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Saturday, April 30, 2011

A message to Congress: Take your money and shove it



[ 30/04/2011 - 04:45 PM ]

After four grim years of mutual recriminations, cold war and deep mistrust, the two main Palestinian political camps, the nationalist Fatah and Islamic Hamas, reached an auspicious agreement to end their differences.

The four-year rift exhausted the Palestinian people, seriously weakened the traditionally-strong fabric of the Palestinian society, and nearly caused an irreversible implosion within the Palestinian community at home and in the Diaspora.

And, above all, it made the prospects of peace in the region as remote as ever if only because a divided nation can't get its acts together, especially when an increasingly fascist Israel, which always searches for pretexts and red herrings in order to evade and circumvent peace, sought to utilize the inter-Palestinian front to evade real peace and keep up building peace-killing settlements for fanatical Jews.

Needless to say, many if not most of these so-called settlers, are taught a morbid, venomous ideology which inculcates in them a certain belief that the whole universe was created solely for them and that non-Jews were created by the Almighty solely to serve Jews.

Interestingly, both Israel and its allies, including Israel's obedient dog, which is US Congress, have rather vehemently and opportunistically, even obscenely manipulated the Palestinian rift to throw the proverbial propaganda ball into the Palestinian and Arab courts. Hence, one would be affronted when hearing ostensibly respectable US senators and congressmen remark gloatingly, saying "Let the Palestinians first have peace amongst themselves; peace with Israel will only come when the Palestinians learn to live in peace with themselves."

Similarly, opportunistic Israel raved and ranted on every conceivable occasion, claiming that the Palestinian division, not Israel's "lebensraum" policy in the West Bank, especially in East Jerusalem, was impeding peace since the Palestinians didn't have a unified leadership.

Now, after painstakingly achieving the long-awaited reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas, Israel is fretting, like a woman who has just received a bad divorce deal in court, threatening the Palestinians with doom and reprisals, as if the Palestinians were supposed to perpetuate their internal difference for ever and ever for the sake of despicable Zionist thugs, many of whom originated in Eastern Europe and Russia and who brought with them a genocidal ideology along with every form of racism, fascism and jingoism to the Holy land.

And, unsurprisingly, Congress didn’t lag behind. Indeed, no sooner than Hamas and Fatah representatives had announced their rapprochement in Cairo on Thursday, 28 April, than several Congressional figures warned that the US would stop financial aid to the Palestinian Authority.

Well, if American aid to the Palestinians is meant to help them help themselves (the US, the Palestinian's ultimate tormentor and Israel's guardian-ally, enabler, guarantor, and sustainer of Israeli insolence and territorial aggrandizement), then this aid is welcomed and appreciated and all of us Palestinians will have a standing ovation in America's honor and solemnly say "thanks America for your most altruistic help."

However, if this aid is meant as bribe money to encourage or entice Palestinians or certain Palestinian elements to sell off their people inalienable national rights, then, we are sorry; we can't accept your money.

More to the point, if Congress insists that aid to the PA or to a prospective Palestinian national unity entity hedges on the resumption of inter-Palestinian strife, which I am sure would instill in Israel and her allies a lot of mirth, glee and gloat, then we have no alternatives but to look our American interlocutors in the eye and say, "Sorry friends! Take your money and shove it."

There is no doubt that Israel has been taken by surprise by the reconciliation pact in Cairo, an auspicious feat that complements the great historic changes now taking place in the Arab region.

Avigdor Lieberman, who combines Stalin's ruthlessness and Hitler's nefariousness, along with characteristic Zionist depravity, was quoted as saying that Israel was preparing "an arsenal of reprisals against the Palestinians."

The more public relations savvy Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu reiterated old stands that Israel wouldn't resume peace talks with a Hamas-Fatah government due to the participation of Hamas, as if the good tidings of peace were hovering over the Middle East prior to the reconciliation agreement.

Netanyahu, a real thug, with a neck tie and an amazing ability to fornicate with language to change and distort the truth, once again invoked the terror issue, ignoring the clarion and cardinal fact that Nazi-like Israel is the ultimate expression, embodiment of terror in our time.

Netanyahu invoked the fact that Hamas didn't recognize Israel. Well, does Israel recognize Palestine? Does amorphous Israel have fixed borders? Hamas will never ever recognize such a state, which was born in terror and genocide and mendacity.

Likewise, Congress along with happy-go-lucky Hillary Clinton is re-invoking the so-called Quartet conditions for talking to Hamas. These anachronistic "Nay-set" includes, abandoning armed resistance, recognizing Israel, and accepting previous agreements between the PA and Israel.

Well, these impossible blackmailing conditions are illogical and preposterous to say the least.

First, Hamas has been serious and sincere about observing the tahdia or calm in the Gaza Strip, often in the face of Israel's murderous provocations. However, rather than meeting appreciation and praise from Washington as well as hard opposition from some other Palestinian factions, Hamas only received malice and vilification from the U.S., which only underscores America's pornographic subservience to Israel and her wantonly hegemonistic Jewish lobby.

As to negotiations with Israel, it is well known that Hamas, which is not part of the PLO, never took part in these futile negotiations. Hence, the resumption of whatever negotiations wouldn’t hedge on Hamas' approval.

Finally, asking Hamas to accept previous agreements between Israel and the PLO is really ridiculous since nearly all these agreements, including the scandalous Oslo Accords, are essentially vague so much so that even Israel and the PLO themselves don't agree on a common understanding of these agreements.

