptic terms about the environment - said can serve as an inspiration at the summit.

                                                                                                                                                                    "This planet is in danger, the human race is in danger," he said after railing about high US energy demand. "Let's do what we have to do to save mankind."


                                                                                                                                                                    Agencies

                                                                                                                                                                    No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                                                    0 response(s) to Chavez defies US with energy summit

                                                                                                                                                                      This post has 13 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                                                      Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                                                      Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                                                      <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                                                      Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                                                      Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                                                      URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                                                      (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                                                      (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                                                      (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                                                      Wolfowitz refuses to step down

                                                                                                                                                                      English (US)  April 15th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                                                                                      Paul Wolfowitz has refused to resign as World Bank president despite member states voicing "great concern" over his handling of his girlfriend's promotion.

                                                                                                                                                                      [More:]


                                                                                                                                                                      Development ministers said on Sunday: "We have to ensure that the bank can effectively carry out its mandate and maintain its credibility and reputation as well as motivation of the staff."

                                                                                                                                                                      The ministers from World Bank member states issued the statement after an IMF-World Bank Development Committee meeting, saying "the current situation is of great concern to all of us".

                                                                                                                                                                      But Wolfowitz responded that he believed he could still effectively lead the global lending institution.

                                                                                                                                                                      In a news conference shortly after the committee's statement was released, Wolfowitz said: "This is important work and I intend to continue it."

                                                                                                                                                                      Reputation concern

                                                                                                                                                                      Senior European officials were among those who expressed worry in closed-door sessions on Sunday that Wolfowitz had tarnished the bank's reputation by helping to secure a high-paying promotion for Shaha Riza, his girlfriend and a World bank employee.

                                                                                                                                                                      At the start of speeches to the development committee, ministers from Britain and Germany said the bank's reputation had been dented, sources said.

                                                                                                                                                                      Other sources monitoring the meeting said several other European countries also briefly addressed the issue, although they did not call outright for Wolfowitz to step down.

                                                                                                                                                                      Staff and development activists accuse Wolfowitz of breaking bank rules in helping to arrange Riza's promotion before she was assigned to outside work at the US Department of State.

                                                                                                                                                                      They argue the institution's moral authority has been left in tatters, especially its authority to make countries who receive aid accountable for the money.

                                                                                                                                                                      The controversy has become a deep embarrassment for Wolfowitz, who has ruffled feathers at the bank by campaigning against corruption.

                                                                                                                                                                      US backing

                                                                                                                                                                      The former deputy US secretary of defence has apologised for his handling of Riza's promotion and has said he was advised by a World Bank ethics panel to assign her to a job outside the bank to avoid a conflict of interest.

                                                                                                                                                                      George Bush, the US president, has stood behind Wolfowitz, and African ministers have expressed confidence in him. Many member countries have cautioned against judging him until an examination by the bank's board wraps up.

                                                                                                                                                                      But large shareholders such as Britain, Germany and France question whether he still has the credibility to lead the bank, which spends about $25bn a year on projects to fight poverty in developing countries.

                                                                                                                                                                      The board has said it will move quickly, but the scandal has already stirred up lingering antagonism over Wolfowitz's appointment to the bank in mid-2005 by the Bush administration and bitterness over his role in the US invasion of Iraq.

                                                                                                                                                                      Withholding funds

                                                                                                                                                                      In notes of a speech prepared for delivery to the development committee on Sunday, Wolfowitz appealed to rich nations to deliver on aid promises and to keep the bank's own coffers stocked so it can keep lending to needy countries.

                                                                                                                                                                      Wolfowitz, outlining priority areas for the bank, said: "We stand half way to the 2010 goal post for doubling aid to Africa compared with 2004."

                                                                                                                                                                      But some insiders worry donors may withhold funding to the bank's International Development Association if the scandal continues.

                                                                                                                                                                      Agencies

                                                                                                                                                                      519 words posted in Education, BusinessLeave a comment

                                                                                                                                                                      No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                                                      0 response(s) to Wolfowitz refuses to step down

                                                                                                                                                                        This post has 31 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                                                        Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                                                        Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                                                        <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                                                        Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                                                        Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                                                        URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                                                        (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                                                        (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                                                        (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                                                        Houston councilman makes offensive anti-Indian remarks on radio

                                                                                                                                                                        English (US)  April 14th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                                                                                        By Mead Gruver -- Associated Press

                                                                                                                                                                        CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Houston resident Cheryl Melendez, Cree, had just dropped her kids off at school and was listening to one of her city councilmen on her car radio when she heard something that floored her.

                                                                                                                                                                        Councilman Michael Berry was saying American Indians don't deserve the federal assistance that they're getting because they ''were whipped in a war.''

                                                                                                                                                                        ''We conquered them,'' he said. ''That's history. Hello?''

                                                                                                                                                                        [More:]

                                                                                                                                                                        The March 27 remarks on the Michael Berry Show - archived online and available for anyone to hear - have sent shock waves through Indian country. They've been a hot topic on Indianz.com and on another Houston radio show, one about Indian culture.

                                                                                                                                                                        What Berry said was especially galling for Melendez and her husband, Steve, who have dedicated themselves to teaching the real story about being ''whipped.'' They're the co-founders of the American Indian Genocide Museum in Houston.

                                                                                                                                                                        ''My only question was, 'was Sand Creek and Wounded Knee a war?''' Cheryl Melendez said April 4, referring to the slaughter of more than 163 Cheyenne and Arapaho at Sand Creek, Colo., in 1864 and of some 300 Sioux at Wounded Knee, S.D., in 1890.

                                                                                                                                                                        ''You want to believe that things are changing. You want to believe the best in people. And then, wham, something like this happens,'' Melendez said. ''I guess it kind of just takes your breath away and leaves you disappointed.''

