Why America has so many enemies
Read HERE article by ERIC MARGOLIS of Toronto Sun
September 28, 2003
President Bill Clinton was impeached by a Republican-controlled Congress for lying about sex. President George W. Bush and aides lied the United States into a stupid, unnecessary colonial war that has so far killed more than 305 Americans and seriously wounded more than 1,400. It has also cost many thousands of Iraqi dead, and $1 billion US weekly.
Lying about sex is an impeachable offence; lying the nation into war apparently is not.
I was no Clinton fan, but give me his iffy morals any day over Bush's Mussolini-like strutting. Sen. Edward Kennedy is absolutely correct when he calls Bush's Iraq war a "fraud" concocted to win the next elections.
Last week, Bush received a glacial and scornful reception at the United Nations that symbolized the world's contempt and disgust for his administration. Not since Nikita Khrushchev pounded his shoe on the speaker's rostrum has a major leader so embarrassed himself and his nation before the world body.
In his UN speech, Bush again claimed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and "ties" to terrorism. Days later, U.S. intelligence teams that scoured Iraq for four months reported no traces of weapons or terrorism links - the pretext used by Bush and his neo-conservative handlers for unprovoked war against Saddam Hussein.
The White House was left choking on its own grotesque lies.
Incredibly, VP Dick Cheney, a prime architect of the Iraq war, actually claimed recently that Iraq still had mobile germ labs, though U.S. and British inspectors debunked this claim last June. The "special" intelligence network created by neo-conservatives is still apparently feeding disinformation to America's leadership.
This latest humiliation came only days after Bush finally admitted Iraq was not, as most Americans were misled into believing, behind the 9/11 attacks.
No wonder world leaders gave Bush the cold shoulder, and even usually timid UN Secretary General Kofi Annan warned against "dangerous acts of unilateralism" - a pointed reference to the bellicose Bush administration.
Unfortunately, many Americans still do not understand how gravely the Bush White House has damaged and sullied their nation's once noble reputation.
Recent polls show that even among traditional friends abroad, America is no longer regarded as a champion of freedom, democracy and human rights, but increasingly as a dangerous aggressor bent on imperial domination and exploitation.
America's most precious and proudest asset, its moral reputation, has been gravely damaged by the Bush White House. The only positive note: rising anti-Americanism is largely associated in the eyes of non-Americans with the persona of George Bush, a man who projects almost all the negative stereotypes foreigners hold of Americans.
Bush's blinkered core supporters in middle America simply don't understand or don't care what the rest of the world thinks of their nation, which, since 9/11, has wrapped itself in a cocoon of xenophobia and self-righteous rage.
The White House's mouthpiece media, led by Fox News, have simply blanked out world opinion and endlessly chorused administration war propaganda.
A fascinating March study of network TV news by New York's Fairness and Accuracy in Media shows how Americans were misled into war by outrageously biased programming on Iraq.
The analysis found: a) 76% of all commentators about Iraq on TV were present or former government officials; b) only 6% of commentators expressed skepticism regarding the need for war - when 61% of the public supported more time for diplomacy and inspections; c) on the four TV networks, less than 1% of sources were identified with anti-war groups.
And more than two-thirds of commentators were from the U.S., 75% either present or former government or military officials. The small number of foreign commentators mostly came from nations like Britain and Israel which were backing Bush's war policy.
In short, the major networks, under White House prompting, beat the war drums and blatantly excluded commentators with contrary views, giving Americans a badly warped view of world events.
No wonder so few Americans understand what is going on abroad, how the outside world really sees them, or why America has so many enemies overseas. Small wonder many Americans are turning for balanced news to the CBC, BBC and the Internet.
Citizens of the old Soviet Union suffered the same information isolation. Like Americans since 9/11, they were force-fed agitprop and patriotic pap disguised as news, and deprived of all knowledge of the real world around them.
Back to reality. Bush's UN speech was another attempt to mislead Americans into believing the horrid mess in Iraq - entirely the creation of Bush and the neo-cons - is somehow the fault of the UN.
French President Jacques Chirac proposed the U.S. hand Iraq over to UN control. But Bush, still lusting for Iraqi oil and fearful his family foe, Saddam Hussein, would return to thumb his nose at him, foolishly scorned this wise proposal.
Bush is praying his hit teams will assassinate Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein before next year's elections. But even that may not save him from the growing anger of defrauded Americans who are slowly realizing that his Iraq war was a political version of the giant Enron swindle.
Monday, September 29, 2003
Why America has so many enemies
Media Control and Objectivity: Rupert Murdoch's Shadows over Western Media and Press
Read Here article by John Pilger in New Statesman "Media Censorship That Doesn't Speak Its Name" September 26, 2003
Excerpts from John Pilger's article:
The Australian novelist Richard Flanagan was recently asked by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to read a favourite piece of fiction on national radio and explain his reasons for the choice.
"I was unsure what fiction to read to you this morning," he said. "If we take the work of our most successful spinner of fictions in recent times, [Prime Minister] John Howard, I could have read from the varied and splendid tall tales he and his fellow storytellers have concocted..."
He listed Howard's most famous fictions:
This was duly recorded; but when the programme was broadcast, the entire preface about Howard was missing.
- that desperate refugees trying to reach Australia had wilfully thrown their children overboard, and
- that faraway Australia was endangered by Iraq's "weapons of hysterical distraction"
Flanagan accused the ABC of rank censorship.
In a society that once prided itself on its laconic sense of irony, there was just a managerial silence.
"All around me," Flanagan later wrote, "I see .... the powerful seek to dictate what is and what isn't read and heard."
The censorship in Australia that he describes is especially virulent because Australia is a small media pond inhabited by large sharks:.... the current assault on free journalism.
The leader of this assault is Rupert Murdoch, whose dominance in the land of his birth (Australia) is now symptomatic of his worldwide grip.
Of 12 daily newspapers in the capital cities, Murdoch controls seven.
Of the ten Sunday newspapers, Murdoch has seven.
In Adelaide, he has a complete monopoly. He owns everything, including all the printing presses. It is almost impossible to escape his augmented team of Pravdas.
Murdoch's newspapers echo his description of Bush and Blair as "heroes" of the Iraq invasion, and his dismissal of the blood they spilt.
His tabloid the Herald Sun invented an al-Qaeda terrorist training camp near Melbourne; and all his papers promote John Howard's parrot-like obsequiousness to Bush, just as they laud Howard's racist campaign against a few thousand asylum-seekers who are locked away in outback concentration camps.
The Melbourne Age, once a great liberal newspaper whose journalists produced a pioneering charter of editorial independence, is often just another purveyor of what Orwell called "smelly little orthodoxies", wrapped in lifestyle supplements.
The ABC has no licence fee and must rely on government handouts.
In Australia, political intimidation of the national broadcaster makes Downing Street's campaign against the BBC seem almost genteel.
Howard's minister for communications, a far-right dullard called Richard Alston, recently demanded that the ABC reply to 68 counts of "anti-Americanism". What the government wants is no less than an oath of loyalty to the foreign power to which it has surrendered sovereignty.
Charges of "left-wing bias" drone out of both the Murdoch and non-Murdoch press.
A Sydney Morning Herald commentator, a local echo of the far right's "monitoring" of the media in America, has attacked the ABC for years.
With no guarantee of financial independence, the ABC has bent to the pressure; the censorship experienced by Richard Flanagan is not unusual.
As one well-known journalist told me: "We have a state of fear. If you're a dissenter, you're out."
The US Media: Freest of all
The global model for censorship by omission in free societies is America, which constitutionally has the freest press in the world.
In Washington, Charles Lewis, the former CBS 60 Minutes producer who runs the Centre for Public Integrity, told me:"Under Bush, the silence among journalists is worse than in the 1950s. Murdoch is the most influential media mogul in America; he sets the standard, and there is no public discussion about it.In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (run by Colin Powell's son) is finally to deregulate television so that Murdoch's Fox Channel and four other conglomerates control 90 per cent of the terrestrial and cable audience.
Why do 70 per cent of the American public believe Saddam Hussein was behind the attacks of 9/11? Because the media's constant echoing of the government guarantees it.
Without the complicity of journalists, Bush would never have attacked Iraq."
The British Media
That is the spectre in Britain, with a Blairite placeman now overseeing public service broadcasting in the new commercial deregulator, Oftel, which has a remit to follow the American "market" path.
The next step is to end the licence fee and diminish the BBC to a version of its Australian prodigy. That is Blair's agenda.
The genesis for this - and for the current Blair/Murdoch campaign against the BBC's independence - can be traced back to 1995, when Murdoch flew the Blairs first class to Hayman Island, off the Queensland coast.
