Saturday, December 23, 2006

Jewish refugees!

Part of Haitham's adventure
22. December 2006

Zionists lobbied and worked against allowing Jewish refugees from WWII to settle in other countries. Here is just one excerpt from Alfred Lilienthal’s book “What Price Israel”:

President Roosevelt was deeply concerned with the plight of the European refugees and thought that all the free nations of the world ought to accept a certain number of immigrants, irrespective of race, creed, color or political belief. The President hoped that the rescue of 500,000 Displaced Persons could be achieved by such a generous grant of a worldwide political asylum. In line with this humanitarian idea, Morris Ernst, New York attorney and close friend of the President [A Jewish cofounder of what became the ACLU - MQ] went to London in the middle of the war to see if the British would take in 100,000 or 200,000 uprooted people. The President had reasons to assume that Canada, Australia and the South American countries would gladly open their doors. And if such good examples were set by other nations, Mr. Roosevelt felt that the American Congress could be “educated to go back to our traditional position of asylum.” The key was in London. Would Morris Ernst succeed there? Mr. Ernst came home to report, and this is what took place in the White House (as related by Mr. Ernst to a Cincinnati audience in 1950):

Ernst: “We are at home plate. That little island [and it was during the second Blitz that he visited England] on a properly representative program of a World Immigration Budget, will match the United States up to 150,000.

Roosevelt: “150,000 to England-150,000 to match that in the United States-pick up 200,000 or 300,000 elsewhere, and we can start with half a million of these oppressed people.”

A week later, or so, Mr. Ernst and his wife again visited the President.

Roosevelt (turning to Mrs. Ernst): “Margaret, can’t you get me a Jewish Pope? I cannot stand it any more. I have got to be careful that when Stevie Wise leaves the White House he doesn’t see Joe Proskauer on the way in.” Then, to Mr. Ernst: “Nothing doing on the program. We can’t put it over because the dominant vocal Jewish leadership of America won’t stand for it.”

“It’s impossible! Why?” asked Ernst.

Roosevelt: “They are right from their point of view. The Zionist movement knows that Palestine is, and will be for some time, a remittance society. They know that they can raise vast sums for Palestine by saying to donors, ‘There is no other place this poor Jew can go.’ But if there is a world political asylum for all people irrespective of race, creed or color, they cannot raise their money. Then the people who do not want to give the money will have an excuse to say ‘What do you mean, there is no place they can go but Palestine? They are the preferred wards of the world.”

Morris Ernst, shocked, first refused to believe his leader and friend. He began to lobby among his influential Jewish friends for this world program of rescue, without mentioning the President’s or the British reaction. As he himself has put it: “I was thrown out of parlors of friends of mine who very frankly said ‘Morris, this is treason. You are undermining the Zionist movement.’ ” He ran into the same reaction amongst all Jewish groups and their leaders. Everywhere he found “a deep, genuine, often fanatically emotional vested interest in putting over the Palestinian movement” in men “who are little concerned about human blood if it is not their own.” This response of Zionism ended the remarkable Roosevelt effort to rescue Europe’s Displaced Persons.

Israel, Zionism, History

E-mail to Stars and Stripes' editors RE: A letter to an American G.I.

This is what Stars and Stripes website reads: "Stars and Stripes is a daily newspaper published for the U.S. military, DoD civilians, contractors, and their families. Unique among the many military publications, Stars and Stripes operates as a First Amendment newspaper, free of control and censorship."

Below is my email to Stars and Stripes' editors

Best wishes,


Dear Editors of Stars and Stripes,

A young US soldier’s mother recently wrote:
“Two weeks ago he called by satellite phone, awakening Amy and me in the dead of the night. Machine gun fire was all around him, the sound of war filling our ears and hearts with grief and fear of loss. (…) He says that this war cannot be won! He has no faith in the politicians who sent him there.”
A very important debate is going on in Washington D.C. in these very hours on what to do about the situation that the US has created with the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Please, take a few seconds to read what an Iraqi woman has to tell to American soldiers
A letter to an American G.I.
Layla Anwar
I believe this letter to an American G.I. written by an Iraqi woman should be part of that debate and I am sure many US service-people and their families would appreciate the opportunity to read it.

Please, give them this opportunity.

Thank you for your time.

Kind regards and best wishes for a peaceful 2007
Gabriele Zamparini

Ten years later the price is still worth it

Editor's note: I'll be moving over to the other blog shortly:

Saturday, December 23, 2006


"There have been plenty of markers that show that this [Iraq] is a country that is worth the investment, because once it emerges as a country that is a stabilising factor, you will have a very different kind of Middle East." - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

FACTS: A study published a few months ago in the British medical journal the Lancet estimated the war of aggression against Iraq had slaughtered about 655,000 human beings. In these last few months the carnage got even worse


Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: "We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it? "

US Ambassador at the United Nations (soon to become Secretary of State) Madeleine Albright: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price - we think the price is worth it." CBS - "60 Minutes", May 12, 1996

FACTS: The UN embargo against Iraq wanted by the regimes of Washington and London slaughtered well over 1 million human beings.

Ten years later the price is still worth it

What do Hebron Jewish Settlers Teach Their Kids?

Part of Haitham's adventure
22. December 2006

Don’t expect anything less than…

Photo by masser

Jewish settler children trying to breaking into an Arab-owned shop in the West Bank city of Hebron during a curfew impose by the Israeli army on Palestinians. The sequence is L to R, the bottom one being when I (masser) shouted out to get them to stop.

in Palestine, Photos, West Bank

Tears Are Not Enough

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

All Tears Are Not Enough

All tears in the world are not enough to cry our dear Iraq, our dear brothers, relatives, friends and innocent Iraqis who have been killed for no reason just because they loved their country and wanted to stay loyal to its soil till the last breathe they have in this life.

Can any body explain to me what kind of a world we are living in now, a world that is watching and hearing every day that no less than 100 body found in Baghdad thrown in the trash and does not take a single step to stop that, in the contrary it has become a common piece of news and merely number written in the newspapers and thrown away, no one can feel the impact of that, only the Iraqi families who lose every day,a father, brother, son and relative.

Instead of finding a solution to this daily mass killing, Bush declared his support to the Iraqi sectarian government who is in charge of all these victims and insisted on keeping Malki, Ruba'i and other ulcers to accomplish their mission and genocide all the Iraqis except their loyalists and supporters.

In a funeral set up for one of the Iraqi retired officers who had been kidnapped in front of one of the banks in Baghdad while he went there to collect some money for his family, and after few days his body found at the forensic depratment in Baghdad and by miracle brought home, a group of women in the same neighbourhood came to console his Sunni wife and family but in fact each one of them sat to cry endlessly her own killed people.

The first woman who arrived when she heard the news, is a shiite woman whom her eldest son died on Al-A'ima bridge last year while he was heading to Kadimiyia shrine, he fell on one of the barriers and people stepped on his body, in the evening his body found in one of the hospitals in Baghdad left on the ground as there was no space to keep him in the fridge.

Her eldest borther killed last May after being kicked out of his neighbourhood, she sat in front of the wife to cry her neighbour and her dear son and brother.

After few minutes, another Shiite neighbour came, her brother was killed in a bombing of a Husseini in Khanaqien in Nov,last year, while he was preparying for his wedding, a suicide bomber blew up himself inside the Husseini where the brotehr was praying with other people there.

Soon, a Sunni woman came to join her neighbours and to cry her young son whom within three months dignoised with lempho cancer though he was a sport guy, but with the luck of good doctors and medications, the guy died at home within three months to leave only his pictures at home which the mother speak with them most of the time.

A christain woman came to the funeral to cry her two nephews who were killed in the bombing of one of the most popular resturant in Abu Nua's street last year while they were having breakfast there and some other policemen.

Another Sunni woman showed up whom her son was killed by daeth squads after being kidnapped just because his name is "Omer".

A shiite neighbour turned up whom her son in Law killed by an IED last year while Mahdi army was clashing with the Americans in Sader city with his friend to leave her daughter with two kids homeless, later on, she brought her daughter to live with the family.

Another Sunni woman came, her son who is a teacher in a High school was assassinated at the main gate of the school for reasons til now they could not figure out.

Another and Another and Another, I can assure you that all the people who came to the funeral have lost a dear person and they are in fear in losing more and do not know what to do and what is their crime?