                                                                                                                                                                        Besides being an at-large councilman, Berry is Houston's mayor pro tem, meaning that he fills in for certain duties when Mayor Bill White isn't available. Berry did not return messages left April 4 by The Associated Press.

                                                                                                                                                                        The Michael Berry Show airs weekdays on KPRC 950-AM in Houston. A message left for station officials seeking comment also wasn't returned April 4.

                                                                                                                                                                        Berry made the remark while speaking out against a proposal in the Texas Legislature for the state to apologize for slavery.

                                                                                                                                                                        ''If we're not going to apologize for slavery, then we need to stop the continuous apology for what was done to the American Indians,'' he said.

                                                                                                                                                                        Berry said the federal government in effect apologizes to American Indians every day by expending ''incredible resources from our treasury.''

                                                                                                                                                                        ''We continue to give land,'' he said, without elaborating.

                                                                                                                                                                        He said the government had given tribes the right to print money.

                                                                                                                                                                        ''Which is also known as a casino,'' he said. ''Why are we still doing that?''

                                                                                                                                                                        And he said he was qualified to say such things because he has Indian blood.

                                                                                                                                                                        ''If you're against apologizing for slavery, then you've got to be against giving welfare to the American Indians because of the fact that 200 years ago they were whipped in a war. And let's just call it what it is. They lost a war,'' he said.

                                                                                                                                                                        ''Why don't we go hand the Germans a few million dollars, and the Italians, and the Japanese? OK, so we did rebuild their country. We don't continue to give them aid because they sit around whining about a war from 200 years ago. Are you kidding me? Seriously.''

                                                                                                                                                                        Steve Melendez said that the second elected president of the Republic of Texas, Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar, declared an ''extermination war'' against Indians.

                                                                                                                                                                        ''Here in Texas, the war that was taking place 200 years ago was a war of genocide,'' he said.

                                                                                                                                                                        He said newspapers of the day advertised Indian scalps selling for $200. To this day, he said, there aren't many Indians to be found in Texas compared to other states.

                                                                                                                                                                        ''That was one of the strange things that happened to me when I came from Nevada to Houston. There were no Indians,'' said Melendez, who identified himself as Paiute.

                                                                                                                                                                        Jacquelyn Battise, host of the weekly Houston community radio show People of Earth, which focuses on Indian culture, said she read some of Berry's remarks on the air.

                                                                                                                                                                        She got a lot of calls and e-mails in response.

                                                                                                                                                                        ''It's ignorant, some of the remarks that he made about casinos,'' she said. ''It just shows, I guess, a real disconnection.''

                                                                                                                                                                        She said there was talk about circulating a petition to counter some of the remarks.

                                                                                                                                                                        H. Mathew Barkhausen III, a media specialist for the National Native American AIDS Prevention Center and a freelance writer based in Denver, got word of the radio show through a chain of e-mails.

                                                                                                                                                                        ''It's really frustrating to me, for example the casino issue, when people make sweeping moral judgments about something they obviously know nothing about,'' Barkhausen said.

                                                                                                                                                                        He said Berry ''obviously doesn't know anything about the Indian gaming act.''

                                                                                                                                                                        ''For some reason, there's a ridiculous assumption that the 500-some-odd recognized tribes in the United States have become wealthy through casino money, and that's not the case,'' he said.

                                                                                                                                                                        Part Tuscarora and part Cherokee, Barkhausen also questioned the notion that American Indians had been ''whipped.''

                                                                                                                                                                        ''The Indian wars never ended, they just changed format,'' he said. ''They're battles that are fought in the courtroom.''

                                                                                                                                                                        2 response(s) to Houston councilman makes offensive anti-Indian remarks on radio

                                                                                                                                                                        1. darrin [Visitor] Email says:

                                                                                                                                                                          ijust found out that have alot of indians in my family,i want to know if ican info happenings in the indian community around the usa?thanks

                                                                                                                                                                        2. admin [Member] Email says:

                                                                                                                                                                          Go to www.indiancountry.com for news and calendars of events, also www.indianz.com for daily news updates from both Native and non Native press.
                                                                                                                                                                          -- Editor

                                                                                                                                                                        This post has 109 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                                                        Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                                                        Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                                                        <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                                                        Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                                                        Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                                                        URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                                                        (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                                                        (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                                                        (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                                                        Lobbyist that fought Schaghticoke Tribal Nation loses clients

                                                                                                                                                                        English (US)  April 14th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                                                                                        Barbour, Griffith, Rogers struggling after Democratic win

                                                                                                                                                                        By Stephanie Kirchgaessner

                                                                                                                                                                        Barbour Griffith & Rogers, a high-powered Washington lobby group with close ties to the US administration, has lost its biggest client, the government of Taiwan.

                                                                                                                                                                        [More:]

                                                                                                                                                                        The early termination of a three-year, $4.5m contract that was sealed with the secretary-general of Taiwan's National Security Council in 2005, comes on the heels of a number of other defections from the lobby group, whose chairman, Ed Rogers, previously served as chief of staff during the administration of George H.W. Bush.

                                                                                                                                                                        Lobbying records show 17 clients left BGR at the end of 2006, raising questions about the effectiveness of the all-Republican firm following last year's congressional election in which Democrats won both chambers of Congress. BGR on Friday said that, despite the uncertain political environment last year, the firm generated record revenues and won 19 new clients since December, including AT&T, the telecommunications giant.

                                                                                                                                                                        People familiar with the matter said the termination reflected internal political tensions among Taiwanese officials. The departure nevertheless comes at a difficult time for BGR, which is embroiled in separate litigation involving allegations that the firm, along with Diligence LLC, an investigative agency that has Mr Rogers on its board, engaged in corporate espionage on behalf of one of BGR's biggest clients, Alfa Group. Both Diligence and BGR have denied wrongdoing.