An advice to the PA
Finally, an advice to the PLO and its leadership: Don't be obsequious or complacent vis-à-vis Israel or any of its obedient dogs. These people have no iota of morality or honesty, let alone justice in their moral set of ideals. They are willing to blackmail us to the last drop of our blood. They would embark on the unthinkable to keep us in a state of enslavement to Zionism.

Hence, you should be able to seriously threaten the Zionist regime to dismantle the whole autonomous regime once and for all; in addition, of course, to terminating irreversibly any vestige of "security coordination" a revolting and repulsive factor in inter-Palestinian discordance.

Don't display weakness or cowardice or indecisiveness. Our destiny as a people is not to be perennially enslaved by those racist thugs from Eastern Europe who want to build their glory at our expense.

K. Amayreh is an American-educated journalist living in occupied Palestine. His email address is: amayreh@p-ol.com
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
 

Are you British enough to snap your fingers at Israel, Mr Cameron?


- 30. Apr, 2011
On the morning after the Royal Wedding…
An open letter to the British Prime Minister

By Stuart Littlewood

Dear Prime Minister,

I see your image is splashed across the main page of the Conservative Friends of Israel website and your words warmly endorse that country and its regime.



CONSERVATIVE FRIEND OF ISRAEL
Your loyal lieutenant, the foreign secretary William Hague, cancelled the Syrian ambassador’s Royal Wedding invitation, not that I disagree with such a move. However, the Syrians are only slaughtering their own people whereas the Israelis have been slaughtering their neighbours for 63 years in much larger numbers and continue to do so on a daily basis.

The words Dr Mohamed Khodr uses in his petition  to the UN Secretary General and the Security Council calling for a No-Fly Zone over Gaza describe the appalling situation in the Holy Land excellently well…


For 44 years of Israel’s brutal military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, the world has been complicit with this illegal occupation in its silence to the suffering, death, injury, home demolitions, imprisonment and torture of civilians, constant confiscation of Palestinian land to build illegal settlements that now house over 500,00 settlers, the Judaization of Jerusalem, destruction of mosques and excavation of Muslim cemeteries, theft of fourth fifths of the water supply to the Palestinians, settler violence, no freedom of movement, the presence of hundreds of humiliating checkpoints, closure of schools and universities at whim, prohibition of Palestinian Muslims and Christians outside of Jerusalem to pray at their Holy Sites, the construction of a “Separation” Fence that confiscates more Palestinian land and divides villages and families, and the outrageous siege of Gaza’s 1.5 million people for 4 years that has led to a deteriorating economy, high unemployment, mass poverty, malnutrition of children, death of civilians due to lack of adequate health care, food, clean water supplies, widespread mental and psychological illness, especially among traumatized children, and thousands of destroyed homes from “Operation Cast Lead” that Palestinians are unable to be rebuild due to Israel’s prohibition of entry of cement and construction materials.


No other nation on earth could commit these “war crimes” for such a lengthy time without an enraged world acting immediately to end the illegal occupation and suffering of millions of Palestinian refugees in and out of the Occupied territories.


Throughout its history Israel has defied the UN Charter, hundreds of UN resolutions, international laws and the Fourth Geneva Convention, nor has it ever accepted US, EU and Quartet peace initiatives, nor the Arab Peace Plan of 2002 that met all of Israel’s “peace” demands.


Israel has never accepted or cooperated with any International investigation into its atrocities against Palestinian civilians, nor has it ever been held accountable for its history of war crimes against the Palestinians that continue till this day.


On April 2006 the U.N. Security Council affirmed the principle of  “Responsibility to Protect” against four crimes: genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes, and crimes against humanity… “If a State is manifestly failing to protect its citizens from mass atrocities and peaceful measures are not working, the international community has the responsibility to intervene at first diplomatically, then more coercively, and as a last resort, with military force.”


Under International Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel is considered the “occupying power” and thus the sovereign state responsible for protecting Palestinian civilians, the principle and norm of the “Responsibility to Protect” is applicable to Israel.


Israel, as you must know, Mr Prime Minister, was founded on terror and thrives on land theft, ethnic cleansing and aggression. True to form, your friends in Tel Aviv now respond to the news of unity between democratically elected Hamas and rivals Fatah in the Occupied Territories with dire threats.

It crosses a “a red line”, says foreign minister Lieberman who talks of taking an array of measures against the Palestinian Authority, such as preventing free movement for Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad and freezing (again) the transfer of taxes collected by Israel for the PA.

Netanyahu. I hear, warns that Abbas must “choose between peace with Israel or peace with Hamas” – as if peace has ever been possible with Israel – while Ehud Barak as usual is all for using the “iron fist”.

You told the Conservative Friends of Israel: “The ties between this party and Israel are unbreakable. And in me, you have a Prime Minister whose belief in Israel is indestructible.”

And you recently told a Jewish audience: “I want to be clear, we will always support Israel… when Iran flouts its international obligations Britain is and will remain at the forefront of the international community in ratcheting up the pressure with tough sanctions. We will not stand by and allow Iran to cast a nuclear shadow over Israel or the wider region.”

Is this not an irresponsible thing to say when it is Israel which casts the nuclear shadow, menaces the region and flouts international obligations? You seem keen to make Israel’s enemies Britain’s enemies when we have no quarrel with them. In which case how can it be in our national interest to ratchet-up anything?