In the tropical sunshine and standing at the blue News Corp lectern, the future British prime minister pledged himself to hand over the media to the "enterprise" of those like his host (Murdoch), who applauded him warmly.
The next day, Murdoch's Sun commented: "Mr Blair has vision, he has purpose and he speaks our language on morality and family life."
Saturday, September 27, 2003
ESSAY: Why Israeli Academic Institutions Should be Boycotted
Read HERE FULL Essay by MONA BAKER and LAWRENCE DAVIDSON, "Israeli Academic Institutions:In Defense of the Boycott"
September 18, 2003
Mona Baker is a professor of translation studies at the University of Manchester. Lawrence Davidson is a professor of history at West Chester University in Pennsylvania.
Excerpts from the essay by Mona Baker and Lawrence Davidson.
Boycotts are age old undertakings. Unlike sanctions, boycotts are most often grassroots means of protest against the policies of governments.
They can be undertaken by ordinary people to defend fellow human beings who are oppressed by governments and armies, and they can be deliberately restricted in scope to cause as little damage as possible to the lives of innocent people.
Thus, from an historical point of view, there is plenty of precedents for the tactic of boycott. And, as in the case of South Africa, public pressure through boycotts can eventually help force governments and organizations such as the United Nations to apply sanctions against a particular regime.
Nonetheless, the boycott against Israel, and in particular against academic institutions, has drawn wide spread criticism. Much of this has come from people who are, to one extent or another, partisans of Israel.
But some have genuine concerns that innocent Israelis are being unnecessarily hurt, or that the boycott is undermining valued principles such as academic freedom and the free flow of ideas.
It is to this latter group that we would like to address the following arguments in the hope of putting them in a context that makes understandable the historical trade-offs inevitably involved in this struggle for justice.
First of all, the academic boycott of Israel is one part of a broader boycott and divestment effort which involves economic, cultural and sports agendas.
The academic boycott specifically is based on several premises.
To date, all but a small number of Israeli academics remain quiescent in the face of the violent colonial war their government wages in the Occupied Territories.
As a group they have had nothing to say about Israeli violations of scores of United Nations resolutions and the transgression of international law in the form of the Fourth Geneva Convention. This includes not only human rights violations of a general nature, but also, specifically, the systematic destruction of Palestinian education and academia.
Nor, as a group have they come to the defense of their very few fellow academics who have been persecuted for publically criticizing Israeli policies against the Palestinians.
Educational institutions and their teachers are principal agents in the shaping of perceptions of whole generations as to their country's relations with their neighbors and the world. If, in the midst of extreme practices of oppression such as we have been witnessing in the Occupied Territories, these institutions do not function to analyze and explain the world in a way that promotes justice and reasonable compromise, but rather acquiesce in aggressive colonialist practices, then others may legitimately boycott them.
The boycott against Israel has been put forward as a non-violent way by which non-Israelis the world over can express their concern for what is now the world's longest post-Second World War occupation and one of its bloodiest and most ethnic oriented.
We have asked ourselves what we, outside of Israel and the Occupied Territories, can do to put pressure on Israel to end the occupation and thus, at least help, bring about the beginning of the end of this crisis.
The boycott is one of our main answer.
Objections to the Academic Boycott of Israel have not been consistent. They have tended to shift over time. For instance, at the beginning of the boycott there was the call to keep academia, and particularly scientific fields, out of politics. While as an ideal this may be an admirable goal, in reality the bulk of higher education and its academicians never escape politics.
Israeli educational institutions have followed this pattern. As Shahid Alam, Professor of Economics at Northeastern University in Boston, has pointed out, "through their links with the military, the political parties, the media, and the economy, they (Israel's universities) have helped to construct, sustain, and justify the Apartheid (policies of the occupation).
In the current context, there are numerous examples of the direct involvement of Israeli academia and academic related professions in promoting and sustaining the oppressive measures of the Israeli government and in violations of human rights and of UN Resolutions.
In general terms, almost all Israeli academics find themselves actively or passively supporting the occupation by virtue of Israel's policy of universal Jewish conscription. (This is a policy that does not democratize the Israeli army, so much as it militarizes Israeli civilian society).
Thus, almost all Israeli academics are military veterans and many will do reserve duty in the Territories.
If they wish to resist serving as part of the occupation forces they can do so by joining the Refusnik organizations. Very few choose to do so.
More concretely, one can point to the active role taken by Bar-Ilan University in validating courses given by colleges now being established in the settlements.
And finally, there is the particularly sinister, documented involvement of Israeli doctors in torture.
The argument for isolating academia from politics was later augmented with the assertion that "in the end the best way to resolve issues is to pursue dialogue, not boycotts."
But it is precisely because "dialogue" on the Palestinian issue has been historically stifled that the boycott against Israel has become necessary.
For decades the Zionists have had a near monopoly on the information flow in the West concerning the Palestinian situation. One can still see this in the fact that the vast majority of coverage in the press, magazines, and TV news, particularly in the United States, gives, most of the time, only the Israeli side of the story.
Those offering the Palestinian point of view are now consistently labeled anti-Semites and supporters of terrorists.
The Zionists themselves thus seek to maintain an environment that discourages dialogue and makes necessary other, more direct and effective tactics.
Moreover, 'intellectual exchanges' have been going on between Israelis and the rest of the world since 1948 and with Zionists for longer than that. It has made not a bit of difference to the oppressive and colonialist policies of successive Israeli governments.
Under these conditions, "dialogue" is unlikely to achieve anything in the future unless, simultaneously, real pressure is applied from outside.
One of the earliest tactics to silence and discredit advocates of the boycott has been the often used red herring of anti-Semitism.
The boycott of Israel, including the academic boycott, is inherently anti-Semitic, we are told, 'in effect if not in intent.' It encourages anti-Semitism, even if it does not mean to. This argument is based on a dishonest equating of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism and conveniently ignores the mounting crescendo of Jewish voices against Zionist and Israeli colonialist practices.
It also ignores the fact that not only was the boycott call started by a Jewish scholar (Professor Steven Rose, Open University, UK), but also that many of the supporters of the boycott are Jewish, some even Israeli.
Indeed, as many Jews have argued, it is current Israeli practices and the Zionist colonial project that encourage and feed anti-Semitic discourse, rather than legitimate means of protest against violations of human rights in Israel.
Thankfully, the use of anti-Semitism to silence academics who support the boycott has become so discredited that even the Association of University Teachers in Britain has now officially declared its recognition of the distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.
Finally, there was the short lived argument that the issues involved in the conflict between Israel and Palestine are very complex, and a boycott reduces them to overly simplistic dueling camps of good and evil. This assertion could not be sustained in the light of UN resolutions and widely documented Israeli violations of international law, and is now rarely heard.
We now turn to more serious issues concerning the objectives, scope and potential effectiveness of the boycott.
Consideration of Specific Objections
Argument 1: Futility. The academic boycott is ineffective, it cannot influence the policies of the Israeli government, and will only harden positions due to resentment over outside pressure.
In the U.S. the Anti-Defamation League would not be extending time, energy and money, to label the academic boycott effort as the "hijacking of academic freedom"and the Zionists in general would not be rushing to launch a number of anti-boycott petitions. The near hysterical outcry coming from Zionists indicates a high level of insecurity and fear.
This fear may come, in part, from the awareness that the academic boycott is not just directed at the humanities and social sciences. It incorporates the hard sciences which feed into Israel's high tech economy.
Some Israelis have already acknowledged the potential of the boycott. Senior Israeli economist Yoram Gabai is quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle, 8 August 2002, as saying:"Faster than expected, we will find ourselves in the time warp of (white-dominated) Rhodesia in the 1970s and South Africa in the 1980s: enforced isolation from without and an isolationism from within....The enormous price of isolation will drag us into withdrawing from the (occupied) territories, either in the context of a peace treaty or without one as a unilateral act."The academic boycott is but one component in a broader boycott program that seeks to put pressure on all aspects of Israeli society.
Unfortunately, and much like white South Africa under apartheid, internally generated Israeli perceptions are so censored and inbred that their ability to understand the consequences of their national policies on the Palestinians is limited. For instance, a majority of Israelis have long believed in the myth of Barak's generous offer.
As the self-defeating results of the last two Israeli elections point out, a good number of Israelis are literally stuck in a world of their own where positions cannot get any "harder."
As in the case of South Africa, external pressure is perhaps the only way to move the Israelis to a realization that something is terribly wrong with their outlook and behavior and that there is a need to change both leadership and direction.
An international boycott targeting all aspects of Israeli society has strong and beneficial symbolic value. Such a boycott raises international consciousness over inhumane and unjust behavior.