                                                                                                                                                                        A federal judge also recently directed BGR to release documents about its contacts with Congress and the Department of the Interior in connection with a separate legal matter to which it is not a party, involving revocation of federal recognition of the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation.

                                                                                                                                                                        The issue involves allegations by the tribe that a group in Connecticut known as Task, which was a client of BGR, had unlawful political influence in a decision by the Bush administration to revoke recognition of the tribe.

                                                                                                                                                                        BGR said it respected the judge's ruling and denied allegations of improper conduct.

                                                                                                                                                                        Despite the firm's troubles, BGR has held on to a num­ber of other high-paying clients, including Alan Kilkenny, a British public relations consultant who has paid the Washington firm $1.34m since 2005 to lobby the US Justice Department and lawmakers on "judicial procedure and policy".

                                                                                                                                                                        Mr Kilkenny counts among his London clients Stanley and Beatrice Tollman, who were branded fugitives in the US after they left the country following their indictment on fraud and tax evasion charges. The couple are in the process of being extradited to the US.

                                                                                                                                                                        It is unusual for a firm such as BGR, which does not have any expertise in criminal justice matters, to lobby prosecutors or other officials on a criminal matter.

                                                                                                                                                                        Benjamin Brafman, a New York defence attorney representing the couple, said he did not have any involvement with BGR and was the only attorney dealing with the prosecutor's office. Mr Kilkenny directed questions about BGR's work for him to the Washington firm.
                                                                                                                                                                        © The Financial Times Ltd 2007. "FT" and "Financial Times" are trademarks of the Financial Times.Copyright The Financial Times Ltd. All rights reserved.

                                                                                                                                                                        MSNBC

                                                                                                                                                                        No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                                                        0 response(s) to Lobbyist that fought Schaghticoke Tribal Nation loses clients

                                                                                                                                                                          This post has 10 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                                                          Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                                                          Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                                                          <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                                                          Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                                                          Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                                                          URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                                                          (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                                                          (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                                                          (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                                                          Latest Casualty Is Symbol of City’s Heyday and Unity

                                                                                                                                                                          English (US)  April 13th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                                                                                          The loss of life in Iraq is so massive and constant, it's easy to ignore other important losses, such as the destrution of this bridge that was a symbol of unity and, perhaps, hope for the future.

                                                                                                                                                                          By Alissa J. Rubin

                                                                                                                                                                          BAGHDAD, April 12 — There is not much left in Baghdad that all its residents, Sunnis and Shiites, laborers and professors, consider their own. But the Sarafiya bridge, flung across the Tigris, tied the city together, literally and metaphorically.

                                                                                                                                                                          [More:]

                                                                                                                                                                          When the bridge was destroyed early Thursday morning by a truck bomb that collapsed a large section into the river, Baghdad mourned. People who had crossed the bridge every day to go to their jobs on the opposite side gathered on the riverbanks and stood weeping as if they had lost someone they loved.

                                                                                                                                                                          More people have died in many other bombings, but the destruction of the bridge struck at the city’s soul, at its lingering romance with an all but vanished image of Baghdad as a Paris of the Middle East.

                                                                                                                                                                          The steel bridge, which spans a stretch of river about 500 yards wide, was built by a British company at a time when foreigners from all over the world came to the city to study and work. Construction started in 1946, and it was completed in 1951, while the British-installed monarchy was in place. Built to accommodate train tracks as well as a roadway for cars, the bridge linked Baghdad’s two main rail stations and was one of the city’s main transit points across the Tigris.

                                                                                                                                                                          Most of the city is divided now, with the west bank of the Tigris predominantly Sunni and the east side predominantly Shiite. But so far the neighborhoods on either side of the Sarafiya bridge have been spared the worst of the violence, and both are still mixed as so much of the city once was.

                                                                                                                                                                          Every Baghdadi seemed to have a memory of the bridge on Thursday.

                                                                                                                                                                          An engineer for the General Committee for Trains and Bridges remembered coming to the city from the country as a child and standing in awe before the marvelous bridge. “I used to walk nearby the bridge along with my cousins dazzled to see the train moving on the track, puffing out the smoke backward,” he said.

                                                                                                                                                                          An Iraqi reporter described crossing it to go to art school every day. “Sometimes alone or with a girlfriend,” he said. “Sometimes I used to spend hours looking at the river from above.”

                                                                                                                                                                          Riyadh Yosif, a day laborer who walked across the bridge to look for work in the industrial area on the other side of the river each morning, described feeling utter shock when he rushed out after he heard the bomb. “We went out to see what happened, and the bridge, which I loved so much, I found was destroyed.”

                                                                                                                                                                          He began to cry. “I wish they had killed one of my children rather than destroying the bridge, which I consider part of my heart.

                                                                                                                                                                          “This bridge is so important to us. We cross it every day to look for work. What shall we do now? They have destroyed us as well.”

                                                                                                                                                                          Ahmad Fadam and Khalid al-Ansary contributed reporting.

                                                                                                                                                                          NYT

                                                                                                                                                                          531 words posted in Iraq war, American EmpireLeave a comment

                                                                                                                                                                          No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                                                          0 response(s) to Latest Casualty Is Symbol of City’s Heyday and Unity

                                                                                                                                                                            This post has 33 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                                                            Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                                                            Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                                                            <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                                                            Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                                                            Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                                                            URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                                                            (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                                                            (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                                                            (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                                                            Political Bytes -- a global discussion linking east and west

                                                                                                                                                                            English (US)  April 13th, 2007 by admin ( Email )


                                                                                                                                                                            Political Bytes

                                                                                                                                                                            Mark Seddon, Al Jazeera's diplomatic
                                                                                                                                                                            correspondent, hosts this global discussion
                                                                                                                                                                            Political Bytes is something new: an online discussion - the first of its type - which will attempt to link East with West.

