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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hadade: Indictment Release in Concurrence with Syria’s Regained Stability

Hussein Assi
Khaled Hadade to Al-Manar Website:

  • Gov’t Shape Shocked Us… We Don’t Trust Tribunal
  • Indictment Release Related to Syrian Developments
  • We Called for Joint Lebanese-Arab Tribunal
  • Gov’t Did Not Deviate from Sectarian Traditions
  • We Oppose Whole System, Won’t Sacrifice Our Country
  • Losing Hope of Change Means Losing Hope in Lebanon
Lebanese Communist Party (LCP) Secretary General Khaled Hadade drew a link between reports of the imminent release of the indictment in the assassination case of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and the improvement of the situation in Syria as well as the formation of the Lebanese government and the US negative stance vis-à-vis the new alliances in the country.

In an exclusive interview with Al-Manar Website, Hadade said his party has rejected the so-called Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) since the beginning, and stressed he could not trust the United Nations’ institutions, dominated by the United States.

While noting that the current stage requires a high level of national immunization, he said he was shocked by the new government’s shape which, according to him, did not deviate from the traditional sectarian standards. He stressed his party would continue its battle against the sectarian system, and said losing hope of change means losing hope in Lebanon as a whole.

INDICTMENT TIMING POLITICIZED

According to the LCP Secretary General, “there’s no way to exclude the previous, current and upcoming media campaigns concerning the indictment’s release from the political circumstances. He remarked that the indictment took off the table when Syria was in trouble during the previous stage, and was revived when the Syrian situation headed for a real dialogue, in which the “Syrian national opposition” would take part, fulfilling the initiative of the authorities.” He said that the forces he called “anti-Arab revolutions’ forces” were seeking to use the indictment to add pressure on the Syrian scene.

In addition to the “Syrian dimensions” of the recent media campaign, Hadade pointed out to the Lebanese dimensions, and noted that the United States had announced its clear stance from the new alliances “and therefore, it is seeking to pressure Hezbollah.”

As a conclusion, Hadada said he did not find strange the political framework, justifications, and motives that have revived the verdict at this particular stage.

TRIBUNAL CONCERNS US

Hadade, who linked the indictment’s timing to political developments, recalled that this was his party’s stance since the beginning, “as the LCP was the only party that rejected the tribunal when all other parties, including Hezbollah and the AMAL movement, accepted it at the national dialogue table…We frankly said that we do not trust the US-dominated UN institutions. We also called for a joint Lebanese-Arab tribunal and refused to link every aspect of life in Lebanon to international institutions. That’s why we were concerned vis-à-vis the tribunal and our stance remains very transparent in this regard.”

On whether he has concerns about certain scenarios in case the indictment was released now, Hadade said that “the Lebanese should neutralize themselves from the content of the indictment.” However, he reminded that “there might be some repercussions on the ground, given sectarianism and divisions among Lebanese, but these repercussions remain unknown until determining the magnitude of the conspiracy.” Hadede stressed all Lebanese should work seriously to prevent sedition and safeguard the country. “For instance, the new government did not meet our expectations with regards to this critical stage that requires reconsidering all adopted policies.”

GOVERNMENT’S SHAPE SHOCKING

Hadede said he favored waiting for the issuance of the government’s policy statement and then making his evaluation, however he added, “the shape of the government was shocking.”
According to LCP leader, the cabinet formation held on to sectarian standards, despite what he called the ‘orphan step’ of Speaker Nabih Berri who accepted to abandon a Shiite seat for a Sunni minister in order to resolve the Tripoli deadlock and finally form the government. “Yet, this small positive step came in the framework of resolving a deadlock. Therefore, it does not reflect a real tendency to abandon the sectarian form of this regime,” he said. Yet, he wished all success for the government, despite his “weak hopes.”

WE WILL NOT SURRENDER TO SECTARIAN CANTONS

The LCP Secretary General tackled the latest anti-sectarianism protests in Lebanon. He praised the youth who were behind these protests and said they were reconsidering the tools and slogans to serve their cause. He added that the LCP had its own slogans and stances. He spoke of a series of priorities for the upcoming stage, including the necessity to guarantee unified citizenship conditions as well as dealing with the urgent social issues. He said “fighting corruption alone is not enough and all the economic policies, adopted throughout the previous years, must be reconsidered.”
“If we lose hope in change, then we lose hope in the whole country,” Hadede said. He found strange how some politicians claim the country will be jeopardized if this regime collapsed. He warned that “in case political leaders continue this way, they would be accepting to sacrifice the country at the altar of Bernard Louis’s project and ultimately establish sectarian cantons, which unfortunately, we’ve begun to really sense.”

Stay Human

kenny's sideshow
Freedom Flotilla
In a world of ever increasing inhumanity and insanity, staying human becomes the ultimate act of courage.


Of course the Flotilla is a political provocation

Yes, out solidarity is political. Yes, it is provocative. And unlike the racism and oppression of Zionism and its enablers, there is nothing shameful about it.

A little refresher course in Palestinian history for our talking points in the coming days may be useful. Neutralizing the propaganda of media and criminal governments is one small way of staying human.


 
 
“After you Brother!” Qadaffi stays and Obama leaves?
Al-Manar
The 6/27/11 International Criminal Courts (ICC) arrest warrants issued for Muammar Gadhafi, his son Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, and Libya intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanoussi, however pleasing to the “rebels” and NATO, probably won’t have much effect on negotiating a settlement between the two camps and certainly the warrants will not facilitate a voluntary regime change. Quite likely, the warrants effects will tend toward the obverse, with the Libyan government ignoring, but ridiculing the much criticized ICC and pointing out its historical pattern of targeting African leaders. At Tripoli’s Rixos Nasser Hotel, just a few hours after the arrest warrants were announced, Libya’s Justice Minister and a high ranking Foreign Affairs official did just that and then refused to take any questions from the large gathering of western journalists of whom Libya is distrustful given a spate of recent false main stream media reports that have been exposed as hoaxes.

photoColonel Qaddafi and his supporters, in a series of what this observer refers to as “Hezbollah style free give and take dialogue sessions” are making it very plain that they will prevail in reunifying Libya and probably before Ramadan which begins, this year, in early August. They argue that the “rebels” are increasingly fighting among themselves and are losing popular support. It’s an argument similar to the one the “rebels” are using to explain how their victory is all but assured, also by the end of Ramadan.

