Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Carter Explains Failure Of Mideast Peace Proces

Special to The Courant

December 5 2006

"When I was president, I was working day and night to bring peace to Israel," says Jimmy Carter, 82, sitting in a hotel suite in New York.

"When I went out of office, I thought I had succeeded."

Almost 30 years later, the lasting peace Carter thought the 1978 Camp David Accords would lead to remains elusive.

But the 39th president hasn't given up. Through the Carter Center in Atlanta, Carter, who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, has worked to secure free and safe elections in the Palestinian territories.

And he is hoping his new book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid" (Simon & Schuster, $27), will alert Americans to the reasons he believes peace has failed in the Middle East. He discussed the book last week on a visit to New York:

Q: Why did you decide to write this book, and why now?

A: It became increasingly apparent to me that terrible things were happening in the West Bank in Palestine to the Palestinians, which were not known or even acknowledged by much of the outside world, particularly the United States. So I thought it was time for there to be injected into the political discussions nationwide an assessment of what was happening in the Middle East.

Q: In the book, you talk about your first trip to Israel as a presidential hopeful and its emotional and spiritual importance for you as a Christian. Did you go to Palestinian territory then?

A: As a matter of fact, a lot of the territory I was in was the Palestinian territories - all down the Jordan River Valley and a good portion up around Golan Heights. Those were Israeli-occupied territories. At that time, everyone expected the Israeli forces to withdraw from the occupied territories. ... Nobody dreamed that there would be a massive escalation of the Israelis to colonize, you might say, the entire area of the West Bank.

Q: Would you say a policy of strangulation is in effect?

A: Oh, there is.

Q: What role does the wall Israel is building play in this?

A: Really, what precipitated me to go back and talk to President Bush and to write this book was the first sight I had of the wall. I never saw the wall until I went over there in January of 2005 to cover the election of Yasser Arafat's replacement. And when I saw the wall, I was horrified.

Q: Is that why you decided to put it on the book's cover?

A: Yeah. This wall was originally conceived by Yitzak Rabin to be put along the border of Israel - along Israeli territory - to prevent cross-border raids by Palestinian terrorists.

But when Rabin was assassinated, [Ariel] Sharon and [Benjamin] Netanyahu had the idea: Let's use the wall for a different purpose. Let's use it to confiscate Palestinian land. We won't build the wall on our border. We'll build the wall on Palestinian land. And we'll make tremendous intrusions to encompass settlements that already exist and other areas on which we want to build settlements. So that's what they've done. As I point out, this wall, plus the Jordan River Valley, will form a circle around the entire West Bank, just as they have done already with Gaza. Gaza's completely surrounded by walls: It's only got two openings.

Q: Is the wall being built with American money?

A: They deny it, but who knows? We give Israel $10 million a day. George Bush Sr. withheld about $700 million from the Israelis because they used money to build settlements. And he threatened to stop all American aid if they didn't stop building the settlement between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. So they stopped it. Because of that threat. As soon as he left office, then they started building again.

Q: In some ways, it seems like this book is a study in the failure of states. For, as you reveal, both sides want peace here.

A: There really are two Israels. There is an Israel within its own borders that I would say exemplifies the best elements of Judeo-Christian tradition, with justice and peace and an absence of apartheid.

It's a completely different Israel in the occupied territories. There you have a military regime, military courts. Information extracted from a prisoner under the force of torture is permitted as evidence. They put people in prison as young as 12 years, and they keep people under military detention for 180 days - and they can extend that in 90-day increments. They try these people and convict them in military courts, and then they send them into Israel to prison.

Q: So what are your signs for hope? Is there anything now?

A: One sign of hope is what [Ehud] Olmert had to say [last week, proposing a prisoner exchange, the closing of checkpoints and more in return for an end to violence, as well as offering to restart peace talks]. I haven't seen the statement, but people told me about it.

But the only real hope is for the United States to cast our lot with a clear majority of Israelis who want to see Israel exchange Palestinian land for permanent peace. A majority of Israelis have always voted that way. In every public opinion poll.

After Rabin was assassinated, the right-wing leaders - Netanyahu, Olmert and Sharon - they rejected all previous agreements for peace. In fact, Sharon declared that the Oslo agreement was national suicide. And that rejection of a peace agreement put us back a ways.

Q: You also talk in the book about the power vacuum the U.S. has created by not engaging in the peace process since George W. Bush became president. What has this cost us?

A: It has cost us popularity, esteem, trust and respect, friendship throughout the Muslim world, throughout the Arab world. I think it has built up in a more intense way the violence against the United States, including terrorism.

Every Arab knows that, for the last six years, different from all previous presidencies, this administration has not made one single day of effort to have peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians to alleviate their plight.

John Freeman is president of the National Book Critics Circle. His commentary can be read on the organization's blog, CriticalMass, at

Copyright 2006, Hartford Courant

Troops level two Palestinian homes in Jerusalem

Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies - Wednesday, 06 December 2006, 01:00
Palestinian sources in Jerusalem reported on Tuesday that Israeli policemen and border-guard units leveled two Palestinian homes in Al Tour and Ras Al Amoud, in East Jerusalem. Israel claims that the houses were constructed without obtaining construction permits from the Jerusalem municipality.

In Al Tour area, soldiers leveled the house of Ghadeer Abu Ghalia, and rendered him, his wife and four children homeless.

Abu Ghalia said that soldiers and policemen attacked their house on Tuesday morning, forces them out within 15 minutes and leveled it.

“My children were sleeping, soldiers said they will demolish the house over our heads if we don't leave immediately”, Abu Ghalia said, “I called my lawyer and informed him on what was going on”.

The lawyer, Hasan Ghanyim, headed to the municipality to void the demolishing order, but the army did not want to wait until legal documents are presented, and started demolishing the house.

Ghanyim manged to obtain an order from Jerusalem Municipality to spare the house, but it had already been leveled by the soldiers who refused to wait for any legal procedures.

The family received a bill to pay from the municipality requiring them to pay “the expenses of leveling their home”.

The house was a 150 square-meter, it included three bedrooms, and one living room; the Ghalia family moved to their house three months ago.

In a separate attack, soldiers leveled another house, which is still under construction, in Ras Al Amoud area in East Jerusalem.

The 180 square-meter building was officially licensed by the Jerusalem municipality, but again soldiers did not wait to see the licence and legal documents.

The demolished house costed the family 180.000 NIS in construction expenses.

The Al Quds Center in Jerusalem said that 42 Palestinian houses were leveled in Jerusalem since the beginning of 2006.

Palestinian living in Jerusalem are facing what became known as silent deportation from the city since the municipality is not allowing them to construct new houses or modify the houses they are living in, while settlements, constructed on Palestinian annexed properties, are expanding and wrapping the city from all sides.