One of the most important achievements of the academic boycott is that it has generated such heated discussion in so many venues (mainstream newspapers, television, student publications, internet discussion lists, etc.) that the negative details of the Zionist enterprise have inevitably forced themselves onto the consciousness of many people, within and outside academia.
Argument 2: Misguided --The academic boycott targets the wrong people and hurts Palestinians as well as Israelis. It harms collaborative efforts between Israeli and Palestinian universities.
The assertions that the academic boycott hurts Palestinians and harms collaborative efforts are factually untrue.
Minor collaborations between Israeli and Palestinian academic institutions in the Occupied Territories have now ceased. This is due to inevitable estrangement and suspicion that has come along with the continuing colonization and occupation of the Occupied Territories.
Also, Israeli policies forbid the travel of Israeli citizens into the Occupied Territories (except if they are going to and from colonies illegal under international law) and make it extremely onerous for Palestinians in those regions to enter Israel.
If the Israelis claim that these policies have been made necessary by the Palestinian uprising, we answer that the uprising has been made necessary and inevitable by the Israeli occupation and its brutal nature.
Part of that brutal nature has been the employment of tactics designed to prevent Palestinian colleges and universities from functioning in any normal manner. These tactics include prolonged shut downs, military raids and travel restrictions that impede students and faculty from reaching campuses.
No organized protest or resistence to this consistent and prolonged attack on Palestinian academia has come from Israeli academic groups, colleges, or universities.
As Tanya Reinhart, a Professor of Linguistics at Tel Aviv University and one of the few Israeli academics to publically stand against Israeli occupation policies, has observed,"Never in its history did the senate of any Israeli university pass a resolution protesting the frequent closure of Palestinian universities, let alone voice protest over the devastation sowed there during the last uprising. It is not that a motion in that direction failed to gather a majority, there was no such motion anywhere in Israeli academia."And even with the shocking escalation in the level of atrocities committed by the Israeli army since the beginning of the second intifada, Israeli academia continues to do practically nothing to bring the facts to public attention.
There is something obscenely hypocritical in the fact that many of those individuals and organizations (Israeli or otherwise) which have so vocally attacked the boycott, have not raised their voices against the destruction of Palestinian academia and society in general.
The claim that the boycott "targets the wrong people" is a more complicated one and deserves close consideration.
The most notable cases of the "wrong people" being hurt are those of the relatively few heroic Israeli academics who have put their careers on the line to stand up against the injustice of their country's colonial policies.
For example, there are, among others, Ilan Pappe, a professor of Political Science at Haifa University, and Tanya Reinhart, who we quoted above. Both are strong and vocal supporters of justice for the Palestinians and advocates for political reform in Israel.
Here is what Professor Pappe says about the need for a boycott of Israel:"It is a call from the inside to the outside to exert economic and cultural pressure on the Jewish state so as to bring home the message that there is a price tag attached to the continuation of the occupation. Within such a call, it makes no sense for an activist like myself to call on sanctions or pressure on business, factories, cultural festivals, etc. while demanding immunity for my own peers and sphere of activity--academia."Professor Pappe understands that he may also be hurt by such a boycott, but he recognizes that the sacrifice is necessary given the horrible situation we now find ourselves in.
As Pappe indicates, individual Israelis simply cannot abstract themselves from that larger issue. Israel is their country, Sharon is their Prime Minister, the Occupation is their collective sin.
Those, on the outside, who support the boycott, understand present day Israel for what it really is--a society that has institutionalized discriminatory policies, created de facto first, second, and third class citizenship categories, and has, for over thirty years now, maintained policies of occupation and colonization that have systematically destroyed Palestinian society.
Argument 3: Academic Freedom--The boycott violates the principle of academic freedom and as such is unacceptable.
The boycott's impingement on the academic freedom of Israeli scholars has been repeatedly condemned. It has been called "contemptible," " hypocritical," and "an unacceptable breakdown in the norms of intellectual freedom".
Dena S. Davis, a law professor at Cleveland State University, published in the Chronicle of Higher Education writes that "Academic boycotts undermine the basic premise of intellectual life that ideas make a difference."
Israeli Zionists have been interacting with the world outside of Israel since 1948. This sharing of ideas with the outside has made NO positive difference in the evolution of Zionist oppression against both Palestinians inside and outside of Israel proper. Indeed, it may very well have prolonged and deepened Israeli injustice in this regard.
Free communication on the part of Zionists has allowed them to build solid support among American Jews based on racist stereotyping of Arabs generally and Palestinians in particular, as well as the correspondingly gross over-idealization of the Zionist movement and its results.
Thus, historically, unimpaired 'intellectual life' and 'exchanges across cultures' have led to the corruption of a powerful segment to American Jewry.
We do agree that the obstruction of the "free flow of ideas" ought to be undertaken only in severe and extreme circumstances. Unfortunately, that is exactly the situation successive Israeli government have brought about.
Israel's illegal occupation has destroyed 'intellectual life' for the Palestinians. The practice of "exchanging visits" and "talking to each other," such as it has been over the last 35 years, on the part of Israeli academics have not produced the courage or insight to stand up and protest this destruction.
Israeli academics should be claiming for the Palestinians the same rights of academic freedom they claim for themselves. Their pointed failure to do so makes them subject to the general boycott of Israel that is now evolving as a consequence of Israeli policies.
The academic boycott of Israel is directed against Israeli institutions, including academic institutions. As a consequence of the boycott , Israeli academics are now having a harder time publishing outside the country, participating in formal exchanges, sitting on boards and international committees, and the like.
However, this does not translate into a situation where no one will talk to them. And we are in fact anxious to talk to other Israeli academics about what they can do to help end the situation that has brought on the boycott in the first place.
In effect, far from discouraging Israeli dissent we are allied to it and encourage Israeli academics to act in solidarity and sympathy with their Palestinian colleagues who suffer much worse isolation due to Israeli occupation. When the occupation is dismantled, the academic boycott will be as well.
Argument 4: Inconsistency--The boycott adherents unfairly single out Israel while ignoring all other military occupations in places such as Tibet, Chechnya, etc.
How do those who claim that we are 'picking' on Israel know that we also ignore the behavior of the Chinese in Tibet, Russians in Chechnya, etc.?
For a good number of those who support this boycott the struggle against Israeli occupation is a high priority.
There are a number of reasons for this.
First, many of us, Jews, Muslims, Christians, or non-denominational Americans, Europeans, and Arabs, feel a special affinity for the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. We all have emotional, cultural, or religious ties to the Holy Land, even the non-religious among us. What the Zionists seem NOT to understand is that the place their mythology makes special for them, is also special to a lot of other folks based on other interpretations of the same myth and other forms of oral and written tradition as well.
Second, just because other nations behave badly does not let the Israelis off the hook. After all, the Israelis now have the dubious distinction of running the longest post-WWII occupation in the world. There is no reason why we, as a movement, should not start with the problem that has persisted longest and then work backwards.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, the Israeli-Palestinian crisis can be seen as more important for citizens of the Western nations than other contemporary crises and examples of oppression. This is because Zionist influence spreads far beyond Israel's area of dominion, and now widely influences many of the key domestic agendas in the West.
Unlike the Chinese, Russians, and other oppressive regimes, the Israelis and their supporters directly influence the policy makers of our own countries. Thus their actions have import beyond the Occupied Territories and potentially affect the lives of ordinary citizens of most Western nations.
In United States, Zionist lobbies are extremely powerful with both Congress and the media, and the administration of George W. Bush and his neo-conservative advisers see Israel and its aggressive behavior as a model for their own policies. Numerous examples of how this influence is exerted can be found on the web site of the Project for the New American Century.
Argument 5: Giving Comfort to Terrorists --The boycott of Israel ignores the (alleged) facts that (A) the Israeli army is in the Occupied Territories as an act of self-defense against suicide bombers and other terrorists and (B) boycott efforts only encourage and lend comfort to these terrorists.
(A) (These) are additional red-herrings that seek to distract attention from main issues. The Israeli army and settlers are in the Occupied Territories to possess "Judea," "Samaria" and Gaza.
The resulting thirty five years of land confiscation, destruction of crops, houses, and other Palestinian property, the destruction of Palestinian civil society, the construction of illegal colonies, and the importation of 100,000s of illegal settlers are not "acts of self-defense."
On the other hand, one can reasonably define resistence to these actions on the part of the Palestinians as in fact acts of self-defense. The international community through the actions of the United Nations and the testimony of respected world leaders, has made it quite clear that Israeli occupation constitutes an on-going case of severe injustice. Archbishop Desmond Tutu recently declared,"I have been very deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy Land; it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa. I have seen the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about."He goes on to condemn the general dispossession of the Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line.