All of them were exchanging terrible stories about killing, kidnapping, deportation, fear of sending their kids to schools and universities, luck of work and money to earn their living, luck of fuels and how the prices are very high and and.......

Zionists Systematically Destroy Cultural Traditions

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Israeli-built wall is “a sign of all that is wrong in the human heart.” Archbishop of Canterbury

left: Pilgrims in Bethlehem over ninety years ago prior to the Zionist genocide on Palestinian culture (Khalidi, Walid. Before Their Diaspora).

What's particularly smarmy about Zionists is that they kill, maim, dispossess, and then lie about it. Ignorant journalists even let them explain Palestinians, for example in the Chicago Tribune Daniel Rossing, former director of the department for Christian communities in the Israeli Ministry of Religious Affairs is quoted for his 'knowledge' about Palestinian Christians:

"They are viewed by [Israeli] Jews as part of the vast Arab world, and viewed by their Muslim neighbors as suspect because of their Western connections," Rossing said.

I'm not sure why an Israeli government official, a government which is systematically destroying Palestinian cultural traditions that have existed for millenia, is the last word on Palestinian Christians.

Christians in Palestine are living links to the earliest Christians. No longer are Christians from Bethlehem able to pilgrimage on Palm Sunday to Jerusalem. Jerusalem and Bethlehem, one diocese, has been severed by the Wall. Seventy-two out of eighty shops on the Jerusalem-Bethlehem Road have closed.

The economic strangulation as a result of the Apartheid Wall has seen the flight of many Christian families from Bethlehem.

But Zionist equivocators, like the odious American Zionist Justus Weiner, who actually published a hideous book asserting that Edward Said wasn't a Palestinian, are offered up as experts on Palestinian Muslim-Christian relations while Har Homa, the illegal Jews only settlement on Bethlehem land, is setting up a tourist village to accommodate visitors to Bethlehem, so that the Zionists can cash in on the tourist trade. Zionists are also set to annex the land on which Bethlehem's aquifer sits.

Regarding a Church Times newsletter which stated "local Christians are adversely affected by living as a minority within a Muslim society," Palestinian Bishop Riad Abu El Assal in a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury recently wrote:

"To us, the gentle coexistence of Christians and Muslims is a source of strength; indeed, we regard ourselves as a beacon to the wider Middle East and, through it, the rest of the world. The crisis facing Christians here is entirely due to the Israeli occupation, which, in recent years, has seen entire communities imprisoned behind the Israeli-built wall."

Yet, in today's Church Times (UK subscription only), a Reverend Tim White, obviously more concerned with promoting a very racist, land grabbing, water hoarding genocidal Zionism, rather than defending the few "original stones" left in Palestine disputes Bishop Riad:

"The Bishop in Jerusalem, the Rt Revd Riah Abu El-Assal is in a state of denial when he attributes to Israel sole and exclusive responsibility."

While the Palestinians deal with a very physical wall cutting them off from their farmlands, cutting them off from basic services, cutting them off from their families, we in the west must continue to battle the wall of ignorance.

According to a recent survey, only fifteen percent of Americans even know that Bethlehem is a Palestinian city. No wonder, then, that a headline in the December 21 European Stars and Stripes (full electronic print version) read "Ramstein group traces footsteps of Jesus in Israel."

In the same issue a full page is devoted to "the meaning and traditions of Hanukkah, on which Protestant Women of the Chapel and also Military Council of Catholic Women in Naples, Italy, were enlightened by the Jewish Chaplain.

"'I love the Jews, for they are God's chosen people,' said Army Sgt. Maj. Rozenia Carter, a member of the group. 'I'm here because I heard the rabbi was speaking and I wanted to understand more about their culture. What a belssing it was to light one of the menorahs...It was truly awesome.'"

I am sure that Sgt. Maj. Carter, of the Protestant women, has no clue about the plight of her fellow Christians in Palestine or about the five hundred mixed Christian and Muslim villages that were destroyed in 1947-48. I have an idea that Sgt. Maj. Carter, of the Protestant women, may be one of the eighty-five percent of Americans who doesn't even know that Bethlehem today is a mixed Muslim and Christian town, with a sixty percent unemployment rate.

She probably doesn't know that some of her poor fellow Christians in Bethlehem whose houses were subsidized by the Greek Orthodox Church are facing demolition orders.

She also probably doesn't know that Hanukkah is a very minor holiday, and it probably hasn't occurred to her why it's so highly publicized and feted in the US.

She probably doesn't know that Sis Levin, wife of former CNN correspondent Jeremy Levin, who was also a hostage in Beirut, organized a Palm Sunday procession for the Christian Children of Bethlehem from Bethlehm to Jerusalem, but they were turned away at gunpoint by God's chosen people.

Most likely, the Sgt. Major doesn't know any of this because she grew up in a country that's so Zionised that if we say "Merry Christmas," it's akin to an expletive.

So right now I just don't feel very merry. I was in Bethlehem in the early seventies. I still vividly recall the Israeli sniper on top of the Church of the Nativity I could see from my friend's house.

We Palestinian-Americans have no one to blame but ourselves for the appalling lack of ignorance about Palestine in our society. It is very hard to make inroads in a society that's so Zionised that only fifteen percent of Americans know that Bethlehem is a Palestinian town.

The alternative, however, is to sit back and watch the completion of the destruction of Palestine's cultural traditions. Let ignorant Catholic, Protestant, and maybe not so ignorant Jews light a menorah and delude themselves that this is real multi-culturalism rather than just another exercise in heralding Israel. Palestine was once multi-cultural; it is now Jews preferred and privileged in every way.

In this holy season, let us increase our efforts to de-Zionize the country that our fathers and mothers adopted.

Much of the information here comes from Open Bethlehem. Much more is available at Open Bethlehem. The powerpoint presentations on the site are very informative regarding the effects of Israel's systematic attempt to grab the land and force the indigenous residents out.

Can Anyone Help Marwa?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Any Body Could Help Marwa?

Marwa Adel Karam, 13 years old, lost her eye because of an American mistake.
Her mother interviewed by The following is the story:
At 3.30am, Oct. 30the 2006, a unit from the American DIRTY Tasks Force raided our house in Al-Safina neighborhood- Al-A'dhamiya district. Their pretext was: searching to find the kidnapped American soldier. (An Iraqi tear: An American soldier from Iraqi origin was called Qusay Al-Qaisi was kidnapped from Karrada while he was visiting his Iraq wife family. Al-Qaisi was the cousin of Intifadh Qamber, the spokesman of Ahmed Chalabi the liar who gave Bush the false documents about the Iraqi WMDs.. Qamber was given a military post, he was appointed as the Iraqi military attaché in the Iraqi embassy in the States. That soldier was not found until now). The mother continues saying: their armored vehicles blocked the street. They exploded our door. There was no man in the hose; my husband died years ago; my son in law was detained by the police for sectarian reason. The Americans found no body and nothing in the house. They stole our money, passports and IDs. While exploding the door, shrapnel entered into the right eye of my child Marwa. When they found the crime they committed against an innocent family; they apologized and took Marwa to Ibn Sina hospital in the Green Zone. She was brought back home after 3 days confirming that she needs more two operations as Dr Hamilton recommended. Yet; they did come back again to take her.
Young Marwa; according to her mother, was very clever in her school; but she refused going to her school this year because of her eye.
The operations need $15 000.. If there is any could help her; please send a comment; I will give you the email account you can be in touch with Marwa campaign through it.

A Moral Judgment is Called For On Israel's "Right to Exist"

December 21, 2006

A Moral Judgment is Called For

On Israel's "Right to Exist"


Now that the Palestinian civil war long sought by Israel, the U.S. and the EU appears on the verge of breaking out, it may be timely to examine the justification put forward by Israel, the U.S. and the EU for their collective punishment of the Palestinian people in retaliation for their having made the "wrong" choice in last January's democratic election -- the refusal of Hamas to "recognize Israel" or to "recognize Israel's existence" or to "recognize Israel's right to exist".

These three verbal formulations have been used by media, politicians and even diplomats interchangeably, as though they mean the same thing. They do not.

"Recognizing Israel" or any other state is a formal legal/diplomatic act by a state with respect to another state. It is inappropriate -- indeed, nonsensical -- to talk about a political party or movement, even one in a sovereign state, extending diplomatic recognition to a state. To talk of Hamas "recognizing Israel" is simply sloppy, confusing and deceptive shorthand for the real demand being made.