Picture Balata--U.S. tour of Balata Refugee Camp youth

Currently we are searching for venues willing to host this important exhibition in March or early April of 2007. If you are interested and would like to know more information about hosting Picture Balata in your city, please contact:

Matthew Cassel
picturebalata@[ possibly. Sorry, the address arrived scrambled]

Outside the West Bank City of Nablus lies the Balata Refugee Camp. Home to almost 25,000 residents living on less than one square kilometer, Balata is the most densely populated Refugee Camp within the West Bank. In recent years Balata has seen hundreds of deaths and arrests, dozens of home demolitions and the camp is subject to near nightly invasions by the Israeli Army. It is here the Picture Balata workshop was started to teach youth from the camp about photography.

Picture Balata puts the camera into the hands of the children born and raised inside the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestine. Participants ranging from ages 11 to 18 photograph their situation as they live it in Balata Refugee Camp.


In March, 2007 four of the young Picture Balata photographers will be traveling to the US to tour with an exhibition of their photography. We are currently searching for venues across the US to host the exhibition. All proceeds from the tour will go to purchasing cameras, computers, and other necessary equipment for the photographers of Picture Balata to sustain and continue their work independently.

FADI, Age 18
I hope to show people the stories of Palestinian prisoners. I know that the entire world can name the name of the kidnapped Israeli soldier, but no one can even name one of the 10,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails. This is the problem, the media. They don’t cover the conflict equally and that is why I like journalism and photography, so we can tell our own story.

HADIL, Age 15
I chose to take pictures of the streets because it is an important part of how we live. I notice that when I photograph a child, maybe the child will smile or pose for the camera and that expression might not reflect how the child is really feeling. But the streets, they can’t lie. They can’t smile or pose for the camera because they are not human beings. This is the way it is.

It’s hard for people from the camp. We don’t own anything. Our lands were taken, most don’t own businesses, we are dependent on Israel for work. People outside don’t understand the relationship between the Israeli occupation and us the Palestinians and how they control us.

I want to show women outside, especially Israeli women, how we, the Palestinian women are living. I want to show them how we are going to universities and working to build this society and taking care of our families and how we are struggling against occupation. And we will continue our struggle until the occupation ends.

No one in the camp wants to die. We enjoy life like everyone else and we want to be free like
everyone else. The Israelis don’t want us to be free. I photograph martyrs and their families in the camp because they are our heroes and people should know what they have sacrificed.

ALA’, Age 14
I know about the lives of children outside from
television mostly. I know that they have rights that we don’t have. They have better lives. While we play football or hide and go seek in the streets the Army will come into the camp... I hope my photos can teach people outside something about our situation.

SAFAA, Age 12
My project is taking portraits of the children in the camp. I want to show the impression of the face of the children who I take portraits of - their style of living, their background, their experience and how they suffer here from the occupation.

DO’A, Age 11
I am not a terrorist I am a Palestinian. People think that we are doing bad things to the Israelis, but it is the opposite. They are controlling our lives, not the other way around. It’s important for people outside Palestine to know about our situation here. They must know about the lives of the children.

Taha, Age 16
It’s important to talk about the taxi drivers because a lot of young people don’t have work and they have to work as drivers. The future of these young people are dying, they are losing jobs. We have to show this problem to the outside world and to the people in Palestine.


photographers quickly proved their desire to learn photography as a means to express their situation to the world spending countless hours taking photos and reviewing each other’s work while at first only sharing only one camera between them.

Along with the website, the touring exhibition will offer another platfrom for these young people to show the reality of life in Balata Refugee Camp.

The exhibition will feature around 100 (depending on space available) archival 11X14 prints accompanied with text from each photographer and audio recorded in Balata. At least four of the young photographers will travel from Balata to the US to take part in the exhibition and talk about their work.

With the exhibition we also hope to raise enough funds to provide each participant with a high-quality digital camera, new computer, internet and anything else they will need to do everything from take their own photographs, edit them and upload them to the internet to share with the world. With the necessary equipment and training the possibilities are truly endless.

The sliding dollar: both boon and bane

from the December 06, 2006 edition
Prices are rising for foreign goods, but a falling greenback could help balance the world economy and fix America's trade deficit.

An ominous indicator has moved to center stage for world financial markets: the US dollar's plunging value relative to other currencies.

How this dollar drama unfolds could end up affecting more than just the price of T-shirts at Wal-Mart or the number of German tourists visiting Yosemite National Park.

A weaker dollar, over time, could help the world economy become better balanced - with America less reliant on borrowing and Asia less dependent on exports to fuel development. But currency realignment also holds risks. It would impose some hardship on Americans, and on the many nations that sell goods to them. A sudden shift could jolt US consumers with higher prices at a time when some economists worry about a possible recession.

But down is exactly where the dollar's value has been headed of late. After a quiet summer, the greenback has fallen since mid-November by 4 percent against the euro. It is also down by lesser amounts against the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan.

"Most economists agree that in the long term the dollar has to go down," to help shrink the mammoth US trade deficit, says Axel Merk, who manages the Merk Hard Currency Fund in Palo Alto, Calif. Yet in the short run, "it's in nobody's interest in the world for the dollar to go down."

The current slide may or may not persist. But when the dollar falls relative to other currencies, it tends to make US exports cheaper and, thus, more attractive on world markets. And it makes foreign imports more expensive to American consumers.

That doesn't mean the dollar's value is a magic fix for the US trade deficit, which has reached unprecedented proportions in the past few years. But many economists see it as part of the answer to this dangerous imbalance in global trade.

The dollar's recent weakness continues a pattern that began early in 2002.

Why now and will it continue?

Currency watchers see a range of factors propelling the dollar now and possibly in the months ahead. Among them:

• Interest rates are shifting. The European Central Bank is expected to raise its benchmark interest rate on Thursday, boosting what investors can earn in the euro. European economies seem to be strengthening even as US bond yields have fallen on signs of weakening in the US economy.

• Inflation threats linger. Currencies tend to lose value when a central bank fails to tame inflation. Some experts worry that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates next year - in a bid to prevent a recession - before the job of squelching easy monetary conditions is really done.

• Politics has an effect. A newly elected Democratic Congress could lean toward protectionism or higher taxes, either of which could dampen foreign interest in dollars. Perhaps more important is the situation in Iraq. A loss of US prestige as a military power can also affect the dollar.

• The yuan has edged up. China has allowed its currency to rise a bit this year. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will visit China this month, and will push for still more currency flexibility. But some analysts say a major shift may be unlikely before of 2008, when Beijing hosts the summer Olympics.

• China is diversifying. With some $1 trillion in foreign reserves, Beijing has said it won't put as much of its reserves into dollars as in the past.

"Foreign exchange traders are speculating at what point are Asian nations going to stop accumulating US assets," says Charles Engel, an economist who studies currency issues at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

A weaker dollar would affect the purchasing power of Americans when they buy goods or services from other countries. The shift wouldn't be noticed at the supermarket as much as it would be at stores like Target or Best Buy.

"It would mean those things that are so unbelievably cheap at Wal-Mart would be a little bit more expensive," Dr. Engel says. "The flip side of that is that workers ... might move back toward some sort of export industries. That adjustment's going to happen over time."

Digging out of a deficit

To some degree, the trade deficit and the buoyant dollar in recent years are signs of US economic strength. Imports often surge in an expanding economy.

Still, many economists say that at some point - and sooner might be better than later - the trade deficit needs to fall.