(B) The charge that boycott efforts encourage or lend comfort to terrorists is entirely ad hoc. How do those who make these claims know that they are true? In fact, the boycott, functioning as a manifestation of "world conscience," can "mitigate the Palestinian's deep despair"and hopefully lead to a reduction of violence of both the "colonizer and the colonized."
Israeli goals in the occupied territories have always aimed at possession and absorption of these lands. Israeli behavior, colonialist and oppressive, follows from this fact.
One can verify this for oneself by going to any of the human rights organizations that document Israeli policy in the territories, including Israeli organizations, and simply trace the actions of the occupier from 1967 onward.
However, with the advent of the Sharon government the scale of destruction and brutality has risen to new and shocking levels. As Ilan Pappe has observed, under Ariel Sharon occupation has become "a horror story of abuse and callousness ....The trend is for worse to come, with a sense of an Israeli government that feels it has a 'green light' from the U.S. to do whatever it wishes in the occupied territories."
The Sharon government was put into power by an overwhelming majority vote of Israelis in the election of February 2001. Sharon received 62% of ballots cast. In the January 2003 election the Israeli public reconfirmed their allegiance to Sharon, his Likud party, and allied right wing parties.
What this electoral history indicates is that the majority of Israelis are either unwilling or unable to understand the real origins of their own insecurity and the nature of the occupation.
It is under these circumstances that outside pressure becomes the only viable way of encouraging change in Israel.
Under normal circumstances one would look to the government of the United States, Israel's ally and patron, to apply the necessary pressure. The U.S. is itself operating under the same delusions as Israel as to the nature of and reasons for the occupation. The prospect of changing the perceptions of the U.S. Congress on this issue is even less likely than dislodging Sharon from leadership in Israel.
This leaves us with the strategy of a grassroots, international movement to boycott Israel at all possible levels: economic, cultural, and academic.
We are proud of this effort and convinced of its necessity and just nature. And, as this detailed article attests, we are willing to defend it against all who would question its validity or the motives of its participants.
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
THE IRAQ FIASCO and the TRUTH-TELLERS
The following is an Editiorial from "The Capital Times"-Wisconsin
The Capital Times
September 21, 2003
Six months after U.S. military forces invaded Iraq, a pair of prominent American political figures cut through the spin and spoke some needed truths about that conflict:
(A) One truth teller was President Bush.
We understand that the president is not a man whose name is often associated with word "truth." But on Wednesday, Bush leveled with the American people.
With a clarity that he never displayed on the eve of a war that has cost hundreds of American lives and thousands of Iraqi lives, devastated the international reputation of the United States and cost American taxpayers tens of billions of dollars, Bush admitted that "we've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September the 11th."
This comes after almost two years of Bush promoting the notion that an appropriate response to al-Qaida's terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon required an assault on Iraq.
The Bush team created a public relations drumbeat so powerful that a recent Washington Post poll found that seven in 10 Americans still believe deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein played a role in the Sept. 11 attacks.
But now Bush was finally forced to acknowledge the truth.
The admission broke a pattern of playing fast-and-loose with the facts that characterized major public pronouncements by the president, who as recently as May 1 boasted that, with the flight of Saddam from Baghdad, "we have removed an ally of al-Qaida and cut off a source of terrorist funding."
Of course, Bush made that bogus statement in front of a sign that made the equally bogus claim that the Iraqi imbroglio had reached the "Mission Accomplished" stage.
(B) The other truth teller was Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., one of the senior members of the Congress.
Speaking of the period before the war, Kennedy said:
"There was no imminent threat. This was made up in Texas, announced in January to the Republican leadership that war was going to take place and was going to be good politically. This whole thing was a fraud."
That's blunt talk, as was Kennedy's criticism of the administration for failing to articulate a coherent policy in Iraq.
Kennedy says that administration officials relied on "distortion, misrepresentation, a selection of intelligence" to justify their case for war.
The president's defenders were quick to dismiss Kennedy's critique as a partisan attack. But Kennedy's stark assessment of the administration's credibility is reflective of sentiments that are now broadly held.
Where 62 percent of Americans said in January that they trusted Bush as a leader, that figure has now dropped to 47 percent.
For the first time since Sept. 11, 2001, a Time/CNN poll found this summer that a majority of Americans had "doubts and reservations" about Bush's trustworthiness.
Bush's deceptions and distortions have begun to catch up with him.
He is getting caught out again and again by Americans whose sentiments are echoed in a sign seen at the rally where retired Gen. Wesley Clark announced that he would seek the presidency: "Bush Lied, People Died."
But it would be wrong to suggest that the president always lies. For instance, there is no reason to doubt that Bush was telling the truth when he admitted that there was "no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September the 11th."
Indeed, if he had acknowledged that truth six month ago, when issues of life and death were at stake, more Americans might trust their president now.
Published: 10:10 AM 9/20/03
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
U.S. media behaving like former Soviet state media
"I do not exaggerate when I say that much of the U.S. media from 9/11 to the present closely resembled the old Soviet media I knew and disrespected during my stays in the USSR during the 1980s.September 21, 2003
The American media, notably the sycophantic White House press corps and flagwavers at Fox, treated President George Bush and his entourage with adulation and fawning servility similar to what the Soviet state media once lavished on Communist Party Chairman Leonid Brezhnev. " - Eric Margolis
by ERIC MARGOLIS- Contributing Foreign Editor. Toronto Sun
I've long considered CNN's Christiane Amanpour an outstanding journalist.
Last week, my opinion of her rose further when she ignited a storm of controversy when asked by a TV interviewer about the U.S. media's coverage of the Iraq war.
Breaking a taboo of silence in the mainstream media, Amanpour courageously replied, "I think the press was muzzled and I think the press self-muzzled. Television ... was intimidated by the (Bush) administration and its foot soldiers at Fox News."
Right on cue, faithful to Reichsmarshal Hermann Goering's advice to attack all dissenting views as treason, Fox accused Amanpour of being a "spokeswoman for al-Qaida." I felt for Amanpour, having myself been slandered by the U.S. neo-conservative media as "a friend of Saddam" for disputing White House claims about Iraq - whose secret police had threatened to hang me on my last visit to Baghdad.
The warlike momma's boys at the neo-con National Review actually had the chutzpah to call me "unpatriotic." Columnists at my own paper pilloried me for opposing the Iraq misadventure.
Now, as White House lies and distortions are being exposed daily, these critics are not man enough to admit that their parroting of administration war propaganda - Amanpour politely calls it "high level disinformation" - was foolish and unprofessional.
Christiane Amanpour is absolutely right. The U.S. media was muzzled and censored itself.
I experienced this firsthand on U.S. TV, radio and in print. Never in my 20 years in media have I seen such unconscionable pressure exerted on journalists to conform to the government's party line.
Criticism of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, photos of dead American soldiers or civilians killed by bombing, were forbidden or downplayed.
The tone of reporting had to be strongly positive, filled with uplifting stories about liberation and women freed from repression. Criticism, sharp questions and doubt were verboten.
The bloated corporations dominating the U.S. media feared antagonizing the White House, which was pushing for the bill - just rejected by the Senate - to allow them to grow even larger.
Reporters who failed to toe the line were barred or had their access to military and government officials limited, virtually ending some careers. Many "embedded" reporters in Iraq and Afghanistan became little more than public relations auxiliaries.
Critics of administration policies in Iraq and Afghanistan were systematically excluded from media commentary, particularly on national TV.
Night after night, networks featured "experts" who droned on about Iraq's fearsome weapons of mass destruction that posed an imminent threat to the U.S., about Iraq's links to al-Qaida, the urgency to invade Iraq before it could strike at America and a raft of other fabrications.
Such "experts" echoed the White House party line and all were dead wrong. Yet, amazingly, many are still on the air, continuing to misinform the public, using convoluted arguments to explain why they were not really wrong even when they were.
I do not exaggerate when I say that much of the U.S. media from 9/11 to the present closely resembled the old Soviet media I knew and disrespected during my stays in the USSR during the 1980s.
The American media, notably the sycophantic White House press corps and flagwavers at Fox, treated President George Bush and his entourage with adulation and fawning servility similar to what the Soviet state media once lavished on Communist Party Chairman Leonid Brezhnev.
When dimwitted Brezhnev made the calamitous blunder of invading Afghanistan, the Moscow media rapturously described the brazen aggression as "liberation" that recalled the glories of World War II.
The U.S. media indulged in the same frenzied foot-kissing, and the same silly WW II comparisons over Bush's foolhardy invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
President Bush and his neo-conservative handlers led America into these twin disasters precisely because two of the key organs of democracy - an independent, inquiring media, and assertive Congress - failed miserably to perform their duty.
They allowed themselves to be cowed into subservience. They failed to expose and vigorously oppose the sinister, pro-totalitarian Patriot Act that so endangers America's basic liberties.