A subsequent report will also detail NATO terrorism and crimes against the civilian population that have included the 2/17 /11 to 6/27/11 bombing of 294 civilian targets, killing and wounding a total of 6,232 according to the Libyan Red Crescent Society statistics. These civilian targets include the Libyan Down's Syndrome Society, a school that provided speech therapy, handicrafts and sports sessions for disabled children as well as Tripoli’s Nassar University, homes, schools, medical facilities and food storage warehouses, Bombing these sites are all outlawed by the Geneva Conventions and constitute NATO war crimes. An additional massive documentation project by international organizations is expected to be completed by July 30, 2011.

Once entering Libya from Tunisia, the roughly 115 mile drive to Tripoli currently provides a fascinating if unsettling introduction to the current situation in Tripoli. By the time I arrived at the hotel my mouth tasted like I had sipped kerosene and my clothes reeked of the same. The reason is that the acute petroleum products shortage has meant that Tunisians and others are transporting for quick cash, whatever they can get to Tripoli to supply thousands of cars that are stranded along the roadside without fuel in their tanks. Just about every opened car trunk I observed being inspected randomly at more than 50 check points between Jerba, Tunisia and Tripoli, Libya, were jammed with full plastic fuel containers. Many apparently leak and over the past three months have left a heavy pall and stench for nearly one hundred miles. Some trucks, loaded with perhaps close to 1000 55 gallon drums of gasoline seemed quite ready to topple over from being seriously top-heavy with the center of gravity being at tire level. Bread, children toys as well as dry and canned goods also fill many cars.

The main attitude one encounters on the streets of the old city such as Avenue Omar Muktar, and along the cornice is defiance and strong nationalist support for Libya’s Revolution.
“It’s our country. What choice do we have but to defend it? “is a commonly expressed sentiment. One woman asked me, “Shall I take off my white Hijab and wave it to surrender when the NATO troops come to my neighborhood or shall I wear my green scarf and fire my weapons. For sure my choice is the second!”

A Libyan businessman, who admits he has lots of free time these days, and who was educated at George Washington University, commented: “UN Security Council Resolution 1973 authorized the enforcement of a no-fly zone over Libya to supposedly protect civilians from Muammar Gaddafi. The reality is that we need NATO to just declare ‘mission accomplished’ and then stop slaughtering our “protected” people?”

This morning during a long and exhilarating discussion with an official at the Libya People’s Congress HQ in Tripoli, the General=Secretary told me that more than two million of the 3.5 million Libyans over 18 years have been armed and are training to fight NATO when/if they arrive on the ground.

Virtually everyone who is asked gives assurances that “Baba (Father) Qaddafi” will not flee but will, if necessary, die defending his country. They believe he will survive even more NATO assassination attempts. More than once officials confidently stated that Qaddafi will be here after US President Obama is rejected by the American people in the 2012 election.

Support for this idea is found in the seemingly widespread support Qaddafi appears to enjoy and also certain “benefits”resulting froma certain Libyan pride in five million citizens still full of resistance after 100 days of facing 27 countries, the bombs have united the people, forced the sometimes too comfortable population to face the future even one without Baba Gaddafi, learned that the media strikes with false stories is stronger than the military assault in some respects, the exposure of several in the government who were ready to quickly sell out, with one million young people injected new blood into the 42 year old revolution, relearning that the “Arab system” i.e. Arab League is worthless, that it’s the poor people of Libya who truly believe in the Revolution and are remaining loyal to it not those with foreign bank accounts who NATO and the US were able to quickly threaten and pressure to defect, the confidence that the peoples arms and their self-confidence will ultimately win this attempted occupation, the “rebels” have exposed the Muslim Brotherhood as a US partner and also has shown the true nature of the Jihadists, Al Qaeda and NATO itself, that the African Union has a key function to perform, that Libya is not divisible because of its social and economic interdependency, the realization that Libya must reform and reject the IMF system and learn from its mistakes in trusting the US and certain countries in 2002 when it gave up certain weapons systems and placed billions of dollars in American banks, a return to peoples capitalism not government capitalism, and the need to become more self-reliant. In addition, due to the crisis Women have stepped forward and are surprising many by “taking charge” of many governmental functions and encouraging the population to defend their country, the youth of the country are following many much like themselves across the middle east and are getting involved not just in defending their country but also in working on reforms including the drafting of a Constitution in a convention being held in Tripoli next week. Libyans are saying that they have to rejuvenate their revolution and rely on themselves. Nearly everyone is claiming that Libya was deceived in the 2004 negotiations and agreement with the US and Western countries. They admit that they have paid a big price in terms of lives lost and infrastructure damage.

Libya also intends to continue their gold based currency project and continue improving relations with African countries. Libya’s squeezing the former French colonial power out of most of Africa is one motive of that country to seek regime change.

Regime Change?

President Obama is likely to be defeated in 2012 according to former Bush advisor, Karl Rove and a swelling number of US political pundits. The US economy is very weak and unlikely to experience a significant recovery by Election Day. Key voter groups are rejecting Obama partly because of his war of choice in Libya which is seen as a bad strategic decision with NATO’s actions increasingly becoming a deadly farce with his justification increasingly ridiculed and the cost now more than 500 billion USD.