                                                                                                                                                                            [More:]

                                                                                                                                                                            Hosted by Mark Seddon, Al Jazeera's diplomatic correspondent, Political Bytes will bring together different voices from across the world, linking people from different backgrounds and perspectives via the internet and creating an online global conversation.

                                                                                                                                                                            Political Bytes is exclusively available on aljazeera.net and the Al Jazeera English channel on YouTube, where viewers can carry on the conversation and add video contributions.

                                                                                                                                                                            In this episode of Political Byn this first edition of Political Bytes Mark Seddon is joined by Nadine, an independent film-maker, in Amman, Jordan, Clayton Swisher, Al Jazeera's Middle East analyst, who is in Amman with Nadine, and Mark Boxer from the Education for Employment Foundation, which promotes education opportunities among young Arabs, who joins the discussion from Washington.

                                                                                                                                                                            Each reveals their own hopes for the Political Bytes project and stresses the need to create a platform for dialogue that will allow the voices on the street - those that are not heard in the more formal media - to be heard and which will connect people across regions, allowing them to hear from 'the other side' and to engage in a progressive conversation on issues that really matter.

                                                                                                                                                                            Mark Boxer in Washington

                                                                                                                                                                            Nadine, Clayton and Mark discuss the issues of importance to them and the conversation takes in topics such as how young people in the Middle East view the issues that engage the media, attitudes on the Arab street toward the policies made in Washington and US troop presence in Iraq.

                                                                                                                                                                            Political Bytes discusses the concerns of young people in the Middle East and the US and how the two groups view each other and whether the negative images Americans see of the Middle East are really a reflection of a region where there is, in fact, a sense of optimism.

                                                                                                                                                                            No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                                                            0 response(s) to Political Bytes -- a global discussion linking east and west

                                                                                                                                                                              This post has 54 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                                                              Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                                                              Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                                                              <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                                                              Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                                                              Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                                                              URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                                                              (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                                                              (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                                                              (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                                                              Zionist head of World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz, faces call to resign

                                                                                                                                                                              English (US)  April 13th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                                                                                              Paul Wolfowitz, president of the World Bank, gave Shaha Riza, his mistress, a $200,000 package

                                                                                                                                                                              Paul Wolfowitz, an ardent Zionist and uber-neo-conservative hawk, was the main architect of George Bush's war against Iraq and the center of the so-called "Wolfowitz Cabal" within the Bush administration whose goal was, and still is, total war against the Arab and Islamic world. What better place to position Wolfowitz than the head of the World Bank where all of his actions were conducted through the screen of maintaining Israel's "security" ? For more information on the Wolfowitz Cabal, click here Information Clearing House

                                                                                                                                                                              Staff at the World Bank have demanded the resignation of Paul Wolfowitz, the bank's president, after he admitted authorising large pay rises for his Libyan-born partner that took her salary to $200,000.

                                                                                                                                                                              [More:]


                                                                                                                                                                              He faces a fight for his political life after the bank's directors denied his claims the pay rises had been cleared by its ethics committee.

                                                                                                                                                                              The World Bank's staff association said on Friday that Wolfowitz, the ex-US deputy defence secretary, had "destroyed" the trust of employees and should quit.

                                                                                                                                                                              "He must act honourably and resign," the de facto union said in a letter to the World Bank's 10,000 staff.

                                                                                                                                                                              The bank's 24 executive directors said the ethics committee had not been involved in the decision to award Shaha Riza rises that gave her a salary greater than that of Condoleeza Rice, the secretary of state.

                                                                                                                                                                              They adjourned a meeting on Wolfowitz's future, saying they would move quickly to reach a decision.

                                                                                                                                                                              'An object of scorn'

                                                                                                                                                                              The Financial Times newspaper also called for Wolfowitz to go in an editorial on Friday.

                                                                                                                                                                              "If the president stays (the World Bank) risks becoming an object not of respect, but of scorn, and its campaign in favor of good governance not a believable struggle, but blatant hypocrisy," it said.

                                                                                                                                                                              The controversy has become a deep embarrassment for Wolfowitz as he battles to overcome skepticism about a campaign that he is waging against corruption in the 185-member World Bank's multi-billion-dollar lending.

                                                                                                                                                                              He is also under fire from long for his management style, following a series of clashes with the board and hostility towards his appointment of US Republican party allies to jobs in his inner circle.

                                                                                                                                                                              The nomination two years ago of Wolfowitz, a "neoconservative" hawk, by George Bush, the US president, was widely seen as controversial given his position as a main architect of the Iraq war.

                                                                                                                                                                              Pay rises 'a mistake'

                                                                                                                                                                              Wolfowitz apologised on Thursday for the authorising the rises for Riza, describing the move as a "mistake."

                                                                                                                                                                              "I made a mistake for which I am sorry", he told a press conference in Washington.

                                                                                                                                                                              Wolfowitz refused to say if he might have to resign as the World Bank's board of governors discuss the row.

                                                                                                                                                                              Wolfowitz personally ordered the hefty pay rises for Riza, according to a Financial Times report published on Thursday.

                                                                                                                                                                              It cited two people who had seen a memo from Wolfowitz to the head of human resources spelling out the terms of the package.

                                                                                                                                                                              'Real regret'

                                                                                                                                                                              Wolfowitz said: "This was not in any way to protect personal interests. My real regret was that I didn't more forcefully keep myself out it.

                                                                                                                                                                              "I take full responsibility for the details of the agreement," he said, after saying that he had followed advice given by the bank's ethics committee on the employment of Riza.