Or, like Fox, a reincarnation of William Randolph Hearst's jingoistic yellow press, they served as White House mouthpieces, eagerly stoking war fever and national hysteria, retailing to the public all the administration's wholesale disinformation about Iraq.
In a shocking attempt to silence dissenting voices, U.S. forces bombed the news offices of al-Jazeera TV in Baghdad, Basra and Kabul, killing and wounding some of its staff.
"The CNN of the Arab World" had been contradicting too many White House claims.
Al-Jazeera's senior correspondent, Tayseer Alouni, has been arrested in Spain and charged with aiding terrorism by interviewing Osama bin Laden. The U.S. previously accused Alouni of being pro-Iraqi; Iraq expelled him for being "anti-Iraqi."
In my books, that makes him an honest, courageous journalist, just like Amanpour.
So long as Bush was riding high in the polls, the media fawned on him.
But now that many Americans are beginning to sense they were lied to or misled by the White House, Bush's popularity is dropping, and the media's mood is becoming edgy and more aggressive.
The muzzles may soon be coming off.
Eric can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nine Israelis deported from CANADA:
Canadian spy agency suspects they may be Israeli spy agents
Their names: Ienav Sofer, Amit Yedudai, Rani Rahuhim Katsov, Roy Laniado, Shulamit Gorelik, Anatoly Belnik, Koby Cole, Sharon Moskovitz and Yafit Avram.
Posting Note: The following article was pulled by the Ottawa Sun for unknown reasons within hours of posting. It is reprinted here for fair use purposes. © 2003, Canoe Limited Partnership. All rights reserved.
September 19, 2003
By JOHN STEINBACHS and ANDREW SEYMOUR
NINE Israeli nationals -- who[m] CSIS suspects are possible foreign agents -- were arrested by Immigration and Ottawa police tactical officers last Friday, blocks from Parliament Hill.
The nine have all been charged by Immigration for working in Canada illegally.
All are in their 20s and were apparently selling art in Ottawa. The arrests follow similar takedowns of Israelis in Toronto and Calgary over the past few weeks.
An Ottawa police source said police were told members of the group were possible agents from Mossad, Israel's spy agency, but given no further information by CSIS.
CSIS declined to comment yesterday.
All nine have since been released and are staying in several rooms at a Lisgar St. apartment-hotel.
Citizenship and Immigration spokesman Rejean Cantlon confirmed that nine Israelis were arrested last Friday for working in Canada without a permit. Immigration hearings were held Wednesday and nine exclusion orders were issued.
Ienav Sofer, Amit Yedudai, Rani Rahuhim Katsov, Roy Laniado, Shulamit Gorelik and Anatoly Belnik received exclusion orders for two years for working without authorization and misrepresentation. Koby Cole, Sharon Moskovitz and Yafit Avram were issued exclusion orders for one year.
All will be deported as soon as paperwork is ready, likely within the next few weeks, Cantlon said.
They were arrested with the help of tactical and patrol officers Friday between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.
No weapons were found in their rooms.
Yesterday, eight were found walking down Lisgar St., but offered no comment when asked if they were Israeli art students.
This is not the first time students selling art in Ottawa have caused concern with law enforcement.
In 2001, Centrepointe residents complained of foreign students selling paintings in their neighourhood that turned out to be fakes.
The story of Israeli art students peddling paintings in foreign countries has been reported in the media and on the Internet in the past.
U.S. reports have alleged that groups of students had been trying to sell art in federal government buildings, prompting concerns about intelligence gathering, but no proof has ever been found linking the art peddlers with espionage.
"I keep seeing these things and looking into them, I really don't know how credible they are," said former CSIS chief of strategic planning David Harris. "Certainly it would be extremely surprising if such an outfit would repeat a (technique) in that sort of way."
Israeli Embassy spokesman Ben Forer said the matter is being treated very seriously.
"These are illegal workers ... we're outraged by this," he said. "We expect Israeli citizens that would like to work in Canada to equip themselves with the appropriate work permits before they come to Canada."
Forer laughed when asked if the arrests had anything to do with terrorism or if the nine are agents of Mossad -- whose operatives have been known in the past to favour using bogus Canadian passports.
"We don't know full details about what the paintings were but it was a completely commercial matter," Forer said.
READ HERE article and Links on suspicious Israeli arts students in USA in 2001: " Suspicious Activities Involving Israeli Art Students at DEA Facilities"
Excerpt from Justin Raimondo's article " Another 9/11 ?"
"...Yes, folks, those Israeli "art students" – you know, the ones who attempted to penetrate U.S. government facilities in the months leading up to 9/11, showed up at the homes of federal employees, and were said to be watching the 9/11 hijackers 24/7 – have popped up yet again, this time in Canada:
Headlined "Nine Israelis face deportation: Spy agency suspects they may be foreign agents," this story appeared in the Ottawa Sun, on Friday, September 19 – and disappeared from the paper's website completely in less than a day, unlike the Sun's other articles, which are archived and available.
Here is the Google cache. Check it out before it disappears, (News Compass note: it actually disappeared as predicted) just like Carl Cameron's December 2001 series on the same subject.
In Cameron's case, this disappearing act was the result of outside pressure and a campaign of calumniation against Fox's crack investigative reporter: Israel's amen corner hissed that Cameron was disqualified as an objective reporter because he spent his youth in a Muslim country.
In the case of the Ottawa Sun, it's a case of Izzy Asper strikes again.
The owner of Canada's largest newspaper chain is famous for his directive that NO criticism of Israel be printed in his newspapers, leading to resignations and increasing resentment of media monopolism via mega-mergers.
It's the suspicion that won't die – no matter how many times, and in how many different ways, they try to kill it.
Cameron broke the story on Fox News – hardly a nexus of anti-Israeli sentiment – amid the apocalyptic tumult of '01, and it has survived in spite of numerous attempts to debunk it and smear anyone who gives it credence. Cameron's words echo down through the years, haunting us as we observe, uneasily, the second anniversary of our misfortune:
"There is no indication that the Israelis were involved in the 9-11 attacks, but investigators suspect that the Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance, and NOT shared it. A highly placed investigator said there are – quote – 'tie-ins.' But when asked for details, he flatly refused to describe them, saying, – quote – 'evidence linking these Israelis to 9-11 is classified.'"
How much access the U.S. will have, under these circumstances, to Israel's worldwide surveillance of Islamist groups, is a matter of pure speculation, but I'm willing to bet it falls far short of total.
It is more than merely frightening to imagine what the reappearance of these enigmatic "art students" portends.
Two years ago, their mysterious invasion of American shores augured the worst terrorist attack in American history. Does their sudden emergence in Canada signal a similar disaster in the near future?
God help us all."
Monday, September 22, 2003
U.S. soldier on active duty in Iraq: "There is only one truth, and it is that Americans are dying"
"I once believed that I served for a cause: "to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States."Tim Predmore is on active duty with the 101st Airborne Division near Mosul, Iraq. A 1985 Richwoods High School graduate and native Peorian, he has been in Iraq since March and in the military for about five years.
Now, I no longer believe; I have lost my conviction, my determination. I can no longer justify my service for what I believe to be half-truths and bold lies. My time is done as well as that of many others with whom I serve. We have all faced death here without reason or justification.
How many more must die? How many more tears must be shed before America awakens and demands the return of the men and women whose job it is to protect them rather than their leader's interest? "
Read HERE TIM PREDMORE's article in PjStar.com
Below is Tim Predmore's full article:
"Shock and Awe" were the words used to describe the awesome display of power the world was to view upon the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. It was to be an up-close, dramatic display of military strength and advanced technology within the arsenal of the United States and the United Kingdom's military.
But as a soldier preparing for the invasion of Iraq, the words "shock and awe" rang deeper within my psyche.
These two great superpowers were about to break the very rules they demand of others. Without the consent of the United Nations, and ignoring the pleas of their own citizens, the United States and Britain invaded Iraq.
"Shock and Awe"?
Yes, the words correctly described the emotional impact I felt as we prepared to participate in what I believed not to be an act of justice but of hypocrisy.
From the moment the first shot was fired in this so-called war of liberation and freedom, hypocrisy reigned.
Following the broadcasting of recorded images of captured and dead U.S. soldiers over Arab television, American and British leaders vowed revenge while verbally assaulting the networks for displaying such vivid images.
Yet within hours of the deaths of Saddam's two sons, the American government released horrific photos of the two dead brothers for the entire world to view. Again, a "do as we say and not as we do" scenario.
As soldiers serving in Iraq, we have been told that our purpose here is to help the people of Iraq by providing them the necessary assistance militarily as well as in humanitarian efforts.