In addition, the unemployment is approaching 10% with close to 14 million Americans out of work with half of them having been without work for more than six months. They remember that Obama promised much better, declaring that his February 2009 stimulus would cause unemployment to peak at 8% by the end of summer 2009 and drop to roughly 6.8% today.
Gallup has reported Obama’s job approval rating this week at 45%, down from 67% at his inaugural. Among the groups showing a larger-than-average decline since 2009 are whites (down 25 points); older voters (down 24); independents and college graduates (both down 23), those with a high-school education or less, men, and Southerners (all down 22); women (down 21 points); married couples and those making $2,000-$4,000 a month (down 20). This all points to severe trouble in suburbs and midsized cities in states likes Colorado, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Nevada.

Moreover, approval among younger voters has dropped 22 points, and it's dropped 20 points among Latinos. Even African-American voters are less excited about Mr. Obama than they were and many deeply oppose his policies, and he tends to be weakest on issues voters consider most important. In the June 13 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 56% disapprove of Mr. Obama's handling of the economy. Fifty-nine percent in the Economist/YouGov poll of June 14 disapprove of how he's dealt with the deficit.

The White House is reportedly becoming reconciled to the fact that Qaddafi may remain in the Libyan leadership.

Whether Obama will be reelected is increasingly uncertain.

Gaddafi has survived assaults of various types from US Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, George Bush 1, Clinton, George Bush 2, and Obama. Vegas book makers are giving odds he’ll be the leader of Libya’s Fatah Revolution after the voters retire Obama whose broken promises included telling them that the US would be involved in Libya for days, not months.
Franklin Lamb is doing research in Libya. He is reachable c\o fplamb@gmail.com
He is the author of The Price We Pay: A Quarter-Century of Israel’s Use of American Weapons Against Civilians in Lebanon.

He contribute to Uprooted Palestinians Blog

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Gilad Atzmon: Jews & Their Self Interest-An Interview with Philip Weiss


Over a week ago I emailed to the well- known blogger Philip Weiss, an interesting post written by Nahida (AKA The Exiled Palestinian).

In her article, Jewish Voice For Peace? Really?? , Nahida expresses some sharp criticism of Jewish anti-Zionist groups, forcefully arguing that “Anti-Zionist Jewish organisations are trying to silence Palestine's supporters, to frame the debate” and to “steer the course of the liberation” of her homeland.

Since Weiss runs the most popular Jewish progressive blog, offering an invaluable source of information regarding Israeli crimes, I thought he might be willing to address Nahida’s criticism, and to discuss it with his many progressive Jewish followers.

Weiss did not post Nahida’s article on his blog, but his discussion with me was brave and honest*, and to a certain extent he affirmed Nahida’s criticism, admitting that it was indeed ‘Jewish self-interest’ that he himself was ‘concerned with’.

Weiss had the following to say on the matter: “I believe all people act out of self-interest. And Jews who define themselves at some level as Jews -- like myself for instance -- are concerned with a Jewish self-interest. Which in my case is: an end to Zionism. A theory of political life based on altruism or concern for victims purely is doomed to fail.”

Openly and bluntly, Weiss confirmed what many of us have been saying for a very long time: it is not solely ‘altruism’ or concern for Palestinians victims that motivates some of the most prominent Jewish campaigners and organisations, but it is also, as Weiss freely admits, ‘Jewish self-interest.’

I confessed to Weiss that I was overwhelmed by his frankness. I think that Weiss may well be the first Jewish activist to admit , or even to define the Judeo-centric impetus behind the Jewish- progressive political discourse.

I decided to press it further, asking Weiss whether he considered himself to be ‘tribal’?

And once again, Weiss’ answer was brave and honest, though he did start to express some frustration. He answered, “Yes I do at some level. And what bugs me about stuff you send me (I guess that Weiss was referring to Nahida’s article) is that I end up in the end inevitably and predictably at some site trashing Jewish religion, to which I have very little connection, though yes I feel some core ‘Id’** and this makes me think in the end, that dialogue with you will not help ME because I am interested in frying different fish. While you seem out rather reductively to prove the degeneracy of a religion which I’m sure is deeply problematic, as Islam is and the Church of Pedophilia…( sic)”

However, I still do not grasp why Weiss thinks that I am interested to reductively ‘prove the degeneracy of a religion’ -- I am not really interested in criticising the religion of Judaism, or any other religion for that matter: in fact, I am far more concerned with Jewish secularism and Jewish secular ideology.

However, it was at that stage that I realised that Weiss was a perfect candidate for an interview. He certainly embodies the Jewish-progressive school of thought: a unique mixture of righteousness, charming self-love, mixed together with some deep intolerance towards other people’s belief systems.
I went on to ask Weiss: “What does the word ‘Jewish’ mean for you?”

Weiss was short and precise in his response : "My mother, my father, my grandparents, a family feeling, us-ness, in distinction to the Them."

I pressed Weiss further , asking him, “this ‘us-ness’ does it really extend beyond family and friends? Do you, for instance, feel ‘us-ness’ with an Iraqi Jew?”, I wondered.

‘I think identity is multi-factorial,’ Weiss replied, ‘I feel American before I feel Jewish. I think that's the achievement of my life, to have flipped those identities, and Jewish is second. I see Jewish as this great civilization that I am part of. That transcends borders, and it's not Zionist. Zionism is like Shabbetai Tzvi, It's a big chapter in a long story. Jews will survive this one too. Jews is: a sense of difference, yes, inevitably of elite identity, that's part of Jewish history and one I struggle with. Jewish is a Story, a myth…’

I liked the imaginative and poetic manner in which Weiss referred to his own identity. I appreciated his honesty, and I also accepted what seems to be a possible discrepancy between the universal consciousness and the tribal affiliation.