America's deficit in the current account, a broad measure of cross-border commerce and payments, has surged to more than $800 billion a year - an amount equal to about 7 percent of the gross domestic product. That's up from 1.7 percent of GDP a decade ago.

There's no precedent for a major economy to maintain this level of imbalance. In effect, the US is borrowing more than $2 billion a day to finance its spending on imports. The higher the imbalance goes, the greater the risk of a hard adjustment, if foreigners decide they can earn better returns by taking their dollars elsewhere.

Exchange rates are one piece of a larger puzzle. Another key factor is that the US has an unusually low rate of savings, thanks to federal deficits and consumer borrowing. The trade deficit mirrors this.

Trade barriers in other nations are another factor.

Still, a lower dollar could play a role in resolving the imbalance.

"If China did its part," by allowing the yuan to rise, "the dollar would also fall against most Asian currencies," says Peter Morici, a University of Maryland economist.

Falling imports would push up the US savings rate, he says.

Martin Feldstein, a Harvard University economist, has pointed out that the late 1980s offer precedent for a currency- driven easing of the trade deficit. Then, as the dollar fell, the trade gap closed without fanning inflation or causing a recession.

In a March speech, he said that America should have a "competitive" (lower) dollar abroad alongside a "strong" dollar at home - a currency whose purchasing power is not eroded by domestic inflation.

By Mark Trumbull | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

The New World Order: Secrets

Posted Wednesday, 6 December 2006

The New World Order: Ages of Time

The New World Order: The Players

Honest Money Gold & Silver Report

“Who was the fool, who the wise man, beggar or king?

Whether poor or rich, all's the same in death.” [1]

Abstract - The New World Order: Secrets

In last week’s part two of the series, we ended with several quotes from Professor Carroll Quigley, a world renowned scholar who had written quite extensively about secret societies and other elite groups, whose sole purpose was to establish a New World Order.

The following part of one such quote reveals important insights into not only Quigley, but the entire subject as well.

“In fact, this network, which we may identify as the Round Table Groups, has no aversion to cooperating with the Communists, or any other groups, and frequently does so. I know of the operations of this network because I have studied it for twenty years and was permitted for two years, in the early 1960's, to examine its papers and secret records.

I have no aversion to it or to most of its aims and have, for much of my life, been close to it and to many of its instruments. I have objected, both in the past and recently, to a few of its policies (notably to its belief that England was an Atlantic rather than a European Power and must be allied, or even federated, with the United States and must remain isolated from Europe), but in general my chief difference of opinion is that it wishes to remain unknown, and I believe its role in history is significant enough to be known.” [2]

Notice that Quigley states that he had no aversion to the “network” and that he was close enough that he was allowed to examine its papers. He also states that for MOST OF HIS LIFE he had been close to it and its instruments.

Quigley is talking about a “network”, which in his own words was comprised of secret societies, and one that included wars and the killings of tens of thousand of Africans and the capture and placement into slavery by as many more – yet he says he doesn’t have any aversion to it?

Would secret societies allow a non-member to examine its papers and secret records, especially a world renowned scholar and writer? For what reason would they allow that to occur?

Also, notice how Quigley did not agree with the network’s Atlantic versus European Power point of view. These are all very subtle pieces of the puzzle we shall return to.

Paradigm Shifts

We have seen the huge part that World War I played as a major pivot point in the dynamics of paradigm shifts, the acting out of political intentions, and their subsequent affect on society and human behavior, both on the national and international level.

Prior to WWI the emphasis was on the nation state. After WWI the focus was on internationalism - government no longer constrained by national borders, however, this change did not occur all at once. It slowly made the transition from one view to the other.

In part one of the series it was shown that the established world view perceived the purpose of World War I to be the war to end all wars. It did not accomplish its stated cause; instead, it laid the groundwork for World War II. It was as if a purposeful design had somehow formed and followed a desired function.

What World War I did accomplish, and with surgical precision, was the end of the Old World Order, and the preparation of a fertile crucible: the human race – to accept the New World Order. It laid the groundwork for the transition phase to begin, but it was not completed until after World War II.


The world was now the stage to several powerful groups with the same basic goal: the establishment of a New World Order. However, each of these groups had their own particular twist as to how the knot should be tied. Yet the thread running through the strains remained the same.

There were several main groups that were born from the same genetic makeup, and in turn they spawned other sub-groups. The exigesis is similar to throwing a stone into the water.

The force of impact creates concentric circles, or waves of energy, that emanate out from the center source. The further out from the center, the weaker the force. The closer to the center, the more powerful the force. All comes forth from the center source of power.

The following are the main groups. There were others as well, but not as powerful as these:

  • The Club of Rome in Italy

  • The Fabian Society in England

  • The Round Table Group in Britain

  • The Council On Foreign Relations in the U.S.

  • The Institute for Pacific Relations in the U.S.

  • The Royal Institute for International Affairs in Britain

As with all endeavors there must be a source of money to finance whatever is undertaken. This was true even with the elitist groups. Some had members that were either wealthy or had well placed friends with money – or both. Sir Abe Bailey and the Astor fortunes were two main contributors. Rhode’s and Rothschild’s were two more. Lazard Frere another.

The money power is the most dominant force in the world, even greater than military power, for without funding there can be no military power. He who holds the purse strings has control over whatever entity they are financing; consequently, the money changers are often the dominant force behind all such elite groups.

Dawn or Sunset

The dawn of the 20th Century was witness to a much weaker British Empire than that which had ruled the world throughout the 19th Century. Britain’s dominance had come from two main sources of strength: it was home to the Industrial Revolution that had allowed great wealth to be amassed, and this wealth gave rise to not only a commercial superiority, but a military superiority as well, especially on the high seas.

Britain’s slow decline as the world’s greatest power came from a weakening of its two above mentioned sources of its strength. With all great empires that try to rule the world, from Rome to Alexander, to Genghis and Charlemagne, they all end up failing because of what can best be describe as over reach.

If any nation tries to conquer the world, driven by the lust of greed and desire for power – that nation ends up defeating itself. It is the law of thought – of destiny, and can be no other way – it is what it is.

The war against Germany and its allies had accelerated the loss of Britain's global dominance. By 1917, Britain was nearing a financial crisis, as its gold reserves and American bonds had almost all been depleted to fund the war. In steps the U.S. financiers, especially Morgan and Rockefeller.

The Round Table

In 1910 Lord Milner, Cecil Rhodes, and Lionel Curtis formed the Round Table Group. Of no minor significance is the name, which is a reference to King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. The knights were also an elitist group, in search of the Holy Grail nonetheless.

The exact purpose of the Group is not easily discernible, as it had three founders that each had a bit of a different world view in mind. Not often brought up in discussions on the Round Table is the issue of unseen powers behind the scenes – they who paid the bills.

We have previously seen how Rhodes was somehow allowed ten years to go to Oxford while taking trips to and from Africa. Rhodes had no money when he started off for Africa, except for the money that Nathan Rothschild put up to back him. Rothschild was the financial power behind Rhodes. What was Nathan’s world vision and gain in all this – gain, and nothing more.