Then tell me where the humanity was in the recent Stars and Stripes account of two young children brought to a U.S. military camp by their mother, in search of medical care? The two children had been, unbeknown to them, playing with explosive ordinance they had found and as a result were severely burned.
The account tells how the two children, following an hour-long wait, were denied care by two U.S. military doctors. The soldier described the incident as one of many "atrocities" he has witnessed on the part of the U.S. military.
So then, what is our purpose here?
Was this invasion due to weapons of mass destruction as we so often heard? If so, where are they?
Did we invade to dispose of a leader and his regime on the account of close association with Osama bin Laden? If so, where is the proof?
Or is it that our incursion is a result of our own economic advantage? Iraq's oil can be refined at the lowest cost of any in the world. Coincidence?
This looks like a modern-day crusade not to free an oppressed people or to rid the world of a demonic dictator relentless in his pursuit of conquest and domination but a crusade to control another nation's natural resource. At least for us here, oil seems to be the reason for our presence.
There is only one truth, and it is that Americans are dying. There are an estimated 10- to 14-attacks on our servicemen and women daily in Iraq.
As the body count continues to grow, it would appear that there is no immediate end in sight.
I once believed that I served for a cause: "to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Now, I no longer believe; I have lost my conviction, my determination. I can no longer justify my service for what I believe to be half-truths and bold lies. My time is done as well as that of many others with whom I serve.
We have all faced death here without reason or justification. How many more must die?
How many more tears must be shed before America awakens and demands the return of the men and women whose job it is to protect them rather than their leader's interest?
by Tim Predmore
Thursday, September 18, 2003
Israel's Super Power Protector and Financier Vetoes UN Security Council Resolution that forbids Israel from expelling Arafat
by The Associated Press
UNITED NATIONS - The United States last night vetoed United Nations resolution demanding that Israel halt threats to expel Yasser Arafat from the West Bank because it did not contain a condemnation of terrorist groups such as Hamas.
Eleven of the 15 Security Council nations voted in favor of the resolution and three abstained: Britain, Germany and Bulgaria.
At a council meeting on Monday, virtually all of the more than 40 speakers condemned Israel's threats against Arafat.
Syria, the only Arab nation on the Security Council, had been pressing for a vote since last week's decision by Israel's security cabinet to "remove" Arafat in a manner and time to be decided.
U.S. deputy envoy James Cunningham informed the council in the morning that the U.S. would veto the latest draft. He said the U.S. was forced to veto because the resolution failed to name groups such as Hamas and the Al-Aqsa Brigades, which the U.S. blames for promoting terror.
Immediately after the vote, America's U.N. Ambassador John Negroponte reiterated that the United States does not support the elimination or forced exile of Arafat .
Cunningham said he told council members that the latest text was unacceptable because it would not promote the peace plan known as the road map, which is backed by the U.S., the United Nations, the European Union and Russia.
Britain, which holds the council presidency this month, proposed amendments on Monday dealing with implementation of the road map, but Syria rejected them.
Syria's U.N. Ambassador Fayssal Mekdad expressed regret at the vote, calling the resolution "highly balanced" and noting that most of the language came from previous resolutions adopted by the Security Council.
Tuesday, September 16, 2003
Israel Must Be Declared A Terrorist State
by Patrick Johnston
VoxRx.org (Voice of Reason)
A United Nations Culture of Peace NGO
VoxRx.org, PMB 129, 14419 Greenwood Ave N Ste A, Seattle, Wa 98133
"So now it is official: the government of Israel has decided to assassinate Yasser Arafat.
Sharon wants to conclude the historic clash between Zionism and the Palestinian people with a clear-cut decision: solid Israeli control over the entire country and a situation that will compel the Palestinians to get out.
Bloodshed will be universal. Every Israeli target - every airplane, every group of tourists, every Israeli institution, will be in constant danger.
The Americans have their reasons for vetoing the assassination. They know that the killing of Arafat will shake their position in the Arab and Muslim world to the core. The guerilla war that is becoming ever wider in Iraq will spread throughout the Arab and other Muslim countries and the world at large.
Doesn't Sharon understand all this? Of course he does.
And the people of Israel? The poor, brainwashed, despairing and apathetic people does not intervene. The silent, bleeding majority behaves as if all this does not concern them and their children. They are following Sharon as the children followed the pied piper, right into the river.This thundering silence is disastrous. "
"Israeli soldiers shot dead a 14-year-old Palestinian boy in the occupied West Bank. The boy was killed overnight on Sunday near the Qalandiya checkpoint south of Ram Allah. He was shot in the heart during a demonstration in support of Palestinian President Yasir Arafat.The United Nations General Assembly must pass resolutions declaring Israel to be in violation of the UN Charter of Member States and suspend Israel from the United Nations effective immediately.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces re-invaded the West Bank city of Nablus and Balata refugee camp, causing heavy damage to residential buildings."
Further, both the General Assembly and the Security Council must pass resolutions imposing the harshest yet sanctions and complete international isolation against Israel for continued reckless and wanton violations of numerous resolutions concerning the criminal treatment of the Palestinian people and mandates on Palestine.
ISRAEL MUST END THE OCCUPATION ... AND THE VIOLENCE!
1.) Israel Must Be Declared A Terrorist State
2.) Zionism Must Be Declared A Terrorist Movement and Followers Terrorists
3.) War Crimes Tribunals Must Be Sought Against Appropriate Israeli Leaders
4.) UN Must Impose Harsh Sanctions and Isolation Against Israel
The United States must wake up to the fact that Israel is NOT a good ally.
Nor is Israel a good friend to the American people.
What ally and what friend would demand of a nation and its people to continuously support without challenge, or explanation, their nefarious plans and calculated deeds to wipe out an entire population of largely defenseless people?
The American people must demand an immediate and uncompromised end to the blind and insane U.S. support of Israel and its reprehensible and vile destruction of the Palestinian people before it is too late.
The mandate and requisite road map for peace is very simple:
Demand full implementation of all United Nations General Assembly and Security Council Resolutions relevant to the conflict in the Middle East and stop this inhumane and heinous carnage by the Israeli government aimed at and inflicted against the hapless and defenseless Palestinian people.The criminally insane Israeli government now claims it plans to expel Yasser Arafat from Palestine, or to kill him. This announcement by the Israeli government hasn't indicated which option it will choose. But make no mistake about it, it most assuredly will happen.
The Israeli government has a habit of broaching its most controversial, aka unlawful, plans in the media to head off and dilute any possible -- no matter how weak and ineffectual -- U.S. government opposition and to a lesser degree international opposition and to establish how ever weak of a claim that they forewarned the international community of their plans and therefore are absolved of any wrongdoing.
What right does Israel have to expel Yasser Arafat into exile? What international law and precedent allows such a move? A more odious plan of action by Israel would be the assassination -- the murdering -- of Arafat.
President Arafat has been held virtual captive in his destroyed Ramallah compound for over two years, imprisoned, under full scrutiny and observation of the IDF, unable to set a foot past his confines.
So what precisely grants Israel impunity to do as it wishes, to whom it wishes, in complete contravention of international law, to elected leaders within the boundaries of their own land?
And while under virtual house arrest, how can Arafat rightfully be held responsible for not being able to stop Hamas, or any other act of armed resistance by any Palestinian faction?
This is another in a long list of mischievous and devious Israeli tauntings and calculated schemes of out of control spin and manipulation of on the ground facts to give credence and legitimacy to their belligerent and dastardly policies and military brutality against the Palestinians in the guise of fighting Palestinian terrorism instigated by Arafat and the Palestinian Authority.
How can the elected leader of Palestine possibly be responsible for the actions of the armed Palestinian resistance?
The justification for every bit of what the Israelis has thrown at the Palestinian Intifadah has been laid at the feet of a besieged and captive duly elected President.
Bush keeps demanding that Arafat dismantle the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure.
Sharon, the yet to be indicted war criminal, insists that Arafat dismantle every bit of the armed Palestinian resistance and until he does, he, as the elected Prime Minister of Israel, will continue these most sickly and despicable acts of cowardice against this small group of Arabs.How pathetic and prophetic.
Bush, with a vast military and arsenal financed by a defense budget larger than the rest of the planet combined, cannot find one man in Osama Bin Laden and after a year of continuous military action still cannot claim the dismantling of Al Qaeda.
Ariel 'The Butcher of Sabra and Shatilla and Qibya and Beirut and Jenin and many other places and loathsome deeds' Sharon has tried in vain to prevent the martyr operations and all to no avail -- so just what is expected of Arafat?
Nothing! It's all another ploy intentionally conceived and concocted to allow certain failure and another lame and predictable excuse for the Israelis to kill more innocent Arabs and perhaps this time President Arafat included.