And yet, I really wanted to grasp how Weiss translated his sense of tribalism into a political, or ideological, awareness. I enquired further, to which he responded, ‘I’m against compartmentalized identity but I do think that people are tribal, it's the nature of the species right now, and the deal is do we call on that or do we try and reduce it? I’m for reducing it but not denying its existence till everyone puts down their shield and that doesn’t seem bloody likely.

I had some “us-ness” from my family, a lot of it, but bridled at it. “Is it good for the Jews?” question bugged the hell out of me. But if Herzl, a Christmas tree Jew like me, was made Jewish by anti Semites, as he was, I was made Jewish by the Neocons. I thought, I’m Jewish too so f**k them with their tribalism.’

You can call it anything you like. you can reduce it to JVP is Jewish, or JVP has multiple dimension. I’m in the multidimensional human camp. My wife is not a Jew. She uses Ayurvedic typology, Jungian typology and Freudian (psychoanalysis) to understand people. She uses Astrology too sometimes. I dip around in all that too and I’m also Jewish and feel a real bond with Jews. Is it Ashkenazi and racist? I’m sure it is at some level. They're the ones I grew up with. Do I transcend? I hope so.’

That is fairly impressive, I thought to myself : up to that point, Weiss had seemed to be coherent, a healthy amalgam of a self-reflective person who acknowledges his tribalism and roots, yet tries to transcend those aspects.

And yet, I was still slightly confused -- I reminded Weiss that only two days earlier he had mentioned in our discussions that Jews like himself were “ concerned with a Jewish self-interest”. I then asked him whether he approved that Jewish anti-Zionist activism may as well be primarily concerned with Jewish interests?

I guess that at that stage, Weiss started to feel irritated or even trapped, for he somehow turned sour, saying : “Primarily concerned with Jewish interests seems a stupid trap to me.”

But, I reminded Weiss that “self-interest” and “Jewish self-interest” had been his own words, quoting to him his initial reaction to Nahida’s post -- indeed, Weiss had actually said, "I believe all people act out of self-interest. and Jews ..like myself -- are concerned with a Jewish self-interest.”

I suggested to Weiss that I can live with inconsistency -- I also offered him the opportunity to feel free to change his words, or amend his narrative to suit his 'new line' ( in which he had stated that “primarily concerned with Jewish interests seems a stupid trap”).

I did feel , however, that Weiss should at least be made aware of the contradictions in his own words: after all, one can either argue that “Jews act out of Jewish self-interest” or, one can contend that to be “primarily concerned with Jewish interests is a stupid trap.”

Yet, one cannot have it both ways, and one cannot hold these two views simultaneously, unless an explanation is offered.

But I guess that I asked for too much : Weiss didn’t want to address the contradiction, saying, “( I ) Disown none of them,” explaining to me his opinion that “foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of a little mind.”

At that point, I felt that it would be the right time to disengage, and to leave Weiss alone, just before things got further out of control.

It seems to me that once again, I have failed to converse with a ‘progressive Jew.’ I guess that in spite of the openness Weiss showed initially, he, like mny others, cannot resolve the tension beyond the universal and the tribal.

And by now, I am increasingly certain that this gap cannot be bridged easily, if at all, for the tribal and universal are like water and oil.

I guess that the difficulties involved in resolving the tension between the universal and the tribal explains why so many progressive Jews prefer to operate in intellectual, ideological and political exclusive ‘Jews only’ cells where these questions are never raised, never asked, and never answered.

*Philip Weiss’ words are published here with his full agreement and concession
** Id- a slang name for a Jew, I guess that it comes from Yiddish. A Id-Yid is a Yiddish speaker.

Syria: Dissidents & Regime


Syria
Syria
(Dp-news)

DAMASCUS- Syrian dissidents meeting in Damascus on Monday pledged to press ahead with a "peaceful uprising for freedom" until the creation of a "democratic state."
Nearly 200 critics of Syria`s regime met yesterday in the Syrian cap­ital for the first time during the three-month uprising against his rule.

The session began with the Syrian national anthem, followed by a minute's silence in honour of Syrians who have been killed in the protests. The officially sanctioned gathering underlined the changes the rebellion has wrought in Syria as well as the challenges ahead in breaking a cycle of protests and crackdowns that have left hundreds dead.
The gathering was remarkable foremost for its rarity - a public show of dissent in a country that has long conflated opposition with treason. But it also cut across some of the most pressing questions in Syria today:

Whether a venerable but weak opposition can bridge its long-standing divides, whether the government is willing to engage it in real dialogue and whether it can eventually pose an alternative to President Bashar al-Assad's leadership?

The meeting offered no answers, but in speech after speech, participants insisted the 3-month-old revolt could end only with Assad's surrender of absolute power.
Participants said that though the meeting was approved by authorities, it would not include government representatives. They said their aim was to discuss strategies for a peaceful transition to democracy.

According to the organizers, the meeting discussed the current situation in Syria and means of finding a way out of the crisis. Louay Hussein, one of the organizers, said the meeting of 190 opposition leaders, unprecedented in its size, would explore a vision for "ending tyranny and ensuring a peaceful and safe transition to a desired state, one of freedom, democracy and equality."

In a document dubbed ''Ahd (Pledge)", the participants at the meeting pledged to remain part of the peaceful uprising of the Syrian people for the sake of freedom, democracy and plurality as to lay the basis for a civil and democratic state in a peaceful and safe way. They vowed to remain "part of Syria's peaceful uprising for freedom and democracy and pluralism to establish a democratic state through peaceful means."