Rhodes was many things, but at the top of the list was the fact that he was a white supremist. All other peoples were inferior and were to be ruled by the white Aryan super race. Truth be known, Rhodes’ view was no different then Nietzsche and Hitler’s.

He was an elitist’s elitist - down to the bone. For Rhodes the Round Table Group was a means to a greater end. He died before the Group was actually formed, his vision left undone. Rhodes believed that if the American Colonies had not been lost to Britain that a New World Order would already have been complete.

It was Milner as caretaker of Rhode’s trust money, and Curtis as the visionary, who together finally created the Round Table. Milner was best described as an Imperialist. His world vision was for Britain to remain the super power of the world based on a nationalistic point of view that would establish a supranational form of government. Rhode’s world view was to rule the world based on an international style of a one world government – run by the elite White Aryan Race. Milner was a racist as well, but not of the scope of Rhodes.

Milner was most interested in forming a British Imperial Federation to secure Britain’s place in the world. For him the Round Table was the means and the end was a consolidated British Empire. Milner was a doer not a thinker. His was a hands on approach that did not involve internationalism.

Visions or Delusions

The delusional mind is most fascinating in how it works. It can say one thing yet do the complete opposite, and then rationalize it all to itself. For example, both Rhodes and Milner were involved with the killing of tens of thousands of Africans, as well as the trade of tens of thousands more into slavery. The rest were perceived as chattel, subservient to their masters.

Yet they both preached world peace – a world peace where one was either one of the superior elite, or one of those ruled over as an inferior, or dead. Simple and neat, at least for the elitists. If you asked those who were subservient indentured chattel, or those that had been killed, not many would vote in favor of such a twisted vision of world peace.

But one never knows for sure, some say that in the end most want security more than freedom. Presently, within the United States, the surrender of precious freedoms in return for promised security, can be seen taking place before our very eyes.


After the unexpected death of Rhodes, all was left to Milner and Curtis to complete. Curtis was obsessed with a one world government – Milner was not. He was more interested in seeing the British Empire consolidate its holdings in a United Federation across the globe. This is an important point to recognize: Milner was not interested in forsaking any British sovereignty for an international organization, as was Curtis, and Rhodes, before he died.

In 1910, Milner finally agreed to formally recognize the Round Table Group, and to have it publish reports to spread its propaganda – they named the publication: The Round Table.

Soon other Round Table Groups sprang up across the British Empire: Australia, Canada, South Africa, India and New Zealand all had chapters.

Milner saw the Federation of the British Empire to be the end result of the Round Table. Curtis on the other hand, saw the Federation as a step towards a global government or New World Order. Curtis was much closer to Rhode’s world view than was Milner.


By the end of the war in 1914, the network had to be expanded. Lionel Curtis took the challenge on quite readily. He formed various organizations in all of Britain’s dominions, as a cover for the select elect to build their New World Order.

In Britain he established the Royal Institute of International Affairs, whose inner core consisted of the members of the Round Table Group. The United States saw the Council on Foreign Relations appear in New York, which was a front for J.P. Morgan and Company who had direct ties with England’s Round Table Group, and a smaller version in New York, as well.

During the Paris Peace Conference, many of Morgan’s boys meant and became involved with Milner’s boys. Morgan was one of the big financiers of the elite in America, although he heralded from England through Peabody and Company, and had Grenfell Morgan & Co. in London. This meant that ultimately Rothschild was behind Morgan, as he had set Peabody up as his emissary. Peabody in turn started Morgan off in business. The roots runs deep – the seed the same.

Legal Eagles

Morgan also had a number of other wall street firms that he was associated with, especially legal firms. Elihu Root, Russell Leffingwell, and the Dulles brothers were a few of Morgan’s legal experts. This legal connection is generally not recognized for the large part it plays in the establishment of the New World Order. Some say that the biggest crooks are they who carry the laws around with them in their brief cases. Owen Young of the Young Plan for war reparations was a Morgan boy, as was Dawson, Lamont and Davis.

Jerome D. Greene, Harvard Law graduate, was general manager of the Rockefeller Institute from 1910-1912, he then became a trustee to the Rockefeller Institute, to the Rockefeller foundation, and to the Rockefeller General Education Board until 1939.

From 1917-1932 he was with the firm of Lee, Higginson, and Company. In 1918 Greene was appointed executive secretary of the American section of the Allied Maritime Transport Council, which was stationed in London. While in London, Greene lived in Toynbee Hall, which has been founded by Milner of the Round Table Group. In 1883, Milner and Toynbee had formed a group of political intellectuals at Oxford University.

New York by Way of London

Thus Greene had direct contact with the members of the Group. At the Paris Peace Conference he was secretary to the Reparations Commission. Upon his arrival back in the United States he helped establish the Council on Foreign Relations, which served as the New York front for Curtis's Institute of International Affairs.

Through Wilson, Morgan and Rockefeller pushed for their version of the New World Order at the Paris Peace Conference. Britain’s weakening position can be seen in that Wilson’s Fourteen Point plan was the core of the Peace Agreement.

It must be remembered, however, that Colonel Mandall House was behind Wilson’s plan, and that he had designed the plan with Lord Milner. Both House and Milner were elite socialists. Thus the depth of the inner core of the elite affected the outcome no matter which “side” prevailed.

This is their signature mark – to control both sides through their clandestine resources of power, seeing which side appeared to be winning as the end approached, and then removing their support from the weakening side – thus insuring the winner and sealing the final fate of both sides.

Senator Henry Cabot Lodge led a majority of US Senators that were dead set against Wilson’s 14 Point Plan, especially in regards to its limiting and restricting of American freedoms, be they at home or overseas. The Senators saw Wilson’s plan for what it was – a socialistic attempt at a New World Order that sacrificed nationalism for internationalism. Nevertheless, Wilson refused to compromise. The US Senate rejected membership in the League on March 8, 1920.

Blue Bloods

Steady minds in the US had prevailed, at least for the time being, however, collectivists don’t give up easily, if at all. The elite international family dynasties have carried the battle on for centuries – they see it as their heritage to pass on to their progeny. It is in their blood they say – blue bloods born to conquer and rule.

"We are at present working discreetly with all our might to wrest this mysterious force called sovereignty out of the clutches of the local nation states of the world. All the time we are denying with our lips what we are doing with our hands." [3]

This ends part three. Next week part four to continue the story of the New World Order.

“Read no history: nothing but biography,

for that is life without theory.” [4]

[1] Skull & Bones Engraved Motto

[2] Tragedy and Hope by Professor Carroll Quigley

[3] Arnold Toynbee, "The Trend of International Affairs Since the War", International Affairs, November 1931, p. 809

Negotiating The Down Payment

Progressives make a bargain with the new Democratic majority in Congress.

Isaiah J. Poole

December 05, 2006

House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi is going to have a powerful wind at her back as she pushes her “100 Hours” agenda through the new Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, thanks to the commitments of progressive grassroots organizations who came together today at an historic meeting. The expectation in return: that Democrats treat the 100 Days agenda as a down payment on a longer list of progressive policy changes.