"Recognizing Israel's existence" is not a logical nonsense and appears on first impression to involve a relatively straightforward acknowledgement of a fact of life -- like death and taxes. Yet there are serious practical problems with this formulation. What Israel, within what borders, is involved? The 55% of historical Palestine recommended for a Jewish state by the UN General Assembly in 1947? The 78% of historical Palestine occupied by Israel in 1948 and now viewed by most of the world as "Israel" or "Israel proper"?

The 100% of historical Palestine occupied by Israel since June 1967 and shown as "Israel" on maps in Israeli schoolbooks? Israel has never defined its own borders, since doing so would, necessarily, place limits on them. Still, if this were all that were being demanded of Hamas, it might be possible for it to acknowledge, as a fact of life, that a State of Israel exists today within some specified borders.

"Recognizing Israel's right to exist", the actual demand, is in an entirely different league. This formulation does not address diplomatic formalities or simple acceptance of present realities. It calls for a moral judgment.

There is an enormous difference between "recognizing Israel's existence" and "recognizing Israel's right to exist". From a Palestinian perspective, the difference is in the same league as the difference between asking a Jew to acknowledge that the Holocaust happened and asking him to acknowledge that it was "right" that the Holocaust happened -- that the Holocaust (or, in the Palestinian case, the Nakba) was morally justified.

To demand that Palestinians recognize "Israel's right to exist" is to demand that a people who have for almost 60 years been treated, and continue to be treated, as sub-humans publicly proclaim that they ARE sub-humans -- and, at least implicitly, that they deserve what has been done, and continues to be done, to them. Even 19th century U.S. governments did not require the surviving Native Americans to publicly proclaim the "rightness" of their ethnic cleansing by the Pale Faces as a condition precedent to even discussing what reservation might be set aside for them -- under economic blockade and threat of starvation until they shed whatever pride they had left and conceded the point.

Some believe that Yasser Arafat did concede the point in order to buy his ticket out of the wilderness of demonization and earn the right to be lectured directly by the Americans. In fact, in his famous statement in Stockholm in late 1988, he accepted "Israel's right to exist in peace and security". This formulation, significantly, addresses the /conditions/ of existence of a state which, as a matter of fact, exists. It does not address the existential question of the "rightness" of the dispossession and dispersal of the Palestinian people from their homeland to make way for another people coming from abroad.

The original conception of the formulation "Israel's right to exist" and of its utility as an excuse for not talking to any Palestinian leadership which still stood up for the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people are attributed to Henry Kissinger, the grand master of diplomatic cynicism. There can be little doubt that those states which still employ this formulation do so in full consciousness of what it entails, morally and psychologically, for the Palestinian people and for the same cynical purpose -- as a roadblock against any progress toward peace and justice in Israel/Palestine and as a way of helping to buy more time for Israel to create more "facts on the ground" while blaming the Palestinians for their own suffering.

However, many private citizens of good will and decent values may well be taken in by the surface simplicity of the words "Israel's right to exist" (and even more easily by the other two shorthand formulations) into believing that they constitute a self-evidently reasonable demand and that refusing such a reasonable demand must represent perversity (or a "terrorist ideology") rather than a need to cling to their self-respect and dignity as full-fledged human beings which is deeply felt and thoroughly understandable in the hearts and minds of a long-abused people who have been stripped of almost everything else that makes life worth living. That this is so is evidenced by polls showing that the percentage of the Palestinian population which approves of Hamas' steadfastness in refusing to bow to this humiliating demand by their enemies, notwithstanding the intensity of the economic pain and suffering inflicted on them by the Israeli and Western siege, substantially exceeds the percentage of the population which voted for Hamas in January.

It may not be too late to focus decent minds around the world on the unreasonableness -- indeed, the immorality -- of this demand and of the verbal formulation on which it is based, whose use and abuse have already caused so much misery and threaten to cause more.

John V. Whitbeck, an international lawyer, is author of "The World According to Whitbeck". He can be reached at:

US wrecked hopes of N Korean nuke deal

Says S Korean leader
Afp, Beijing

South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun has accused the United States of wrecking last year's agreement to scrap North Korea's nuclear programmes by simultaneously imposing financial sanctions.
Roh, in strongly-worded comments reported in Friday's media, also suggested the US Treasury and State Departments are split in their approach to the sanctions, which were a key sticking point in this week's nuclear negotiations.

"If you look at it in a bad light, you may say (the two US departments) were playing a prearranged game," he said, according to an official transcript of his speech delivered Thursday.

Roh noted that the US blacklisting of Macau's Banco Delta Asia (BDA) -- a move which led to the freezing of 24 million dollars in North Korean accounts -- came just a few days before the agreement on September 19, 2005.

Six-nation nuclear negotiations which began in 2003 achieved an apparent breakthrough on that date when the North agreed in principle to scrap its nuclear programmes in return for economic and energy aid and security guarantees.

But North Korea boycotted the forum two months later in protest at the curbs on the BDA accounts, which sparked similar action elsewhere in Asia and effectively shut it out of much of the international banking system.

When talks resumed in Beijing this week the communist state insisted that the issue be resolved before any further negotiations on denuclearisation. The talks ended Friday without apparent agreement and without setting a firm date to meet again.

"South Korea played a key role in efforts to achieve the September 19 joint statement," Roh told the National Unification Advisory Council on Thursday.

"Then the BDA issue came up and this is incomprehensible to me. As the statement was being signed in China, the US Treasury Department already froze the BDA accounts a few days earlier. Looking back, I don't know whether the State Department knew about it or not."

Roh questioned whether the departments differed in their approach, "with the State Department in support of flexibility while the Treasury Department sticks to the principle. We will never know."

Did American fire on Iraqis for sport

<>U.S. security contractors allege their supervisor was ‘out of control’
By Lisa Myers, Aram Roston and the NBC News Investigative Unit
Updated: 9:17 a.m. MT Dec 22, 2006

WASHINGTON - Shane Schmidt was a U.S. Marine for seven years, the leader of a sniper unit. Chuck Shepard spent seven years in the U.S. Army. After leaving the military, each found his way into the legions of heavily armed private security contractors working in Iraq.

The two were working together on July 8, 2006, when they claim they witnessed what they believe was a crime. They say another American fired, unprovoked, into two Iraqi civilian vehicles. They say it started during a mission to Baghdad International Airport, when their supervisor, who was leaving Iraq the next day and was in the vehicle with them, made a troubling remark.

"He'd made a comment that he was going to kill somebody today," says Schmidt. "Kill someone."

The two men say they thought he was joking.

They claim the man first fired seven or eight rounds into a white truck positioned about 100 yards behind them.

"He cracked his door," alleges Schmidt, "put a foot out, and fired seven or eight rounds into a parked, white moving truck that was to our rear."

Later on that day, on the next leg of the mission, according to Shepard, the shift leader then said: "I've never shot anybody with my pistol before."

Shepard says the shift leader "immediately turns, opens the door, and fires seven to eight rounds into a taxi cab that we're overtaking, that we're passing."

The men claim the taxi rolled off the road, but that they are not sure if anyone was killed.

"I know that he shot at innocent civilians," says Shepard. "I know that we're trained very well on our marksmanship."

Whistle-blowers fired
But Shepard and Schmidt acknowledge they waited almost two days, by which time their supervisor left Iraq, to report the incidents to their company, Triple Canopy.

The men were fired, along with their supervisor, who has denied wrongdoing, according to the company.

Shepard and Schmidt are now suing Triple Canopy. Their lawsuit alleges they were fired "in retaliation for their reporting criminal activity which they had witnessed."

"I believe we were fired," says Shepard, "because they wanted this whole incident to go away."

Triple Canopy does not deny that shootings occurred, though it says the facts are in dispute, including what provoked the shooting. The company says it has no evidence anyone was hurt. Schmidt also admits that he, too, fired his weapon that day, into the engine block of a vehicle that wouldn't stop. The company insists the two men were fired for a "failure to immediately report" the shootings, not for retaliation.

"They did not follow our policies," says CEO Lee Van Arsdale. "We require immediate notification if there is any weapons incident."

Triple Canopy says all its employees must report shootings immediately, and says that Shepard and Schmidt reported the incident more than 48 hours after it happened, not 30 hours, as the two men claim. The company says it did interview the shift leader.

"He denies that it happened," says Van Arsdale. "They say it did happen. These are, you know, two individuals pointing the finger at him; him pointing the finger at them."