They also voiced rejection of the resort to the security solution to solve the political crisis, and to any discourse or behavior that divides the Syrians along sectarian, confessional or racial lines. They said they rejected "resorting to security measures to solve the deep structural crisis that Syria is suffering," and condemned "any discourse or behavior that divides Syrians on the basis of race or religion."

They also voiced rejection of calls for foreign interference in Syria's affairs, calling for giving priority to the interests of the homeland and citizens. They said "any foreign intervention in Syria's affairs" and urged "the nation's interests and the freedom of citizens" be put "above any other interest" for the sake of a "free, democratic and secure" Syria.

Some activists abroad have criticized the gathering as suggesting that the government was willing to engage in dialogue and tolerate dissent, even as its army and security forces press on with a relentless crackdown that has deployed them from one end of Syria to the other. But some diplomats have looked to Monday's meeting as offering at least the potential for a more unified opposition that could deal with the government.

"Every step that helps bring together an opposition is a positive step," said Burhan Ghalioun, a Syrian scholar and director of the Center for Contemporary Oriental Studies at the Sorbonne in Paris. "We need a unified opposition that can be engaged in a political battle with the regime to force it to transfer the country into a democratic civil state."

Some activists complained would be exploited to give legitimacy to the regime, while other opposition figures and activists, both inside Syria and abroad, dismissed the meeting of 190 critics as an opportunity for the government to convey a false impression it's allowing space for dissent, rather than cracking down.

The meeting was in the works for weeks, and though government officials had signaled that they would not oppose it, the leaders themselves spent days trying to find a locale in the capital that would set aside fears of government retaliation and host them. In the end, Syrian state television, long a tool of propaganda, covered the meeting at the Semiramis Hotel.

A pro-Assad demonstration was held outside the hotel where the conference was held.

The state news agency said on Monday that the government would begin talks with the opposition on July 10 to set the framework for the dialogue, with "all factions, intellectual personalities, politicians" invited.

The meeting would open a debate on the constitution, "especially clause 8" which stipulates that the Baath Party is the leader of both the Syrian state and society, it said.

Many opposition figures have rejected President al-Assad's call for dialogue as insufficient, saying they will not take part unless authorities end the crackdown on protesters.

In Washington, the US State Department hailed this "first meeting of opposition figures in Syria" as "significant," even if there are no "outcomes yet."

"This is a significant event," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.
"It's the first meeting of this kind in many decades. About 160 people are attending it. We don't have any outcomes yet but it is the first meeting of opposition figures in Syria," spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

Fresh Cairo Protests Leave 1,000 Injured

Local Editor
New clashes broke out on Wednesday morning in central Cairo as riot police fired tear gas to disperse the protesters who demand the execution of the country's former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly.
Police in riot gear were deployed near the interior ministry building around the Tahrir Square, which was the scene on clashes on Tuesday as well, AFP reported.

The injuries range from tear gar induced respiratory problems to cuts and bruises from slinging stones, said Dr. Hisham Shiha, head of clinical medicine at the Ministry of Health. He added there were no serious injuries other than two people injured in the melee that took place near the Baloon Theatre in Cairo’s Agouza neighborhood at the beginning of the skirmishes.
He said most of the injured were members of the Central Security Forces and that there were no deaths so far.

Families of Egyptians killed during the country's historic revolution have also started an open-ended sit-in in front of the country's state TV building, calling on the interim government to bring murderers of their family members to justice.

The protesters are angry over the delays in the trial of Adly. The former interior minister and several other Egyptian officials are still being tried on charges of ordering the killing of protesters.

The protesters say they want the speedy prosecution of officials belonging to Egypt's former regime of the ousted Hosni Mubarak.
They also demanded the execution of al-Adly for ordering the killing of protesters during the revolution, which led to former President Hosni Mubarak's ouster on February 11.

Egyptian protesters say Mubarak and his associates must be tried for killing more than 800 protesters during the popular uprising.

Activists also demand the release of political prisoners and the disbandment of the military court.
Egyptians are still skeptical about a rapid transition towards democracy and civilian rule and maintain that demonstrations will continue until all their demands are met.

Health Ministry updates injury estimate from Tahrir clashes to 1036

By: Al-Masry Al-Youm

The Ministry of Health increased Wednesday its estimate of the number of people injured in clashes between security forces and protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square to 1036, nearly doubling the figure it had announced earlier in the day.
While 916 of those injured received treatment at the scene, 120 others were taken to hospitals, the ministry said in a statement.
Earlier on Wednesday, the ministry put the number of injuries from protests downtown and at Agouza's Balloon Theater at 590.
But the statement failed to explain whether the updated estimate was the total of those injured since Tuesday night or those hurt on Wednesday alone, when protests continued.
It said injuries ranged from cuts, bruises and breaks to post-concussion symptoms, adding that ambulances are still at the scene to deal with any additional injuries.



Second ship on Freedom Flotilla II sabotaged

[ 30/06/2011 - 08:30 AM ]

BRUSSELS, (PIC)-- Unidentified men suspected of having links with the Israeli Mossad have sabotaged yet another ship due to join the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla II sometime this week, said the European campaign to end the siege on Gaza.
The elements sabotaged the ship’s engine, the ECESG said, adding that a maintenance crew is currently working to repair the damage.
This comes two days after another ship from Norway and Sweden was sabotaged while docked in Athens, Greece.
The source said that the same method used to sabotage the first ship was also used on the second ship, which is from Ireland.
The ECESG has accused Israeli authorities of attempting to murder passengers on board the Freedom Flotilla II by planning an explosion due to a technical problem.
The ECESG, a founding member and organizer of the flotilla, announced it is determined to follow through with the mission to defy Israel’s siege on the Gaza Strip and deliver much needed aid.
On Tuesday, the Israeli government held drills simulating a possible scenario of what could happen if the ten-ship flotilla tried to breach the blockade, as reported by Israeli newspaper IMRA. The result was that the Israeli soldiers killed two activists and left 14 injured, two of them critically.
The drill included staff from the Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, along with representatives from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Foreign Ministry, the IOF spokesperson, the Government Press Office, the Jewish Agency and public diplomacy organizations, IMRA reported.
During the drill, the Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli Edelstein was called to a situation room to disseminate messages on Facebook and Twitter giving real-time updates of Israel’s version of what was happening during the attack.