The Tuesday Group is a biweekly gathering of labor, environmental, economic, civil rights and social policy organizations in Washington. Today’s Tuesday Group meeting was an unusually large standing-room-only crowd of more than 100 activists who have varied agendas of their own, but are committed to helping the new Democratic majority fulfill their mandate for change. They are coming together under the banner, “Change America Now,” or CAN.

Campaign for America’s Future co-director Robert L. Borosage, who organizes the Tuesday Group, stressed the strength of that mandate when he addressed the group, and said that Democrats need to correctly interpret the message voters were sending in November when they threw out the old Republican leadership. “The problem is not that the Democrats are too extreme,” he said. “It is that they are not defined.”

This agenda will help define the Democrats and make clear to middle- and low-income voters who stands with them and who stands against them as they consider their choices in the 2008 election, Borosage said.

Pelosi’s 100 Hours agenda includes ethics legislation, implementation of the 9/11 Commission recommendations, increasing the minimum wage, changing the Medicare prescription drug program so that the government can bargain with pharmaceutical companies, cutting rates for student loans and redirecting subsidies for oil companies to alternative energy and conservation.

“The first 100 hours is 'training camp'” for what is expected to be a more difficult legislative fight over the agenda items in the Senate as well as a broader fight on behalf of progressive policies, said Brad Woodhouse, communications director for Americans United.

Borosage noted that when the Republicans took over Congress in 1994, their much-vaunted “Contract with America” passed the House easily but got mired in the Senate. The same thing could happen with the 100 Hours agenda as K Street lobbyists line up allies on both sides of the aisle. For that reason, “we need big momentum in the House,” Woodhouse said.

The coalition of organizations includes Americans United, USAction, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and allies such as, ACORN, the Sierra Club, the AFL-CIO, the Service Employees International Union, the National Organization for Women and People for the American Way.

Many of these organizations already fear that the Democrats will be too timid in pressing for economic policy changes. That sense of impatience is mirrored in today’s commentary by Jonathan Tasini, who considers Pelosi and the Democrats' opening gambit “mealy-mouthed mush.” That may or may not be an overstatement, but Borosage calls this an opportunity for progressive organizations to “walk and chew gum at the same time” — by getting behind the new Democratic majority in their first steps toward change and then holding them accountable to a continuing agenda of making America work for working people

The Trail of Premeditated War

Tuesday, December 5

The Iraq War - Music by Edwin Starr

Many of us already know this story and know it well. But a new article on by Dr. Richard Behan amazingly pulls together all the strands which succinctly explain the behavior of the Bush Administration and it's deliberate, headlong, relenteless march into war with Afghanistan and Iraq.

The wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq were not simply justified and honorable retaliations to the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. They couldn’t possibly have been that, because both of them were premeditated—conceived, planned, and prepared long before September 11, 2001.

A bold claim, but not one made without ample evidence...

Behan notes correctly that Iraq and Afghanistan are far from the first premeditated war engaged by the United States. There have been many others, from Panama, Granada to Kosovo, but rarely have the true rationale and justifications for a War been to heavily cloaked, and the public so deliberately and viciously misled into War.

To best tell this story, let begin - at the beginning.

The opening chapter of the story reveals a photograph dating to the Reagan years of Donald Rumsfeld cordially shaking hands with Saddam Hussein. We supported Saddam in his war with Iran. But history convulses: on January 26, 1998, Mr. Rumsfeld and 17 others, members of the Project for a New American Century, wrote a letter to President Clinton, urging the military overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime. If we fail to do so, they were candid in asserting, “a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil will be put at hazard.

(In addition to Mr. Rumsfeld, 10 others of the [PNAC] signatories would serve in the Bush Administration: Elliott Abrams, Richard Armitage, John Bolton, Paula Dobriansky, Robert Kagan, Zalmay Khalilzad, Richard Perle, William Schneider, Jr., Robert Zoellick, and Paul Wolfowitz.)

This desire to set our national and foreign policy based on access and control of larger and larger portions of the worlds oil supply became a defining mantra of the Bush Administration, brought about in no small part by the top heavy representation of U.S. Oil executives among high ranking positions within the Bush Administration.

When George W. Bush took office, a concern for the “significant portion of the world’s oil supply” was never far from view, because the Administration’s personal linkages to the oil industry were intimate, historic, and numerous. The president and vice president were just the first examples: eight cabinet secretaries and the national security advisor were recruited directly from the oil industry, and so were 32 others in the secretariats of Defense, State, Energy, Agriculture, Interior, and the Office of Management and Budget.

From his very second week in office, Bush's focus on Energy Policy was evident as Dick Cheney chaired his secret "Energy Task Force" (the full meeting minutes and attendee list is still clouded in secrecy, but we do know that the late Enron Felon Kenneth Lay was in attendence).

One this is known at this point, the task force focused heavily on Oil reserves available in Iraq and proceeded to carve up it's oil fields like a Thanksgiving Turkey, and examine all "foreign suitors" for harvesting that oil.

Not a single U.S. oil company, however, was among the “suitors,” and that was intolerable. Mr. Cheney’s task force concluded, “By any estimation, Middle East oil producers will remain central to world security. The Gulf will be a primary focus of U.S. international energy policy.

Condoleezza Rice’s National Security Council, meanwhile, was directed by a top secret memo to “cooperate fully with the Energy Task Force as it considered melding two seemingly unrelated areas of policy.” The NSC was ordered to support “the review of operational policies towards rogue states such as Iraq and actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields.”

As 2001 rolled forward and the California rolling blackouts - engineered by Bush's Top Fundraiser Ken Lay on Enron while the Bush Administration itself sat on it's hands - would throw that state into a $Billion debt which would sweep their Democratic Governor Gray Davis from office mid-term to be replace by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Energy Policy devised by Lay and Cheney would dovetail directly into National Security under former Oil executive Condoleeza Rice.

Condoleezza Rice’s National Security Council, meanwhile, was directed by a top secret memo to “cooperate fully with the Energy Task Force as it considered melding two seemingly unrelated areas of policy.” The NSC was ordered to support “the review of operational policies towards rogue states such as Iraq and actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields.

But then there was one little roadblock to this plan to "capture Iraqi Oil Fiends", international Law regarding the declarations of War. How would Bush navigate this -- let us again return to the writings of the PNAC as they described in 1997 the process by which our Military Infrastructure could be rebuilt and transformed (PDF)...

Indeed, Any serious effort at transformation must occur within the larger framework of U.S. national security strategy, military missions and defense budgets. The United States cannot simply declare a “strategic pause” while experimenting with new technologies and operational concepts. Nor can it choose to pursue a transformation strategy that would decouple American and allied interests. A transformation strategy that solely pursued capabilities for projecting force from the United States, for example, and sacrificed forward basing and presence, would be at odds with larger American policy goals and would trouble American allies.

Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.

Simultaneous to Bush's aims for Iraq Oil, was a parrallel track happening regarding Afghanistan dating back to a little known pipeline contract between the Taliban and an Argentinian Oil company named Bridas.