                                                                                                                                                                              Colin Bradford, research professor in economics and international relations at the Brookings Institution, told Al Jazeera: "The fact is that there's evidence that he directly intervened in the matter and made some decision or recommendations that amount to decisions on his case on how to handle it.

                                                                                                                                                                              "It takes absolutely no brains whatsoever that it is utterly and totally inconsistent with the message of anti-corruption and good governance, which the Bank is trying to promote."

                                                                                                                                                                              'Personal dilemma'

                                                                                                                                                                              Riza was transferred from the World Bank's communications office to the US state department in line with bank regulations to avoid a conflict of interest after Wolfowitz's appointment in mid-2005.

                                                                                                                                                                              While still on the World Bank payroll, she was rapidly promoted and given large salary increases.

                                                                                                                                                                              Wolfowitz acknowledged that the situation surrounding Riza "had the potential to harm this institution" and said that given his romantic involvement with her, he faced a "painful personal dilemma when I was new to the institution".

                                                                                                                                                                              Source: Agencies

                                                                                                                                                                              No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                                                              0 response(s) to Zionist head of World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz, faces call to resign

                                                                                                                                                                                This post has 23 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                                                                Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                                                                Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                                                                <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                                                                Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                                                                Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                                                                URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                                                                (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                                                                (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                                                                (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                                                                Hamas questions US motives behind $60m aid pledge to presidential security

                                                                                                                                                                                English (US)  April 11th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                                                                                                Fayyad calls for $1.3 billion in PA aid

                                                                                                                                                                                Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Hamas movement has criticized the United States Congress' decision to give financial aid to the Palestinian presidential security forces and cover expenses for other security purposes.

                                                                                                                                                                                A spokesman of the movement issued a statement in which he said, "The US administration does not work for the good of the Palestinian people."

                                                                                                                                                                                [More:]

                                                                                                                                                                                "It is always biased towards the Israelis and their colonialist plans, and that is why such aid to the presidential security bodies must have bad intentions."

                                                                                                                                                                                The statement added, "US policy in the Arab region always seeks to divide the Arabs and is against national interests".

                                                                                                                                                                                "This policy divides the area into moderates and extremists and the recent aid fits the same trend and is seeking to create a rift between Palestinians," the statement continued.

                                                                                                                                                                                $60m for Abbas' security staff

                                                                                                                                                                                The US Congress authorized on Monday $60m in funds to improve the state of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's security staff, Reuters news agency reported.

                                                                                                                                                                                The funds are expected to be spent on Abbas' presidential guard, security at border crossings and equipment.

                                                                                                                                                                                "This has also been done with Israeli agreement and understanding," the US State Department official was quoted by Reuters as saying.
                                                                                                                                                                                The sum reportedly includes $14.5m for "basic and advanced training," $23m for non-lethal equipment, $2.9m for upgrade facilities and $3m to provide "capacity building and technical assistance" for the office of Abbas' national security advisor.

                                                                                                                                                                                Suspicious

                                                                                                                                                                                The Hamas spokesman added in his statement, "The presidency should explain its position in terms of this latest aid, which is a suspicious aid." He also said, "It aims to contain the resistance and service the Israeli army".

                                                                                                                                                                                The statement confirmed, "If the US administration cares about the Palestinian people, they would have ended the siege, released the Palestinian money in the banks".

                                                                                                                                                                                The spokesman also said that "the ministry of finance is the address that the money should be transferred to; sending the money to anywhere else is suspicious and raises a lot of questions."

                                                                                                                                                                                Fayyad: PA needs $1.3 billion in international aid in 2007

                                                                                                                                                                                In other news, Palestinian Finance Minister Salam Fayyad told the European Union on Wednesday that the Palestinian national unity government needs more than $1.3 billion in international aid this year to avert a "devastating" humanitarian crisis.

                                                                                                                                                                                According to Reuters, he won a cautious endorsement from EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, who promised technical assistance to enable his ministry to receive aid once the Palestinian Authority met crucial political conditions.

                                                                                                                                                                                "We are looking for external support to bridge a gap of nearly 1 billion euros ($1.34 billion) for 2007," Fayyad told a joint news conference in Brussels, stressing his government's commitment to respect all peace accords with Israel.

                                                                                                                                                                                Asked what would happen if aid was not forthcoming, he said, "The consequences are far too grave, quite frankly."

                                                                                                                                                                                EU caution

                                                                                                                                                                                According to Reuters, Ferrero-Waldner praised Fayyad's personal commitment to peace but made clear the EU's engagement would be selective, gradual and dependent on the government's words and actions.

                                                                                                                                                                                "I've made very clear that possible financial engagement would not mean resuming direct financial assistance overnight," she said. She also pledged that the Temporary International Mechanism, an aid system created to bypass the former Hamas-led government, would remain for as long as necessary.

                                                                                                                                                                                Despite this, Fayyad expressed his hope and belief that the Palestinian economy will develop and become self-dependent after Israel lifts the restrictions on transportation in the occupied Palestinian territories.

                                                                                                                                                                                Earlier, Fayyad told Reuters that the Palestinian Authority is running on a quarter of the funds it needs to operate effectively.

                                                                                                                                                                                "Minimally, I estimate expenditures of the Palestinian Authority at $160 million a month at present. What we have is no more than $40 million a month," Fayyad told Reuters. Fayyad is currently touring Europe.

                                                                                                                                                                                Fayyad told Reuters that his talks in Europe would "focus on mobilising financial support to help us deal with the magnitude of the crisis we face and to discuss ways and means necessary to re-establish normal relations between the Palestinian Authority and the international community."

                                                                                                                                                                                Fayyad is expected to travel to Norway after his Brussels visit.