ARTHUR BILLY: REQUIEM FOR THE DEAD OF GAZA

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29, 2011 AT 6:19PM GILAD ATZMON

Introduction by Gilad Atzmon: This is a pretty extensive and devastating presentation of the Israeli crime in Gaza. I met Arthur Billy last month in San Francisco. Billy, born in pre 1948 Palestine is a nuclear scientist and an incredibly kind human being.
The combination of the music and the images is very powerful, yet, bear in mind that Billy is not a film maker. As far as I am aware he assembled this presentation using Power Point. He had a very limited editing capacity. Yet, the spirit is there, the aesthetic is there and the impact of Israeli barbarism is there all the way through.
Thanks Arthur for your time, effort and care.
Arthur Billy & William A.Cook: This presentation is a Memorial and a Requiem for the Dead of Gaza, Honouring the Valiant Palestinian People and a Monument to the People of Gaza.

May this requiem force the Israelis and all who view this testament to share the suffering and the pain of the Palestinian people with all the compassion the souls of humans everywhere should feel for one another.

Should the United States of America House of Representatives, and the Senate care to spend two hours in rapt meditation witnessing the reality of the slaughter they supported in Israel's invasion of Gaza, even their gold plated hearts would melt at the brutality, the ruthlessness, the absolute mercilessness of the state they support with such sanctimonious sentiments when they slither up the AIPAC carpet to seek their favor and forget the consequences to their immortal souls.http://mycatbirdseat.com/2010/06/tel-aviv-on-the-potomac

May they and all Americans who view this memorial to the dead of Gaza, give serious thought to what we have wrought in our undeviating support for the Zionist mind, because that mind suffers from no remorse, bears no responsibility for its acts, and willfully uses even our representatives as fools to gain their ends.

There is no monument like it anywhere; it is the victims' tale of fear and suffering caught in the act of betrayal by those who have renounced their humanness. It is, therefore, a cry to all peoples everywhere that our civilized world of the 21st century has accomplished what no other barbaric horde of times past could achieve...a requiem for those who died conveyed through the weeping eyes and torn faces of those who witnessed this testament to inhumanity delivered by a nation that reverted back to tribal indifference of others and hate for others and vengeance to others.

I thoroughly researched the available many documents, pictures, slideshows and videos on Operation Cast Lead. It was a very time consuming endeavour to say the least. One thing glaringly stood out like a sore thumb. The truth about Operation Cast Lead was missing from the information presented by the Israelis and their supporters including the United States Administration and especially most members of the House of Representatives and Senate of the United States of America who are lackeys of Israel and AIPAC.

One and one half million Palestinian refugees are living in the Gaza Strip since 1948, if one can call that living. They are penned in, within the worlds largest open air Israeli controlled concentration-camp-prison completely sealed off from the outside world by the Israeli military. And the World has done nothing positive nor productive to solve this travesty and human tragedy for over 62 years.

It is impossible to show and tell about all that happened before, during and after the Operation Cast Lead massacre. This presentation presents the TRUTH.

This Israeli Operation Cast Lead slideshow "video" shows only a minuscule portion of the unprovoked and totally unnecessary Barbarous Israeli attack. 0r more aptly put, the Israeli massacre of the Palestinian people, by the Israeli armed forces from December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009.

Note the curious reality that Israeli forces were invading a land that had no military forces to oppose them. This invasion was a total military invasion with every conceivable state of the art weapon used against an imprisoned population WITH NO MEANS OF SELF DEFENSE. A MASSACRE BY ANY STANDARD

It is over more than two years since the massacre and utter immense destruction of the Gaza infrastructure by the Israeli military. Nothing goes into or out of Gaza without Israel's permission. All essential supplies for rebuilding Gaza, human survival and medical care are not allowed into Gaza. Because of this Gaza has not been rebuilt and the people of Gaza are suffering worse than ever. This is part of Israel's plan of their genocide of the Palestinian people in the Gaza strip.

Israel, supported by the United States continues to defy the United Nations and the rest of the world.

Israel completely ignores the United Nations Goldstone Report by which the UN Mission on the Israeli Operation Cast Lead Gaza War documented its findings and declared that Israel committed serious war crimes and crimes against humanity. Israel to date as usual denies all wrong doing and as usual continues unchecked to defy the World and is still committing war crimes and crimes against humanity against the Palestinian people.

Without personal or other bias, Judge for yourself.

Netanyahu Owns the US Congress


Soon will Know if He Also Owns Gaza and the UN

25Jun11
by James M. Wall

We need look no further than the politics of the state of Israel to see what extremist religion can do with power. The Tea Party in the US, which will determine the winner of the presidential Republican nominating process, is ready to show the world that God wants a final say in US political decision-making.
The Tea Party has emerged as a carbon copy of ultra right wing Zionist forces in Israel. The Tea Party and right-wing political Zionism share a single-minded religious worldview that religious ideology can, and should, exercise absolute control over its citizens.
On June 3-4, at Ralph Reed’s annual Faith and Faithful gathering in Washington, speakers praised God and Israel in equal measure. Only a few weeks had passed since the leader of a foreign nation came to Washington at the request of Congress.

That leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, showed Americans how to combine religious ideology with political power. The peoples’ representatives cheered mightily to demonstrate their loyalty to a foreign nation operating under a religious ideology that served the interests of political power.