‘Obviously out of control’
NBC News could not reach the shift leader, and a telephone number listed under his name was disconnected.

And the company says it cannot rule out that any civilians were injured, but believes none were.

"I sincerely hope and pray no one was injured," says Van Arsdale. "There are no reports of any injuries. But for me to sit here, several thousand miles away, and speculate on that, does no good for anyone."

As for Schmidt and Shepard, they say they feared for their jobs, and for their safety.

"This guy was obviously unstable," says Schmidt, "obviously out of control. We honestly felt fear for our lives."

The company says it investigated the shooting, interviewing employees who were involved. Triple Canopy says it filed a report with Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR), the prime contractor for whom it was working. It reported the incident to the U.S. military three days after it was told of the shootings. KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton, said it would not comment on the issue because of the ongoing litigation.

A U.S. military spokesman in Iraq tells NBC News that, as of now, officials can't find a copy of the company's report and have no details about the shootings.

Shepard and Schmidt say they haven't been contacted.

"There's been no follow-up whatsoever by any government agencies," says Schmidt.

And its not just this incident. Despite similar allegations involving other companies, not a single security contractor in Iraq has yet faced charges for attacking civilians.

As for Triple Canopy, it says this is the first time any such allegation has been made against it, and it says it wants more regulation for the industry.

Will the Democrats Save our Civil Liberties?

December 20, 2006

Anthony Gregory

Many commentators have called the Democratic victory in the November elections a referendum on the Bush administration’s policy in Iraq. They have also noted that the voting public is concerned by the attacks on civil liberties so loyally defended by nearly all the Republican lawmakers in fighting the war on terror. The Democrats, presumably, now have a mandate to reverse current trends in domestic as well as foreign anti-terror policy.

There is little reason for optimism that the Democrats will follow through on this supposed mandate, and deliver us from the evil of the growing police state of warrantless searches, indefinite detentions, sweeping surveillance, and other attacks on civil liberties.

For one thing, Democrats have supported the worst of Bush’s policies. Only one Democrat in the Senate, Russ Feingold, opposed the Patriot Act when it was first proposed. Just this year, Democratic members of the House overwhelmingly, and Democratic Senators unanimously, approved the Defense Authorization Act for 2007, which contains frightening modifications of the Insurrection Act and new exceptions to Posse Comitatus, empowering the president to summon the National Guard, without gubernatorial authority, and to enforce martial law during “emergencies” ranging from natural disasters to health crises. More than 25 percent of Senate Democrats even voted for the Military Commissions Act, marking the first time since the Civil War that the federal government suspended Habeas Corpus.

Although the Democrats will sometimes attack an egregious Bush proposal, they have not used the power of the purse or the filibuster to do anything about it. Nor should we assume they will be so mindful of civil liberties now that they are in the Congressional majority and have their eyes set on the presidency. Power corrupts, and Democrats in power have long shown a willingness to shred the Bill of Rights.

Woodrow Wilson arrested hundreds of antiwar Americans, including a presidential candidate, for protesting the draft; deported anarchists to Communist Russia; and imprisoned a movie producer for depicting the British as an American enemy in his film about the American Revolution. (Under the 1918 Sedition Act, it was a federal crime to criticize a U.S. ally, which Britain was.) Franklin Roosevelt oversaw an Office of Censorship, made plans to detain hundreds of peaceful political enemies, imprisoned war opponents, and interned 110,000 innocent Japanese Americans. Lyndon Johnson had the FBI spy on reporters and used the FBI and CIA to wiretap, monitor, and infiltrate the campaign of his presidential rival, Barry Goldwater.

But we don’t need to go back so far to indict the Democrats on civil liberties issues. Under Bill Clinton, the police state grew perhaps as much as it feasibly could during a relative time of peace. According to the ACLU, Clinton expanded stealth surveillance of the citizenry far beyond anything seen under any prior administration. Clinton sought to allow the feds to peek at everyone’s bank account, have a key to all private encryption and e-mail, and censor the Internet. After the Oklahoma City bombing, Clinton signed the draconian Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, expanding the authority of secret courts, unleashing the FBI to investigate First Amendment–protected activities, and allowing the INS to deport American citizens.

Under Clinton, there was also the military operation on American soil just outside Waco, Texas, where about 80 American civilians died when a 51-day standoff culminated in a fire breaking out after a federal tank rammed through a religious sect’s home and gassed its women and children with poisonous and flammable CS gas. In this case, an imaginary meth lab was the original rationale to circumvent Posse Comitatus’s prohibitions on military involvement in law enforcement—the drug war, which the Democrats have consistently and enthusiastically upheld, has also been a disaster for civil liberties and the rule of law.

When the Democrats controlled both the presidency and the legislature, as they did during much of Wilson, all of FDR, and all of Johnson, civil liberties suffered greatly. When, under Clinton, they split the government with Republicans, the police state nevertheless grew—meaning neither the GOP nor partisan gridlock is our salvation, either.

If the Democrats want to win points as better guardians of American liberty than the Republicans, they can begin by abolishing huge portions of the war on terror infrastructure—the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, and the new presidential powers over martial law. They should then challenge Bush on the principle of the unitary executive, block funding for warrantless military surveillance of the population, and strip away the Justice Department and military’s power to indefinitely detain people without due process.

The Democrats, however, have had about as shameful a record on all this as the Republicans, even when they were the opposition party. Now that they have a better seat at the table of power, who thinks they’ll do anything to curb the police state they helped so much to build?

Anthony Gregory
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Anthony Gregory is a Research Analyst at The Independent Institute. He earned his bachelor's degree in American history from the University of California at Berkeley and gave the undergraduate history commencement speech in 2003. In addition to his work with the Independent Institute, he regularly writes for numerous news and commentary web sites, including, Future of Freedom Foundation, and the Rational Review.
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The proxy war in Palestine

by Anisa Abd el Fattah

"The Palestinian people, like most of the Arab and Muslim people of the region, old and young alike, are tired of business and life as it has been, and they have repeatedly cast their votes for change, and a leadership that will use the truth as a power, like others had used lies and tricks and double talk to make themselves rich and powerful men, celebrated by Israel and the West as peacemakers, having traded the freedom and lives of their people for a pat on the head, and a photo op."

The new strategy being employed to militarily defeat the Islamic movements in the Arab/Muslim world is not really a new strategy. It is an old strategy being employed in a new venue. It is a strategy that until now seemed to favor Israel, since Israel has the most powerful proxies in the region, the United States and Britain who both entered the war in Iraq to advance Israel’s geo-political interests, and also to secure a source of reliable energy for Israel that would either originate in Iraq, or be piped through some part of Iraq into Israel. The war between Israel and Hizbollah was another rendition of that same strategy without the oil interest. In this instance, the proxy war saw some adjustments that left Israel pretty much on its own against Hizbollah, since the US and Britain couldn’t find any believable pretense like WMD or regime change under which to engage Hizbollah militarily on behalf of Israel, and so Israel had to fight for itself, while the US and Britain provided legal cover and weapons for Israel’s illegal onslaught against both the Palestinian and Lebanese people, an onslaught that left Lebanon peppered with illegal cluster bombs, and resulted in another illegal and immoral massacre of innocent unarmed Palestinians by Israel. Considering the proxies and the players in the Israeli v. Hizbollah and Palestine war, and also in the Iraq war, anyone asked to pick a winner, would have likely put their money on Israel and its fellowship of tyrants and warmongers, the US and Britain, and they would have lost their bets. Anyone betting today on Abbas in Palestine, will loose that bet too.

Unfortunately, Israel and its proxies are unrepentant following their defeat in Lebanon and their pending defeat in Iraq. Frustrated by their continued failure to undermine the duly elected Palestinian government, and still belligerent and convinced that militarism is the only solution to all problems, Israel and its league of dishonorable proxies have now sought to create a civil war that pits the Palestinians against one another in a classic proxy war that is aimed at defeating the growing influence of Iran in the region, and to restore their lost aura of invincibility and also what the secular nationalists lost in bragging rights to Iran, Hizbollah, and Hamas, and their loss of face that resulted from the UN General Assembly’s official condemnation of Israel, that overrode the now impotent US veto, cast in the UN Security Council to shield Israel from the condemnation it earned and deserved as a result of its brutal, and illegal military assaults on Lebanon and Palestine.