                                                                                                                                                                                Maan News Agency

                                                                                                                                                                                No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                                                                0 response(s) to Hamas questions US motives behind $60m aid pledge to presidential security

                                                                                                                                                                                  This post has 36 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                                                                  Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                                                                  Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                                                                  <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                                                                  Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                                                                  URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                                                                  (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                                                                  (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                                                                  (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                                                                  US soldiers to stay longer in Iraq

                                                                                                                                                                                  English (US)  April 11th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                                                                                                  The Pentagon has said that US soldiers will serve up to 15 months in Iraq and Afghanistan instead of one year, showing more signs of the strain the wars have taken on the military.

                                                                                                                                                                                  [More:]


                                                                                                                                                                                  "Our forces are stretched, there's no question about that," Robert Gates, the defence secretary, said on Wednesday.

                                                                                                                                                                                  He said the move would allow the military to sustain for a year the increased troop level in Iraq ordered by the president in January.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Critics say the decision was a blow to the military, the troops and their families.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Ike Skelton, a Democrat who chairs the Armed Services Committee in the House of Representatives, said: "This new policy will be an additional burden to an already overstretched army.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Negative impact

                                                                                                                                                                                  "I think this will have a chilling effect on recruiting, retention and readiness. We also must not underestimate the enormous negative impact this will have on army families."

                                                                                                                                                                                  Gates admitted that "this decision will ask a lot of our army troops and their families".

                                                                                                                                                                                  The policy is effective immediately and also applies to units already in the region, he said.

                                                                                                                                                                                  There are about 145,000 US troops in Iraq and 25,000 in Afghanistan.

                                                                                                                                                                                  As part of George Bush's plan, the military is the midst of boosting its Iraq force by 28,000 combat and support troops.

                                                                                                                                                                                  The Pentagon's goal for active duty army troops is that they spend two years at home for every year deployed, but it has not been able to meet that target in recent years.

                                                                                                                                                                                  At the moment, army units average about a year at home for every year deployed, Pentagon officials say.

                                                                                                                                                                                  In an effort to tackle the strains on the military, Gates has ordered an increase in the size of both the army and the Marine Corps.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Source: Agencies

                                                                                                                                                                                  291 words posted in American Empire, Iraq warLeave a comment

                                                                                                                                                                                  No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                                                                  0 response(s) to US soldiers to stay longer in Iraq

                                                                                                                                                                                    This post has 15 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                                                                    Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                                                                    Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                                                                    <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                                                                    Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                                                                    Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                                                                    URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                                                                    (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                                                                    (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                                                                    (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                                                                    Iraq situation 'ever worsening'

                                                                                                                                                                                    English (US)  April 11th, 2007 by admin ( Email )


                                                                                                                                                                                    Kraehenbuehl: It is often too dangerous for Red Cross workers to move around Baghdad

                                                                                                                                                                                    The situation for civilians in Iraq is "ever worsening", the International Committee of the Red Cross says.

                                                                                                                                                                                    [More:]

                                                                                                                                                                                    Although it is difficult to determine the numbers of people killed in shootings, bombings and military operations, it is clear that the overall situation in the country has been steadily deteriorating, an official said on Wednesday.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Pierre Kraehenbuehl, the operations director at the International Committee of the Red Cross, (ICRC) said: "Numbers of refugees are swelling, medical staff fleeing and other problems are growing.

                                                                                                                                                                                    The central region remains greatly affected, despite US-led efforts to secure the capital."

                                                                                                                                                                                    Humanitarian crisis

                                                                                                                                                                                    Kraehenbuehl was speaking in Geneva, Switzerland, to mark the release of a new ICRC report titled Civilians Without Protection: The ever-worsening humanitarian crisis in Iraq.

                                                                                                                                                                                    He said: "Whatever operation that is today under way, and that may be taken tomorrow and in the weeks after, to improve the security of civilians on the ground may have an effect in the medium term.

                                                                                                                                                                                    "We're certainly not seeing an immediate effect in terms of stabilisation for civilians currently. That is not our reading."

                                                                                                                                                                                    He said it was dangerous for Red Cross workers to move around in Baghdad, but admitted that "we don't have on a day-to-day basis a full picture of absolutely every situation".

                                                                                                                                                                                    Living in fear

                                                                                                                                                                                    Kraehenbuehl said the worsening security situation was causing "overlapping effects" of hardship for the civilian population, with medical care deteriorating as doctors flee the country.

                                                                                                                                                                                    The Iraqi health ministry estimates that half of the country's doctors have left, he said.

                                                                                                                                                                                    In addition, he said, many injured people do not even seek out medical treatment as they do not wish to leave their families for fear of either being kidnapped en route or in hospital, or leaving their relatives in a vulnerable situation.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Kraehenbuehl said: "The suffering that Iraqi men, women and children are enduring today is unbearable and unacceptable.

                                                                                                                                                                                    "Their lives and dignity are continuously under threat."

                                                                                                                                                                                    "Much more has to be done" by all parties, including US and other foreign troops, to improve the situation and ensure that civilians' rights are respected, he said.


                                                                                                                                                                                    Agencies

                                                                                                                                                                                    361 words posted in Iraq war, American EmpireLeave a comment

                                                                                                                                                                                    No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                                                                    0 response(s) to Iraq situation 'ever worsening'

                                                                                                                                                                                      This post has 15 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                                                                      Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                                                                      Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                                                                      <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                                                                      Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                                                                      Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                                                                      URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                                                                      (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                                                                      (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                                                                      (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                                                                      The achievements after four years of the liberation

                                                                                                                                                                                      English (US)  April 10th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                                                                                                      By Laith

                                                                                                                                                                                      I know I should write this blog yesterday but I just wanted the full four years to pass over. Yesterday Iraqis and the whole world kept talking about the memories of the war and some of the most important political developments in Iraq. Some Arabic reports concentrated on other sides especially the economical ones reflecting the reality in their own way. As an Iraqi, I feel I cant be more accurate than any channel because I lived the four years in Iraq. So lets see some of the most important achievements done by the great Iraqi and American administrations.