Ralph Reed invited Republican presidential aspirants to speak to his organization of Christian faithful. Sure, they were also there to talk politics. But their politics are inseparable from their ideological devotion to the modern state of Israel.
Philip Giradi discovered how closely Reed’s speakers adhered to the script of political power and religion.

Support for Israel was on the menu du jour in nearly every speech and for every panel. It dominated the conference. One panel had as its subject “Israel: surrounded yet undaunted in the face of evil.”

RICHARD LAND
Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s oddly named Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, spoke for fifteen minutes about Israel, saying “If we want God to bless America, then we have to bless the Jews.
Teabagger Queen
Michele Bachmann
God gave that land to his chosen people forever. That issue is settled by God almighty…Michele Bachmann produced a standing ovation when she cited a “shocking display of betrayal of our greatest friend and ally Israel.” She added “I stand with Israel…President Obama…does not speak for us on the issue of Israel.”

The Reed gathering was just one of several recent Washington displays of love for Israel. Soon we will know what impact that love will have on two major international events.

The first is the arrival of a flotilla of peace-oriented ships off the coast of Gaza. The second is the September meeting of the United Nations General Assembly where Palestinians will seek admission, as a state, to the UN General Assembly.

The last effort of a flotilla to breach the blockade of Gaza led to the deaths of nine passengers, May 10, 2010. One of the passengers killed by the Israeli military was Furkan Dogan, who held dual Turkish-US citizenship. There was no official American objection to any of the killings, including that of Dogan, who was born in Troy, New York.

One year and one month after the Israeli raid that killed nine passengers in May, 2010, a much larger flotilla sails this week to Gaza.

Ali Abunimah, writing about the flotilla in the Electronic Intifada, was dismayed by Hillary Clinton’s response:

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seemed to lay the ground – indeed almost provide a green light – for an Israeli military attack on the upcoming Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which will include the US Boat to Gaza.

Among the passengers aboard the American boat will be 87-year old Kindertransport survivor Hedy Epstein, and author and poet Alice Walker. In all it is expected that about 10 ships, carrying 1000 people from over 20 countries will take part.

Here’s what Clinton said in remarks at the State Department on 23 June:

“Well, we do not believe that the flotilla is a necessary or useful effort to try to assist the people of Gaza. Just this week, the Israeli Government approved a significant commitment to housing in Gaza.

There will be construction materials entering Gaza and we think that it’s not helpful for there to be flotillas that try to provoke actions by entering into Israeli waters and creating a situation in which the Israelis have the right to defend themselves.”

Clinton must know that Gaza is not part of what any country recognizes as ‘sovereign’ Israeli territory, and therefore neither are Gaza’s territorial waters. Any boats entering Gaza’s waters would not in fact be entering ‘Israeli waters’ as Clinton claimed.”

Clinton’s attitude toward the flotilla does not portend a favorable US response when Palestinian UN membership comes before the General Assembly in September

If the GA does vote to refer the membership issue to the Security Council, the US will most likely veto the proposal. The US has no veto in the General Assembly, which is why Israel is working feverishly to persuade European Union nations to vote against the proposal in the GA, and to put pressure on smaller nations to vote against it.

Meanwhile, while the flotilla heads to Gaza waters and diplomats face the September vote, Prime Minister Netanyahu holds three trump cards, any one of which would derail any future peace agreement.

First Card: Israel will not negotiate in any forum with a Palestinian government that includes Hamas. Since there can be no Palestinian government that does not include Hamas, negotiations are impossible.

Second Card: Netanyahu insists there can be no “right of return” for Palestinian refugees who wish to move to, or be compensated for, former Palestinian land in what is today the state of Israel. No Palestinian leader could survive as a leader if he or she gives up that right before any final negotiations begin.
The right of the return of refugees is codified in international law. It is also one of those sacred rights symbolized by the keys retained in Palestinian homes wherever Palestinian refugees currently live.

Third Card: Israel will not negotiate with the PA until it recognizes Israel as a “Jewish State”. This is the card Uri Avnery has correctly dismissed as “nonsense”. This demand for a “Jewish state” was not a part of any Palestinian-Israeli negotiation until it was introduced into the conversation in 2007.
Yonatan Touval was a senior policy analyst with the Geneva Initiative, an Israeli nonprofit organization, when he wrote in a New York Times op ed column, May 12, 2009:

While the demand for Palestinian recognition of Israel’s right to exist was unique (after all, it is non-states that customarily seek such recognition from already existing states), the more recent demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state is dangerous. It must be resisted by those who care about Israel’s long-term strategic interests.

Israel’s leaders had never sought such recognition from any party, friend or foe. The 1979 peace treaty with Egypt, which Begin signed, only expresses mutual recognition of the “sovereignty,” “integrity” and “political independence” of both parties. The peace treaty with Jordan that Yitzhak Rabin concluded in 1994 uses the same language. No mention of Israel’s Jewishness appears in either treaty.

In fact, it was only on the eve of the Annapolis conference in November 2007 that then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert first trotted out the Jewish card, conditioning his participation on Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. Fortunately, the international community did not respond and Olmert abandoned his demand.

Not only is this recent addition to Israel’s demands without precedent in the international community, it also ignores the fact that 1.4 million Palestinian Arabs live as citizens within the boundaries of Israel.
In their book, Israel’s Palestinians: The Conflict Within, Ilan Peleg and Dov Waxman write (page 19):

All too often, people are completely unaware of the large number of non-Jewish citizens of Israel–around 1.8 million people–who make up a quarter of the country’s total population of 7.5 million. One in four Israelis, in other words, are not Jewish.

The vast majority of this significant non-Jewish population are Arabs, who at the end of 2009 numbered 1,526,000, more than 20 percent of Israel’s population.