Just as in Iraq, Israel and its lackeys, including their Arab worshippers, are pursuing a divide and conquer strategy in Palestine, which could possibly engulf the entire region in a sectarian war not fought along religious lines, but rather along ideological lines. The media loves to offer up the Sunni/Shia divide as the primary weakness to exploit in the Arab/Muslim world by those who use differences to foment hate and war. The real divide between Fatah and Hamas is ideological, and it symbolizes the difference between those like Iran who do not believe that the US and Israel should dominate, subjugate and dictate the future of the region, and its people, and those who have become so accustomed to being well paid stooges of the US and Israel, that no other possibility except servitude seems either feasible, or reasonable to them, and so they cast their lots against their fellow Arabs and Muslims, fearing Iran more than they fear Israel, even though Iran has never slaughtered their people to ethically cleanse them from their land, targeted and killed their leaders, confiscated their land, robbed their banks or forced any of their people into refugee camps to languish for years, barely surviving. In fact, Iran, almost more than any other Muslim country, put everything on the line for the sake of Palestine, determined to break Israel’s psychological and material choke hold on the region that has left it economically, spiritually and politically fatigued, being pushed back and forth through periods of either intense and brutal Israeli violence, or quite US, British and Israeli political gamesmanship and subterfuge designed to undermine the fragile democratic institution that was set up in Palestine to legitimize the PLO as a negotiating partner for Israel, hoping to create the illusion of a negotiated agreement between the two parties that was really only a paid capitulation by an illegitimate PLO, brought back to the territories from exile to replace a newly founded Hamas movement that had spawned a militant resistance more fierce than anything the secular nationalist PLO had ever dreamed of, and a nightmare for Israel and its patrons in the West.

When the people of Palestine voted Hamas into power, and rejected the PA corruption and capitulation to Israel that caused a bloody uprising that resulted in the Jenin massacre, the Palestinian people sent a message to the west more profound, and more powerful than anything ever dictated by Israel at the negotiating table. They said that they were no longer afraid, and no longer willing to roll over to the status quo, or to be sacrificed on the political altars of the Arab elite. The Palestinian people, like most of the Arab and Muslim people of the region, old and young alike, are tired of business and life as it has been, and they have repeatedly cast their votes for change, and a leadership that will use the truth as a power, like others had used lies and tricks and double talk to make themselves rich and powerful men, celebrated by Israel and the West as peacemakers, having traded the freedom and lives of their people for a pat on the head, and a photo op. That the other Arab governments have now come out openly to oppose democracy in Palestine, and to undermine the legitimate and duly elected government, is nothing new to the people of the region who have always known that the occupation could never have lasted as long as it has without Arab support, and that Israel would not continue to attempt to drive the Palestinians from the occupied territories without an agreement with some Arab nation or nations, to take them in and assume responsibility for them, just like they invaded Iraq with the hope of using Jordan as a proxy authority to govern what they had hoped would be a broken and vulnerable Iraq. Just as the US transitional authority under Paul Bremer either knowingly or unknowingly incited the insurgency in Iraq by shutting down newspapers and other proactive acts, Israel, the US and Britain are inciting a civil war in Palestine. Just as the real insurgency in Iraq, not including Al-Qaeda and the Kurds, is frustrating Israel’s plans for Iraq, the civil war in Palestine will completely undo Israeli and western influence over the region, and spoil any hopes of a negotiated settlement between the Arab countries and Israel for years to come. Proxy wars in the Arab/Muslim world are not a new strategy. Nothing can be learned from them except one thing; when the proxies fail, that becomes the pretext for more desperate measures, including more violence, more troops, and last ditch efforts to wipe out all opposition once and for all, which will ultimately lead to another intifada that will probably be more like a popular insurgency than a Palestinian uprising.

The writer is the Founder and President of the National Association of Muslim American Women. The author is also head of the International Assoc. for Muslim Women and Children, an accredited NGO with the UN Division on the Rights of the Palestinians.

O little town of Bethlehem

by Sherri Muzher

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God."

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

They are the words to one of the most popular Christmas songs, and yet I wonder how many are aware that this magnificent city is dying?

Growing up in a Palestinian Christian home, the cities in the Bible came alive through my parents’ stories of visits to nearby Bethlehem and Jerusalem . The family photographs allowed us to put an image with the stories. Bethlehem was obviously distinguishable for being the place of birth for the Prince of Peace, as well as for the unforgettable 14-point star on the marble ground that marks the site of His birth.

Before the 1967 War and subsequent Israeli Occupation, the drive from the Ramallah district to Bethlehem was about 40 minutes. Today with the Israeli Wall and the checkpoints, that same trip could take as long as four hours.

In former President Jimmy Carter’s new book, “Palestine: Peace, not Apartheid,” he quotes Father Claudio Ghilardi discussing the enclosure of Bethlehem with the Wall and the obstacle to attending churches for prayer, “For 900 years, we have lived here under Turkish, British, Jordanian, and Israeli governments, and no one has ever stopped people coming to pray. It is scandalous.”

He disregarded Israeli arguments that the Wall was about keeping Palestinian suicide bombers out of Israel . “The Wall is not separating Palestinians from Jews; rather, Palestinians from Palestinians.”

How painful has the plight of Bethlehem residents become?

Months ago when I spoke to the Palestinian ambassador to the US , Afif Safieh, he made a specific mention of the Bethlehem area -- the last area of Palestine where there is a significant Christian presence.

Bethlehem “lives in a horrible, horrendous, and demented situation where it is besieged by the Wall of Shame (the Apartheid Wall) that has totally strangled the city, suffocated its economy, and impeded the free movement of the society,” Safieh said.

He went on to describe the policy of ‘de-development’, a term coined by Harvard scholar Sarah Roy, the daughter of Holocaust survivors. She has characterized the Israeli policy of doom against the Palestinian society and economy as deliberate de-development – attracting international media attention, though not here.

Interestingly, Bethlehem became news in Congress this past summer . . . for the wrong reasons. Congressmen Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Joseph Crowley (D-NY) wanted to introduce a bill about the “persecution” of Palestinian Christians by the Palestinian Authority, without input from Palestinian Christians.

Each clause attempted to exploit their colleagues’ belief that the Palestinian v. Israeli conflict was a religious conflict between Muslims and Jews.

One particular clause got Leila Sansour’s attention – she’s the Chief Executive of Open Bethlehem:

CLAUSE: Whereas in 1994 Bethlehem was the most populous Christian town in Israel and the entire region;

Sansour wrote to Congressman McCaul, “Between the years 2000 and 2004, 357 Christian families (10% of the Christian population) emigrated from Bethlehem alone. Indeed, this massive emigration threatens the existence of the indigenous Christian community, which has been safeguarding sacred Christian traditions since the time of Jesus. This flight is primarily a result of the fear generated by repeated Israeli military incursions, and has been exacerbated by the economic devastation of Bethlehem due to the Israeli closure imposed on the city.”

The bill was killed before introduction with the organized efforts of Palestinian Christians, like Sansour.

The shame is that many in the Christian Right, firmly entrenched in our political system, believe that unconditional support of Israel will hasten Christ’s Second Coming. Never mind that Palestinians and Israelis are apparently supposed to continue dying to realize this prophecy.

On the upside, most Americans are insisting that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict be resolved. According to a UPI-Zogby International poll conducted on 6,296 Americans between Dec. 4 and Dec. 6, 59.2% answered that it’s very important to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

It will be another sad Christmas in Bethlehem and the rest of Palestine As I sing, ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem,” I will also think of Jesus’ famous words, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God."

Sherri Muzher, who holds a Jurist Doctor in International and Comparative Law, is a Palestinian-American activist and free lance journalist.

President Carter Says U.S. 'Prime Culprit' in Nuclear Proliferation

Dec 23, 2006

Former President Jimmy Carter says by “rejecting or evading almost all nuclear arms control agreements negotiated during the past 50 years, the United States has now become the prime culprit in global nuclear proliferation.”

In his book “Our Endangered Values”(Simon & Schuster), Carter leaves no doubt he has that Great Proliferator, George W. Bush in mind, even though he doesn’t call him that or mention him by name. Just as damning, though, Carter quotes an article by ex-Defense Secretary Robert McNamara in last year’s May/June Foreign Policy: “I would characterize current U.S. nuclear weapons policy as immoral, illegal, militarily unnecessary and dreadfully dangerous.” And that indictment can be laid at the feet of only one hombre.