                                                                                                                                                                                      [More:]

                                                                                                                                                                                      * Iraqis became more courageous and fearless because they used to the daily killing by all the types of the gunmen including Iraqi army, US army, insurgents, thieves and the security companies
                                                                                                                                                                                      * Some Iraqis became cleverer and they started to invent new ways in killing each other, stealing each other, hiding weapons, kidnapping and cheating.
                                                                                                                                                                                      * We have more ministers than any other country on this crazy earth. We have even useless ministries which were invented to please some political parties. We have as far as I know 36 ministries while the USA has only 15 ministries. So we have more than double. I couldn’t know almost 30 of them because they don’t show on TV and we have no idea about their work or whether they do some work or not. In fact and as far as I knew, most of them have no idea about the work of the ministries they run.
                                                                                                                                                                                      * Iraqis never feel afraid of the electric shocks because we have electricity power for only two hours a day or three hours as a maximum. The rest of the day we have to use small Chinese generator that cost something like 100 $ which are not really powerful enough to kill people.
                                                                                                                                                                                      * Iraqis found new ways to save almost everything and the most important thing is the fuel which costs Iraqis fortune. Because the ministry of oil increased the prices of the fuel many times, Iraqis started to invent ways of saving the fuel like mixing one type of fuel with another one which is cheaper to save some dollars or using the cars and the electricity generator for limited times like using the car only to go to work and using the generator only at night. To be honest, until now, I don’t know why we suffer of fuel shortage although our officials and specially our minister of oil who knows nothing about oil always boast that we are one of the richest oil country and we have the best oil qualities and the cheapest extracting costs.
                                                                                                                                                                                      * We have the largest number of blast walls which I believe that can form three matches of China great walls. Each ministry blocks the roads that lead to its building with tens of these walls. I think that the cement used in these blast walls is enough to build 1000 skyscrapers.
                                                                                                                                                                                      * We have the biggest number of the bodyguards in the world. Each minister has not less than 15 4 wheel cars carrying at least 5 bodyguards. Each of the 275 members of the Iraqi parliament has the same number of the bodyguards and some of them (the heads of the political blocs) has even more than that. By the way, I didn’t count the bodyguards of the presidential committee members, the prime minister and his two deputies and the parliament president and his two deputies because they have foreign bodyguards.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I have to stop counting the achievements of our great governments and the greatest American administration headed by the inspired president Bush because I would never finish counting the great achievements. You can read the few ones I mentioned and you can judge by yourself

                                                                                                                                                                                      Bye until the next blog

                                                                                                                                                                                      McClatchy Inside Iraq

                                                                                                                                                                                      629 words posted in Iraq warLeave a comment

                                                                                                                                                                                      No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                                                                      0 response(s) to The achievements after four years of the liberation

                                                                                                                                                                                        This post has 25 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                                                                        Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                                                                        Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                                                                        <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                                                                        Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                                                                        URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                                                                        (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                                                                        (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                                                                        (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                                                                        Olmert questioned over fraud case

                                                                                                                                                                                        English (US)  April 10th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                                                                                                        Olmert said he felt that he and his associates were being hounded by a "platoon of investigators"

                                                                                                                                                                                        Israeli police have questioned Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, for four hours as a witness in a bribery investigation against a personal aide.

                                                                                                                                                                                        [More:]

                                                                                                                                                                                        Micky Rosenfeld, a police spokesman, said on Tuesday that Olmert was questioned by a unit in charge of bribery investigations. He said Olmert was not a suspect in the case against Shula Zaken.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Police suspect that Zaken, Olmert's personal assistant, arranged jobs in the Israeli tax authority in return for tax breaks for her brother.

                                                                                                                                                                                        The case is part of a wider investigation against senior tax officials who are suspected of granting tax breaks to businessmen in exchange for bribes.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Zaken has been suspended from her job for six months while police conduct their investigation.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Never charged

                                                                                                                                                                                        "The prime minister gave testimony today to police concerning his period of minister of finance," an official in Olmert's office said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Olmert served as finance minister before becoming prime minister in January last year.

                                                                                                                                                                                        During his long political career, Olmert has been dogged by allegations of corruption, but never charged.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Currently, police are investigating his property dealings and his role in the government's sale of a majority interest in a bank while he was finance minister in 2005.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Olmert's finance minister has been accused of embezzlement and his justice minister resigned and was convicted of sexual misconduct for forcibly kissing a young female soldier.

                                                                                                                                                                                        During a recent interview, Olmert complained that he felt that he and his associates were being hounded by a "platoon of investigators".


                                                                                                                                                                                        Agencies


                                                                                                                                                                                        Related:
                                                                                                                                                                                        Olmert ally sentenced in sex case
                                                                                                                                                                                        Olmert concedes he is 'unpopular'

                                                                                                                                                                                        Olmert aide suspended

                                                                                                                                                                                        Olmert to face corruption probe

                                                                                                                                                                                        No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                                                                        0 response(s) to Olmert questioned over fraud case

                                                                                                                                                                                          This post has 57 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                                                                          Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                                                                          Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                                                                          <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                                                                          Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                                                                          Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                                                                          URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                                                                          (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                                                                          (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                                                                          (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                                                                          The Fading of a Fateful Opportunity: Israel Does Not Want Peace

                                                                                                                                                                                          English (US)  April 9th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                                                                                                          By Gideon Levy

                                                                                                                                                                                          The moment of truth has arrived, and it has to be said: Israel does not want peace. The arsenal of excuses has run out, and the chorus of Israeli rejection already rings hollow. Until recently, it was still possible to accept the Israeli refrain that "there is no partner" for peace and that "the time isn't right" to deal with our enemies. Today, the new reality before our eyes leaves no room for doubt and the tired refrain that "Israel supports peace" has been left shattered.