The strategic location of Afghanistan can scarcely be overstated. The Caspian Basin contains some $16 trillion worth of oil and gas resources, and the most direct pipeline route to the richest markets is through Afghanistan.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the first western oil company to express interest and take action in the Basin was the Bridas Corporation of Argentina. It acquired production leases and exploration contracts in the region, and by November of 1997 had signed an agreement with General Dostum of the Northern Alliance and with the Taliban to build a pipeline across Afghanistan.

Not to be outdone, the American company Unocal fought Bridas at every turn, even spurning an invitation from Bridas to join an international consortium in the Basin. Unocal wanted exclusive control of the trans-Afghan pipeline, and hired a number of consultants in its conflict with Bridas: Henry Kissinger, Richard Armitage (now Deputy Secretary of State in the Bush Administration), Zalmay Khalilzad (a signer of the PNAC letter to President Clinton) and Hamid Karzai. (Eventually Bridas sued Unocal in the U.S. courts, and won.)

The goal was to break the Bridas contract with the Taliban and ensure Unocal's exclusive control of the pipeline. Many meetings between Taliban leaders were held at Unocal headquarters in Texas.

Unocal and the Clinton Administration hoped to have the Taliban cancel the Bridas contract, but were getting nowhere. Mr. John J. Maresca, a Unocal Vice President, testified to a House Committee of International Relations on February 12, 1998, asking politely to have the Taliban removed and a stable government inserted.

The East Africa Bombings attributed to Osama Bin Laden in 1998 led to the Clinton Administrations retaliatory cruise missle attack on Afghanistan, but also to an executive order freezing all trade with the Taliban and effectively putting a hold on Unocal's attempt to cancel the Bridas contract. This changed as soon as Bush came into office in 2001.

Immediately on taking office, the new Bush Administration actively took up negotiating with the Taliban once more, seeking still to have the Bridas contract vacated in favor of Unocal. The parties met three times, in Washington, Berlin, and Islamablad, but the Taliban wouldn’t budge.

Behind the negotiations, however, planning was underway to take military action against the Taliban. The State Department sought and gained concurrence from both India and Pakistan to do so, and in July of 2001 three American officials met with Pakistani and Russian intelligence people to inform them of planned military strikes against Afghanistan the following October.

State Department official Christina Rocca told the Taliban, at their last pipeline negotiation in August of 2001, just five weeks before 9/11, “Accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs.

In this context, Condolezza Rice's blowing off George Tenet in mid 2001 as he urgently attempted to indicate grave warnings concerning al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Ladin begin not to look like simple ignorance, but instead deliberate negligence as part of larger National Security Strategy to foster a "New Pearl Harbor" as an excuse to roll out the "Carpet of Bombs".

When President Bush assumed office three other members of the Project for a New American Century joined his administration: Richard Cheney, Douglas Feith, and Lewis Libby. Pre-emptive, premeditated war was formally adopted when the President signed the National Security Strategy early in his tenure.

Yes, it was in all likelyhood, Premediated War.

Look at the facts:

George Bush's responding to the August 6th PDB with "Now you've covered your ass" begin to ring more ominously. His sitting and staring at "My pet goat" when he was told, "The Nation is under attack" - seems far more disturbing.

The Bush Administartion did not even try to stop 9-11, yet less than one week after it finally occured... they were looking at taking control of Iraq's Oil fields.

In the first hours of frenetic response, fully aware of al Qaeda’s culpability, both President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld seek frantically to link Saddam Hussein to the attacks, we know from on site-witnesses. They are anxious to proceed with their planned invasion. And less than a week later, at a meeting of the National Security Council, President Bush ordered the Defense Department to be ready to handle Iraq, “possibly occupying Iraqi oil fields.

We now have the Senate Intelligence Committee report which has clearly revealed that Bush Manipulated the Facts surrounding our involvement in the Iraq war. We also have Col Lawrence Wilkerson who saw the efforts to maniplate reasons to invade Iraq as a "Cabal" (between PNAC Signatory) Cheney and Rumsfeld. Fixing the Facts to Fit the Policy is never just a misnomer over the British definition fo "Fixed".

The march to war was clearly inevitable, not as noble cause to spread peace and democracy or to combat global terrorism, but as a cover to gain control of Iraqi Oil and access to the Caspian Sea energy reserves via Afghanistan - it's also clear just how much the Bush Family and many of his cronies now in our Government have to gain from such a plan.

Also common to both lines of dots [linking Iraq, Afghanistan and U.S. Foreign Policy], and integral to the overall story, is the historic, intimate, and profitable relationship across several generations between the Bush family and the royal family of Saudi Arabia. It can be seen today in the Carlyle Group, a Washington-based investment company focused primarily in the arms, security, and energy industries. Both George H.W. and George W. Bush have been deeply involved in Carlyle, and so have a number of the Saudi royalty. (And so, incidentally, has the family of Osama Bin Laden.)

Talk about playing both sides against the middle.

Carlyle has profited immensely from the Afghanistan and Iraqi wars. Its legal matters are handled by Baker, Botts—James Baker’s law firm in Texas. Mr. Baker also has a personal interest in Carlyle, amounting to some $180 million. (Baker, Botts defended Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, the Defense Minister of Saudi Arabia, who was sued by the families of Trade Tower victims for alleged complicity in the attacks.) Another client of Baker, Botts is Exxon-Mobil.

So let me get this straight, the guy who is currently co-chairing the Iraq Survey Group - whose recommendations on Iraq are due tommorrow - has direct financial ties to an oil, energy and weapons investment group which has raked in $Billions as a result of this War? Conflict of Interest much?

But Baker certainly isn't the only one who stands to gain enormous riches as the spoils of war.

the two “seemingly unrelated areas of policy” had been “melded,” so here was an epic opportunity to bait-and-switch--and the opportunity was not missed for a moment. Conjoining the terrorist and the state that harbored him made a “war” plausible: it would be necessary to overthrow the Taliban as well as to bring Osama bin Laden to justice. (As it turned out, of course, the Taliban was overthrown instead of bringing Osama bin Laden to justice, but the energy policy goal was achieved, at least. And years later President Bush was astonishing in his candor, when he admitted “Osama bin Laden isn’t important.”)

Of course he isn't, bin laden and ending terrorism has never been the goal - they have only been an excuse. If bin Laden actually were caught or killed, as he should have been at Tora Bora, and al-Qaeda truly dismantled the excuse for all Bush done to amass power onto himself and riches onto the Oil Industry, would soon fade.

The first monstrous and intentional deception—the declaration of a “war on terror”—took place. There was no talk of contracts, pipelines, or Argentinian oil companies. Osama bin Laden and the Taliban were cleverly, ingeniously conflated, and there was only talk of war.

On October 7, 2001 the carpet of bombs is unleashed over Afghanistan. Hamid Karzai, the former Unocal consultant, is installed as head of an interim government. Subsequently he is elected President of Afghanistan, and welcomes the first U.S. envoy—Mr. John J. Maresca, Vice President for International Relations of the Unocal Corporation, who had implored Congress three years previously to have the Taliban overthrown. Mr. Maresca was succeeded by Mr. Zalmay Khalilzad—also a former Unocal consultant. (Mr. Khalilzad has since become Ambassador to Iraq.)