Pelig is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Government and Law at Lafayette College and servesas a scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC., His co-author, Dov Waxman, is associate professor of Political Science at Baruch College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York.

Their book is a rich resource for information on “Israel’s Palestinians”, the designation, by the way, preferred by Palestinian citizens of Israel instead of the official Israeli government terms, “Arab Israelis” or “Israeli Arabs”.

Peleg and Waxman write specifically on the impact that defining Israel as a Jewish state, would have on Israel’s Palestinians. They resist it. According to the authors, “The redefinition of the state has become the central demand of the Palestinian minority [within Israel].”

As the state’s Jewish identity has become a major point of contention domestically, it has also been inserted into the Israeli-Palestinian peace process by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s insistence that the Palestinian Authority officially recognize Israel as a Jewish state in a final peace agreement.

Such recognition, however,is unlikely to be granted against the objections of the Palestinian minority in Israel–underlining the connection that we emphasize in this book between Israel’s external and internal Palestinian problems.

President Obama grew up as a member of a minority community. Existentially, morally, and intellectually, he knows that the rights of a minority must be respected in a democracy, if that democracy ever expects to become “a state for all its citizens”

James Wall is currently a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. He has made more than 20 trips to that region as a journalist, during which he covered such events as Anwar Sadat’s 1977 trip to Jerusalem, and the 2006 Palestinian legislative election. He has interviewed, and written about, journalists, religious leaders, political leaders and private citizens in the region. Jim served for two years on active duty in the US Air Force, and three additional years in the USAF (inactive) reserve. Jim launched his new personal blog Wallwritings, on April 24, 2008. He can be reached at: jameswall8@gmail.com

Mother of All Conclusions: "Israel's capacity & will to attack Iran independently has been significantly reduced!"

FLC

Oxford Analytica; Excerpts;
Israel's Iran strategy caught in wider security debate Impact
  • Barring a major development that would alter the situation in Iran, it is highly doubtful that Israel will attack Iran this year.
  • Long-festering disputes between the Israeli security and the political echelons over security doctrines are now coming out into the open....
... Iran review Last month, the former head of the Mossad, Major General Meir Dagan said that "it would be a stupid mistake" for Israel to attack Iran, except as a last resort. Dagan's major fear is that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu may decide to attack Iran precipitously. Dagan's comments and these recent defensive measures are the direct product of a recent reassessment of Iranian intentions. It concluded that Iran is not making a headlong dash to acquire nuclear weapons, but is also engaged in no less intensive an effort to disperse, harden and hide its nuclear production infrastructure. As a result, it was unlikely that Iran would acquire nuclear weapons for at least 3-5 years. The study concluded that Israel should use the breathing space to achieve another strategic objective -- strengthening its international diplomatic position, currently at one of its lowest ebbs. Doctrine reassessment That study has also provided additional momentum to the process of re-evaluating Israel's security doctrine that has been underway for many years within the security establishment:
  • Israel's initial security doctrine was based on the assumption that, as a tiny country, Israel cannot afford a defensive posture, nor a prolonged war. Instead, defence spending should be directed almost solely at creating an offensive deterrent force that is capable of rapidly defeating an open-field offensive by massed armies invading on three fronts. Thus, for decades, almost all the country's military preparations were based on creating a technologically-superior and better-trained offensive force.
  • That policy proved its worth until the intifada broke out in 1987, when IDF ground forces, against the army's will, were forced to create new units specifically charged with fighting individuals and small groups of militants in an urban setting.
_ The 2006 war in Lebanon pointed up the fact that because of the effort put into urban warfare, technology and the air force, the training and equipping of the ground forces for open-field operations had been neglected. Moreover, neither air nor technological superiority had been able to deliver victory against Hizbollah or to protect the country's heartland from Hizbollah's massed rocket attacks. Since then, senior officers have argued that the army has now been given too many differing assignments, each of which is competing for funding and training time. Nonetheless, pressures continue to build to expand the army's mandate:
  • The public has demanded greater protection for border villages that have come under rocket fire from Gaza.
  • The army was forced to double its spending on crowd-control training and equipment in the wake of the recent incursions into Israel by protesters on the Golan Heights.
Iran nuclear debate A turning point in the debate came when the previous, populist Defence Minister Amir Peretz, despite all the protests of the military, ordered the army both to build reinforced protective rooms in the border villages and to proceed with the development of the Iron Dome system. Increased spending on purely defensive measures became a matter of policy for the first time. _ Many in the military hoped that Iron Dome, which is the equivalent of trying to destroy a bullet in flight by firing another bullet, would fail. Its success in intercepting Grad rockets fired from Gaza earlier this year has brought the debate on Israel's future strategic posture to a head. It has pitted all the country' most senior intelligence chiefs against Netanyahu. The intelligence chiefs, including just-retired IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi (but not some other senior field officers) have argued that:
  • Iran's nuclear facilities are now so dispersed and well-hardened that the Israeli Air Force will be unable to destroy them all in one offensive blow.
  • An Israeli surprise attack will only be able to set back the Iranian nuclear programme by a few years -- not destroy it.
  • Hizbollah now has 50,000 rockets, which are also dispersed in hundreds of sites, which Hizbollah could use to pummel the Israeli heartland on behalf of Iran.
  • Any Israeli assault could create a regional conflagration.
Therefore, the only real alternatives at the present moment are continued covert actions and a greater diplomatic effect to enforce economic sanctions on Iran. Netanyahu's aides counter-argue that:
  • the country will never be able to afford full protection against thousands of rockets because the cost would be too high; and Israel needs a credible offensive posture, both as a means of cajoling other countries to step up sanctions on Iran out of fear that Israel will attack, and as a last resort if Tehran is nonetheless on the cusp of acquiring a nuclear weapon.