James Arbuthnot, chairman of the Defence Select Committee and Parliamentary chairman of the Conservative Friends of Israel – a dangerous conflict of responsibilities if ever there was one – has said: “Everyone in this House should have an interest in Israel, because it is a country that embodies the values that we should stand for. Israel [has] become a bastion of the rule of law…”

The strenuous efforts by your administration to shield and cosset Israel make us all complicit in that regime’s crimes – that is how the rest of the world sees it.

How does this devotion to a foreign military power square with the Seven Principles of Public Life which your government is supposed to uphold, especially the Principle of Integrity? This lays down that holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.

If the Israel lobby has no influence, how do you explain the claim that 80 percent of Conservative MPs are Friends of Israel? How do you explain the appointment of a Foreign Secretary who has been a Friend of Israel since boyhood and a minister in charge of Middle East affairs who is a former officer of the Conservative Friends of Israel?

And why is our Prime Minister, of all people, a patron of the Jewish National Fund, an organization that stands accused of racist land practices?

Your parliamentary colleague, Sir Gerald Kaufman, a Jew whose family suffered horribly during the Holocaust, knows the Israeli regime for what it really is… “They’re not simply war criminals, they’re fools”.  He calls Israel itself a “pariah state”.

After the Israelis’ Operation Cast Lead against Gaza in which they slaughtered 1400 mostly civilians including hundreds of children, the decent thing, surely, would have been to immediately shut down the Friends of Israel movement. “My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza,” observed Kaufman.

But for the Friends of Israel, and the political parties that harbour them, it’s been business as usual. After all, what’s a little wholesale slaughter between “friends”?

I write this on the day of the Royal Wedding – a day that’s supposed to make us intensely proud to be British. The bride came into Westminster Abbey as plain Miss Middleton and left as Duchess of Cambridge and Countess of Strathearn and a senior member of a glittering royal family. Such fairy-tale dreams can only come true in England.

You. of course, were at the wedding. As you sat in the Abbey, with its thousand-year history, soaking up the pageantry and splendor and humming along to the anthem “Jerusalem”, did it not cross your mind that in the Holy Land your Israeli friends prevent Palestinian Christians and Muslims from visiting and worshiping at their holy places, many of which are older than Westminster? Thanks to the failure of the international community to discharge its responsibilities their most modest dreams of basic freedoms have remained at the fairy-tale level for decades.

Basking in the glory of this great Royal occasion, as we all are, you’re no doubt feeling extremely British right now, Mr Prime Minister. But true Britishness includes a fearless sense of fairness and justice. The question is, are you British enough to snap your fingers at the evil and unjust Israeli regime?

Stuart Littlewood is a marketing specialist turned writer-photographer in the UK. His articles are published widely on the web. He is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation.Read Full Bio

US Intervention in Syria



Despite genuine popular Middle East/North Africa uprisings, Washington's dirty hands orchestrated regime change plans in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Jordan, and Syria as part of its "New Middle East" project.

On November 18, 2006, Middle East analyst Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya's Global Research article headlined, "Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a 'New Middle East,' " saying:

In June 2006 in Tel Aviv, "US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice (first) coin(ed) the term" in place of the former "Greater Middle East" project, a shift in rhetoric only for Washington's longstanding imperial aims.

The new terminology "coincided with the inauguration of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Oil Terminal in the Eastern Mediterranean." During Israel's summer 2006 Lebanon war, "Prime Minister Olmert and (Rice) informed the international media that a project for a 'New Middle East' was being launched in Lebanon," a plan in the works for years to "creat(e) an arc of instability, chaos, and violence extending from Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria to Iraq, the Persian Gulf, Iran, and the borders of NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan."

In other words, "constructive chaos" would be used to redraw the region according to US-Israeli "geo-strategic needs and objectives." The strategy is currently playing out violently in Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya and Syria, and may erupt anywhere in the region to solidify Washington's aim for unchallengeable dominance from Morocco to Oman to Syria.


Partnered with Israel, it's to assure only leaders fully "with the program" are in place. Mostly isn't good enough, so ones like Mubarak, Gaddafi, Sudan's Omar al-Bashir, likely Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh (now damaged goods), and Syria's Bashar al-Assad are targeted for removal by methods ranging from uprisings to coups, assassinations, or war, perhaps in that order.

Nazemroaya now says Syrian "protesters are being armed and funded by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states via Jordan and Saad Hariri in Lebanon," besides US and Israeli involvement.

Pack Journalism Goes to War with Washington

America's pack journalism never met an America imperial initiative it didn't support and promote, no matter how lawless, mindless, destructive or counterproductive. For example, an April 28 New York Times editorial headlined, "President Assad's Crackdown," saying:

He "appears determined to join his father in the ranks of history's blood-stained dictators, sending his troops and thugs to murder anyone who has the courage to demand political freedom."

Whether about Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria, Haiti's Aristide, former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, Venezuela's Chavez or others for many decades, Times "journalists" and opinion writers have a sordid history of supporting America's imperial ruthlessness, including perpetual wars killing millions for power, profit, and unchallengeable dominance.

Now Times writers laud Obama for intervening in Libya and trying "to engage Syria....in hopes that Mr. Assad would make the right choice," meaning get "with the program" by surrendering Syrian sovereignty.