President Bush’s voiced his “preventive war” doctrine in September, 2002, and then gve the world a glimpse of first-strike by invading Iraq. He also poured billions into America’s ugly germ warfare labs, morphing them into aggressive postures. And he’s the first man in Rome when it comes to renewing the dread nuclear arms race. You wonder where the outcry was from stalwart Republicans when Bush decided to resume nuclear arms development. After all, it was President Reagan’s noblest achievement to strike a deal with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to rid the planet of thousands of nukes.

As Reagan scholar Paul Lettow noted in a Heritage Foundation lecture: “He(Reagan) and Gorbachev signed the INF (Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces) Treaty in 1987, which eliminated an entire category of nuclear weapons…and he laid the foundation for President George H.W. Bush to complete the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.”

By contrast, Bush’s course is downright scary. As Carter writes, “American leaders (Bush) have not only abandoned existing treaty restrictions but also assert plans to test and develop new weapons, including antiballistic missiles, the earth-penetrating ‘bunker buster,’ and perhaps some secret new ‘small’ bombs.”

Carter goes on to write of The Bushidos, “They have also reneged on past pledges and have reversed another long-standing policy, by threatening first use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states.” Reagan pledged to Gorbachev the U.S. would never be the first to start an atomic war. Bush betrays that legacy by warning Iran the “nuclear option” is thinkable.

When Bush announced he would pull the U.S. out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1970, not wishing to be left out, Moscow responded by announcing plans to upgrade its nuclear force. Again, after Bush scrapped the “no first use” policy, Chinese major general Zhu Chenghu responded China was under internal pressure to do likewise. “If the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition on to the target zone on China’s territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons,” Chenghu said. The man’s right to worry. The Pentagon has been transferring missile-capable attack subs from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

You don’t have to be Chinese to be worried. As the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists warns, “The United States is on the verge of committing itself to churning out a new generation of nuclear weapons without fully vetting the consequences for itself and its efforts to halt and roll back proliferation worldwide.”

Although the “Bush Doctrine” called for the use of new, so-called “low-yield” nukes to dissuade hostile nations from acquiring WMD, the Bulletin states: “the new weapons concepts advanced to date seem to have little to do with deterrence of a nuclear (or other WMD) attack on the United States or it allies. Instead, they appear to be geared toward a warfighting role, which could ultimately undermine rather than enhance U.S. security.”

Bush’s “preventive war” doctrine, the Bulletin adds, incites regional powers to get their own WMD since their conventional forces can’t match the U.S. “If the (U.S.) nuclear posture contemplates using nuclear weapons against such states, they may be further encouraged to build such weapons and…the result may be more proliferation.”

Carter notes U.S. proliferation “is an increasing source of instability” in the Middle East and Asia. U.S. ally Israel’s “uncontrolled and unmonitored weapons status,” he adds, “pushes leaders in neighboring Iran, Syria, Egypt and other Arab nations to join the nuclear weapon community.”

Those opposed to impeaching Bush might do well to ask themselves, “Can I trust this man’s finger on a nuclear trigger that could ignite 6,000 warheads, enough to roast the planet and all creatures that dwell thereupon?” George Bush doesn’t have to be crazy to be dangerous. Just unscrupulous. And he’s proved that, lying to justify his invasion of Iraq, and scheming to get the Joint Chiefs to consider nuking Iran. (Reportedly, they don’t want any part of it.)

Americans want peace. They are tired of being misled into cockeyed wars to fight and bleed in far-off countries that pose no danger to them. And they have come to fear a man in the White House who threatens their liberties, renounces cherished treaties, tortures his victims, shovels billions into germ warfare schemes, and stokes the furnaces of nuclear war. Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez was right when he told the U.N. he could smell the sulfur in the chamber after Bush spoke. Who says the devil has to live underground? George Bush is in the White House and the whole world is feeling the heat.

Sherwood Ross is an American-based columnist. Reach him at

A Christmas Present ...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Today, The Emperor Bush declared :" More sacrifices will take place in Eye Raq."

Take it to mean : More Iraqi blood will be spilled , more death, more carnage, more torture, more mayhem, more rape, more theft...more of the same . A Christmas present.

Maliki, the not so smart , not so bright puppet said to the effect : " Ok I agree, more troops. On condition that we finish off the Resistance, contain the lunatic Muqtada and oh well , as for the Badr Brigades and the Magawir of the Ministry of Interior - later, later."

They gave him Nejef as a token of appreciation and handed it to the "Iraqi Army." Another Christmas present.

Brace yourselves for a massive attempt at a deadly blow to the Resistance.

Resist , we have and we will. Nothing can stop us now.

But let us leave aside realpolitik for a moment . Let us concentrate instead on the spirit of Christmas.

Since America is being so generous with her presents ,I, as a good hospitable Arab would like to reciprocate. I am thinking of offering you a special gift on this holy occasion.

I heard that in America (by the way, I don't like to call it U.S.A - I like the sound America better- hope you don't mind- it's more musical to my ears), there is a traditional craft called patchwork.

Seems you folks and specially the women are very skilled at it.

In Britain, and if I am not mistaken , they are called quilts. Do correct me if I am a little "behind" in my terminology.

Good old, hand made, home covers. Women sit for days on end taking pieces of disregarded fabrics , diligently sewing those single bits together. What you get at the end is a work of art. A story emerging from behind those abandoned, tattered cloths.

I would like to offer you my Iraqi patchwork.

I will do my utmost, despite the current economic circumstances, to buy for you top quality fabric and thread.

Something solid that will last you for long. Something that you can proudly show to your great grand children. Something you can remember us by. Something that will withstand the signs of Time. Something for you to keep till Eternity.

I will be guided by candle light or cheap kerosene lamps since electricity is not available. But I assure you this will not diminish the quality in any way.

Actually, to be honest with you, I am not the only craftswoman here.

I have over 655'000 artisans with me and a countless others who are in a zombie vegetable state dictating to me how to go about it.

Consider each of the 655'000 plus dead , pieces of fabric. And consider the hundred thousands amputated, paralyzed, raped, tortured,bereaved,widows and orphans ...the thread.

Bear with me as this is hard studious work. After all a present of such magnitude cannot be "composed" swiftly. Patchworks need time to emerge into a full story. Right ?

No need to worry, I will ensure to have it delivered before Christmas.

In order for the "piece" to become completely alive and real, I need to infuse it with pulsating beings. "They" cannot remain anonymous numbers from the Lancet.

I will revive them like the goold old American women do when they patchwork together.

I will take each single one of them and ask them to tell you their personal story. All the way to their Ancestors. Her birth place, his wishes, her struggles, his beliefs, her pain, his suffering, her victories, his hopes , their families, those left behind, their friends ...

I will also ask them to tell you how they died, what they felt when they did, their last thought , their last sentence, their unspoken word...

They will tell you tales. Each part carefully crafted , delicately sewn onto another. Ad infinitum...

And the survivors : the paralyzed, the downtrodden, the sick, the abandoned,the amputated, the maimed, the raped, the humiliated, the tortured, the grief stricken, the strugglers - the silent majority with no voice- they are the Thread that stitch the living to the dead.

And we are all gathered here right now , needle working , weaving patterns, sewing this beauty for you.
One by one, taking turns, approaching it so delicately, like an artistic composition , like a melody.

We don't want it to be macabre or morbid, so we are coloring it with a thousand colors. Greater than a rainbow. Greater than Death.

And now that it is completed , we offer it to you in "gratitude".

You can cover yourselves with it and keep warm.

All hand made in good old Iraq.

In Memoriam.

Merry Christmas.

Painting/Mural: Iraqi Artist, Dr.Hashim Al Tawil

US encourages the Talibanisation of Afghanistan

by Abid Mustafa

As far as the people of Pakistan are concerned they have been duped by General Musharraf into believing that Pakistan had no choice, but to disown the Taliban and join America’s war on terror. Five years on, Pakistan has again embraced the Taliban at the America’s behest. This time it is to help the US extricate itself from Afghanistan and preserve her plan for the region. General Musharraf is right when he said that without Pakistan’s help the West would have been brought to its knees. But under his leadership it is Pakistan that has been brought to its knees in a senseless quest to preserve American interests.

Lately, relations between Kabul and Islamabad have taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Hamid Karzai has accused Pakistan of spurring the Taliban to carry out attacks against his fledgling government and the NATO troops that defend it. He is not alone in holding Pakistan responsible for the re-emergence of the Taliban. NATO commanders, the New York Times and the International Crisis Group (ISG) have all pointed the finger at Pakistan for fomenting the Pashtun resistance that shows no sign of abating.