Hamas, whose very existence and material backing comes at the hands of the Israeli government. The same which can be said of the U.S. and Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden and myriad others and regimes before them.
Whatever plan Israel chooses would be a criminal act. But criminal acts are nothing new to Israel, its government, or many of its citizens.
And what will be the reaction of the Bush administration to either of these options?
Why should we, the American people, or for that matter the entire international community, expect any other response than what we are accustomed to by Bush in response to the crimes committed by Arik 'The Man of Peace' Sharon and his supporters? Nothing.
If the Sharon regime proceeds with either of their plans, the response needs to bury Israel, AIPAC, the ZOA, the CPMJO, JINSA and all similar organizations and extremist Israeli support structures under a relentless fusillade and barrage of condemnation.
Israel needs ostracized and isolated by sanctions from the rest of the entire international community of nations until it falls into line and stops this intentional decimation of Palestine.
Because Bush and his aides have staked a clear and visible dislike of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac; because they would not fall into lock step with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, perhaps it is then acceptable to Bush to exercise the right to send them into exile and to forcefully do so?
And to do so by sending a belligerent military force into France and Germany to extract those leaders for expulsion under heavy gunfire without conscience, or concern for the citizens of either country? There is no difference. It is just as preposterous and criminal for the Israelis in their proposition concerning Yasser Arafat.
While we are on the subject of criminality:
It is a violation of U.S. laws to provide material support for criminal and corrupt governments. Israel is in violation of near seventy UN General Assembly and Security Council Resolutions in regards to the Middle East conflict.
Under numerous scenarios, Israeli PM Ariel Sharon and numerous other Israeli officials are guilty of multitudes of violations of the Geneva Convention and other international laws, covenants and treaties. Some punishable by death.
The entirety of the House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate and the Executive Branch, including President Bush, are guilty of aiding and abetting Israel in its flagrant, intentional and willful commitment of crimes against the Palestinian people. Including but not limited to violations of the Leahy Amendment and the Arms Control Export Act.
The U.S. government has also violated numerous laws in regards to certain forms of military and financial aid provided to Israel in contravention to money laundering laws and laws regarding the structuring of all aid and the repayment/obligations of the recipient country concerning how the aid is used and the reporting requirements/accountability of all aid -- military, or otherwise.
Both Israel and the United States are guilty of violations of numerous UN Resolutions concerning the treatment of Palestinian citizens and the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory.
How can anything out of the mouth of the Israeli government, or any of its politicians, or any of the supporters of the Zionist campaign, or any others who support or bless the Israeli apartheid against the Palestinian people , be believed in any regard, on any matter?
For that matter, how can any U.S. politician?
- Patrick Johnston
Sunday, September 14, 2003
Robert Fisk A hail of bullets, a trail of dead, and a mystery the US is in no hurry to resolve
September 13, 2003
A human brain lay beside the highway. It was scattered in the sand, blasted from its owner's head when the Americans ambushed their own Iraqi policemen.
A few inches away were a policeman's teeth, broken but clean dentures, the teeth of a young man. "I don't know if they are the teeth of my brother - and I don't even know if my brother is alive or dead," Ahmed Mohamed shouted at me. "The Americans took the dead and the wounded away - they won't tell us anything."
Ahmed Mohamed was telling the truth. He is also, I should add, an Iraqi policeman working for the Americans.
United States forces in Iraq officially stated - incredibly - that they had "no information" about the killing of the 10 cops and the wounding of five others early yesterday morning. Unfortunately, the Americans are not telling the truth.
Soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Divison fired thousands of bullets in the ambush, hundreds of them smashing the wall of a building in the neighbouring Jordanian Hospital compound, setting several rooms on fire.
And if they really need "information", they have only to look at the 40mm grenade cartridges scattered in the sand near the brains and teeth.
On each is printed the coding "AMM LOT MA-92A170-024". This is a US code for grenades belt-fired from an American M-19 gun.
And out in Fallujah, where infuriated Iraqi civilians roamed the streets after morning prayers looking for US patrols to stone, it wasn't difficult to put the story together. The local Americand-trained and American-paid police chief, Qahtan Adnan Hamad - who confirmed that 10 died - described hpow, not long after midnight yesterday morning, gunmen in a BMW car had opened fire on the Mayor's office in Fallujah.
Two squads of the American-trained and American-paid police force - from the local Fallujah constabulary established by US forces last month and the newly constituted Iraqi national police - set off in pursuit.
Since the Americans will not reveal the truth, let Ahmed Mohamed, whose 28-year-old brother, Walid, was one of the policemen who gave chase, tell his story.
"We have been told that the BMW opened fire o the mayor's office at 12.30am. The police chased them in two vehicles, a Nissan pick-up and a Honda car and they set off down the old Kandar roads toward Baghdad.
"But the Americans were there in the darkness, outside the Jordanian Hospital, to ambush cars on the road. They let the BMW through and then fired at the police cars."
One of the policemen who was wounded in the second vehicle said the Americans suddenly appeared on the darkened road. "When they shouted at us, we stopped immediately," he said. "We tried to tell them we were police. They just kept on shooting."
The latter is true. I found thousands of brass cartridge cases at the scene, piles of them like autumn leaves glimmering in the sun, along with the dark green grenade cartridges. There were several hundred unfired bullets but - far more disturbing - was the evidence on the walls of a building at the Jordanian Hospital. At least 150 rounds had hit the breeze-block wall and two rooms had burned out, the flames blackening the outside of the building.
And therein lies another mystery that the Americans were yesterday in no hurry to resolve. Several Iraqis said that a Jordanian doctor in the hospital had been killed and five nurses wounded. Yet when I approached the hospital gate, I was confronted by three armed men who said they were Jordanian. To enter hospitals here now, you must obtain permission from the occupation authorities in Baghdad - which is rarely, if ever, forthcoming.
No-one wants journalists prowling round dismal morturaies in "liberated" Iraq. Who knows what they might find.
"The doctors have gone to prayer so you cannot come in," an unsmiling Jordanian gunman at the gate told me. On the roof of the shattered hospital building, two armed and helmeted guards watched us. They looked to me very like Jordanian troops. And their hospital is opposite a US 3rd Infantry Division base. Are the Jordanians here for the Americans? Or are the Americans guarding the Jordanian Hospital? When I asked if the bodies of the dead policemen were here, the armed man at the gate shrugged his shoulders.
So what happened?
Did the Americans shoot down their Iraqi policemen under the mistaken impression that they were "terrorists" - Saddamite or al-Qa'ida, depending on their faith in President George Bush - and then, once their bullets had smashed into the hospital, come under attack from the Jordanian guards on the roof?
In any other land, the Americans would surely have acknowledged some of the truth.
But all they would speak of yesterday were their own casualties. Two US soldiers were killed and seven wounded in a raid in the neighbouring town of Ramadi when the occupants of a house fired back at them. It gave the impression, of course, that American lives were infinetly more valuable than Iraqi lives.
And had the brains and teeth beside the road outside Fallujah been American brains and teeth, of course, they would have been removed. There were other things beside the highway yesterday.
A torn, blood-stained fragment of an American-supplied Iraqi policeman's shirt, a primitive tourniquet and medical gauze and lots and lots of dried, blackened blood. The 3rd Infantry Division are tired, so the story goes here. They invaded Iraq in March and haven't been home since. Their morale is low. Or so they say in Fallujah and Baghdad.
But already the cancer of rumour is beginning to turn this massacre into something far more dangerous. Here are the words of Ahmed, whose brother Sabah was a policeman caught inh the ambush and taken away by the Americans - alive or dead, he dosen't know - and who turned up to examine the blood and cartridge cases yesterday.
"The Americans were forced to leave Fallujah after much fighting following their killing of 16 demonstrators in April. They were forced to hire a Fallujah police force. But they wanted to return to Fallujah so they arranged the ambush. The BMW 'gunmen' who were supposed to show there was no security in Fallujah - so the Americans could return. Our police kept crying out: 'We are the police - we are the police'. And the Americans went on shooting."
In vain did I try to explain that the last thing the Americans wanted to do was to return to the Sunni Muslim Saddamite town of Fallujah. Already they have paid "blood money" to the families of local, innocent Iraqis shot down at their checkpoints. They will have to do the same to the tribal leader whose two sons they also killed at another checkpoint near Fallujah on Thursday night.
But why did the Americans kill so many of their own Iraqi policemen? Had they not heard the radio appeals of the dying men? Why - and here the story of the Jordanian Hospital guard's and the policemen's relatives were the same - did the Americans go on shooting for an hour and a half? And why did the Americans say that they had "no information" about the slaughter 18 hours after they had gunned down 10 of the very men whom President Bush needs most if he wishes to extricate his army from the Iraqi death trap?