Despite clear evidence of US intervention, Obama "issued a statement condemning the violence and accusing Mr. Assad of seeking Iranian assistance in brutalizing his people. That is a start, but it is not nearly enough."

War is always a last choice so The Times endorses "international condemnation and tough sanctions, (as well as) asset freezes and travel bans for Mr. Assad and his top supporters and a complete arms embargo."

However, "Russia and China, as ever, are determined to protect autocrats. That cannot be the last word."

Times opinions are shamelessly belligerent, one-sided, wrong-headed, and mindless on rule of law issues, including about prohibitions against meddling in the internal affairs of other countries except in self-defense until the Security Council acts.

Instead, the "newspaper of record" remains America's leading managed news source, backing the worst of Washington's imperial arrogance and ruthlessness. As a result, it omits inconvenient facts to make its case, including America's notorious ties to numerous global despots on every continent.

WikiLeaks Released Cables Expose America's Regime Change Plan
Though widely reported since mid-April, The Times hasn't acknowledged information (though sketchy) from Washington Post writer Craig Whitlock's April 17 report headlined, "US secretly backed Syrian opposition groups, cables released by WikiLeaks show," saying:

Through its Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), "The State Department has secretly financed Syrian political opposition groups and related projects, including a satellite TV channel (London-based Barada TV) that beams anti-government programming into the country, according to previously undisclosed diplomatic cables."

"Barada TV is closely affiliated with the Movement for Justice and Development, a London-based network of (pro-Western) Syrian exiles."

Funding began at least after the Bush administration cut ties with Damascus in 2005. In April 2009, a diplomatic cable from Damascus said:

"A reassessment of current US-sponsored programming that supports anti-(government) factions, both inside and outside Syria, may prove productive."

In February 2006, Bush officials announced funding to "accelerate the work of reformers in Syria." Nonetheless, Barada TV denied receiving money, its news director Malik al-Abdeh saying:

"I'm not aware of anything like that. If your purpose is to smear Barada TV, I don't want to continue this conversation. That's all I'm going to give you."

America's National Endowment for Democracy: A Global Regime Change Initiative

Besides covert CIA activities, US-government funded organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and International Republican Institute (IRI) operate as US foreign policy destabilizing instruments. They do it by supporting opposition group regime change efforts in countries like Syria, despite claiming "dedicat(ion) to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world....in more than 90 countries."

In MENA nations (Middle East/North Africa) alone, NED's web site lists activities in Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Afghanistan, Turkey, Iran, Jordan, Yemen, Kuwait, Morocco, Lebanon, Bahrain, Libya, Sudan, and Syria.

The IRI's web site includes (destabilizing anti-democratic) initiatives in Afghanistan, Egypt, GCC states, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, and Palestine.

Other US imperial organizations are also regionally active, including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI), operating contrary to their stated missions.

In January 1996, based on firsthand knowledge, former CIA agent (from 1952 - 1977) Ralph McGehee discussed covert NED efforts in Cuba, China, Russia and Vietnam, saying:

The government-funded organization "assumed many of the political action responsibilities of the CIA," including:

-- "efforts to influence foreign journalists;"

-- money laundering;

-- isolating "democratic-minded intellectuals and journalist in the third world;"

-- distributing propaganda articles "to regional editors on each continent;"

-- "disseminating an attack on people in Jamaica;"

-- funding anti-Castro groups in South Florida as well as Radio and TV Marti, airing regime change propaganda;

-- anti-communist grants; and

-- much more while claiming its mission is "guided by the belief that freedom is a universal human aspiration that can be realized through the development of democratic institutions, procedures and values."

In a 2005 interview, another former CIA agent (1957 - 1968), Philip Agee, author of "Inside the Company," explained NED's origins and covert efforts to destabilize and oust Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, calling efforts "similar to what (went on) in Nicaragua in the 1980s minus the Contra terrorist operations (that) wreaked so much destruction on the Nicaraguan economy."

Founded in 1982, NED distributes government funds to four other organizations, including the IRI, NDI, Chamber of Commerce's Center for Private Enterprise (CIPE), and the AFL-CIO's American Center for International Labor Solidarity.

In fact, a 2010 Kim Scipes book titled, "AFL-CIO's Secret War against Developing Country Workers: Solidarity or Sabotage?" discusses its covert anti-worker "labor imperialism," including regime change initiatives.

Manipulated Popular Uprising in Syria
Since late January, popular uprisings began, suspiciously orchestrated by outside forces to destabilize and oust Assad. In fact, Richard Perle's 1996 "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," prepared for Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu during his first term, stated:

"Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq - an important Israeli objective in its own right."

It added:

"Syria challenges Israel on Lebanese soil. An affective approach, and one with which America can sympathize, would be if Israel seized the strategic initiative along its northern borders by engaging Hizbollah, Syria, and Iran, as the principal agents of aggression in Lebanon...."

"Given the nature of the regime in Damascus (much the same today), it is both natural and moral that Israel abandon the slogan comprehensive peace and move to contain Syria, drawing attention to its weapons of mass destruction programs, and rejecting land for peace deals on the Golan Heights," Syrian territory colonized by Israel since 1967.

Perle's report was a destabilization and regime change manifesto, implemented in Iraq, Libya, elsewhere in the region, and now Syria. The strategy includes managed news, funding internal and external dissident groups, and other initiatives to oust leaders like Assad.