On its part, the Musharraf government vehemently denies such accusations and continues to blame Karzai’s government for its failure to include the Taliban and other militants as part of the national reconciliation drive. It must be stressed here—Pakistan is almost isolated on its present stance—evidence to the contrary shows that Islamabad has actively nurtured Taliban fighters to reassert their authority on towns and villages ceded to US led forces in the aftermath Taliban’s collapse during the winter of 2001.

Oddly enough, the White House instead of holding Islamabad to account has thrown its weight behind the Pakistani government and has suggested that a more collaborative approach between Islamabad and Kabul would stymie the rising militancy in Afghanistan. Washington’s ambivalent attitude raises the question; is America encouraging the emergence of Taliban as a way of extricating itself from Afghanistan?

The answer lies in the Afghan coalition America cobbled together to ouster Taliban. Back then, the Bush administration believed that the Northern Alliance (NA) could be used as an instrument to remove the Taliban from power, subdue the Pashtun resistance, and bring stability to Afghanistan. But just the opposite occurred on all three fronts. From the outset of the Bonn Conference it became plainly clear that the NA was rife with internal rancour and prone to outside influences of Russia and Europe. America, having spent millions of dollars buying the fickle loyalty of warlords was left with no option, but to counter the Pashtun resistance on her own. If this was not bad enough—America’s association with the NA enraged the Pashtuns further who felt politically isolated and indignant towards the Tajik-Uzbek dominated government in Kabul. As a result, a violent rebellion erupted against Karzai and his US masters. The epicentre of the rebellion quickly became the strip of land known as the Pakistani tribal belt that abuts Afghanistan. Fighters from all over Afghanistan opposed to the occupation sought refuge here and mingled freely with the remnants of Taliban and other Pashtuns disillusioned with American promises of a better Afghanistan.

Unable to quell the resistance, America had to change tack. In 2003 acting under the tutelage of US Ambassador to Afghanistan Khalilzad, Karzai adopted a two prong approach to suppress the resistance. He offered an olive branch to moderate Taliban fighters and declared an all out assault against hardened Pashtun militants and their backers. The intention was to shore up Karzai’s beleaguered government with moderate elements of the resistance movement and to win the support of tribal elders on both sides of the Afghan-Pak border. The longevity of any government in Kabul is dependant upon the support of the Pashtuns. In Karzai’s case, his constituency was diminishing and support base dwindling.

America was fully aware that the Pashtun uprising could not be defeated unless the support structures for waging guerrilla warfare against US forces were destroyed, especially those located in Pakistan’s tribal belt region or Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). After all, it was with American money and know-how that the military infrastructure was meticulously assembled by Pakistan’s ISI. Training camps strewn across the region were established to arm and train Afghans to wage asymmetric war against the Soviets. Not surprisingly then, America turned to enlist Pakistan to deploy its army to the restless tribal areas. Musharraf promptly obliged, and in 2004 under the pretext of fighting foreign fighters linked to al-Qaeda, military operations commenced in South and North Waziristan agencies.

However, the Pakistani military forays into the tribal region yielded very little success for the Americans. Instead, the Pakistan army suffered high causalities—some ranks even experienced mutiny; Musharraf, America’s stalwart in region lost credibility; the Pashtun resistance increased in ferocity, the government in Kabul looked ever shakier and for the first time the prospect of defeat in Afghanistan troubled American officials. Confronted with these realities America decided to resurrect the Taliban. Pakistan swiftly abandoned military force and hurriedly concluded peace pacts with pro-Taliban tribal elders in the agencies.

Taliban buoyed by Pakistan’s apparent turn around, extended their reach further into Pakistan and made Quetta, the capital city of Balochistan an additional mainstay for their activities. Here they began to rearm and recruit young men from religious seminaries, replenish their front lines with valuable supplies for the planned spring offensive next year. Some of the new recruits were given senior positions in preference to old Taliban warriors whose loyalty could no longer be guaranteed by Pakistan’s ISI. Thus the Taliban were swiftly transformed from a rag-tag band of men into a force to be reckoned with. This boosted their capability to lead the Pashtun resistance in many parts of Afghanistan. NATO was the first international organisation to borne the full brunt of a rejuvenated Taliban movement. Some members of NATO were surprised by the intensity and the magnitude of the resistance. UK’s Defence Secretary Des Brown said,” We do have to accept that it's been even harder than we expected.”

America deftly exploited the upsurge in attacks against NATO troops to press home to alliance members at the NATO summit in Riga, the need to permanently redefine the organisation’s mission, approve proposed amendments to its charter, establish a 25,000 strong rapid reaction force, and to increase troop levels to buttress NATO operations in Afghanistan. At the Riga summit Bush said,”The Taliban radicals who are trying to pull down Afghanistan's democracy and regain power saw the transfer from American to NATO control as a window of opportunity to test the will of the Alliance…Today Afghanistan is NATO's most important military operation, and by standing together in Afghanistan, we'll protect our people, defend our freedom, and send a clear message to the extremists the forces of freedom and decency will prevail.”

Nonetheless, the NATO mission in Afghanistan exposed deep fissures—over political and operational issues— amongst some of the older members of the alliance. France was unequivocal in its condemnation to make NATO duplicate functions of the UN, while Britain, America’s closet alley expressed dismay at Pakistan’s endeavours to revive the Taliban. UK‘s Ministry of Defence intentionally leaked a report that revealed the extent to which Pakistan’s ISI was providing assistance to the Taliban thereby contributing to the death of British soldiers in southern Afghanistan. The disclosure was supposed to embarrass Musharraf on his visit to London who promptly proceeded to reject the allegation that ISI was a rogue institution acting separately from the army. He said, “ISI is a disciplined force, breaking the back of al-Qaida.”

To redress the short-sightedness of Britain’s NATO policy in Afghanistan, Blair visited Pakistan in November, and again urged Musharraf to put a halt to the rise of the Taliban. The gravity of the deteriorating situation facing Britain’s armed forces was summed up in a speech given by Blair at Camp Bastion in Helmand province. Blair said, “Here in this extraordinary piece of desert is where the future of world security in the early twenty-first century is going to be played out.” Earlier, Bush had described Iraq and not Afghanistan—central to the ideological struggle of the 21st century. The difference in Anglo-American perspectives underscores America’s belief that General Musharraf will stabilise Afghanistan for them.

On the battle front, acute differences have surfaced between American and British commanders. Britain ignored American sensibilities and urged her ally Mohammed Daud the governor of Helmand to and secure the retreat of British forces from the town of Musa Qala via a peace deal with the Taliban. But the Americans publicly criticised the truce in Musa Qala and other Helmand towns, saying they effectively gave in to the Taliban. Exasperated by British tactics, the Americans instructed Karzai to remove Daud from power. “The Americans knew Daud was a main British ally,” one official told The Independent on Sunday, “yet they deliberately undermined him and told Karzai to sack him.” Americans have also been irked by the British commander of the NATO force in Afghanistan, Lieutenant-General David Richards. On October 10, 2006 the British paper Independent on Sunday reported that the American supreme commander of NATO, General Jim Jones, has let it be known, according to sources, that General Richards “would have been sacked if he had been an American officer”.

Away from the battle field, the Pakistani political establishment confident of a Taliban victory come next spring, has begun to instil momentum in the idea that NATO must consult the Taliban prior to any political settlement. On November 30, 2006, Mushahid Hussain Sayed, chairman of the Pakistan’s foreign affairs committee, told a visiting delegation of British Parliamentarians:”There has to be negotiations, a dialogue with all elements of Afghan society—ethnic or political, including, frankly, members of the resistance.” Latif Khosa, of the opposition Pakistan People's Party said,”You have to open avenues for talking with the Taliban.” Speaking before the press, Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said, “The international community must encourage national reconciliation and undertake an extensive reconstruction programme for South and Southeast Afghanistan.”

It appears that America’s plan is to exploit the Taliban to take the helm of the indigenous Afghan resistance, invest the battlefield gains made by the resistance into a political process, which recognises the Pashtun’s popular base, but is cognisant of other ethnic groups’ concerns; then convene an international conference to forge a comprehensive settlement pertaining to Afghanistan and the interference from its neighbours. The pertinent issues will be the composition of the new government in Kabul, the continuation of US bases, the resolution of the border disputes between Afghanistan and Pakistan, resettlement of Afghan refugees and the successful integration of FATA into mainstream Pakistani life.