The Afghanistan President, and both the Afghan and Iraqi Ambassadors - all former Unocal Consultants. Coincidince? I think not.

With the Taliban banished and the Bridas contract moot, Presidents Karzai of Afghanistan and Musharraf of Pakistan meet on February 8, 2002, sign an agreement for a new pipeline, and the way forward is open for Unocal once more.

Mission Accomplished!

Now is all of this nothing more than speculation, a mere connecting of truly unrelated dots which have led us to the near genocide we are currently experiencing in Iraq, while the Taliban resurface in Afghanstan?

Time will tell.

The story told here has to be considered “circumstantial.” None of it results from testimony under oath, none of it has been admitted as legal evidence in a jurisprudential undertaking, and the presumption of innocence until guilt is proven remains axiomatic. And we might well reiterate the humane and civil plea, heard frequently after 9/11: what we need is justice, not vengeance.

We should not proceed directly to impeachment. At the very least, however, the story of George Bush’s premeditated wars raises questions of presidential dereliction as grave as any in our history.

We need to know the truth and all the truth. The time has come, as well as the opportunity, for formal, Congressional investigations, based on subpoenas, sworn testimony, and direct evidence about 9/11 and about the created reality of the “war on terror.”

Indeed, this story needs to unravelled fully and told succinctly to the American People. They need to understand exactly what has taken place and why. And in this case, as in so many others - much can be learned by simply following the money.


Strangling the messenger

The right's efforts to undermine the freedom of the American press have been largely successful.

December 6, 2006 09:40 PM

Niall Stanage

Judith Miller and Josh Wolf make for unlikely comrades.

Miller is a veteran journalist with a 28-year career at the New York Times behind her. Wolf is a 24-year-old freelancer and video blogger.

Miller is accused by her detractors - unfairly, in my view - of having carried the Bush administration's water through overly credulous reporting in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. Wolf describes himself as an anarchist. His blog appears beneath the slogan "The Revolution Will Be Televised."

The incongruous duo have emerged in recent months as symbols of press freedom in the US - or, perhaps more accurately, as symbols of the degree to which that freedom is being circumscribed.

Miller served 85 days in jail last year because she would not reveal her source on a story she never wrote. The bizarre saga involved prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald hounding Miller to testify before a grand jury as part of an investigation into the leak of the identity of Valerie Plame, a CIA operative. Miller's stint in jail came to an end when she finally received a strong assurance from her source - Vice-President Dick Cheney's then-chief-of-staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby - that she could testify.

Miller and Fitzgerald have been tangling again this year, in an unrelated case. Fitzgerald is this time investigating how journalists got to know that two Islamic charities were going to be targets of government investigation and asset freezes in 2001. A court has ruled that he has the right to inspect 11 days of phone records belonging to Miller and her erstwhile colleague Philip Shenon. Late last month, the Supreme Court refused to stay that decision.

Wolf languishes in jail in California. He filmed an anarchist protest in San Francisco last summer. As part of an investigation into whether certain crimes, including arson, were committed, Wolf was subpoenaed and asked to surrender his material. He refused. He was jailed for contempt of court on August 1. Save for a brief period during which he was granted bail, he has remained there ever since.

A third case is also vexing American journalists. Two reporters at the San Francisco Chronicle, Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada have been ordered jailed for contempt, pending appeal. The men's work helped uncover the extent of steroid abuse in baseball. In the course of that work, they received leaked grand jury testimony. They are now facing prison terms of up to 18 months because they will not reveal the identity of the leaker.

The public, of course, seems largely unconcerned by all of this. Polls consistently show plummeting regard for the mainstream media. To be fair, some of this is undoubtedly the media's fault - scandals like that involving New York Times fabricator Jayson Blair have undermined the quality press's credibility, while tabloid excesses on both sides of the Atlantic continue unabated.

Added to that, some sections of the American media have exhibited a strange, and ultimately self-defeating, double-standard, on the subject of leaks. Liberal columnists at the New York Times and elsewhere have gone out of their way to defend leaks critical of the White House but called for all sorts of sanctions against those who leak information that helps the administration's cause. This does little other than muddy the argument for press freedom.

None of this, however, should obscure the fact that the current administration has gone to unusual lengths to frustrate, intimidate and defame those sections of the American media that it considers troublesome. And it has been greatly helped in this effort by the broader conservative movement.

Earlier this year, the New York Times published a story regarding the administration's monitoring of international banking transactions in an effort to disrupt terrorist financing. Although few people were truly surprised by the news, the furore that followed was intense. The president himself branded disclosure of the project "disgraceful". Dick Cheney said that "Some in the press, in particular the New York Times, have made the job of defending against further terrorist attacks more difficult." Republican Congressman Peter King accused the Times of "treasonous" behaviour.

The labelling of disclosures that are inconvenient for those in power as unpatriotic, traitorous or subversive is one of the oldest tricks in the handbook of authoritarian leadership.

Predictably enough, the White House's proxies among the punditocracy made even more shrill attacks. Most memorably of all, Melanie Morgan, a radio chat show host, said she would have no problem with the Times' executive editor Bill Keller being executed for treason.

Last year, a Pew Research Poll found that 45% of Americans believed little or nothing of what they read in their daily newspapers. Twenty years before, that figure was only 16%. Another survey last year by the Annenberg Public Policy Centre indicated that while 92% of journalists believed that the government "never" or "rarely" had the right to limit press reporting of a story, only a minority of the public (46%) agreed.

The logical extension of that finding - that more than half the population would happily collude in denying their own right to know what their government is up to - is profoundly depressing. But it is not out of keeping with the times.

In an article defending his decision to publish the banking story, Bill Keller and his then-counterpart at the Los Angeles Times, Dean Baquet, noted the words of Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black who, in the 1970s, allowed the publication of the so-called Pentagon Papers.

"The government's power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the government," Black wrote. "The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of the government and inform the people."

Such a viewpoint finds little support among the judiciary - or, it seems, among the general population - today. The unpalatable truth is that a concerted attempt by the right to undermine the press has been largely successful. We will live with its dismal consequences for many years to come.

Niall Stanage was born in Belfast in 1974. He lives in New York, where he covers American politics and culture for an Irish national newspaper, The Sunday Business Post.

He writes regularly for The New York Observer and the print edition of The Guardian. He was previously editor-in-chief of Ireland's main current affairs magazine, Magill.

Video: Jimmy Carter on Israel's apartheid and Jewish lobby


Rethinking Terrorism: A Jewish American Crosses into Hezbollah Territory

One journalist spends 10 days in Lebanon, sipping coffee and talking politics with members of Hezbollah, the Islamic militant group Americans have branded as terrorists.

By Nathaniel Hoffman, AlterNet
Posted on December 5, 2006

Ghosts of buildings flit in and out of view as our minibus picks its way through the narrow streets of Haret Hreik, the Hezbollah neighborhood in Beirut's southern suburbs. First a broken building appears. Then, around a corner, an apartment block missing its top half. Then a towering complex, its concrete sloughed off to the side as if just poured.