On March 30, 2011, Haaretz writer Zvi Bar'el headlined "Why did website linked to Syria regime publish US-Saudi plan to oust Assad?" saying:

"According to the report....the plan was formulated in 2008 by the Saudi national security advisor, Prince Bandar bin Sultan and Jeffrey Feltman, a veteran US diplomat in the Middle East who was formerly ambassador to Lebanon and is currently the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs."

Dividing Syria into large cities, towns and villages, the plan involved "establishing five recruitment networks," using unemployed youths, criminals, other young people, and media efforts "funded by European countries but not" America, as well as a "capital network of businesspeople from the large cities."

Training included "sniper fire, arson, and murdering in cold blood," journalists reporting it by hard to monitor satellite phones depicting "human rights activists....demanding not the regime's fall," but need for social networks training "as a means for recruitment."

"After the recruitment and training phases, which would be funded by Saudi Arabia for about $2 billion," thousands of "activists" would be given communications equipment to begin public actions. "The plan also suggest(ed) igniting ethnic tensions between groups around the country to stir unrest," including in Damascus "to convince the military leadership to disassociate itself from Assad and establish a new regime."

"The hoped-for outcome is the establishment of a supreme national council that will run the country and terminate Syria's relations with Iran and Hezbollah."

The Jordan-based Dot and Com company was named as the behind the scenes recruiter, a company run by Saudi intelligence under Bandar to destabilize Syria and oust Assad.

Whether or not the plan was implemented, some of its features are now playing out violently across the country. Orchestrated in Washington, it's to install a totally "with the program" regime, the same war strategy ongoing in Libya.

A Final Comment
On April 28, Russia and China blocked a US-backed UK, French, German and Portugal proposed Security Council resolution condemning Syrian violence. Damascus' UN ambassador, Bashar Ja'arari, said it failed because several members were fair-minded enough to reject it, knowing Libya's fate after Resolution 1973, calling only for no-fly zone protection.

UN Undersecretary General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe reported about 400 deaths so far. Other estimates are higher. Russian, Chinese and Syrian representatives say government security forces killed by armed extremists are among them. According to RT.com:

"Russia's Foreign Affairs Ministry had clearly outlined its position: it condemned all those responsible for the deaths of protesters during the clashes with the police. But, it urged (no intervention) in Syria's internal affairs," that could easily escalate to Western regime change plans.

Federation Council to the Asian Parliamentary Assembly, Rudik Iskuzhin, believes Syrian intervention may mean Iran is next, saying:

"We very well understand that the hidden motive of all of the recent revolutionary processes is Iran, to which the destabilization in Syria will eventually ricochet. Libya, just like Syria, was an important ally of" Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Western powers and Israel want the alliance subverted.

On April 29, China ruled out force against Syria, Foreign Affairs Ministry Vice-Minister He Yafei saying it "cannot bring a solution to the problem and will only cause a greater humanitarian crisis." Insisting proposed solutions comply with the UN Charter and international law, he added:

"Any help from the international community has to be constructive in nature, which is conducive to the restoration of stability and public order and ensuring the maintenance of economic and social life."

American intervention assures "constructive chaos," the agenda Washington pursues globally, focusing mainly on controlling Eurasia's enormous wealth and resources. Either one or multiple countries at a time, it includes turning Russia and China into vassal states, a goal neither Beijing or Moscow will tolerate.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.
posted by Steve Lendman @ 1:36 AM

Farid Ghadri: "Arms flowing to rebels from Iraq, Jordan & Lebanon"


Via FLC

"... Syrian opposition sources said tribes in Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon have been relaying weapons in an effort to oust President Bashar Assad. They said the weapons were sent to avenge the killing by Syrian security forces of tribal members over the last month.
"One of Assad's biggest mistakes is that his security forces have been killing members of powerful tribes with a presence in neighboring countries as well," an opposition source said.
The weapons smuggling to the Syrian rebels began in March when Assad forces shot and killed members of tribes in Dera near the Jordanian border. Some of the tribes in Dera have links with supporters in Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
On April 19, a son of a powerful tribal chief, Saleh Al Fadous, was killed by Assad forces in the northern city of Homs. Fadous is a member of the Fawareh tribe with allies in Iraq and Jordan, including Duleimeh and Bani Hassan.
"Arms are flowing into Syria in large quantities today by tribal leaders whose traditional bonds with the tribes of Syria make it impossible not to smuggle arms," the Reform Party of Syria said. "As Assad massacres continue against unarmed civilians, he is also driving the country towards an outright civil war."
RPS, in a statement on April 23, said Bani Hassan was a leading ally of King Abdullah in Jordan. For its part, Duleimeh, descendants of the Shaalan tribe, was connected to and supportive of the Saudi royal family.
The Assad regime has confirmed arms smuggling from Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. In mid-April, an Iraqi truck driver confessed to receiving thousands of dollars for arms shipments to Syria.
On April 26, the Syrian-influenced Lebanese daily Al Akhbar quoted a Lebanese mayor as saying that an attempt to smuggle weapons to Syria was foiled. Al Hisha Mayor Mohammed Durgham was quoted as saying that villagers were conducting patrols to stop any smuggling."  

Zuckerman Rag prints bald-faced lies on US flotilla to Gaza


Via MCS

- 01. May, 2011

THE NY DAILY NEWS PUTS THE LIES IN EDITORIALIZE

NOTE: The following piece was co-written by Nima Shirazi and Alex Kane and was originally published on Mondoweiss under the headline: “Zuckerman rag prints bald-faced lies on upcoming flotilla to Gaza.”