In this way, US policy makers hope to stabilise Afghanistan and use as a conduit for transporting the rich energy reserves of the Caspian region, conducting military incursion into the former Soviet Republics, thwarting Russian and Chinese expansions into Central Asia and foiling the re-establishment of the Caliphate. However, the success of this plan depends upon factors which may no longer be in Washington’s control such as can the Pashtuns be trusted, will the Europeans tolerate a Taliban dominated government in Kabul, and will the Russian and Chinese remain quiet as they did after 9-11.

As far as the people of Pakistan are concerned they have been duped by General Musharraf into believing that Pakistan had no choice, but to disown the Taliban and join America’s war on terror. Five years on, Pakistan has again embraced the Taliban at the America’s behest. This time it is to help the US extricate itself from Afghanistan and preserve her plan for the region. General Musharraf is right when he said that without Pakistan’s help the West would have been brought to its knees. But under his leadership it is Pakistan that has been brought to its knees in a senseless quest to preserve American interests.

Israel's thugs sink deeper into the cesspit of defamation, denigration and denial

by Greg Felton

Logically, the idea of an Jewish supremacist state must be abandoned in favour of a democratic Palestinian state, but so much Arab blood has been spilled, so many atrocities committed, and so many political careers compromised for the sake of the zionist empire, that The Lobby is resorting to increasingly brazen acts of terrorism and slander to vilify anyone who advocates political reform, even for Israel’s own good!

An empire in its death throes is not a pretty sight. The more desperately its rulers cling to power in the face of impending defeat, the more they hasten its demise. The more its rulers fight to preserve their rule, the more the empire is sacrificed to serve selfish, repressive wants.

By the time Odoacer entered Rome and became the first Germanic king of Italy in 476, the Roman Empire had long since self-destructed. It had become exhausted and consumed by repression, bigotry, murder, and class warfare. When “barbarians” invaded the people had neither the strength nor the inclination to defend Rome.

One of the worst consequences of imperial desperation was the renewal of the state’s “war on heresy” in 407. Dissent was declared to be a public crime, for pagans as well as Christians, because any hint of religious or intellectual freedom was a threat to the authority and power base of the Church and emperor. Thus the empire descended into terrorism, the price for which was social cohesion and loyalty to the empire.

As Michael Grant wrote in The Fall of The Roman Empire: “This active systematic intolerance was something hitherto unknown in the Mediterranean world. It reflected the growth of dogma, which in turn reflected a decline in rational intellectual activity.”

Such systematic intolerance is evident again in the Mediterranean world as the zionist empire goes through its own death throes. The virtuous, sympathetic illusions that have traditionally sustained Israel in the Western mind are no longer defensible. Despite the servility of North America’s press and governments, the truth of Israeli atrocities is gaining a wider and wider audience.

Logically, the idea of an Jewish supremacist state must be abandoned in favour of a democratic Palestinian state, but so much Arab blood has been spilled, so many atrocities committed, and so many political careers compromised for the sake of the zionist empire, that The Lobby is resorting to increasingly brazen acts of terrorism and slander to vilify anyone who advocates political reform, even for Israel’s own good! This modern “war on heresy” applies to Jews and non-Jews alike.

On Oct. 4, 2006, New York University historian Tony Judt, who is Jewish, was due to give a talk at the Polish consulate on the stifling effect of the Israel Lobby, yet the American Jewish Congress and the Anti-Defamation League —Arab Defamation League would be more accurate—forced the consulate to rescind the invitation.

This censoring of Judt was gratuitous because the substance of his talk, the previously published essay “The Israel Lobby” by American academics Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, was already in the public domain. Not satisfied with sabotaging the event, though, The Lobby’s David Frum felt the need to smear Judt for pursuing “genocide liberalism”—like “anti-Semitism,” a nonsense term of abuse.

A similar fate befell Baroness Jennifer Tonge, a Liberal Democrat in Great Britain’s House of Lords. Speaking at Edinburgh University, she remarked: “The pro-Israeli lobby has got its grips on the western world, its financial grips. I think they’ve probably got a grip on our party.”

Like Judt, she deemed her remarks unremarkable because they had already been made by Walt and Mearsheimer.

The intelligent thing for The Lobby to do would have been to ignore her comments, but no. An all-party group of Lords accused Tonge of “evok[ing] a classic anti-Jewish conspiracy theory” that was symptomatic of the rise of anti-Semitism in the U.K.

The knee-jerk recklessness of this charge is obvious, and served only prove Tonge’s thesis that The Lobby manipulates British politics. As Tonge rightly said in her defence: “[My comments] were about the Israeli lobby in politics. They were a big distance from being about Jewishness or anti-Semitism.”

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour also paid the price for speaking honestly about the cause of suffering in Palestine. On Nov. 29, 2006, she visited the Gaza Strip in the wake of Israel’s massacre of Beit Hanoun and charged Israel with committing massive human rights violations: Agence France-Presse:

“The human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory is grave and worsening, within a general climate of impunity. Overall I was struck throughout my visit by the sense of vulnerability and abandonment that was expressed to me by virtually all the civilians that I met, both in Israel and in the occupied Palestinian territories.”*

It’s hard to argue with first-hand evidence, but that didn’t stop B’nai Brith Canada’s Vice President Frank Dimant from shooting his mouth off, and shooting The Lobby in the foot:“[This was] yet another attempt by the UN body to delegitimize the Jewish state.”

Note the implication in this statement. Dimant has directly equated Israel’s legitimacy with the commission of atrocities!

However self-destructive the Lobby’s tactics have been in these three cases, they cannot match the hysterical depravity that has greeted Jimmy Carter because of his new book Palestine—Peace not Apartheid.

First, here’s how Carter describes his book: “The ultimate purpose of my book is to present facts about the Middle East that are largely unknown in the U.S., to precipitate discussion and to help restart peace talks that can lead to permanent peace for Israel and its neighbours. Another hope is that Jews and other Americans who share this goal might be motivated to express their views, even publicly, and perhaps in concert.…”

He goes on to say: “The book describes the abominable oppression and persecution in the occupied Palestinian territories with a rigid system of required passes and strict segregation between Palestine’s citizens and Jewish settlers in the West Bank.… In many ways, this is more oppressive than what blacks lived under in South Africa during apartheid. I have made it clear that the motivation is not racism but the desire of a minority of Israelis to confiscate and colonize choice sites in Palestine, and then to forcefully suppress any objections from the displaced citizens.

Carter’s compassion is genuine and the facts of Israeli apartheid are beyond doubt. Even neo-Nazi Avigdor Lieberman said Arabs and Jews cannot live together and that all Palestinians have to be removed. Yet The Lobby has seen to it that Carter has been marginalized and his views rubbished:

"I have seen few news stories in major newspapers about what I have written. Book reviews in the mainstream media have been written mostly by representatives of Jewish organizations who would be unlikely to visit the occupied territories, and their primary criticism is that the book is anti-Israel.”

The most ignorant and incompetent of these came from David Horowitz, who writes for a right-wing website. He saw fit to libel Carter as a Jew-hater, genocide enabler and a liar. Throughout his tirade, Horowitz collectively libeled Palestinians as racists and Jew haters, but saw nothing wrong with condemning Carter for having committed a “blood libel” on Jews.

Horowitz’s screed defies analysis because it is devoid of intellect. It is so brazenly, even proudly, dishonest that destroys his own credibility and ennobles Carter. Horowitz actually said: “[It] is a preposterous lie to say that the Palestinians had their own land and that it was occupied by the Jews,” as if he thought nobody had read Moshe Dayan’s infamous remark!:

“Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist, not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushu'a in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.”

Despite the libels and misrepresentations, Carter has reported brisk sales of his book, selling 1,000 copies at each of five appearances, which means that The Lobby has screeched itself into absurdity trying to prop up an empire that has no legitimacy and no future.

I can understand The Lobby wanting to censor uncomfortable truths—the Church has been doing it for centuries—but to sink to abject dishonesty and character assassination, in the absence of anything else, cannot possibly help it manufacture consent for Israel. Intellectual bankruptcy and panic have overtaken The Lobby, and the zionist empire is not long for this world. It is not worth saving.


* Mitch Potter, “UN envoy gets close to conflict,” Toronto Star, Nov. 22, 2006.