A man on a scooter zooms around the bus, forcing us to the side. What are we doing here, a bus full of six American reporters and six Middle Eastern reporters. A Syrian and an Iranian. A Jew. A Palestinian.


We are in the heart of Hezbollah territory. The name, as it staggers off our president's tongue, is synonymous with terrorism. It often comes with other names.

Hamas. Taliban. Bin Laden. Al-Qaeda. Names or ideas meant to strike fear in Americans.

But here we are in Beirut's southern suburbs, driving past barber shops and pastry shops. Music blares out of car stereos. Girls walk hand in hand, some with heads covered, some in tight pants. They bow their heads, or stare intently into the bus, sometimes meeting my blue eyes even if just for a moment. Old men stand outside shops sipping from pink plastic espresso cups.

And then the buildings appear.

Israel laid waste to a dozen city blocks around Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah's former home, once the administrative hub and "security zone" for the group.

A large tent is now used to greet reporters and other visitors. I step into the tent and am drawn to a series of political cartoons posted on its walls.

They caricature America's policies in the Middle East and Israel's perceived defeat in the month-long summer war. A mini George W. Bush marches roughshod across the globe, "democracy" stamped on the bottom of his combat boot. A ferocious Condoleezza Rice, with caricatured lips, delivers a bomb to Lebanon. Sobbing Israeli soldiers walk off the battlefield, their pants soaked in piss.

These pictures momentarily confuse me, but my Arab colleagues are unfazed. I understand that this powerful propaganda is just a mirror image of our own. But still, I feel somewhat alone, an American in Hezbollah's tent.

A few months prior this very spot was bombed by Israeli jets in a war that America ignored for weeks. A war that my country sanctioned, if not actively supported.

Now we, as journalists yes, but as Americans too, stand on this very ground. The rubble has mostly been cleared, or combed into neat piles.

But the ghosts of buildings remain.

I quietly digest the cartoons. I feel parched.


Like any other office, this Hezbollah press center/volunteer coordination tent is graced with a water cooler.

I ask a man standing around the water cooler for a cup. Drink a few sips.

So, I say, warming into pidgin Arabic, you work here?

He smiles, pours coffee. He is helping coordinate the rebuilding effort.

Ahlan wa sahlan, he says. Welcome.

I greet another, younger man. Where are you from, he asks. America, I say.

The man is bemused. He dials a cell phone and hands me the receiver.

Who's there?

It's his brother in Detroit.

I am standing in the Hezbollah volunteer center talking to a Lebanese guy in Detroit who is not happy to be on the phone. It's 5 a.m. in Detroit.

I tell him I'm from Boise. Nice talking to you.


It's always been a slightly unnerving exercise. A yogic workout for my journalistic mind.

As I child I learned that Israel was surrounded by enemies.

So when I went there in my college years, I set about meeting these supposed foes.

I toured Gaza City in a United Nations van and, only at the end of the tour, as we observed open sewers running into the Mediterranean, did our Palestinian guide ask me about my T-shirt.

It was a well-worn memento of the Jewish olympics in Baltimore.

I turned the shirt inside out, but that was the last time I denied my heritage in Arab lands.

A few months later I found myself explaining to a group of rural Egyptian lawyers that I was both Jewish and agnostic and believed that we evolved from monkeys trying to reach apples higher on the trees.

They hooted and hollered at the notion and bought me lunch. I later explained my roots to Palestinian mothers, in their living rooms, photos of their AK-47-weilding children peering down at us from the mantelpiece.

Sure I'm Jewish, my mother is Jewish. My intense questioning derives from childhood Torah study. Flirting with the Talmud.

After a failed venture into Syria in 1998, I found myself in front of a squad of Jordanian police, explaining that I could not share in the bread they were offering because it was Eid al-Pesach, a holiday commemorating the Jewish escape from Egypt thousands of years ago.

They offered me yogurt and a spoon.

In all my travels in the Middle East I have repeatedly received the same welcome response. It is one of two Koranic phrases I have memorized.

Lakum dinakum wa ana diin. Roughly, they have their mitzvahs, and I have mine.

I don't pretend to understand the context or interpretations of this phrase, but my entire understanding of Islam -- of the Arab world -- starts here.


For a moment I thought I had gone too far coming to this Hezbollah stronghold.

As dusk settles in over Haret Hreik, we walk a few blocks over to the former headquarters of Al Manar television, which the Israelis flattened toward the end of the war.

I hang behind the group, Hezbollah spokesman Ibrahim Zarakat strolling to my right. A prominent Lebanese journalist, who is part of a our group, strolls to my left. The question I have been waiting for comes.

Nathaniel. That's a Jewish name, right. You're Jewish?

Sure, it's a Jewish name. I wait for a sign. Is that going to be a problem, I ask.

Hezbollah leaders have a reputation for slow deliberation, so I let out a deep breath as I wait for a response.

Jews lived among Arabs for thousands of years and even Hezbollah, a sworn enemy to Israel, has not forgotten this.

Minutes earlier, Hezbollah senior political advisor Hassan Ezz Eddine had recalled for us fondly the Jewish neighborhood in Beirut, Wadi Abu-Jamil.

Hezbollah exists for the official purpose of defending Lebanon from "Israeli aggression," a mission for which wide swaths of the Lebanese population are now quite appreciative. Zarakat, and my Lebanese journalist colleague assure me they have no problem with my religion. They point around at the destruction and ask me who the terrorists are. They recall a delegation of rabbis that visited Haret Hreik some years ago.

In Lebanon and across the Middle East, journalists and experts are too eager to point to sectarian divisions -- Sunni vs. Shia, Christian vs. Muslim -- as causes of conflict. In the Middle East I know, in the very heart of Jerusalem even, people from every religious background lived as neighbors for centuries.

The Muslim attorneys in Egypt called out to a priest as he walked by and told him about this Jewish American who thinks people were once monkeys. The priest shook his head and kept walking.

Countless Lebanese told me about their "other-sect" wives.

And even as a brilliant sun set on buildings bombed by Israel just a few months prior, members of a group that the United States deems "terrorist" all around me, I, an American Jew, was taken at face value. I was treated as an individual.

This is a skill that many Americans lack. And the more time I spend on U.S. soil, the more I tend to group people into huge categories.

When President Bush condemns Hezbollah or Islamo-facism or however he puts it, despite my better judgment, an image of thousands of Lebanese villagers gearing up for our slaughter is unfortunately conjured in my head. It is an image I know to be false, an image quickly dispensed with by visiting the villages.

But it creeps into my mind anyway.


As we pull away from the ruins of Haret Hreik I am struck by the absurdity of this conflict. How does the bombing start when we can we stand here chatting politely, drinking coffee, asking questions about Israel and Lebanese politics? Who are the people who start the bombing? Who are the kidnappers and the killers? And why can't they talk a little more first?

On the bus ride home I suggest to another Lebanese journalist that one day he'll be able to drive a few hours south to Tel Aviv to hit the beach.

No, he says. We are in a state of war with Israel. It is impossible.

There are a few moments of silence. He looks my way again.

How many hours away is Tel Aviv, he asks.

Nathaniel is an independent reporter in Boise, Idaho. He blogs at

© 2006 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.