                                                                                                                                                                                          [More:]

                                                                                                                                                                                          It's hard to determine when the breaking point occurred. Was it the absolute dismissal of the Saudi initiative? The refusal to acknowledge the Syrian initiative? Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's annual Passover interviews? The revulsion at the statements made by Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, in Damascus, alleging that Israel was ready to renew peace talks with Syria?

                                                                                                                                                                                          Who would have believed it? A high-ranking U.S. official says Israel wants peace talks to resume and instantly her president "severely" denies the veracity of her words. Is Israel even hearing these voices? Are we digesting the significance of these voices for peace? Seven million apathetic Israeli citizens prove that we are not.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Entire generations grew up here weaned on self-deception and doubt about the likelihood of achieving peace with our neighbors. In our younger days, David Ben-Gurion told us that if he were only able to meet with Arab leaders, he would have brought us peace in his time. Israel has demanded direct negotiations as a matter of principle and Israelis have derived great pride from the fact that their daily focus on "peace" has concealed their state's lofty ambitions. We were told that there was no partner for peace and that the ultimate ambition of the Arabs is to bring about our destruction. We burned the portraits of "the Egyptian tyrant" at our bonfires on Lag Ba'omer, and were convinced that all blame for the lack of peace lied with our enemies.

                                                                                                                                                                                          After that came the occupation, followed by terror, Yassir Arafat, the failed second Camp David Summit and the rise of Hamas to power, and we were sure, always sure, that it was all their fault. In our wildest dreams, we wouldn't have believed that the day would come when the entire Arab world would extend its hand in peace and Israel would brush away the gesture. It would have been even crazier to imagine that this Israeli refusal would have been blamed on not wanting to enrage domestic public opinion.

                                                                                                                                                                                          The world has been turned upside down and it is Israel that stands at the forefront of refusal. The policy of refusal of a select few, a vanguard of the extreme, has now become the official policy of Jerusalem. In his Passover interviews, Olmert will tell us that, "The Palestinians stand at the crossroads of a historic decision," but people stopped taking him seriously a long time ago. The historic decision is ours, and we are fleeing from this crossroads and from these initiatives as if from death itself.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Terror, used as the ultimate excuse for Israeli refusal, only helps Olmert keep reciting, ad nauseum, "If they [the Palestinians] don't change, don't fight terror and don't adhere to any of their obligations, then they will never extract themselves from their unending chaos." As though the Palestinians haven't taken measures against terrorism, as though Israel is the one to determine what their obligations are, as though Israel isn't to blame for the unending chaos Palestinians suffer under the occupation.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Israel makes a point of setting prerequisites and believes it has an exclusive right to do so. But, time and time again, Israel avoids the most basic prerequisite for any just peace - an end to the occupation. Of all the questions asked during his Passover interviews, no one bothered to ask Olmert why he didn't react with excitement to the recent Arab initiatives, without preconditions? The answer: real estate. The real estate of the settlements.

                                                                                                                                                                                          It's not only Olmert who is dragging his feet. A leading figure in the Labor party said last week that "it will take five to 10 years to recover from the trauma." Peace is now no more than a threatening wound, with no one still talking about the massive social benefits it would bring in development, security, freedom of movement in the region and by establishing a more just society.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Like a little Switzerland, we are focusing more these days on the dollar exchange rate and on the allegations of embezzlement leveled against the Finance Ministry than on the fateful opportunities fading away before our very eyes.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Not every day and not even in every generation do we encounter an opportunity like this. Although it's not for sure if the initiatives are completely solid and believable, or if they are based on trickery, no one has stepped up to challenge or acknowledge them. When Olmert is an elderly grandfather, what will he tell his grandchildren? That he turned over every stone in the name of peace? That there was no other choice? What will his grandchildren say?

                                                                                                                                                                                          Gideon Levy writes for Ha'aretz, where this essay originally appeared.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Counterpunch

                                                                                                                                                                                          No Comments for this post yet...

                                                                                                                                                                                          0 response(s) to The Fading of a Fateful Opportunity: Israel Does Not Want Peace

                                                                                                                                                                                            This post has 28 feedbacks awaiting moderation...

                                                                                                                                                                                            Leave a comment:

                                                                                                                                                                                            Allowed XHTML tags:
                                                                                                                                                                                            <p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, address, blockquote, ins, del, span, bdo, br, em, strong, dfn, code, samp, kdb, var, cite, abbr, acronym, q, sub, sup, tt, i, b, big, small>

                                                                                                                                                                                            Your email address will not be displayed on this site.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Your URL will be displayed.

                                                                                                                                                                                            URLs, email, AIM and ICQs will be converted automatically.
                                                                                                                                                                                            (Line breaks become <br />)
                                                                                                                                                                                            (Set cookies for name, email and url)
                                                                                                                                                                                            (Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will NOT be displayed.))

                                                                                                                                                                                            "My Name Used to Be #200343"

                                                                                                                                                                                            English (US)  April 9th, 2007 by admin ( Email )

                                                                                                                                                                                            An American former Navy soldier and private contractor imprisoned and tortured in Iraq by the U.S. military and falsely accused of "aiding terrorists" warns that our worst fears about Iraq have come true.

                                                                                                                                                                                            By David Phinney

                                                                                                                                                                                            A year ago, Donald Vance learned what its like to be falsely accused by the U.S. military of aiding terrorists. He wa