Friday, September 12, 2003
Robert Fisk: Folly Taken To A Scale We Haven't Seen Since WWII
11 September 2003 (9/11/03):
When the attacks were launched against the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon two years ago today, who had ever heard of Fallujah or Hillah?
When the Lebanese hijacker flew his plane into the ground in Pennsylvania, who would ever have believed that President George Bush would be announcing a "new front line in the war on terror" as his troops embarked on a hopeless campaign against the guerrillas of Iraq?
Who could ever have conceived of an American president calling the world to arms against "terrorism" in "Afghanistan, Iraq and Gaza"?
What do the miserable, crushed, cruelly imprisoned Palestinians of Gaza have to do with the international crimes against humanity in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania?
Nothing, of course.
Neither does Iraq have anything to do with 11 September.
Nor were there any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, any al-Qa'ida links with Iraq, any 45-minute timeline for the deployment of chemical weapons nor was there any "liberation".
No, the attacks on 11 September have nothing to do with Iraq.
Neither did 11 September change the world.
President Bush cruelly manipulated the grief of the American people - and the sympathy of the rest of the world - to introduce a "world order" dreamed up by a clutch of fantasists advising the Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld.
The Iraqi "regime change", as we now know, was planned as part of a Perle-Wolfowitz campaign document to the would-be Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu years before Bush came to power.
It beggars belief that Tony Blair should have signed up to this nonsense without realising that it was no more nor less than a project invented by a group of pro-Israeli American neo-conservatives and right-wing Christian fundamentalists.
But even now, we are fed more fantasy.
Afghanistan - its American-paid warlords raping and murdering their enemies, its women still shrouded for the most part in their burqas, its opium production now back as the world's number one export market, and its people being killed at up to a hundred a week (five American troops were shot dead two weekends ago) is a "success", something which Messrs Bush and Rumsfeld still boast about. Iraq - a midden of guerrilla hatred and popular resentment - is also a "success".
Yes, Bush wants $87bn to keep Iraq running, he wants to go back to the same United Nations he condemned as a "talking shop" last year, he wants scores of foreign armies to go to Iraq to share the burdens of occupation - though not, of course, the decision-making, which must remain Washington's exclusive imperial preserve.
What's more, the world is supposed to accept the insane notion that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - the planet's last colonial war, although all mention of the illegal Jewish colonies in the West Bank and Gaza have been erased from the Middle East narrative in the American press - is part of the "war on terror", the cosmic clash of religious will that President Bush invented after 11 September.
Could Israel's interests be better served by so infantile a gesture from Bush?
The vicious Palestinian suicide bombers and the grotesque implantation of Jews and Jews only in the colonies has now been set into this colossal struggle of "good" against "evil", in which even Ariel Sharon - named as "personally" responsible for the 1982 Sabra and Chatila massacre by Israel's own commission of inquiry - is "a man of peace", according to Mr Bush.
And new precedents are set without discussion.
Washington kills the leadership of its enemies with impunity: it tries to kill Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar and does kill Uday and Qusay Hussein and boasts of its prowess in "liquidating" the al-Qa'ida leadership from rocket-firing "drones". It tries to kill Saddam in Baghdad and slaughters 16 civilians and admits that the operation was "not risk-free".
In Afghanistan, three men have now been murdered in the US interrogation centre at Bagram. We still don't know what really goes on in Guantanamo.
What do these precedents mean? I have a dark suspicion.
From now on, our leaders, our politicians, our statesmen will be fair game too.
If we go for the jugular, why shouldn't they? The killing of the UN's Sergio Vieira de Mello, was not, I think, a chance murder.
Hamas's most recent statements - and since they've been added to the Bush circus of evil, we should take them seriously - are now, more than ever, personally threatening Mr Sharon. Why should we expect any other leader to be safe? If Yasser Arafat is driven into exile yet again, will there be any restraints left?
Of course, America's enemies were a grisly bunch. Saddam soiled his country with the mass graves of the innocents, Mullah Omar allowed his misogynist legions to terrify an entire society in Afghanistan. But in their absence, we have created banditry, rape, kidnapping, guerrilla war and anarchy. And all in the name of the dead of 11 September.
The future of the Middle East - which is what 11 September was partly about, though we are not allowed to say so - has never looked bleaker or more bloody.
The United States and Britain are trapped in a war of their own making, responsible for their own appalling predicament but responsible, too, for the lives of thousands of innocent human beings - cut to pieces by American bombs in Afghanistan and Iraq, shot down in the streets of Iraq by trigger-happy GIs.
As for "terror", our enemies are closing in on our armies in Iraq and our supposed allies in Baghdad and Afghanistan - even in Pakistan.
We have done all this in the name of the dead of 11 September.
Not since the Second World War have we seen folly on this scale. And it has scarcely begun.
Thursday, September 11, 2003
New Osama Bin-Laden Video Tape on Eve of Anniversary of 9/11 Spoils The Mood
Read HERE Full TEXT of the "Bin Laden Tape" broadcast by Al Jezeera
HAMAS WARNS ISRAEL AGAIN....
... after the Israel Defense Forces blew up two houses. Israeli troops blew up the house of Ahmud Imad. The troops also blew up a house belonging to the family of Mohammed Abu Sabaj, a member of the Fatah movement who is currently in jail.
Within hours, Hamas issued the warning that it will widen its tactics against the Jewish state and strike Israeli houses and apartments in the same manner that Israel has hit Palestinian homes.
In the past, Hamas has targeted buses and conducted ambushes of vehicles.
Read HERE for MORE ....
The Dead Road Map: Tit for Tat Violence Escalates..... More Innocent Blood Spills
Read HERE John Pilger's article "Israeli Terror"
" In the news we get, only the Palestinians are described as terrorists, and yet the Israelis have a long history of terrorism - both before and since the founding of the Jewish state. At least three Israeli Prime Ministers have been involved in campaigns of terror.September 10:
Israel's occupation of Palestine would not be possible without the backing of America. In the oil-rich Middle East, Israel is America's deputy sheriff, receiving billions of dollars along with the latest weapons: F-16 aircraft, bombs, missiles, Apache helicopters.
Today Israel is the fourth largest military power in the world, and it has nuclear weapons. - John Pilger
Israeli F-16s dropped a bomb at a house in Gaza city in an attempt to assassinate senior Hamas political leader Mahmoud Al-Zahar. Al-Zahar narrowly escaped, but his eldest son, Khaled, 29. and his body guard were killed by the bomb blast.Al-Zhar was only lightly hurt in the leg and taken to nearby Shifa Hospital, Al-Shifa hospital spokesman told Agence France-Presse (AFP) . Mahmoud Al-Zahar is a physician by profession, an active academician and a writer . He is a main spokesman of Hamas.
The attempted assassination followed less than 24 hours of two suicide bombings in Israel.
Al- Zahar's wife and daughter were among about 20 people wounded, including some seriously, as rescue workers were looking for more bodies in the wreckage of the house.
The Palestinian Authority appealed for international observers to be sent to the Palestinian territories.
Mahmoud Al-Zahar - Israel's Assassination Target
- " Born in 1945 to a Palestinian father and an Egyptian mother, Zahar has three sons and four daughters. He is also an alumni of Faculty of Medicine in Ain Shams University, Cairo. Graduating in 1971, he had a general surgery MA from the same university five years later, and he is now the Palestinian health minister’s advisor.
He had authored a novel called "Nowhere Under Sun" in response to former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s "Place Under Sun". Of Zahar’s literary library is "On the Platform" and two other novels on Yehia Ayash and Emad Aql, Palestinian resistance leaders killed by Israeli gunfire. He also wrote a book on Palestinian refugees and the political intercourse of the Islamic movement. He has two books under publication on media and the problems gripping modern life.
Zahar has also contributed a number of books on the Islamic thought and literary. He played a significant role in the 1978 creation of the Islamic University, where he was also a lecturer, the Nursery School in 1994 and the Al-Nur Studies Center in Gaza. He helped established the Palestinian Medical society. "
The Izz el-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's military wing, made the following statement and sent to all news organizations, after Israel's attempted assassination of Al-Zahar.
"The targeting of civilian houses is a violation of all red lines. Therefore the Zionist enemy will have to shoulder responsibility for the targeting by us of houses and Zionist buildings everywhere in occupied Palestine.
We reiterate that in the past we have avoided targeting houses and Zionist residential buildings but the enemy was the one to initiate it and the enemy has to harvest what it has sown.
Our painful operations were to tell the enemy that we have struck you when your security arrangements reached a climax yesterday. Our response came, and has not been completed yet.
We sent this message to tell the terrorist (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon and his Nazi government that we are able, by God's will, to achieve our goal in a time which we will determine" .