Nima has added some more of his own observations on the New York Daily News editorial below.***
MORT ZUCKERMAN NY DAILY NEWS

by Alex Kane* and Nima Shirazi**

It comes as no surprise that a newspaper owned by Mort Zuckerman, an ardent Zionist, would be anti-Palestinian and that it would strongly oppose efforts to break the Israeli naval blockade by sending a flotilla of ships to Gaza. But a recent editorial printed by the Zuckerman-owned New York Daily News is a particularly egregious example of U.S. media’s aversion to the facts on Israel/Palestine. The bald-faced lies–which follow recent Israeli pronouncements about the “terrorists” organizing the upcoming international flotilla to break the Israeli blockade–printed would be laughable only if it wasn’t going to be read by thousands of people.

The editorial states:
Sponsors of the flotilla are happily playing with fire, as they did a year ago in sailing into the blockade under the guise of delivering medicines and the like to Gaza. In fact, some of those ships carried suicidal fighters instead of useful goods. Nine of the brigands died when Israeli commandos were forced to board and came under assault.
NEW YORKERS TAKE TO THE STREETS
IN A GAZA FLOTILLA DEMO!
To claim that those aboard the Mavi Marmara were the aggressors is to completely invert reality. The attack was conducted in international waters after Israel cut off all communications from the ships and surrounded the flotilla with over 20 naval vessels and warships, along with multiple helicopters. In addition to the 45 highly-trained and heavily-armed commandos who rappelled onto the largest ship, the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, murdering 9 civilians and wounding about 60 more, about 650 other Israeli troops, including surveillance and support troops alongside those who actually boarded the ships, took part in the illegal assault on the flotilla.
And then there’s these howlers:
No one of any credibility disputes that Israel’s blockade is legal under international law. In coordination with Egypt, Israel barred sea-going shipments into Gaza in 2009 after years of Palestinian mortar and rocket attacks on Jewish soil.

As a board of inquiry put it:

“Israel imposed the naval blockade on the Gaza Strip for military-security reasons, which mainly concerned the need to prevent weapons, terrorists and money” from entering.

The UN has recognized the blockade’s legitimacy under international law. Now, it must prevent this perilous propaganda ploy.
First of all, the naval blockade has been in place since 2007, along with the land and air blockade–not 2009 as the editorial claims. The “board of inquiry” the Daily News refers to is the Turkel Commission, the name for the Israeli investigation into the flotilla events–hardly a neutral source of facts about the blockade of Gaza.
And finally, it appears that Zuckerman’s newspaper likes to make up facts. The UN has not “recognized the blockade’s legitimacy under international law.” In fact, various UN reports have labeled the blockade illegal. The UN fact-finding mission on the 2008-09 Gaza conflict, known as the Goldstone report, stated that the blockade was a form of collective punishment and that it was therefore in “violation of the provisions of article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.” The UN report on the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara also clearly states that the blockade is illegal. In 2009, the Associated Press reported that “U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay has accused Israel of violating the rules of war with its blockade stopping people and goods from moving in and out of the Gaza Strip.”
*****
*Alex Kane, a freelance journalist based in New York City, blogs on Israel/Palestine and Islamophobia in the United States at alexbkane.wordpress.com. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

VISIT US TO GAZA BOAT

***** ***** *****
UPDATE:

Clearly, the editors who wrote this piece of garbage know nothing of the actual goals of the flotilla organizers. For instance, the Free Gaza movement, which has sent numerous boats to Gaza in the past few years, states on their website that their intention is “to break Israel’s illegal stranglehold on1.5 million Palestinian civilians.” Furthermore, they continue that, along with their “coalition partners, the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza; IHH — the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights, Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief; the International Committee to End the Siege on Gaza; Ship to Gaza Sweden and Ship to Gaza Greece,” they seek to defy “Israel’s criminal closure of the Gaza Strip” and “sail as an expression of citizen nonviolent, direct action, confronting Israel’s ongoing abuses of Palestinian human and political rights.”
Free Gaza’s mission statement reveals, contrary to what the Daily News ignorantly claims, the actual goals set forth by the movement. Here is what they state:
We want to break the siege of Gaza. We want to raise international awareness about the prison-like closure of the Gaza Strip and pressure the international community to review its sanctions policy and end its support for continued Israeli occupation. We want to uphold Palestine’s right to welcome internationals as visitors, human rights observers, humanitarian aid workers, journalists, or otherwise.

We have not and will not ask for Israel’s permission. It is our intent to overcome this brutal siege through civil resistance and non-violent direct action, and establish a permanent sea lane between Gaza and the rest of the world.
Doesn’t sound much like their “only goal is to deliver humanitarian supplies.”
Likewise, the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza, which “advocates the fundamental right of the Palestinian people in Gaza to live in peace and dignity without being subjected to any form of collective punishment such as the cutting of supplies of food, fuel and medicine or their denial of free access to travel outside Gaza Strip,” declares its own goals this way:

[The ECESG] urges the participation of politicians and non-politicians alike to honor their duty to stop the suffering of one and a half million people trapped in Gaza under the most inhumane conditions. Supported by international and humanitarian law, the ECESG encourages all peoples of conscience and human rights advocates to intensify their efforts to highlight this life-threatening issue and end the catastrophe.
The U.S. Boat to Gaza describes the upcoming flotilla as an “international effort to break the blockade of Gaza and to end the occupation of Palestine.” Additionally, as an American delegation, the US Boat believes that “from the deck of The Audacity of Hope, we will be in a powerful and unique position to challenge U.S. foreign policy and affirm the universal obligation to uphold international law and human rights.”
In their mission statement, the U.S. Boat organizers declare that they “are taking action to help break the blockade which is suffocating the lives of the people of Gaza and denying them their liberty” and are joining “others from across the world to support an end to the collective punishment of 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza.”
All flotilla organizers stress, as the U.S. Boat does, that “we agree to adhere to the principles of nonviolence and nonviolent resistance in word and deed at all times.” Naturally, the editors of the Daily News are uninterested in these inconvenient facts, labeling the flotilla vessels “warships in disguise” and describe flotilla organizers as “terrorists…disguised as humanitarians.” Without providing any evidence, the article presents as fact the outrageous suggestion that the “ships carried suicidal fighters instead of useful goods.” Not only is the assertion that Hamas and al Qaeda operatives were aboard the flotilla ships untrue, it has been repeatedly proven false by journalists such as Max Blumenthal.
While the editorial describes the flotilla organizers as “Islamic extremists” seeking to smuggle weapons “under the guise of delivering medicines and the like to Gaza,” such allegations are absurd. The “brigands” it refers to are the nine unarmed Turkish citizens (including one Turkish American) who were executed by Israeli soldiers in international waters.
The writers also state, without hyperbole, that the nine activists “died when Israeli commandos were forced to board and came under assault.” DiedForced to board? Came under assault? The nine passengers killed during the Israeli assault didn’t just “die,” they were shot to death by Israeli troops who illegally boarded their ship. To claim that the Israeli commandos “came under assault” is to outrageously invert the roles of aggressors and victims.
Last year, an UN report on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla massacre found, not only that the ongoing Israeli blockade of Gaza is illegal under international law and constitutes collective punishment (which is a war crime), but also:

“The conduct of the Israeli military and other personnel towards the flotilla passengers was not only disproportionate to the occasion but demonstrated levels of totally unnecessary and incredible violence. It betrayed an unacceptable level of brutality. Such conduct cannot be justified or condoned on security or any other grounds. It constituted grave violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law.”
The report also found “clear evidence to support prosecutions of the following crimes within the terms of article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention: willful killing; torture or inhuman treatment; willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health,” and stated that Israel had seriously violated its obligations under the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including the “right to life…torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment…right to liberty and security of the person and freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention…right of detainees to be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person…[and] freedom of expression.”
Additionally, in July 2010, domestic Israeli policy and its occupation conduct had been found to violate these very same statutes (among others) by the United Nations Human Rights Committee.
Based on both “forensic and firearm evidence,” the fact-finding panel concluded that the killing of American citizen Furkan Dogan and that of five Turkish citizens by the Israeli troops on the Mavi Marmara “can be characterized as extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions.”
Furthermore, even propagandistic Zionists such as the New York Times‘s Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner has admitted that all 10,000 tons of aid goods aboard the Mavi Marmara was “unquestionably humanitarian in nature.” The aid included 6,000 tons of cement, more than 2,000 tons of iron, 100 prefabricated houses, 500 wheelchairs, crutches, medical equipment, wood and glass for building, electric generators, water purifiers, a mobile dental care facility, and food. The cargo had also been confirmed not to be transporting any weaponry by authorities before its departure.
Another aid ship, the MV Rachel Corrie which carried 550 tons of cement, 20 tons of paper for printing school books, 25 tons of school supplies, 12 tons of sports equipment and 150 tons of medical supplies, was also illegally seized by the Israeli Navy a few days after the Mavi Marmara massacre.
The need for medicine and health care supplies in Gaza is very real, despite what the editors of the Daily News may want their readers to believe. Since June 2007, “the number of Palestine refugees unable to access food and lacking the means to purchase even the most basic items, such as soap, school stationery and safe drinking water, has tripled” and over 80 UN and aid agencies agree that “the formal economy in Gaza has collapsed.” At the end of 2009, a UN report found that “insufficient food and medicine is reaching Gazans, producing a further deterioration of the mental and physical health of the entire civilian population since Israel launched Operation Cast Lead against the territory,” and “blamed the blockade for continued breakdowns of the electricity and sanitation systems due to the Israeli refusal to let spare parts needed for repair get through the crossings.” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has “called on Israel to end the blockade of Gaza,” stating, “In particular, the Government of Israel should allow unimpeded access to Gaza for humanitarian aid and the non-humanitarian goods needed for the reconstruction of properties and infrastructure.”
The United Nations – which the Daily News calls upon to stop the upcoming flotilla -reported in January 2010 that Gaza is in “socio-economic crisis” and is suffering from the “severe deterioration of the already precarious living conditions of the people in Gaza and have further eroded a weakened health system.” The UN’s World Health Organization warns specifically that the brutal Israeli blockade – a clear example of collective punishment, which is illegal under international law – and the 2008-2009 winter massacre of Gaza “have led to on-going deterioration in the social, economic and environmental determinants of health.” The report notes that “many specialized treatments, for example for complex heart surgery and certain types of cancer, are not available in Gaza and patients are therefore referred for treatment to hospitals outside Gaza” continuing that “many patients have had their applications for exit permits denied or delayed by the Israeli Authorities and have missed their appointments. Some have died while waiting for referral.”
The UN also points out that “there are often shortages” of drugs and disposables “on the ground mainly because of shortfalls in deliveries” and that “[d]elays of up to 2-3 months occur on the importation of certain types of medical equipment, such as x-ray machines and electronic devices. Clinical staff frequently lack the medical equipment they need. Medical devices are often broken, missing spare parts or out of date.”
Furthermore, the report notes that sixteen health workers were killed and twenty-five injured while on duty by Israeli strikes. Also, fifteen of Gaza’s twenty-seven hospitals, forty-five of its 110 Primary Health Care services, and twenty-nine of its 148 ambulances were either damaged or destroyed in the Israeli assault. None of these facilities have been able to be repaired in the past two years due to the fact that Israel refuses to allow building materials into Gaza.
In June 2010, the WHO said that medical equipment valued at $20 million, including “CT scanners, X-ray machines, fluoroscopes, infusion pumps, medical sterilization gases, laboratory equipment, UPS (uninterrupted power supply) batteries and spare parts for support systems such as elevators” and which were “urgently needed in Gaza had been piling up for a year waiting for clearance from Israel.”
The WHO also renewed its call “to allow for the unimpeded access into the Gaza Strip of life-saving medical supplies, including equipment and medicines, as well as more effective movement of people in and out of the territory for medical training and the repair of devices needed to deliver appropriate healthcare.” The statement continued:

“It is impossible to maintain a safe and effective health care system under the conditions of siege that have been in place now since June 2007,” Tony Laurance, the head of the WHO’s office for Gaza and the West Bank, said in the statement. “It is not enough to simply ensure supplies like drugs and consumables. Medical equipment and spare parts must be available and be properly maintained.”
By December 2010, the Ministry of Health in Gaza was warning that “137 types of medicine and 150 of essential medical supplies are out of stock in Gaza, among those supplies are drugs used to treat cancer and kidney patients” and that a mere “37% of required medical supplies reached the Strip this year so far.”
Thankfully, the Daily News didn’t burden its readers with these annoying facts.
The Daily News editors claim that “the true aim is to provoke a confrontation that serves as a rallying point in a drive to portray Israel as an amoral, oppressive force.” Anyone familiar with Israel history knows full well that no artificial provocation is required for Israel to be portrayed as “amoral” and “oppressive.” The actions of the Israeli government and military over the past six decades prove that such a depiction is accurate, if not woefully inadequate to describe the war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and institutionalized discrimination necessary to continue Zionist domination of Palestine.
It should also be pointed out that, when mentioning mortars and rockets shot from Gaza into Israel, the Daily News states that the Palestinians were attacking “Jewish soil.”Jewish soil? Describing the State of Israel, which was established after years of massive (and illegal) Jewish immigration and months of deliberate and violent ethnic cleansing to eliminate the majority of native Muslim and Christian inhabitants from the area, as “Jewish soil” is disgusting. What does the Daily News think about the 20% of the Israeli population who are Palestinian Arabs and whose ancestors have owned and lived on the land for centuries if not longer? Whose “soil” are they living on?
Lastly, the photograph accompanying the Daily News piece shows a young Palestinian boy stocking shelves in a Gaza grocery store. The obvious implication is that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza and that the 1.5 million Palestinians there are in no need of humanitarian aid, let alone human rights solidarity.
Naturally, this suggestion ignores the fact that, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 61% of Gazans are “food insecure,” of which “65% are children under 18 years;” the level of anemia in infants is as high as 65.5%, about 70% of Gazans live on less than $1 a day, 75% rely on food aid, and 60% have no daily access to water. It also sidesteps the fact that, as Rebecca Sargent of the Peace and Collaborative Development Network has noted, “Much of the population remains unemployed and thus have no money to buy supplies for themselves. U.N. Resolution 1860 calls for the unfettered access of aid and commercial goods to Gaza, although it would appear this call has been mostly ignored by the Israeli government’s blockade.”
The photo of the Gaza grocery store is clearly another piece of propaganda meant to signify to the reader, “hey, with stores like these, can we really believe that Gaza’s inhabitants are victims of deliberate deprivation, discrimination, and occupation?”
Apparently, according to Zuckerman’s Daily News editors, where there’s a market, there’s no suffering, right? To answer this question, one need only look at these pictures of the Warsaw Ghetto marketplace in the 1940?s:



I suppose, if we are to believe the Daily News editors, there was nothing too offensive going on there, I mean, just look at all those warm coats, high heels, and storefronts!


And hey, if these children were smuggling food into the Ghetto, I suppose they had a good reason. But if Palestinians do the same in Gaza, clearly it’s because they are all murderous anti-Semites.



While the Daily News ends its piece by urging the UN to prevent the upcoming flotilla from sailing to Gaza this June, it is clear that the “perilous propaganda ploy” it warns against is actually its own unadulterated hasbara.
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** Nima Shirazi is a political commentator from New York City.  His analysis of United States foreign policy and Middle East issues is published on his website www.wideasleepinamerica.com, and can also be found in numerous other online and print publications. Visit his website at: www.wideasleepinamerica.com. Follow him on Twitter @WideAsleepNima Contact him at wideasleepinamerica@gmail.com.

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